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Venue: The Tower Club, Chicago, Illinois
Charlie and I have been together for four years now — we met at a costume party on Halloween night back in 2003. Charlie was dressed as one of the "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" hosts, and my friends and I were the Von Trapp family from "The Sound of Music." There was this group contest and Charlie proclaimed that if his team won, he'd take me out to dinner. He was really confident about winning. Needless to say, they lost. He still took me out, though.
We got engaged in 2005. We were in Santorini, Greece, above this beautiful cliff, and Charlie suddenly pulled out his dad's old wedding ring (his father had passed away).
It took a while to settle on a date, but finally we decided on March 31, since it was the best day for the majority of our guests. We knew we wanted a very urban setting downtown, but also something very classy. We didn't really want a hotel, though. We both love the theater and music, and so we chose a venue that would mean something special and would always be a memory for us: The Tower Club, in the top floor of the Opera House. The whole place, including the floor, is refined in really beautiful old wood, and it seemed perfect for us.
The day started out sunny and beautiful, but quickly became overcast. Luke, our Bella photographer was taking photos of us getting ready, and suddenly a downpour started. One of my favorite memories was actually being caught in the rain, and some of my favorite photos were taken in this complete and utter rainstorm. All you could do was laugh. Our bridesmaids were soaking wet, and they had to go back and have hair and makeup redone. It was a lot of fun. It cleared up by evening, and we had a beautiful night.
We wanted our ceremony to be traditional, but also wanted to bring our own flavor to it. We did not do anything religious, but we found a great officiant, who was recommended through gayweddings.com. We planted two seeds into a pot, and we still look at that plant every single day — it's completely blooming. We had a couple of our friends read poems, which were sweet and masculine at the same time.
We both walked down the aisle with our moms — that was really important, since both of our fathers had passed away. Before the ceremony itself we had registered as domestic partners, and at the ceremony we signed a commitment certificate. We had a receiving line and then a cocktail hour, followed by a reception with a beautiful cake. There was dinner, dancing and fun music. We really like to dance, and we got people totally involved, so it was a great time.
Working with Luke, our photographer, was great. We wanted our photos to represent the day, but we didn't want a lot of posed shots, since we wanted to just enjoy our day and look back on it and remember exactly what we were doing at that moment. It was such a whirlwind day, I even forgot our photographer was there for most of it. They were so unobtrusive, that they just melted into the crowd. And yet, I feel like Luke caught so many of our moments, I really can look back on it and say it's a great representation of everything I was feeling. He even took such a mundane thing as a stack of napkins and made it look like a creative, original part of the day.
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