Andrew & Scott's Wedding in the Catskills: The Ceremony

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Being a same-sex couple already made our wedding somewhat untraditional, and we loved the freedom we had to tailor the weekend to our own tastes. Unsurprisingly, the ceremony was perhaps the least by-the-book. When planning the big day, we actually started by looking at the format of a “traditional” ceremony. Immediately, we decided that there were rites we absolutely didn’t want to include, but we were surprised to find that there were certain rituals that actually really resonated with us. For starters,  the flowers. I love that brides get to carry bouquets, but it seemed crazy that it should be limited to only one gender. Scott and I each carried a bouquet of dried wildflowers. Tip: you can find really gorgeous dried arrangements on Etsy that you can order weeks in advance without worrying about them dying!

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Our ceremony site was very simple. Across the street from our venue, The North Branch Inn, was a large meadow next to a brook. We got married under a large tree in front of forty of our closest friends and family members.

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To keep the ceremony as accessible to our loved ones as possible, we removed religion from the equation, and replaced our readings with literature instead. My sisters Maggie and Celia read the children’s short story “Alone” from Days With Frog and Toad. This was one of my favorite picture books growing up — I adored the characters of Frog and Toad and the love they had for each other. It wasn’t until I was much older that I learned (from Scott, obviously) that the author, Arnold Lobel, was actually gay. I like to think that even before I had the language, that I clocked Frog and Toad as perhaps my first queer icons. Needless to say, I fully cried listening to my sisters read it

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Our friend Mike Gottlieb did a reading of a letter from St. Paulinus to his teacher/friend/probable boyfriend Ausonius, which he wrote in 385 C.E. if you can believe it! It meant a lot to recognize that getting married was the continuation of a centuries-old tradition of love between two men.

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My gorgeous friend Maddy Trumble and the brilliant curator of all of our music for the weekend, Adam Wachter, performed an acoustic version of one of our all-time favorite love songs, “A Quiet Thing” by Kander & Ebb.

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I still get chills thinking about how lucky we were to have the ceremony officiated by the incredible human (and host of NPR’s “All Things Considered”) Ari Shapiro. As one of Scott’s oldest friends, and one of my personal arts and culture heroes, he was the dream person to marry us. He gave a touching and hilarious speech before borrowing some language from the ancient traditions of marriage to pronounce us husband and husband.

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Of course, one of the perks of marrying a professional writer is that Scott had perhaps the most tear-jerkingly beautiful vows ever written. I’ve never been able to re-read them without bursting into tears. Luckily, we both (barely) held it together for the ceremony.

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As our final offering, we invited our friends to do a sing-along of one of our favorite tunes, “Rainbow Connection.” With my personal connection to rainbows, and the giant one appearing in the sky right before the ceremony, this seemed too much of a coincidence. As we sang along, our friends threw star and heart shaped confetti cut out of dried autumn leaves.

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Of course, the deed wasn’t done until the marriage license was signed. After everything our LGBTQ friends, past and present, had fought for, it was a surprisingly poignant moment getting to put pen to page and declare us officially married by the state of New York. 

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Photography: Emilio Madrid-Kuser

Wedding Venue: The North Branch Inn

Suits: Samuelsohn