My Big Gay Wedding

Discussion in 'Community Hang-Out' started by sjmartin79, Apr 21, 2016.

  1. sjmartin79

    sjmartin79 White Phoenix of the Crown

    After a year of planning, the day that felt like it would never come finally arrived. On March 24, 2016, Steve2 and I got married!

    It was a long, strange journey, and never again will I take for granted all that goes into planning a wedding.


    Let’s rewind a little bit and go back to the proposal. On July 7, 2014, Steve2 and I were celebrating our dating anniversary. I had planned a romantic dinner at a fancy restaurant in town. The food was amazing, and ambiance was perfect. After dinner, on our walk home, I stopped and said, “Okay, this is where I leave you.” He had a confused look on his face. I said, “I’ve set up a scavenger hunt for you. At the end of the scavenger hunt, you’ll get your anniversary present.” The scavenger hunt was set up via text message. I would send him a meme with a riddle on it, and he would need to walk to the location and take a selfie there, send it to me, and I would send him the next clue. All the locations were places that meant a lot to us during our relationship.

    While he was doing all this, I walked a block and hopped in my parents’ car and we drove to the beach. At the beach, we had 28 people – family and close friends – awaiting Steve2’s arrival. We had a table set up with sparkling wine and mini cheesecakes. I had my niece and nephew set up a path made from glowsticks to light his way from the parking lot to where he was meeting me. (During all this, Steve2 was making excellent progress on the scavenger hunt.) We all got in our places, my friend Jessica was facetiming my best friend Dia in for the event since she was in Cincinnati. All faces were turned toward the lit path waiting for Steve2 to arrive, when I hear “Oh shit” from beside. I turn to see what Jessica is looking at, and Steve2 is behind me, having taken an alternate (and much more difficult) path to the beach. Momentarily startled, I dropped to one knee, trying to remember the speech I had memorized, flubbed it a bit, but got the point across. At this point, I brought out the handmade wooden Legend of Zelda box (see pic below for the example of what it looked like) that held the engagement rings.
    He said yes! The beach erupted in applause. (Turns out we had drawn a crowd of about 100 people without realizing it.) Then we had a party as the sun continued to set. I was too excited for words - I was going to marry my best friend!


    We took some time after that to just live in the moment. About February of 2015, we knew we needed to start planning. First was the location. We went all over Sarasota trying to find the right spot that also wouldn't break the bank. There were many gorgeous locations, but they charged $10,000 or more, and that didn't include anything other than the right to have the wedding there. We found a Sarasota loophole that most locations will charge 25% less if you have your wedding on a Thursday. Since the majority of the guests would be coming from out of town, it was already a destination wedding, and a Thursday wedding meant they could spend the rest of the week at the beach. So we decided on a Thursday, and at Spanish Point. Next up was the exact date.

    Spanish Point, a nature preserve right on the water, has white lights in all the trees till April 1st. So we knew it had to be March. (Too cold in February, would have been in the 50s) And we wanted it after Daylight Saving Time started, which was late in 2016, so that put it at either March 17 or March 24. We refused to have our anniversary be St. Paddy's Day, so March 24th it was.

    Next up was engagement photos for Save the Dates and finding all the other vendors. Like I said, we honestly had zero idea what all was involved in planning a wedding from start to finish. The engagement photos were easy. We went back to the beach where we got engaged, and I think the end result was great.


    Over the next few months, it was all appointments with the caterer, wedding planner, cake artist, photographer, DJ, wedding location - then sending out invitations, coming up with table assignments, designing the set up for the ceremony and reception - then tux fittings, corralling family, RSVP cards, minor drama - all the time having to work 40+ hours a week and have a semblance of a social life.

    As the day got closer, it was time for the wedding shower (yay Presents!), joint bachelor party (dinner and copious amounts of alcohol, including homemade limoncello that I had been working on for a month), and continuing to organize and pay for this grand event.

    As an FYI, the average wedding in Southwest Florida costs a minimum of $35,000. You can bet your ass I did not spend that much. It's amazing what you can do on a budget and still make it look like you spent a fortune.

    But after all the planning, the week of the wedding finally arrived!
    • R.A.P. R.A.P. x 13
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2016
  2. sjmartin79

    sjmartin79 White Phoenix of the Crown

    Leading up to the wedding, we had gotten a final headcount. 96 people, including us. If we hit 100, it would cost roughly $3k-$5k more, so we were trying to keep it under. Then my cousin Tricia called and said that her mother changed her mind and wanted to come to our wedding because she felt it might be the last time she gets to see all her siblings. (Aunt Janet has been very ill.) So, we called the caterer and got them to add one more. Then a week later Tricia calls again asking if her niece can come, because she’s never been to the beach for Spring break. Thankfully, that day, we had had a cancelation for medical reasons, so it was easy to swap 1 for 1.

    We thought that was the end of the table hopping. The day before the wedding, the day of the rehearsal, my nephew texts to ask if his girlfriend could come. I had to tell him that, unfortunately, no, she could not. The numbers were final. We had already paid for all the rental chairs, rental plates, and for a certain amount of food. In my opinion, if he had wanted her there, when my brother was sending in his RSVP two months before, they could have added Lexii then. (and who spells Lexii with two I’s at the end?) The time to ask if she could come was not 24 hours before the wedding.

    The rehearsal was exciting – mainly to be so close to the big day. My brother and his family couldn’t be bothered to show up on time. Rehearsal started at 4. They showed at 4:45, when we were just about done. So, they had all kinds of questions about where they were supposed to stand or what they were supposed to do. (As a side note, they had also had a script of the ceremony and a timeline – in 15 minute increments – for the day before the wedding and the day of, so everything was spelled out.) Our wedding planner informed them that we didn’t have time then to go over everything again, and that they should have shown up on time. I wanted to give her a big hug right then. (My brother has a horrible habit of not caring about anyone else’s timetable.) My Person of Honor, Dia, took time later during the rehearsal to go over everything with him and his family. He tried again to ask for Lexii to come, and conned my mother into helping with the cause. I informed them both that I could not magically make plates and chairs appear that were not there. I also said that he had 8 months to ask for Lexii to come, and if he had just cared enough to put her as a +1 on the RSVP, there would be no issue now. This was on him, not me. (As you can probably tell, it pissed me off. I love my family, but this was my day, and I don’t feel it was my place to jump through hoops to fix their poor planning.)


    Steve2 and I decided to keep our wedding party on the small side with three on each side. My best friend Dia, my brother Barry, and my other best friend Brady. Steve2 had his best friend Laura, our friend Eric, and our friend Jessica.

    The day of the wedding, I was a bundle of nerves. Not because I was nervous about getting married, but because I just wanted everything to go well. The week before the wedding, the weather called for no rain. Then the forecast changed to 80% chance of rain from 2pm on. The wedding ceremony started at 5:30pm, and we had an outdoor wedding. March in Sarasota usually doesn’t have rain.

    As the day went on, the forecast kept pushing the rain back hour by hour. By the time we left at 2:30pm for Spanish point, the forecast now said it wouldn’t rain till 11pm, and the reception was to be done by then, so we called that a win!

    When we got to the site, I was blown away. All our months of planning and design, and everything was taking shape. I was speechless.


    Steve and I had been in separate places since 10am that morning, so we had not seen each other dressed up. At 3:30pm, the photographer set up a “First Look” photo so we could see each other before the ceremony. I was already on the verge of happy tears, but getting to see him in his tux, that did it. He was so unbelievably handsome. It took my breath away.

    After that, it was time for family and group photos. We wanted to get as many pictures done before the ceremony as possible so we could spend more time with the guests during the reception.

    About 4:50pm, we were ushered into a room with a view out over the wedding area so we could see the guests arrive, but they couldn’t see us. Had to stay there till it was time to walk down the aisle. So, we’re waiting and chatting and laughing with the wedding party when I look out the window… and you’ll never guess who I saw down below. If you guessed Lexii, you would be correct. My brother took it upon himself to tell her that it was fine for her to go ahead and come, but wasn’t going to tell us. Figured we’d just see her during reception and at that point it was already done. His thought was he would stand for the whole reception and not eat, so she could have his seat and meal. Needless to say, I felt a little betrayed at that moment. 15 minutes before the ceremony.

    But I said fuck it. It’s my day, and I’m not going to let him or anyone else ruin it for me.

    So, 5:25 came, it was time to line up for the big event.
    • R.A.P. R.A.P. x 9
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2016
  3. sjmartin79

    sjmartin79 White Phoenix of the Crown

    I wrote the wedding ceremony, so I wanted to include it here so you could get an idea of everything. My Dad got ordained and performed the ceremony.
    Steve 2 and I call each other Lawmel. It stands for "Love of My Life". We used to text it as LOML, but once I said it out loud, and it sounded like Lawmel, so we stuck with that.



    ~ Introductory Music ~ (At Last, by Etta James)

    Welcome Statement

    Dad: Welcome to this day of celebration, and today is definitely a celebration. A celebration of love, of commitment, of friendship, of family, and of two people who are in it for forever. It's great to have all of you here to witness the union of Stephen and Steven as husband and husband before God. Together, we will share in the joys of their wedding, both with the celebration of this occasion and with an appreciation for the love that surrounds us.

    The marriage ceremony has been an important feature across nearly every culture, religion, generation, and society. We have thousands of important moments that happen throughout our lives, but this one is regarded as one so critical, we acknowledge its special status by sharing it with others. Many have wondered, “Why this moment?”

    Because despite all of our differences, love is what we all share. It's the great unifier — our one universal truth. That no matter who we are, where we've come from, what we believe, we know this one thing: love is what we're doing right. That's why you both are standing here. That's why you all are here to support them. We have all loved in our lifetimes, and in this moment, we're reminded that the ability to love is the very best part of our humanity

    Stephen and Steven, you two have the opportunity to build an amazing life together. You are blessed to share this experience with the loved ones gathered here as you embark on this journey together.

    As the Bible reminds us in Corinthians, "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. Love never fails."

    May you all remember and cherish this ceremony, for on this day, with love, we will forever bind The Steves together.

    Wedding Sermon

    Dad: All of us here today have our own love stories. Some are short, others long. Some are yet unwritten, while others are just getting to the good part.

    Today is a special time in your love story. A time to pause, look back, and smile at all the moments that brought you here. And a time to look ahead at all the moments that are still to come.

    We’re all here because we want those moments for you. We're here to hope with you, to support you, to be proud of you, and to remind you that love is a journey together, love is the experience of writing your story. It's not one moment — not even this moment. It's every moment. Big ones like saying "I love you," moving in together, getting engaged on the beach — but mostly a million little ones that come in between the big moments. Falling asleep next to one another, making dinner together, spending holidays with your families, cuddling on the couch watching tv, getting a big hug when you get home from work… These everyday moments fuse together into one big experience.

    And even though this experience is so incredible, words fail us when we try to explain it. That's just the way it is with love — it's meant to be felt, not described.

    But trying to describe love is one of our favorite pastimes. We use the words we have to write stories, and poems, and songs about love. And even though we describe love in different ways — and even though love can look different from one person to the next — we all know it when we see it. And we see it here with you.

    So today, we have some words about what your love is, coming from someone who has been there to watch your love blossom and grow. Dennis, if you’ll please come forward.
    Dennis: Today, I’ll be reading “I carry your heart” by ee cummings.
    I carry your heart with me
    (I carry it in my heart)
    I am never without it
    (anywhere I go, you go, my dear;
    and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling).

    I fear no fate
    (for you are my fate, my sweet)
    I want no world
    (for beautiful, you are my world, my true)
    and you are whatever a moon has always meant
    and whatever a sun will always sing is you.
    Here is the deepest secret nobody knows
    (Here is the root of the root, and the bud of the bud,
    and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;
    which grows higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
    and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart.
    I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart)

    Dad: Stephen and Steven, take a moment to sense the tremendous amount of love radiating throughout this space. As you stand here today, before God, before those gathered here in your honor, and before one another, take note that after you speak your vows this day your lives will never be the same. Marriage has the capacity to deepen and challenge and strengthen you and your relationship in ways that you never thought possible.

    The joy you'll find as you pursue your shared lives will fuel you to face head-on the challenges you'll encounter on this Earth. On your journeys together, keep each other in the space of highest priority in your heart and soul. Continue to work together, to laugh together, and to love together.
    • R.A.P. R.A.P. x 9
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2016
  4. sjmartin79

    sjmartin79 White Phoenix of the Crown

    Wedding Ceremony Continued:

    Exchange of Vows

    Dad: Stephen and Steven, I would now invite you to publicly speak your commitment to your partner.

    Stephen, would you like to begin?

    My Lamwel… Anyone who has met you knows what a special and exceptional person you are. Your intelligence, your kindness, your compassion, your silliness. There are definitely times where you know me better than I know myself, but I don’t know if you fully understand how you’ve changed my life.

    I can say with certainty that I’m not the same person I was 5 to 10 years ago. And a large part of that is due to you. In my 20s, out of fear of being hurt, I began putting up emotional walls. I figured, if I didn’t allow myself to feel, then it didn’t matter what happens. That wall, the icy exterior… over time, it hardened me. The word “aloof” was used more than once, and I may not have been the nicest person in the world. I resigned myself to my role as villain, and as we all know from Fairy Tales, villains don’t get a Happy Ending.

    My very good friend and personal Jiminy Cricket once told me that I needed to let people in, past the ice, let them get to know the real me. Easier said than done, I told her.

    Then you came into my life. You didn’t just chip away at the walls, you smashed right through them!

    You saw me.

    You didn’t blame me for all that I’m not, and in your eyes, all that I am was so much more than good enough.

    Loving you and being with you has been the greatest adventure of my life. I laugh more. I smile more. And that’s all because of you. With all these emotions no longer held in check, I now cry at the drop of a hat while watching TV, and I blame that on you too. With you, I’m happier than I’ve ever been, and more loved than I ever thought possible. You have made me a better person.

    Every day I wake up, knowing how lucky and blessed I am to have you in my life. You are my confidante, my best friend, my partner in crime. You are the knowing look across a room when we can’t say what we’re really thinking. You are the calming embrace that sets all things right. You are the hand to hold when times are tough. You are the smile that lights up my world.

    Us, all of this, it’s fate. It’s the Universe working it’s magic. Putting two souls together that were destined to be. You are the love of my life. Always. I vow to be the husband you deserve, and I’m so excited to be starting this new journey with you by my side… toward our happily ever after.

    Dad: Steven

    Steven: Vows (Sorry, I don't have a copy of Steve2's vows)

    Declaration of Intent

    Dad: Stephen and Steven please join hands.

    Stephen, do you take Steven as your husband? To take him as your best friend? To honor, cherish, and love him, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, for all of your days?

    Stephen: I do.

    Dad: Steven, do you take Stephen as your husband? To take him as your best friend? To honor, cherish, and love him, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, for all of your days?

    Stephen: I do.

    Exchange of Rings

    Dad: The wedding cuff’s circular shape, like the traditional wedding ring, reflects the unending power of love – a force with no beginning and no end. You should wear these cuffs proudly, and let them remind you each day of your commitment to one another.

    Who has the cuffs?
    Logan and Madison: We do! (Comes onstage and presents the cuffs.)

    Please repeat after me:

    I, Stephen, give you Steven this cuff as a symbol of my love. I commit the whole of my heart and soul to you. I promise to cherish you for the rest of my days. I give you all that I am, and accept all that you are.

    I, Steven, give you Stephen this cuff as a symbol of my love. I commit the whole of my heart and soul to you. I promise to cherish you for the rest of my days. I give you all that I am, and accept all that you are.


    Dad: Family and friends, by the power vested in me by the Universal Life Church and by the state of Florida, it is with great pride that I pronounce Stephen and Steven as husband and husband, sealed together today both in law and in love.


    Dad: Stephen, you may kiss the groom.


    Dad: Ladies and gentlemen, for the first time, Mr. Stephen Martin-Bennet and Mr. Steven Bennet-Martin!


    ~ Exit Music ~ (So Happy Together, by The Turtles)

    During the ceremony, I kept crying. There are many, many pictures of me ugly crying. Took me forever to get through my vows.

    As we walked back down the aisle, legally married, I couldn't believe it! It had happened! We were married! I was floating on air. I could not stop smiling.

    The rest of the night was dancing, eating, drinking, and having an absolute blast. Here are a few more pictures from that day.

    • R.A.P. R.A.P. x 9
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2016
  5. sjmartin79

    sjmartin79 White Phoenix of the Crown

    Time for the Honeymoon

    Neither of us was able to take off another week for the honeymood, we decided for a Full-on Mini-Break, and we went to New Orleans for 4 days. I had been once before, but Steve2 never had.

    Our flight was at 6:00am, so we had to leave for the airport around 3am. Unfortunately, we weren't able to get any sleep, being too excited from the wedding still. Thanks to the time change, we arrived in NOLA at 6:30am. We got to our hotel in the French Quarter at 7am. The city was still asleep. The only people on the streets were us, street cleaners, and US Food delivery trucks. So crazy to see such a busy place totally dead. I told Steve that it wouldn't last long.

    We grabbed breakfast at Cafe Du Monde, wandered around the Quarter, then went back to the hotel for a nap. By this point, we had been up for about 30 hours. We had a ghost tour that evening of the Quarter that was filled with stories and history of vampires, zombies, scandals, and murder. Severely entertaining.


    That night, we grabbed a late dinner about 10pm. (Jambalaya omelettes, and yes, they were just as good as they sound, with Bananas Foster Beignet fries for dessert.)

    After the lack of sleep, we decided to skip drinking our way down Bourbon street that night and get some rest. We had a cemetery tour the next day, and lots to see.

    We got to see the future tomb of Nicholas Cage


    The house where they filmed American Horror Story: Coven


    And a ManBaby


    We also discovered the most delicious drink: The Hand Grenade. Deceptively strong and so tasty. We each had at least 10 while we were there.


    Over the course of the rest of the weekend, we got to explore a lot of the French Quarter, and it was phenomenal.


    While we were there, we learned a lot about voodoo and how Hollywood has turned something that is very personal and healing into something dark and evil. For example, Voodoo dolls are meant to be used on yourself for relief of pain or worries, not to inflict ill will onto others. Many Christians and Catholics in the city use voodoo in conjunction with their religion as a way to ask for blessings from those that have passed on. It's actually quite lovely and not at all what I had assumed it was.

    We had a personal ghost hunt with the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans - Bloody Mary. And as a wedding present, she handmade two voodoo dolls and did a blessing ceremony on them and on our marriage.

    We got to see the tomb of Marie Laveau - the original Voodoo Queen of New Orleans, went to her house, and asked for a blessing there on our marriage. (Left an offering of course) Believe it or not, we felt a strong warmth wash over us. I totally felt the blessing.

    By the time Monday afternoon rolled around, we had eaten more than our weight in delicious food (special shout out to Juan's Flying Burrito - the best burrito I've ever had and the best meal I had in NOLA), drank enough to kill 6 livers, walked over 30 miles, and danced for hours on end. But, it was time to go. We were exhausted.

    It was a special time we will always remember, and we will definitely go back.

    So, thank you all for taking the time to read all about My Big Gay Wedding. I was lucky enough to marry my best friend and the Love of My Life, and we now start on this new adventure together, toward our Happily Every After!

    I hope you enjoyed it, and if nothing else, it let you get to know me a little better.
    • R.A.P. R.A.P. x 9
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2016
  6. mattavelle1

    mattavelle1 Fresh starts now Staff Member Moderator

    I'll keep this short and sweet because that was a ton of info.

    CONGRADULATIONS on yalls marriage my folks were married on 7-7-78 and there still together today. That seems to be a great date. :mgrin:
    • R.A.P. R.A.P. x 4
  7. TheAmazingLSB


    I'm so happy for you guys.... Congradulations!


    Great Thread SJ!
    • R.A.P. R.A.P. x 3
  8. Juegos

    Juegos All mods go to heaven. Staff Member Moderator


    Congrats to the Steve duo! Everything about your wedding sounds incredible, it sounds like you're both going to be very happy.

    This is honestly possibly the very best thread I've ever seen.
    • R.A.P. R.A.P. x 5
  9. CitizenOfVerona

    CitizenOfVerona Spectacular Staff Member

    I'm about to head out for work so I'll finish the other posts later. Still, congrats on the big day.
    • R.A.P. R.A.P. x 4
  10. Shoulder

    Shoulder Shouldy McShoulderface chippin' in

    I practically shed a tear while at work reading all this. I am very much happy for the both of you, and I hope to one day get to meet you guys. Hell, I need to meet everyone of TNE at some point. At least now I have a reason to go to Florida again. :mgrin:

    Oh, and I could not resist posting this when you said, "The Steves." :mthumb:

    I hope Steve2 sees this thread and he also knows how happy we are for you guys. :mhug:
    • R.A.P. R.A.P. x 4
  11. BobSilencieux

    BobSilencieux Well-Known Member

    Dammit, SJ, this is like watching the ending of Love Actually all over again. ["I am a man; I will not cry. I won't cry... Ahh I got something in my eye, honest."] Witnessing genuine tales of TRUE LOVE that get you all choked up inside and restore some faith in humanity. Your vows were simply incredible. Beautiful. Congratulations.

    Ah heck, I got something in my eye again.
    • R.A.P. R.A.P. x 5
  12. Karkashan

    Karkashan Well-Known Member

    Congratulations. You two look so happy together.

    • R.A.P. R.A.P. x 5
  13. MANGANian

    MANGANian Megalomaniacal Robo-zombie

    Congrats on the wedding, humans. Seems like you made the most of it. Here's to many more well-lived moments.
    • R.A.P. R.A.P. x 5
  14. EvilTw1n

    EvilTw1n Now with X-Parasites Staff Member Moderator

    It's like I want to gag at the cuteness of it all, while simultaneously crying manly tears.


    Congratulations, SJM. You're a lucky guy. And so is Steve2.
    • R.A.P. R.A.P. x 5
  15. sjmartin79

    sjmartin79 White Phoenix of the Crown

    Thank you all so much! As I was telling @TheAmazingLSB yesterday, TNE is such a special place, and I felt completely safe here to share such an intimate and personal part of my life. And the love, warmth, good wishes, and cheer coming back from you all completely reinforced my feelings.

    So, again, thank you all! Your words and wishes mean more than you'll ever know! I can't wait to show Steve2 this thread and your amazing comments this weekend!
    • R.A.P. R.A.P. x 6
  16. Shoulder

    Shoulder Shouldy McShoulderface chippin' in

    Since you keep calling him, Steve2, I almost feel compelled to call you, Steve1, after that MST3k vid.
    "And The Steve's are there."
    "Steve1, you go that way. Steve2, come with me."
    "This has Steve written all over it."

    • R.A.P. R.A.P. x 2
  17. repomech

    repomech resident remnant robot relic



    It happened, it really happened!! Congratulations to the both of you!!

    What a day, what a pair, what a thread... hold on I got something in my optical processors...


    Ah, all clear.

    • R.A.P. R.A.P. x 5
  18. thekiller7

    thekiller7 The Seven and Only

    I'm late to the party but Congratulations !!!!

    You guys make a cute couple.
    I'm not even gay but I'm jealous!!!
    Your husband looks like Zachary Quinto's brother kinda. Or cousin maybe.

    What a great thing to share with us.
    • R.A.P. R.A.P. x 2

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