[dropcap letter=”M”]arty and Char live on a small hobby farm in rural Arlington, Minnesota, with their dog, Jake, four horses, one donkey, five house cats, and numerous chickens, peacocks, guinea hens and barn cats. The women have been together since 1989, and got engaged in a closet after Governor Mark Dayton signed the marriage equality bill into law on May 14, 2013. Marty had already begun to plan the wedding when she suddenly realized she had not asked Char if she wanted to marry her. “Isn’t that a funny thing, proposing in a closet?” Marty jokes. “But she said yes, and I was able to continue the planning. We were able to put together a fantastic wedding in just three short months that all of our friends have said was the best and finest and most fun wedding they have ever been to.”








Our wedding day was simply splendid. The weather was gorgeous, the lake was calm and the sun was shining through some very high occasional clouds. Char’s sister Wendy and her husband Dale picked us up and took us to the meeting place where a limo bus picked up the entire wedding party and took us to the Port of Wayzata where the cruise yacht the Bella Vista sailed from. The wedding party consisted of two best women (my best friend from work and my favorite soon-to-be sister-in-law) and 2 best men (Char’s two brothers). Many people were already there and we spent our time chatting and enjoying people we had not seen in several months, some in several years. We boarded the yacht and set sail for a cove that was calm and beautiful. The Reverend Pat Williamson was the minister. He was delighted to be the one to perform the ceremony, and he did a beautiful job of it. Char’s uncle Harlan accepted the honors of giving her away. Char’s brother Kevin was the first best man and was one of the witnesses, and my best friend Michelle was my best woman and also signed as a witness.

TJ the DJ was a delight. He picked out the first dance song. I asked him to pick one that has a good beat that Charlene could feel. You see, she is deaf and dancing is not something she does a lot of. So he found one that worked wonderfully, but I cannot remember what it was. I was a bit caught up in the moment. The only song I really remember is the chicken dance song. It is a bit of a Minnesota tradition to be played at weddings. Of course, it was a huge hit. 

We wished the day could have lasted forever, it was so much fun. The photographer was truly able to capture our fun and joy and for that we will be eternally grateful. Charlene and I have been together for more than 23 years. Never in our wildest dreams did we imagine this would ever come to fruition, but then it did and we capitalized on it. We had the wedding of our dreams. We had the moment, and lived it to the fullest and Kelsey Thompson Photography captured it for us forever. We both agreed it was singularly the best day of our lives together.







Wedding venue: Al and Alma’s Cruises on Lake Minnetonka
Cake: Buttercream
Music: TJ the DJ
Photographer: Kelsey Thompson Photography
Officiant: Reverend Pat Williamson of Christ Unity Church

Find equality-minded wedding vendors in your area.