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Originally published in Inside Weddings 

Marc Gann and Joey Scaletta say that after they were introduced by a mutual friend, their relationship went nowhere – until they met again a few months later at a watering hole in Baltimore and bonded over Marc’s punk rock t-shirt. This time, the relationship stuck. The two carved out as much time together as they could while Marc completed his surgical residency, then after almost two years of dating, Marc found a job at a hospital in rural Kansas. They continued dating long-distance for the next nine months, seeing each other once every four weeks. But it eventually became clear that they were missing out on too much of each other’s lives, so Joey moved to Kansas in 2008.

Three years later, the idea for a wedding began to evolve – at first, they planned to have a party to celebrate their friends and family who had been so supportive of their relationship. “And then we thought, ‘Hey, that kind of sounds like a wedding…Let’s do this!’” Joey says. “With increasing acceptance and legal recognition (in some states, at least) we thought, yeah! We wanted to embrace our newfound rights and do it officially.” The couple tapped wedding planner Bernadette Coveney Smith of 14 Stories, who specializes in same-sex weddings, to help organize a destination wedding at the Mondrian SoHo Penthouse Suite in New York City, a venue the couple says represents both of their personalities. When the big day arrived, Marc and Joey indulged in a picnic in Central Park and straight-razor shaves at the New York Shaving Company before joining their 50 guests at the suite, decorated in a masculine yet fun color palette of grey, green, and white with pink and orange accents. The venue was also adorned with a whimsical mix of succulents and seasonal flowers and greenery.

Guests gathered on the outdoor terrace for the intimate ceremony, which included a handfasting ritual and required all those in attendance to sign Marc and Joey’s marriage covenant. After enjoying a cocktail hour, the newlyweds and their guests headed inside the suite for a family-style dinner of modern Italian food and a cake with layers of vanilla, red velvet, and French toast spaetzle. Afterwards, it was back outside to the terrace for dancing, which lasted until midnight. In lieu of gifts, Marc and Joey asked for donations to the Trevor Project, Marriage Equality USA, and Hands Across the Americas. As favors, the newlyweds planted trees in honor of each guest through a donation to the Arbor Day Foundation. Marc names dancing under the stars with their guests as one of his most memorable moments, while Joey says he’ll always remember marrying the love of his life in a beautiful city, surrounded by loving and supportive friends.

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