The couple fell in love after bonding over fitness five years ago.

By Faith Brar
November 06, 2019
Credit: Eileen Meny

People celebrate wedding ceremonies in many ways: some light a candle together, others pour sand in a jar, some even plant trees. But Zeena Hernandez and Lisa Yang wanted to do something truly unique at their wedding in Brooklyn last month.

After exchanging their vows, the brides decided to deadlift a 253-pound barbell together—and yes, they did so while wearing their gorgeous wedding dresses and veils—celebrating their unity in the best way they knew how. (Related: Meet the Couple Who Got Married at Planet Fitness)

"It was meant to not only be a symbol of unity but also a statement," Hernandez told Insider in an interview. "Individually we are strong, capable women—but together, we are stronger."

When Hernandez and Yang met on a dating app five years ago, the first thing they bonded over was their love for fitness, according to Insider. "Lisa accidentally liked my profile," Hernandez told the outlet. "I thought she was cute so I messaged her first, and the rest is history." (Related: Brides Reveal: Things I Wish I Never Did On My Big Day)

The couple initially shared a passion for running but eventually moved on to doing CrossFit together before trying Olympic weightlifting. That's how they came up with the idea of deadlifting a barbell together during their ceremony.

"We were joking about doing a tandem deadlift," Yang told Insider. "At the time it seemed ridiculous."

"But none of the usual ceremony rituals really spoke to us," added Hernandez. "So we really had to think, 'What's the common denominator for both of us?' It was weight lifting! I loved the idea from the start." (Related: Why I Decided Not to Lose Weight for My Wedding)

For the record, both Yang and Hernandez said they can individually deadlift 253 pounds on their own. But they decided on that weight in an effort to be safe, not to mention conscious of their dresses.

"We knew we were going to lift a weight without warming up, and we knew we would have a harder time getting the bar close and maintaining good form because of our wedding dresses," explained Hernandez. "So, we decided to go light."

On the day of their wedding, the couple's weight lifting coach brought all the equipment they needed to make sure the lift went as smoothly as possible, according to Insider. Hernandez and Yang completed three deadlifts before returning to the altar, exchanging their rings, and saying "I do." (Related: 11 Major Health and Fitness Benefits of Lifting Weights)

The photo of the couple's deadlift has since gone viral. Obviously, seeing two brides lifting a barbell at the altar isn't something you see every day. But Hernandez said their powerful photo symbolizes more than that. "I think it challenges people's beliefs," she told Insider. "Beliefs about exercise, deadlifts, and marriage. Some are inspired, some are quick to judge, some are just fascinated with the novelty. Whatever it is, it evokes a reaction—which people like to share."

Their viral photo is truly representative of Hernandez and Yang as a couple and the life they've created together, said Hernandez.

"It wasn't so much about weight lifting," she said. "It was more about being ourselves."


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