Today was an amazing day. The sun rose on a blue sky and a still sea, and the temperature quickly rose to the mid-70′s. Tomorrow we get married, but today is for play.
Many of our guests are coming a long distance to witness our marriage. My best man Sorin was flying from Hawaii with his wife Heather and their son Joshua. Many other friends were coming from the west coast. We wanted them to have something to do while they were here, so we planned on a Friday full of activities.
This morning started out at 11am with a tour of the Provincetown Dunes. A line of Chevy Suburbans pulled up in front of the Land’s End Inn and everyone piled in. And then we were off on a drive along the beach and into the Cape Cod National Seashore Dunes. The Suburbans glided across the soft sand as our guides told us about the history of the dunes (deforested by the original settlers, who they went ‘oops!’ as the sand started blowing into town.)
At one point everyone was allowed out for a tramp up to the top of one dune. My 83-year-old grandmother went right along with everyone else, and lots of pictures were taken of the peeking over the horizon.
The second event of the day occurred at 4:30pm, when everyone gathered on the town dock and boarded the Bay Lady II, a beautiful ketch-rigged schooner that took us on a slow silent glide out into Massachusetts Bay. The weather was perfect for a sail. Bottles of beer and rosé were opened and everyone quickly got quite convivial.
The sunset from the deck of the ship was amazingly beautiful. Two sundogs appeared, the first time I’d seen these rainbow-colored patches on the horizon. And then the sun set, and we sailed slowly back to port, everyone sitting a little closer to the person next to them as the temperature dropped.
From the dock, a bus brought everyone over to Herring Cove Beach, where a campfire and clambake waited. P’town Parties really delivered with an incredible clambake including chowder, steamed clams, lobsters, and steak. We drank more wine, laughed, and stared into the fire. Eventualy people started drifting away to their beds until there was only a handful of us remaining. We stood there shoulder to shoulder around the fire, no one talking much. I was thinking that I was so blessed to have the friends standing there with us on the beach at land’s end.
Now I’m back at the inn, writing this and thinking about tomorrow. After all this time, I’m finally going to be getting married, just as I’d always imagined it, in the company of the people who mean the most to me, and to the man I know I’ll love forever.
We drove down to Provincetown today, marriage license in hand. My dad and his girlfriend Barbara came along. We’re in the home stretch.
Most of the planning is complete. We’ve rented the Land’s End Inn for the entire weekend. We’ve scheduled the ceremony at the Unitarian Universalist Meetinghouse, and we’ve been discussing the ceremony with Reverend Allison Hyder for weeks. Chester Restaurant is reserved for the reception. A florist, photographer, and videographer have been hired. We even have a case of assorted sea shells for decorating the restaurant.
Even my vows, which worried me so much, seemed to all come together a few days ago. I wrote them out, then re-wrote them, and they seemed right. (Dan and I are not sharing our vows with one another before the ceremony, but we compared word counts. He has 160 words, and I have 207.)
After the 12 years of engagement, 7 months of wedding planning, 2 months of invitation RSVPs, and endless family turmoil, it’s nice to finally be here. Dan and I keep looking at one another and saying “I can’t believe we’re actually getting married!” We’re wearing stupid grins like two kids in love for the first time.
Thank you, Massachusetts.
I grew up in Bellingham, Massachusetts on a small family farm. We grew and sold fresh produce and raised animals to feed the family. For a while we even lost money on a small dairy herd. It was a great way for a kid to grow up. When I wasn’t working the fields, I was exploring the forests around the farm.
Today, Bellingham is a growing bedroom community located somewhere between Boston and Providence. The forests are being turned into planned communities, and strip malls are popping up all over town. Our old family farm is still there, however. My dad sold it to a group of Mennonite brethren, who continue to run the farm to this day.
To stay close to my family, Dan and I have an apartment in Bellingham where we reside part time. Because of this, we qualify as ‘residents’ and are allowed to get married in Massachusetts. Others are not so lucky. A law passed in 1913 to stop inter-racial couples from coming to Massachusetts to get married is now being used to keep gay couples from other states from marrying in Massachusetts. The irony seems to be lost on Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who has stated that he doesn’t want Massachusetts to become the ‘gay marriage capital of the United States’. It’s not to far a stretch to imagine some legislator in 1913 speaking of the dangers of Massachusetts becoming the ‘miscegenation capital of the U.S.’
My Dad drove Dan and I to town hall, where we were enthusiastically congratulated by the town clerk and her assistant. As we filled out the forms necessary to get our license, she told us that Bellingham had already had quite a few same-sex couples get married.
My dad took some photos, and we went home. Even though Dan and I have been together for almost 18 years, state law requires a 3-day ‘cooling off period’. Well, we wouldn’t want to do anything impulsive!