I answered some marriage-related questions on the 11th, but more and more just keep coming!
From Kathi (my mom): So are you changing your name to Kesler? *Note, this question is one of the most frequently asked.
That's a very good question. In a traditional heterosexual marriage (in our particular culture, that is) the woman takes on the last name of her husband, but in our situation neither one of us is the blushing bride. In fact, we even know some straight couples where the woman has kept her name. Early on in our engagement, Brian and I had discussed the possibility of changing both our surnames to Kesler-Garcia, to reflect our union, but I would cease to be Jack John Garcia III, and what a shame it would be to lose my suffix! Besides, name-changing is a hassle. So, no, Mom, I will still bear the name you and my father had given me from the start. However, any future children we hope to adopt will be given the name Kesler-Garcia.
From Anonymous: Which one of you is the "man" and which is the "woman"? or... Which one of you is wearing the dress?
As stated in response to the above question, neither one of us is the bride. Perhaps in other same-sex couples this question is applicable (I won't try to speak for gays everywhere), but in our case, neither one of us is a cross-dresser or transvestite, so no wedding dress will be worn. For those going to our reception, expect to see us in nice suits. And as far as our relationship goes, neither one of us can be categorized as the "man" 100% of the time nor the "woman" 100% of the time. I won't even begin to say how incredibly sexist this question is... Just know that Brian and I function as equals. We both have jobs, we both go to school, and we both take care of the house when we have time. Brian enjoys cooking more, so he does all the cooking. I'm more of a neat-freak, so I do most of the cleaning. We have a good balance that way, and it has nothing to do with preconceived gender roles.
From Katherine (Brian's mom): Will you be in New York City long enough to get everything done? Won't you need a blood test?
Actually, a blood test is not a requirement for a marriage license in the state of New York. In fact, the whole process is relatively simple. Almost shockingly so. According to the website for the City Clerk's Office in NYC, all we need to do is fill out an application (which we have already done online), pay the fee, and present our social security number and driver's license to obtain a marriage license. We must then wait at least 24 hours to have the wedding ceremony which will also take place in the City Clerk's Office. For that we will need the marriage license (obviously), another fee payment, and a witness (thankfully Brian's cousin Patrick has agreed to fly out to NYC to fill that role). So to sum it all up, on Thursday, November 1st we will take care of the marriage license stuff and then on Friday, November 2nd (our four-year anniversary) we will seal the deal with a court ceremony and start a new chapter in our lives as newlyweds!
From Emily: What kind of wedding gift do I give a gay couple? I've never done this before!
Well, thanks for your concern, but we're really not all that different. We homosexuals enjoy many of the same household items that you do and they don't even have to be rainbow-colored or covered in glitter. So you know that toaster you always buy for your straight friends who tie the knot? That would work for us too! (Although, in all seriousness, we already have a toaster so thanks but no thanks). If gift-giving is really hard for you, you can always stick to our registry or just give money. Because gay or straight, money makes everybody happy!
From Brett: Will there be drinking at your reception?
Sorry to disappoint those desperately in search of an open bar, but our reception will be a dry one. I know, we're totally lame. One reason is that alcohol is really expensive and it's just not within our budget. Also, we're really grateful some of our LDS friends and relatives are coming at all and we didn't want to make them any more uncomfortable by throwing champagne into the mix. But mostly there will be no drinking because the venue doesn't allow it. "Curse those pesky contracts!"
But what you can expect is a whole lot of sober fun! The tentative schedule goes something like this: Meet and greet for the first 45 minutes or so followed by a special video presentation and the couple's first dance. Live music by Van Lady Love (featuring an old mission buddy as the lead singer) will continue from about 8 to 9, so prepare to be entertained. The cake will then be cut and served (don't worry, we'll have various cheesecakes available all throughout the night as well) and a dance party will commence for the remaining hour. So. Much. Fun.
Of course you can come and go as you please, but seriously, you'll want to stay for all the awesomeness.