I first ran this post on my old blog Ready When You Are, C.B. back in 2008 two days after C.J. and I were legally married. We’re still married, still going strong. What used to be a revolutionary act has become as utterly mundane as two people falling in love. Happens all the time; what’s the big deal?
CJ and I tied the knot again on Sunday. This time it’s legal throughout the State of California. Things went very well; a few hitches here and there, enough to add some drama and some humor to the event but not enough to damage it. We spent most of the day Friday and Saturday preparing food for the reception. We ended up desperate for a couple of people to serve because waiters backed out at the last minute Saturday morning. All I can say is those people out there who spend tens of thousands of dollars hiring wedding planners to do everything for you…that’s a really good idea.
Just about everyone we invited made it to the service, which was just great. I loved it. CJ loved it. Everyone there said they loved it too. Two of our very good friends sang for us. One is very involved in community theatre and the other has moved up to non-equity professional theatre work. Both were terrific. One sang “One Song” in French. If you don’t know it by name, it’s the song the prince sings in Snow White. It comes towards of the “I’m Wishing” sequence.
Our friend did it like an Edith Piaf tune; many people asked me afterwards if it was an Edith Piaf song. CJ and I both smiled at each other , close to laughter during the song. It’s very corny, but I think it’s a beautiful song, certainly romantic. It should be featured at more weddings.
My good friend and the founder of my book club the read a sonnet.
Sonnets from the Portuguese
by Elizabeth Barret Browning.
When our two souls stand up erect and strong,
Face to face, silent, drawing nigh and nigher,
Until the lengthening wings break into fire
At either curved point,–what bitter wrong
Can the earth do to us, that we should not long
Be here contented? Think! In mounting higher,
The angels would press on us and aspire
To drop some golden orb of perfect song
Into our deep, dear silence. Let us stay
Rather on earth, Beloved,–where the unfit
Contrarious moods of men recoil away
And isolate pure spirits, and permit
A place to stand and love in for a day,
With darkness and the death-hour rounding it.
CJ said afterwards that he got a much deeper understanding of the poem by listening to someone else read it. I think I should add a regular poetry feature here, branch out from books and short stories. Looking at the two poems we used in our wedding so closely for the past month or so has given me a much deeper understanding of each. Poetry really has much to offer.
Our friend the semi-professional singer then sang Time After Time, not the Cyndi Lauper song(though that is a terrific song) but the song Chet Baker and Frank Sinatra sing. We’ve been listening to our friend the semi-professional sing for almost two decades, and I can honestly say she never sounded better. She really works on her singing and it has definitely paid off. She sang it once through like Chet Baker sings it and then once again much more up-tempo. Our minister joked at the rehearsal that we might end up dancing. I did see a few people in the audience bobbing the heads. Here’s Mr. Baker’s version of Time After Time.
Doesn’t he look like he has a tooth missing? CJ and I had a hard time picking out a second song, because most love songs are about new love or love gone wrong. There aren’t many songs about love that’s lasted 12 years. None that you could sing at a wedding anyway.
We ended the entertainment portion of the wedding with Walt Whitman. If this isn’t already the standard for gay weddings it probably should be. We asked our friend and neighbor from around the corner to read “When I heard at the close of day.”
When I heard at the close of the day how my name had been receiv’d with plaudits in the capitol, still it was not a happy night for me that follow’d,
And else when I carous’d, or when my plans were accomplish’d, still I was not happy,
When I saw the full moon in the west grow pale and disappear in the morning light,
When I wander’d alone over the beach, and undressing bathed, laughing with the cool waters, and saw the sun rise,
And when I thought how my dear friend my lover was on his way coming,
O then I was happy,
O then each breath tasted sweeter, and all that day my food nourish’d me more, and the beautiful day pass’d well,
And the next came with equal joy, and with the next at evening came my friend,
And that night while all was still I heard the waters roll slowly continually up the shores,
I heard the hissing rustle of the liquid and sands as directed to me whispering to congratulate me,
For the one I love most lay sleeping by me under the same cover in the cool night,In the stillness in the autumn moonbeams his face was inclined toward me,
And his arm lay lightly around my breast — and that night I was happy.
I can’t get Whitman’s poetry to format properly here; he’s too big to be contained. Many people have a hard time with him, but when his poetry works it really works.
The exchange of vows and rings that followed were actually very traditional. I was able to track down a copy of the vows we took in San Francisco in 2004 so we used those. My brother travelled from Sarajevo to be there and stood as witness and ring bearer. He gave a wonderful toast at the reception, too. The weather was beautiful, the food was delicious, several people smuggled multiple pieces of the biscotti I made into their purses and pockets to take home. CJ and I had the best time. Thanks to everyone who came.