From the grooms...
We tell everyone we met in 2001 at a black tie gala for the Lyric Opera. In reality, we were one of the first couples we know who met on the internet. We lived about a half mile apart, but it often takes technology to know that a certain person is closer than you think. Scott was leaving on a 2 week business trip in China, and Gary wasn’t sure he would hear from him again. When Scott returned, they planned their first date. It was really love at first sight.
On date number three, Scott informed Gary that he recently had taken a new job in San Francisco and would be moving to California in 2 months. There were a few tears shed that night, but after three dates, what was meant to be was meant to be. Scott, who is a medical physicist, moved to San Francisco. Gary, who works for the auction house, Sotheby’s, probably spent every third weekend working on Fridays in Sotheby’s Union Square office and weekends with Scott. Long distance wasn’t the best scenario. Regardless we loved the Bay Area and were doing our best to make it work.
Then September 11th happened. At that moment, probably like many long distance couples, we decided we needed be together. Scott was able to keep his job and move back to Chicago and in with Gary. It took until Gary’s 50th birthday, on Dec 13, 2013, for a proposal.
We had agreed to wait until gay marriage was legal in Illinois, and it would be by the wedding day on August 15, 2014. We knew we wanted a somewhat traditional ceremony and a big party reception. We said no sit down dinner from the start. We knew we wanted an exciting new space and found it in Morgan Manufacturing in Chicago’s West Loop. We saw the space and booked it early. They hadn’t even started the build out for the converted factory. After a few weeks of delays, we ended up to be the first event at what is now called one of the best spaces in Chicago. Much of the venue layout drove decisions for the wedding. This included a concrete tunnel under the Metra tracks that would hold the guests until they were allowed to enter the space.
Untraditional aspects included Drag Queens greeting the arriving guests, male models serving specialty cocktails, and the tunnel decked out in chandeliers with purple and pink lighting. We knew we wanted the party to begin before the ceremony. We were surprised to learn that half our guests were not expecting a ceremony. The ceremony room was hidden until we were ready to begin. The ceremony was in the round. We were on a circular platform, with our 9 nieces and nephews having front row seats in white bean bag chairs. There was a lot of humor in the ceremony, but also a lot of emotion, as it turned out we really did surprise many people. Most thought they were coming for a party only and we probably had gotten married earlier at City Hall. Looking back, it was one of the first big (300+ people) gay weddings anyone had attended. People didn’t really know what to expect, which was a huge part of the fun. It all went by much too fast and our memories, although amazing, are a bit of a blur. Having the photographs to document the day is incredible.
One of our favorite experiences was to spend the day with our amazing photographer, Jeremy Lawson, as we got dressed, drove to the ceremony in our decked our Mini Cooper convertible, and took photos in the neighborhood around the venue while waiting for the party to start. From the incredible décor, to the food, to DJ Kiss flown in from New York, to the Drag Queens, and male models, we would not have changed a thing. People still repeat some of the lines from our vows. We learned it was worth taking the time to really think it through, write our own ceremony and make it personal. Then again, we had 14 years to get it right.