A traditional marriage proposal involves getting down on one knee, popping open a jewelry box, tears, hugs, etc. If you're fancy, you might have a flash mob perform a dance unexpectedly while cameras flash and crowds cheer with excitement and joy.
This is how it went down in our house about two weeks ago:
Brian: "What are you doing today?"
Domenick: "I have some work to do in my office, then I am going to meet Meghan for a design meeting, and then go to the supermarket. Why?"
Brian: "Did you hear that there are protestors outside the courthouse today protesting the Register of Wills' decision to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples?"
Domenick: "Yeah, I read something about it."
Domenick: "Well what?"
Brian: "Don't you think we should go down and get a license?"
Domenick: "Seriously? Today?"
Brian: "They've been issuing them for three days now, and you haven't even said anything to me about it."
Domenick: "That's because you only have 60 days to get married once you have the license."
Domenick: "Yeah, so... we can't possibly get married within the next 60 days. I figured we'd wait until we had made plans, etc."
Brian: "Uh huh."
Domenick: "What's the matter?"
Brian: "I guess you don't want to marry me."
Domenick: "Don't be ridiculous. We don't even know the legality of those licenses."
Brian: "This is a window of opportunity, and you don't even care. I guess you don't love me."
Domenick: "Stop joking. Of course I love you. But we are way too busy to get married in the next 60 days."
Brian: "Uh huh."
Domenick: "Stop that."
Brian: "I thought you were Mr. Huffington Post gay rights blogger, and you don't even want to get a marriage license when you have the chance?!"
Domenick: "Of course I want to."
Brian: "Well, let's go."
Domenick: "You're serious."
Brian: "Yes, I am serious."
Domenick: "Um... OK."
Brian: "Good. Get in the car."
And, like that, we were off to get our marriage license.
One of the main reasons I love Brian is that he is spontaneous. When we met 18 years ago, I was way too serious, steady, calm and... boring. It is impossible not to have fun around Brian, who is definitely a "seize the moment" kind of guy.
Trust me, I do want to get married. But this seemed like one of the most impulsive things we had ever done. We went to the courthouse and got our license. There was no fanfare. The protestors had gone home for the day. One sole counter-protestor, our friend Earl, was still outside holding up a sign about equality and wearing a "NOH8" symbol on his face. The woman taking our information for the license seemed bemused by the whole gay-marriage thing. The office is remarkably drab, so the protestors and the gays were clearly spicing up her work environment. Giving her the information was hum-drum, a bit like sitting in the DMV and getting a driver's license. The only interesting thing was being asked which one of us wanted to have our name placed in the "female" side of the form (the Register of Wills allowed licenses to be issued in Montgomery County, but the forms had not been changed). Brian won the coin toss on that one, by the way.
I still had my meeting with Meghan. Then we went to the supermarket. All in all, it was a pretty average day -- except for the fact that we were amongst the first gay couples ever to receive a marriage license in the state of Pennsylvania.
When we got home, I checked my Facebook page. I had posted a picture that Earl had taken of us receiving the license, with the tag line "So this happened today."
Even though it was now a mere three hours later, we had received hundreds of messages and "likes." Our friends were ecstatic. Several mentioned that they were crying. Dozens were toasting us at bars all across the country. Our marriage license news released a flood of emotion from our friends and family. Not only were they happy for us; they were thrilled to know that our county had taken a historic step forward by given us a license.
We had 60 days to plan a wedding. What did we do? We shortened that and decided to have the wedding in two weeks. We were both caught up in the spontaneity thing by now.
Two weeks to plan a wedding is a whirlwind. Friends offered all types of services: a florist, a DJ, a chaplain, singers, drag queens (of course we are having drag queens at our wedding!), you name it. I but up an Event Page on Facebook announcing "Brian & Domenick's Big, Gay, Impromptu, Legal Gay Wedding," and before we knew it, almost 200 people had agreed to join us. Everyone stepped up to help with this crazy idea of pulling together a wedding in two weeks. Our family and friends caught the impulsive fever. Schedules were cleared, flights were arranged, hotels were books.
My niece was upset that two weeks' time was not enough to plan a dream wedding. But, honestly, I have never dreamed of a wedding. I never thought I would have one. Even as same-sex marriage has been legalized in other states, I assumed it would take years before Pennsylvania joined "the right side of history." I did not allow myself to dream of a wedding.
These past two weeks have been exciting, exhausting, thrilling and joyous. This is probably the best way to put together a wedding. We have no expectations, so it is enormously fun to see all the elements fall into place. We will have big party that we will never forget.
Surprise (to me)! We are getting married this weekend. And I could not be happier.
I love you, Brian!