On Tuesday night I had the pleasure of attending the Family Equality Council‘s big New York fundraising event. Celebrities, booze, good food, good company, Clay Aiken singing; it had it all. But ultimately, the key element was the reminder that LGBT visibility is one of the most important ways we, as a group, can implement change. Committing our love, creating families, and celebrating our unions…
When Vice President Biden announced that he is ‘comfortable’ with gay marriage earlier this week, he mentioned that it was his interaction with gay couples and their children that caused him to realize that their commitment and families are no different than others. So in addition to the obvious elation that surrounds having a wedding, it is also a wonderful opportunity for gay couples to expose straight friends and family to the importance of equality. Shondi and Kayla fully embraced (and beautifully executed) that notion.
From Shondi: We feel like our engagement process was extremely important because it allowed us to contemplate and fully understand why it is that we were doing what we were doing. We got to talk to our friends and family about the importance of marriage equality, our commitment, and what it meant to us. I feel like in the last year we grew leaps and bounds as a couple and even have a better, more genuine and healthier relationship with our parents.
Leading up to our Earth Day event, our wedding became a sort of community effort. We had friends who came over to make decorations with us months before the wedding. Our friends were all able to contribute something to our wedding by way of whatever talent they possess. One of Kayla’s best friends, Sean Klingler, is a photographer and he turned out amazing photos of the day. Our friend who is a folksinger sang “First Day of My Life” by Bright Eyes for our ceremony. We hired a friend’s band, a 3-piece, all women, blue grass band called The Carper Family, to perform at our reception. Kayla and her momma baked pies for the entire week of our wedding and our friends that can bake contributed even more.
Everything in our ceremony decor, our centerpieces, and even the escort cards were made by hand by either us or our talented friends. With the help of our awesome support system Kayla and I were able to make this day really reflect who we are and what we love. Our ceremony was co-written by us and our officiant, Spike Gillespie. We spent months choosing our readings and collaborating with Spike to achieve a beautiful ceremony that reflects exactly what we are about and why we chose to make this commitment. I feel like it was an important experience for us to have as a couple.
Since we can not legally marry in Texas, Kayla and I secured all of the legal documents that we can to protect ourselves several months before the ceremony, which was a wake-up call, even to us, as to how important it is that we change the laws to support same sex marriage. Our engagement gave us an opportunity to open dialogue with friends and family about the realities of our situation, and what it means to us personally.
I am so thrilled that we had this wedding. It brought us closer as a couple, and it allowed our families to share in the joy and magic that is our life together. All I have heard since the day is how beautiful it was and how full of love and positive energy the day held.
I am so proud of our wedding.