Peabody Library Grooms: Samuel & George
Samuel & George were married on Feb. 15, 2014, at the George Peabody Library in Baltimore, Maryland, before 120 guests. A family friend, who is a New York Supreme Court Judge, officiated.
In the months leading up to their wedding, the grooms were most concerned with creating a ceremony that would appropriately reflect the meaningful and serious vows they were making to one another. They were more interested in making sure the script of the ceremony matched their values than in the details of the reception. “It was so important to us that we have an occasion where we could very publicly state not just to one another, but to our friends and family, a series of commitments and promises,” Samuel said.
They invited friends to do readings they had carefully chosen, all woven together by a master of ceremonies, who is a friend and former professor of Samuel’s. Gracing the ceremony was the Maryland State Boy’s Choir, which George had sung in when he was growing up in Baltimore. The grooms now live and work in Washington, D.C., but they chose to return to Baltimore, where George has roots, to celebrate their marriage.
“It was so gratifying and humbling to see how many people traveled to be with us,” Samuel said. There had been a blizzard two days before, flights were cancelled, and roads were a mess. Even so, everyone arrived. “The amount of sacrifices that so many people made to show their love and support I hope is something I never forget,” he added. The grooms had their first blind date in 2006. They met at Union Station in Washington, D.C., where both were already working then. After about 8 months of dating, they moved in together, but George knew full well that Samuel was positively anti-marriage. “I didn’t believe in it,” he said. “Basically I thought of it as fathers getting together and trading their daughters for goats.”
Unbeknownst to George, Samuel changed his mind about that. He came to appreciate the significance of the public commitment, and started conspiring with a couple of friends to pull of a surprise proposal. In December 2012, when the grooms were in New York City to visit family and see an opera, Samuel proposed in the Ben Franklin library of the Penn Club, where they were staying. He presented George with a Rolex watch and asked him to marry him. George was shocked, and of course, said ‘yes.’ Friends made sure champagne arrived promptly.
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.