Weddings of Our Own: Robert & Brett

San Francisco

NAMES Robert Cole & Brett Parish.
LIVE IN Cedar Creek Lake, Dallas.
OCCUPATIONS Robert is director of operations at a real estate company; Brett is a physical therapist.
HOW THEY MET In 2005 on Gay.com, and at the time they didn’t think much of the chance encounter. Brett had orders to deploy to Afghanistan and was less than 90 days from shipping out for a yearlong tour. They both felt there was chemistry, but it was too early to speculate where things might lead. By week three, they’d become quite smitten, but worried about the future. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was still in full force, and Brett was too close to retirement—nearing 19 years of military service—to risk being outed.
HOW THEY GOT ENGAGED In 2008, Brett proposed during a ski trip to Ruidoso, New Mexico, while they were riding the lift. The couple initially planned to wait to wed until marriage equality became legal in Texas, but after DADT was repealed and military benefits were extended to gay couples, they decided it was time. The pair chose a tour boat in San Francisco for their 2015 wedding, which took place shortly before the Supreme Court ruling. Says Robert: “When the news was given that marriage equality had finally become legal we were both in tears. It was the eve of our wedding celebration. Once the news sunk in we knew it would change the entire celebration. We were now celebrating the weddings of our friends as well. We added a case of Champagne to the event to usher in a new era.”
WEDDING DAY WEATHER Sunny for the ceremony, but chilly on the boat.
WEDDING SITE On a Hornblower Cruises yacht in San Francisco Bay.
OFFICIANT Capt. Jason Pruette.
NUMBER OF GUESTS 14
WEDDING COLORS Military dress, purple.
REHEARSAL DINNER San Francisco’s Belden Tavern.
DESSERT Two-tiered white cake with rum flavoring and white buttercream frosting.
IF THEY HAD TO DO IT OVER lf they’d had the opportunity to legally marry in Texas, they’d have saved the destination-wedding money and spent it on a larger local wedding.
UNIQUE ELEMENT OF THE DAY Getting married on a ship in San Francisco Bay.
HONEYMOON Napa Valley.
THE DAY IN THREE WORDS Intimate, memorable, perfect.