When most children dream about their wedding day, they imagine themselves walking down the aisle in a church, or exchanging vows barefoot on a beach in front of a handful of friends and family. Certainly almost no one envisions themselves riding down the longest street in the world atop a giant wedding cake in front of millions of screaming people. But that’s just what six couples from all over the world did on July 4, 2010: they took the plunge atop a moving float as it made it’s way down Yonge Street in Toronto during the 30th anniversary Gay Pride Parade.
Sponsored by this website, Get Hitched 2010 was a whirlwind weekend for the 12 affianced – Brenda and Georgi from Toronto, Dave and Brett from Calgary, Brian and John from San Diego, Kevin and Bill from Chicago, Kristen and KaLisa from Atlanta, and Guillermo from Mexico and Gustavo from Brazil. ManCrunch, the fastest growing male relationship service online, decided to bring couples from all over the world to celebrate their love. In the United States especially, the state of gay rights is unfortunate, as ManCrunch believes everyone should be able to stand up in front of their friends and family and profess their love. No bigger statement could be made then doing it in front of millions of people at one of North America’s largest gay pride parades!
ManCrunch chose the Toronto Pride Parade as it was the 30th anniversary, with an expected turnout of over a million supporters. Gay marriage also celebrated its fifth year across Canada (though it has been legal in some provinces longer than that) and Toronto has an international reputation of being extremely gay-friendly. Toronto Pride rivals larger cities and consistently holds one of – if not the – largest pride events in North America. The couples from out of town were flown in on Thursday, and stayed at the Sheraton, which partnered with ManCrunch as the hotel sponsor. On Friday, the group went to Toronto’s city hall to obtain their marriage licences, as well as speak to the press. After interviews with the CBC and American media, the press junket continued at an open lunch.
The couples had Saturday to spend as they pleased – their last days of singlehood – before the big day. On Sunday, everyone met for breakfast, hair and makeup thanks to another partner, Diva Weddings and Events. Everyone arrived at the staging area – some in wedding dresses, others in cowboy hats, each with a unique twist on wedding day style (in 40 degree heat). The float featured a 3-tier wedding cake with a podium on top where the couples exchanged their vows. Each couple said their individual vows and were married separately by an officiant, who told their story to the crowd.
Brian and John met doing volunteer work just over 1 year before they came to Toronto Pride to marry. John thought they were just friends until Brian confessed that he liked him, and moved in about a month later. John calls Brian his “lifeline,” and while he wasn’t sure he was willing to risk being in another relationship, he was won over by Brian’s personality and charm. John submitted their story to ManCrunch because Brian really wanted to get married in Canada – he even wants to move there and learn to speak French. The couple also wasn’t in a financial position to have a big wedding, and Get Hitched included all flight and accommodation, as well as wedding licenses, wedding bands, and the little things that add up during a wedding.
Brenda and Georgi, the only Toronto couple in attendance, met online and fell in love at first sight. They knew they were right for each other and planned to get married on their one-year anniversary – before a condo flood changed their plans. Brenda and Georgi said they feel “blessed to live in Canada where we have the freedom, as two lesbians, to get married to each other and express our love for each other … getting married at Pride with such a large audience is a great way to bring equal rights, awareness, hope and inspiration to others. Not to mention a lot of fun!!!
Brett and his partner Dave, who together run Outlooks, Canada’s GLBT magazine, weren’t sure if the event was for them, but eventually decided to do it. Both had typical “past lives,” including straight marriages and children. They didn’t want a big wedding, and had always put marriage off as life got in the way. However, they changed their minds, saying “As well as a belief that as "influences" in the Canadian GLBT community, at least from a media and communications perspective, that we have a responsibility to those that fought for these rights, to accept and cherish the opportunity that so many others across the globe do not have.
That, and it seems like a great way to get married without worrying about who and who not should attend... not to mention a whole lot of fun!”
Kevin and Bill had been together for 14 years and already had a commitment ceremony, but hailing from Chicago, they had never been legally married. The pair has three sons, four dogs, and a turtle, and described their story as “simple but one deep with faith and family pride.” Bill says he is just as much in love with Kevin, if not more, and his heart still beats faster when he sees them.
Gustavo, from Brazil, emailed ManCrunch without telling Guillermo, from Mexico but living in Toronto. The pair met when Gustavo was in Toronto studying English in 2008, but have been in a long-distance relationship for the majority of their time together. They skype, call, and text every single day – even doing their homework together on skype! Gustavo had another secret to share when they were chosen to Get Hitched: he hadn’t come out of the closet to his family. He came out and told them he was getting married at the same time, but luckily they were very accepting.
Kristen and KaLisa had been together since 2005, and Kristen describes them as a perfect complement: “In all my weaknesses she is stronger than I and in all my strengths she is vulnerable.” The pair, madly in love, wanted to represent Atlanta and the LGBT community who were just looking for a chance to spend their life legally married. Kristen described the event as a dream come true, saying, “That a company like ManCrunch would offer the opportunity to make the dream of marriage come true and offer others the opportunity to find their dream person brings tears to my eyes. Thank you for this. I wish I could express more eloquently how much this means, but words just don't adequately express what you feel when you feel that your dream is coming true.”