Gabrielle de la Puente, July 3rd, 2k16
I went to two weddings last year. The first was the most wedding wedding. My friend literally met her fiancé at bible study, and they literally married in the same big spiky church they congregated at. There were lots of shiny bridesmaids, and they were married by their priest, a man that knew and cared for them. The ceremony was followed by a v good three course meal, which I ate while I got to know extended family at a big round table. There was an open bar, formal grinding on the dance floor. At half eleven, we held sparklers as they left to drive away to their honeymoon and their life. They have a baby girl now. It was a pretty day. The second wedding, my cousin had been planning for 2 years, with the guy she has been practically married to for 8. Money $tress, family politics, weight training, asking me to shave if I was going to be a bridesmaid, and all for: a short ceremony with a boring priest, super awkward wedding photography, a lot of hanging about waiting for food, and - ok - a good night of dancing and drinking and screaming the words to Love On Top. There was a photo booth with props, a sweets table for the kids. She was Cinderella puffy, Cinderella happy. Yeahhh.
My friends Maggie and Rene got married at 3pm on June 30th 2016 in St George’s Hall, Liverpool, and I loved it, felt it, actually believed in it -
There were love stories on the seats for the guests. Rene had made us all a very-very-good zine-wedding-catalogue of iMessage screenshots, art, Instagram pictures. Their words, their start, their coming together. We stood reading this, half tilted, with eyes waiting for the back of the room to light up / guests were told to wear all black - and the brides walked in together to tinkly music, wearing matching white hoodies over white skirts, with shiny black pointed boots, their hair both dyed like peaches. They were giggling, they looked like happy angels. They were floating above us. And I thought about this floating, the distance between us and them. I thought their helium was absurdity. They were smiling through vows, thinking past the officiant (who told a clumsy story about how once upon a time a woman would wait on her husband, cook for him, be sure to put a ribbon in her hair - and then poked the girls to decide who would be the wife in the marriage…). These girls, even though they just wanted to get married, were having to get married anyway - having to marry in spite of the friends who didn’t book time off work because they didn’t believe this was actually happening; the friends who asked if they would be getting married this soon if it was to a boy (I know); and the OG institution that has festered this old, done attitude. Still, and anyway, and safely, the girls were floating above us, it was soft defiance. The ceremony was light and hand-holding and urgent and physical. At the end, Rene jumped on Maggie to kiss and love her. They were happy anyway. People thought this was going to be a joke - and the girls brushed highlighter on their cheeks and stood in the middle of this joke and promised their lives to each other. They were Instagrammable, and there was total shared vulnerability in their presence. They gave mirror readings ‘On Loving and Being Loved by Maggie’ and ‘On Loving and Being Loved by Rene’; and between these texts, they performed Marina Abramovic’s manifesto for the artist, in which she warns ‘an artist should avoid falling in love with another artist.’ They fell in love anyway. Through the ceremony, the food and drinks and chocolate after, the party in their flat; through resistance and delight and decoration and Spotify playlists, their happiness was political - which isn’t to say they spent their day fighting, but that they were fighting when they were drinking champagne and being papped and giving out goodie bags and going on with their lives. The day was rich, iridescent, and full, and tbh I believed in their queer, aesthetic, young, giddy marriage more than any other I’ve witnessed. I don’t mean to drag everyone else, but their marrying each other was so easy it was sincere. They wanted to be together and they got what they wanted. No other day has been as direct and strong, and they excited me, they were dizzy and gracious and cool. I loved it. Congratulations my art girls, I am excited for you, I love you, and I believe you.