Mass Wedding Takes Place at Grammys
Award ceremonies are often talked about after the fact because of surprise winners, or a funny incident, but the Grammy Awards on Sunday night really did steal the show. More than 30 couples – straight and same-sex – got hitched in front of millions of viewers, live at the ceremony, in a mass wedding to celebrate marriage equality.
While Macklemore and Ryan Lewis performed Same Love, their marriage equality song which had been nominated for Song of the Year, but didn’t win, unfortunately, the stage transformed into a church, complete with altar. Out came none other than Queen Latifah who was to be the officiant of the weddings, as permitted by LA County who recently deputised her with the ability to marry couples.
The idea was conceived in Autumn last year and Macklemore, Ryan Lewis and show producer Ken Ehrlich were brainstorming ideas for the show. Macklemore and Lewis sometimes have onstage wedding proposals at their concerts, and it was suggested that this went a step further to a full wedding – or rather, 33 full weddings. All couples signed confidentiality agreements and couldn’t even tell their families
After the wedding rehearsal on Saturday, Ehrlich felt that by putting the couples on the main stage would feel too much like a show and a gimmick, and “could be viewed as more exploitive”. It was then decided to have the couples stand on platforms away from the stage in the crowded venue, exchanging rings and saying “I do” during the Same Love performance, making it more special for the excited pairs.
“It is my distinct honour to ask participants to exchange rings,” said Queen Latifah said towards the end of the wedding ceremony, and as the couples kissed and hugged happily, sealing their unions, Madonna joined Macklemore and Lewis onstage to sing Open Your Heart. The newly-wed couples then formed a backing gospel choir as they moved along with the music. The audience was reduced a standing ovation and many tears.
As if to prove the significance of the event, Ryan Lewis’ own sister Laura was part of one of the couples getting married at the Grammy Awards, marrying her boyfriend Alex. “A night that is already tremendous for me, for the music, but to have my sister get married,” said Lewis, “and my family there watching it, that makes it a whole other level of amazing!”
As the couples went to the leave down the centre aisle, Mary Lambert (who provides vocals in Same Love) joined Madonna on stage for a duet. Bouquets were thrown into the audience, one of which was caught by Katy Perry. Perry later posted a photo of herself holding the flowers on Instagram, with the caption “Congrats to all the #samelove couples tonight. You had me in tears of joy for y’all!! Also… Look who caught the bouquet!!!
“Music has the power to bring people together at the Grammys,” said Queen Latifah afterward. “This song is a love song, not for some of us, but all of us.”