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My Not-So-Big Fat
Gay Wedding

My Not-So-Big Fat
Gay Wedding


Getting hitched in Vegas without the kitsch.

My partner and i are not what you'd call marriage tourists. When we decided to get hitched, it never occurred to us to ship off to Massachusetts or some other jurisdiction where same-sex nuptials or even civil unions are legal. We don't live there, we wouldn't get any new rights there, and we didn't view our ceremony as a political action.

No, as tacky as it will sound for the rest of our lives, we tied the knot in Vegas. It made sense; it's our home.

As with many who come here to wed, this was not my first trip to the altar. My maiden run took place in 1999 in Sedona, Ariz., to a man I fell in love with at 20 and ended up splitting with at 30. That was an over-the-top affair with nearly 100 people, a DJ, and a fancy sit-down dinner. I followed through with it despite conflicted feelings, and I'd later come to view the event as a debacle that only heightened the humiliation and embarrassment of our breakup.

Then, two years after becoming single for the first time in my adult life, I met Miles while recruiting members for the Vegas chapter of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. This prospect, I also recruited for myself. Our courtship began in the shadow of the Las Vegas Strip at a happening little Spanish tapas restaurant called Firefly. Over bacon-wrapped dates and hot spinach salad an attraction took hold; within days we were using the term "boyfriend" to describe one another.

I was hesitant to have another wedding, but Miles and I were so much in love and I didn't have any of those doubts and fears of the first go-round. We had been together 18 months when I proposed to him on bended knee beside a roaring fire in a suite at a resort on Mount Hood, Ore. Evidently, he said yes.

We briefly considered holding the wedding in one of the Vegas resort chapels--the elegant and recently renovated Mandalay Bay was our top choice. Then we discovered what a mill the Vegas wedding thing is. You get about 45 minutes to have the most important experience of your life before they usher you out so the next couple can have their life-changing event. It seemed impersonal, rushed, and expensive.

Instead, we rented one of the Sky Villas at Palms, a 6,000-square-foot suite on the 31st floor of the new Fantasy Tower with a vagina-shaped private pool hanging off the building. It turned out to be a brilliant idea. Even if you can't afford the $25,000 for that space, you could go for a SkyLoft at MGM Grand or a penthouse suite at Bellagio, each for about $800. Vegas, we realized, has a glut of dramatic spaces perfectly suited for a cozy, intimate, unhackneyed Sin City wedding. Best of all, you can stay as long as you like, even, as in our case, overnight.

We hired the in-house caterers for a turkey-carving station, a mushroom ravioli pasta bar, and a killer dessert tray. That was lucky because the cake we ordered from an otherwise wonderful French bakery on the west side of town was miserable and drippy, perhaps the only real disappointment.

We skipped the dancing, instead relying on our iPod to provide music. Our friend Mark created a slide show of pictures of us that played on the suite's many flat-screen TVs throughout the evening, and to Vegas up the works just a touch, we had poker chips printed with our names and dates for guests to take as favors. Mostly, though, we allowed the space itself to be the star (along with the two of us in our rented monkey suits), and everyone seemed to know they were doing something different and special.

Our ceremony, presided over by a liberal rabbi we found after being rejected by three others, was perfect. Rabbi Mel had never done a same-sex wedding and welled up during our service as he explained his own spiritual journey to a place where he was OK with this. His journey, he said, involved accidentally stumbling over The Love Letter on cable the night before the wedding and realizing that all love is equal. Thank God for Showtime.

So now Miles and I move on to the next phase: adoption. Clark County, which contains Las Vegas, happens to be quite progressive about helping gays adopt children, so we hope this year to become dads.

People-- even gay people -- do wonder why we bothered to have a legally meaningless wedding at all. We look at it as the foundation of our life together and, even more important, the foundation of our child's family. She'll look at those pictures one day and she'll see us young, happy, in love.

Yes, such things exist here in the heart of Sin City.

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