October 19, 2007

It was an amazing day. It started well when the hotel, one I’d walked past all my life but never been into, upgraded us to the “Presidential” suite. The photographer arrived, followed by the best men, two mothers, a sister and the ushers. The florist popped in to do our buttonholes. The registrar dropped by to run through the ceremony.

Finally, at the allotted hour, we trooped across the road to the museum. Up the stairs, through a long thin room and into the beautiful red gallery where the ceremony was being held. The harpsichord announced our arrival. 90 friends and family members stared and smiled. The registrar introduced us. A friend read a poem. We repeated our vows. Exchanged rings. And signed the register as another friend played a movement from a Bach suite on the cello. I’d been a little frazzled when I first walked in, but Steven was beautiful and radiating joy and that soon restored me. (It also gave the people who hadn’t yet met Steven an immediate insight into why I’m with him.)

And then we trooped out again – this time our friend on the harpsichord lightening the mood with ‘Can’t get you out of my head’. Photos on the staircase, champagne in the sculpture gallery, dinner, cake-cutting, speeches and disco-dancing.

And through it all, as well as the personal significance, the sense that this was part of something bigger. The ceremony itself, the fact that it was conducted by an official registrar and the number of extended family members who’d turned up made it plain that gay relationships are now more accepted than ever before.

We woke up the next morning in our suite (they’d put bathmats on the floor either side of the bed while we were getting married so that our feet wouldn’t have to suffer the indignity of touching carpet) and despite what I said in an earlier post about avoiding the language of traditional marriage, the word “husband” tripped off our lips as the most natural thing in the world.