Cel­e­brat­ing ‘the year of mar­riage’

GA Voice - - NEWS - By DYANA BAGBY dbagby@the­

For­tu­nately, the New York restau­rant where Clifton Guter­man and Chad Gough met for their first date stayed open 24 hours.

The pair de­cided to meet for a glass of wine about 9 p.m., af­ter Guter­man fin­ished per­form­ing in an off-Broad­way play. They sat at the bar and talked. And talked and talked.

“The date just kept go­ing,” Gough says of that day, Feb. 21, 2008. The two fi­nally de­cided to head home about 2:30 a.m. They shared their first kiss as snow be­gan to fall over the city.

“It was very ro­man­tic,” Guter­man says.

The two met on and learned they had much in com­mon. Both are South­ern — Guter­man is from Iron City, Ga., a very small city in South Ge­or­gia, and Gough hails from Rush­ford, Va. Although they grew up in ru­ral towns, their fam­i­lies were so­cially pro­gres­sive and are sup­port­ive of who they are. The two even grew up on roads named for their grand­fa­thers.

“Our up­bring­ings were so sim­i­lar. I had not met like any­one like that in New York,” Gough says.

Guter­man de­scribes the night as mag­i­cal and says he knew at that first date he was in love.

“I had been look­ing for him for a long time,” he says.

The two moved in to­gether af­ter six months be­fore mov­ing back to At­lanta, where Gough works in in­ter­na­tional fi­nance and Guter­man can be seen act­ing in many lo­cal plays, in­clud­ing “Wolves” at Ac­tor’s Ex­press.

The two talked about mar­riage early in their re­la­tion­ship and Guter­man says he kept drop­ping hints for more than four years. Gough asked him why he didn’t pro­pose. Guter­man replied that wasn’t what he imag­ined as a boy.

“That wasn’t the story in my head. That’s not what I dreamed of,” he says.

In De­cem­ber, Gough popped the ques­tion in their home af­ter dec­o­rat­ing for Christ­mas. The tree was lit and the fire glow­ing when he knelt down and asked Guter­man to marry him. This was the story Guter­man dreamed about.

The two cel­e­brated their five-year an­niver­sary by get­ting legally mar­ried in New York on Feb. 21, 2013. They then recre­ated that fate­ful first date by shar­ing tiramisu at French Roast, the 24-hour restau­rant where they first met. They were even lucky enough to snag the same bar stools they sat on five years ago.

The New York cer­e­mony was a prac­ti­cal one, held in City Hall. A Euro­pean hon­ey­moon is set for the end of April.

In June, the cou­ple will travel to Iron City to at­tend wed­ding show­ers hosted by fam­ily mem­bers.

“My South Ge­or­gia cousin called me and said they wanted to throw us a shower down there. She said some ladies in the church who are close to my mom wanted to help be­cause my mom al­ways helps with all the show­ers,” Guter­man says. “She said they wanted to do some­thing for her child. And we were like, ‘Yeah!’ We will come down and have a good time.”

An­other cer­e­mony, in­clud­ing catered meals and a chance to dress up, will take place in Septem­ber when the cou­ple will host 50 of their clos­est fam­ily mem­bers and friends for an in­ti­mate din­ner at a restau­rant they’ve rented, a catered brunch at their home and a week­end of ac­tiv­i­ties in At­lanta.

There won’t be any of the trap­pings of a tra­di­tional mar­riage that their straight friends planned. In­stead, there will be good food and good times.

“The most im­por­tant thing to us is to cel­e­brate with our fam­ily and friends,” Gough says. “We’re do­ing what feels right to us. And that is kind of lib­er­at­ing.”

“We’re call­ing it the year of mar­riage,” Gun­ter­man adds.

Chad Gough and Clifton Gun­ter­man were legally mar­ried in New York on their five-year an­niver­sary and are plan­ning a Septem­ber cel­e­bra­tion in At­lanta. (Courtesy pho­tos)

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