This Potluck Wedding at a London Garden Was a Celebration of Queer Community

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The soundtrack to that walk down the aisle was Kelis’s “Acapella,” played as a nod to the neverending party to come. “When Tom played Glastonbury this year, it came on after their set and we were both dancing and so overjoyed we looked at each other and were like, ‘It has to be this,’” Hugh says. Their best friend Amrou Al-Kadhi officiated the ceremony. “We felt it was important that someone close to us, and someone part of our queer family, would conduct the ceremony,” Hugh says. “This meant that the ceremony was filled with humor, heartfelt anecdotes, as well as searing and hilarious critique of the institution of marriage.”

Friends gathered for readings and performances as well. Temi Wilkey read from Conversations on Love, Amelia Abraham read Walt Whitman, and “one of the readings, Harper’s final speech from Millennium Approaches, was read by our wonderful friend Charlotte Hamblin,” Hugh says. “It was very camp, but also deeply moving.” As the unity ceremony commenced, “Rina Sawayama sang her song ‘Chosen Family’, and Hatty Carman sang the recessional of Miley Cyrus’s ‘Malibu.’ Everyone sang a hymn of Taylor Swift’s ‘State of Grace’,” Tom says. “And my dad played guitar.”

Immediately, the emotions flowed. “I felt overcome with love, and gratitude,” Hugh says. “I was much more emotional than I thought I would be, and I felt really lifted up as a queer person. With hundreds of people saying ‘Yes, this is right. This is just what love should be’.”

“Perhaps like, even for a moment, with all that queerness and that love in the space, that we reclaimed marriage from oppressive institution and made it something for us: something about promises to change, and about love as a practice and not just a word, to quote bell hooks,” Tom adds.

After the ceremony, the potluck feast was devoured, speeches were made, and the couple cut their cake “before getting onto old Routemasters and heading to party at London’s most legendary queer venue, the Glory, which John Sizzle and the whole team there so kindly gave us for the night,” Hugh says. “You really can’t beat the queer community.”

A second round of speeches ensued once guests settled in, as well as performances from their closest circle. “My friends Beth and Matt, Hugh’s friends Mil and Jess, and our friend Kai Isaiah Jamal wrote a poem and performed it for us,” says Tom. “Then, of course, we danced til 3 a.m. to legendary London DJs Jonbers Blonde, Emma Kroeger, and Shivum Sharma.” The last hour turned into a blur, Tom says, “just as it should be!”

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