Like other gay couples in New York State, longtime partners Michael Ohler and Rod Gonzales chose to wed in the wake of New York’s legalization of same-sex marriage in 2011. “We were together for 13 years before we got married, and being together for 13 years is already a marriage to us,” says Rod. “But with the passing of gay marriage as a law in New York, it sealed the deal to officially tie the knot.”
Rod, who did most of the wedding planning, says the rest of the decisions were just as easy. While the couple resides in New York City, their weekend property in Pound Ridge was a natural fit for the ceremony and reception. “We wanted something intimate for our wedding,” Rod says. “We wanted to have it in our backyard.”
The couple, who first met at ’80s night “1984” at the Pyramid Club in Manhattan, loves to dance, so a lot of the planning centered on creating the perfect party space. “We built a dance floor on our pool,” says Rod. The couple also hired choreographer Jonathan Angelucci and surprised everyone with their first dance. “It started out slow,” says Rod. “Then we broke out with a choreographed number.”
While the wedding had a relaxed feel, there were also moments of glamour. The couple’s hairstylist, Handri Gunawan, regularly styles celebrities for Saturday Night Live. Michael and Rod wore custom matching gray and white seersucker suits from My.Suit on Wall Street. And their caterer, Terrapin Restaurant of Rhinebeck, served everything from Maine lobster cakes and poblano chile rellenos to crusted Persian rice and red velvet cake.
But Rod, who loves creative projects, made sure there were also lots of homey DIY touches. “We’re very ‘green,’ and so we wanted sort of a ‘rustic recycled romance’ of a wedding.” Among his projects, Rod says, “I had bought a button machine and made buttons for all the guests, so they had name tags.” As favors, Rod also “filled little canvas bags with soil and provided basil seeds in a reused tin can for everyone so they could take them home and plant them.” Reception tables were decorated with wild flowers in “jars and bottles that we had saved throughout the year.”
But what really made the day were their guests, including family on both sides who flew in from the West Coast. “You know, we’ve got a crazy fun family, and our friends are crazy fun," says Rod. “What I never imagined was bringing them together.”
THE DETAILS: Photographer: Hudson River Photographer, Rhinebeck (845) 876-0652; www.hudsonriverphotographer.com. Caterer/Cake/Dessert: Terrapin Restaurant, Rhinebeck (845) 876-3330; www.terrapinrestaurant.com. Florist: Confetti, LLC, Redding, CT (203) 544-6090; www.confetti-events.com. Music/Entertainment: Touch of Class DJ, Danbury, CT (203) 313-9273; www.touchofclassdj.com. Wedding Rings: STUart Jewelry Designs, New York, NY (212) 966-4833; www.stuartjewelrydesigns.com. Hair: Handri Gunawan, New York, NY (917) 526-3283; www.handri.net. Men’s Attire: My.Suit, New York, NY (212) 594-0077; www.mysuitny.com. Makeup and dance choreographer: Jonathan Angelucci, New York; www.jangelucci.weebly.com. Chartered Buses: United Coach Line, Staten Island, NY (718) 761-4033; www.unitedcoachline.com. Bobblehead cake topper: HD Design Center, New Port Richey, FL (727) 375-9586; www.webobble.com.