One thing we do know: There will be no marching band at our wedding.

One thing we do know: There will be no marching band at our wedding. (Photo from stock.xchange / June 12, 2013)

On Sunday, May 18, 2008, late at night, I got a message through my MySpace profile that simply stated, “Nice page and pics. - E.” I checked out E’s profile and replied with a paragraph. Soon, we advanced to text messages. Later, we upgraded to phone calls. The following week, we had our first date, then a second and after four and a half years, we got engaged.

Every year since, we've commemorated that first day of contact. We exchange greeting cards and gifts, maybe do a dinner and a movie. This day has become our special holiday to value our romance. Our relationship has endured career changes, long distances and the stresses of three years of law school. Now, we prepare for another Sunday, May 18, 2014 as the start of our legal, wedded union.

Our goal is to have an intimate ceremony followed by a kick ass reception. Over the past six months, we’ve taken care of the essentials, like booking our venue, choosing our colors and picking our honored attendants.

Which begs the question, what’s next?

According to my wedding planning go-to book, The Essential Guide to Gay and Lesbian Weddings by Tess Ayers and Paul Brown, we’re in Phase 1 (6 to 12 months). During this time, I should be shopping around (check!), set a time and date (check!), discuss finances and make a preliminary budget (check and check!), and select my officiant (che - oh, not yet).

The good thing with so much time is that we can plan at our leisure. The bad thing is that there’s little pressure to make a decision.

In my spare time, I immerse myself in photographers’ wedding galleries and wedding reality TV shows. I make notes of what I like, dislike and will avoid by any means necessary. You won’t find a marching band or college mascots in the middle of our reception. Neither I nor E will sing or play an instrument. I refuse to do the clichéd “jumping in mid-air” photo. No one is grabbing a garter with his teeth from another person’s leg. We’re not even having a flower girl walking down the aisle (though I’ve gotten offers from four women and one man to do it).  

The more I list my personal to-do’s and to-don’ts, the more I realize how simple our wedding will likely be. The essence will still be there – the loving bond of two people surrounded by family and friends. Yet, some of the other traditions are unnecessary. Do we really need an hour-long spectacle to say “I Do,” or should we just keep the ceremony brief and party all afternoon? We shall see what will happens in the end, but thankfully, we have a year to plan it out.