West End: Couple to take Pride in public nuptials

Ceremony set for aug. 4 at corner of robson and Denman during pride parade

Ten years ago, Randy Brooks first asked his longtime partner Michael Jacobs to marry him.

But I always thought, whats the point? said Jacobs. But then this past New Years Day we were having coffee and he asked me again and I said, With all my heart.

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To make up for lost time, the couple, who moved to New Westminster five years ago, is planning a public wedding complete with 32 attendants. To demonstrate their love to the world, the nuptials will take place Aug. 4 at the corner of Robson and Denman streets in the middle of the annual Pride Parade.

We decided to get married right on the street in the middle of Pride and were going to exchange rings as the parade goes by, said Jacobs. Were going to have a huge hot-pink banner on the fence behind us that says, Two hearts, one love. M and R Aug. 4, 2013. Its going to be spectacular.

The couple met 18 years ago at the Royal Hotel on Granville Street, which has since closed, and as Jacobs described it, it was love at first sight.

We just looked at one another and that was it, said Jacobs.

The wedding emcee will be the couples close friend, Vancouver performer Chris Bolton, also known as his drag persona Conni Smudge. In keeping with the predicted weather, Jacobs and Brooks will wear camel pants, Hawaiian-style shirts and Panama hats.

We have family coming in from across the country, including my mother, said Jacobs. Well be giving Pride bags to all of our guests, including my mom and aunt, that will include banana-flavoured condoms.

The couple will then move the wedding party over to the iconic Sylvia Hotel on Gilford Avenue for a Champagne reception. In keeping with a traditional wedding, the couple will follow up by boarding the CruiseyT Pride Go Go cruise ship.

Jacobs noted the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) did not play into the couples decision to get married this month.

Its just a nice coincidence, he said.

Darryl Persello of Vancouver-based 2 Dears and a Queer wedding planners said the abolition of DOMA has had a negative effect on his business.

Weve taken a huge hit, said Persello. We usually do between 10 and 15 weddings a year and this year weve done three.

2 Dears and a Queer launched 10 years ago in response to the needs of American and out-of-province, same-sex couples who couldnt get legally married at home but could enjoy an official ceremony in B.C. Persello noted until this year, the companys Express Wedding Package had been popular with American couples who wanted to book a weekend getaway to get married.

The Express Wedding Package is perfect for a shotgun wedding, said Persello. Think of it as a Vegas-style wedding in Vancouver.

Persello added that while pursuing straight couples as clients is an option, hes not sure if thats the direction the business will follow.

Gays have such fabulous weddings, he said. And theyre a lot more stress and drama free. A lot of times the parents dont attend and that makes everything a lot easier to stickhandle.

sthomas@vancourier.com

twitter.com/sthomas10

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