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Real Wedding

Chicago River: Larry & Vinny

Denver Smith Photography
Their families met each other the morning of their wedding, on July 2, 2011, in Chicago. Everyone gathered at Larry and Vinny’s condo and headed out to brunch together. “It was a nice chance for our parents and siblings to meet,” Larry said.

After brunch, the grooms sent their families off for sightseeing. Larry and Vinny wanted Chicago to be the star of the weekend. Meanwhile, the grooms stayed home and got dressed. Larry had to tie Vinny’s bowtie. “He had no idea how to do it,” Larry said.  
They reunited with their families for a pre-ceremony cocktail, and later walked together toward the boat where the wedding was held, parading en masse up Michigan Avenue. “Total strangers were cheering us on as we walked holding hands,” Larry said. As they passed a huge American flag flying atop a building, Larry thought that having this All-American wedding felt like a dream come true. The couple decided to entertain their 60 guests on a boat so they could truly show off Chicago. The boat travelled on the river during the cocktail hour, then went through the canal and out onto the lake, where they had the ceremony.
Denver Smith Photography
Denver Smith Photography
Denver Smith Photography
Denver Smith Photography
The boat is typically used for architectural tours, but the grooms asked the company if they could use it for their wedding, and it worked out. Their colors–cranberry, navy and cream–were a variation on the patriotic red, white and blue. They decide not to have “best men,” since it was going to be a small wedding. “With a small group, we didn’t want to single anyone out, we wanted everyone to be important,” Larry said. Their sisters did the readings, and Vinny’s mom participated in the knot tying ceremony. As their officiant recited the various ways they’d hold each other close through the years, they wrapped ribbons over and under their hands. At the end, the ribbon pulled together into a bow.  
After the ceremony they served dinner, and then held their first dance, followed by a dance with their mothers. And then the fireworks went off, just as Katy Perry’s song, Firework, started blasting on the boat. The fireworks were the City’s regularly-scheduled show, but it was Vinny who made sure they coincided with the perfect song. “I thought it was weird magic, but Vinny had timed it just right,” Larry said. The boat docked around 10:30pm, and their guests went on to party elsewhere. For the grooms, it was the start of the rest of their lives together, something they’d been preparing for for a long time. They were from opposite parts of the county, and met one year while on vacation in Palm Springs. After a couple of years of dating long distance, they got tired and decided it was time to move in. They picked a place in the middle of the country, and moved. “We each sold our place, and took that leap of faith,” Larry said.
Denver Smith Photography
Denver Smith Photography
Denver Smith Photography
Denver Smith Photography

Their LGBTQ-Friendly Vendors

Photographer:  Denver Smith Photography // Reception Venue: Chicago’s First Lady // Officiant:Michael Kirby // Floral Designer: Stemline, Creative. This wedding was also featured in The New Art of Capturing Love: The Art of Lesbian & Gay Wedding Photography.

Submitted via Two Bright Lights

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.

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