WEDDING WISDOM: GERA & ERIC
Gera and Eric met at a gay legal conference in New York City eight years ago. Gera wasn’t there as part of the conference, but the person he was with at the time, who was attending the legal gathering, invited him along to the typical Friday night out with all attendees. It was there that Gera and Eric first met. “There was instantly a spark, but we were both in different relationships at the time. We didn’t take it any further than becoming good friends,” Gera explained.
Five years later they found themselves in a different place together; the place described as both being available! Gera, after checking with Eric’s cousin as to Eric being in a good place and interested in a relationship, gave Eric a call. Unsurprisingly, said cousin tipped Eric off as to Gera’s plans. “Eric likes telling people that when I called, he let my call go to voice mail! I was gonna have to work for the date I was after!” And given they were living in different cities – Eric in Atlanta and Gera in D.C. – the first date wasn’t the easiest one to go on, but years on geography wasn’t going to get in the way of a five year build up!
And who better to experience that build up with Eric and Gera than Eric’s entire family? Their first official date was to be on Eric’s family vacation in Florida over Labor Day! “On my layover in Dallas, I called the friend Tyler having sort of a panic attack,” Gera explained. “Tyler calmed me down and convinced me to go for it.” Clearly, the trip was, as Eric described: “amazing. It couldn’t have gone any better!”
But, if the trip was stellar, the goodbye was rough. “We realized that there was definitely something there for us, but there was also a lot of distance between us. Eric was hesitant to do anything because, as Eric said: ‘I don’t have the strength to deal with the distance.’’ Nonetheless, the two managed for a few months to manage being apart. And, after about four months, Gera took the step of suggesting that he move to Atlanta to be with Eric.
What took five years to start, took mere months to solidify as it was only about six months after their first date that the two had bought a home together. And, one year to the date of the “family first date,” the two were happily ensconced in their home. When asked what was giving them the confidence to move at a speed that, at times, had their various friends suggesting they slow down, Gera answered: “we were taking steps towards our life together and not questioning anything because it was meant to be. Though we are different people, we saw the same path.”
When it came time to start talking engagement the two were very much on the same page, bar for one very clear directive: “I made it very clear that I was going to ask Eric to marry me,” Gera explained. “I would propose when the time came.” And, perhaps surprisingly, the time came on that year’s trip with Eric’s family! “It didn't’ go at all as I had planned!” Eric said laughing.
The intent was for the Gera, Eric and the family to go boating and for Gera to propose on the beach with the family looking on. He had the ring in a pouch with him, which he couldn’t help but be overly concerned with losing. The first wrinkle in the plan was getting the boat too close to shore requiring Gera and others to jump in the water and push the boat away from shore. Gera hid the ring in one of the bags on deck in order to help complete this task.
“I lost track and assumed the ring was still in my pocket,” Gera said as the group made it to the beach to take a photo. He told his sister, in a panic, that he didn’t have the ring, so she went back to the boat to find it. From the shore, Gera could tell she wasn’t finding the ring, so he made his way back onto the boat. He emptied the bags and shook them out causing the ring to fall out and “plink, plink, plink” across the deck! By this time people were making their way back on board, with Eric and his family lagging behind. “So I told his sister, ‘I am going to do it right now,’ and jumped into the water and scrambled towards Eric and get on one knee, as best as I could in the water, and asked him to marry me. He said yes just as it started pouring down rain!”
For Eric, the proposal was a total surprise as he had it in his mind that their upcoming trip to Paris would be where and when Gera would propose. Months later, back in Florida, Eric turned the tables on Gera and proposed to him! “He told me he wanted me to feel what it was like to be asked to marry someone,” Gera said.
When it came to planning Gera said: “we waited and waited, but while planning the wedding, we were also thinking about having a family, which put some pressure on setting a date. Once the date was set, the two were able to select a venue – Terminus 330 in downtown Atlanta – and really focus on the wedding and life after “I do!”
When asked if either, in the planning, became Groomzilla, Gera answered: “Eric became ‘Taskzilla.’ Every night it was like: ‘Gera do this. Now this! Fortunately, we had a wedding planner who helped, especially on the day.” But, reality was, the couple made most of the big decisions on their own, starting with Six Hearts Photography who provided not only photography but videography, a wedding booth and even the DJ! “Our planner got the floral guy, the bar came with the venue and we picked the groomsmen’s gifts, party favors and invites ourselves!”
On the 8th of October 2016, 130 guests joined the couple to see them tie the knot for a really casual and fun wedding. Officiating was the cousin Gera first called to get the “all clear” about Eric. “We knew he would be perfect standing up there, commanding a presence, but not stealing the show.” To our mind, there’d be no show without said cousin! The ceremony included elements of a Jewish wedding – the religion the two shared deeply – and made the ceremony decidedly about two men. “We broke the glass and the major blessings and, instead of the man walking around the woman six times, we each walked around the other three times and once around together. Oh and we did the Hora, too!”
Looking back on the wedding, Gera cited his favorite moment was “doing it together, in the presence of people that had been part of our life from kindergarten to our living in Atlanta.” And, when asked about advice to give future grooms, Gera said: “be prepared for how tiring the photoshoot can be! And, break in your shoes…” Gera did go on to say, that: “everything will work out and come together.”
This sentiment clearly has been the hallmark of their relationship from the start. And, as they turn their eyes on children, may it long be the sentiment for their life as a family.