Seven years ago, Irish born Rory met Colin during a date with another man. Rory tells us how they got together, who proposed to who, and what it meant to them to get married…
“Equal marriage is so important for us as members of sexual minority groups to feel we are full and valid members of society. Having the act of marriage denied to anyone only hurts our communities. It is not a church matter; it is a matter of equality, acceptance and love. And what could be wrong with that?
“I am from Derry in Northern Ireland where equal marriage was not legalised at the time of our engagement nor during the planning of our wedding. It changed recently, but after we’d married, so we may have a renewal in a few years’ time back in lovely Derry as I would have loved to have got married where I am from. However, setting up my life with Colin in Liverpool means I have two amazing places to call home.”
Their First Meet
“We met when I was on a date with another man! We bar hopped until we ended up in a bar called the Masquerade in Liverpool. It was Valentine’s Day and the evening wasn’t going very well; when I saw Colin across the bar, I approached him and asked him to save me from my awful date. And, well, the rest is history! We have been together seven years now.”
“Colin proposed to me while we were on holiday in Mexico. This was something we always joked about as I said I would never propose to him since I am the more organised person, which would mean that I would be asking his permission to then go off and organise a wedding!
“A proposal was on the cards but I did not expect it to happen while we were away, and it was perfect. He had hoped to propose on the beach but there was a freak storm so he ended up asking me to marry him in a private dining room.
“And in proposing to me, Colin got a wedding planner and a fiancé all in one!”
“The run up to the event was rocky. The hotel we stayed in the night before didn’t allow us to have breakfast in our rooms, so I hadn’t eaten. My tailor forgot about my suit and made it quite rushed meaning my mother was literally hand stitching parts of it in the wedding car before I went in!”
“Our wedding dresser decorated the venue the day before and was there on the day to make sure everything went smoothly. The ladies who run the venue helped and were phenomenal also. It rained all day but they were always on hand with an umbrella! As soon as the wedding day itself started, it all went perfectly!”
“We both love Autumn (Halloween is the centre of our calendar!) so I had lots of Pinterest ideas about how I wanted it to look. i didn’t want florals as I felt they were too feminine, and opted for foliage and pine cones instead, with floating candles and copper lamps, pumpkins alongside wooden crates and ladders etc. We hired a wedding dresser who designed the theme, colour scheme and styling – it was one of the best decisions we have ever made!
“I wanted all the stationery and signage to be printed in typewriter font to create a classic and masculine tone. We had lots of nods to video games too (we are both huge gaming nerds) but kept them only as subtle references as we didn’t want it to become tacky. So, we named the tables after locations from our favourite video games and got a working typewriter to act as our guest book – it also doubled up as a ‘save’ room from Resident Evil! We incorporated subtle nods to Derry, too, including using lots of acorns, which are one of Derry’s symbols and fitted our autumnal theme perfectly.”
“We chose Meols Hall as our venue because I’d always had the aesthetic of an industrial wedding in mind: exposed brick and wood and rafters, that kind of thing, set against a rustic autumnal colour palette. When I then found Meols Hall’s website, I knew we had to go and see it. We loved it instantly and the staff were so friendly (which was something we were worried about having had zero experience in planning a same sex wedding before!).”
“During our ceremony, we had three readings which were: I Like You by Sandol Stoddard Warburg, I Carry Your Heart With Me, by E. E. Cummings, and Us Two by A. A. Milne. We each picked one and both loved the Winnie the Pooh reading so much we had to include it!”
“We had Pimms on arrival for our reception, and then provided white and red wine as well as champagne for our guests until after the meal, then the bar opened.
“For our food, we had four different canapes (game pie with rowanberry jelly and juniper, soya and honey-glazed beef with sesame, shots of leek and potato, truffle oil and chives, and beetroot and halloumi tart). For our wedding breakfast, guests chose from a crab and lobster bisque, and a butternut squash soup with chilli cream and ricotta gnocchi starter, belly of pork with pancetta bacon, dauphinoise potato and cabbage or spinach and halloumi tart with pesto vegetables for the main, and for dessert we had parfait of salted peanuts, milk chocolate truffle and caramel sauce.
“We served tea and coffee with cake while the DJ set up. Ours was a three-tiered semi-naked cake made by a fabulous local lady in Crosby. The tiers were chocolate orange, carrot cake and sticky toffee apple.”
“Finally, we served evening finger food after a few hours dancing which was assorted chicken wings, bacon butties and vegetable ciabattas.
“Our first dance was the Sundays’ Wild Horses as it featured in a dance scene in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and we are huge Buffy fans!”
“Advice we’d give to other couples getting married? Enjoy the planning. It’s supposed to be something which is fun and about you and your partner. If it is causing too much stress you need to step back and think how to simplify things. I would highly recommend hiring someone to decorate your venue as it meant we didn’t have to worry about bringing all the décor to and from the venue. I would urge anyone planning their wedding to remember that this is the one day you and your partner are allowed to call the shots and to not feel too bad if not everyone is on board.
“We had no children at our wedding which caused some difficult conversations, but our wishes were respected. If you want a specific dress code for guests, go for it, it is your day so make the most out of celebrating the most important and special day of your lives! I had never been to a same sex wedding when planning ours, so it gave us the freedom to do things the way we wanted – we each had a best woman; with no best men, or groomsmen; we had no band, no flowers etc. so make your wedding your own!”
Photography Credits: Hoult Photography