Comedian Fortune Feimster Weds Jacquelyn Smith: 'Hopefully Marriage Equality Is Here to Stay'
"We were going to get married no matter what, but we just were like, 'Why wait?' " Fortune Feimster tells PEOPLE
Nothing to joke about here — comedian Fortune Feimster is a married woman!
The Mindy Project alum, 40, and partner Jacquelyn Smith, 40, tied the knot on Friday in Malibu, California. The couple — who announced their engagement in January 2018 after two-and-a-half years of dating — rented a house and tied the knot on the backyard patio which looked out to the ocean.
Their Pomeranian rescue, Biggie, was the adorable ring bearer in the wedding, which was livestreamed over Zoom on a computer that was set up on a chair in the middle of the patio.
After their special day, Feimster, who dressed in a blue suit, and Smith, who wore a "beachy" white dress, spoke with PEOPLE to share all the details. "I was excited. 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 says of getting married.
The Fortune Feimster: Sweet & Salty star, who proposed to Smith in January 2018 during a romantic trip to Big Sur, California, explains that their plan was "always to get married this summer," but the coronavirus 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 to start to look 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."
And Smith says, "We just decided because we don't know when this is going to be over and it's just too hard to plan anything. We just did something quick and small with our friends."
As for the actual ceremony, they say the venue was chosen for its "indoor, outdoor space so people could feel more comfortable" as Feimster shares: "We decided to keep the number of people in the house even helping very minimal. We had a really great [event planning] company, Missy Fine Inc. She really last minute put all this beautiful stuff together."
The Sincerely Fortune podcast host also says the recent U.S. Supreme Court discussions on same-sex marriage played a major role in her wanting to get married.
If the Senate confirms President Donald Trump's nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, the court would have a 6-3 conservative majority. And earlier this month, Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Samuel Alito said the 2015 same-sex marriage ruling Obergefell v. Hodges continues to have "ruinous consequences" for religious liberty. Their statement worried many Americans about the right to same-sex marriage being overturned.
"I'm not going to lie, there were some nerves about the Supreme Court. 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,' " recalls Feimster, who met Smith at Pride in Chicago one day after the court declared same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states in June 2015.
"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?' We've been engaged for like two-and-a-half years. You just don't know what will happen when the tide shifts so significantly with the Supreme Court. You hope that they listen to the country. I mean, the majority of people support marriage equality. You want that to be the voice that guides them in that decision, but you just don't know."
Despite the changes in their wedding planning, Feimster says she's looking forward to their future as newlyweds, including their upcoming honeymoon in the Maldives.
"This whole year has been so unpredictable for everybody. I mean, my [Netflix] special came out in January, and I had six months of theaters sold out. We were ready to go. The first show was supposed to start March 15, and literally the night before we were supposed to get on the plane, they called and they're like, 'Not happening.' So our whole year was going to be touring, aside from when we were originally going to get married. We didn't think that we would even get to take any sort of trips. So this is one cool thing in 2020 is getting married and taking a honeymoon," she shares.
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 shares. "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 that, all the stuff that's been going on."
The standup concludes, "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."
Feimster and Smith are planning to have a big reception in a year with their family and friends when it is safer to do so.
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