If you know me then you know that I love my job and that being part of every wedding ceremony is a real honor and joy for me. I must share, however, that on August 4th I performed a wedding ceremony that touched me in a way like no other. That is the day I married Jennifer and Holly Fredericks. Jennifer was a student of mine when I taught Home Economics at Rocky River High School. "Jenny", as I knew her then, was always special to me, but I worried about her because she didn't have the joy in her life I thought she deserved. I suspected I might know why, but it wasn't my place to tell her. Some time after graduating from high school, she called and asked if I would meet her for lunch. I had learned years before that when a graduate asked me to meet with them, it was usually to confess, apologize, or ask for advice. I was pretty sure I knew what Jenny wanted to share with me--that she is gay. That was eight years ago. During the past eight years I have watched Jennifer go from a caterpillar to a beautiful butterfly. Why? Because she has become true to herself and she found her soul mate. She has found the joy her life was missing. Jennifer and Holly truly are each other's best friend and you don't need to be with them very long to know they simply are better together than they are apart.
Jennifer and Holly chose to be married at Niagara Falls because, unfortunately, Ohio does still not recognize same sex marriage. Jennifer and Holly wanted to do a first look photo so Jennifer was blindfolded during the drive from the hotel to the park at Niagara Falls. Holly, wearing black pants, black shirt, and purple tie took her spot at the tree first. Then Jennifer joined her wearing a beautiful long white chiffon dress with a purple short sleeved sweater. As they stood back to back at a large tree located near the Falls, Holly held an index card that read "I love her" with an arrow pointing in Jennifer's direction. Photos were taken and then the magical look! Of course, Jennifer needed to immediately let Holly know that she didn't really like her tie clip!
With Niagara Falls in the background, their two close friends, Bear and JJ, serving as their witnesses, I conducted this special wedding ceremony. My husband, Frank Caruso, was the photographer. It was a beautiful ceremony with very special ceremony wording selected by the two of them. They also shared vows written by them. Holly struggled getting through hers which I love about her. Bear and JJ shared a reading "Union from The Beginning to End" by Robert Fulghum. Rings were exchanged and then all was sealed with a kiss!
Frank and I purchased two pieces of cake so they wouldn't miss out on that traditional photo opportunity. I am happy to report they played very nicely. Lots of photos were taken--some serious and some not so serious (mustaches, jumping, and just being silly).
The six of us celebrated by sharing lunch together at Niagara Falls Culinary School, a student run fine dining restaurant. It was a delicious and the restaurant treated us to a bottle of champagne to celebrate this special event.
It was a perfect day. In the past two years I have performed over 250 marriage ceremonies but I have not always felt the love and joy shared by Jennifer and Holly. This is a union I believe will last!
As of August 2013, only thirteen states have legalized same-sex marriage. This makes me sad because same-sex couples want nothing more than to join society as fully integrated socially responsible family-centered taxpaying Little League-coaching nation-serving respectably married citizens. Jennifer and Holly love each other and want to share their lives together. Isn't that exactly what every person hopes for and is entitled too?
This was a day that shall forever remain a special moment in my heart!