My girlfriend and I have been dating since December 2004, which as I'm writing this, looks like a really, really long time. Back in 2004, Facebook was known as TheFacebook, people bought CDs and DVDs, cell phones flipped in half, and someone named Kayne West released his first album. We've been together longer than any of our siblings have known the people to whom they're currently married. In fact, we were both bridesmaids in our sisters' respective weddings, which means we own two sets of identical dresses that will never be re-worn.
Marriage Equality came to my state fairly late: October 2014 (compared to Massachusetts in 2004). In June of the following year, the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage across the country. When it finally became legal, [well-meaning] friends and family immediately wanted to know when we were getting married.
For all intents and purposes, my partner and I are married. We own a house together, we have joint banking accounts, we adopted a cat, we're each others' emergency contacts and next of kin: all of those adult things that say we're in it for the long-haul. So when friends and family ask when we're getting married, what they're really asking is: when are you having a wedding?
To say that I love my girlfriend is the understatement of all understatements, and I want her to be my wife so we can take part in all the legal rights of a proper married couple (plus it's kind of sexy to call her Wife), but for a long time, I didn't know if I actually wanted a wedding. I know there's all kinds of cute, quirky things we can do to make the ceremony reflect our personalities and desires. I know we don't have to make it big or formal or traditional; I know I can get married in a cute cocktail dress instead of a wedding gown. Or, we could get married in our backyard and have taco trucks and beer toasts instead of champagne and cake.
The real problem is that neither my partner nor myself were the little girl who played dress-up in her mother's clothes and dreamed about her wedding day. I had Barbie's, but I had more fun putting Ken into Jem's high-heels, which strangely fit his feet. In middle school, my friends were obsessed with playing M.A.S.H. -- the game that predicts your future -- while I was more interested in drawing pictures of Bart Simpson.
This wedding question has been on my radar more than usual these days as I continue to work on Winter Jacket 4. Knowing that this could be the final story in the series (or at least the last in this immediate chronological order), I've been reflecting on reader feedback over the years about what a 'Happy Ending' for Elle and Hunter might look like: very often this includes a wedding and maybe some babies. But it's occurred to me that I have my own personal happy ending, and none of that has included an actual wedding.
But I worry -- if I never have a wedding, am I disrespecting queer couples who fought so hard for marriage equality? And perhaps more troublesome, does it make our partnership less than in the eyes of our more-traditional parents if we never have a ceremony?
Are any of you in the same boat? Or perhaps, if you had a wedding, why did you do it? I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject.