The public sometimes flounders at the choice of words to use when describing the celebrations of commitment between same-gender couples. The couples themselves, however, do not have difficulty. At the heart of the matter is LOVE, any gay or lesbian partner will proclaim, without a moment's hesitation. Our ceremonies, civil unions and celebrations may not have a definitive legal name at this time, in this place, but they are as common and as stressful, as unique and as moving, as sacred and as wonderful as any wedding has ever been.
Our thanks to newlyweds Derrick & Jesus, for sharing their romantic story with us! Please enjoy this touching and insightful Q&A with the grooms, about their journey from the day they met through to the Reception highlights.
1) How did the two of you meet?
Derrick: We met online. We were one of three couples that met online and married within the last two years that are friends of ours. Pretty remarkable.
Was it love at first sight?
Derrick: We had talked for a few months before meeting. When we met we had already developed feelings for each other, didn't know it was going to lead to marriage because he lived in NYC and I in Charlotte, NC.
What were some of the qualities that attracted you to each other, and made you realize that 'he was the one'?
Derrick: He was kind, funny, and outstandingly good looking. He brought out the best in me and my friends and family noticed the change in me as soon as we met.
2) What's your engagement story?
Derrick: I contacted 3 of his friends to find a place where I could propose and include those people who were important to Jesus. We settled on Ninja's Restaurant in Manhattan. We had a private dining room. This was a surprise to him, as he thought that we were having dinner with just two friends who invited us out, but to his surprise, it was 10 guests and he had no idea who was coming. As soon as everyone showed up (tears flowing because of the friend who was flown in from Chicago), we closed the door and I popped the question. I was nervous, but everything went off without a hitch. He said "yes"..Then afterwards I got to sing Marvin Gaye's "Sexual Healing" to him to thunderous applause at a Karaoke bar!
How long had you been dating before deciding to get married?
Derrick: We were together 2 years before we got engaged.
3) What was the initial ceremony planning like?Derrick: We ended up both getting the wedding we wanted. We had a small intimate ceremony in August in New Yorks' Central Park at Strawberry Fields. Our officiant at both weddings planned on us stepping inside of the "Imagine" mosaic and doing a ceremony surrounded by a very small group of close friends. It was a surprise to me, as I'd never even been to Central Park. It was a beautiful summer day. We were surrounded by cheering on-lookers who snapped photos. It was incredible. That was Jesus's vision of our wedding. Then we had my version in September with a larger number. I felt my husband deserved to have a day celebrating him.
Did you both agree on the type of wedding you wanted?
Derrick: We had always known that we wanted a small intimate wedding incorporating the serenity of water. Although the location, and date changed, we kept to our true vision for our day.
Any particularly amazing planning moments you'd like to share? Any particular issues with non-accepting wedding vendors?
Derrick: We actually did have an appointment with a catering company in Charlotte. They had given us an estimate for our wedding. We had our face to face meeting, and the company -once seeing it was two men getting married- doubled the estimated price. It was if they were saying we will gouge the price to ensure that we don't have to have them as customers.
Any wonderful moments with extremely supportive wedding vendors?
4) Are your families supportive of your relationship?
Derrick: Not a single family member or friend of mine has turned their backs on me since coming out to them about my relationship and wedding to my husband. Almost all were in attendance, and all were there with a purpose: even if they didn't support me getting married to someone of the same sex, they came to support me. They continue to love and support us because they have our entire lives. Nothing has changed from one day to the next.
Jesus: My friends are my family too, they have always given me support. They are excited for both of us.
Any details you would like to share with our readers?
5) How did you feel on your Wedding Day?
Derrick: I was so nervous. I wanted to make sure that everything was perfect for Jesus. We have only spent 4 total days apart ever. 2 days while he was moving from NYC to NC, one day apart just for good measure when we were dating. We promised each other that we'd never spend another day apart because it was agony. The 4th day apart was the day before the wedding. Besides the first dance, splitting up the day before the wedding was the only wedding tradition we upheld.
What was the range of emotions?
Derrick: I was nervous and anxious because I hadn't seen or talked to him for an entire day. I was missing his smile, his voice and his touch. I had everyone calling and going to see him to make sure he was ok for my sake...LOL
Was it different than you'd expected?
Derrick: I didn't know how much I'd miss him, and it was only a day. I was so excited to see him come down the aisle.
6) Describe some of your Ceremony & Reception Highlights!
Jesus: The wedding was in a word "perfection". All of who we loved and hold dear were there. But one special moment was when my very straight best man (who doesn't show emotions, as Dominican men are raised) said that he understood what true love was and it was "the D&G."
7) Any planning ideas you'd like to share with other couples?
Derrick: My husband's favorite saying to me was "Anything you need babe" LOL If and when you undertake planning a wedding, exercise patience in every form that word is used. It will be key to make it through.
Any favorite wedding vendors?
Derrick: The three vendors we mentioned earlier for the catering: Armin's Catering, DJ: Speeddemons Entertainment, and photographer: Perduevision, you can't go wrong using them, no matter where you live in the USA.
8) Any fun details about the Honeymoon you'd like to mention?
Derrick: We are going to keep details about our honeymoon close to the chest...LOL It's none of anyone's business..:)
9) Why are marriage rights important to you? Your advice to other committed couples, as they consider whether or not to have a wedding of their own?
Derrick: That decision should be made of an honest love. A love that's unyielding and built on absolute trust. Don't get married because it's what everyone's doing. Marry your partner because it's the best decision that you both agree to. I can't breathe without my husband. I know I needed to put a ring on it.
Jesus: Marriage rights are so important to us because it means freedom, that everyone is equal. And isn't that what America is known for? -Freedom and equality. We take marriage in a serious way and you should not take the step unless both parties agree and understand what it is needed to take the step towards marriage. I know that this has been beaten down, but communicate even if there is yelling involved. Amongst those heated words there are still words being said. It's better than just staying silent.
10) Favorite Quote from our Happy Couple?
Jesus: "Know yourself, know your person, and then you will know each other."