Rick and Graham in Denver

Rick and Graham in Denver

Graham and Rick met the good-old fashion way: on social media! Though they both swiped right, Graham’s finger “lingered a little longer” before swiping and, as Rick said, “it took me a while to convince Graham to go on our first date.”

That first date was at Denver’s Tony P’s pizzeria. “I ate a full dinner, while Graham drank and ate a breadstick!” Rick said. Graham explained, “I am not nervous on bad dates, but this was a good one and I didn’t want to mess it up.” Unsurprisingly, their conversation was all about politics given Rick is the Chairman of the Democratic Party in Colorado.

Like any smart single guy on a first date, Rick has planned an escape plan. He’d arranged for friends to be upstairs for the weekly trivia night and, should he need to cut the date short, he could. But, rather than cut it short, he fast-tracked the dating process and introduced Graham to his full circle of friends! “He fit right in and kept up with their rancid humor and strange wit,” said Rick.

“Meeting friends early really helped speed things along,” said Graham who, new to Colorado, hadn’t really established his life in Denver.

In keeping with the accelerated dating rituals, two days after their first date, Rick convinced Graham to join him for a weekend in Breckenridge with a few friends. Again, the couple had a great time, which led to nearly a year of seeing each other regularly and “gradually moving things in to Rick’s place,” until there was nothing left in Graham’s. On a flight back from Sicily, Rick asked Graham to move in, making their partnership official. In keeping with the escape plan, “we didn’t put his name on the mailbox until he had officially moved in.” Since they met, they’ve rarely spent more than a few nights apart.

Graham and Rick’s first conversation about engagement was earlier this year. “We both said we wanted to be engaged. Gay men have to be a little more planned out about getting married,” Graham said. But, the planning was put to one side until July 4th rolled around.

They were in Provincetown, or as they describe it, “our happy place.” For their last night, Graham and Rick had planned a BBQ with friends, many of whom were part of the fateful trivia night. Rick was busily and nervously manning the grill and preparing for their friends to arrive. Graham asked Rick to join him in the front yard, as there was something “[I] want to talk to you about.” Rick, incredulous at Graham’s timing, resisted staying focused on the grill. “Rick, go outside and sit down,” Graham said firmly.


As Rick sat in the red Adirondack chairs they’d spend many afternoons watching the world go by, Graham started by saying “I can’t imagine spending my life with anyone but you…” while Rick thought to himself “that’s great, but I’ve got corn burning on the grill,” not quite clocking what was happening. As Graham continued with his proposal and made his way to one knee, the flip switched for Rick and he focused. But, as Graham said, “really, you got teary-eyed”. 

It took Rick about 30 seconds to answer. “Even though he asked: will you marry me, I had to keep repeating the question in my head to make sure I was understanding what was going on!"

Rick advised: “when you’re asked, be prepared to answer right away!”

Graham had shipped the ring ahead of time knowing that, because of Rick’s “control freakery” he ran the risk of him finding it! And, funnily, Rick had also been looking at rings. “I hadn’t prepared myself to be the one to be asked!” With Election season right around the corner, Graham wanted to propose to let Rick know that “he will always have a teammate that he can rely on when things got stressful and throughout life.” 

Surprisingly, the couple went on to host their barbeque and it wasn’t until well after dinner that they announced their engagement. “People started arriving and I went into host mode,” said Rick. But, once they did, Graham and Rick were delighted to see their group get excited about how excited they were. 

“A key part of the story is how we told our parents,” they pointed out. Both are from Catholic and Baptist families and coming out set both of their relationships with their parents back a number of years.

“Telling them we were engaged was like coming out again,” said Rick. For Graham, “I wasn’t sure what I’d be walking into by telling my folks we were getting married.”

But, as Graham pointed out “mother’s always know!” With his parents, Graham called them and said “I have good news and I want you to be happy for me.” His mom declared how much she loves Rick and that she had a feeling the proposal was coming this weekend.

For Rick, Rick’s eager sister who let the news out of the bag! “My mother admitted to my sister how much she and my dad had grown and changed… and my parents both reaffirmed their love for me!” 

Rick, used to planning events, went right into planning mode for the wedding. And as Graham put it “I am the creative one and am more like 'look at the shiny thing,' whereas Rick is the one thinking about how things are actually going to work.” And, work is what the couple is now focused on: the work of the election.

They are planning on planning once Election Day is behind us and they have a chance to explore getting married either in the mountains of Colorado or San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. While there is still a lot for them to think about their wedding, we are pretty sure of one thing: they no longer need an escape plan!