Category Archives: wedding

one year ago today

Kiss1

 

Last year at this time, my wife and I were planning for our wedding at the county clerk’s office. We went to the market and had bouquets of miniature red roses made, and we pressed our clothes, preparing to be one of the first same-sex couples legally married in the state of California.

It was a glorious day, full of hope and inspiration. Our UU church was there handing out flowers and wedding favors, cheering us on as each newly married couple emerged. We were even featured on the front page of newspaper kissing following our exchange of vows (see above).

I will never forget that day–how it felt to be in that office with the press and all of the happy couples waiting to get their turn, how excited everyone around us was, how good it felt to be part of history and to be securing our commitment legally. We didn’t know what would happen down the road, but we knew that we were married, and we couldn’t imagine anyone taking that away from us.

Well, a year later, we’re still married. J and I are one couple of 18,000 who were married during the short time that California practiced marriage equality. Honestly though, I think both of us feel sad today more than celebratory. I know I feel a fair amount of guilt that we somehow got to keep our marriage just because we did it before November, guilt that so many now cannot take advantage of this privilege. It’s a bittersweet sort of day for us.

Still, I mustn’t overlook the fact that my wife–my love of over eleven years–is my legal spouse in California. Our son will have both of our names on his birth certificate from the very beginning, and for these things, we really are grateful.

Happy Anniversary, my love.

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and the party goes on

 

Don’t you love a cheesy soft-focus photo of a wedding cake? No? Nor do I, but it’s a requisite photo we needed in our scrapbook, so you get to share in the glory both here and in my new header.

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We went to my parents’ house this weekend. The people who were once J’s outlaws are now here official inlaws, and they wanted to celebrate.

So Saturday, we celebrated. We started the day with breakfast and mimosas. The parents surprised us with money to get J’s car back. This was something we have been refusing for over a month now, but as J said, they make it fairly difficult to turn it down when it’s wrapped in a bow in the guise of a wedding gift. And so we will soon become a two-car household once again, which is good because our other car just hit 200,000 miles and she’s tired.

Our celebration continued at a local lake where we swam and had a beer and generally enjoyed one another’s company. Later, my sister joined in on the festivities as well. She still has not had her baby, and she’s amazingly spry still. I was impressed. I felt her baby a few times. Anytime I put my hand on her belly, the baby moved for me. This made me like her.

At some point during this lovely relaxing day, we were called out to my stepdad’s garden for a surprise. Let me preface this with some explanation, though. My stepdad is an aging hippy, a master carpenter who built their house (twice–it burnt down in a forest fire the first time), and he is also a yard artist. Their home is in the country on top of a knoll with oak trees and pine trees. On their four acres, they have all different kinds of metal sculptures, recycle art, and cement garden boarders made into shapes like ankhs, pentagrams, the wheel of the year, and so forth. He’s always got some cool new sculpture going. He’s always pouring concrete and drawing things in it. And so, when we were called out to the garden, we were presented with a blank palate of freshly-poured concrete, handed some screwdrivers for the carving, and we commemorated our new wedding date. We were incredibly touched, and we made a lovely carving.

Later, after we had gone back out to touch it up, we came back in to discover wedding decorations and a cake complete with two brides (Cindarellas, to be precise), bubbles, champagne, and my sweet family wanting to continue celebrating with us. Have I mentioned they’re great? They are.

That day was lovely, and the next was too. The parents took us golfing on Sunday morning, which was great fun.

When we returned, we found in our email inbox an email from our former mentor where we used to live. She has lived with a “comanion” for many years, and she informed us that she and her partner had been married after a 30-year commitment. This was the first she has ever come out to us–to anyone we know at all–and we were so thrilled and touched.

And so J and I are still getting choked up on a nearly daily basis because this groundbreaking moment in California is so very touching and real and beautiful. I still can’t quite believe that we are a part of it.

For those of you tired of the wedding topics, there are many more things I’ll blog about soon: our new healthy lifestyle, the fires, my soon-to-be-born niece, seeing the Indigo Girls tonight, and more. Stay tuned! 

 

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Filed under celebrations, family, marriage, wedding, weekend

Married! (with photos)

We did it. We got married.

Yesterday was an oddly stressful day. We hadn’t exactly planned anything regarding this wedding; we just knew we wanted to be around other people getting married when we did it. I had to work all morning, which only compounded the stress, but when I was finished, we got some clothes together, bought a couple of bouquets of red roses, and headed to the county clerk’s office (about half an hour from our house). The traffic on the way was horrendous, and we were certain we would be late. We were, but only by five minutes, and we were soon to find that this didn’t matter at all.

When we pulled into the parking lot, it was surprisingly empty. We did see one car driving away with two older lesbians with the hugest smiles on their faces. We knew we must be in the right place. We started to make our way through the maze of buildings, and still we saw so few people. We rounded a corner inside of one of the buildings, and then we saw them, all of these couples waiting to either get married or apply for marriage licenses.

As we made our way up to the door of the small clerk’s office, a woman came up to us asking if we were getting married. We told her yes, and she gave us a warm smile, handed us some flowers and a little wedding favor, and congratulated us. It turned out she was from our UU church, and she was there with a bunch of others waiting to celebrate with everyone who got married. It was a lovely welcome.

We got in line, and everything started to feel a bit like the DMV, but with lots of smiling happy gay people, some even in wedding dresses.

 Many people asked us, “Are you getting married today?” And each time we answered yes, they showered us in congratulations. There were people at the counters shouting out, “Can someone be a witness?” and people would get out of line and run over to them.  

 We had asked a woman from our UU congregation if she would be our witness since we knew she had planned to be there, but when we couldn’t find her, we asked a woman in line if she would do it. She was honored, but we soon had to take that back when our witness (and possibly new friend) came to find us. (She’s our age, gay, went to the same grad school as us, will be teaching with J in the fall–and she has an adorable 10-year-old son. Cool woman, and she was so excited to be there with us.). As we waited, we talked with some wonderful couples in front of and behind us. There were reporters everywhere, news cameras left and right. I would turn around to find cameras filming J and I with our bouquets. There were newscasts going on; it was amazing. We soon learned that ours was one of only a few counties to decide to stay open on the first day. That was truly exciting.

Eventually, we found the front of the line, and we were called up to write our check, apply for our license, and say our oath that we promised we weren’t lying about previous marriages and such.

We were then ushered outside where we had a couple of arbors to choose from (we could have chosen the indoor chapel as well–which the county clerk had decorated herself, but it was a lovely day outside). We followed our justice of the peace, who was also being followed by two reporters. We had no idea that they were to be photographing us through the whole ceremony!

The ceremony itself was quick. We got to say, “I Do.”

We got to exchange rings (they were the same wedding bands we’ve had for several years, but now they were official!).

We also shed tears. It was overwhelming! 

But the greatest moment of all was when our officiant said,

Now, by the power vested in me, and in accordance with the laws of the State of California, it is my pleasure and honor to pronounce you married.

You may seal your vows with a kiss.

And we did, and this photo was in the paper.

Our witness and another UU friend took photos throughout the whole ceremony. We had four people photographing us, shutters going off every other second. It was weird! After the ceremony, another reporter from a news station nearby came and asked if they could film our hands and rings. Then, a man who had brought his flock of homing pigeons (doves) to share with the newlyweds came and offered me a dove to release, so the news crew filmed that too (I have no idea if it ended up on any news program though).

We then started to walk away, and as we did, small crowds of people cheered us and congratulated us. It was so heartwarming, so beautiful. We were part of history, and that was monumental.

But most importantly, we’re married. We’re really, really married.

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