Episode 2: The Wedding
I’m Sissy Siero, your guide, your host, your virtual wedding coordinator – sharing an insider’s view of a socially-distanced blessed event – A wedding… right in our neighborhood; across the street no less.
How a clan of neighbors who, only 6 weeks earlier, went from waving to each other when we got into our cars, to a tightly nit group of new-found friends; banding together to make the best possible wedding, in the strangest possible situation, for a beloved couple – who had to postpone their big day, due to the pandemic.
You’ll hear live audio, from the Wedding and Reception, as well as other wedding stories; some from couples in the same situation as our friends, and a few stories from community writers remembering their own weddings.
I’m grateful to Justin and Mary Kate for allowing me to tell some of their story from this beautiful event, and to share it with all of you. It’s these moments that connect and remind us of who we are, what we’re doing and why – especially now when the pieces of our lives just don’t to fit together the way they use to.
First up the live Audio from Justin and Mary Kate’s wedding ceremony – April 24, 2020, ATX.
So, get ready- to raise a glass to love in Episode 2: The Wedding. [ audio from the Wedding ceremony]
This section of the show consists of more live audio from the wedding reception, and stories from couples experiencing the same thing as Justin and Mark Kate, as well as other stories of wedding memories.
And now… more of Episode #2 – The Wedding First up : 2 weddings in 35 days:
It was 2008, and we found out we could be legally married in – where else – California! So off we went.
Marriage license obtained at Beverly Hills City hall, where burly security guards congratulated us in gruff voices; queers of every stripe posing for happy photos on the steps; staring in disbelief as the license was pushed toward us through the slot and instead of a perfunctory close of the deal nod- this person looked up and gave us a warm, genuine smile.
Traci agreed to this adventure, more for me than anything, since to her it wouldn’t make a difference to our lives here in Texas. I know, but Damnit I wanted the piece of paper. I wanted what every other American citizen was legally able to do; it mattered!
That early evening It was to be just Traci, me, my BBF Hilary and her darling husband Jack, also there was an officiant I had met over the phone and spoke to twice.
Hilary and Jack had scattered rose pedals and hung chimes over the arch that looked out onto the blue pacific from park above Santa Monica – my idea of heaven.
When we held hands, looked into each other’s eyes and said our vows, my tears were not surprising – I could not believe my good fortune – was this really, finally happening! Wedding number 2 was 35 days later on our back deck in ATX. Full regalia this time. Family, flowers; Dad in his blue suit and pink tie, to walk me down the stone path. Traci’s Mother to walk her in to meet me; so many dear ones got up and read a wish, an invocation, a blessing for us, that became a book we still cherish; our darling friends decorated, helped with flowers, even hired a limo to whisk us away to a crazily decorated bridal suite at the Four Seasons; a few of our close boyfriends brought a sound system, set it up – DJ’s and Officiated.
We had a dance floor and catering; a photographer, white cafe lights and champaign and magic. And of course …beautiful Traci… – the way her hands felt in mine, her spirit filling my eyes….; our vows resonated with an even deeper intention this night. Time stretched and went it by in a whirl.
Something shifted in my consciousness that evening – 2 different weddings but somehow, the same experience. Without prompting my heart led the escape …melting a carefully constructed vessel I tried to keep it in. Happily undone… in the best way possible!
This is from Sam, who along with his incredible wife Pat, hosted the Wedding soirée on their font lawn and drive way:
“We had our own neighborhood version of creating a massive Stone Soup last week. Let me explain……
During this stay at home period the neighbors have gathered in our yard almost every evening to enjoy conversation, thoughts, and a bit of mental realignment. One of the newest neighbors is a young couple that had moved down from NYC. Actually they were traveling back and forth between Austin and NYC until they were fortunate to be in Austin as the world began to unravel and close down. They were safely away from ground zero . That was the good news. They had space and a yard and a neighborhood to enjoy as compared to being closed in in The City.
As the nightly conversations continued and relationships developed and strengthened ,we all shared and learned about each other. Turns out the young couple’s wedding plans had been hit by the Shut-in. Their original date was a Friday in late April. The evening conversation group saw no reason why a ceremony couldn’t still be held, right there in our front yard. The idea took root.
A license was obtained ( a whole story in that event alone that the bride best tells!) An officiant was available, so…. it was on.
This is where the Stone Soup – Wedding style kicked in. We provided a yard (the pot) and a sound system( the first stone). Another neighbor decorated an archway with ribbons and provided Tiki torches. Another neighbor provided flowers. Bottles of champagne from another neighbor. One neighbor involved their young daughter to draw chalk feet prints on the sidewalk and street to indicate appropriate social distancing. Many ingredients were added that yielded an amazing wedding, our neighborhoods own version of Wedding Stone Soup!
The ceremony was awesome! “Next up a story from Dee, another member of our neighborhood tribe, and the official bridal party ‘ florist’ :[ 1 minute]
“The wedding gave us something to look forward to and to focus on bedsides ourselves! So exciting to have something to do and someplace to be besides home. How cool it was to help two young people celebrate a marriage in a much different way than they ever thought they would. What joy it was to be able to participate in this special day that we would not have participated in had the original plans taken place. It was so fun watching the neighbors come together and each contribute something to the wedding ceremony. The wedding gave us all a purpose and a feeling of a caring and giving community that we are fortunate to live in. What a special day that will not be forgotten for many reasons.”
This audio story from sweet neighbor Caitlin- audio [ 1 minute]
Now this from Pepper looking back over 21 years : [ 1 minute]
Dog and I dated for 5 years before we married.I felt like he needed to marry someone his own age.
But he was resolved – It was his first marriage, and he wanted this 47 year old, previously married woman, to wear a big ..white.. wedding gown. It was so hard to agree to that! but I finally found a gown that was really white, lacy and even had a train!
But I felt so stupid… until I saw his face, the way he looked at me as I walked down the aisle toward, at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. Seeing him like that, well, it was all worth it. Now, 21 years later, we still celebrate our anniversary at the Bellagio every year.
He was a 30 year old groom; his parents didn’t approve of our union, even refused to attend our wedding! You know what, it is a such a pleasure to prove them wrong!”
Next up a story – from western Massachusetts and read by Annaliese Tassano, who is stepping out of her usual expertise- as a fantastic photographer- to give her voice to this contributor’s story [ 1.5 minutes ]
: “A few days after cancelling, I felt relief knowing that the decision had been made and that a new plan was in motion. The days leading up to my postponing, I had been nervously watching the news every day and staying up all night reading every news article. I was in a constant state of panic. I would have been such a wreck if we had gone through with the wedding. I know we made the right decision, and take so much comfort in knowing that we will have our day… eventually, but that still didn’t make it any easier! We made the decision to postpone our reception, but would still get married on our original date – how we’re going to manage that is still a bit of mystery, but as long as we have something kind of booked,? it feels better then being in limbo. So much is uncertain, my job and his; we both needed a little anchor to ground us.
Here’s one from a couple in Dallas: “Our guests were my 2 sisters, her brother and our dogs. Our officiant was skyped with my laptop on the mantle; and her brother filled in as our photographer -armed with an iPhone. Our outfits were a mash up of pieces we already had in our closets we both decided on more of a costume look- but we did get some shoe options from zappos! I hate high heels but she loves them so fancy white sneakers for me and pumps for the wife to be! Our official bridal photos after, showed us in masks, both holding roses, from the garden, in gloved hands. All in all it felt just about right. though we’ll get married again with everyone there, it was suprizingly special, and it made us all forget what’s going on right now – and that was worth it!”
The reception audio – -3 minutes
These are anxious times for all of us, but for Brides & Brides, Brides and Grooms, and Grooms and Grooms-to-be, and for people working in the wedding industry, it’s especially challenging, painful and heart wrenching.
This episode is dedicated to all of you – and especially to my darling niece Victoria and her wonderful fiancé Bryan: I wish with all my heart I could make it somehow easier for you -I hope this episode made it just a little better.
Thanks so much for listening to the episode! I must again thank my long time pal, music composer, engineer and producer extraordinair and talented vo artist, Simon Tassano for his great introduction! People keep asking me – who is that British guy – love his voice!
If you’re not listening on my website, Please click the link to go to the podcast page where you can sign up for the mailing list, AND if you click on the side bar – you can record a story for the podcast, right on the page! – so please join our community and add either audio, or a written story which you can send to- firstname.lastname@example.org
On our next episode I’ll welcome a very special co-host Tasia Valensa when we discuss what it means to: “ Shelter in Grace” during this pandemic. Speak to you soon!