Friday, July 27, 2012

A Wedding to Remember

How important is a wedding?

This is the basis of a discussion my partner and I had last night. We’ve been together for fifteen years. I have no doubt that we will be together until the day they put us into the ground. We have three kids and a dog and a mortgage and a minivan and all the dandy stuff that goes along with being a married couple. We adore one another and can’t stand each other and worship the ground the other walks on and wishes the other would just leave us the hell alone. All within the course of any given day. In essence, we are married.

Only, we’re not.

Fourteen years ago, we had a nice ceremony surrounded by friends and family where we declared our commitment to one another. It was a tiny affair in a church with a reception at a local park afterwards. We were paying for the ceremony on our own and, frankly, we were pretty damn poor back in those days. Our cake was a grocery-store cake. There was no open bar—or bar of any sort. As a matter of fact, the only liquor was one bottle of champagne Ruanita and I shared. Though she actually does not like champagne, so I drank most of it. My gay uncle made all our food and his partner did our flowers. We spent our wedding night at the airport Embassy Suites in Bloomington, Minnesota (at the time, we thought the Embassy Suites was the be-all and end-all of hotel luxury—what with the free breakfast and all) and then drove up north to Duluth and on into rural Canada to spend a couple of nights alone. It was all we could afford at the time. It was not, by any accounts, a lavish affair. It was also not at all legal or binding.

My partner does not care about the legal and binding portion. She feels that gay people should most certainly be allowed to marry. But is it important to her, personally? Eh…not so much. I am afraid it is more important to me than it is to her. I am convinced that the day will come in the not-so-far-off future when gay marriage will be legalized in my state of Minnesota, and eventually the entire nation. So the question I posed to my partner last night was this: When gay marriage becomes legal, do you want to have a wedding?

Her response, quite simply, was no. She agreed that she would happily marry me—as if that was even a question—but would prefer to do it in a low-key-justice-of-the-peace-at-the-courthouse sort of way. In her eyes, we are already married and our ceremony fourteen years ago sufficed. I also loved our quirky ceremony way back when—and I also contend that we are as married as any straight couple out there—but I feel that something as monumental as the legal recognition of our family deserves more than a justice of the peace. I have a different vision.

In my mind, surviving fifteen years together and three kids—without the legal safety net afforded to other families—deserves one hell of a party! If not necessarily a “wedding,” at least a party to celebrate our life together. I envision a small ceremony in a lovely outdoor setting—perhaps a park or a nice wooded area. Someplace where the Pierce side of our family can be bitten by mosquitoes and swell up like a parade of elephant men. Okay—scratch the wooded area. A nice open field somewhere would be nice. Then again, the Pierce side of my family would probably have an allergic reaction to the local pollen and have to spend the day in a Benadryl-infused fog. Okay, so maybe scratch the wooded area, too. Let me start all over.

How about a nice little ceremony on a rocky beach in Duluth where we will renew our vows with Lake Superior as our backdrop? Back to the place where we spent our honeymoon so many years ago. That sounds heavenly. A small ceremony with just our children, family, and close friends followed by a bash with everyone we know. Our daughter, Sophie, in a beautiful dress. The boys in matching suits. There will be a band or a DJ. There will be dancing. Lots of translucent white relatives dancing pathetically (and hysterically), I am sure. Kids will be welcome. We will do the hokey-pokey. We will do the chicken dance. We will do the electric slide. There will be an open bar. My brother will get drunk and crack corny jokes. My sister, Jennifer, will dance the entire night away. My cousin, Amber, will try to get me to do shots of Jägermeister —and I will refuse this time. The whole family will be on the dance floor when we play Elvis’ “Kentucky Rain.” It will be a real party atmosphere. A celebration to remember. A celebration of our life together. Of the lives of our children. Of the family we created. A celebration of the friends who have supported us all these years. A celebration of the families who, unlike so many other families out there, have accepted us and cherished us and uplifted us from day one.

Now that we can actually afford to have a real wedding, why should we be allowed any less than anyone else? Why shouldn’t friends and family fly in from all corners of the country to celebrate us? We’ve certainly been to our share of weddings in recent years. I think it is our turn. We deserve the party. We deserve the celebration. We deserve a wedding to remember.

Now if I can just convince Ruanita.


Anonymous said...

I'm in. I will fly out for the big bash. I say go for it.

Heather Wibbels, LMT said...

If you guys decide to have another ceremony and invite us we will gladly come and help you celebrate. Of course, you could move down here then have the wedding and I can help you plan and do it. :-) - heatherw

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