To me, gay weddings don’t seem to me to be that much different than every other wedding I've ever been to: a long fun filled day with a combination of schmoozing with people you have had some disagreements with, hewing close to the few friends you have there and trying not to say something stupid, offensive or brutal to your social whirl to those you don’t know at all.
Weddings across the board are filled with boozy relatives both biological and created spouting embarrassing but heartfelt testimonials on the nature of love and commitment. Nothing really changes with the gender or orientation and at least at a gay wedding, you're assured of disco music being played at some point.
I'll admit I've had visions of what my own wedding would be like since I was pretty young. Would it be a big lavish affair or something small and intimate? Having little to base it on, I took my cues from soap opera weddings. My mom, housekeeper and sister and I watched the ABC soaps growing up and there’s always the interruption of vows – the presumed dead spouses turning just at the last minute or a bomb going off. You know, true to life occurances. And for characters like the ten (or is it eleven?) times married Erica Kane on All My Children, having a wedding was as common as going to the market for bread. “Well, my goodness, a loaf of wheat and a husband in a brown paper bag please as I toss my hair to one side”
Will my own be like Norman and Guy's ceremony? A large, rambunctious extravaganza featuring traditional Biblical text mixed in with other ancient readings, highlighted by many musical performances while we wept as a group, held hands as a group, and admired the longevity of how long everyone had been friends with the grooms?
Would it be more like Brad and Chris’s wedding in PTown overlooking a beautiful vista, the bay into Provincetown? A more intimate event where the grooms wrote their own vows and incorporated each others traditions into the ceremony (like breaking the glass and standing under the huppa)??
Lynn and Terry’s wedding too was a traditional service held at a tiny church, the room filled with close friends. Knowing my sister as I do, I knew her stress level was pretty high so I did my best to ‘beam’ good thoughts to her throughout the ceremony. I hope that on my wedding day someone is kind enough transmit good thoughts into my head because I think I’ll need it. Would my reception be more like Lynn and Terry’s ten years ago? They opted to hold a big sprawling party in our mother’s backyard complete with pig roast and neighborhood kids that I hadn’t seen in over 15 years.
Both Brad and Chris’s and Norman and Guys’ receptions were loud, long and filled with riotous dancing, conga lines and lots of alcohol much into the pitch of night, the echoes of which are still bouncing off the atmosphere I’m sure.
But the options of what to do to seal a commitment are only as limited as our imaginations (and, well, I guess our budget).
One old friend of the BF’s who got ‘married’ to his longtime partner many years ago held a public ceremony at the local Quaker house and had members of the community sign an actual document that held the wedding vows. The ‘contract’ is framed in their bedroom, a constant reminder of the commitment that they made to each other, and the commitment that their friends and family made to them.
For me, this is what’s really at the heart of a wedding. For two people to agree to commit to each other for the rest of their life, a wedding isn’t simply a big party but a moment to declare publicly that commitment as well as an opportunity for those around them to pledge their support of that commitment.
And although I fantasize about a big splashy event, in some ways I wouldn’t care if it took place in a cardboard box, as long as the people that I care about and, more importantly, the man I love are there with me.
(But psst, I’d kind of like a big splashy event. What can I say? I’ve been known to toss my hair aside on more than one occasion and more importantly, it will have been a long time in coming and I'll want to dance all night long to celebrate).