Jeff and Dimitrius Mitchell had an intimate Tiffany-style wedding among 50 of their closest family members and friends at the Roostertail in Detroit on Aug. 13. Photo

Love is Patient, Love is Kind: Local Couple Details Path to Altar

BY KATE OPALEWSKI

Love is truly patient for Jeff and Dimitrius Mitchell. The Hamtramck couple created the perfect moment to say 'I do' simply by taking their time.

"We met the way a lot of people seem to be meeting lately: online," said Jeff. "We talked on the phone for about four to five weeks. You could tell there was a connection. There were so many things we shared in common."

When they were ready to meet in person, Jeff invited Dimitrius over to his house for a homemade spaghetti dinner.

The soon-to-be couple watched movies and drank wine. Jeff notes that he tried to get Dimitrius caught up on some of the classic films he's missed. But Dimitrius was born on Halloween and naturally loves horror.

They started dating in September 2012 and eventually settled in together at Jeff's place with his dog, Boomer. Later, their other dog Buttons moved in and became a part of the family.

"There are some very legitimate reasons to live together before getting married," said Dimitrius. "To see if you can actually live together. Everyone has their own thing -- the thing that drives you crazy about the person. But it's about accepting someone's flaws."

Dimitrius admits his feelings developed much more quickly than Jeff's did. In fact, he proposed to Jeff with Tiffany & Co. engagement rings in April 2013, but was turned down - though gently. Jeff said he had every intention of marrying Dimitrius. He just needed more time.

"I wasn't happy with the response, but he knew what he wanted and I felt his pain when he discussed previous relationships. I didn't want to throw all of that away just because he said no," said Dimitrius.

Previous long-term relationships left Jeff feeling "cautious and afraid that things might not work out," he said. "It was so sweet though."

Dimitrius persevered in the face of delay and finally got what he wanted in June 2014 when Jeff surprised him and proposed. They planned a date night at Coach Insignia in downtown Detroit where a special card was delivered to their table. It read "Will you?" Inside were the same Tiffany rings that Dimitrius purchased for his earlier proposal.

"I kind of put them aside until the time was right," said Jeff, who engraved them with their names and an infinity symbol.

"I got a blue lacquered rose because he loves blue and he loves roses. He'll tell you that I'm not big on cut flowers because they die, and I wanted to get something that would last," said Jeff.

"I didn't expect it at all. I just thought it was dinner," said Dimitrius, adding, "They say things come in time. If you force things, it doesn't happen."

Considering Dimitrius had already planned the wedding of his dreams when he first proposed, Jeff had no problem giving him complete control.

"He had a vision. I wasn't one of those people who had a vision of what their wedding was going to be like. I wanted him to have, as much as the budget would allow, everything he wanted," said Jeff.

That included an intimate Tiffany-style wedding this year at the Roostertail in Detroit on Aug. 13.

But not before a little snafu. Their officiant Mary-Elizabeth Murray contacted Jeff two days before the wedding to tell him he was marked as a female on their marriage certificate.

The way the couple said they understood the problem is that the system used by the Wayne County Clerk's office for a marriage license application automatically defaults to female if a male is selected as the first person on the application in the computer.

"She said, 'This is going to be on your certificate for the rest of your life. Are you okay with that?'" said Jeff.

So he high-tailed it down to the clerk's office and was told, "Well, you can redo the whole thing, but it will take time ... Just tell her to white it out and fix it."

That's what Murray did so Jeff and Dimitirus could get married as planned.

"It seemed when we went there like it was the most natural thing. They were friendly and cool, but made a bad mistake I never would have thought to look for. It was stressful and could have held everything back," said Jeff.

Once that was resolved, the couple was able to relax and spend time with their supportive families who traveled into town from Florida, Minnesota and Texas for the big day.

"We're very lucky," said Dimitrius. The couple invited everyone over to their home the day before the wedding to meet and celebrate during a pig roast.

They were married among 50 of their closest family members and friends including their best men, Ty Kusku and Philipp Schurig.

Dimitrius asked his loved ones to share their key to happiness at the reception.

"I wanted all the married people to suggest their advice -- like don't go to bed mad, but the truth is that sometimes you do. But after that, the next day you regain your thoughts and you talk it over. It's communication," he said.

Their cake, in the shape of a Tiffany box and Tiffany blue cupcakes, were made at Christine's Cakes and Pastries in Utica. Fisher's Flower Shop in Dearborn created their floral arrangements. Julie Haven and her trio, Red, White and Crazy, performed some of the couple's favorite songs, such as "At Last" by Etta James and "A Thousand Years" by Christina Perri.

"Our wedding coordinator there gave us advice on a photographer," said Jeff, who was nervous about finding LGBT-friendly vendors at first.

"But it worked out," he said about Everett Stewart in particular. "He never photographed a gay wedding, but he was a super open guy, so cool, even encouraging us to kiss during the shoot."

Not long after they were married, the newlyweds spent 10 days on an adventure honeymoon in Kauai where they canoed, hiked, snorkeled and zip-lined.

"It was beautiful," said Dimitrius.

But they returned home to find out their marriage license was somehow lost, and unfortunately, the couple had to go through the application process a second time with no empathy from county employees.

Although they received their marriage certificate more than a month after their wedding, it's official. Jeff and Dimitrius said they enjoy being hitched, but they noticed that one of the things people ask is if they feel differently.

"No, we don't feel any differently," said Jeff. "Yeah, we've got a ring on, but it doesn't change at all the commitment," which only gets deeper with time.

For LGBT-friendly wedding vendors, visit BTL's Ultimate LGBT Wedding & Anniversary Expo in March and visit the website at http://btlweddingexpo.com/.
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