A Union In Virtual Style

May 18, 2005

Massachusetts Isn’t The Only Place for Gay Unions: Oliphant and Childers Celebrate Their Union In Virtual Style

Two grooms team with two online resources, TwoGrooms.com and Wedding On-Line.com to help them with their gay wedding product and invitation needs and to share a video of their Big Day via the Internet to one of the grooms’ mothers, who cannot attend the ceremony because she is under a doctor’s care.

Truckee, CA, May 18, 2005 – Long-time bachelors David Oliphant and Chris Childers met in April of 2004, a few weeks before May 17 – the day that Massachusetts began issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.

One year later, gays and lesbians in Massachusetts are still celebrating their newfound legal equality, and, nationwide, gay and lesbian couples are finding ways to celebrate their unions and ‘make it official’ even without legal sanction.

With a little help from some online friends – TwoGrooms.com and Wedding On-Line, Inc. – Mr. Oliphant and Mr. Childers are designing the ceremony of their dreams in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, which will include 75 guests, spiritual blessings from several religious traditions, a “father of a groom” serenade, and a beach party reception, replete with food and libation.

Mr. Oliphant’s excitement about “preparing for his new life, together (with Chris)” is palpable. He is confident in his family’s support of his union and recalls a story when a friend asked him, “What will your nieces and nephews think when you kiss at your wedding?” Mr. Oliphant says, “I was so proud to tell him that it will not be a concern; they have been raised knowing it is not wrong or shameful.”

In the early stages of planning their event, Mr. Childers and Mr. Oliphant found their way to TwoGrooms.com. “David contacted me to help him with his invitations,” says Kathryn Hamm, “poster bride” and co-owner of TwoBrides.com and TwoGrooms.com – sites her mother founded in 1999 when she couldn’t find wedding products for her daughter’s wedding. “As we were working on the best way to communicate the information about his Big Day, it occurred to me that a web site would be the perfect way to keep his guests up-to-date and keep his stationery costs down. David liked the idea, but was also concerned about the time it might take to get everything up on the web site.”

“What bride or groom can’t identify with that?” says Jenn Randolph of Wedding On-Line, Inc., which specializes in customized wedding web sites that include wedding management tools and the ability to share wedding photos and video in a quick and easy set up format. “Time and money are two of the most valuable resources for any engaged couple and we hope to make a difference on both counts for our clients – straight or gay – as they plan for their respective weddings.”

Ms. Randolph continues, “We are really excited to be a part of the planning process for David and Chris. They’ll be able to share their special day with family and friends who can’t attend since their Wedding On-Line web site will allow them to share up to 90 minutes of video and other information.”

This is especially important for Mr. Childers, whose mother, his only living parent and with whom he is very close, cannot attend the ceremony because she currently resides in hospice care. Says Mr. Oliphant, “We were actually hoping to do a web cam of the day so she could watch, but we were concerned about the logistics and costs. Now, we anticipate using the online web service to help us organize, track and review every detail” and, most importantly, bring images of the day to Mrs. Childers. “At first,” he says, “I did not think we had time to take this on; now I’m actually excited and feeling relieved.”

As he reflects on his upcoming vows, Mr. Oliphant says, “We are both in our early forties and now that we have met, we are feeling like life is just beginning. We cannot wait to get married and make it official.” Says Mr. Childers, “I am totally excited about doing this in front of our friends and family because (David) is the first person I’ve met who makes me so completely happy in every way! I want to share that with everyone.”

“Mother of a Bride,” Gretchen Hamm, founder and co-owner of TwoBrides.com and TwoGrooms.com couldn’t support the grooms more. Mrs. Hamm has always been adamant about her advice to those who wish to marry but cannot enjoy the legal rights afforded to their heterosexual counterparts. “Follow your hearts, make a commitment to love and honor each other no matter what anyone else has to say. As far as I’m concerned, you can call your union “mother-approved” while we celebrate love and wait on those politicians to catch up with us.”