Wine Inspired Michigan Wedding: Andrew and Adam
Aug. 8, 2014
When Andrew and Adam started their wedding venue search, they wanted to find a place close to where they lived as they wanted family and friends to gather in the area that was becoming their new home. They wanted an outdoor space, but didn’t want to deal with a rain backup. Their venue offered everything they wanted (and some things they didn’t know they wanted). The location was beautiful with an outdoor pavilion for the ceremony and a banquet hall for the reception just a few steps away. The natural décor outside and inside meant they needed very little in terms of decoration.
The venue staff was very accepting and friendly. They treated Andrew and Adam like any other couple and went above and beyond to be sure they never felt different. They changed their contract so it did not say “Bride and Groom” and when they kissed, the staff cheered just as they would have for any couple. They ensured that the “Bridal Suite” signage was changed to “Groom Suite” and allowed the couple to fly a rainbow flag where their corporate flag normally flew.
In designing the details of their wedding, Andrew and Adam thought about items that were important to them as a couple. When they first started to get to know each other, they loved going to different wineries, so they thought it would be fun to make “wine” their theme. They used wine bottles and corks for their place cards, aisle décor, unity sand ceremony, table names and centerpieces. Next to their photo guest book was a wine rack with different bottles that guest could put advice in such as “first home,” “5 year anniversary,” and “first child.”
Throughout the entire process, Adam and Andrew kept each other in check to make the experience enjoyable. They heard so many stories about people “getting through” the planning. They wanted it to be something fun to do and ended up making planning a bunch of date nights. There was early stress but the rest was enjoyable.
Knowing they could always just hire someone to act as an officiant, Adam and Andrew instead wanted to choose someone important to them. They chose their friend Jonathan D. Lovitz (not the actor) from New York, someone they found inspirational. Jonathan has done countless hours with LGBT causes and was directly connected to the work of marriage equality.
Andrew’s mother passed away when he was 15, so his sister, Sarah, danced with him in her honor. Sarah had been a motherly figure in Andrew’s life, so the dance was very meaningful.
As their wedding favor, the grooms made their own wine at a local winery. It was another fun planning date night. They made three different batches and closer to the wedding date had their attendants return for a bottling party.
Andrew’s favorite memory of the wedding day happened at the beginning of the ceremony. The plan was for Adam and his “support people” to be on one side and Andrew and his “support people” to be on the other. They would stay on these two different sides as the wedding party walked down the aisle and then Adam and Andrew would walk together. Well, instead Adam walked right over to Andrew and stood there with his arm around him as they watched the wedding party walk down to aisle. It was a time that Andrew could see everyone there with his partner standing beside him about to start a new adventure.
Adam’s favorite memory occurred after the ceremony when he and Andrew entered the reception hall to Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Good Time.” He described the moment: “All of our friends and family spontaneously got on their feet and started dancing and clapping to the music. I could just feel the love in the room. 150 of our closest people all celebrating what, until a few months prior, was not even legal in Michigan. It was such a gesture of support.”
Andrew and Adam’s advice to other same-sex couples planning their weddings: “Be bold. We were very upfront when making our initial contact with a venue/company that the wedding was for two men getting married. We did not want intolerance to be an issue on a day we would always remember. We also did not settle for what was – meaning contracts needed to be created to be inclusive. We were not going to simply cross out the term Bride to fit our names into the lines.”
To all couples: “Go with the flow. Stuff is going to fall apart (regardless if this is a same-sex or opposite-sex wedding). Don’t spend energy stressing on the fact that the vines for the table settings are not working and you need to scrap that idea; or that the aisle runner tore and needs to be hidden with some tape. Focus instead on the fact that family and friends from all over gathered together in one location at the same time to celebrate.” And possibly their best advice: “Oh- and maybe not wait until 11pm the night before to make the wedding cake. That is one thing Andrew regrets!”