Jeffrey & Justin

A Magical Lakeside Wedding Overlooking Lake Como in Varenna, Italy

Love happens in unexpected places. When Justin Clarke (Jay) and Jeffrey Leaf (JJ) crossed paths one fateful day, their lives changed forever.

In 2015, Jay, a 31-year-old head of IT, and JJ, 22, a writer and entrepreneur, ventured to the same pet store in Dallas, TX by chance one memorable day. According to Jay, “we caught each other’s eyes and felt a connection.” But luck wasn’t on their side that day. 

According to Jay, “we caught each other’s eyes and felt a connection.” But luck wasn’t on their side that day.

Although both lived in Texas at the time, JJ was about to move to LA. This did not deter the two from striking up a friendship. Both decided to keep in touch by writing to each other. They remained in continual contact despite the miles in between. Surprisingly, the two became really good friends.

But fate had awesome plans in store for the future couple. Jay got a job in LA and moved to California. This drew the pair closer together.

They remained in close communication for a couple of years. However, love had its way in the summer of 2017. In July of that year, Jay asked JJ to be his. The long-distance friends transitioned to an alluring couple, and the pair began dating.

Jeffrey & Justin

JJ and Jay continued to get to know each other, and each other’s close friends and family. As they learned more about each other every day, they built a solid foundation rooted in friendship and love. They both loved traveling, road trips, and hiking. Frequently, they found themselves visiting  new countries to help friends celebrate the unions. If you name it, they’ve probably been there. So, it was only natural that their proposal would take place on one of their spectacular international excursions.

The location was Paris. The venue was one of Paris’s many gorgeous bridges. The backdrop was the beautiful Eiffel Tower standing gloriously in the distance; brought to life late evening, ablaze in lights. In 2018, one enchanting December evening, Jay proposed to JJ in this magical setting. The couple documented their journey with an alternately fun, quirky, and intimate engagement video and photoshoot by Joey Reger.

Jay and JJ tied the knot in September 2019. In keeping with their love of travel, the couple decided on a destination wedding. They chose the intimate and picturesque Lake Como in Lombardi, Italy, for their vows. JJ, who is Italian, had been to Lake Como three years prior and loved it.

The wedding venue was set on a terrace at Hotel Villa Cipressi, overlooking the picturesque Lake Como. The décor was absolutely stunning and certainly befitting of the men who loved to explore their creative sides. The wedding colors were a gorgeous black and white, with Jay’s party attired in black and JJ’s in white. Twenty of their closest family and friends joined them at Varenna for the intimate ceremony.

Their union was a magical day with the romantic and scenic Italian backdrop adding to the beauty of the moment. Jay’s mom walked him to the altar, and JJ’s mom officiated their nuptials. In his vows, JJ stated that “as an immigrant and a traveler, it’s been difficult to gain a sense of home. Not anymore. My darling Jay, home is in your arms.”

Their wedding shoot included traversing Lake Como by boat with the aesthetically beautiful Lombardy region in the background. Can you say sailing off into the sunset and lovingly into the next chapter of their lives? It was a fitting start to a wonderful union for a couple whose love has taken them the world over.

The photos showed just how much fun the couple had at their reception and the love they have for each other. When the pair returned to the US, they surprised their loved ones in LA with a fun and festive reception on the West Coast. At the event, they showed their dazzling wedding video narrated by their moms.

We are so happy this stunning couple recently celebrated their 1st wedding anniversary together. We want to wish Jeffery Leaf Clark and Justin Leaf Clark a happy union and anniversary from Black Gay Weddings.

Wedding Highlight Video

A Special Thanks To:

Photography: REGER & Co.
Planning: Design 24 Carrots Catering 7 Events
Flowers: Crimson & Clover Florals / Chiara Sperti Florals
Venue: Hotel Villa Cipressi
Suit Designer: Suit Supply
Grooms Attire:  Paul Smith
Cake: Sweet & Saucy Shop
Rentals: Foundation Vintage Rentals
Jeweler:  Chase Gregory
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