The Times, They Are a Changing

Love, Open Letters, Wedding

All photos from my own wedding are courtesy of Kate O’Connor at 

Anyone who grows up … in North America, knows the story. You grow up, you fall in love… you get married. I certainly applaud those who challenge the narrative and, yes, there are problems with ‘the institution,’ but one of the things that shows how much progress we have made, as a nation (Canada and others) is the right to choose. Marriage. No, we are not defined by our decision to join our life with someone else, and yes, you can be whole and fulfilled without being paired, or procreating. But for so long, queer relationships were defined by their inability to participate in the beautiful, emotionally fulfilling, symbolic step of sharing the joy of your relationship with those you love and having your community show their support for that union.

Today I saw an article about a dazzling couple, who celebrated in a fusion of Western and Indian traditions:

This beautiful couple has helped to raise the profile for couples everywhere who want to marry the one they love, while celebrating their culture.

And the diversity is plain to see.


A colourful union, between two brides with a female officiant.


Two traditional dresses challenge the ‘who is wearing the tux’ assumption.


Playing with conventions and gender in a classic pose.

Hard landscape, sweet emotion.

Hard landscape, sweet emotion.


Picture perfect little love birds.


Tattoos and lace, faux-hawk and a smitten grin.

One of the most beautiful parts of any wedding are the small details and traditions that couples integrate into their special day, to reflect their relationship, interests and cultures. For queer couples, although many face sadness and hardship around life moments that can bring difference and non-acceptance into harsh contrast, there are (at least) two things to be very thankful for: they have found the person they want to join their life with, and they have a chance to shape new traditions and challenge existing ones that might seem like a given for heterosexual couples.

Here are a few highlights from our special day.


Allia didn’t want us to see the other’s dress. So it was an incredible surprise to see how beautifully our dresses complimented one another; and seeing her for the first time made my jaw hit the floor. She got to decide that I would walk first, accompanied by my father, while her brother escorted her, second, down the aisle to meet me.


It was hard for us not to have her parents involved in the wedding, so we turned the traditional father daughter dance into a ‘first dance’ with someone you love. I danced with my amazing dad, and she danced with her siblings to “Stand By Me.”


We had our friend, Riaz, an unordained ‘un-officiant’ perform our ceremony. Including some humour, our delightful friend married us from atop an apple box, because we are both 5’10 and … my wife met Riaz when they both worked in the film industry.


The music was varied and personalized, with French and “Midnight in Paris” inspired music during the pre-ceremony, Bossa-Nova and Bossa-Marley (a throwback to our time in Spain) during cocktails. We both insisted that our dresses be comfortable enough to dance in, and we had a roaring dance party to celebrate, with tunes from Oldies (which we love to cook to), to indie-electro and some Bob Marley (of course, for her Jamaican heritage).


We opted for a converted historic church building, with the sunlight streaming in.


There was a surprise during dinner: amidst the childhood photos and slideshow – a video of our proposal. An onstage karaoke request for her hand in marriage. We had wine cork wreaths and all of our bridesmaids carried handmade paper bouquets by a local artisan.


We decided to forgo the awkwardly posed shots and, instead, to go SUPER posed, for a Vanity Fair/Netflix inspired editorial look. All of our bridal party members got to choose their own attire, from a palette of colours for a vintage, soft look, with a cohesive, romantic tone. We wore two of my grandma’s vintage furs, and all of the bridesmaids were able to re-wear their dresses. Given that there was no ‘groom,’ we had no ‘groomsmen,’ but each of us had our brother step in as our ‘best man.’ 


There is a special place in our hearts for our gay boy friends; our ‘g-ushers’ helped to usher in the guests (except for my brother-in-law), and wore handmade bow ties made by one of my former students.

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What is more fun than some rubber masks? As a late-night surprise, to go with the arrival of the poutine bar, panda, giraffe, unicorn, owl and horse masks turned up on the dance floor. It was the weirdest, most magical dance party, as well as tying in some of the animal themed elements from the day and creating some great candid shots.


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