We’re Married! (Now with Photos)

Thanks for your patience as Tawn and I went through a weekend’s worth of wedding celebrations and then tried to sort through pictures in order to share them, and the associated stories, with you.  We were fortunate to have several guests with cameras and had the opportunity to gather the pictures before the weekend ended.  Another friend, Ryan, shot with a digital SLR and hopefully we’ll have some even nicer pictures to share with you in a few weeks.

Thanks also to the dozens of congratulatory comments and well-wishes.  More than ever, this trip in which we’ve met several Xangans, has reinforced what a community this site really is.  We appreciate all your thoughts and greetings.

On Thursday morning we headed north to Council Bluffs, Iowa, about three hours from Kansas City.  While my sister, brother-in-law and the nieces went to the zoo, Tawn and I took a nap then picked up guests from the airport.

Along the way, we had a rather blogable moment as my brother-in-law borrowed the keys for the sedan in order to remove something from the trunk.  He then kept the keys in his pocket as they headed off to the zoo, something I didn’t discover until thirty minutes before Lilian and Anita’s flight was scheduled to arrive.

We ended up taking a taxi across the river to the airport, what ended up being a $50 round trip!  Thankfully, though, Lilian and Anita were easily found at the baggage claim and the timing worked well.

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Above: Tawn, Anita and Lilian at La Mesa Restaurant.

After dinner at a Mexican restaurant (I realize I’m repeating a bit of a previous entry, so my apologies), we headed to the Cass County (Nebraska) Fair to enjoy the rides on the midway, a taste of cotton candy, and the roar of the crowd at the tractor pull.

Top: Tawn, Lilian and Anita in the grandstands at the tractor pull.  Middle left: The same trio buying some cotton candy.  Middle right: A single passenger spins round and round as the sun dips below the western horizon.  Bottom: Tawn, Chris, Sugi and Andy.

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Driving home along the country roads, Lilian and Tawn dozed as Anita chatted with me to help keep my eyes open.  After dropping them off at the hotel, I headed back out to the Omaha airport as Ryan’s flight arrived at 11:30.  After stopping by a local diner so he could order dinner (six hours on Southwest with only peanuts – but that is to be expected), I called it a night.

Bight and early on Friday morning, we were showered and dressed and ready for breakfast.  The obvious choice: the Cracker Barrel.  Below, Anita and Tawn wait for their grits.

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We arrived at the courthouse at 10:30 and went to the County Recorder’s office to pick up the license.  The clerk, who had been grumpy on Tuesday morning when we first applied, seemed a little less so this morning.  Maybe she’s more of a Friday person?  In either case, we reviewed the document, signed it to attest to the accuracy, and then headed upstairs to the Court Clerk’s office.

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Above, waiting at the Court Clerk’s window with our witnesses, Anita and Ryan.

Thankfully, there weren’t any cases in session so the waiting area outside the courtrooms weren’t filled with the scraggly assortment of people who were there Tuesday morning.  Still, there were a few people around, looking on with curiosity as the dozen or so friends and family members filled the room.

Below, pre-wedding picture with my family members who had made the trip.  Note the bemused lawyer getting into the elevator in the background!

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This whole bureaucratic process reinforced for me that marriage is, more than anything, a civil function: a legal recognition by the state of the relationship between two adults.  I believe more than ever that all “marriages” should be identified by the state only as “civil unions” and that the churches should be allowed to do whatever additional ceremonies they see fit.  Separation of church and state.  Anyhow, let’s not get into the political aspect of this issue here.

While we were taking pictures, the judge came out of his courtroom and called us in.  He was very friendly and invited people to walk in front of the bar if they wanted to take pictures from the area in front of the bench.  Oddly, though, everyone respected the institution and stayed in the viewing gallery.

We asked the judge whether we could use our vows from the commitment ceremony we did in 2004 as part of the wedding.  He reviewed them and decided they complied with whatever requirements for wedding vows that the state of Iowa has, so agreed to use them instead.

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Here they are:  (Video of us saying our vows here)

(Chris/Tawn), I choose you to spend my life with,
to grow with, and to make my life with.
I will honor and respect you and be by your side
as we build a life together.

You are the love of my life.
Through the challenges and joys,
the brightest peaks and darkest valleys,
the sunny days and stormy nights,
I pledge my love to you
until the last day of my life.

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We then exchanged rings and continued:

(Chris/Tawn), I give you this ring as a symbol
of my love, joy and fidelity.
Wear it as a reminder of my vows to you
and your vows to me.

With that, five minutes after we started, the judge pronounced us legally married.

It is worth noting that during the ceremony, I had a view over Tawn’s shoulder of the window in the courtroom door.  I noticed two faces in it during the proceedings:  One was that of a redheaded teenage boy wearing a baseball cap, who had a confused and slightly disgusted look on his face.  The other was of the grumpy clerk from the County Recorder, whose face was beaming with a wide smile.

After the witnesses signed the license and the judge congratulated us, we headed downstairs to the adjacent park for some pictures.  Council Bluffs, a town that is perhaps a bit lost in the shadows of its larger neighbor, Omaha, still has a cute historic center and they have done a very nice job on the remodel of the park.

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Above, Tawn and I pose in front of the fountain.  Below, posing with my parents, who drove in the previous day from Indiana.

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After pictures, we drove to a local barbeque restaurant (C’mon, this is a midwestern wedding.  What did you expect us to eat after an important family event?) for lunch.  No pictures there as once you get your fingers wet with barbeque sauce, you don’t want to be handling your camera!

Filled up with good food and flushed with the excitement of finally being legally recognized as a couple, we loaded back into the car and headed back to Kansas City.

Reception covered in the next entry.  Once again, thanks for your good wishes.  I’m glad to be able to share this special event with you.

103 thoughts on “We’re Married! (Now with Photos)

  1. Hey I have been following your blog for a long time. I never commented. Today is an exception because it’s your big day. Congrats!

  2. Hi Tawn and Chris,What a lovely picture of you two…congratulations again….can’t wait to see the rest of the photos taken of the occasion in the States.We have been on the road too in Hangzhou and missing your daily news.Continue with your fabulous matrimonial partnership and see you all soon in Asia.

  3. Dear Chris and Tawn, words can not express how happy I am for both of you! My best wishes to a long and happy life together (not that you haven’t already been doing that for quite awhile). BTW, nice coordination on the outfits. =)

  4. Again, congratulations, congratulations, congratulations! You look so sharp and Tawn so spiffy. Your vows just made me teary. I am so happy for you two!

  5. wiping tears of joy!Congratulation once again!!You guys already loved each other so much deeply!Now the state testified to it and acknowledged you two as a married couple!That is what it should be for everyone!I have to say it again, you two look so right and good together! ^^Thanks for sharing with us your joy and love.

  6. Again, congratulations to you and Tawn. But the question on everybody’s lips is… you know… which one is the male and which one is the female. :DHopefully it won’t be long until Wit and I are in your shoes. One question; shoukld the two of you decide to relocate stateside, do you anticipate any walls from immigration toward Tawn?

  7. @Fongster8 – @Dezinerdreams – @curry69curry – Thanks, guys.  I’ll let Tawn know that yhou enjoyed his outfit.@amygwen – @chrispycrunch –  @lil_squirrel4ever –  @stevew918 – @venice – @ClassandSass –  @choyshinglin –  @moijesuisfou – @Wangium –  @tehls –  @ZenPaper –  @onmovement – @ch0w –  @kunhuo42 – Thanks everyone!@jackie_jcp – Yes, we’re a bit behind Canada but are slowly getting there.  Thanks for the well wishes.@piyapong – I’m glad we could bring a smile to your face.@Jillycarmel – Not being able to remember life before knowing someone is a good sign it is the right relationship!  Thanks for the wishes.@ZSA_MD – Blessings and blassings bothare appreciated!  =)@ElusiveWords – @TheLatinObserver – Thanks guys!

  8. @skylar_rose – Taylor, that was very nice to say.  Thanks.@maxwebr – Well, their history for the past 150 years or so has been pretty progressive.  But I guess we Californians didn’t study a lot of Iowan history in school!  LOL.@murisopsis – Thanks Val.  Tawn doesn’t have a un-dapper moment!@Redlegsix – Thanks Ruth Ann.  I see I have a message from you.  Sorry, I’ve been a little busy.  Ha ha… @mijau – @MomoLikesChoco – @X_Beautifully_Fragile_X – @no1charmerlondon – @S0N1 – @AibellFaeire – @Olyachka –  Thank you everyone!

  9. @milubbles – @spiritedsherry – Thank you!@calvin – Wow, that’s what it took to get you to comment?  Don’t know if we’ll be able to top it!  =)  Thanks for your comment and well-wishes.@markboonya – Thanks, Mark.  I’m sure we’ll continue along the path we’ve already enjoyed!@yang1815 – Thanks Andy – I’m glad you and Sugi were able to be a part of this weekend.@icapillas – Thanks Isabel!@Dezinerdreams – I’m glad you liked the vows, Vivek.  They’re the same ones we used at our commitment ceremony and it meant a lot to us to be able to use them again.@Sc12EeN17aM3 – Thanks.  Yes, Tawn’s bow tie kind of stole the show, didn’t it?@dynamiqvision –  Thanks, Sion.  That means a lot coming from you.

  10. @ElusiveWords – Glad you liked the vows, Matt.  It meant a lot to us to be able to use them again.@YNOTswim – Thanks, Tony.  Iowans have a lot to be proud of.@minhaners – Thank you.  Just know that if we had been married in LA, we would have had you do the cake!  =)@agmhkg – Thanks Angel.  Hope we have the chance to meet later this year in HKG.@ZenPaper – Thanks Evan.  So very nice of you to say.@marc11864 – Marc, we definitely face some risks when it comes to immigration or even Tawn’s visa renewal.  We weighed the risks and decided that we would take our chances.  Generally, though, Immigration Equality advises against bi-national same-sex couples getting married for fear it will send the message to immigration authorities that the non-American intends to overstay his or her visa.@waiszeblogs – Thanks.  How are those plans for a visit to Thailand?@snowjunky8 – Thank you very much.  Yes, let’s not diss those fly-over states anymore, shall we?  =)@onmovement – Thanks Jason.

  11. Chris and Tawn,Really appreciate your updates of your wedding celebration that we didn’t feel left out in our absense but in fact intimately engaged in the process with pictures showing us the events of the celebration!I love the verses of the vow …it is so emotionally, meaningfully and romantically written that you two deserve in the marital commitment.

  12. Congrats guys!  Glad you could get married here in Council Bluffs.  Hope you have a safe trip back home.  Mike YowellPresident, Council Bluffs Community Alliance

  13. So many things to comment on! 1. I followed the link you gave to someone else in the fried rice blog.2. I had NO idea Iowa had Crackerbarrel!! O.O The only time I’ve been to CB is in Ohio. I lived in DSM, IA for … can’t do mental math, too tired… from 7 to 18. We moved from South Africa just before my 7th b-day, then moved to Ohio a few months after my 18th, so yeah, give or take a few months.3. The Omaha Zoo is huge. And actually pretty fun as far as zoos go.4. My brother would kill to have Tawn’s bowtie!5. I luv your suits! =D 6. The pictures look great. ^o^7. I think it’s really cool that the grumpy cleck was happy for you guys. =] And I have to say, I’m definitely more of a Friday person than a Tuesday person! Lol.8. Your vows are really beautiful. And I luv the rings part! Better than just, “with this ring, I thee wed”. I probably lost my train of thought and rambled too much…. and there’s probably something else I was going to mention, but I’ve totally forgot. Brain is fried. So happy for the both of you. Is your marriage recognized as leagal in Thailand as well? If it is, that’s awesome!! =D

  14. @Heather_Also – Hi Heather, thanks for all your comments.  Unfortunately, our marriage is recognized neither in the US of A (Federal gov’t – which controls immigration – has the “Defense of Marriage Act”, not recognizing same-sex marriages performed in any state) nor in Thailand.  I’m here in Thailand as a business owner and managing director of my own small firm.  But it is easier for me to be here in Thailand than for Tawn to be in the US, thanks to the tight immigration restrictions there.

  15. @christao408 – Ahhh… =( I knew they repealed it in Cali, Prop 8, etc.. But the only thing I heard about Iowa was when the marriages became legal, I didn’t hear about when they reverted backwards. =( Dang. The federal government is becoming a little bit too much like Orwell’s Big Brother. <,<And yes, I’m finding out just HOW difficult it has become for non-US citizens to live in the US. A couple of close Taiwanese friends would really like to go back to the States, but since they’re done with school, it’s nigh unto impossible. =/

  16. @Heather_Also – Well, Iowa hasn’t reverted back although one of their two houses in the legislature has passed a proposed law to undo same-sex marriage.  Their senate, however, is unlikely to vote to pass it.  The conservative mood sweeping the nation seems to be interested in taking rights away to go along with the proposed tax cuts…

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