Perhaps the best part of the day was when the groom Emma and her two brothers performed a dance routine to the song ‘All the Single Ladies’ in front of all the wedding guests.
“We practiced for three months straight,” said Keiran, the youngest brother. “Except for a couple of weeks when I broke my leg.”
“I had no idea they were going to do that,” said the bride Tasha. “It was such a surprise.”
Tasha is my first cousin on my mother’s side, and this past weekend she married her “soul mate” Emma in a little Welsh district called Llanelli just outside of Swansea, where the newly weds both live, teach secondary school, and play football. It was one of the most touching events I have ever witnessed.
My mother had flown in from Canada for the occasion, and she rented a car to drive me and my grandmother from London to Swansea. Tasha is the first of my grandmother’s five grandchildren to get married, so this was a pretty big deal.
(Granted, the law in Great Britain allowing same-sex couple to get married hasn’t yet been put into effect – perhaps not until 2015 – so this was technically a ‘civil partnership’ or a ‘civil union’. Though, once the laws change, it should be easy enough to apply for a marriage certificate. In the meantime, same-sex couples that have participated in a ‘civil union’ have all the same rights as ‘married’ couples.)
An exceptional craftsperson, my mother had offered to make the couple a quilt for their nuptials. Tasha, delighted, specifically requested one that was red and white, and with hearts. Yes, hearts. My cousin and her partner are in mushy-gushy love with each other, and they’re not afraid to show it.
Case in point: in their home hangs a personalised calendar with pictures of themselves in cute-couple poses for every month of the year. Check out their Facebook profiles, and you’ll see the same display of cuteness. A projector at the wedding reception, alongside the dance floor, showcased even more of these photos that they’ve collected over the years.
“Twenty-eight hundred pictures altogether,” grinned my other cousin, Tasha’s big sister, Lucie.
Also at the wedding reception was one of those carnival games wherein you direct a claw to reach down and select a prize: all the prizes were small teddy bears wearing ‘Tasha & Emma’ t-shirts. For serious.
And then there was the groom’s wedding speech, done a-la-PowerPoint presentation. Emma wrote a ten-minute poem of rhyming couplets that acknowledged every single person in attendance that day (seventy people altogether, including me and my mum represented in the PowerPoint by a maple leaf flag), and especially her bride Tasha, calling her “the one person I couldn’t live without”. She ended the presentation by displaying an animated rainbow triangle that transformed into a heart with the words “I am so proud to love you” circling around it.
The ceremony itself was lovely. At ten o’clock on Good Friday morning, all the guests were gathered at the town hall, with Emma standing at the front in her dashing suit, looking pleased as punch, giving a thumbs up or a peace sign to anyone taking photos of her. Then Tasha arrived with the rest of the wedding party, and she looked positively radiant in her white dress, revealing her tattooed shoulders, and under her veil a little half ponytail sticking out.
Nervously, they repeated after the registrar the vows they had written for each other: all about soul mates, and all their dreams coming true, and being so happy about spending their lives together. Emma mumbled a little, and Tasha had a bit of a cough; they exchanged little kisses whenever they felt like it. And once their union had been confirmed and notarised, they posed for photos, holding hands, side by side, grinning madly.
At some point, my mother turned to me and said, “How could anyone think this is wrong?” And… actually, forget what I said earlier: that – that in itself – was the best part of the day.