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Real Weddings The Engagement & Ceremony Planning… The couple’s engagement came with little fanfare. They had dated and moved in together, and at some point Derek says he simply looked at Jonathan one day and said outright that they ought to marry. “And he said, ‘Yeah,’” Derek recalls happily. “It just sort-of came out of my mouth and I just sort-of asked him.” Simply, naturally… after spending precious time getting to know one another, the men seemed meant for each other. “We were going to wait a year,” adds Jonathan. “We had the rings picked out and a few things set up, but then it just wasn’t the right time. That year got to be a really hard one: there were a couple of deaths in the family, including my sister… and then Derek broke his arm right before our ceremony. It seemed like a sign that it wasn’t going to happen.” Far from discouraged, the couple looked ahead to brighter times for moving forward with their wedding plans. They had considered traveling to Massachusetts, where same-sex marriage had been legalized, but then the state began barring non-residents from taking advantage of the groundbreaking legislation. “Ontario (Canada) actually made more sense anyway,” Derek explains. “Going to Boston seemed so expensive and we’d have been required to stay for three days to complete the paperwork. Canada is really nice – you can do everything all in one day.” The following year did indeed seem smoother; a more auspicious time presented itself to the couple. They found a Canadian-based officiant and began writing their own vows; they chose organic fabrics and hired an African tailor to hand-sew their ceremony attire. And they decided to have a small ceremony in Ontario in June, then a much larger reception for family and friends back home in September. “My other sister lives in Michigan, so we got a minivan and filled it with seven friends… then stopped in Lansing so my sister and her husband could drive up too,” Jonathan explains. “It was

important that she could be a witness for us.” The evening prior to the ceremony, the group ventured into Canada and then enjoyed a relaxing dinner at a Mediterranean restaurant back in Detroit. The next morning, Saturday, the grooms prepared for their Special Day: the minivan was packed, all eleven in their wedding party loaded themselves inside and they traveled the short distance to the international border. “The night before,” Jonathan recalls, “it was no issue at all. Then on Saturday the Canadian immigration officials randomly stopped us. They pulled out all our luggage and everything from the van, but it wasn’t really a problem.” Adds Derek, “They were asking us about all our stuff and we told them we were getting married… and then we were just overexplaining… I think they were concerned we were smuggling in cigarettes or something.” He laughs, remembering. “After about half an hour, eventually they just gave up and let us through.”

The Wedding Day… On June 2, 2007, Derek Tyus and Jonathan Garber were married in Ontario, in a scenic park

overlooking the expansive river. The day was hot: instead of exchanging their vows in front of the picturesque fountain directly alongside the water, the grooms chose to move their ceremony into a cooler area of the park, shaded by lofty trees and surrounded by greenery. Topiary, sculpted into the forms of animals, provided a unique and magical backdrop. “Our friends threw rose petals along the pathway where we walked,” Jonathan describes. “And my sister had planned to bring her violin -she’s a violin professor at MSU- but she forgot it!” “We had the birds singing. And our friends… and a wonderful officiant. It was really a very sweet ceremony,” Derek says. The wedding included a Cherokee Prayer and a Loving Kindness meditation from the Buddhist tradition. Also a highlight was Derek and Jonathan’s Promise to Each Other, based on the Four Agreements from the Toltec wisdom of Don Miguel Ruiz: speak with integrity and be impeccable with your word; refuse to take anything personally; communicate with utter clarity so as to avoid assumptions and misunderstandings; always do your best and you will remain forever free from regret. ●● cont’d

Vol. 4 Issue 1 Spring 2009 9

Volume 4, Issue 1  

This season's tips for your LGBT Wedding!

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