Never let it be said that Vaughan and I don’t have a varied and sometimes wonderfully different set of experiences. We are lucky enough to have a number of mutual friends who include us in their lives and speaking for myself, it’s a very enriching experience.
Amid the arguments, disagreements and debate about gay marriage, civil partnerships, same sex relationships and the like is an assumption that as gay men we have a similar wish for an homogenised style of marriage and as part of that the whole white dress wedding scene. That would be a dangerous assumption.
Today I was lucky enough to go with Vaughan to the wedding of Dean and Phil Davies at a Welsh castle just north of Neath. In the middle of nowhere (no mobile signal) we were Recon, Grindr and Gaydarless for two days … absolute bliss. I found the whole day refreshing, inclusive, respectful and by far the best wedding I have attended in many years.
The two grooms were in full Welsh tartan resplendent in kilts and dress jackets and full regalia. The guests – well you weren’t allowed in unless you were in full fetish gear (modesty rules being adhered to carefully to ensure taste and decency and so as not to scare the horses.
As can be seen from the guests lining up for the official photographs there were a range of leather masters, bikers, skinheads, rubber pups and slaves along with one or two leather kilts and even a cowboy!
What made it more interesting was that the wedding ceremony was carried out with the same dress code. The registrar welcomed everyone in English and Welsh, acknowledging the rather unique circumstances and setup – but recognising it was part of who Dean and Phil are. Happily there was no ‘putting up with things’, it was a natural part of their wedding and their day – as normal for all attending as any other wedding would be for the more traditional bride and groom.
There were only two people not in fetish gear – the celebrant and the officiating registrar. However, both of them entered into the spirit of the day with genuine acceptance and enthusiasm.
There was only one moment at which the registrar did the slightest of double takes – when the rings for the couple were brought onto the staged area by the ring bearer – in this case on all fours by a rubber pup in full pup suit carrying the rings on an appropriately rubberised cushion. Just a momentary hesitation and the merest question as to whether it would be appropriate to touch the dog … then on with the ceremony as if nothing was any different to any other ceremony for which she was due to officiate.
It was a pleasure to attend such an honest and open celebration of two people’s commitment to each other. Some I know would have found the event challenging even distasteful or disrespectful. I for one couldn’t be further from that position. It was the most courteous and genuine of ceremonies and I can only congratulate the celebrant and the registrar. I’m fairly sure it will be a ceremony they will remember for a fair time themselves.
One witty and personal touch which set off the day was the choice of music to leave the ceremony. Starting with the traditional wedding march there was a beat’s pause before morphing seamlessly into Honor Blackman and Patrick McNee’s version of Kinky Boots.
I can only thank the happy couple for the invitation – Vaughan for the company and the rest of the guests for their honesty and accepting nature.
I was slightly wary of the event (not due to embarrassment or my own sensitivities) but I didn’t want such a special day to be tainted by any unspoken prejudice or lack of acceptance of the attendees lifestyles. I shouldn’t have worried – a brilliant wedding and a wonderful day.
If I can ever convince the Boss … it provided great food for thought 😉