Last night I felt like a wedding crasher, but I swear we had an invitation. One of Natalie's co-workers ask her several months back to come to her son's wedding to his partner. I think she asked us because it was a same-sex wedding and she was searching for same-sex couples to flush out her quota of guests. Natalie has known the woman for several years now and we thought as elder queers we should be supportive. It is so rare that Natalie asks me to attend these types of things, I immediately said yes. Yes to making the investment in the couples social obligation bank, an account which finds me in the red more often than not.
The service was at a local community center. I will not lie, I walked into the hall only having met 2 of other attendees once: the mother of the groom and another gay co-worker of my spouse. There was an awkward moment, but I will get to that. We were seated at a table where we knew no one, and were the only same-sex couple at the table. However, Natalie and I discovered we had been together the longer then any of the couples at the table, which was weird because one of the couples was significantly older than us. We were a diverse group of people and backgrounds, but when we all went our separate ways each goodbye ended with a hug.
The decorations, flowers, candy bar, and buffet were lovely, but the service was the jewel of the evening. The young couple wanted a short, but sweet service and they got their wish, but those 20 or 30 minutes were packed with love and affirmation. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, co-workers, and friends witnessed the service offering support. The best man and brother to the groom gave the toast. He brought tears to many eyes when he ended the toast by telling the grooms how much he loved his "2 brothers." Admitting I was one of saps looking for a tissue.
I was enjoying myself and had just finished my chocolate cupcake when both grooms came over to say hello. One of the grooms gave me a very warm hug and then looked at me with a questioning look. Of course Natalie, my ticket to this shindig, had taken this moment to be somewhere else. I stood there looking awkward as I explained who I was and why I was there. The newlyweds just smiled. Natalie of course showed up right after they had left.
The wedding and reception were a wonderful way to spend the evening. Having Natalie by my side brought back so many memories of our own Commitment Ceremony. We did not invite a lot of family because we knew they wouldn't come. Times have changed for the better, and to see such a supportive family was heart warming and affirming. Soon same-sex marriages will be recognized throughout the country, but will be called marriage. Wishing Ryan and Justin so much love.