KALAMAZOO, Mich. (CBSNews) - A couple from Kalamazoo, Michigan, made quite a political statement with the theme of their recent nuptials. Their wedding hashtag? #MAGAPatriotWedding.
Bride Audra Johnson wore a plain white wedding gown for the ceremony, but then changed into a dress that really turned heads for her wedding photos. It was decorated with sparkly red lettering down the front, spelling out President Trump's famous campaign slogan: Make America Great Again. The skirt of the fishtail dress simply said "TRUMP."
While Johnson wore the red and white, her bridesmaids wore the blue. The bride told CBS News the Fourth of July wedding was originally just going to be patriotic-themed, until she reached out to dress designer Andre Soriano.
Soriano, a staunch Trump supporter, often sports a MAGA hat and creates red-white-and-blue garments, including "Make American Great Again" and "Trump 2020" dresses. Two artists wore Soriano's creations to this year's Grammy Awards — and then Johnson decided to wear one for her wedding.
Johnson and her friends traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet with Soriano about the dress design. "It took four days of him doing measurements and putting the dress together," Johnson told CBS News. "But it was amazing. Him and his husband are fabulous."
Other wedding guests also wore patriotic gear. The groom, Jeff Johnson, is a Marine veteran who donned his dress uniform while holding a gun in some photos. In fact, several guests at the wedding posed with guns, including the bride herself. However, none of the guns were actually shot, Johnson said.
Being a patriotic wedding, we really did encourage people to do whatever they felt comfortable with, if they wanted to open-carry, if they wanted to conceal-carry," Johnson said.
Despite the "MAGA Patriot" theme, the wedding was inclusive, Johnson said. Her maid of honor was even a Democrat. "She said, 'You know I love you, but I don't feel comfortable wearing a MAGA hat,'" Johnson explained. "I said, 'That's fine, we can find you a plain red one to wear.' We were able to compromise on that. We can believe differently but still very much love each other."
Needless to say, photos of the MAGA wedding turned heads when the couple and other guests posted pictures on social media.
"It's been absolutely crazy," Johnson said. "Amazing patriots said they love the dress and support us. But then there's the other side, where we've gotten threats, and there's been really nasty comments."
"A lot of the comments are 'It's a racist wedding.' I'm the granddaughter of a Filipino immigrant, my husband's black," Johnson said. "I think what I want people to take from this is there's a stereotype of Trump supporters flying around out there and maybe some of them are like that, but most of us aren't like that."
First published on July 11, 2019 / 3:15 PM
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