We’re kicking off our new wedding blog with our own wedding day. This is from a piece I wrote for the commemorative book Marriage Equality USA is putting out shortly.
Mark and I realized in mid October that our window was quickly closing. Our dream of a big beautiful wedding with all of our family around us was about to be snatched away. If we were to have any chance at getting married legally in California, it had to be then.
In the end, with just three weeks to go before the election, we decided to let go of all of our “big wedding” dreams. If we were going to be married, it had to be now. I remember the day very clearly – sitting with Mark at lunch at our favorite Italian restaurant in Sacramento, talking about what to do next. Once again agonizing over not having the wedding we wanted, this time over gnocchi, chicken saltimbocca and French fries. And looking up at Mark and saying…
“What if we invited our parents?” What if we made this wedding “real”? What if we didn’t do this alone? That night, we called them– my mom and dad, and Mark’s mom.
I still remember my mom saying “of course I’ll be there.” She had supported me from the day I came out, but there was always that… pause, when we talked about LGBT issues. And now, at last, the pause was gone. I’d never felt better in my life than I did at that moment…
When you truly love someone, you learn that they have to be all that really matters. And there was still a wedding to be planned. So the calls went out, and the mad rush to beat the election began. We dove in head-first, together, and within days, we had an officiant, a violinist, and a photographer for our wedding day.
But we still didn’t know where we would be getting married. We wanted something outdoors, but in November it often rains in San Francisco, so we had to have a back-up. Then we found the perfect place – a restaurant in the Embarcadero Center, with a beautiful patio overlooking Justin Herman Plaza, the Ferry Building, and the Bay Bridge – a picture-perfect setting for the perfect day. And half the patio was covered, just in case.
As the day drew quickly closer, we watched the weather forecasts diligently. It had been such a dry year—surely, we thought, the odds against rain were high. But as each day passed into the next, the prospects for our sunny, “perfect” day dimmed.
One day, the forecast said 20% rain in our wedding day. 20% in San Francisco in the winter means it might rain, a little, and be sunny, a little, and if you don’t like the weather where you’re at, just walk a block. On the next, it was 40%—we were worried, but not freaked out. Weather forecasters are wrong all the time, we thought.
Three days out, the odds were up to 60%. We were so glad that we had booked a covered space, but still, no one wants it to rain on their wedding day. Two days, and it topped 80%.
At last, on the day before, as we prepared to drive down to San Francisco once again, rain was a virtual certainty at 100%. And the strongest part of the storm was going to blow through just as we said our vows.
I didn’t know whether to be angry, or sad; to cry or to laugh.
“It’s supposed to be lucky if it rains on your wedding day,” Mark said with a grin. So I laughed. And in the end, he was right.
The ceremony started under the tent, as the rain poured down just feet away outside. Mark’s mother walked him down the aisle, followed by my mother and I.
I remember so many little, independent things about that afternoon: the violinist playing The Four Seasons. The officiant giving us a hurried run-through before, telling us not to forget to breathe, and then stumbling over her words as I leaned over to whisper “breathe” in her ear. My Father, reading the piece we chose for him, and telling us it said everything he’d wanted to say to us.
Our mothers together, handing us the candles to light together. Reading each other our vows, and hearing for the first time the words my wonderful partner had chosen to seal his love for me.
The warm, perfect feeling of this is right.
And the rain.
The splattering of the raindrops closed the world in around us, shutting out the traffic, the noise, the rest of the city, until it was just us.
When it was all over, we stood together, alone in each others arms, and cried.
When we are little, we see people get married on TV, in movies, in real life. Boy meets girl, boy romances girl, and they have the picture-perfect wedding. Growing up as gay kids, as lesbian kids, even as bi and transgender kids, we dream of that perfect wedding. But we all realized, at some point, that we were never going to have that perfect day, that smiling recognition of our relationships and the affirmation of friends, family, and even our government.
But things can change in an instant, and the impossible can become real.
It was the perfect day. Everyone who supposed to be there were there, and after seventeen years together, though the timing was not what we’d h, it hoped for, it was exactly how it was supposed to be.