On March 3rd, the first day that DC permitted same-sex marriage applications, we looked at each other, smiled, and both knew that we wanted to get married. We have been through good, bad, and difficult times together and have known for a while we wanted to spend the rest of our life together. With the advent of the new law, we knew we had to follow-through as quickly as possible (we want to make sure it’s all said and done before Congress tries to regulate their morality).
After applying for our marriage license, the DC courts set our date for June 4th; that’s two months after the fact. I just thought that we would do the small ceremony and throw our party, I mean reception, later in the year. Andrew insisted that we could have the reception immediately following the ceremony. Despite the short two months planning time and certainly a limited budget, he was confident we could have an awesome party. After all, we never thought this day would come and neither of us ever had any real wedding fantasies. So how could we plan a reception below our expectations?
Our ceremony, though the epicenter of all weddings, will be small. The courthouse allows just fifteen people (including the newlyweds and photographers). So we really can’t invite all our friends to witness our commitment. That’s the point of our reception; we want all of our friends who have shared in our relationship to celebrate our legal binding…WOOT WOOT! I think our friends were initially more excited than we were. They already had design questions that we didn’t even know one had to address for a wedding. One friend of ours, a professional photographer specializing in engagements and weddings, offered to take our engagement pictures. We had such a fun session and the pictures turned out so awesome, our excitement began to grow exponentially.
We spent a whole weekend running around the DC Metro area checking out venues. The only criteria we had was windows with natural light and anything that did not lend itself to a traditional wedding. After all, nothing says we should follow the many boring conventions of straight weddings to celebrate our marriage of two dudes. We’re going to set the precedent for everyone attending. They will compare their future gay weddings to ours. We want to be remembered as “fun”. So far we are accomplishing this with an afternoon reception from 2:00 – 6:00 pm. Our venue, Harbour View in Occoquan, VA, is on a marina with a balcony. Though it’s inside, we can still enjoy the summer weather. Since our reception is between meals, we will not have a sit down meal. Instead we will serve heavy hors d’oeuvres and have an open bar. In fact, we won’t have enough seating for everyone. Our floor plan will force mingling and socializing. After all, our crowd of 85ish guests will be a mix of family and extended family, straight friends, and gay friends; on a side note, this is also why we won’t have a dance floor. We won’t have a head table or a receiving line. We know everyone who will be in attendance, and since it is our party, we want to mingle, too! No reason for some formal, pathetic –ass convention to offer their congratulations (that’s the purpose of the gift table). Since there is no meal, there is no cake. Instead, we will end the celebration with a passed mini-cookies and shot of milk toast. Anyone who has spent TV night with us knows how we always have our milk and cookies!
When planning our reception we addressed people’s normal expectations of a “wedding” but tried to adapt those conventions to what people think when they are coming over to hang out. Our reception is just a large, expensive party of a normal four hours of hanging out with us. This time, though, we are celebrating something big, our legal commitment to each other. At first, I was apprehensive of what the outcome would be. Since we didn’t have expectations, everything we’ve decided on is within our budget and is exactly what we want. I am most appreciative that Andrew insisted that we could successfully plan a reception. But I guess that’s why he will be my husband. And everyone will know that!
Images by Laura Scheidt of Exclamation Imagery