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Monday, July 25, 2011

Our Incredible Wedding!

So many happy and wonderful things happened yesterday on our wedding day, that it's difficult to sum up the feeling of euphoria that we have. To be surrounded by so many friends and so much love has put us on a high that I hope we never come down from.

Our last minute decision to forgo a wedding out in Cherry Grove, and instead get married in Brookhaven, NY came about due to developments in Cherry Grove. We just decided that plans taking shape in the Grove for a mass wedding in September were not for us. So early last week we decided to take advantage of the one stop opportunity to get a marriage license, 24 hour waiting period waiver, and civil ceremony in New York City. But New York City could only accommodate just so many couples and they decided to have a lottery to select those lucky couples who would be able to marry on July 24th, the first day for marriage equality in the State.

I entered the NYC lottery, and Thursday evening we got a call from the New York City Town Clerk congratulating us and letting us know that we could get married in the city on Sunday. However, then I found out that Brookhaven, NY, which is near us and so much more convenient, would also be opening their Town Hall for marriages on Sunday for a limited number of couples.

So last Friday I called the Brookhaven Town Clerk and got one of the two remaining open appointments for Sunday, July 24th at 12:45 PM. We decided we would have a reception back at our house in Cherry Grove later that afternoon at 3:30 PM, and then take our wedding party members out to dinner in Ocean Beach that evening. We printed invitations to the reception and Dan began distributing them Friday afternoon. We got on the phone and lined up witnesses, ring bearers and friends who wanted to be present at the wedding.

Dan called our dear long time friend Louise Simons in Philadelphia, who wanted to be present at our wedding. Louise made the long trip up on Sunday morning and stayed over with us in Cherry Grove until Monday. Ed Mallon and Louise were our official witnesses and signed our marriage license. Michael Peskoff and Juan Punchon were ring bearers. Barbara Levy got us "Just Married" sashes that we wore after the ceremony.

When we got to the Brookhaven Town Hall on Sunday morning we were treated wonderfully. The Hall was alive with happy couples and their friends and families. There we refreshments and even a wedding cake with "Congratulations" written on it. The Brookhaven Town Clerk, Patricia Eddington, personally greeted us. She was so very nice and supportive. I really wasn't prepared for how wonderful all of this was. I guess I had expected something cold, informal and business-like. Instead, while all the formalities were observed, it happened in a wonderfully festive and happy atmosphere. After we got our marriage license, a kind Judge Tarentino signed our waiver of the 24 hour waiting period, and we joined him upstairs for our marriage ceremony.

Judge Tarentino conducted the ceremony beautifully. We exchanged vows that we had selected that reflected our long standing relationship. Louise Simons read a beautiful Shakespeare Sonnet (No. 116), and I read a poem by Walt Whitman that particularly resonates with me. We exchanged rings and Judge Tarentino pronounced us married.

Everyone took photographs, but the big surprise was that a reporter and a photographer from the New York Times was present for our wedding. She interviewed us afterwards and came to our house in Cherry Grove for the reception. She filed an article from our dining room table while the reception party went on around her. The article was posted live on the New York Times web site by 5 PM. This was incredible!

We had about three dozen guests at the reception. At about 4:30 Pm Dan and I cut our wedding cake. So many of our friends brought nice cards and gifts. After the reception our seven member wedding party boarded a water taxi for Ocean Beach. We enjoyed dinner at the Island Mermaid. A round of toasts took place. Finally we boarded a water taxi for the trip back to Cherry Grove, exhausted from the many wonderful events of the day.

I could not have imagined a better wedding. From start to finish everything was beautiful and wonderful. And best of all, I got to marry the most wonderful man in the world. It truly cannot get any better than this. As I said to many of those who congratulated us during the day: "everyone should do this at least once!"

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