When You Elope... Can You Ever Have A Ceremony?

This is not a post about being sad about being married or anything like that. I love my wife and happy with our little family. This is more about the actual wedding ceremony. I am not sure how many of you know about my wedding.

Tori proposed September 15, 2010. The night before my birthday. It was great. I was thrilled. We knew we had to get married in November or December because of my work schedule.

Now, gay marriage was not legal in Illinois so we knew we had to travel. On a weird note, the closest state to Illinois with legalized same-sex marriage (at the time) was Iowa. Yup, you read that right. So in order to have a legal marriage we were going to have to go to Iowa at some point.

Now we had originally decided on 11-12-11 for our wedding (I am a math major so I like the ring of the number). But, if we had done everything in 2011, we would’ve had two different wedding anniversaries: the legal Iowa date and the Illinois ceremony date. That bugged me.

So I came up with the idea that we would go to Iowa and have the legal ceremony on 11-12-10 then have the big Chicago wedding 11-12-11 that way we kept the same anniversary. Also, we were worried it was going to be possibly taken away from Iowa then we wouldn’t have had any state close to us with legal gay marriage.

So we planned a great little ceremony in Iowa and had three of our closest Chicago friends with us: 

We set up to have the ceremony with an officiant I had found online in one of the conference rooms of the hotel:

Then we took some shots upstairs on the roof:

Well the day itself was lovely, I was so happy that Ellie, Mel and Jessica were able to be a part of it. What was actually funny was as we crossed the border back to Illinois, Tori turned to me and said “And now the marriage certificate means nothing.” We both laughed at the absurdity, but it was true. This was before Illinois passed Civil Unions. We crossed the border and had the same rights as we had before … none.

As life got back to normal after adding a little puppy (oh Laney) to our happy family, we realized that we would not be able to afford to have the big Illinois ceremony we wanted. One big thing that set us back was my back injury and subsequent back surgery in late 2010/early 2011. So we had to make the decision to cancel the Illinois ceremony.

This was so hard for me to do. I had always pictured the big wedding with tons of friends, the white dress, the flowers, the dancing, the joy! But, unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be in the cards for us. I know this is how life goes sometimes. It is something I still need to accept.

But, it is hard. As more and more of my friends get engaged or have their weddings, I felt/feel these constant pangs of jealousy and sadness. The pictures and planning updates online are hard to look at. I’ve stopped watching “Say Yes To The Dress.” They all get to plan the perfect day. They get to have exactly what they want. And I don’t. 

Now that I have written my feelings down, I want to move on and think about the Haves rather than the Have Nots. I have an amazingly incredible wife. I have loving little puppies. I have friends that continue to love and support me. I have my health. I have a roof over my head. I have a job.

It is time to stop being jealous of my friends and to support and share their happy moments…

But I ask you all - when it comes to potentially having a ceremony of our own:

Is there a specific year to do it?

For me when I see people do wedding renewal ceremonies they are always on a big anniversary: 5, 10, 15, 20, etc?

But does anyone do a random 7 or 8 year anniversary ceremony?

We approach 6 years - on 11-12-16 - so do we have to wait until the 10 year anniversary to have the ceremony/party we've been waiting for?