See All the Photos from Fortune Feimster's Malibu Beach Wedding
"We were going to get married no matter what, but we just were like, 'Why wait?'" says the Mindy Project alum
The Happy Couple
Comedian Fortune Feimster, 40, and partner Jacquelyn Smith, 40, tied the knot on Oct. 23 in Malibu, California. The couple rented a house and tied the knot on the backyard patio overlooking the ocean.
Feimster, who wore a blue suit, and Smith, who wore a "beachy" white dress, exchanged vows in front of a small group of friends, all making sure to follow strict COVID-19 safety precautions.
"I was excited," Feimster tells PEOPLE. "We've been together for five-and-a-half years. If you don't know who you're marrying after five-and-a-half years, then you're in trouble. So I knew it felt good, it felt right."
Feimster proposed to Smith in January 2018 during a romantic trip to Big Sur. She says their plan was "always to get married this summer," but the pandemic restricted travel for their guests, as Feimster's family lives in North Carolina and Smith's family is from Michigan.
"It was something small. We only had a couple of good friends there. We all had COVID tests. We purposefully kept it small for the reasons of it being during a pandemic," Feimster says. "We had started [planning] in early March because it was never going to be a traditional wedding, per se. It was going to be more of a celebration, but we were starting to look at venues and stuff, and then COVID hit. So then we were like, 'I guess that big thing is not happening.'"
The comedian adds, "We just asked a couple of our close friends we knew had been taking the quarantine and pandemic seriously. We only gave them a week's notice. We said, 'Would you guys be willing to take COVID tests and keep hunkering down leading up to the day?' And they were like, 'Absolutely.' So yeah, so we felt good about that. We felt like everybody was being super responsible."
The U.S. Supreme Court discussions on same-sex marriage played a major role in Feimster and Smith wanting to get married.
With the Senate's recent confirmation of President Donald Trump's nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, the court now has a 6-3 conservative majority.
"I'm not going to lie, there were some nerves about the Supreme Court," Feimster says. "After Ruth Bader Ginsburg died, all these people started talking about gay marriage again. On the first day of their session, two of the justices brought up gay marriage. I think I had posted something on Instagram, something like, 'Oh man, this is nerve-racking as a gay person.' Especially because we were planning to get married. All these people were like, 'Go get married now.'"
"Who knows what will happen? Hopefully, marriage equality is here to stay. But we wanted to be more proactive and get married while we know we can," she explains. "It definitely got the ball rolling for us a lot faster. I mean, we were going to get married no matter what, but we just were like, 'Why wait?'"
Feimster and Smith's Pomeranian rescue, Biggie, was the adorable ring bearer at the wedding.
The tiny pooch, who Smith says is "a little joy," was dressed to the nines in a pinstripe tuxedo and tie, to which the wedding bands were fastened.
"They put [Biggie] down to come walk towards us and he gets right towards the edge and he does a big shake," Feimster recalls with a laugh. "And we were like, 'Please still have our rings.' We just envisioned our rings flying off of his tuxedo and into the ocean, but luckily they stayed."
Whirlwind Wedding Plans
The Fortune Feimster: Sweet & Salty star tells PEOPLE they only started to plan their Malibu wedding "three weeks ago."
"We just decided [to do the wedding] because we don't know when [the pandemic] is going to be over and it's just too hard to plan anything. We just did something quick and small with our friends," Smith says.
"We had a really great [event planning] company, Missy Fine Inc. She really put all this beautiful stuff together last-minute," Feimster adds. "She [was] amazing. I mean, when Jax and I were planning it, we were like, 'I guess we'll, I don't know, get some roses in a vase and we'll ask our friends to take pictures on their iPhones.' But then we were like, 'No, let's make it special.'"
As Feimster and Smith's families couldn't fly in from out of town, the comedian said they live-streamed the wedding over Zoom on a computer that was set up on a chair in the middle of the patio.
"That one we didn't even plan," Feimster says. "So literally like, five minutes before the ceremony, I'm emailing Zoom links to people. But that ended up being really great because her family was there and my family was there. It was most important for our parents to see it."
The couple is planning to have a large reception with their family and friends when it is safer to do so.
Finding a Silver Lining
After all that has occurred in 2020, the couple says the silver lining is being able to celebrate their love.
"Ourselves and our friends have been taking everything very seriously, like a lot of people have, and we haven't seen many people at all and kept away from going in public too much. So to just get to have a day where you got to be with your friends, everybody just kept saying, 'Oh my gosh, to be making happy memories again feels so nice,'" Feimster says.
"I think it ended up being even more special for us and for our friends, because 2020 has been so overshadowed by so much loss for so many people, and hardships and anxiety. It was just a nice, special, happy day, where for one day you didn't think about all the stuff that's been going on."
The standup comedian adds, "We're really thrilled and just so happy that we could do this. I do think it's an important thing for people to know that this is something that means a lot to us. We love each other and we wanted to be able to make this kind of commitment to each other like our friends have been able to make and our family. And to have so much support from people has meant a lot. We're just really happy that we got to do this."
And They're Off!
The newlyweds are jetting off to the Maldives in a couple of weeks for their honeymoon.
"This really great travel agency out of Chicago where Jax lived, it's called 6 Degrees, they planned this really great trip where we don't have to think about a thing," Feimster tells PEOPLE. "They're just planning down from every second, so we're excited."
While the comedian says they're looking forward to their vacation, Feimster admits it's "still a little nerve-racking to be flying right now."
"But we'll have masks and there's a lot of tests going there, tests landing there," she says. "We're doing it as safe as possible."
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