May 24, 2005: Wedding in Windsor

We have been together since the summer of 1995, and we got engaged in the winter of that year. We decided that if it were ever possible for us to get married, we would do so. Regardless of one's feelings about such relationships, one would hopefully concede that this one is for keeps. These are two inviduals who have lost a lot of hair together, been through multiple moves together and have weathered the loss of many cherished pets in these last ten years. After the big flurry of activity on the legal front in the summer of 2003, we decided we'd wait a bit, and we decided at some point in 2004 that we'd get married on the tenth anniversary of the day we met (May 8, 1995). We ended up being off by a few days, but what's a few days when you've been waiting for a decade? We were hoping for Massachusetts, but couples couldn't get married there if the marriage would not be valid in their home state, and that won't be any time soon for Missouri. Several provinces in Canada recognize same-sex marriages, and as it turns out, Ontario isn't as far as, say, Massachusetts or California, so that seemed to work out for us. One caveat: although there is no waiting period for marriages in Ontario, a couple has to live there for at least a year in order to get a divorce!
Marriage license applications in Ontario just ask for the names of "applicant" and "joint applicant". Here is a picture of us in the lobby of our hotel filling out our license application. That person with Andy and Hugh is our officiant from The Marrying Wives of Windsor. He pretty much took care of everything, and we can't recommend this organization highly enough. The whole process from filling out the paperwork up to the end of the ceremony only took a few hours.
We drove a few blocks to the courthouse, submitted our license application to the appropriate office, then went outside to take some pictures. This is one of them.
It didn't take the folks at the courthouse long to type up the wedding license application. They had it ready for us to sign it in less than half an hour, so we signed it and took an oath (I believe it was to the Queen) that the information on our application was correct. The license itself was ready in a few minutes.
Here we are getting ready to leave the courthouse with our license. Andy: this was the point at which the whole experience became real for me. After a 9-year wait, an actual marriage license!
We took a short ride across town to the bed and breakfast where we were to have our marriage solemnized. We changed into our suits and decided where in the dining room to have the ceremony (right in front of the window, as it turned out). Here we are somewhere in the middle of the ceremony saying mushy stuff to each other. That was kind of hard to do because we're not used to being affectionate in front of other people. We even kissed at the end of the ceremony, and we have a picture of that too. Hugh: the point at which the whole experience became real for me was (oddly enough) when I was putting on my dress shoes for the ceremony!
After the ceremony, everyone (the officiant, the two witnesses and the happy couple) had to sign the wedding registry, then the officiant finished filling in all the other blanks, and then we went outside for some more pictures. Here's a Andy signing the registry while Hugh looks on. After we were done with the pictures (it was starting to rain a bit), we went back to the B&B to change clothes. We had gone right through lunch, so we found a restaurant nearby and had pizza and soup. Of all the restaurants in Windsor, how did we end up at the only restaurant whose zuppa del giorno (soup of the day) was Italian Wedding Soup? We rode bikes around town for a while, did some shopping at the Devonshire Mall (warning: kind of a noisy web site. You might want to turn down your speakers first.), and when it came time to have dinner, we ended up going to the buffet at the Casino Windsor. No, we didn't gamble, but the food was good. What a day!
We didn't really expect to get any wedding presents, but we got some anyway! Here is a quilt made for us by a friend. It's in a place of honor in our house (draped over a chair in the living room), and there are a couple of stuffed cats on the chair just for decoration.
Here's a detail of the quilt showing the embroidery. Of course, if you have truly excellent eyesight, then you could probably read this above the head of the Siamese stuffed kitty above. Speaking of Siamese...
The real Siamese cat in this picture is Madison Deborah Emerson. She came into our lives at about the right time to be considered a wedding present.
This is an engraved photo frame from our best man. In a wedding of this sort, I suppose the correct title is "witness", but what the heck, why not just call him the best man?
This came in the mail near our .5-year anniversary: the marriage certificate.