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Best of our Wedding Day: Celebrating “11 Years of a Couple of Men”

Best of our Wedding Day: Celebrating “11 Years of a Couple of Men”

How time flies… It’s been 11 years since we first met. And not just anywhere, but in one of the most famous queer nightclubs that Berlin’s club scene has to offer. Today, we can both say with conviction that it was love at first sight – after all, we immediately clicked surrounded by dancing people who have made Berlin’s party nights so famous and infamous at the same time. Together, after sharing our lives for over a decade, we decided to take the next step and – quite spontaneously – get married. In this blog post, we tell you our story, the story of our gay spring wedding in Amsterdam, including personal details about us, our wedding location, our fabulous guests, and our chosen family. Of course, we will share a lot of wedding photos. Join us on the most significant day of our lives, “the Gay Wedding of a Couple of Men in Amsterdam”.

Gay Wedding in Amsterdam of Karl and Daan know as the Couple of Men. ©
11 years Couple of Men in Amsterdam ©

That is how our journey 11 years ago begun

If you have read our book “Couple of Men – Ein Männerpaar reist um die Welt“, you already know where and how we met. To cut a long story short, we met 11 years ago at the infamous Kit Kat Club in Berlin. Love at first sight in a gay club? Yes, that is absolutely possible. It was that one night in late March when fate (or destiny) brought us together on the same evening. Between all the colorful, happy, and open-minded people on the dance floor, we just stared at each other for quite some time, both of us wearing only a pair of sports shorts, knee highs, and a cap. We smiled at each other again and again, drank one or the other zip of our beer bottles, and somehow, neither of us dared to make the first step. One of Karl’s best friends from his time in Berlin was watching this shy (for)play.

Gay Wedding in Amsterdam of Karl and Daan know as the Couple of Men. ©
Our first-ever selfie in 2013 at the queer bar PRIK in Amsterdam ©

Without further ado, he grabbed Karl’s arm, escorted him through the dancing crowd, and presented him to the redheaded man with the wispy beard, unknown and so familiar at the same time. It clicked immediately. A few dance moves later, we chatted about our lives and the world and retreated further into the darkness of the queer club in Germany’s capital city. It was to be the beginning of something special, and we both felt it from the first kiss onwards. Only half a year later, we moved in together in Daan’s hometown, Amsterdam, shortly after Karl got a job and an apartment – without even looking for it! It was meant to be. Every once in a while, romance can put on other faces. Overall, it was precisely the kind of story that best describes us and our relationship – different but so familiar. Since then, we have visited Berlin on an annual basis, if possible, with a night at the Kit Kat Club to celebrate our anniversary.

Gay Wedding in Amsterdam of Karl and Daan know as the Couple of Men. ©
Amsterdam is home for both of us © / Photo: Maartje Hensen

The reason we got married 11 years later

Conventional? Traditional? Heteronormative? Or simply redundant? We both share a similar opinion about the concept of marriage, as we both do not believe in heteronormative social conventions or a promise of eternal love. Instead, for us, love and a relationship feel more like a promise, a commitment to each other, if you will, to give our best every day. That way, we want to choose each other again and again, day in and day out. When asked by other people whether we would ever consider getting married to one another, Daan always replied:

“I’m not in favor of marriage. But if I’d ever do it, it would marry Karl.”

Daan to anyone who asked.

In a way, these words were tantamount to saying yes, at least for Karl, understanding that his answer carries incredible weight for Daan. And we have always respected each other’s opinions. After all, our values have been shaped over the last few decades, not only by childhood experiences but also by our expectations of a committed relationship. Topped with a healthy dose of respect for the consequences of our decision-making, we understand our responsibility not only for ourselves but also for each other.

Exploring Milano during IGLTA's Global Convention 2022 - Gay Wedding in Amsterdam of Karl and Daan know as the Couple of Men. ©
One look is enough to know that there is love ©

As we mature and learn to love, care, and support the people we care for the most, we grow closer (and older) together, while our attitude towards marriage also changes. Even though Karl, in particular, always had the romantic idea of marrying “his” Daan one day, 11 years later, we decided to take this step primarily for practical reasons. After all, we now have to pay off a loan for our house, secure the future of our children with a couple of women, and travel around the world together, mainly for work reasons. Having the security of knowing that everything is taken care of in case of an emergency feels more right to us than ever. Well, at least in countries where “marriage for all” – that is what we call it in Germany – is an equal status before the law as marriages between two people of another gender. And so, we decided to get married last year without much further ado – Our Gay Wedding in Amsterdam.

The time had finally come: our Big Day had arrived

Two months of planning were to come together on this one day to create something special, something unique. All the guests from abroad arrived the day before safely and soundly. A small group of our guests had spontaneously come together in the evening for a pizza dinner at our favorite pizzeria, Boothuis, on Lake Slotermeer. A wonderful evening that made us realize that the wedding was just around the corner.

Pizza night before our gay wedding day in Amsterdam with family and close friends ©
Pizza night before the wedding day with family and close friends ©

After a quick breakfast at the Eco Resort, where our wedding reception was to take place in the afternoon and evening, we stood excitedly in our little hut by the lake and tried to concentrate. Firstly, so that we wouldn’t forget to take anything or anyone with us, and secondly, so that we would leave for the registry office on time. Everyone who was supposed to attend the ceremony was at the hotel reception, primped and groomed, with a big smile on their faces. Trembling with excitement, we were ready to go.

Official Wedding Ceremony at the City Office Amsterdam West

Everything went smoothly and on time, from parking our cars to finding the right place in the recently refurbished city office on Bos en Lommerplein in Amsterdam West – “our” home neighborhood in Amsterdam. Except for two guests, Daan’s brother Joris and his wife Kaisu, who ran late due to traffic and were not reachable by phone. But we were fortunate to have an incredibly cheerful, funny, and charming registrar for our wedding ceremony at the registry office at Bos en Lommerplein in Amsterdam West. Dressed in a dark green wedding gown with a white frilled collar, Josina den Burger took her time to make us all feel comfortable while talking briefly about her life until Joris and Kaisu arrived.

Everyone was seated, and we were super nervous in the middle and right in front of the registrar, framed by our maids of honor and our excited mothers, with tears in their eyes. We were allowed to bring 12 people to the small and short ceremony. Next to our witnesses and parents and Daan’s brother and wife, we invited our two children, their moms, and two of our best friends to the official wedding ceremony. Then, it was time for Josina to conduct the ceremony. And she did a splendid job for our gay wedding in Amsterdam, even in two languages, Dutch and German.

After a brief introduction, she asked us to stand up, face each other, and hold our hands while she was officiating our wedding. We both started to cry before the ceremony was actually over. Under tears, the only thing we could say was “I do” before hugging, kissing, and crying just seemingly merged into each other. So much love. So much fondness and affection. At the end of the ceremony, the Dutch registrar draped all the documents, including the family register and certificates, on the table in front of us, added a bouquet of flowers, and then excitedly took her place behind us. “And now photos can be taken while I hold up my arms. Nice, and now kiss each other.”

Gay Wedding in Amsterdam: Hand in hand at the Registry Office Amsterdam with signed documents ©
Hand in hand at the Registry Office Amsterdam with signed documents ©

Equal Marriage – The Netherlands was the first country worldwide

Did you know that the Netherlands holds a special place in the hearts of many LGBTQ+ couples who want to get married? On 1 April 2001, this progressive nation became the first in the world to legalize same-sex marriage, paving the way for greater equality and acceptance around the globe. And although times are changing, becoming more challenging for the queer community, even in the Netherlands, our chosen home country remains a beacon of inclusivity, with a vibrant LGBTQ+ scene and a welcoming attitude towards same-sex couples. Hence, we decided to plan our gay wedding in Amsterdam.

Wedding shoot - I love you. I know. 2 ©
I love you.
Wedding shoot - I love you. I know. ©
I know.

Our Gay Wedding in Amsterdam

Our pre-wedding photoshoot with our dear friend, queer photographer Leo, was truly magical and the first wedding gift surprise. “My wedding present for you two is this little pre-wedding shoot. I love you guys.” We hired him to be the photographer for the reception and party of our gay wedding in Amsterdam. So, making our nervous preparation before everyone arrived part of our photo series was, well… it was just so very special to us.

Gay Wedding in Amsterdam: Future husbands ready to get married ©
Gay Wedding in Amsterdam: The proud couple of men ©

We took photos in our cabin, the resort grounds, and the pond, making our way towards the gay wedding location in Amsterdam West. The weather was perfect for a spring day in March, with clouds, a blue sky, and a mild breeze from the weather. Of course, photos with our witnesses, Claudia for husband Karl and Isabelle for husband Daan, have been as important as some shots with our best men and family.

Not to forget our children and their moms who traveled all the way from the eastern part of Germany to Amsterdam to attend the wedding, making the event even more special with their presence. We still want to keep them protected from the public, but we wanted to share a glimpse here on our blog for this special occasion.

gay wedding in Amsterdam
Feeling so lucky to have kids in our lives – and at our gay wedding in Amsterdam ©

Walking around the property of the eco-resort in the so-called “Gardens of Amsterdam West” in sunny spring weather, we were later joined by our best friends, Paul and Clement (who just got married as well), and Sven, who arrived a little early for our gay wedding in Amsterdam. Together, we talked about the day, how happy we were that they’d join, and about our wedding rings. Wait… No, we decided not to have rings, actually. Instead, we opted for wedding tattoos. The design was clear: We wanted to have something special, unique, just us. So, we chose our blog logo, with a slightly different design for each of us. More info about our first tattoo is coming soon!

Let’s start with a welcome drink and a group picture

Our main goal for the day, apart from our wedding, of course, was to get friends and family from both sides together, initiate new friendships, and get to know each other’s (past) lives a little better. But first things first! Danilo and his husband Arnaud supported us in welcoming everyone and handing out the drink coins. Speaking Dutch, English, French, German and Italian, they made everyone feel welcome, informing them about the first part of the event. That way, we were able to focus on welcoming everyone with hugs and smiles and jokes and happiness. And of course, to receive the cards and flowers and presents (although we specifically asked to get none). But who doesn’t love a surprise gift.

After we had provided all the guests with a drink, it was time to break the ice and encourage our guests to mingle. The group photo outside was just the right choice for this purpose. Leo, our gay wedding photographer from Amsterdam, knew exactly what to do to position each guest in the right place. With jokes, funny comments, and a little runaway named Benjamin, the atmosphere began to loosen up and become noticeably more relaxed. It was the start of a wonderfully warm reception, just with the evening sun and just before sunset.

Our Family in one picture
“Our Family” Group Photo at our Gay Wedding in Amsterdam ©

Daan’s surprise game: 11 hidden golden eggs

How do you get my fancy and cheerful bunch to go inside again in such good weather? Exactly, with the prospect of winning something inside the venue. During the wedding preparations and shopping for some decorations, well, Easter was just around the corner, Daan came up with the idea of hiding golden Easter eggs in the location. To be honest, the reaction to our announcement that we were now going on an egg hunt was unexpectedly euphoric. Some of our excited guests could hardly wait to find all the eggs. After all, there was an extra cocktail at stake!

Daan announced the golden egg hunt after the group picture ©

After half an hour of intensive egg hunting, not one but two winners were announced. Kess and Dani could hardly contain their enthusiasm to get a free extra drink. But also others found some golden ones, like Hesther, who was very proud to hold up a pair of golden eggs. The ice was broken, and the evening could begin!

And the winner is … – well, we got two +1, and they got an extra cocktail ©

Chosen Family: Our Wedding Guests

Family. Such an important and yet individual term for the most important people in our lives. The most significant are, of course, our partners and our children, followed by parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and their children.

Daan's father with his sisters
Daan’s father, Tom with his sisters Carla & Mieke ©

But for many LGBTQ+ people, their chosen family is the most important source of love, acceptance, and support, which, unfortunately, they don’t always receive in their biological families. Secondly, their chosen family offers queer people emotional and psychological security alongside biological family members, especially in environments of everyday life where LGBTQ+ identities are marginalized or misunderstood. These relationships are based on mutual respect, understanding, and shared experiences and make us feel seen and valued for who we truly are.

Daan’s brother Joris & spouse Kaisu ©
Karl’s brother Stephan & spouse Susi with kids

A special moment of mourning for Karl’s recently deceased father

Despite all the lightness and joy, there was also a moment of calm, of sadness, of mourning. We didn’t officially post about it, but last fall, Karl’s father passed away after a serious illness from a rare tumor. As a result, we have been traveling less often in recent months, as Karl has been in Germany a lot to look after his parents. Later, together with his brother, he looked after his mother and settled the inheritance. We had actually plans to organize our wedding for our 10th anniversary in 2023 but postponed the celebration due to the outbreak of his illness. None of us had given up hope that we would be able to celebrate our wedding with him being healthy, happy, and proud once he had recovered. Unfortunately, it was not to be. A candle, a photo, and my mother’s kind words as the first speaker of the evening kept Thomas in our hearts on this special day.

Family memories with Karl’s dad

Gay Wedding Guests from 9 different countries in Amsterdam

Our family consists of a colorful mix of numerous friends from diverse backgrounds, our children and their mothers, as well as our biological families from the Netherlands and Germany. A total of 76 wedding guests from Germany, the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Italy, Finland, Japan, Brazil, and the USA joined us in Amsterdam for our special day. We are so happy and feel so privileged that we were able to spend this special day with almost all the most important people in the world. They all gave us the feeling that we are not alone, that we are in the right place, and that we know we were at home. For us, as a couple of men of different nationalities, what counts is that home is where the heart is.

Our two children and their moms

Of course, our rainbow family couldn’t miss out on this special occasion. But how quickly time flies. We will soon be celebrating the 6th birthday of our first child, while our second will already be 5 years old in the fall. Regular updates, pictures, and video calls bridge the distance between the east of Germany and Amsterdam. However, this was not the first time that the four of them had visited Amsterdam. We are so happy to have these two golden nuggets enriching our lives in such a cheerful way. Stay tuned: We are planning our first trip together soon. To a theme park in Germany, of course 😉

Love – Karl and his daughter ©

11 Speeches done differently

Everyone knows them, the personal, emotional, but often far too long speeches that are given during a wedding ceremony. Karl had the idea of doing things differently at our own gay wedding in Amsterdam, as only half of the guests knew each other and not everyone could communicate or express themselves in the other language. So we each asked six people who had been important to us at different moments in our lives to say a few words. Whether it was an anecdote from the sandpit or a special bond we shared at work, these moments define us as people we also fell in love with. Taking this thought further, we quickly realized that it doesn’t seem to be a given that we met 11 years ago in Berlin. To realize that all the decisions we had made up to that point would lead us to meet on this day, at this time, in this place in Berlin, without knowing it, is just mind-blowing!

Karl’s mother, Kerstin, made the start. All the people present across language barriers understood the love in her words. She set the tone for the evening by sharing stories about Karl, the two of us together, and, of course, about Karl’s children and his late father. With loving congratulations, she handed over the scepter to Daan’s brother Joris and Daan’s mom Tineke. Her emotional words, full of tearful moments and so much love, hardly left a dry eye in the room, including us. Take a deep breath and carry on. This was followed by Martin, Tobias, Sven, and Claudia for Karl and Isabelle, Ildiko, Marte and Wouter for Daan. Every word, every laugh, every shared moment of our lives brought us even closer together – with each other and with the most precious people, almost all of whom were present.

Delicious food and drinks

We also did our best with the food. After all, we wanted to spoil everyone with Italian delicacies such as vegan ravioli with pumpkin, Parmigiana di Melanzane and Brussels sprouts and potato wedges. Daan, as a vegetarian, and I, as an occasional carnivore, opted for vegan dishes, which could also be individually “refined” with feta and mozzarella. We had decided in advance not to have a fixed seating arrangement. This way, everyone had the opportunity to sit with the guests they felt most comfortable with.

The plates were full, everyone clearly had a wonderful time, and we were just happy that every guest seemed to enjoy the deliciously prepared meals. And then there was the anticipation of the surprise dessert …

The best Wedding Cake EVER!

Karl’s brother Stephan is not only a passionate amateur chef, but his creations as a baker are even more impressive – and delicious! Without further ado, he conjured up a dream cake for us in the small kitchen of his little cabin in the resort (we still do not know how he pulled this off, to be honest). The cake recipe was based on the birthday cakes Karl’s mom used to bake for him and his brother every year. Word quickly spread about how much each guest loved the cake. The queue to get their hands on a slice of wedding happiness was correspondingly long – and the cake pieces turned out to be thinner and thinner for everyone to enjoy.

Many, many thanks again for this particularly successful and delicious gay wedding surprise and for being with us here in Amsterdam, dear brother. Of course, he didn’t skimp on the cake figurine, either. After a long search, he also found a male couple for the pink and purple curd cream cake – one man with dark hair for Karl and a figure with a ginger hairstyle for Daan. They are now displayed at home on a bookshelf to remember this special wedding moment.

And then: Party time!!!

As the guests’ plates slowly emptied and the last crumbs of the delicious wedding cake were eaten with big smiles on their faces, the older generation and the tired spirits began to say goodbye to us. One last selfie, a hug, and our little gift wrapped up, and they disappeared into the night. Now the real party began for the other guests. DJ Absoluut, aka Evert Groot, a close friend with whom Daan used to play in the sandpit (or was it the gay bars shortly after he came out), started spinning disco beats and 90s music. The atmosphere was great, with the right party lighting and the all-important Dutch snacks, vegan Bitterballen, and cheese sticks, which were handed out in several rounds. Even Karl’s mother, who doesn’t really get caught dancing that often anymore, was swinging across the dance floor with a cocktail in her hand. And it must also have been then when Karl took off his wedding shirt and floated happily through the happy crowd in just his undershirt with suspenders.

Please let time stand still

It was a magical day with all the people we love and hold most dear. Once everyone left the event and we started to gather our clothes, presents, and wedding cards, Karl burst out in tears while walking through the venue for one last time. But he wasn’t hurt or sad. His tears were tears of relief, of love and happiness. We danced for a while, arm in arm, trying to recap the eventful day and keep all the special moments as close as possible to our hearts. Why was it all over so quickly?

Gay Wedding in Amsterdam ©
Was it the best day of our lives? Yes, it was.

The next day was meant for us to do exactly one thing: NOTHING. We slept in and had a long, extensive breakfast at the hotel together with family members from both sides. Somehow, we felt like going to the beach in the afternoon or early evening to go for a long walk, feel the sea breeze and sand on our skin, and enjoy the afterglow of this exciting weekend. And when we saw the sunset for the day, we knew it was the right decision to follow our hearts.

The sky was just spectacularly beautiful. And so was our gay wedding in Amsterdam.

Sunset at the Dutch beach for a perfect ending of our gay wedding weekend in Amsterdam ©
Sunset at the Dutch beach for a perfect ending to our wedding weekend ©

How time flies … It’s been 11 years since we met for the first time

Today, we can both say with certainty that it was love at first sight. The years have passed with ups and downs. But these have only brought us closer together and convinced us to take the next step together and get married.

And the day could hardly have gone any better. The weather was wonderfully spring-like for the end of March, the location was perfectly prepared and the atmosphere was emotional, honest, and full of love. We couldn’t have wished for a more beautiful wedding day.

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Best of our Wedding Day Celebrating “11 Years of a Couple of Men” ©

We would like to thank our families and friends for their endless love, unwavering support, and numerous happy moments of joy. You are the dearest people in this world to us. Without you, our journey together would only be half as beautiful. With you, every day becomes an unforgettable adventure.

With infinite love,
Karl & Daan.

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