How Two Grooms Celebrated Their Big Day

We always love learning about the amazing ways our clients and readers have chosen to celebrate the occasion of their exchange of vows!
Today, celebrant Wilma Quantrille (of Celebrants USA) writes in with her telling of the celebration between two grooms who recently tied the knot. Perhaps some of her insights and ideas might be helpful to those of you who are recently engaged and looking for a few ideas for your gay or lesbian wedding ceremony?!?
Says Wilma:
The Commitment Ceremony of Aaron Dougherty and Barry Kriebel, Jr. illustrates any number of ideas, readings and rituals which can easily be adapted by other couples for their ceremonies.
When I first met with the couple Barry was ready with a pile of resources he had found on line, and we were ready to begin planning. As much as possible, we, as celebrants with Celebrant USA, write a ceremony that is by the couple, of the couple and for the couple.
The ceremony was at once an exuberant affirmation of their love and an invitation to their family and friends to joyously embrace them as a couple. As the ceremony declared, “You both stand before this company as a testament to the universality of love, a powerful reminder that true love like yours transcends convention and reveals genuine courage.”
The ceremony was held at the Collingswood Theater & Grand Ballroom, in Collinswood, New Jersey. The grooms were both theater enthusiasts. Both Barry and Aaron spend a great deal of their spare time producing and directing middle and high school musicals so producing and directing their own wedding came naturally. As Barry said in his first letter to the celebrant, “My goals in life were to be on stage and to find the man I will love for life. The wedding is a fulfillment of both.'”
The ceremony was designed as a theatrical production, The Perfect Pear. The ceremony incorporated two soloists, the Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus, and dramatic readers.
The ceremony began with a typical preshow announcer, in top hat carrying a cigar and martini glass and wearing pink fairy wings and matching feather boa. He announced all the prohibitions for the event from “Turn off your cell phones and beepers” to nine more “don’ts”. It was a hilarious list and set the mood for the fun to come.
Then followed a slide presentation on a huge screen on stage. It showed Aaron and Barry from childhood to early dating to the present. The audience cheered.
To begin, I recalled Aaron and Barry’s story with a strong emphasis on their union as a normal couple like any other wishing to live together enjoying their families and friends.
I asked the guests if they would be more than witnesses. They were to be co-celebrants and I promised that, if they would open themselves fully to this experience, they would be transformed.
I affirmed the sacred nature of the union of these two men in the context of the Christian affirmation, “’You are the light of the world’ and this is the day the light is revealed. Love is a universal value, and wherever it is expressed, it is sacred.” All in attendance were encouraged to affirm that “the power of love makes it possible for this breakthrough of freedom to live and to love — no matter what others might think.”
A colorful ritual was the visual centerpiece of the wedding. The two families, seated on either side of the stage, each carried to their groom a part of two floral garlands. Beautifully designed by the florist H & D Design of Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, the base of the garland was grape vines, bent to fit together as a circle. It was covered with greens and beautiful flowers. As each groom received a part, he set it on the stage to form two interconnected circles. The groom sat on chairs inside the two circles.
Once the vows had been affirmed and the rings given and received, the the two flower girls removed the overlapping pieces of the garland to form one circle. In this circle the grooms stood as I affirmed their sacred union.
A litany, an adaptation from a Twelfth Century Roman Catholic Marriage Rite for Two Persons of the Same Gender, called for family and friends to “Bless Aaron and Barry that God will unite in love the couple joined in this Holy Union.” Guests responded, “We pray to the Lord.”
The celebration ended with an affirmation of the theme of the day, “Two lives…two hearts…two families…joined in friendship, joined in love.”