London party

This shared wedding in a London garden was a celebration of the queer community

The soundtrack for this walk down the aisle was “Acapella” by Kelis, played as a nod to the endless party ahead. “When Tom played Glastonbury this year it happened after their set and we were both dancing and so thrilled we looked at each other and thought, ‘That must be it,'” says Hugh. Their best friend Amrou Al-Kadhi presided over the ceremony. “We felt it was important that someone close to us, and someone in our queer family, lead the ceremony,” Hugh says. “It meant the ceremony was filled with humor, heartfelt anecdotes, as well as searing and hilarious critiques of the institution of marriage.”

Friends also gathered for readings and performances. Temi Wilkey read from Talks about loveAmelia Abraham read Walt Whitman, and “one of the readings, Harper’s last speech from Millennium Approaches, was read by our wonderful friend Charlotte Hamblin,” says Hugh. “It was very camp, but also deeply moving.” At the start of the unity ceremony, “Rina Sawayama sang her song ‘Chosen Family’ and Hatty Carman sang Miley Cyrus’ ‘Malibu’ recession.” Everyone sang a Taylor Swift ‘State of Grace’ anthem,” Tom says. “And my dad played guitar.”

Immediately, emotions flowed. “I felt overwhelmed with love and gratitude,” says Hugh. “I was a lot more emotional than I thought and felt really uplifted as a queer person. With hundreds of people saying ‘Yeah it’s true’. That’s exactly what love should be. “.

“Maybe, even for a moment, with all that queerness and love in the space, we’ve taken marriage back from an oppressive institution and made it into something for ourselves: something about promises of change, and about love as a practice and not just a word,” adds Tom.

After the ceremony, the potluck was devoured, speeches were made and the couple cut their cake “before riding on old Routemasters and heading to the party at London’s most legendary queer venue, the Glory, which John Sizzle and the whole crew there so kindly gave us for the night,” says Hugh. “You really can’t beat the queer community.”

A second round of speeches followed once the guests were settled, along with performances from their closest circle. “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 3 a.m. with legendary London DJs Jonbers Blonde, Emma Kroeger and Shivum Sharma.” The final hour turned into a blur, Tom says, “as it should!”