The Good, the Bad, and the Jewnicorn

By C. Brian Smith

Originally published on Advocate.com May 14 2014 4:00 AM ET

Aaron Rosenberg & Danny Rose, Hollywood, CA – October 2012

Aaron Rosenberg (above right) and Danny Rose were married in October 2012, in front of 423 friends and family members on the Paramount lot in Hollywood. Could they identify the biggest difference between gay weddings and straight weddings?

Rose responded without hesitation: “Absolutely none.”

Rosenberg agreed.

“Sure, it’s a new experience for people attending, and they try to look for differences. But at the core, there is absolutely no difference. Weddings are a celebration of love.” That said, celebrations of love — of any kind — can be tricky to pull off. Their wedding included a gospel choir, John Legend playing the mother-son dance, Jennifer Lopez dedicating a song from on stage at her concert in London via satellite, and a fully choreographed dance battle.

What did you get right? Danny Rose: From the outset, the only rule when planning this wedding was that it had to be very Aaron and very Danny — so it was basically a night of music and comedy. We wanted to poke fun at the notion that this was a gay wedding, and came down on a “Jewnicorn” to a Madonna song.

Which song?
Aaron Rosenberg: “Like a Virgin,” obviously.

Sounds like quite a production. AR: There were a lot of moving parts; finding the right event planners was key. And thank God we did: Brad Levine and Rembrandt Flores.

Is there anything you’d do differently if you had a do-over? AR: The only thing we got really wrong was the catering — the food came out late. But it wasn’t so bad because everyone just kept drinking.

What advice would you give a couple planning their wedding? DR: Remember what is truly important to you. When we look back, the most important moment was saying our vows — him looking into my eyes, me looking into his.
Cecilia Perez-Matos & Michelle Santill, Cleveland, OH – December, 2013

Cecilia Perez-Matos (above right), the youngest daughter of former Venezuelan president Carlos Andrés Pérez, married hair stylist and educator Michelle Santill (now Santill-Perez) in a legal wedding in New York City followed by a ceremony on December 28, 2013, in Cleveland, Ohio.

What did you get right? Cecilia Perez-Matos: The first dance. We had actually never slow-danced before, so when it came to making a decision on whether we were going to do a first dance, it wasn’t a simple yes. We had to figure out logistics. Michelle is taller than I am, even when I get on my tippy toes! In the end, it was a magical moment. To hold her in my arms and hear the song we had gotten engaged to one year prior; to know that she was now my wife and regardless of what the future held, our lives would be connected forever; to know that I was now dancing with Mrs. Perez — it was beautiful! I remember at the end of the song I dipped her, and as I did, time stood still for a moment. I stared into her eyes and finally felt secure that this was my heart’s forever home, and we had the rings and the license to prove it.

Is there anything you’d do differently if you had a do-over? CPM: We had originally planned to have Master Chufei Tsai, our Buddhist teacher and friend, appear via Skype during the ceremony to perform a Buddhist prayer and blessing, but we had some technical difficulties right before the wedding and were unable to have her appear. In hindsight, we would have made sure to work out all the details and kinks beforehand and had a plan B to ensure her presence was there.

What advice would you give a couple planning their wedding? CPM: For us, I really think it was an added bonus that the vendors involved were gay and gay-friendly.
Andrew Sullivan & Aaron Tone, Provincetown, MA – August 27, 2007

Andrew Sullivan (above left), author, editor, and longtime proponent of “mainstreaming” LGBT people rather than soliciting radical social change, married Aaron Tone in an intimate ceremony in Provincetown, Mass., on August 27, 2007.

What did you get right? Andrew Sullivan: We gave both of our families a vacation in adjoining houses in Provincetown and had the wedding on Monday evening, after everyone had spent the week getting to know each other.

Is there anything you’d do differently if you had a do-over? AS: We waited too long to get a wedding planner. It was a game of chicken between two dudes not caring about wedding shit. In the end I caved and a friend rescued us.

What advice would you give a couple planning their wedding? AS: Only invite guests you have seen in person in the past 12 months. Oh, and both of you should make time and get massages an hour before ceremony.