Welcome to Bride Pride!
by Jeannette de Beauvoir
It apparently wasn’t enough that wedding equality started here: Provincetown’s weddings have always been creative and unusual, but what’s really taking them over the top this fall is sheer size: close to 100 lesbian couples are set to tie the knot or renew their vows in front of Kate Clinton during an extraordinarily memorable Women’s Week!
Welcome to Bride Pride, the brainchild of Roux bed-and-breakfast owners Ilene Mitnick and Alli Baldwin, who took their plans to renew their own vows into the stratosphere with this idea. “Provincetown is gorgeous and magical and wonderful,” says Mitnick. “Who wouldn’t want to marry here, in the gayest place on the planet, with Kate Clinton performing the ceremony?”
Who, indeed? And dozens of women have responded, registering to marry by the September 15th deadline (registration for vow renewal is open until the day before the ceremony). Who are they all? The youngest is 25, the oldest 72. “Provincetown is filled with stories of love, equality, and adventure, and it’s meant to be shared with lovers,” says Baldwin. “We have a passion for bringing more women into town. Bride Pride was meant to draw women who haven’t experienced Provincetown to come during our legendary Women’s Week… and give them a taste of something to come back for.”
And there’s a lot to experience. The ceremony itself will be memorable, to say the least, with LGBTQ icon (and local reverend-for-the-day) Kate Clinton bringing her own irrepressible perspective and humor to the event. A Bride Pride bridal shower will be held on Friday at the Seaglass Inn & Spa, and performers for the ceremony itself include Suede and Catie Curtis, as well as a few surprises that are sure to bring tears to participants’ eyes.
“The entire town is turning into a party for the newlyweds and newly renewed: they’re joining thousands of women in hundreds of events planned for the week,” says Mitnick. “It’s the perfect backdrop. Plus, it’s easy on the pocketbook. We wanted to create an amazing experience at a fraction of the cost of a traditional wedding. It will be the coolest wedding setup ever, with events leading up to and following the big day.”
“Events like Bride Pride remind us all of another great day on June 26, 2013,” says Tony Fucillo, Provincetown’s director of tourism, “when the LGBT community filled the streets across the country to celebrate the defeat of the Defense of Marriage Act. What better place to celebrate LGBT marriage equality than Provincetown?”
But the question remains: why still choose a destination wedding—even a record-breaking one—in Provincetown, in an age of marriage equality when lesbians can get married anywhere? “Not true,” contradicts Mitnick immediately. “Marriage might be legal everywhere, but it isn’t easy or comfortable in every state. Thousands of gay and lesbian visitors travel to Provincetown each year, and for good reason. Gay is still our town’s brand. In Provincetown, the LGBT community is understood, celebrated, and affirmed.”
And the truth is that Provincetown loves a wedding. Ceremonies are always applauded with respect and enthusiasm, and nuptial rides down Commercial Street in pedicabs are greeted—loudly—with delight. One can only imagine the town’s reaction when it’s filled with brides!
In honor of those who will marry and renew their vows at Bride Pride, Baldwin and Mitnick will be making a contribution to GLAD. “We want to thank GLAD both for the work they’ve done to make a day like this possible, as well as to support the battles they still wage on a daily basis for our equality,” says Baldwin.
So… are they going to make the Guinness Book? “To date, we have 50 couples—100 brides—and we’re still growing,” says Mitnick. “We believe a number of women who are here during Women’s Week will want to renew and find their way to Bride Pride on October 15. Did we set a Guinness Book Record? Not yet, it’s still an attempt in the making, but even at a hundred, it’s a beautiful thing. So much love. There’s always Bride Pride 2017.” She pauses, and then adds, “After a winter nap, of course!”
In the meantime, Bride Pride is here. “Some say being in Provincetown is like a temporary respite from the real world,” says Mitnick. “To us, it is the real world.” And for all the women declaring their love at Bride Pride, it’s a place for memories that will last a lifetime.
Bride Pride will occur on Saturday, October 15, 11 a.m. at Roux, 210 Bradford St., Provincetown. For more information call 508.487.1717 or visit rouxprovincetown.com/bride-pride.