In 1991 Steve Martin and Diane Keaton did a remake of the movie Father of the Bride. I’ll admit I have a soft spot for this movie. I have no idea why but it get’s me every time. I don’t know if it’s the Norman Rockwellian family and house, or if it’s the story, but just thinking about it can get me emotional. In the movie there’s a scene where his daughter is trying to help and we see her reading an article “Bake your own wedding cake”. At the time, all I could think was, I couldn’t imagine…
I have always had big ideas for my wedding. Everything from proposals, to the tux, to the cake and the venue. I had my dream but I never thought about reality. This is partly due to being a gay man. At the time my husband and I decided to legally bind our lives together and commit to a life together we were living in California and same-sex marriage was not legal. So no wedding. Up until a week ago I would have even told you there was never a proposal. (That’s another story.) So we did the only thing we could and we become Domestic Partners. That was in 2007. Then in 20014 we moved to Iowa. Iowa had legalized same-sex marriage. This meant they didn’t have an alternative and more importantly they didn’t have a way to legally recognize the alternative. So by moving to Iowa legally we were in a very odd grey place. So we did the only thing we could. We got married. Since we were looking at this as not much more than a legal issue we decided to just go to the county judge and take care of it.
Then my parents caught wind of it making a side comment about not being invited. I told them if they really wanted to come we would love to have them there. Then in talking to the judge he said in the park across the street there is a nice gazebo we might want to exchange our vows instead of his cramped office. We checked it out and it couldn’t have been better. (In the back of my mind I was thinking of Father of the Bride again when they start talking about having the wedding in the backyard and Steve Martin starts picturing picnic tables, crepe paper, balloons, and a barbecue. This was a comedic moment in the movie.)
Then my husbands mother said she wanted to come up and bring a couple of her friends. So what started as my husband and I just getting married to have solid legal standing turned into a wedding. So I did what I do and thought why don’t I just whip up a cake. That should be easy enough. After the ceremony we could have everyone back to the house and have cake. Now, I should also mention that when I was planning my dream wedding I wanted a trendy San Francisco bakery called Miette to do our cake. I was so interested in this bakery that I bought there cookbook long before we knew we were getting married. One of the layers of cake I made was their Old-fashioned chocolate cake. So, in the end I guess we did get a Miette wedding cake.
Then I kinda got into it and decided a tired cake isn’t that hard why not do that. Oh, and why not make two different cakes flavors and alternate them in the layers. Well, while I am at it I could probable manage chocolate covered strawberries. I can make those ahead of time and just pull them out. After all there’s only going to be eight of us all together.
Now this was also our first summer in Iowa and it was hot and humid. I talked my husband into new rings (we had done rings when we became domestic partners) and then we started thinking about what to wear, outside, end of June, in Iowa humidity and heat. That lead us to Tommy Bahama 3 days before the ceremony! We both got light weight lining shorts and shirts which worked perfectly.
Back at the house it was time to make the cake. I knew I didn’t want any stress so I make all the layers and wrapped them in plastic and froze them. Then when I was ready to assemble I just had to unwrap and put it together. Each layer had a chocolate layer and a while chocolate layer. There was raspberry filling on two of the layers and lemon curd on the other. The whole thing was iced in a whipped cream frosting. I then was trying to come up with some way to decorating it without complicated piping so I used strawberry slices and on the center layer I dripped chocolate down the sides. As I was doing this I thought, hey, I need a cake topper! So I looked online and saw strawberries dipped in chocolate made to look like whey were wearing tuxedos. Perfect! I can make two grooms on the top of my cake!
Then the big day arrived. We had been having big summer storms all week leading up to it. When we all got to the park it was flooded. Thankfully there was a raised ledge picnic area that over looked the park.
In the end, I baked my own wedding cake and got married next to picnic tables. You want to know what, it was perfect. It ended up being more “meaningful” than I thought it would be. Our parents were there to witness it. Everyone enjoyed the cake and we were able to be comfortable through the ceremony and the rest of the day in the outfits we chose. Do I still think about the big wedding infant of all my friend and family, sure. Do I wish I had portraits of my man and I in tuxedos together, absolutely. Does any of that actually matter? Not at all. Take all that hoopla away made it about the ceremony and the vows and isn’t that what a wedding should be?