Our Silly Ceremony–10 Year Anniversary

Ten years ago today, I married my best friend. Ten years ago today, Nancy Durant and I pledged our undying love to each other in front of a gathering of family and friends. 

 Ten years ago today, we partied into the early morning hours, ecstatic to have the love and support, not only of each other, but also of my parents, Nancy’s father, her sisters,

my children, our neighbors, co-workers. On that sunny and warm September day ten years ago, there wasn’t anyone in our world—whether they attended our celebration or not—who did not wish us well.

And even though we, and everyone who attended our commitment ceremony, believed wholeheartedly in our love and in our future together, we dubbed our wedding The Silly Ceremony. We made signs that we put up at the venue that said “This way to Pam and Nan’s Silly Ceremony.” We put the signs up in our driveway, pointing reception attendees to our backyard. We welcomed everyone with hugs and a drink and a “thanks for coming to our Silly Ceremony.”

And it was funny (odd funny, not haha funny) because ten years ago not everyone asked “why Silly Ceremony?” Some did. But not everyone. These days, when we refer to the SC (and we do still refer to it that way), most folks look askance, horrified even, and don’t need to say anything at all before we jump in and explain exactly why our commitment ceremony/wedding became The Silly Ceremony. In the past ten short years same sex marriage has become very Serious Business.
Nancy, Pam, and Pam’s parents
So, how did The Silly Ceremony come to be? Long story long: Fittingly, since both of us had careers in IT, Nancy and I met online in early 2000, on PlanetOut.com. We corresponded via email and instant message for several months before meeting in person that July.  Our first date was an Indigo Girls concert on the pier in Seattle. A cliché? Maybe. But, it was also pretty much love at first date.
Just months before I met Nancy, my parents divorced after 38 years together. My father remarried the following spring, and Nancy accompanied me to the weekend-long event. It wasn’t the first family gathering we attended as a couple, and in fact it was our second family wedding (Nancy and I attended my cousin’s wedding in Vancouver in September 2000), but it was the first family event where, I think, our love and commitment to each other was obvious. And, over the course of the weekend, shared meals, long conversations, and non-stop celebrating, Nancy won the hearts of my extended family. She was, everyone agreed, a Keeper.
(my brother, drinking), Nancy’s sister Lynn (left), Nancy

One person (who shall remain anonymous), pulled me aside that weekend to extol Nancy’s virtues and then in the next breath said, “But, you guys aren’t going to have one of those silly ceremonies are you?”
I wasn’t as offended then as I might be now. I was mostly just grateful that I had a family that welcomed not only me but my girlfriend as well. I was thankful that I could attend family gatherings without hiding who I was or whom I loved. I recognized that I was very blessed.
After we had dated for a couple of years, after Nancy (who lived in a lovely condo in Kirkland) moved in with me (me! who had two kids, a recent and acrimonious divorce, shaky finances, and lived in Bellingham!), once it was clear, as one good friend said to me, that we were like a good old pair of comfortable shoes with each other, we decided, indeed, to have a Silly Ceremony.
Seriously Silly Brides

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