Baltimore Zoo Wedding: Craig & Dean
Craig and Dean got married at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore on August 17, 2013, with 60 guests and Tails the penguin as witnesses. The zoo offers the services of an “animal ambassador” to greet wedding guests as they enter the reception. The grooms had hoped for a polar bear, but that wasn’t an option. “Probably best not to have your guests mauled by a bear at your wedding,” Dean admitted.
The grooms live in Pennsylvania (and same-sex marriage was not an option there at the time), so they had to find a destination to legally wed. “I was very insistent on getting married, not civil unioned, not domestic partnered,” Dean said. Either New York or Maryland would have been convenient for their guests. Once they visited the Baltimore zoo to check out the venue, they knew that was it.
They were married by Rev. Janice, who is about 4’10” and British. “We are both about 6’3″ and I just found the height differential comical and her sweet British accent was soothing,” Dean said. “It was like getting married by Mary Poppins.” The grooms first met via the social networking site Bear411. “I saw his profile, thought he was cute and initiated a conversation,” Dean said. About a week later they met for a beer which turned into 3+ hours of talking, walking, hand holding and a kiss. On the 4th anniversary of that first date, Dean proposed in writing because he knew he couldn’t do it without breaking down in tears (he still did, as Craig read the card). Craig said ‘yes,’ of course, and they took two years to plan the actual wedding. “I knew I loved my husband within weeks of meeting him. I knew he was the one for me. We didn’t get married for 6 years, but I know we will be together forever,” Dean said
Denise Oliveira is a Brooklyn-based writer. She has a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University in New York City and is the founder of Prequels, where she interviews engaged couples to create wedding invitations and favors that incorporate their love story.