DC strives to set world record as gay marriage legalization nears

Massive wedding planned to marry hundreds of same sex couples

Washington, Feb. 26, 2010 /LGBT News - PRNewswire/ The largest gay wedding in history is scheduled for Saturday, March 20th in Washington, DC. Up to 400 couples will exchange vows breaking the current Guinness World Record. The celebration is part of an all-day series of events called Our Time Has Come, a title chosen to signify the long road that many couples have traveled to marriage. Events slated for March 20 include a large group ceremony, individual private ceremonies and a gala-style reception. All portions are scheduled at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium, an ornately gilded historic venue on Constitution Avenue, the event is being hosted by GLBT Wedding Services.

Mike Wilkinson, Director of Wedding Services for Event Emissary, is one of the planners producing the mega-event. "The GLBT community has always found strength in numbers when it comes to advocating for equality," Wilkinson said. "Now we can finally stand together to affirm our love and have it recognized legally by the District of Columbia."

Even though the event is big, the concept is being carefully designed so that the experience is special for every couple involved. The reception is open to friends and family to celebrate alongside the newlyweds. "Every aspect is being planned with sensitivity to the GLBT audience that will be attending," Wilkinson said.

Drew Parker and his partner Dalin Holyoak are one of the many couples getting married at the event. "Our relationship and our lives could not wait for our marriage to be 'legal' in DC, but we are both excited and relieved that our marriage will finally be recognized in the city we call home. We signed up to be part of the mass ceremony as soon as we could."

The centerpiece of the festivities will be the group ceremony titled Standing Proud Together. The non-denominational, contemporary service will be led in a manner that will solidify the unions of long-term partners as well as to commemorate the marriages of those who are more recently engaged. A limited number of smaller private ceremonies are also available.

A reception will follow in the evening after the ceremonies. Newlyweds are encouraged to invite friends and family to take part in celebration with music, a buffet, premium open bar and various types of wedding cakes.

"We celebrated our personal vows nearly two years ago, but we know the importance of this day to our status as fully equal citizens of the District of Columbia," Parker said. "We are so thankful for the people that sacrificed to make this day a reality, and can only hope that one day the entire nation will follow."

The entire event is contingent on the legalization of same-sex marriage, which is expected early next week . The organizers are working with Destination DC, the official convention and tourism corporation for the District, to help out-of-town couples with travel arrangements.

Once the law is official, couples can then apply for their marriage licenses. There is usually a three-day waiting period, but due to high volume, it may take longer. Wilkinson said that his team will work with couples to make sure they receive their licenses on time. "We're not going to do anything if it's not official. We've waited too long for that."

SOURCE GLBT Wedding Services


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