Terry and Doug’s NYC Wedding: A toast to love, commitment, and time

When Terry Goldman and Doug Behl planned their wedding for August 4, 2012 in New York City, they knew they were taking a risk with the weather. "We had to embrace that our wedding was going to be smack dab in the hottest part of an NYC summer - so we ran with the best parts of summer," Terry said. To reflect the summer feeling, they incorporated bold neon colors into their ceremony and brought along a shaved ice stand, clusters of wildflowers, vintage rock candy, and darts for escort cards - including many elements that Doug, a graphic designer, designed himself. If it was going to be a hot day, they figured, they might as well make the most of it. (Photos by Emily Wren Photography)

Fortunately, the heat hardly interfered with their wedding ceremony, which they hosted at the northern tip of Manhattan at the gorgeous Fort Tyron Park, which overlooks the Hudson River. Later, they ventured to the New Leaf Cafe, a beautiful restaurant nearby the park, for their reception. It was the perfect day for them to celebrate their three and a half year relationship and their commitment to each other in front of their friends, family members, and loved ones.

Doug and Terry met five years ago at a dinner with one of Terry's best friends. They made it through a heated political debate during the dinner, and afterward became fast friends. They had their first date about a year after meeting each other - Coraline in 3D. "During the film, Doug reached over and held my hand," Terry said. "I wasn't aware it was a date - and it's something Doug still likes to joke about to this day."

Two years before the ceremony, while the couple was vacationing in Antigua, Doug arranged a proposal for Terry, guiding him through key memories and moments from their relationship. While they were building a sand castle on the beach, Doug hid a message in a bottle in the sand. Terry dug up the bottle, opened it, and found a map, which Doug had meticulously designed with nods to his life with Terry. "He personalized it with locations of things we had seen together or done together," Terry said. "He included 'Plains of Coraline' to tie back to our first date, 'Cupcake Strait' for our love of cupcakes, and 'Sea of Slitherban' for a water park we went to years ago." On the back, Doug wrote, "Argh Matey (and by matey, I mean you, Terry Goldman). Will ye have my hand in marriage?"

Before getting engaged, Terry and Doug began the process of becoming parents through adoption. "I want to be able to give a child the best childhood a parent can give, just as my parents did for me," said Doug, who was himself adopted from South Korea as a child. The couple was approved last year and are now waiting to be selected by a birth mother.

As Doug and Terry prepared to get married, they thought about the life they had built together, the ways that marriage would strengthen their commitment, and how this legal bond would protect their future family. "Marriage tells the world that you have found a partner for life," Terry said. "It's about love, companionship, a lifelong journey with someone, and being protected under the law."

The couple was excited that they had the freedom to marry in New York - but they each recognized the fact that if they lived in Texas, where Terry grew up, or California, where Doug was raised, they would not have this same freedom. 

Beyond that, the couple knows that although they are legally married in New York, their marriage is not respected by the federal government; The so called Defense of Marriage Act deprives legally married same sex couples of over 1,100 protections and responsibilities that marriage provides. "We got our first dose of this recently when we had to do our taxes for the first time as a married couple," Terry said. "We had to file single with the federal government but married with New York state."

No one has the secret to what makes people fall in love and how to turn that love into a lifelong commitment. But Derek Hartley, one of Terry's longest friendships and the host of Out Q's Derek & Romaine Show on Sirius Radio, did a pretty great job at delivering his perspective on it during his toast at the wedding. "In the name of good taste, just consider this one man's opinion," he said. "It's a theory based more on observation than direct experience. What is love?" He paused. "No, seriously, I'm asking - I've been single a really long time."

Here's an excerpt from his toast: 

* * *

I like to say that the only difference between love and stalking is mutual attraction. Love is a two-way street. But there's more to it than a simple 1 + 1 = 2. Because simple math doesn't get you here. Google Maps can't even get you here. I'm not even sure where we are.

Love takes two people who love. It takes two people who want to love. And it takes two people who want to be loved. I know that sounds like six people - but it's two people.

Two people doing three extraordinary things at the same time: Loving, wanting to love, and wanting to be loved.

I remember when Terry told me about Doug, when they first started dating. I knew it was different. I could hear it in his voice and the way he spoke about him. And I knew Terry had found love, and was ready to love and be loved.

Love is about time. Because life is long and life is short, seemingly all at once. ... Gore Vidal died this week, and he wrote a few years ago about being with Howard Austen, his partner of 54 years, as Howard lay on his death bed. "Didn't it go by awfully fast?" Howard asked. "Of course it had," Gore wrote. "We had been too happy. And the gods cannot bear the happiness of mortals."

The time we have - that each of us has, together - is fleeting. .... The good time goes by so fast. All of you, cherish the amazing moments along the way. Stretch them out. Make them last. And ignore the bad stuff that slows it all down - like any of my jokes you didn't laugh at.

In All About Eve, there's a great toast when one of the couples is getting married. "To each of us, and all of us, may we always be this close. May we never be farther apart."

And to my friends - my dear friends Doug and Terry - today is happily ever after, and tomorrow is the whole world.

May it all go by too fast.


Photos by Emily Wren Photography