From the moment I met Don and Tom I couldn't wait to help capture their big day. The love and respect these two have for one another is enchanting, mezmorizing, and heart warming.
The day came and felt like I had know these two for years the moment I arrived. That is standard protocall for these two, they LOVE. This wedding will go down in history for me. Honestly, as I type this I get choked up reliving the ceremony. Rev. Phil Sweet officated the ceremony, it was honest and real; the message was LOVE, it was beautiful. People laughed, cried and laughed again, it was awesome.
I'll let these two tell their story....Thank You Don and Tom for asking me to be part of your amazing day.
July 18, 2015
A party or not?
It was never a question of marriage but whether or not there would be a full-fledged wedding & reception. In short, it started as “absolutely not” which gradually morphed into “no”, eased its way into “maybe” and very cautiously became “yes.” It was a decision born of labor pains that spanned the course of several months.
We originally planned on a low-key honeymoon until Tom’s brother Tim—who ultimately was best man, insisted that we deserved much, much more after twenty six years. Similarly, our officiant Phil Sweet confirmed that our relationship deserved a party of similar proportions.
“Yes” to wedding, reception, and honeymoon led to a year of planning the likes of which we’d heard tell about but couldn’t have anticipated. As our assigned dinner companion and soon to become English friend Joan--whom we met on shipboard during our honeymoon—loved to say: “NEVER!”
It was always going to happen in Sturgeon Bay. Our best friends live there and we’ve been going back for more than 20 years since Don resigned from his first teaching gig at TJ Walker Middle School. Sturgeon Bay has remained one of our favorite places on Earth.
The summer of 2014, during our annual visit to SB, was a trip devoted to researching and securing venues, a wedding designer and photographer. Realizing that this was actually a destination wedding for everyone living outside SB led to the concept of a celebration weekend: Friday night Cocktail party, Saturday Wedding and Reception, and Sunday Brunch. If people we’re going to spend the time, energy, and money to be with us, they deserved very special time.
As fate would have it, literally weeks before our ceremony, the Supreme Court decreed that gays had the right to marry! Leading up to that moment our year was a neverending cycle of phone calls, internet searches, texts, emails and doubts.
Selecting readings and music were among the more challenging aspects of the ceremony for us. Being musicians did not make it easier. We perused poetry by the ream and listened to countless cds and YouTube videos trying to decide. And then there was the first dance. As cliché as it sounds, we decided on the “Glory of Love” from Beaches sung by Bette Midler. After 26 years of being together, the sentiment of that song pretty much says it all.
The parent of one of Don’s students offered to choreograph our “first” dance. Her name is Bethany and she is a true professional. Not only has she danced on Broadway, but was in the touring production of CATS which played all over the world. Throughout the process she was patient, kind, and encouraging. The dance she created was one that we were comfortable doing and incorporated both expressive and humorous elements. We practiced regularly before the moment arrived. We were so anxious about performing it in front of family and friends that we broke tradition and scheduled the dance immediately after the wedding party was introduced.
Another parent of one of Don’s students stepped up and offered to make our tuxedo jackets. After finding inspiration on Pinterest, we purchased a Vogue pattern at JoAnn’s Fabric and the fabric at Mood in NYC. The best part of the tuxedo story has nothing to do with the jackets but rather the wedding ring that slipped off Tom’s finger at lunch and wedged itself between the booth seat at Cafeteria in the West Village. Alas it was found.
The morning of we scheduled spa treatments that included massages. Something we both enjoy. Long story short, it ended up being weird and stressful. Not what we were hoping for. Oh well. It’s all part of the experience.
The rest is history. Upon returning to the hotel after our disasterous spa morning, we had little time to prepare for pics and then off to the ceremony. Looking back it’s all a blur.