Jason and I met each other on Match.com when Jason’s friend talked him into creating a profile post-college graduation. I (Mark) was living out of state at the time, but knew I was moving back home, so I decided to try my luck navigating the virtual dating world. We forget who messaged who first but we hit it off almost immediately. When I finally moved back to Cincinnati, I set up our first date. I planned an afternoon picnic at Ault Park which led to frozen yogurt later that night, and an innocent, and slightly embarrassing, encounter with a cop – we joked that it would make a great story to tell the grandkids someday! We dated and slowly realized we grew up in the same part of town and our families went to the same Church. We were certain our paths crossed at some point without us even knowing it.
I decided to pop the question to Jason after two dogs, a few apartments, and four years of dating. I knew I had to do it around his birthday so if he suspected anything, he would think it was birthday-related. The planning of the proposal took a few months. I wrote a book (in the form of a children’s book) and had my amazingly talented friend illustrate it. The premise is our two dogs searching for the perfect birthday present for him – which they finally find in the form of the ring. The day came and we were celebrating Jason’s birthday at my family’s house. My family was all in on it but Jason didn’t suspect a thing. Birthday gifts were exchanged and my present (the book) was given last. Jason read the book out loud to the family. Near the end of the book, it instructs Jason to close his eyes. He closed his eyes and I got down on my knee with the ring.
After the celebratory cheers and tears, Jason’s family, and our closest friends, arrived for a post-proposal party. It was perfect. Then, the planning began.
We had a year. Going into the planning process, we knew a few things for sure:
1. We wanted a short ceremony.
2. We wanted a party atmosphere with great food/drinks/and a DJ.
3. We wanted a DIY wedding.
Honestly, the whole process was relatively stress-free. We would tackle one thing at a time and mark it off the list. Pinterest was our best friend. We splurged on what we thought was most important, but made up for it by doing a lot of the work ourselves. Both of our families helped us throughout the entire process; for which we will be forever grateful. We took some advice from our parents but if we didn’t want to invite great aunt “so and so” we didn’t.
When it came to vendors, we were up front being a gay couple. We didn’t want to make anyone feel uneasy, which, in turn, would make us uncomfortable. In all honesty, we were pleasantly surprised with the complete acceptance of everyone. We joked with each other with how adamant some vendors were with wanting to do our wedding. We were their “token gay” clients!
The morning of the wedding was a little stressful since we were decorating the entire venue ourselves with our family. If you go this route, plan for more time than you think you will need because we cut it close with getting everything finished! Our favorite part of the day was spending the time together alone getting ready and shooting our pictures with Cass. She made us feel extremely comfortable being intimate with each other and I think it shows in the pictures. Our final piece of advice is to remember why you are getting married: love. Celebrate the love you have for each other and celebrate the love surrounding you from your friends and family. And have plenty of alcohol!