On Saturday, September 26, Anita Lesko and Abraham Nielsen took another step in what they refer to as their “epic romance” – they became husband and wife.
And their wedding was as epic as their love – the couple, both on the autism spectrum, celebrated with a wedding party (ring bearer, flower girls, harpist, D.J., groomsmen, usher and more) who all identify as autistic.
“Our wedding was beyond our imagination! Spectacular, enchanting, surreal, magical,” Lesko tells PEOPLE.
“I feel honored to be Anita’s husband,” Nielson adds. “When I saw Anita walking down the aisle, I felt extremely overwhelmed and my heart sang. I felt like the luckiest man on the face of the earth that I have the most beautiful wife in the world, both inside and outside.”
Lesko and Nielson married at San Diego’s Love & Autism: A Conference with a Heart with the goal of proving that every individual, even those diagnosed as autistic, deserves to be loved – and to participate in the love of others.
“People on the spectrum tend to not get invited to parties or weddings or anything,” Lesko told PEOPLE in September. “I figured our wedding could give folks on the spectrum an opportunity to get to attend a wedding and be part of something like that.”
Lisa Lundhagan, the mother of two children on the autism spectrum who participated in the wedding (Brenna, the cake baker, and Tyler, the usher), was thrilled that her children got to be included in a celebration so special.
“Regardless of why they were chosen to participate, the reality is, they were both sought out and included. That’s something that we as parents want for our children, especially parents with children with special needs,” Lundhagen tells PEOPLE.
“Not only did they feel a part of an historic event, they enjoyed being involved in a very social celebration,” the proud mom adds.
Lesko, who predicted she would cry hysterically at the wedding (she did), was overcome with emotion when her big moment finally arrived – walking down the aisle towards Nielson.
“As I started to walk down the aisle, I was about one third along when I became totally overwhelmed at everything around me. Looking ahead at Abraham standing on the stage looking so elegantly handsome, the aisle covered with beautiful white rose petals, the fragrance of the gorgeous bridal bouquet in my hands, seeing hundreds of people standing on both sides of the aisle, the beautiful harp music, the feeling of softness as I walked along on the petals I felt so overwhelmed that I suddenly felt it to be a surreal experience, almost frozen in time.
“All of my senses were filled to maximum capacity of extreme beauty. It is common to all on the autism spectrum to have sensory issues, typically described as a negative thing. Here, it was all positive, totally overwhelming, consuming, intoxicating,” she says. “Once I was standing before my beloved sweetheart, as we looked into each other’s eyes we both teared up.”
The happy couple cried through their romantic first dance, too.
Dr. Jenny Palmiotto, who organized the wedding, invited Lesko and Nielson to marry at the conference to show the world that people autism deserve love – and thier message rang loud and clear.
“For two individuals who have gone through their lives feeling alone, it is beautiful that they have finally found companionship and understanding,” Alex Plank, 29, told PEOPLE in September.
Plank, who was the groomsman and after-party DJ, adds: “It gives hope to those of us on the spectrum who wonder if we will ever find our other half.”