Although they got engaged far from home in tropical Puerto Rico, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) will marry his beau Dan Hendrick, spokesman for the League of Conservation Voters and former editor-in-chief of the Queens Chronicle, here at home in the borough.
“It’s a very special day in my life,” Van Bramer, 42, said.
“I am ecstatic,” Hendrick, 41, echoed.
The nuptials will be on July 28 in the roof -top garden at Studio Square in Long Island City, where the 200 guests can overlook Western Queens as well as Manhattan.
July 28 is already a starred day on both the Van Bramer and Hendrick family calendars. Coincidentally, Hendrick’s mother’s and Van Bramer’s father’s birthdays are on July 28.
“It’s a wedding, but it’s also two birthdays,” Van Bramer said, adding that the couple wants the event to be a “Big, fun party for family and friends.”
So although the passage of the same-sex marriage bill in New York State was very important to the couple, Van Bramer said, they did not pick the date of their big day because of its proximity to the legislation’s anniversary.
“We have been together for more than 13 years. It’s something we have discussed at different times, but we waited until it was legal in our own state,” Hendrick said.
Van Bramer will be the second gay New York public official to wed since the legalization of same-sex marriages on July 24, 2011.
Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) married her long-time partner on May 19.
The two grooms have shunned some traditional wedding elements. They will not have groomsmen, but instead will have lots of family participation. The majority of the guests will be family as well, including all four parents. Van Bramer is one of eight children and has 34 nieces and nephews.
Van Bramer will be wearing a suit in shades of blue from Calvin Klein and Hendrick will be clad in a classic suit from J.Crew. Their wedding colors are blue and orange, which happen to be the colors of their home team, the Mets, and the colors of New York City and state.
The wedding blue and orange flowers are being grown at the Brooklyn Grange, a roof-top farm in Long Island City.
“We are supporting local businesses, and talk about sustainable, they are being grown four blocks away from the wedding — zero carbon footprint,” Hendrick said.
The couple is using many other Queens-based vendors. The wedding favors will be provided by Long Island City sweets shop, Malu, and a Long Island City photographer, Jesse Winter, will be documenting the event. Audrey Pheffer, who is the Queens County clerk and a former state assemblywoman, will officiate the marriage. The couple did not ask for gifts.
“We hope people bring love, excitement and good wishes,” Van Bramer said.
The twosome met at a Kew Gardens LGBT fundraiser for the Queens Pride House in 1999. In the years to come the couple does want to have children, but have no concrete plans as of now.