It was the coldest night of the year almost 11 years ago when David Friend and Patrick Bradley first met. They were both at the original XL in Chelsea, and David was waiting for a pal to make his exit with his man of the evening; Patrick started chatting David up—only to then realize that he’d missed his last train back to New Jersey. No matter, the future couple, who now reside in Inwood, thought. “[I] announced that [we] would have to spend the rest of the night together until the first train the next morning,” Patrick fondly recalls. David, annoyed at being out so late in the first place, thought, “What the hell?” and they spent the rest of the night jumping from 24-hour diner to 24-hour diner until 6am rolled around.” “[I] put Pat on the first New Jersey Transit train and wrote [my] name on the side of a shopping bag expecting never to hear from Pat again,” David remembers. A weekly later, they were talking on the phone daily.
Patrick initially proposed to David about four years into the relationship, but at the time getting married wasn’t legal or really feasible. “David was reluctant to get married in the short term, for financial and practical reasons,” Patrick says, noting that David was still in school and not financially ready to pull off the type of wedding they both knew they wanted to have. So they waited. “This year,” Patrick says, “the timing was just right.”
The ceremony, which they planned together mostly without the help of professionals, took place at Studio 450 in Chelsea and was fairly untraditional. “It was in two parts—the first part was a blessing and the second part was a secular exchange of vows,” Patrick explains. “The blessing involved the traditional wedding party and walk down the aisle, but was a musical setting of ancient Christian same-sex union rituals—yes, they exist!—and had no officiant.” David is a professional musician and scored the music for the first part of the ceremony. “Each member of the wedding party lit a row of candles symbolizing their support of [us] and then [we] joined right hands in the ancient symbol of matrimony while the musicians performed the ritual texts,” Patrick explains. The second half of the nuptials saw the 130-person wedding move to the roof. “We each wrote our own vows.” After that the party started: food, bubbly and a joyous set by the couple’s friend, DJ Cynthesizer.
Sound like the wedding you want to throw? David and Patrick highly recommend Studio 450 (450 W 31st St, LoftEleven.com) for the space, Highline Party Rentals (HighLinePartyRentals.com) for their wedding wares, Parties N’ All (PartiesAndAll.com) for wait staff and—oddly enough—Fairway Market (FairwayMarket.com) for catering. “We never felt uncomfortable working with them as a same-sex couple,” says Patrick. “We felt that it was really important to work with people who were able to be fully invested in and happy about our wedding, and this was certainly the case with all of our vendors.”
But really, when it comes down to it, to have the best gay wedding you possibly can, David and Patrick say it’s actually very simple: “All you need is love!”