You’ll remember Michael from the “Month before the wedding” blog post series he did. He captures what it felt like to be planning a wedding in the last moments and you can follow his series with post one, two, three, four and five. He appeared in the New York Times and now we can finally share his wedding!
Our wedding day began around noon when we met our photographer, Patrick Lentz, who had agreed to spend the entire day with us. A blizzard had just hit Boston a day earlier so we got dressed, put on our snow boots and went out to take some portrait shots all over the city. We had so much fun! We climbed the tower of the Old State House, walk the alleys of Beacon Hill, and had a snowball fight. As our photographer was taking pictures so were tourists who were fascinated by what was going on. I’d love to see their pictures! Everyone we encountered in the city that day was warm and supportive.
Our reception was amazing. Everyone was joyous. Our families were so supportive and that love seemed infectious. After the ceremony our guests enjoyed a cocktail party in the museum downstairs while we posed with our families for pictures upstairs. A buffet dinner was served, followed by a cake cutting and some hilarious and heart-felt best men speeches. And then the dancing began and did not stop thanks to an amazing DJ, Ron Ferrell. People have remarked again and again how it was one of the best weddings they’ve ever attended. I know part of it was joy for us but part of it was elation at seeing the world change before their eyes. When we first decided to get married I was opposed to the big wedding in favor of a small private ceremony with our immediate families and a few friends. We eventually settled on a 75 person traditional wedding. Looking back I would not change a thing. Making our commitment in a room filled with that much love only made it more special for us. I would not trade the affirmation our family and friends gave our relationship for anything.
Let little decisions inform bigger decisions. When we started out we were completely overwhelmed. We hadn’t been dreaming of this day our whole lives so we were totally clueless as to where to begin. Last year we hit a Target the day after Christmas to buy some decorations on clearance. We saw some red and gold Christmas ornaments we liked and bought them to eventually use. Shortly thereafter we went to design a cake, thought of the ornaments and had them incorporated into the design. Then when we chose our tuxedos we picked red and gold vests and ties. Before we knew it our color scheme had chosen us. Those ornaments eventually became our centerpieces. If we had known when we picked those ornaments that we had just picked our color scheme we would have been completely overwhelmed. So start small and build on those choices as you go.
We really wanted a ceremony that reflected our values as a couple and, therefore, our families had to be central to the ceremony. The procession was a true family affair with my eighty-five year old grandmother leading the way. Our brothers and my best friend from childhood were our groomsmen while our niece and nephews served as the flower girl and ring bearers. Our ceremony was conducted by our close friend, Tracy, who received a special designation from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. We gave her some simple guidance on what we desired from our ceremony and then stepped away; we wanted to be just as surprised as our guests. We each wrote the first part of our vows and then let Tracy lead us in our formal vows. Halfway through Tracy’s vows our tears (which had started the moment we walked down the aisle) broke into laughter as she made me vow to never erase “Glee” from the DVR and made Kevin promise to watch MSNBC’s political coverage. It was very “us”.
If you can, pick someone who really knows you to officiate at your wedding. Our friend, Tracy’s ceremony was so beautiful because she knew us. She knew what was important to us and what made us tick. It brought so much heartfelt emotion to the entire event.
When we processed out of the ceremony all this emotion just welled up in us. As soon as we passed the last we row of guests we both broke into a near run out of the room. We were all alone and we grabbed each other and hugged and cried, just for a moment, as we soaked up the magnitude of what we had just done. Then suddenly our photographer came around the corner and captured that special moment. We will cherish those pictures forever.
The defining element of our wedding wasn’t something we made but something we chose. We picked a venue that in so many ways defined the whole wedding. John Adams, John Hancock, George Washington, and Samuel Adams once roamed the halls of the Old State House. The room where we exchanged our vows was where the Declaration of Independence was first read to the people of Boston and where John Hancock was inaugurated as Massachusetts first governor. The room where we had our reception was the early chambers of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, the court which would one day issue the historic Goodrich ruling that made our wedding possible. The symbolism of all that history gave the whole day another level of poignancy, especially for many of our older guests witnessing their first same sex wedding. But as our officiant reminded us during the ceremony, while the building is filled with history our guests had come to witness something incredibly ordinary: two people in love wanting to commit to each other for the rest of their lives.
Pick a caterer who listens to you and wants to individualize your day. Our caterer was fabulous. From the very beginning she listened to what our themes were and incorporated them throughout the day. She created a menu heavy on New England and holiday touches. She suggested gold trimmed plates with red chargers on champagne linens to tie our color scheme together and then picked holiday flowers and greenery to decorate the serving trays, buffet, and display tables. She even created peppermint cosmos (complete with candy canes) and sugar plum martinis to serve to our guests alongside local Boston beers. You want someone who will pay attention to all those small details, make your day memorable and save you tons of work.
Our other favorite moment came at the very end of our reception. Since we had gone so traditional, we thought it might be fun to give a nod to the fact that most folks had just witness two guys get married for the first time – even our gay guests. So we asked the DJ to play “It’s Raining Men” as the last song. The energy was amazing as everyone, including my dad who I’ve never seen dance, took to the floor and just had a ball. People are still talking about that song!
Photographer: Patrick Lentz
Venue: The Old State House, Boston, MA
Caterer: Above and Beyond Catering, Boston, MA
DJ: Ron Ferrell, BostonDJ.net
Cake: Konditor Meister, Braintree, MA
Florist: New Leaf Flores, Jamaica Plain, MA