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Celebrate with us!
By Henry V. Thiel
After meeting in 1999 at a mutual friend’s party in Dallas, Bret Detillier and Colin Riley crossed paths two more times before they finally went out on their first date. “I was dating someone else at the time,” confesses Riley, “but was immediately taken by Bret’s dark eyes and mustachioed smile.”
They saw each other again in the fall of 2002, at the same mutual friend’s 50th birthday party. “I had been single for about a year and a half. It took me a while, but I worked up the courage to approach Bret and strike up a conversation. We spoke for about 10 or 15 minutes before Bret was whisked away by our friend,” Riley recalls with disappointment. “We never resumed our conversation that night, and I assumed he wasn’t interested.
“I found out later that he lived in Houston, and was just out of a year-long relationship. Finally in March of 2003, we both attended the Texas Bear Round-Up. I walked into the Dallas Eagle, and there he was,” Riley says. “A good friend reintroduced us. This time Bret asked for my phone number. He called the next day, and we went out that very night. The third time was the charm!”
After a year of long-distance dating, Riley moved down to Houston, and in with Detillier.
“Twelve years later, we had just finished dinner and were washing dishes. I looked at him and thought, I would be happy to wash dishes with this man for the rest of my life. So I asked him to marry me, right then and there. With such an unconventional setting, I’m not sure he thought I was serious at first, but he did say yes!”
In 2011, same-sex marriage was only legal in a few states. Riley and Detillier thought about getting married in Vancouver, Canada, but the prospect quickly turned very expensive, and it seemed that very few, if any, of their loved ones would be able to join them. Then marriages became legal in New York.
“New York was perfect!” states Colin. “I had lived there during my 20s and early 30s, and Bret and I have visited many times as a couple.”
So they rented a tiny boathouse on the lake in Central Park. “It only cost $25 for two hours!” remembers Detillier, still in awe. “We arrived a couple of days early so we could obtain our marriage license and catch a couple of Broadway shows.”
“Then, on October 8, 2011, we were married in front of 22 friends and family that had travelled from eight states to be there with us,” shares Riley. “It was truly an amazing thing to experience something you never thought would happen in your lifetime.”
A month after returning to Texas, the newlyweds held a reception at the Heights Theater, which was then being managed by a gay couple. In keeping with the theater theme, they created a movie poster and called the event I Do, I Do. The theater even played along and put their names on the marquee. More than 120 friends and family attended.
“We debated whether or not we should have a gift registry,” confesses Detillier. “Several of our straight friends and family members demanded that we do so. Upon registering at Macy’s, the associate exclaimed excitedly, ‘Oh my God! You’re our first gay marriage!’ She was thrilled. So were we!
“We used Absolutely Divine Catering, a gay-owned catering company that we found through friends at Resurrection Community Church,” says Detillier. They hired a DJ that had spun for many years at the Montrose Mining Company, and rented tables and chairs from A Finer Event.
“Our wedding cake was baked by the gay-friendly Alphorn Bakery,” adds Riley. “We had great food and music! For the vast majority of our guests, it was the first gay wedding event they had ever attended. We continue to receive raves about our wedding reception.
“Both Bret and I were raised Catholic,” says Riley. “Bret still attends Mass, and since [having a priest officiate at our wedding] was out of the question, he was insistent that we at least have a Christian minister. The beauty of a same-sex wedding is that there are no hard-and-fast traditions, and that gives you the freedom to create and customize your own event. For our ceremony, we co-wrote our vows that we both recited. In addition, we decided that we wanted to combine both a Native American blessing with a reading from the New Testament.” The couple also included two secular poems: “The Art of Marriage” by Wilferd A. Peterson, and “To Be One with Each Other” by George Eliot.
Since the guys had a destination wedding, they remained in New York for several days to celebrate with friends. “We had the best honeymoon ever!” adds Detillier.