To symbolize unity and strength, a lesbian couple took a creative approach to an old wedding tradition when they celebrated their marriage with a tandem deadlift. Lisa Yang’s and Wek Hernandez’s wedding ceremony proceeded with aows, rings and then a set of deadlifts in the middle of the ceremony. The lift was performed while in their wedding dresses, on a rug, front and center for their guests.

Holding the lift for a moment so the photographer, Eileen Meny could capture the shot, the couple then performed two additional repetitions for the set at 253lbs. The weight was selected as it is currently the lifting capacity of both Tang and Hernandez as individual weight lifters and represented the “Unity and Strength” of the couple.

The brides chose to reject traditional matrimonial things such as lighting candles, tree planting or sand pouring and instead opted for something more unique and important to them both.

“We thought about the usual candle lighting, tree planting, sand pouring, and none of those things represented Wek and I,” Yang tells Women’s Health. “We were joking about doing a tandem deadlift. At the time, it seemed ridiculous because we’re Olympic weightlifters, deadlift isn’t even our main sport. But a snatch or clean and jerk in dresses might be a bit dangerous, so we settled on three deadlifts.”

The unconventional approach was a perfect fit for the couple, who both are competitive Olympic Weightlifters. With fitness being such an important part of both their lives and relationship, it was only natural that they would recognize that during matrimony. As Hernandez explains,

“It was meant to not only be a symbol of unity but also a statement: ‘Individually, we are strong, capable women, but together we are stronger.'” ‘Til deadlift do us part, right? 

Weightlifting sessions have even been date nights for the couple who both find the sport and activity to be a very special part of their lives. While most of the crowd was not surprised by the moment,  the brides were elated.

“I think some were shocked?” Hernandez says. “Seeing our photos while lifting, one of our bridesmaids seemed repulsed?” She added, “I was just so happy and in the moment!” she continues. “I mean, we were deadlifting in Prospect Park in wedding gowns professing our love. It was awesome!”

Yang shared her excitement as well,

“People get really intimidated by barbells, but if they see tiny Asians in wedding dresses lifting weights, maybe they can start to believe that anything is possible.”

By Dirk Smith

Photo by Eileen Meny