Monday, 23 June 2008

The Big Fat Gay Quaker Wedding I

The main aim of this posting is to have a record of this event. It may sound narrative and longish, but I want to remember all the little details, so indulge me.

Update: This was supposed to be one blog posting, but apparently, when I start writing, I can’t seem to stop. It looks like I will have to chop up my narrative into smaller pieces. Here I go…

Last Saturday, two of my favourite people got married. These two are really cool people. In the context of marriage, they are the kind that makes you think, “They aren’t already married? What are they waiting for?” They are the kind of couple that seems like they were made to be with each other. The kind that leaves you at peace because they are together. [Trust me, I know. I do know couples that always make me wonder why they are together. The kind that I probably won’t enjoy seeing married because I will always wonder (and worry about) how long they will last. But I digress.]

I have such a long history with these guys. That last statement sounds like more than it is but it was fun to write. Let the speculations begin. :-) Truthfully though, it is simply the fact that between the two of them, they have been a big part in my keeping my sanity in this craziness call graduate school, for multiple reasons (fodder for another posting).

Before the wedding
Lucky me (or not) I got to see this wedding from the very beginning. Yes, I do remember the first day they met, but that’s not what I mean. I mean, I had the privilege of helping to plan this wedding. This is an interesting concept, me helping to plan a wedding. As if planning a gay Quaker wedding was not non-traditional enough, they decided to have an African and an Indian help them plan it. Oh, did I mention that the two wedding planners are probably the most unlikely pair to do this? One of them doesn’t believe in marriage, as an institution, for herself. The other isn’t really sure if she believes in the concept of love. You decide for yourself which planner has which ideas.

What we both agreed on was that we would probably never get to plan another wedding (for reasons previously mentioned), that it would probably be fun and we couldn’t really say no to these guys (amazing as they are). And it turns out we weren’t so bad at this wedding planning thing at all. Like I told the other wedding planner, if this grad school/academia thing doesn’t work out, we should consider going into the wedding planning business together.

Now, I can say that we all (the grooms and then wedding planners) were very na├»ve about how big planning a wedding is, how much responsibility it would be and how much time it would take. Especially since we are all in graduate school, full time and really don’t have much extra time to spare. For example, it really did take one of the grooms about 8 to 9 hours to iron all the table cloths and me 5 hours to make table runners!!! It really wasn’t so much about the big details though. It wasn’t about where to hold the reception on who was going to do the food or even what went on the menu. It was about things like making a shopping list, the little things. For example, did we need to buy two bottle openers, or were we going to just pull them from our houses? And were we to remember to bring them along to the reception or did we need to make notes? Were we making notes for ourselves or are we going to compile a master notes list? Oh, did I mention that all the four people involved here suffer from varying degrees of OCD and anality (i.e. being anal)? OK, now I have.

When I embarked on this project, I had two very simple “visions.” Can I call them that? First of all, I really wanted everything to be simple. For a variety of reasons: Quakers are strong believers in simplicity, and seeing that the grooms are Quakers, that should do well. And simplicity means less work. I thought. And yes, my suggestion of pizza and soda was vetoed really quickly (and now I can say) very rightly so. Lucky for everyone in attendance.

Secondly, I wanted everyone attending to be able to play a part in bringing everything together. My favourite memories of my family – my sisters and my cousins involve us getting together to put together family reunions or parties or weddings or whatever. I have very fond memories of all of us getting together before the event and planning, and cooking and setting up and cleaning up afterwards. Even little arguments about who wasn’t doing their fair share or who was lazy didn’t seem important in the end. I wanted everyone at this wedding (especially the friends) to have that experience. To be made to feel that they had had a significant part in putting together this great day. Beyond simply attending to actually being “in” the wedding.

So if you got stuck with helping to set up (too early in the morning) or tear down (late into the night), attending to a bar or bussing tables, you can go ahead and blame it all on me. But do remember how many great memories you created from having to wash an unending pile of dishes to lagging planters that weigh tons in and out of a van. Fun times

With all the craziness involved, everything did come together. I must say that by the Friday before the ceremony, I was ready to get it over with. Ready to get through this wedding planning mode and get back to real life (i.e. monotonous, frustrating graduate student living: wake – lab – home - sleep – wake, repeat cycle).

To be continued...


Pomoprophet said...

Haha. Now that I know you, youre very witty! I especially liked "One of them doesn’t believe in marriage, as an institution, for herself. The other isn’t really sure if she believes in the concept of love."

Joe Moderate said...

Huzzah for gay Quaker weddings! Well, at least for ours :-) Selly and Pomo, thanks for making our wedding so special and enjoyable. I have so many good memories from our day.