Adam & Chuck :: My first gay wedding experience.
Whenever we are at the wedding it’s us against the clock. Basically here is a short outline of how things happen.
Morning: We arrive, begin taking a look around. How is the lighting, where is the couple getting ready? Is the light good? What is going on with everyone else from the wedding party? Quick! Grab the details, rings, shoes. Shit, it is time to start changing. Where? Is the room well lit? Done! Let’s move to the first look.
First look: Ok here is a good spot. I hope they enjoy the moment and no one interferes so they have their own private moment. Done! That was cool! Time for ceremony!
Ceremony: Ok, is light good? Too bright? Is everything centered? Audio! Let’s mic everyone! Is it windy? Is the backup, of the backup of the backup audio ready? Ok, here we go. Shit, uncle Bob has a camera around his neck, I hope he doesn´t try anything funny. 15-20 minutes later of worrying if I’m in focus in the bright sun, it’s over. I declare you… Ok exit time. Boom, perfect let’s move on.
Cocktail hours: Details, details, details. What is everyone drinking? Who are this guests? How is the place looking? Let’s try to find the family.
Everything happens so fast we are always trying to anticipate and worrying about the next thing. ALL THE TIME. It is usually until the first dance were I can relax and take a look around. Not in a “let me see what’s going on to film it” way, but in a let me enjoy this moment. For me. And then it hit me… I´m doing my first gay wedding.
There was something so peculiar about this exact moment for me. Of course I knew I was doing a gay wedding since before we even arrived. But it was until that moment I really began thinking about it all. Adam and Chuck, dancing for the first time as husband and husband.
Days before the wedding I remember doing some research on how to do gay weddings as a videographer. It is the same of course, but specifics are different. I wanted to know the specifics. I learned the acronym “PDOA”. Which means “Public Display of Affection”. How posing can be a little different. Some of the challenges involved. How to handle family when they are not the super supportive type, in case they weren´t. Questions I remember I had and I did my homework.
So there was I, looking at two men dancing, holding together, enjoying their moment. There was something so beautiful yet so different for me. Backstory…
You need to understand; I live in Mexico. I grew up a catholic as 82.7% of everyone else. Mexico is one of the top Catholic counties in the world and we were thought same sex weddings are not ok. I was involved in church activities and I was even in chorus of my local church until I was in my mid-twenties. At that time, I didn´t knew a lot of LGBTQ people until college. By that time, I was going through my “rebel” phase. I was into weird music, tattoos and not coming home before three in the morning. I spent lots of time with my girlfriend (now my beautiful wife) after classes. I was still attending church sometimes but I quit the extracurricular church activities. Then one Sunday everything changed. I went to church with my family and I remember the priest ranting about many things. One of them, on how divorced men are doomed and Catholic religion dictate they are destined to hell. I remember sitting next to my dad. My dad being a divorced man and then marring my mom. Why was he destined to suffer for eternity? I began questioning my faith. How come divorced men were doomed to hell? I mean, my dad is one of the nicest, hard working people I know and he talks about my mom the way a 15-year-old would about her first love. Trust me, sometimes it’s embarrassing, but cute.
In college, I made good friends with lots of gay students. They were some of the nicest people around. Some were super open about it, some were not. But everyone in college were pretty chill about it. Religion suddenly wasn´t important to me as it was before. I began spending more time with them, enjoying their company and getting to know them. I remember talking with Pedro and his boyfriend on a party about me doing his wedding a few years down the line and how he was going to be using heels that day (that made me laugh). But it was still not legal at the time so they had to wait or do it in another place. We were still young, they had time and there was no rush.
Not so long ago things began to change on Mexico. On some cities same sex marriage was becoming legal. My own city had its first same sex wedding just last year (2016). Things are changing for good. Puerto Vallarta (the city where Adam and Chuck wedding venue was) is one of the most openly gay friendly towns. LGBTQ tourist like it there. Bars and hotels are always crowded. They even have their own LGBTQ pride week every year with its own parade and all.
All of this thoughts and memories came to my head as I was experiencing the first dance. It made me happy for them because after many things they went through (you can hear in the film) they were achieving their dream. It made me happy for me since I was having a new experience and I couldn´t wait to share their story, and it made me proud of my country for the first time in a very long time.
I have to say I was kind of nervous the moment before hitting the share button on Facebook. What would my audience reaction be? Who would it reach? Would they be supportive? One of the things I read before the wedding, was on how some photographers and videographers experience some negative comments on the video from other religion groups. I decided to keep an eye on comments in case something happens but I was determined to share this beautiful story with the world. 2 minutes in, comments began to appear and to my surprise…Nothing. Not one single disappointing comment. I may even say this had the most positive, love sending comments ever. I felt so proud again to see many Mexicans being supportive of the LGBTQ community. Things are changing for good!
Anyway, that was some of my experience into this new territory, I have to thank Adam and Chuck for believing in me even if I have never done a gay wedding before, for giving me this opportunity, this new experience and being one of the coolest people I have ever met. I will always treasure this wedding as my first and I hope there are many many more to come. So lets dance… lets dance… to looooooove.