My Big Fat Lesbian Wedding

I guess the best way to start this narrative is at the beginning. After being together for almost a year, Emma and I started talking about ways we could commit to being together forever. The laws in the US still weren’t accepting of same-sex marriages, so that was not an option. Conversations came and went, but nothing much was done as far as planning went.

On July 26th, 2002 we were vacationing in Blackpool, England. It was the day after our one-year anniversary of our first kiss. Emma was incredibly shy and anxious then, so I could tell something was up. She handed me a little black box. When I opened it, I saw my engagement ring – a classic eternity style band. The proposal itself would follow the way we tend to do things, non-traditionally.

Years went by, and we talked about what we should do about getting married. When the state of Massachusetts passed its current gay marriage laws, we got a lot more serious about what to do. But, there was always the obstruction of our geography – I am an American citizen, Emma a British citizen. Even the Massachusetts state law couldn’t help us with our immigration issue, since laws governing immigrations were federal.

But after four years of back and forth, and a year of Emma living in the US on a student visa, we decided that the best thing would for me to move to England and get a job there. Looking at different visa options, two stood out – the Unmarried Partner Visa, and the Civil Partner Visa. Basically, one is for committed couples that weren’t married and the other for married couples. We decided to go for the unmarried partners, but soon learned that we would have trouble with the documentation needed. We would have to prove co-habitation for two years, and we just couldn’t do it.

And that was that. We were going to get married. Now, as I explain to people who ask, no, we didn’t get married for the visa. It was a catalyst. Eventually we would have gotten married, but this was the push. Em and I decided to elope. We wouldn’t tell anyone, and just get it done. We realized that we would need witnesses, so we asked my friend Kara and her boyfriend Jesse to attend. We went to the City Clerk’s office, filled out the paperwork with no difficulty, and soon had a marriage license in hand. All we needed now was to get a JP’s signature after a quickie ceremony. We would live like an unmarried couple, but enjoy the benefits of having the spousal visa.

That lasted until I decided to blog about it, and unbeknownst to me, was read by Emma’s mother. A huge blow up followed, since Emma’s family has never been supportive of our relationship, and now it was going to another level. Slowly, it started trickling down to other relatives. Soon, we had to let the cat out of the bag. When Emma’s Nana came over for a visit this summer, she let my Grandmother know what was going on. Thank God my family understood, and is supportive.

So what started out as an elopement soon morphed into a wedding with six people attending. Two more were added when my parents suggested I ask my two grandmothers to come. Then my mother’s mom suggested we invite two of my uncles and their wives. After adding more friends, friends of family, and brother’s girlfriends, we were up to a count of 20!

This needed to happen, and quick. At this point, Emma was scheduled to fly back to
England in less than ten days. She was going home in order to get back to work, earn some money, and get an apartment that we could live at. When I arrived in the UK after Christmas, I’d start work at my new job, and have a place to stay.

The plan was to still keep it simple – quick ceremony at Heritage Park in Fall River, back to my parents’ house for the reception. It didn’t stay simple for long. Being that I am the first child of my family to get married (both of my Mom & Dad’s four children, and among the ten cousins), the more traditional things started to slip into my non-traditional marriage.

I had previously booked a three-day vacation for Emma & I to go to our favorite B&B in New Hampshire. The weekend before our wedding, when the typical bride would be running around getting things sorted out, we enjoyed the natural wonders of the White Mountains. Only a brief phone call to my parents clued us into what was going on behind the scenes back home.

Mom wanted to have a lunch for the reception, and my brother Aaron, the chef, stepped up to the task. We would have sandwiches, cheese & crackers, fruit, hot appetizers, and champagne. Aaron had gotten a hold of his friend Laura, a professional photographer, to take pictures of the big day, for free! This relieved Rachel, my brother Abe’s girlfriend, of the duty, so that she could enjoy the ceremony. Mom also decided we would have a wedding cake – a two tiered, flower covered, chocolate and vanilla with strawberry filling wedding cake. I learned that I needed flowers, and Emma needed a corsage. Mom was also taking care of that. We returned from our trip, and events were getting close.

This still left a few things undone. With less than three days until the ceremony, we still didn’t have rings, and I didn’t have a dress. I didn’t want a traditional version of either. Previously, I had bought a pattern and materials for a dress I liked, and was going to sent it to my net friend, Su, to have it made for me. But following the blow up after Emma’s mother found out about the upcoming nuptials, it went by the way-side and was never sent out. We were looking all over for rings, but we didn’t find anything that fit our styles and our budgets. Luckily, the Tuesday before I was to be wed, I was able to spend my time at work at a computer for the majority of the day, and was able to narrow down the search for rings and dress. We crossed our fingers, and hoped that overnight shipping lived up to its name.

The Wednesday before the wedding was another day in front of the computer, tracking both packages as they crossed the USA. Typical me ended up ordering my dress and rings from companies in California, with me staying in Rhode Island. Things were starting to get hectic, and I thought about taking the day before the wedding off of work, to get things finalized. A little voice reminded me that there was the possibility of a suprise wedding shower at work, so I emailed my supervising teacher Jess, asking her if she thought it would be okay if I took tomorrow off. She had just gotten married herself, so if there wasn’t a shower in the works, I would just look like I was asking her newly-married advice. Jess gave me the go-ahead to stay home on Thursday, but my lovely wife-to-be Emma asked me to go into work. Having Mom, Dad, and her at the house all day Thursday prepping for the wedding was enough people, according to her sage advice.

Work on Thursday went quickly, and I let my students know I was not going to be in the next day, or the Monday following. They were all very happy for me, and kept asking me who the “lucky man” was. Being that I’m not out to my students, I just smiled and said, “No one you know.”

Friday morning…the big day. I was up at 6:30, like usual. I turned over, and saw Em sleeping. We didn’t follow the tradition of being separated the night before the wedding, and I looked at her knowing that she was indeed the person I wanted to share the rest of my life with. I got up, and headed downstairs. Mom was already buzzing around the house. She had been on a decorating high for a few days now, and she was in her element. She asked me if I was excited, and when I said I was, she shared that she was, too.

The hours went by quickly, and we finished prepping for the wedding reception. I got into my dress, which Mom helped me pin back (it was a bit too big). We made sure we had everything we needed, and my bothers headed to the park to make sure everthing was ready to go. By the time I had arrived, guests had already started to trickle in. At noon, the JP showed up, and the ceremony began.

As far as the vows and what the JP said, it was all a blur. I know I tried to put my ring on Emma’s finger (Dad handed me the wrong one), I know I didn’t repeat things when the JP told me too, and I remember thinking it was a big weird when the JP said that our union was sanctioned by the church. But, in about 15 minutes, we pronounced partners, and I got the best kiss from Emma I’ve ever had.  And it was done. In a flash!

We giggled, kissed, and watched our guests leave to my house, while we stayed behind to take pics with Laura. When we arrived back at the house, the party was in full swing. We cracked open the champagne, sliced up some cake, and had a great time. My Dad gave a toast that brought tears to our eyes, and I shoved frosting on my wife’s nose.

I couldn’t have asked for anything better.

Stay tuned for Part II : Honeymoon in P-Town



  1. Pink said,

    I am so excited for you both, I hope ‘the day’ lives up to your dreams and you enjoy a long and happy marriage.

  2. stacey said,

    Wow, now that could be amade for tv movie. Wishing u all the best!

  3. peninah said,


  4. peninah said,

    (oh and mazel tov!)

  5. Deneen said,

    Best wishes-you are way more nervous then I was for my wedding-seriously.

  6. Kathy said,

    Best wishes to you both! Just relax and ENJOY your special day!

  7. Kelly said,

    OMG!!! You must be soooo excited!!! Take lots of pictures, and just be really happy that you are with the one you love. Don’t worry about the little things. Congrats!

  8. Deneen said,

    I am so happy for both of you. I also think it’s fabulous how supportive your family is!

  9. baptistnomad said,

    I just recently married my partner of 7 years in Canada. And, like you, I couldn’t have asked for anything more! What was once going to be the two of us and 2 close friends turned into 20 people traveling from all over the U.S. to Toronto!


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