"We snuck and did it, you know," Lena Waithe said of her spontaneous, quiet wedding to fiancée Alana Mayo

By Benjamin VanHoose
November 15, 2019 12:05 PM

News flash: Lena Waithe is now a married woman!

The Emmy-winning writer and actress, 35, revealed she recently tied the knot with her longtime girlfriend Alana Mayo, 34, in a meaningful, under-the-radar San Francisco ceremony.

Waithe gushed about her “beautiful” new wife while stopping by The Ellen DeGeneres Show, telling guest host (and PEOPLE’s newly declared Sexiest Man Alive) John Legend that she was “trying to join the club.”

“We snuck and did it, you know. We didn’t really make any announcements or a big … you know,” the Queen & Slim writer said.

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Lena Waithe and Alana Mayo
Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

The couple had the wedding at San Francisco City Hall, a location that serves as hallowed grounds for the LGBTQ ceremony.

“We went to the courthouse and got married right in front of Harvey Milk’s bust,” she explained. “It was her idea — like all good things are — and she was just driving and she saw the courthouse and she said, ‘We should get married there,’ and I said, ‘Cool, I’m down.’ “

The tribute to Milk — an activist and one of the first openly gay elected officials in California before his assassination in 1978 — was unveiled in 2008. It’s a sculpture of his smiling face, placed in the city hall’s ceremonial rotunda, a popular spot for nuptials.

With the location’s important connections to the fight for LGBTQ rights, Waithe said the ceremony was special in more ways than one.

“It was a humbling day, you know, to marry someone so amazing, but also to really appreciate all the work that so many people have put in for us to be able to do that,” she said, attesting that weddings are moments that should be possible for all types of people. “Everybody should be able to do that.”

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Waithe said she proposed to Mayo on Thanksgiving 2017 while in Tokyo. The Emmy winner, who became the first black woman to win an Emmy for comedy writing in 2018 for Netflix’s Master of None, in which she also costars, told PEOPLE last year that however her wedding would turn out, it was sure to be decidedly simple and low-key.

“It’s going to be super small, crazy small,” she said at the time. “It’s almost like an excuse to have fun with our friends.”

She added: “We’re anti-stress … we’re trying to make it not a stressful situation, that’s our goal.”

In July 2018, Waithe opened up about how Mayo keeps her “grounded” amid her successful Hollywood career and hectic schedule.

“She definitely helps to keep me grounded,” Waithe told The Dave Chang Show at the time. “When I get home from winning an Emmy, she’s like, ‘Don’t forget to take out the recycling.’ It’s those things that I think are really helpful. She’s so laid back about it all.”

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