After seven months of being engaged, Jared and I have come up with a working location for our wedding. I say ‘working’ because it’s still possible that everything will change and we’ll elope on some yet-to-be-discovered island in the Caribbean, but for now, we’ve got an idea.
Although we met in Bruges, and have since traveled through Europe and Asia, there’s not one location that seemed right to us as a couple. So we went with a place that meant a lot to me growing up (it’s always about the bride, isn’t it?) but wasn’t my hometown. I’ll always have a soft spot for Indianapolis, but it’s not where we want to get married.
Also, I’d feel kind of guilty if Jared’s guests flew all the way in from Australia and all I had to offer them was a football stadium and sweetcorn. Don’t get me wrong – the corn is good, but it’s not $2000 plane ticket good.
Plus, we’re beach people. One of the first things we agreed on is that this wedding would ideally happen on or near a beach.
After much discussion, the winner is….
St. Augustine, Florida
Not quite the exotic locale many people have been expecting, but hear me out. My mom grew up here. My parents got married here. I spent nearly every summer here until I graduated college. It’s got history (we’re talking the oldest city in America, people), culture (Spanish influence), and plenty of white sand beach. Of all the places in America, St. Augustine has the most appeal to me.
It feels right.
Except for one little thing.
Jared and I believe that marriage is about love and commitment. It’s not about gender. For us, it’s not even about religion.
The state of Florida doesn’t exactly see things that way. State law bans same-sex marriage and refuses to recognize civil unions and domestic partnerships. It’s like Florida is shutting its eyes, covering its ears, and going “lalalalalala I can’t hear you.”
And I’m not exactly cool with that.
I know that choosing not to get married in Florida isn’t going to change the laws. I’m not saying that we’ll refuse to get married until things change, or that I’ll only get married in a state where same-sex marriage is legal (sadly, that only gives us 8 choices and rules out all of Australia). The United States as a whole has a long way to go in terms of marriage equality, but Florida seems particularly behind.
I want to get married; I’m just lucky I fell in love with someone from the opposite sex, or St. Augustine wouldn’t even be an option.
“I don’t think we should rule Florida out,” Jared said, “but we have to think about it. Are we principled people or not? And what can we do to uphold those principles while still getting married in Florida?”
So now I’m struggling with this weird, unsettled feeling towards St. Augustine. I want to get married there, but I disagree with the laws. Is there a way to stick by our principles in this situation? Would getting married in Florida make us hypocrites? Is it enough to say that we don’t believe in gender discrimination? Because it feels a little sneaky to say we support marriage equality, then turn around and sign a marriage license in the state of Florida.
Or, like so many things related to this wedding, am I simply over-thinking things?
In the end, only two opinions matter: mine and Jared’s. Where we choose to get married is our personal decision, and we have to do what feels right for us. Maybe that will be getting married in Florida. Maybe it won’t. But unlike many other couples, at least we have a choice.