Like any young couple in love, Brittany Pennington and Sally Beaver wanted to get married in a way that they would never forget. Some couples go big by renting a horse and buggy, skydiving out of an airplane, or getting married in Las Vegas by Elvis (hey, don't knock it till you try it). But Pennington and Beaver did something even more unique than all that.
They joined dozens of other same-sex couples, who all wed in a historic Grammy night event. During a performance of Macklemore's Grammy-winning song, Pennington and Beaver exchanged vows in ceremony officiated by Queen Latifah, as millions of people watched around the world.
So, what was that moment like, exactly? Pennington recently told her story of how the couple came to be part of the mass ceremony on SheWired. She answered a casting call for a "diverse group of couples who wanted to get married at a huge event," and only when they had been selected to participate did they learn the wedding would be part of the Grammys. "We were so nervous and curious about where they would fit the mass wedding into the Grammys," she writes.
The Friday before the show we flew to Los Angeles excited to hear about details of the rehearsal that would take place the next day. We couldn't eat anything; all the excitement had taken over. It wasn't until we arrived at the Staples Center for rehearsal, just one day before the Grammys, that we were told we would be married during Macklemore's performance of "Same Love." All along I had hoped it would have to do with that song because of its universal power. Then, Queen Latifah walked in as the officiate, followed by Madonna who would sing during the performance. I was shocked to see that such amazing people who would have a part in my wedding.
After doing a run-through of the show my wife and I began to cry because the rehearsal was so moving. We knew it was going to be a powerful performance. Neither one of us slept well that night because we were so excited to get married. The day of the Grammys we prepared with the other 32 couples in a tent that was set up for us. That day I got to know some amazing people. Each couple had a unique story. Each one of us was different but all were brought together by love.
Of course, they got a little starstruck:
I heard the song start when it came time for us to head to the stage, and I remember being so nervous knowing that the building was packed with people. The crowd stood up and started cheering as we walked down the aisle. At that point, surprisingly, all the nervousness went away and all I wanted to do was cry. I looked over at my beautiful partner, whom I love so much, and then I heard and saw people (Latifah, Madonna) I've looked up to my whole life crying and cheering for something that means so much to me... It was truly the most amazing feeling.
Pennington also addressed all the haters who scoffed at the idea of a mass ceremony at a televised, live event.
I have heard people saying on social media that the mass wedding was just a show. Although the wedding was part of Macklemore's performance, it was still our wedding. Everyone shows love in his or her own way. Marrying my wife in front of millions was my way of showing it. While Queen Latifah was performing the ceremony, all I saw was my wife. It was our moment that just so happened to air on TV, but it was not just a show.
"I got to marry the love of my life in front of the world at the Grammys and I wouldn't have done it any other way," she writes. "Gay people have struggled and fought and continue to struggle all over the world. The ability to be legally married and to be afforded the rights we deserve is a moved mountain for us. I don't think I ever dreamed of being able to marry my wife legally, let alone to do it with 32 other couples on the Grammys. This battle has not been won for every gay person around the world yet — but I hope our story gives people hope."