The Royal Suite Parlour in the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver was the venue of choice for the September wedding ceremony of Gary and Kerry. Created for King George VI and Queen Elizabeth when they opened the hotel back in 1939, the comfy couches and warm colours of the Royal Suite provided a cozy contrast to the leaden skies of Vancouver’s first autumn rain.
From the moment I arrived, I could sense that this was a Very Special Occasion for all of us. Whether family or friends, each of the thirty-two guests present enjoyed a close connection to the grooms. After getting to know Gary and Kerry in the creation of their ceremony, I felt honoured to be the one to join them in marriage. And for the two of them, it was the day they had waited for — for over twenty years! A day that neither of them as young men ever would have thought possible.
Almost no one present – including the grooms – had attended a gay wedding before.
The moment I walked to the front with my ceremonial binder in hand, a hush fell over the room. After a few introductory words, the grooms walked in, hand in hand, to Somewhere from West Side Story, a song that particularly resonates for them as a couple. Upon their arrival, they each lit a white taper, signifying their individual lives before this day. [Later, at the end of the ceremony, the tapers would be used to light a single candle symbolizing their union.]
The warm glow of the candles seemed to bring everyone into the present moment. Time was suspended as all of the guests opened their hearts to what was really happening — the joining of two souls in the transformative rite of marriage. One can only imagine the warmth and generosity of spirit of each guest as they had an opportunity to bless the rings. Certain details in the love story of Gary and Kerry evoked many knowing nods and chuckles. These were guests who really knew the grooms!
Gary and Kerry generously allowed the personal into their wedding ceremony, and in so doing, gave us all the gift of their spirit. As I shared the touching reflections that this couple had written for each other, and when they later said their vows [in unison], the affection and support in the room was palpable. It was apparent to everyone that Kerry and Gary’s love for each other was real and true, and that it was absolutely right and appropriate that they be able to commit to one another in marriage.
Gary later summed it up when he spoke at the reception. “Love is love!” he jubilantly declared. And everyone in the room knew exactly what he meant.
Wedding Celebrant and Officiant, Janis Horne