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NEW YORK GAY WEDDING: Michael Rankin and Gregory Jordanoff

Going the distance

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Michael Rankin and Gregory Jordanoff met by kismet (aka the internet) in October of 2011. Unfortunately, at the time, Michael lived in Charleston, SC, and Gregory lived in Harrisburg, Pa. But when Michael took a trip to the Keystone State to visit friends he had served with in the Air Force, he decided to meet up with Gregory.

The men had their first date at a little restaurant called Duke’s, which has a beautiful view of the capital. The two had ample time to chat, yet, the hours flew by and before they knew it, Michael had to return to his friends. He asked Gregory to visit him in Charleston and Gregory accepted.

The pair stayed in touch every day from that point on, but Gregory’s job and his commitment to caring for his mother in Pennsylvania prevented him from making the trip to South Carolina to see Michael.

The lovesick lovebirds ended up meeting in New York several times, including a trip to the Hamptons, where Gregory, a former New Yorker, took Michael for his 41st birthday.

Then two months into their relationship, Michael surprised Gregory with a bold statement.

“He just said to me, ‘Look, you’re the one. I want to be with you. I understand and respect your commitment to your mother … and I’m moving to Harrisburg,’ ” says Gregory.

And so Michael did in December of 2011.

But it wasn’t the last time Michael would hook Gregory with his chutzpah.

In February of 2012, Michael asked Gregory to marry him at the Philadelphia Flower Show.

“He said, ‘Would you marry me?’ And I said ‘Absolutely,’ without hesitation,” says Gregory. “It was a no-brainer decision.”

The couple soon began prepping for their June 2013 destination wedding at the hip hotel Sole East in Montauk, New York — where same-sex marriage is legal, unlike the Quaker State.

Gregory immensely enjoyed the preparation process, being that he is the owner of the event-planning company Fete Events.

But, Michael, with his gallant personality, creatively contributed to the couple’s special day as well by building pillars and flower boxes by hand, orchestrating the playlist, and writing vows that reduced their guests to tears.

“Our vows were amazing,” says Gregory. “Our guests were in awe … because of how beautiful they were.”

The men, who took a year to plan, personalized many details of their wedding such as flowers, colors (the dress code was casual but everyone was to wear white), table settings, food, music, and atmosphere, but never forgot to keep their guests’ in mind.

“It wasn’t just about us,” says Michael. “It was about our guests joining us on our special day. Everyone who attended loved being there. They left with smiles and positive inspiration. It was a success.”

Both men relished in their guests’ support, but unfortunately, not every important person in their lives could be present on the special day — Michael’s father passed away in 2012.

Yet, his spirit was alive and present at the ceremony. Michael and Gregory adopted his dog, Korgi, who acted as their ring bearer, and the flower boxes Michael created were made from reclaimed wood from his father’s ranch.

“It was all perfect,” says Gregory.

It was indeed a sensational celebration, but what it really boiled down to in the end was the couple’s deep love for one another.

“The entire journey has been amazing,” says Gregory.

Like kismet, it was just meant to be.

All photos by Luciana Pampalone.

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