My Kind of Town
Marcos and Frank tie the knot old Hollywood style
By Nicole Walsh
“The story of us is simple; we knew right away,” says Frank Cermak Jr.
“I knew the first time I saw him at an audition; I had to get to know that man.”
Frank Cermak Jr. met Marcos Mateo Ochoa on a cold and dreary winter day in Chicago in 2003. After only a few dates, Frank and Marcos moved in together. “We went out … and the next thing you know, a few days later, Frank moved in with me and there were two toothbrushes in my bathroom” says Marcos. They fell in love instantly and knew that it would last a lifetime. “We actually love growing old together. We fell in love with each other then [in 2003], but now we fall more in love with each other as we become the men we have been striving to become” says Frank.
Things have always moved quickly for Frank and Marcos; there was no hesitation or cold feet between these two. “Within the first year, I proposed to Frank,” says Marcos. “I promised that if it became legal in Illinois, we would get married. We became even more passionate fighting for marriage equality in Illinois, and in 2008 our careers moved us to California, and same-sex marriage became legal that summer.”
Because of the law change, Frank and Marcos had to act quickly to get the wedding they’d always wanted. And act quickly they did, planning a three-day extravaganza for about fifty guests, in only two months time. “We didn’t just plan a wedding; we planned a black-tie, with a rock band, in West Hollywood, in less than 90 days, destination wedding!” says Marcos.
It was no less than a three-day Hollywood-style soiree on the day Frank and Marcos were married. The couple danced and dined like old Hollywood stars in an old-fashioned Spanish villa. The Sunset Marquis Hotel in West Hollywood, Calif. set the stage for their extravagant affair.
The three-day event began on Friday, when guests arrived and attended a receiving party. The ceremony and reception took place Saturday, Oct. 4, 2008, and on Sunday, guests brunched and said their goodbyes. “It was a wonderful ride of bonding and love,” says Marcos.
The couple’s pit bull terrier, Leah, joined in on the ceremony, accompanying Marcos down a staircase before the couple walked arm in arm down the aisle. “We were both pretty emotional as we met in the back of the aisle as the band played ‘Because’ by the Beatles for our march down the aisle,” says Frank. The husbands-to-be stood on a bed of white rose petals as an Ochoa family friend, Navy Captain Frank Dachille, performed the ceremony.
After the ceremony, guests sat down to a formal black-tie dinner, set in the style of an old Spanish villa. Tables were covered with white tablecloths and topped with succulent plants and romantic candles. Henryk Wenderlich, private florist to the Sunset Marquis, designed the greenery, as well as Marcos’ and Frank’s boutonnieres.
The incandescent glow of candles could be seen everywhere, even lining the terraces, creating an intimate and special atmosphere to the reception. Personal touches are everything in a wedding, and Marcos and Frank took this to another level by matching their color palate to their eye colors: Tiffany blue and cocoa brown. Chicago band Brother George provided the guests with music so hand-selected that sounded like it was straight from the couple’s iPod favorites. Jazz and instrumental arrangements of songs from The Beatles, Smashing Pumpkins, David Bowie and Nirvana played all night long.
The evening’s menu included traditional Mexican dishes like ceviche, chicken mole and pork tamales. “The food was unforgettable,” says Frank. “The chef received an uproarious ovation when he was formally introduced to the diners.” And while the menu consisted of traditional Mexican staples, these dishes were anything but old fashioned. Guillaume Burlion, executive chef of The Sunset Marquis, was the mastermind behind the menu. Each dish was plated in a modern, deconstructed style, adding to the old and new Hollywood elements that Frank and Marcos’ ceremony illuminated.
Following dinner, the reception moved into the grand parlor of the villa. Pastries, cheesecake and chocolate-covered strawberries were served while the music played on in the background. The couple danced their first dance as husband and husband to Janis Joplin’s Bobby McGee.
Star Sargenti and Michael Deco of Harmony Wedding Photography followed Frank and Marcos through the whole weekend, getting to know them on a more personal level. “Having the photographer with us for that long of a time really allows you to relax with them and get great shots” says Frank. And there were plenty of moments to capture in this three-day whirlwind affair, from the Friday arrival party to the Sunday goodbye brunch. Everything was caught on camera for Frank and Marcos to preserve their memories.
“To this day, it still doesn’t feel real,” says Frank. “And the hardest part is that our reality is not a future for everyone, yet.” Marcos and Frank were married legally in 2008 as husband and husband—something that, unfortunately, many same sex couples still can’t enjoy. “We are so blessed; we feel guilty watching others having to wait for their chance at this feeling, having to wait for these moments. All three days of our wedding were incredible, filled with laughter, libations and a whole lot of love.”
Marcos and Frank were lucky enough to have a legal ceremony. But many same sex-couples choose to get married regardless of the laws of their state, sure only of their love for one another. “We kept in mind that this special day was not available to all [by law]” says Marcos. “We want all couples, gay or straight to have the amazing wedding we had, surrounded by a loving family, friends and beautiful home.”
Marcos and Frank advise newly engaged couples to remember how important communication is in the relationship. Frank says, “Communication is key; know what you want together. Decide what is important. Ours was family, music and memories. It is an important step, so make the unity your own and enjoy the ride.”
The couple lives in Hollywood, Calif., with their pit bull lab terrier, Leah.
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