Individual states passed gay marriage before the beautiful Supreme Court ruling. My wife and I were lucky enough to live in one such state, and thus we were married back in 2011. There was a lot that went into planning our wedding. I’ll break it down for you, in case you’ve never planned one- music (we went with a DJ), cake (my priority), outfits (my second priority), photographer, food, venue, flowers (we didn’t have any, because we were married in December and wilting flowers irritate me), guests, and family. There certainly can be other aspects to wedding planning but for us those were the main issues. Venue, food, centerpieces, and music we nailed down relatively quickly…the cake took some time.
I wanted the cake to be delicious but also a decoration. Our wedding was Christmas themed, and I wanted the cake to be Christmas themed with two brides topping the cake. I was wearing a wedding gown, that I loved, and my wife was wearing a suit. It was tailored to look feminine, but two brides in gowns on top of a cake just wasn’t accurate. And clearly a male and a female on top of the cake also was not okay. I decided ultimately to ditch cake toppers. There would be no lesbian lovers adorning our cake. Instead I designed the Grinch cake.
My wife and I started dating in December four years prior to our marriage. It was a special time for us and still is for many reasons. It was the first period of stability my wife had after being kicked out of her parents home. It also was her first Christmas out of her family’s home. My wife grew up being told that she could only listen to orchestra music or religious themed music. The first time she heard Christmas music that was not religious themed was with me, baking cookies, singing loudly to the Grinch Soundtrack- the one with Jim Carey and Busta Rhymes rapping about How the Grinch Stole Christmas. I remember rolling out the dough for my candy cane cookies, covered in flour and peppermint oil; in my happy place listening to my favorite music. I remember looking up and seeing her face. It was a mixture of shock, delight, guilt, and curiosity. I remember I laughed and then asked what was wrong. She told me she had never heard Christmas music before that had a beat, or that did not revolve around the bible story of Christmas. I would also find out that she never saw any movies not based in religion.
Our first month we were together we both experienced many “first’s”. My wife because of her strict upbringing. For me, it was my first time ever dating a woman and I had never let myself be so vulnerable before as I was with her. She was introducing me to a whole new way of life, and vice versa.
There were dark times too, then and in the years to come for my wife. Deep pain and sadness that would erupt from her because of the years of repression and suppression.
At some point that month we watched How the Grinch Stole Christmas and that scene, at the end; when his eyes start watering, and his heart triples in size was especially meaningful for both of us. She was feeling and experiencing a new world of freedom and being herself when for twenty years she had to be someone else to live up to her family and her church’s expectations. I was experiencing a new world emotionally, connecting with someone on a new level. The Grinch says, “I’m feeling” in this very squeaky, scared, and bewildered voice. That’s how it was for us both that first year. We were both feeling our way through a brand new world.
The cake was three tiers. Different flavored cake and frosting on each tier of course. It was topsy-turvy like Grinch Mountain. On the top sat the Grinch himself with his sled and Max on the tier below.
Many people that night asked us why we chose it, they loved it, but they wanted to know the story. I told people we couldn’t find two appropriate dykes to top it off so we went with the Grinch. I was not ready to share then what I am now because at the time I could hardly even articulate what it meant. That cake and the Grinch represented to us freedom, new beginnings, and our love. It represented the darkness we both came from, and the light we brought to each other. We cut the cake to the song “This will be an everlasting love…” and I thought there was never a more perfect moment.