EXCLUSIVE: Inside Billy Porter’s Wedding

Special Features   EXCLUSIVE: Inside Billy Porter’s Wedding
 
Just days after his wedding—and only two weeks after his engagement—Tony Award winner Billy Porter hopped on the phone to give Playbill the inside look on their big day.
Billy Porter and Adam Smith
Billy Porter and Adam Smith Bruce Glikas/STQproductions via People.com

“We’re sort of settling in to what it feels like to be legal, what it feels like to have this thing called ‘marriage,’” said Porter of himself and his husband, Adam Smith. “There was never context for us to experience this, and it is different.”

The two wed at the Chelsea penthouse of close friends January 14, two weeks after becoming engaged over dinner at City Social in London December 29. “I should create ‘How to Plan a Fabulous Wedding in Ten Days’ because I had ten days!” laughed Smith. Despite the short notice, the intimate affair was, indeed, fabulous. Both known for their style and taste (Smith is the co-owner of eyewear company Native Ken), the duo pulled suits from their closets and toasted with champagne and sweets from Empire Cakes.

“It was so much fun and it was a whirlwind,” said Smith. “But it all turned out more beautifully than I could ever imagine.”

Even though it was quick, Porter managed to sneak in an unforgettable experience for his husband. “Aside from Billy’s incredible vows that he wrote to me, there was a surprise,” Smith revealed. “It was at the end after she pronounced us married and we were going have the song “Total Praise,” which was a really famous gospel number, played.

“It comes to where we’re supposed to play the recording I saw people starting to sing and I thought they were singing along with it. And then I realized it was all live music. James Sampliner was playing on the piano, and then you have Renée Goldsberry, Nathan Lee Graham, and Patina Miller…the list goes on and on. And they’re all singing to us and just filling the entire three-story space with their voices. To have that kind of blessing with their gift on our wedding day was just extraordinary.”

In fact, the ceremony was full of music. Porter sang Kander and Ebb’s “A Quiet Thing” as part of his vows; Smith sang “Beginning Again,” a song by their friend David Rowley, in his.

When Porter first proposed, neither expected to get married so quickly. “I think it was New Year’s Day, [Billy] said, ‘You know what? I think we need to get married before the 20th,’” Smith recalled. “It was about making sure that we got this done under this administration,” said Porter. “It was about making sure that that statement was made, because as gay men, we still have to be visible. We still have to show the world that this is what our love looks like; it’s just like yours. We have to say that out loud.”

“I really feel like we’re here to teach,” Porter said. “We’re here to teach our families who are homophobic; we’re here to teach the world who doesn’t understand. … My mother is a different kind of Christian as a result of me holding fast to my truth.” “I found myself standing in front of the person who I love, my best friend, my soul mate, and standing in front of him and saying things to him that I’ve never said. Explaining to him the depth of the love that I feel for him.

“As human beings, it’s so vulnerable to say that stuff,” he continued. “The ritual [of marriage] gives you permission. The ritual gives you the safe space to say those kinds of things and to live inside of that. I understand that now. It’s profound.”

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