In light of this morning's news, I have been glued to the television all.day.long and I’ve checked-in to my various social networking sites about a hundred times. I can’t get enough of the pictures, the stories and interviews on the SCOTUS decision. I have no doubt that most of you have done the same. What a joyous day it’s been!
As I’ve followed today’s events, there is one thing I’ve heard and read over and over again from fellow LGBT-ers, and that is, “Now we can really get married”… “I’ve dreamt of the day I could really marry my partner”… “Finally we can have a real wedding”. Surprisingly, these comments have all come from people who I thought were already married. These are friends and acquaintances who have had weddings; they’ve worn the white attire, exchanged rings and made that oh-so important commitment to love one another forever. To be honest, it’s all left me a bit perplexed. I’m not saying that referring to a legal marriage as a “real” marriage has bothered me necessarily, but it certainly has made me think. After reading the 6th or 7th comment like this today, I spent the better part of the afternoon reflecting on my own marriage and wedding, asking myself the question, what makes a marriage “real”? Do you have to be married on paper to really be married, or does a symbolic ceremony count as real? I know my personal answer to this question and it would appear that my definition of what a real marriage is, differs from many others in the LGBT community.
When I knew that I wanted to marry Georgia, I stopped by my local jeweler and picked out the ring that I had stalked online for weeks. 10 months and 10 payments later, I took the ring home in its little blue box and couldn’t have been more excited. I had the ring, I had the blessing of G’s parents and I had her 30th birthday trip to San Francisco all planned – or what I now lovingly refer to as our *engagement trip*. Yes my friends, she said YES!
Following the BIG engagement, our A-mazing friends threw us a semi-formal black and white themed engagement party. It was beautiful. From the invitations to the food and decorations, it was more than we could have ever asked for. They didn’t leave out a thing.
A few months later as a special gift to us, my talented sister, Missy, took our engagement pictures on a sunny day down by the river. These photographs are framed throughout our home and will forever hold a place in my heart.
Because we were married in another country, we were engaged for a year and a half (we needed lots of planning time)! Even with our extended engagement, that year and a half went in a flash. Before either of us knew it, it was already bridal shower and bachelorette party time!
Our bridal shower was hosted by our moms at our favorite local winery. Aside from the actual wedding, this was my favorite of all our wedding events. Our friend Becca made the most beautiful cake for the shower. Me and G handmade about a million wine charms for our guests and my 91 year old great grandma gave the most touching toast. We were surrounded by so much LOVE.
Both G and I celebrated our bachelorette parties in Las Vegas, NV (separately, of course)! G was in on the planning for hers but mine was a TOTAL surprise! I was given a scavenger hunt that instructed me to call several family members that I am closest with. With each call, the person on the other end of the line told me the story of how they met and fell in love with their spouse. They then told me whom I would need to call next. When I got to the end of my hunt (totally in tears), I was told to pack my bags because I was joining 10 of my closest friends the next day in Las Vegas. It was like a bachelorette party out of a movie, tons of friends, surprises everyday, an awesome hotel. It was seriously amazing!
And this brings us to the BIG DAY! November 7th, 2009, a day Georgia and I will hold in our hearts for all time. The weather was beautiful and both brides were surprisingly calm and stress-free. Joined by 40 of our family and friends, we made the vow to love, honor and remain committed to one another for the rest of our lives.
All of these wonderful events and that special day on the beach in Mexico will forever be our REAL wedding. Our ceremony was symbolic and to this day we are legally married in Vancouver BC but not in the US. Even with this being the case, November 7th, 2009 will forever be our real wedding day. When gay marriage passes in New Mexico (it’s just a matter of time before it does), we’ll go down to the courthouse and we will legally wed, but there will be no reception to follow and no wedding cake. For me, for us, our real wedding, our forever wedding took place at sunset in Cabo San Lucas Mexico nearly 4 years ago. Legal or not, that will always be our wedding day.
I know there is no “right” answer to the question of gay marriage and what constitutes a real marriage. Some feel it is extremely important to have that piece of paper and others don’t. What are your thoughts?