It’s safe to say we’ve fallen completely in love with our next couple and their incredibly intimate ceremony and luncheon. After 24 years together—twenty four!—they decided that now couldn’t be a better time to officially be married. This wonderful celebration took place on a perfectly grey day filled with so much emotion and love. And how sweet it is!
“After talking about it for some time, we decided we would get married in D.C. on December 9th, 2014—the 24th anniversary of our 1990 commitment ceremony. We had numerous conversations where we’d discuss getting married, agree to get married, then look at each other and say, “so, I guess we’re engaged! Then we’d laugh. After 24 years together and a commitment ceremony, proposing felt like an afterthought or a done deal. But in May 2014 while in Providence, Rhode Island, I decided we needed something to remember. So after dinner at our favorite restaurant, Cook & Brown Public House, I proposed to him with the original ring we had made for our 1990 commitment ceremony. There was surprise, laughs and lots of tears. Then in October 2014, Virginia allowed all marriages, so we thought—why wait?”
Photographed by Kate Headley.
What was the best advice you received? Make it yours! Relax and have fun. Don’t worry about what other people want.
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Do what you can to make sure everyone feels loved, honored, a part of the day, and taken care of. Review the details but don’t sweat them. Enjoy yourself.
Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about. We DIY’ed so much of our original commitment ceremony that our goal this time was to not lift a finger, but just sit back and enjoy the ride. That’s why we put up everyone in the same hotel and provided transportation for the entire two days—we didn’t want anyone to worry about anything, but to just come, share, enjoy, and relax with us.
“We knew we wanted our dogs present, we wanted to honor those who were no longer with us, and we wanted a very traditional ceremony. We added a prayer for artists. We chose all the readings and music. We loved Kate’s photography so much, we just let her do her thing. We think the final photos really speak to how relaxed everyone was, and how much love and fun were present during the day. For the flowers, we worked with Sidra on arrangements, boutonnieres, and bouquets with flowers that had meanings to us—magnolia for dignity and love of nature; acorns and oak leafs for strength and endurance; amaryllis for pride; ivy for fidelity and affection; rosemary for remembrance; and stephanotis for happiness in marriage to commemorate our mother’s original bouquets. She kept the palette white and green and brown—very clean, natural, masculine.”
Why did you choose this location for your ceremony? We have a wonderful friend who is part of the congregation at Historic Christ Church. Once she heard we were getting married, she said, “Call Ann, I know she would love to officiate!” That afternoon we sent Reverend Gillespie an e-mail, and within two hours we had locked down the Chapel and her services.
What was your ceremony music? Processional: “In My Life” by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Prior to Gospel: “Ave Maria” by Franz Schubert. Recessional: “The Wedding March” by Felix Mendelssohn, all performed by Christopher Wyton.
Your ceremony in three words: Perfect, intimate, emotional
Did you include any traditions in your ceremony? We incorporated readings and music that we used during our commitment ceremony on December 9th, 1990—24 years earlier to the day and the hour.
What were your vows like? We wanted very traditional vows. So we worked with Reverend Gillespie to tweak the vows in the ceremony, looking at vows other couples had used, using bits of our commitment ceremony vows, and ultimately revising them to fit the two of us.
Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony? We were the first gay couple married on the property of Historic Christ Church (other couples were married before us, but at off-site locations). So we are part of the history of the church.
What were your favorite things about your wedding ceremony? Bob’s spontaneous tears when we turned to face each other. My mother escorting us up the aisle. The intimacy of the wedding chapel. The walk from the hotel to the church. It was magical. Fun. So many people congratulated us. The walk itself was emotional. Just FYI—during the holidays after the wedding, Bob pulled my Mom and I aside and said he wanted to call her Mom. He was so moved after all these years, and by the fact we were married, that he felt that close to mom. It was a beautiful, unplanned moment that really made the holidays.
Do you have any budget tips for other couples? Make sure whatever you are spending you are comfortable with before, during and after the event. We were both in agreement that we weren’t going to regret the budget we had. We had the wedding we wanted, we loved it, and that’s confirmed every single time we look at our amazing photographs. But having the wedding we wanted meant we couldn’t invite everyone that had been in our lives for the past 25 years. So we kept it incredibly intimate, and made it what we had always wanted. Spend money on the photographer. They can seriously make or break your wedding experience. And what will be your reference point for your day years down the road? The photos.
“We always said that if we could ever get married, we wanted to make sure that every aspect of the day meant something to us. The Supreme Court of the United States’ decision affecting Virginia occurred on October 6th, 2015. I think we decided to get married that day or the next. We received our marriage license October 14th. On October 15th, I found Kate Headley online, who would ultimately be our photographer. Through her website, I found Sidra Forman. Now it just so happens that Sidra and her husband John Cochran owned and operated one of our most favorite restaurants in Washington, Rupperts, in the 90’s and early 00’s. We shot her an e-mail instantly and we reconnected that evening. Since we were having such a small group for the ceremony and luncheon, and since it was on a Tuesday, everyone was available and we had the whole event decided upon within a day and booked within a week. It was true serendipity.”
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? There was no one particular moment. But at one point during lunch, I just stopped and looked around the table—everyone was smiling, happy, laughing, eating, drinking. There was beautiful jazz playing in the background. We were surrounded by three generations of family and friends. I was infused with such love at that moment. After waiting so long, the day was perfect. I just grabbed Bob’s hand and squeezed.
How would you describe your reception? It was a luncheon, and not to be redundant, but it was simply perfection. Exquisite, delicious, relaxed, fun and bursting with love.
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? Timeless. Ageless. We are both huge lovers of food and wine. We’ve traveled and eaten at amazing places. And we knew Sidra and John’s food intimately. So again, we listed dietary restrictions and likes/dislikes, but other than that just let things fly. We were incredibly pleased by everything.
Menu: Passed: Brussel Sprouts with Pickled Ginger / Cauliflower and White Bean Puree with Alba White Truffle / Seared Scallop with Kohlrabi and Carrot / Buffalo and Parsnip / Poussin with Lemon, Sage, Garlic and Apple Sauce / Baby Hakurei Turnips with Cassis // First Course: Wood Grilled Lamb Chop with Pumpkin; Rosemary Bread / Second Course: Chanterelle, Arugula, Beet and Leek Salad; Spelt Olive Oil Bread / Third Course: Rockfish with Girasol, Saffron, Black Rice and Greens; 48 Hour Farm Bread / Fourth Course: Cheese and Cracker
Did you have a signature cocktail? No, but we had the following incredible wines. The sparkling wine for the passed food and the dessert wine were supplied from our personal collection. Passed: Emile’s California NV, Guglielmo Vineyard / First Course: 2007 Domaine Lionnet Cornas “Terre Brûlée” / Second Course: 2012 Meyer-Fonne Riesling Alsace Grand Cru “Wineck-Schlossberg” / Third Course: 2009 Albert Boillot Pommard 1er Cru “En Largilliere” / Fourth Course: 2008 Anton Bauer Gruner Veltliner Eiswein
What type of cake or dessert did you serve? A most delicious coconut cake with frozen caramel ice cream and fresh oranges. And the picture of our nephew holding the cake is one of our favorites. Mignardises: mini chocolate cakes, maple drops, salty rosemary walnut biscotti, vanilla drop cookies.
Did you include any other traditions in your wedding? We had framed our parents’ wedding photos, and displayed them on the cake table, as well as the invitation to our original commitment ceremony.
What was your first dance song? There was no first dance. Dancing just happened spontaneously at points during the luncheon. While we wanted a traditional ceremony, we didn’t want a traditional reception or the trappings of one. No “And now introducing…”, or chicken dance, etc. We got exactly what we wanted – a lovely celebration.
If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently? Nothing. Again, it was just perfect.