Samira Wiley and Lauren Morelli were married yesterday in Palm Springs, Calif., in an intimate ceremony surrounded by friends and family.
The couple chose a “funfetti” theme in honor of their favorite cake flavor and even blasted the dance floor with a shower of confetti during their first dance. Both wore custom Christian Siriano gowns, with Wiley modifying hers slightly before stepping out on the floor.
Reaction to the wedding — and their wedding photo in particular — has been positive and glowing from many corners of the globe and Internet, with “glamorous” and “stunning” being the operative words.
The two met while working on the hit Netflix Show “Orange Is the New Black.” Wiley, in her first big role, played Poussey Washington, and for Morelli this was her first professional writing job.
A romance between the two gradually built over time but not without complications; when Wiley first met Morelli she was married to a man.
In a lengthy essay for Mic, Morelli recounts her coming to terms with her own sexuality. “I was so deep in my own self-doubt that I constantly felt like a fraud,” she writes. “I was sure it was bleeding into my writing. How could it not? I was married to a man, but I wasn’t straight.”
Life imitated art for both Morelli and Wiley on the set of the show. Its main character, Piper, goes to jail on drug smuggling charges, leaving behind a fiancé waiting for her release. But while in prison she rekindles an affair with a woman from her past. “In Piper and Alex, I’d found a mouthpiece for my own desires and a glimmer of what my future could look like,” writes Morelli.
As for Wiley, her character, Poussey, is gay and in one episode nearly murders the man keeping her from the woman she loves. Things are further complicated as she pines for the affection of her best friend in prison, Tasha “Taystee” Jefferson (played by Danielle Brooks), who is straight.
The show has been honored for its portrayal of gay and transgender characters, with actress Laverne Cox (who plays transgender inmate Sophia Burset on OITNB) receiving the Stephen F. Kolzak Award at the GLAAD awards in 2014.
Yesterday’s ceremony represents a stark change from the place Morelli once found herself in. She confesses that at her lowest moments she was suicidal: “(I) Wanted to die. If being gay meant losing the person I loved most in the world, if it meant coming out to my parents and tearing open the most vulnerable, soft parts of myself and showing them to everyone I knew, I would rather be dead.”
Since coming to terms with being gay and divorcing her husband, Morelli tells the Daily Beast, she’s living “openly and honestly in front of people — I think that in and of itself can be radical — and to not hide, and to not be afraid.”
Her sense of humor likewise has rebounded since coming out. In one tweet she writes “Oh, great. You announce you’re a lesbian and automatically get added to this mailing list.” alongside a photo of an L.L. Bean catalog:
Oh, great. You announce you're a lesbian and automatically get added to this mailing list. pic.twitter.com/EdZkD0K0ua
— Lauren Morelli (@lomorelli) September 3, 2014
There were more tears than laughter however when Morelli finally popped the question. In an interview with Out Magazine, the two recall that fateful day in October: “I knew we were gonna be apart for a while — I was in New York shooting for Orange, and she was in Toronto for her new job on The Handmaid’s Tale — so we’d planned this trip to Palm Springs as a light at the end of the tunnel. I realized I could propose right before and then we’d have the weekend there to celebrate. I found a ring, and they shipped it to me, and it was as if someone had handed me a ball of fire and said, “Here, tend to this.” I was so nervous and terrified she knew it was coming, but she was so shocked that I couldn’t get her to stop crying. She was hyperventilating. I thought, Oh, this is not good. This has gone too far. She was very clear she’d wait for me to be ready, so to give her something I knew she wanted so much was incredible. It was the most magical day of my life.”
Wiley’s post to Instagram wearing her engagement ring captures the essence of that moment:
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