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Before Walking Down the Aisle, Marching With Many Puppets

Before Walking Down the Aisle, Marching With Many Puppets

Despite their fast courtship, marriage was not always a priority for either. In 2017, they registered as domestic partners in Washington and, at first, “thought that was enough,” Mr. Gann said. But in the years that followed, the couple realized that “it is important to secure our rights” to marry, he added.

The two became engaged in the fall of 2019, while traveling in Asia. Their trip included stops in Hong Kong, Thailand and Cambodia, where Mr. Gann had planned to propose to Mr. Shankle at the temple complex Angkor Wat at sunrise on Oct. 26, 2019. But at first “I chickened out,” said Mr. Gann, who ended up proposing an hour after sunrise.

Mr. Shankle could sense Mr. Gann’s nerves that day. “I had asked him several times if he was OK,” Mr. Shankle said, adding that he was “a little surprised by the proposal — thrilled, but a little stunned.”

On May 21, the couple were married at Skyline 609, a rooftop events space in Washington with views of Capitol Hill. Michelle Weiss Kagel, a longtime friend of Mr. Gann’s and a Universal Life minister, officiated at the ceremony, with help from “Elvis,” portrayed by their friend Jared Davis.

Mr. Davis, Mr. Gann explained, appeared as “a character from Astro Pop’s ‘Elvis’ Birthday Fight Club,’ an annual performance of cartoon-style cage matches and burlesque that we have been patrons of since its inception 11 years ago.”

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As their 122 vaccinated guests arrived, the grooms were waiting to greet each one by the elevator. “I doubt we would have seen everyone otherwise,” Mr. Gann said.


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