As Told To Veronica R. Wells
"That Day Was A Complete Disaster" The Story Behind That Viral Wedding Photo
When India and her husband Devon Diggs exchanged vows in Miami, a photo from their wedding ceremony went viral. In this interview, India talks about how she and her husband met, their relationship and how the reality of her wedding day was less than picture perfect.
Where were you in your life when you met your husband?
Whew! I met him and we started off as friends. I was in a long-term relationship with someone else who was in the military. We had gone on a break because we were always away. I had been in Africa for a year. I wasn’t going back stateside. They were sending me to Japan. Even when I was in the states, I was stationed in Virginia and he always gone, out deployed on the ship. And I was young, 21, 22. And I thought ‘I feel like I’m too young to be sitting around waiting for a man.’ He was a great guy, seriously. But I was questioning whether or not he was still worth me waiting, whether or not I was completely happy with him.
I ended up meeting Devon in Japan and we were just cool. Then a year later, we linked up because he’s also from Indianapolis.
Yeah, I know. He’s fresh in the military but we’re the same age. I had been in it for a few years already. We started hanging out and I was seeing good traits in him. I don’t know how to explain it really...I knew I was happy with him. I wasn’t looking for a relationship, ever. He kind of just fell in my lap. I used to say, ‘I would never date you witcho selfish ass.’ He was selfish. He was never a gentleman even though he was my friend. I don’t know exactly what I was looking for. But I do know that I was looking for a friendship in whatever relationship I had. We definitely have that and that’s probably the best part, I feel, of our marriage.
So you broke up with the other guy..?
Oh God! That story is so bad! So we were on a break and meanwhile, I’m in Japan and I’m hanging out with my now-husband and the other guy--we said we were on a break. I went home on leave, I saw him, we hung out, and he gave me a ring. My husband was nothing special at the time. By the end of it, I was in a bad love triangle type of deal because it was like I’ve been with this other guy for three years. He’s still trying to make stuff work for the future but then when he said he got orders to go to Jacksonville, I was like, ‘No fucking way!’
We had agreed that if we got stationed in the same place, we were going to try to make things work. And then he said he gets orders to Jacksonville and I’m still in Japan. I didn’t want to go back stateside. I was enjoying overseas life. Even though I cared about him, I was not in love with him and I felt like it was unfair to even be with him when I could not reciprocate the love he was giving me. He was a really great guy. My mom loved him. And Carrington, [India’s sister] she loved him. She has pictures of him on her Instagram. She needs to take them down, right?
But dealing with him was so complicated. He and my husband are night and day. My husband is like this young man, that’s still growing so we’re literally growing together and I’m trying to build him up. Then the guy that I was with, was super mature, acted like an old man already. So it wasn’t fun. I was on top of my game with work, but that was it.
So who made the first move between you and your husband?
Laughs. My husband. So when you’re in Japan, because they have all these incidents with military messing up, we have to do what they call “Liberty Plans.” You have to fill out this plan, where you are telling everything that you want to do during the day. And I’m sitting there like, ‘I think this is dumb.’ I just came from this place where we didn’t have to do that. Devon had been there for a little bit already and he walked over there and said, ‘Man, this is what I put.’ And I was like, ‘Thanks.’ Because I wasn’t really speaking to people, I was keeping to myself.
Later on that same day, somebody was asking me where I was from and I said, ‘Indianapolis.’ And I saw his head swivel around so fast. So that started the friendship there. But there was still kind of like an ‘I like you factor.’ But we just got to Japan so nobody was trying to get locked down. That same night, we went out and sat on the barge, it’s like a housing ship and we talked for hours. He invited me to hang out on Saturday. And the rest is like history.
He was hooked after the first night, I’m not going to lie. I was putting magic on him. We were nothing but I was---I don’t know if you want to call it flirting, I guess. We’ve been joined at the hip, whether it be as friends, ever since. People kept telling us that we were going to get married. I was like, ‘Nah, I’m going to Europe soon.’ But that’s not what happened.
When did you start taking the relationship seriously?
So we had been kicking it. I guess everybody goes through this kicking it phase where it’s not a commitment to it. I’ve never done anything like that, that talking, friends with benefits type of deal. But we were still telling people that we were just friends because we were able to act as friends because I never wanted it to be awkward between us. And people were really believing we were just friends, some people. Some people were like ‘No, y’all chemistry’s too good. I don’t believe it.’
We had been hanging for a year and I think we went on deployment together and we both started getting into our feelings about stuff...yeah, we both started getting into our feelings.
What are you not saying?
I don’t know what I’m supposed to say or what I’m not supposed to say.
It’s something you want to say but you not sayin’...
You know the stuff that people go through when they’re not committed. So that stuff would happen and I wasn’t used to stuff like that.
What stuff are you talking about?
Like if another girl was trying to talk to him, or flirting with other people, any of that stuff. I felt like I was always emotionally attached to who I was with so I had to be in a relationship with them, before I gave them the booty. Of course, there are those few exceptions in the past. But for the most part, it’s always been somebody that I’ve been in a relationship with. I was just on standby. I’m just sitting here waiting for him to realize I’ve been holding him down, I’ve been this good girl for him. But if he didn’t realize it, I was just going to go about my business.
It was time for me to decide if I was going to stay in Japan for an extra year or if I was going to transfer. You have to put that request in, months before it’s your time to leave. And I told my friend, if he asked me to stay, that’s the only way I’ll stay.
The conversations started getting deeper between us and that’s when he asked me. He said he didn’t want me to leave. I was in the contemplation phase and I said, ‘I’m not going to stay here if we’re not going to be something. I’m not going to stay here to be your little piece of booty while you’re ‘out here’ because I’m the safe go-to.’ And he was like ‘I don’t know.’ He didn’t know what he wanted.
I was in the limbo stage and he had asked me to stay but he wasn’t claiming me on social media. And I don’t play that. I don’t need you to say I’m your girlfriend because we weren’t an item yet but there would be pictures of us together and he would feel like people were posting his business. [He didn’t want people posting pictures of him and India together online.]
It was his birthday and I had all this stuff planned for him, I went above and beyond for this nigga because I loved him. And I was just in tears. I was like ‘I don’t want to be with him. I deserve better.’ I went to him. He was downplaying [the picture situation]. And I went to him and I said, ‘So, it’s ok for us to be out here and you’re holding my face, holding my hand, cockblocking for me? So it’s either you got somebody at home back in the states--which is what military women go through-- or you’re embarrassed by me.’
I had never been treated like this, ok? The guys I had been with treated me like a queen. I told him, ‘I’m not about to settle for you sitting here, treating me like this.’ My feelings were hurt. It was a really deep conversation. But I guess him seeing my feelings hurt, he was like ‘Please, please give me another chance.’ And most men, when they ask you for another chance, ‘You be like bruh, no.’ They ask for another chance to still be on some dumb stuff. But he asked me for another chance and things have been literally just going up from there. That was risky.
When did you realize that you loved him and who said it first?
He asked me if I loved him. Before the picture incident happened. He asked me if I loved him. I was like, ‘Yeah.’ He didn’t say it back or anything. So, I’m literally making myself vulnerable. Again, this is not something that I just do. But I was like, ‘It’s fine. Whether he loves me or not, it’s not going to change the fact that I love him.’ And as long as I knew he wasn’t going to act differently after asking me that, I was ok.
He was never on game. Other than the incident with the pictures, he was never on game. I do believe it’s true that when a man wants you, he’s not going to put you through b.s. He might involuntarily make you feel some type of way like he did with those pictures. That’s going to happen in more ways than one. But if he’s purposely putting you through stuff, he doesn’t care about you. And I strongly, firmly believe that.
Exactly a week after the crying incident, he told me that he loved me.
I decided to stay and then we went off from there. We started dating, into dating, I got knocked up. We were talking about marriage before I got pregnant. He had been asking me about babies and marriage. Earlier he told me, ‘If we’re still together in another year, I would like for us to get married.’
And what was your reaction?
I was like ‘Umph.’ I was never big on the marriage thing. I’ve never been wrapped up in that. The boy before that gave me a ring and I just never--I’ve had commitment issues. My mom and my stepdad, the stuff that they went through and the stuff that they’re going through to this day, that stuff had me terrified of marriage. It’s been a lot.
I’ve never been broken up with, I’ve always broken up with the person that I was with. I’ve never been pressed about dating, I just stumble upon these fools.
So he was talking about it and I didn’t say much. He was talking about the babies and I was like, ‘I don’t want kids. I do not want kids. I do not want kids.’ I told him, ‘I have a ten-year plan.’ I was so heavy into my career. I was booming on the low. I was about to be in charge of a lot. They had big plans for me. Then he brought up pregnancy the month before and then the next thing I know, I’m pregnant. I even took the Plan B pill. I was devastated. Devastated. I was in tears. It was so hard for me to take in the fact that I was pregnant. And I knew I was pregnant before we got done with deployment because I hadn’t had my cycle. So I busted my butt to get some stuff done so I wouldn’t be behind career-wise. I didn’t know what to do because they were sending girls back to the states when they got pregnant. So I was like, ‘I’m going to be a baby mama. I was not supposed to be a baby mama.’ It was so much stuff but he was just so comforting and supportive through the entire thing.
He was, of course, more excited about the baby than I was because I’m like this is my body. I’m sacrificing my body and my career. I could have been up for rank and promotion but I had to wait.
When did you end up embracing your pregnancy?
I ended up accepting that I was pregnant when I found out it was a boy and not a girl.
Why didn’t you want a girl?
It’s all those girls in our family! We don’t have any boys. I had the first boy on my mom’s side. He’s the only one other than my grandpa. It’s estrogen all over the place. And I was like, ‘I cannot deal with a miniature me right now.’
What changed your mind about wanting to be married?
I was more nervous about getting married than he was, of course. And he kept asking me, ‘Are you sure this is what you want to do?’ And I said, ‘Yeah. I’m just nervous.’ I was going back in my mind, I thought about everything that was wrong with him, every flaw that he had and every trait that he has that I loved about him. I looked at all of the things I didn’t like and was like, ‘Can I deal with this for the rest of my life?’ When I came to that conclusion, I was like, ‘Ok, I can marry him.’ I had never been that happy with anybody before, on an intimate level, friendship level, anything. I’ve been in some pretty good relationships but I’ve never been that happy with anybody. I’ve never questioned whether or not I’ve loved him, ever. It’s literally just the marriage part.
We went to a marriage seminar too before we got married. It was cool. We did all these exercises. I feel like we made it through the exercises pretty good. We knew each other pretty well.
We expedited getting married. We had to go through a process because we got married in Japan. He was on deployment and we had to push the marriage up because we didn’t know that he wouldn’t be able to fly off the boat to see my son being born unless we were married. He was on deployment and I literally was nine months pregnant. I walked into the courthouse by myself, signed papers, and then I emailed him and I was like, ‘Dude we’re married.’ It was a long process but he was so excited. He switched his [marital] status [on Facebook] like five seconds later.
I wanted a ceremony to at least say vows because I was so sad. I always told myself, ‘I’m never going to the courthouse. I’m going to have a wedding.’ I said, ‘I’m never doing that.’ And I did that for him so that he could come home and he still didn’t get to come home and see my son be born. He didn’t meet my son until he was four-months-old. They couldn’t fly him off because of the operations that they had going on.
How old were you guys when you got married?
I had just turned 25. He’s two months younger than me, so he was 24, turning 25. But our first six months of marriage, we weren’t together.
How was that?
It was hard. Especially, like--I was with his mom for 35 days before and after my son was born. That was rough on our marriage. His mom and I--let’s just say things could be better. Dealing with that and him being the only child, him being a momma’s boy. That was probably the biggest challenge that we have faced in our marriage.
The first six months though, I was sad. I had gained all this weight, my husband was gone. I was there by myself. I was out in Japan by myself. Those challenges were happening for me but I was still trying to hold him down. We were good but then when he came home, reality set in.
How did things change once you were actually living together as husband and wife and then raising your son as well?
We were still dealing with things pertaining to his mom. That was a really big deal. So when he came back home, he had all these stressors because his mom was getting divorced...a lot of stuff happened while he was deployed. He came home and it was like boom. You’re dealing with all this shit and you’re a new dad. Your son doesn’t know who you are. He wasn’t trying to go to him. He had never changed a pamper before. It was really hard for him. And I had to keep thinking about all of that. I had to literally be so understanding. There were times when all that understanding went out that window and my mom kicked in. And I was like, ‘Is that what’s coming out of me?’ So he’s a new dad, new husband just came home, his mom has always been the most important woman in his life and his mom and his wife don’t get along. I’m the longest relationship he’s ever had. The longest relationship he had before me was 8 months, so he’s dealing with learning how to be in a relationship, being selfless. So it was a battle trying to be understanding because you’re like, ‘Uhh why do I have to wait for you to catch on?’ I feel like a lot of women deal with that.
So take me to your wedding day, the day the picture was taken.
That picture was taken two and half months after he came back from deployment. I decided I wanted a ceremony and honeymoon in Miami because I wanted to party afterward. I thought it was going to be a good honeymoon spot. It was somewhere close where my mom could come and somebody could watch my son because I was not leaving him anywhere. But that day was a complete disaster.
Girl, shut up! Why do you say that?
'My mom--me and my mom we just don’t get along. We’ve not gotten along since I was probably in middle school. But I wanted her to be there and she came. I had rented out this really nice Air BnB house. I had been in Miami for a week, couldn’t find anybody to do my hair. I was willing to pay an extra $100 for them to come to me. So I was like, ‘Oh, okay so y’all don’t want any money.’ So my mom gets there the night before the ceremony and I need her to do my hair. First of all, we were waiting for hours for her to come in. Her plane was late. But we had Japanese phones so we didn’t get the notification because we didn’t have any signal. My hair’s still not done. I couldn’t fit my dress.
I had to go buy a new dress the day before. That dress was not my dress.
India, shut up!
My mom was trying to sew my hair in. Terrible! Terrible job. She couldn’t even finish and it took her like ten hours to do it.
So wait. She finished your hair, you looked in the mirror and you thought…
It missing pieces. You could see all the tracks. I promise to God it was so terrible. And I had hair because I was transitioning [from relaxed to natural.] My hair was still pretty long but it was still all these tracks in the back. My husband ended up sewing in my weave for my wedding.
Gurl, shut up!
I promise. I promise. He sewed in my weave.
Tell me what you were saying to him.
‘You take the needle under, take it over the top, tie a knot. Take it through the braids, over the braids, wrap it around as many times as you can to secure it because I didn’t want it slipping, on the beach with the wind blowing. He was just doing it.
How did it look afterward?
It looked good after he filled in all these random spots where my mom messed up. He had to re-sew down her work. He was like ‘Bae, I should have just done the whole thing.’ He would have gotten it done faster. It was so terrible. But he’s good with stuff like that. He takes my braids and sew-ins out all the time.
But that wasn’t even the worse part. In the middle of the night, while my mom was sewing in my hair, we found out the room had bed bugs, girl. So I had this place that I paid for ahead of time. And that was like $2,000. And I’m paying for my mom to stay there. She ain’t staying in a room with no bed bugs. So we moved them out, into a hotel.
We had a place on the other side of Miami, on South Beach for us to stay in. So we go to check in and my mom was acting like she didn’t know how to do anything. I was like ‘Why couldn’t you get Jordan [India’s son] together?’ It’s like we’re on our honeymoon. She was more of a burden than she was a help. My mom was complaining, calling my sisters, making it seem like I neglected her. I made shit happen with the Uber but she refused to use the Uber.
Because she was being complicated and I was so mad.
So how was the actual ceremony?
I was cussing at everybody. I was like ‘How come y’all can’t get right?’ It’s only four people. It was only my mom, me, Devon, and Marcia. My mom put us in the Big Sister program. So Marcia's been in my life this whole time. So it’s just the four of us and Jordan and y’all can’t even get right. My mom… ugh. She was moving so slow. We were all sitting in the car, my mom is in the bathroom flat-ironing her hair.
How did the picture come about?
My mom was like take a booty pic, take a booty pic and that’s when I turned around for that picture.
I posted the picture the next morning. All of my family, everybody I knew shared it. People kept re-sharing and re-sharing it. There were people in the military, in Indianapolis, in Gary [Indiana], in Texas. It just kept getting shared.
When you saw the picture was starting to get all this attention, how did you feel?
I mean I do want people to see because that’s like my best friend. We have so much fun together and all of that but I do like to keep some stuff private. People think when they see these pictures--and we are happy, we’re definitely happily married--but it has been hard to keep everything together. I was like, ‘Aww man, they don’t even know.’ Devon and I were just laughing. And mind you this is the time when we were dealing with all this b.s. That was the most trying part of our marriage. Arguments happen. If you’re not arguing when you’re married, I would be worried because it all stems from emotion. It’s mostly because you’re literally taking two different people and trying to become one unit. It doesn’t matter how many years y’all have known each other after you get married, it’s a different ball game from dating.
So what happened after the ceremony?
That night, we went to KOD and I danced on stage we had fun. But afterward, we had to get all our stuff and then drive all the way to the other side of Miami again. We didn’t get to enjoy ourselves at all. Then leaving Miami my son got sick. We slept in the airport for two days, trying to catch a flight. It was just a bunch of bad happening. We missed our flight. They wouldn’t let us reschedule. Then we had to wait for another flight because we were going to Japan. We had to wait around, in this airport, sleeping with this sick baby, on the weekend of our honeymoon. It was so bad. Which is why I went off the map after that picture was posted. It was just so much stuff. Back to back b.s. happening.
Now that you've made it past the rough patch and you guys have been married for two years, is there any advice you have for newly married women?
I have to say that women should be patient with their men and it doesn’t matter what trying situations you go through while you’re married, always remain a good woman. Because at the end of the day, you can say you did what you were supposed to do and it’s not a reflection of you. Because when you try to fight bad behavior with bad behavior, you’re just as wrong.
What do you do to keep your marriage strong since you guys spend so much time apart?
We communicate everything. We definitely communicate every night. I don’t leave any room for his mind to wander. I ask questions but I don’t ask questions implicating that I don’t trust him. I take his word for what he says. That might be harder for people who have trust issues but you cannot go off that. I still trust everything that comes out of his mouth, if I’ve chosen to forgive him. If you chose to forgive him, you keep moving forward.
Since I’ve been here in California, I’ve been taking marriage seminars and I’ve been in church. It was a class that I take every Sunday on how to have a Biblical marriage because I just want this time to be a refresher for when I come back home. I try to take advantage of everything that I can.