David and I were married on Dec 9th, 2017 at Tree Tops Park in Davie, Florida. It was a small and intimate event. The time and place were perfect for us.
The weather forecast said it was going to be a cold and rainy day, but that was only partially true. It drizzled slightly in the morning but let up by the afternoon, just in time for us to take some great wedding photos outside. Unusually courteous for South Florida weather.
We stood among the giant old oaks and slight breezes shook water off the leaves. The crispness of a cool, wet atmosphere combined with the prehistoric canopies in the background made the photos look almost timeless. I enlisted the help of a talented friend from high school, Amy Nales Ramsaran, to be our photographer.
My aunt Toni Ann was our wedding officiant and master of ceremonies. She’d graciously acquired her minister license just for the occasion. I knew she’d make a great choice. She donned a rainbow scarf and made sure all the important parts went according to our plan.
The ceremony itself was secular, lacking any sort of symbolic gestures that usually come from religious or cultural traditions. As a nonreligious same-sex couple, these didn’t really apply to us. Weddings are still very much defined by religious language and strict gender roles. So we rewrote it all ourselves. Gay marriage is still very much a new thing, so trying to come up with our own terms and ceremony was perhaps a much more personal experience than is typical for other couples. There weren’t rituals to lean on. We set the rules.
So we decided to keep it simple. As the ceremony began, our wedding party entered in twos. It just so happened that my side was all women and David’s side was all men (plus Jackie!). The women were dressed in juniper green dresses and the men wore blue vests. Our processional song was “Theme of Love,” from the video game Final Fantasy IV. David and I entered the hall together soon after.
Aunt Toni greeted our guests, read about the commitment we were making to each other, and gave us a blessing. Our friend Jackie read a love poem from Twenty-One Love Poems by Adrienne Rich. It’s one of my absolute favorites.
We read our vows to each other. Many couples choose not to do this and just proceed with a declaration of intent, but we decided to write our own. I was very nervous about this part, mostly because I thought I would just sob throughout the whole thing. I did cry a bit, but took pauses to breathe. Breathing is crucial. In the end, I’m so glad we chose to do this.
Here were my vows to David:
Our friend Jeremy presented us with the rings. We put the rings on our fingers and made our promises to each other. After a brief benediction, Aunt Toni pronounced us married. We kissed and led the wedding party back outside. I cried and hugged everyone. With all the preparing that went into this moment, it all went by so fast.
Before the reception, we made sure to have everyone sign the actual marriage license. So many couples actually forget this part, which is funny. More photos were taken with family and friends.
After photos were finished, Aunt Toni introduced us as we reentered the hall with the wedding party. David and I shared our first dance as a newly wedded couple. Our song for this was “Ice Cream” by Sarah McLachlan. We laughed nervously to each other as everyone stared at us. Fortunately, everyone else joined in soon after.
Dinner was a delicious Italian buffet: eggplant parmesan, chicken alfredo, and baked ziti. We had a little bar that served sangria, white wine, red wine, and a blush. That blush went real quick. Props to my mom for finding it. No one seemed interested in beer. I guess that’s just the kind of people we tend to hang out with. Classy people.
Toasts were given. My friends Brittany and Tiffany made us laugh with their speech. David and I thanked everyone for coming. We also made sure to thank all those activists who fought long and hard for our rights to wed. Also: thanks, Obama!
We cut our delicious chocolate cake, complete with the cutest wedding topper.
When the desserts came in, everyone clapped. With good reason. My mom and her co-conspirators went a bit crazy with the dessert table. It was a very impressive spread: donut holes, cupcakes, Italian cookies, eclairs, cream puffs, chocolate-covered Oreos…my goodness.
After all the desserts, we said goodbye to everyone and had our send-off. I couldn’t believe it was all over. We were told by the park that we made history by being the park’s first official gay wedding.
As we drove away, the rain started up again. I’m really not about cosmic alignment, but all the auspices seemed to show. I’m sure there will be more than a few poems that come from this. For now, I just feel incredibly lucky to have found someone this special to share my life with.