So last night I posted a status update on my Facebook that went something like this:
This wedding is so far outside of my comfort zone but I don’t care.
I was sitting next to Earl when I posted this. We were in the process of assembling wedding invitations and getting them ready for mailing. We talked a little bit about what I meant with this update, but I think my words may have startled some people. As usual, many of our friends and family are excited about our upcoming celebration and expressed sentiments stating this.
First of all, I still can’t put into words the amount of joy that I feel when I think about the fact that I am going to marry the man that I know is my true love. My soul mate. If anyone can put up with my shenanigans for 15 years then there must be something to this whole thing we got going on. I better get it down on paper quick before he comes to his senses.
Folks have asked about our wedding plans, so here’s how it goes. On October 13, 1996, Earl and I hiked to the top of Rocky Mountain Point in the Fulton Chain of Lakes in the Adirondacks. At the top of this mountain, I got down on my knee and asked him to marry me. Like the first time that I told him I loved him (which was romantically situated over a couple of foot long subs at a Subway restaurant), he told me that I better not say it unless I meant it. And I knew that I had never meant any words more in my life than what I was about to say whilst down on my knee.
Earl and I have decided to become legally married on Thursday, October 13, 2011, 15 years to the date after I asked him. We briefly considered doing it at the top of the mountain again, but it would have been cumbersome to hike family and friends to the top, so we are going to have a celebration in a private room at the local casino. There will be vows, we will be wearing suits and there will be a sit-down dinner for a small group of our friends and family.
I call this a celebration because Earl and I exchanged vows in a commitment ceremony back in December 26, 1996 on Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia. That’s when the rings went on. We call that our wedding. That’s when it really started for us, after a few months of practice living together and a new washer and dryer. On October 13 we’ll be signing the legal documents, stating our sentiments in carefully constructed vows and sharing with our friends and family what we did privately back in December ’96. That’s kind of cool.
I consider this whole thing to be outside of my comfort zone because I’ve never really understood the need for a big wedding affair. I have seen brides walk down aisles barely representing what they really look like; their hair is being held up by flowers, they have makeup on in places that rarely need sprucing up and they might be stumbling a little as they make their way down an aisle of glaring guests wearing anything but their normally comfortable shoes. Conversely, I’ve seem grooms scrubbed up and cleaned out like they never have been before. Scruff is wiped away, unruly mustaches have been tamed and a comb has been introduced to hair that is usually hidden under a cap. It’s surreal to me. On the other hand, I’ve been to weddings where the bridesmaids ran off with the groom and took him to another bar for three hours. I don’t know if there was a stop at a no-tell motel along the way. Weddings are downright whacky to me for many reasons, but if it makes the couple happy then who am I to judge.
I mentioned to Earl last night that I thought it was going to be a little weird to kiss him in front of friends and family. Now don’t get me wrong, we still kiss and I still love it very much after all of these years, but I’m not one for public displays of affection. I think part of it is because I come from the tail end of the gay generation when you didn’t make other people uncomfortable. I don’t like people being uncomfortable. I get uncomfortable when I see other couples kiss (gay or straight) and to compensate I usually turn away slightly. It’s not that I’m embarrassed by it, but affection is something to be savored between the folks engaging in it. It’s a special moment and I just like to keep those thing private. I took a photo of Earl years ago where he was so overjoyed to be at Disney. His expression was pure happiness. I posted the photo on Flickr but then took it down. That was our moment and something that we would savor. It shouldn’t be put up on the web for people to make comments on. To see it on a website would be out of context. Context is important. The photo was printed out and posted on our wall of photos in our home. I can explain why Earl was so happy. Now that I think this through, I’m sure those celebrating with us will be happy to see that Earl and I share affection all these years later.
Suits have been fitted and will be here in plenty of time for alterations. Hotel reservations have been made and I have made our reservations for a long weekend together as a honeymoon. On Saturday we go to the casino to do some food and cake tasting and finalize the details.
Getting married on a Thursday evening is different. Not many people do that. But the date is special. I hope folks are able to share the moment with us. While I fully believe happiness should be savored, I guess it should also be shared.
I just need to realize that I am comfortable with that.
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