Renee Montgomery Is Married! Atlanta Dream Co-Owner and Wife Sirena Grace Detail 'Special' Wedding

Atlanta Dream co-owner (and former WNBA player) Renee Montgomery and wife Sirena Grace tell PEOPLE about their at-home wedding in April 2020 and why they're announcing the happy news now, over a year later

Renee Montgomery and Sirena Grace wedding
Photo: Bee Trofort-Wilson

Renee Montgomery and Sirena Grace are married!

Over a year after they wed in April 2020, the couple is opening up about their big day as well as sharing their love story with PEOPLE — which, of course, involves basketball.

The Atlanta Dream co-owner and vice president retired from her sport in June 2020 in order to focus on social justice activism. During her career, Montgomery won two WNBA championships with the Minnesota Lynx. But it was courtside at an Atlanta Hawks game in March 2019 when she met her now-wife. "It's the only game I went to that whole entire season," she says. "And here comes a whole goddess."

That night, Grace was invited by the Hawks to sing the national anthem. "This is the crazy part. I actually didn't get to see her sing. I came a little bit late to the game, so I just saw her around the way," Montgomery, 34, recalls.

Grace, who was unfamiliar with Montgomery's WNBA career at the time, says one of their early conversations took her by surprise after the athlete had introduced her to the Dream organization for a possible performance.

"She DM'd me and said, 'Okay, now that I connected you with the Dream people, you don't ever have to talk to me again. But I just want you to know, I like you, and I want to take you out on a date.' And I said, 'Okay. She's transparent, and she's real,' " Grace shares, before Montgomery interjects with a laugh to say: "I think it was cooler than that. I would like to go on the record and say that it sounded a lot cooler than that."

The pair would go on their first date two weeks later. Their second date, to a Maxwell concert, was when Montgomery knew Grace was the one for her. "In her defense, she had never been with a woman before so that's a whole new world that she was entering," Montgomery explains.

"I never felt attracted to a woman before so I knew that the feelings of attraction that I was feeling for her were very real," says Grace, who is mom to a teenage son, Angel, whose father died when he was 1 year old.

"It just happened very quickly from there," Grace says of their romance, which they made official on April 20, 2019, when Montgomery asked her to be her girlfriend.

Renee Montgomery and Sirena Grace wedding
Courtesy Renee Montgomery and Sirena Grace

Months later, Montgomery surprised Grace with a proposal on Nov. 21, 2019, during a trip to France with their friends. "They told me it was a friend's birthday. They were telling me, 'Get dressed, we're going to go downstairs and cut the birthday cake,' " Grace recalls. "When I went down the stairs, it was all candles, all rose petals. She had letters saying, 'Marry Me,' all over. It was very beautiful."

Montgomery adds, "I was waiting for her on one knee, playing 'Marry Me' by Train. I already told her when we first started dating, if you hear this song playing anywhere that I'm in the vicinity, you better be ready because I'm probably going to be proposing."

The couple says their relationship progressed "very fast" but both agree they knew they were meant to be. "She asked me officially to be her girlfriend on April 20. Then a year later from the date, we got married on April 20, 2020. I knew that we were going to get married. I don't know how I knew, but I just knew this is the beginning of the rest of my life. I just knew that it was going to be a serious relationship from then on," Grace says.

2020 was an unexpectedly hard year for everyone, especially with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic coupled with heightened attention on ongoing racial injustice issues in the U.S. that summer. For Montgomery and Grace, having the wedding ceremony of their dreams was no longer realistic as plans were canceled.

"We literally just woke up that morning and said, 'Oh, it's April 20. We're not going to get married.' And then we're like, 'Well, do you still want to do it? We could probably do it. Let's just try.' So it just happened like that, there wasn't a lot of planning," Grace says. "Up until the day we got married, we didn't even have a marriage license. We got our marriage license that same exact day, it was very crazy."

Montgomery recalls, "We didn't actually get to plan a lot beforehand, which is why some family members weren't able to make it because of how quickly we did it. We just wanted to be married."

Renee Montgomery and Sirena Grace wedding
Courtesy Renee Montgomery and Sirena Grace

For the "DIY wedding," they repurposed items from their engagement night and made a walkway in their hallway with LED lights for a makeshift aisle. "My cousin married us through Zoom. She became ordained to marry us," shares Grace, who had already bought her wedding dress in November 2019 after being proposed to. Meanwhile, Montgomery pulled out a red suit from her closet.

"Even though it was a Zoom wedding, and people weren't actually in person, it didn't feel any different. I was still crying when I saw her walking down our hallway," Montgomery says, noting that all who took part virtually were also in tears. "When I saw her walking, it still hit me the same that I think it would've hit me if I was standing on an altar. I just didn't know if it was going to feel real or if it was going to feel like it should feel."

"Everyone talks about their wedding day, everybody talks about seeing their bride, and everybody talks about that feeling. I was just like, 'We're in our house. How much of that feeling are we going to get? Is it going to feel not as special?' What stood out to me is that I really felt like I was at a wedding," Montgomery adds.

Renee Montgomery and Sirena Grace wedding
Courtesy Renee Montgomery and Sirena Grace

And Grace agrees: "I think it was even more special. We didn't have to even really think about the planning and all that turmoil that people experience before their wedding."

Son Angel served as the ring bearer, "flower guy," best man and man of honor. "He was literally everything for the wedding, and he was so excited for all of his roles," Montgomery proudly remembers. "He was so in on trying to make it special. I also think he was really excited because even when I first met him, he just gravitated towards me."

Echoing her bride's thoughts, Grace praises Montgomery's relationship with her son. "He was really happy to have a family, and he loves Renee. He obviously looks up to Renee tremendously, he always looked up to her and admired her very much," the mom of one shares.

"When I told him about Renee and I, at first, I didn't know how he was going to take it. But he took it way more mature than I even thought. He was like, 'Mom, I'm very open-minded.' And I was like, 'Oh my God. Who are you?' He's always been very accepting and very loving towards our relationship," Grace says.

Renee Montgomery and Sirena Grace wedding
Courtesy Renee Montgomery and Sirena Grace

There are still some regrets about the big day, though.

"This was the beginning of the pandemic. Now, I can operate Zoom and I know how to record it. I know how to do everything, but it was a disaster. We don't have good footage, and we're so sad!" Montgomery admits.

Recently, the couple wore their wedding outfits again for an official photoshoot at their Atlanta home.

Looking back at their wedding day and the world events that were happening at the time, they say waiting to share the news of their nuptials was the right thing to do. Quoting Rihanna's 2011 hit "We Found Love," Montgomery says, "We found love in a hopeless place. It really felt like that a little bit because there was so much sadness and confusion going on."

Renee Montgomery and Sirena Grace wedding
Bee Trofort-Wilson

Grace also says they were "just trying to find a right time" to share their wedding news with their fans. "Basically, we didn't want to keep a secret any longer from Renee's fans and our fan base, just because we do feel like we owe them that. They deserve to see a happy couple," she notes. "It wasn't a plan to keep a secret. It was just a lot going on that we didn't feel, with the times, that we couldn't find a proper time to announce."

The entire experience, Grace says, has taught the couple that it's okay if "things don't go according to plan."

"Everything happens for a reason, that's really what we live by."

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