Human Flower Project

Orrington, MAINE USA

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Princeton, MAINE USA

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Wedding Flowers for Two Grooms

When the couple about to be married are both men, will there be bouquets? Maybe. But consider a cascade.


Andrew Solomon and John Habich at their wedding dinner

Northampton, England, June 30, 2007

Photo: Jonathan Player, for the New York Times

It was a June wedding. Last summer, writer Andrew Solomon and editor John Habich celebrated their civil union before about 300 guests. The two men were married in England (Solomon has dual US/UK citizenship) where, as of 2005, civil unions between same-sex couples have been legal.

The New York Times published a gorgeous set of photographs by Jonathan Player. What an event! The ceremony took place on a broad staircase at Althorp, the estate of the Spencer family, below portraits of the late Princess Diana and her ancestors. At the reception and party afterwards, the newlyweds radiated happiness. Guests sat down to dinner in a “marquee” on the Althorp grounds, decorated in black and white, with lots of mirrored tabletops and waves of pink roses.


Solomon and Habich exchange vows amid floral drifts and tapestries

Photo: Jonathan Player, for the New York Times

But what about flowers at the service? Do grooms carry bouquets? No reason they shouldn’t. But Solomon and Habich chose not to. Instead wide swaths of hydrangeas stepped all the way down the staircase. And roses (we think that’s what these blooms are) hung from the upstairs balustrade, like fluffy pink tapestries. (Habich also wore a small pink flower on his lapel.)

imageErin and Chloe

at their civil union in Vermont

September 2000

Photo: Erin and Chloe

From what we’ve seen and learned, lesbian weddings tend to double up with bouquets. Sometimes both brides wear floral head crowns as well. (Yet another reason to legalize same-sex marriage, we say!)

Several years back, we ran a piece about Flowers from the Heartland. This 2004 film documented a small movement of Midwesterners who sent flowers to the weddings of gay and lesbian couples in the U.S. as tokens of solidarity. Same-sex marriage is still controversial here. Twenty-six states (most of them in the Heartland) have passed laws against it. Only in Massachusetts is same-sex marriage legal; New Jersey, Vermont, Connecticut, and New Hampshire permit civil unions. Most recently, New Jersey’s governor has indicated he will sign a bill legalizing same sex marriage (after the November elections); California’s state Supreme Court will be taking up the matter next month.

What about the rest of the world? The map below, from wiki, offers about as vivid a picture of cultural differences as one could imagine. In the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada and South Africa (in dark green) same sex marriage is now legal. In Iran, Sudan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Mauritania homosexuality (not same-sex marriage, just being homosexual) is punishable by death.


Map of the World’s laws on homosexuality, via Wiki

Two bouquets? One world? We’ve got a long way to go.

Posted by Julie on 02/23 at 01:27 PM
Culture & SocietyFloristsPoliticsReligious RitualsPermalink