Love is Miraculous: This London backyard wedding ceremony was a celebration of the queer neighborhood

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The soundtrack to that walk down the aisle was Kelis’s “Acapella”, played as a nod to the never-ending party to come. “When Tom was playing Glastonbury this year, it came after their set and we were both dancing and so overjoyed that we looked at each other and were like, ‘This has got to be it,'” says Hugh. Her best friend Amrou Al-Kadhi officiated at the ceremony. “We felt it was important that someone close to us and someone from our queer family lead the ceremony,” says Hugh. “That meant the ceremony was filled with humor and candid anecdotes, as well as harsh and hilarious criticism of the institution of marriage.”

Friends also met for readings and performances. 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,” says Hugh. “It was very combative, but also deeply moving.” As the uniting ceremony began, “Rina Sawayama sang her song ‘Chosen Family,’ and Hatty Carman sang the recession of Miley Cyrus’ ‘Malibu.’ Everyone sang an anthem from Taylor Swift’s ‘State of Grace,'” says Tom. “And my father played the guitar.”

Emotions ran high immediately. “I felt overwhelmed with love and gratitude,” says Hugh. “I was way more emotional than I expected and I felt really taken care of as a queer person. With hundreds of people saying, ‘Yes, that’s right. That’s exactly what love should be.

“Maybe, even for just a moment, with all that weirdness and love in the room, that we’ve reclaimed marriage from the oppressive institution and made it something for us: something about promises to change and about love as a practice.” and not just as a word,” adds Tom.

After the ceremony, the potluck feast was devoured, speeches made and the couple cut their cake, “before hopping into vintage Routemasters and heading to the party at London’s most legendary queer joint, the Glory, which John Sizzle and the entire team there so friendly found us for the night,” says Hugh. “You really can’t beat the queer community.”

After the guests had settled in, a second round of speeches and performances from the closest circle followed. “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 until 3am to legendary London DJs Jonbers Blonde, Emma Kroeger and Shivum Sharma.” The final hour blurs, says Tom, “the way it’s supposed to be!”