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Heather and
Caroline: Tying the Knot, Choosing the Bling

Heather and
Caroline: Tying the Knot, Choosing the Bling

Matarazzo_murphy01

At a same-sex wedding expo, Heather Matarazzo and Caroline Murphy tell how their romance got started, why tuxes on women are sexy, and why both partners should get to propose.

They're adorable. There's really no other way to say it. Heather Matarazzo and Caroline Murphy, who recently announced their engagement, were here to do the ribbon-cutting at Same-Sex in the City: The Wedding Show, a wedding expo for the gays that premiered on August 17 in West Hollywood, then makes its way to the Parker Hotel in Palm Springs September 7. Posing for photographers, petite Heather nestled against tall Caroline like a contented cat.

The Palm Springs encore boasts special room rates and other perks to lure Angelenos to the desert. A joint venture of fund-raising and special events company GBK Productions and event design firm Rrivre Works, this event brings together vendors who support us and want our business. Future brides and grooms can shop for rings, cake, clothing, music, and more, with a portion of the proceeds donated to the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center.

The WeHo event was in full swing by the time I caught up with Matarazzo and Murphy for an Advocate.com interview. They were happily sampling wedding cake against a perfect gay soundscape: On one side an all-women string quartet played "Anything Goes"; on the other a DJ-for-hire rocked a house beat that shook the Armani tuxes on their mannequins.

In a slightly quieter corner, Heather and Caroline were more than eager to share in their path to the altar, beginning with a little walk down memory lane of the night they first met -- on New Years Eve, 2006.

"I went outside to smoke a cigarette, and she came out, and it was like this very across-the-room, time stopped -- "

"It was soul-to-soul recognition," Matarazzo added. "I don't think I'll ever be able to explain it, but it's fun to try. It was like my soul knew before my thinking self realized what was going on."

Murphy resumed, "And I was looking at [Matarazzo's recurring character] Stacy Merkin from The L Word. And I was like really upset at some of the choices that that character had made, in terms of upsetting the veterinarian woman. So I was thinking, Damn you, Stacy Merkin! And Heather came up to me and said, 'Do I know you from somewhere?' And I said [gruffly], 'Possible. Not likely.' And I walked off! And I took a few steps away and went, 'What did I just do?'"

Both women erupted in laughter.

"Then later, I was coming back from the bathroom with a couple of drinks in my hands, and I got a call on my cell phone, and I didn't know what to do, and I was walking by her in this tight space, and she just took the drinks as though we'd been married for 50 years," Murphy continued. "And I handed them off as though we'd been married 50 years. And I was holding the phone and looking down at my wife. I called my friends after the party and said. 'I think I just met the woman I'm going to marry.'"

Marriage was already legal in Massachusetts -- if you lived in Massachusetts.

Murphy said she never gave the obstacles a thought.

"All of a sudden my faith in the law righting itself to give us the rights that are already in the Constitution -- it was a done deal," she says. "It wasn't like, 'This is my wife, how's that gonna work?' It was like, 'Oh, that's my wife -- oh, yeah, the law will change.'"

Each wanted to propose and be proposed to. Murphy got there first -- Christmas Day in front of the tree.

"I was shocked," said Matarazzo. "I would playfully say, 'When are we getting married? Where are you gonna ask me?' but I still thought it was down the road. I didn't expect that I would be so overwhelmed."

"There were tears," Murphy said.

But if she expected a quick counterproposal, she was out of luck.

"I waited...and waited...and waited!" Murphy griped.

"But I'll tell you the reason," Matarazzo broke in. "I wanted to find the perfect ring. I didn't want to go off and buy some random ring just to do it."

For weeks she read books and explored the symbolism of various stones.

"I found a designer, picked out the stone myself, and had it made," she said. "And then the day that I picked it up, I had this big elaborate plan of either going to the Cloisters or renting out the penthouse of the Soho Grand and having it magical and stunning and gorgeous. And I got the ring in my pocket and it's burning in my pocket, and I'm like, 'I can wait, because I wanted to propose on our anniversary.' I'm calling everyone I know, going, 'I can wait, I can do it!' Right?"

Then they went to see the Broadway musical Passing Strange.

"The second act talked about how life was so incredibly short. And in my very dramatic, creative mind, I was thinking I could get hit by a bus tomorrow with the ring in my pocket and never have gotten to do it. So that night we got home and she's playing the guitar, and the next thing I knew I was down on my knee, asking."

"She said, 'Caroline, will you please marry me?' And I said [growling] 'Dya have a ring?' Cause it'd been months!" Murphy protested. "But then I saw it in the corner of my eye, and as soon as I understood what was happening, it was the all-time greatest split second of my life.

"'Cause when you're growing up, you imagine -- you imagine a guy and how he's going to propose, and you're a little bit having a hard time even pretending to feel excited, so I couldn't ever picture what this was going to be. It was amazing."

Planning to marry next year, the couple is enjoying all those luxe details on the way to "I do."

"You get to go through the process of sampling different cakes and little finger sandwiches," Matarazzo enthused.

"Fondue!" added Murphy.

"I forgot about the wedding bands, and that leads me to 'something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue,'" Matarazzo jumped in. "You give a gift to the person you're getting married to. All these things that I didn't know."

On the other hand, Matarazzo insisted, "The one thing that I don't want to do is turn it into something that either one of us are not. It's still our wedding."

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