A few months ago, some friends of ours invited us to their wedding. We looked at our finances, looked at our time, and thought we wouldn't go. But then they asked us to sign their ketubah, the Jewish wedding contract, because they admire our marriage. And who can say no to that?
The wedding was in Boston, and after a few weeks, it occurred to us that we could, in fact, make our own marriage legal. We had always said that if making it legal made a difference where we actually lived, we'd do it, and our state is considering maybe one day if no one looks at them cross-eyed recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states. Given that we were going to be in Boston anyway, we decided to head up a few days early and do it.
Ms. P had called ahead to figure out how all of this was going to work, because Boston has a three-day waiting period and we weren't going to be around for that, what with the Monday holiday and everything. What we knew going in was that we had to spend the morning running around doing paperwork and we had a 2pm appointment with the City Clerk.
Bright and early at 9am we're at City Hall, where we fill out a bunch of forms, certify that we are not, in fact, related to one another, and pay a bunch of money. Then the lovely woman there sends us to the courthouse to get the waiver of the three-day waiting period. Only we're unfamiliar with Boston and her accent is, shall we say, very heavily working-class Bostonian, and so we're outside in the blowing wind having NO idea where we're going. So we wander around and finally find the courthouse, but we have no idea where we're going there either (and it's full of people doing probation things and being called to jury duty, all in this echoey old marble building), and we pick an office at random to ask, and of course that's where we're supposed to be.
More paperwork, more money, and we're sent to the courtroom to await the judge's judgment. We've been assured that there will be no problem, but I'm panicking that we didn't bring any proof that we've been together a long time, and we're preparing answers to questions about why we need the waiver. ("Well, Your Honor, our state is a little bit behind the times....") We wait through a lovely trans woman getting her name changed. (Ms. P didn't notice that she was trans, but her original name was Bruce Wayne something or other -- so that's my theory on the matter.) We wait through a guardianship hearing for a mentally ill person. Then the judge calls our name, we go to the front, the helper dude hands us our folder, says congratulations, and we leave. No conversation, no questions, no nothing. That part felt really surreal. More traipsing around the courthouse to get the appropriate paperwork finished.
At this point we're kind of hungry and tired, so we head back to the hotel room for room service and resting and getting all gussied up for the actual deed. But there's one more piece of paperwork we have to do -- taking the waiver back to the original woman at City Hall to actually get our license, and we have no idea how long that will take or how long the line will be at this hour of the day, so we leave an hour and a half to get there and get that taken care of. As we're leaving the hotel, the bellman says, "going out again?" and Ms. P, chatty girl that she is, says "oh yes, to city hall where we're getting married!" And the bellman, whose name, we find out, is George, gives us both enormous hugs and tells us congratulations and after asking how long we've been together kind of shakes his finger at us and tells us it's about time.
Of course, we get there and there's no line. Our lovely helper exchanges our paperwork for the license and then we're 75 minutes early for our legal ceremony. The people in the city clerk's office are happy for us to just go early, but our friends, the ones getting married on Saturday, are coming to witness and celebrate, so we wait. They get there about ten minutes before our appointment, complete with a bouquet of roses, and commence crying and picture taking.
We're expecting something pretty pro forma, given that this is the city clerk, but no. She sits us down and asks us how long we've been together, tells us that she's just confirming what is already real, and tells us this dear story about two women -- Virginia and Shirley -- that she had married over the summer. They were from our state as well, and when she asked them how long they'd been together, they'd said in unison "February 26, 1950." One was 84 and the other was 85, and they didn't think it would matter, but they went home and felt different and have been saying their vows to each other every day and wrote to tell her how meaningful it was.
So then she stood us up in front of the bookshelves and did a whole ceremony complete with speech and vows, and there was more crying and picture taking, and then Meghan and Tim took us out for drinks to celebrate. It was really lovely, and it was awesome to, in turn, get to sign their ketubah at their wedding and cry and take pictures and cheer.
Our whole second-wedding day was better than we could have anticipated, and we're feeling really blessed by it all.