Warning: The following contains spoilers for the Orange Is the New Black Season 6 finale. Read at your own risk!
After getting engaged last season during the riot, Alex and Piper had an uncharacteristically easy road this year, facing very few hurdles and seemingly just falling deeper and deeper in love. And after everything they've been through — including Alex turning Piper over to the cops all those years ago — they earned this much-needed break. However, they knew this bliss wouldn't last much longer: Piper was scheduled to get out in five months while Alex still had four years left in her sentence. But they weren't even given that time together, with Piper getting granted early release in the finale with only a day's notice to say goodbye to Alex.
Having been separated since coming to Max, Piper's reunions with Nicky and Lorna were enough to tug at the heartstrings. But when she noticed all that her friends and fiancée did to pull this wedding off, that's when the emotions really started to go into overdrive, for her and for us.
Clad in a homemade tallit and kippah, Nicky led the happy couple to the makeshift altar, which appeared to be made out of a sheet, broom sticks and cement buckets. Lorna also did what she could to ensure Alex and Piper checked off as many wedding traditions as possible, revealing she was providing their something old, new, borrowed and blue: a toothbrush that had been turned into a shiv.
When it came time to exchange vows, Alex surprised Piper by having written hers in advance — a move which clearly paid off once she delivered her touching promise to her new bride.
"It's hard to know a promise I can make to you that won't sound like a bunch of clichés that people say at weddings," Alex began. "So I wanted to make a promise that fits us, considering the distance that we covered to get here and how far we'll have to go before we can be together again. But to do that, I have to talk about something that's uncomfortable to bring up. There was a time that I hurt you and I did something unforgivable. And I don't think that I can express in words the guilt and regret that I feel for having done that to you, the person that I care about most. So my promise is to make it up to you every day in small, quiet ways for the rest of our life together."
Cue all the tears.
When it came time for Piper's vows, she had a couple false starts, but who could blame her? Alex had a day to write her vows and Piper only had about 30 seconds to start thinking of hers! But once Piper found her groove, it would be hard to deny the power of her words to Alex.
"I want you to promise me that you'll get out of here. I need you. You're my partner. Get out of here as soon as you possibly can so that I can be with you," Piper pleaded. And while Alex promised, she did point out that that was more of a demand than a vow.
"OK, then my vow is to wait for you," Piper replied.
At that, Alex and Piper exchanged their rings — well, a keyring from Luschek's (Matt Peters) keychain and a contraband paperclip Nicky found in a library book, but close enough! Because if this wedding proves anything, it's that all the frills and adornments that typically go along with weddings don't matter; if they love each other enough, a shabby little prison wedding like this can be just as romantic, if not more so than one that pulls out all the traditional stops.
Even if you don't like Piper — heck, even if you don't like Alex, either — this wedding was incredibly sweet. Piper and Alex's bald declaration of their feelings and acknowledgement of all the pain they've undergone to get here and of all the obstacles they know await them is a stirring demonstration of their faith in the special love they share.
With Piper officially out of Litchfield by the episode's end, we have no idea what the future holds for the newlyweds. Alex is still keeping the deal she made with Carol (Henny Russell) and Badison (Amanda Fuller) a secret from Piper, and we're not idealistic enough to imagine that Carol's death means that Alex can go back to staying out of the drama and keeping clean. Can a fresh marriage survive long distance and a secret of this magnitude? If anyone's can, it'd be Piper and Alex's, but we're not exactly putting money down on them to last.
Fortunately, we already know Orange Is the New Black has been renewed for a seventh season, so we can relax knowing we'll get to see how their marriage plays out when the Netflix series returns next summer. Until then, mazels all around!
Orange Is the New Black is available to stream on Netflix now.