Surprise Chicago Wedding: Kevin & Philip
Illinois had just legalized gay marriage before Christmas 2013 and both of their families were wondering when they would make it official. Around that time, while sitting at dinner, they decided that getting married made sense. While the agreement was simple and personal, the wedding was an unbelievable tale.
Philip didn’t know the morning of his wedding that he’d be married that evening. Kevin conceived, planned, and executed a surprise wedding! After purchasing their condo, Philip and Kevin had to pick out tile, paint colors and cabinet styles. Kevin saw how much Philip would put pressure on himself to make the best choice for those things. He figured that preparing for a regular wedding would take a lot out of Philip, so, when he solidified the plan with Philip’s sister, they thought that in many ways, this would take a huge burden off of his shoulders.
Those who know Kevin know he’s a talker and that he loves to share – this was one of the biggest challenges of hi life. Philip’s sister helped out a ton with the wedding planning. She helped pick the photographer, decorations and vendors, and she did it all from London. Kevin would speak with her nearly every day to and from work to talk about what needed to be accomplished. One benefit of Philip traveling for work was that Kevin could work on components of the wedding while Philip was away. It was difficult not to share with Philip, but Kevin reminded himself that keeping the secret would be worth the outcome.
When Philip arrived at what he thought was a holiday party, Kevin was in his wedding attire. He took Philip’s hand, told him how much he loved him and that he couldn’t imagine life without him.
He then got down on one knee and asked if Philip would marry him…and if he would marry him in 20 minutes! With tears in his eyes, Philip agreed. Philip was sent to a dressing room to change, as Kevin had already even planned his change-of-clothes for the wedding.
Rather than doing traditional readings, Kevin had friends perform funny and emotional/poignant lines from their favorite movies: Mrs. Doubtfire and The Birdcage. The ceremony was designed to express their love for one another, and to also show that weddings can be fun, emotional and surprising. While weddings are intended to celebrate the couple, they are also celebrations of families and of friendships. Having people witness the re-proposal, participate and witness the ceremony, and celebrate with them throughout the evening was an honor.
And yes, Philip was truly surprised. Kevin’s desire to create the wedding Philip always wanted was a completely selfless act of love, according to Philip. “He made me feel unconditional love, made me cry, made me laugh, and made me feel the way I felt when I knew he was the one.”
Philip continues, “There were things that came up over the week [leading up to the wedding] that I thought were strange, but none of them together would have led to me to believe I was going to get married that day. I was surprised that one of Kevin’s best friend’s from New York City was coming into town, but it was not uncommon for him and his husband to visit to see old friends. I also thought it was strange that some of my friends didn’t want to go out to dinner with us after our friend’s master’s program graduation the night before. They had good reasons why they couldn’t go, but they are usually the ones that want to go out.”
“I must have said ‘This is crazy’ and ‘You’re crazy’ a thousand times the night of our wedding. It was crazy because I never imagined so many people would go out of their way to make Kevin and me so happy. I thought Kevin was crazy because he made so many of my dreams come true and made me so happy to have found the person that I want to spend the rest of my life. I always knew Kevin was the one and the events of that night showed all the most important people in our lives the same.” Philip is now responsible for the honeymoon. He plans to keep up with the theme and make the location and events a surprise!