For New York couple, wedding a 'momentous and joyous step in the right direction'

Before the end of June, the Supreme Court will likely issue rulings on two landmark same-sex marriage cases. In one, United States v. Windsor, the court could determine whether the federal Defense of Marriage Act violates the constitutional rights of same-sex couples. The other, Hollingsworth v. Perry, tackles Proposition 8, California's ban on gay marriage that voters narrowly passed in 2008. Ahead of the decisions, Yahoo News asked same-sex couples who have married since the court arguments ended to share stories and photos from their wedding and how they feel as the rulings loom. Featured in this slideshow are Chris Toland and Chris DeCarlo, who married in May in New York. —Tim Skillern

Chris Toland, 44, left, and Chris DeCarlo, 43, married on May 18 in the Hudson Valley, about two hours north of their home in New York City. Same-sex marriage has been legal in New York since July 24, 2011, after the state Legislature passed the Marriage Equality Act. (Photo © Chris Carter Photography)
Gay wedding profile: Chris Toland and Chris DeCarlo
Chris Toland, 44, left, and Chris DeCarlo, 43, married on May 18 in the Hudson Valley, about two hours north of their home in New York City. Same-sex marriage has been legal in New York since July 24, 2011, after the state Legislature passed the Marriage Equality Act. (Photo © Chris Carter Photography)
In an email to Yahoo News, the couple described their ceremony as traditional and formal. “Our ceremony was performed by a minister on the banks of the Hudson River. Our parents walked down the aisle ahead of us while two classical guitarists played Pachelbel's Canon in D,” they said. “Although neither one of us is Jewish, we had a ketubah that was signed by all of our wedding guests. We took many cues from various traditional marriage rituals and combined them in a way that made sense for us.” (Photo © Vincent Spiziri Jr.)
Gay wedding profile: Chris Toland and Chris DeCarlo
In an email to Yahoo News, the couple described their ceremony as traditional and formal. “Our ceremony was performed by a minister on the banks of the Hudson River. Our parents walked down the aisle ahead of us while two classical guitarists played Pachelbel's Canon in D,” they said. “Although neither one of us is Jewish, we had a ketubah that was signed by all of our wedding guests. We took many cues from various traditional marriage rituals and combined them in a way that made sense for us.” (Photo © Vincent Spiziri Jr.)
One hundred and nine guests attended, including family from Washington state, Nebraska, Mississippi and Michigan. “We wanted to have a smaller wedding, but we both have amazingly supportive families, and both were well-represented,” Toland said. “I have a very conservative uncle that I wasn't sure would come, but he was there and very happy for us.” (Photo © Vincent Spiziri Jr.)
Gay wedding profile: Chris Toland and Chris DeCarlo
One hundred and nine guests attended, including family from Washington state, Nebraska, Mississippi and Michigan. “We wanted to have a smaller wedding, but we both have amazingly supportive families, and both were well-represented,” Toland said. “I have a very conservative uncle that I wasn't sure would come, but he was there and very happy for us.” (Photo © Vincent Spiziri Jr.)
The couple was wed by the Rev. Jude Smith, whom they found on the Internet. “She was truly amazing,” Toland said, “and she crafted a really beautiful ceremony that had just the right amount of spirituality.” (Photo © Chris Carter Photography)
Gay wedding profile: Chris Toland and Chris DeCarlo
The couple was wed by the Rev. Jude Smith, whom they found on the Internet. “She was truly amazing,” Toland said, “and she crafted a really beautiful ceremony that had just the right amount of spirituality.” (Photo © Chris Carter Photography)
Toland and DeCarlo gave speeches acknowledging people central in the fight over same-sex marriage. Toland mentioned Ilan Meyer, a UCLA School of Law professor who testified in the Proposition 8 same-sex marriage case in California, and Brian Silva, the president of Marriage Equality USA. “We were able to thank them personally for the amazing work they have done for the marriage equality movement,” Toland said. “It was very powerful.” (Photo © Chris Carter Photography)
Gay wedding profile: Chris Toland and Chris DeCarlo
Toland and DeCarlo gave speeches acknowledging people central in the fight over same-sex marriage. Toland mentioned Ilan Meyer, a UCLA School of Law professor who testified in the Proposition 8 same-sex marriage case in California, and Brian Silva, the president of Marriage Equality USA. “We were able to thank them personally for the amazing work they have done for the marriage equality movement,” Toland said. “It was very powerful.” (Photo © Chris Carter Photography)
DeCarlo's speech was tinged with some humor, ending with this: “This is a day that I never thought would happen because, for me, accepting who I was meant letting go of the idea of ever having a day like this. But here it is. And here you are. We are so very happy you could be here for our wedding ceremony. But of course, we're not really, legally married at the ceremony. Technically, you're not married until you change your relationship status on Facebook. So we're glad you could be here for that.” They then changed their Facebook status on their phones from “engaged" to “married.” (Photo © Vincent Spiziri Jr.)
Gay wedding profile: Chris Toland and Chris DeCarlo
DeCarlo's speech was tinged with some humor, ending with this: “This is a day that I never thought would happen because, for me, accepting who I was meant letting go of the idea of ever having a day like this. But here it is. And here you are. We are so very happy you could be here for our wedding ceremony. But of course, we're not really, legally married at the ceremony. Technically, you're not married until you change your relationship status on Facebook. So we're glad you could be here for that.” They then changed their Facebook status on their phones from “engaged" to “married.” (Photo © Vincent Spiziri Jr.)
DeCarlo and Toland have been together for 12 years. The club where they met—the famous Pavilion dance hall in Fire Island Pines on Long Island's barrier islands—was destroyed by fire in November 2011. It is scheduled to reopen this summer. The couple said it was important that their DJ play songs their Fire Island friends would recognize. “Our friends flipped out when these songs came on,” DeCarlo said. “For the rest of my life I will remember jumping up on the dance floor and cheering with our friends to these songs.” (Photo © Chris Carter Photography)
Gay wedding profile: Chris Toland and Chris DeCarlo
DeCarlo and Toland have been together for 12 years. The club where they met—the famous Pavilion dance hall in Fire Island Pines on Long Island's barrier islands—was destroyed by fire in November 2011. It is scheduled to reopen this summer. The couple said it was important that their DJ play songs their Fire Island friends would recognize. “Our friends flipped out when these songs came on,” DeCarlo said. “For the rest of my life I will remember jumping up on the dance floor and cheering with our friends to these songs.” (Photo © Chris Carter Photography)
Toland said they feel cautious but optimistic about the court's rulings: “I think it's always been so far from the realm of what we considered possible, that it's not something that we can even anticipate with any kind of emotion. I hope that proves to be a good thing, with the emotions that come after the fact being happy rather than disappointing.” (Photo © Chris Carter Photography)
Gay wedding profile: Chris Toland and Chris DeCarlo
Toland said they feel cautious but optimistic about the court's rulings: “I think it's always been so far from the realm of what we considered possible, that it's not something that we can even anticipate with any kind of emotion. I hope that proves to be a good thing, with the emotions that come after the fact being happy rather than disappointing.” (Photo © Chris Carter Photography)
Although the court could monumentally change how the country treats same-sex couples, Toland and DeCarlo said it's not on their minds a lot. “Truthfully, we've been so busy planning our wedding that we haven't had much time to think about much else. I will say that when the law passed in New York, we felt that it was a momentous and joyous step in the right direction, but that true federal equality would still be many years away—within our lifetimes, but still distant,” Toland said. “So in many ways, this could still be an amazing and surprising decision.” (Photo © Vincent Spiziri Jr.)
Gay wedding profile: Chris Toland and Chris DeCarlo
Although the court could monumentally change how the country treats same-sex couples, Toland and DeCarlo said it's not on their minds a lot. “Truthfully, we've been so busy planning our wedding that we haven't had much time to think about much else. I will say that when the law passed in New York, we felt that it was a momentous and joyous step in the right direction, but that true federal equality would still be many years away—within our lifetimes, but still distant,” Toland said. “So in many ways, this could still be an amazing and surprising decision.” (Photo © Vincent Spiziri Jr.)
“The worst thing the court could do would be to make a broad decision that will set the progress of marriage equality back across the country,” DeCarlo said. “But we believe there's a true limit to the damage the court can do in that regard. They can delay marriage equality, but they can't stop it. People recognize it as the fair thing to do.” (Photo © Chris Carter Photography)
Gay wedding profile: Chris Toland and Chris DeCarlo
“The worst thing the court could do would be to make a broad decision that will set the progress of marriage equality back across the country,” DeCarlo said. “But we believe there's a true limit to the damage the court can do in that regard. They can delay marriage equality, but they can't stop it. People recognize it as the fair thing to do.” (Photo © Chris Carter Photography)
“The worst thing the court could do would be to make a broad decision that will set the progress of marriage equality back across the country,” DeCarlo said. “But we believe there's a true limit to the damage the court can do in that regard. They can delay marriage equality, but they can't stop it. People recognize it as the fair thing to do.” (Photo © Chris Carter Photography)
Gay wedding profile: Chris Toland and Chris DeCarlo
“The worst thing the court could do would be to make a broad decision that will set the progress of marriage equality back across the country,” DeCarlo said. “But we believe there's a true limit to the damage the court can do in that regard. They can delay marriage equality, but they can't stop it. People recognize it as the fair thing to do.” (Photo © Chris Carter Photography)

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