Worth the Wait

Real Wedding: Phil & Shawn

How long could you wait to exchange vows with the love of your life? Try 18 years.

Waiting 18 years for anything, much less marriage, certainly attests to the deep devotion that Phil Fung and Shawn Klein have shared for nearly two decades. But for this Manhattan-based couple, the choice was out of their hands—until New York State legalized gay marriage last June.

“We feel like we’re already married in so many ways,” says Phil, 49. “But now we’re thrilled to have the recognition of the legal and social bond as well,” adds Shawn, 51. On Valentine’s Day, 2012, Phil and Shawn became the first gay male couple to marry on the 61st floor of the iconic Empire State Building.

For such an auspicious occasion, no one but Colin Cowie, blending forward-thinking sophistication with touching sincerity to every detail, could arrange Phil and Shawn’s sky-high wedding ceremony and reception. The result: a wedding of a lifetime for this couple who fell in love at famed The Roxy dance club almost 20 years ago.

Colin orchestrated a décor where, in his own words, “Indochine meets Hermes.” Lush green banana-leaf motifs, harking a French Colonial time, with a pop of orange, plucked from the latest fashion runways, kept the wedding and reception masculine, sophisticated and meaningful.

Upon arrival at the wedding ceremony, as a symbol of their participation in the nuptials, Phil and Shawn’s guests were each presented with an orange ranunculus and asked to add it to the glorious green arbor framing the ceremony site.

The betrothed walked down the aisle wearing matching Kenneth Cole shadow-stripe chocolate brown suits from Men’s Wearhouse. For a fresh take on processional musical fare, How Am I Supposed to Live Without You by Michael Bolton played. Then, a moving ceremony officiated by Kim Kirkley proceeded, underscoring what Phil and Shawn already knew: their wedding couldn’t have come too soon.

Once legally married, the couple and their close family and friends moved on to a lunchtime celebration fit for such a jubilant occasion. The reception repeated the themes of the day: tables covered with bold banana-leaf prints and orchids punctuated the scene. A robust meal of pollo de saltado (grilled chicken with onions and sautéed potatoes), ropa vieja (shredded beef with black beans and yellow rice) and arroz con leche was served.

As a finale, a magnificent wedding cake by Cheryl Kleinman was cut and eaten. Though it took New York State’s legal system at least 18 years to give Phil and Shawn the right to finally tie the knot, it is clear their love is just as deep and real as any other couple madly in love—and definitely worth the wait.

--Erinn Bucklan

Vendor List

Planning and Production: Colin Cowie

Photographer: Christian Oth Studio

Venue: The Empire State Building

Officiant: Kim Kirkley

Flowers: Grymes Cannon Designs

Lighting: Levy Lighting

Catering: Mary Giuliani Catering

Cake: Cheryl Kleinman Cakes

Wedding Bands: De Beers

Paper goods: RedBliss Invitation Design

Music and Entertainment: Troy Curtis, Inc.

Grooms' attire: Men's Wearhouse

Makeup: Estée Lauder

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