Real Wedding

Two Grooms In Manhattan: Derek & Ken

Derek and Ken opted for a true New York City wedding including amazing city views, a room full of fellow artists and writers, and even a dancing pole. The two grooms married on June 14, 2013, at Manhattan Penthouse near Union Square. Derek, originally from Orange County, California, and Ken, from South Dakota, have both lived in NYC for many years. They met in 2000 through mutual friends and hit it off instantly. When the marriage equality law passed, they decided to make it official. Sitting on the couch one evening, they very unceremoniously looked at one another and agreed to schedule a date. “That was not at all romantic,” Derek said. But everything else about their wedding was. They planned the wedding together, each contributing his talents. Derek, the film producer, was great at researching vendors and seeing the big picture. Ken, the art director, was in charge of the aesthetics, and he handmade a lot of the stationery for their wedding. They also wanted to include family in the ceremony, so Derek’s sister read from The Velveteen Rabbit, and his niece and nephew performed a dance piece. “They’re super good,” Derek noted.  

Their wedding cake was a decadently delicious work of art. A creation of David Chang’s team at Momofuku Milk Bar, it entailed an unfrosted mix of pistachio and lemon curd, with dulce de leche truffles all around. “We’re foodies,” Derek said. “We had to go with that cake, it was so unique.”

Their favors were also culinary-inspired. Each guest was gifted a box with three vials, each containing a type of spice or molecular gastronomy chemicals. “We also included recipes,” Ken said. “We’re sort of obsessive-compulsive when it comes to food.”

The highlight of the party was the surprise appearance of a dance pole they transported from their home in Brooklyn. Ken had built the pole for their house parties year ago, but recently they retired it. Their friends were ecstatic to see the pole one last time. “Its last ‘hurrah’ was for our wedding,” Ken said.

Their LGBTQ-Friendly Vendors

Photographer: Weddings by Chris Leary Photography // Reception Venue: Manhattan Penthouse

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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