LIers among 1st NY same-sex couples to wed

Patchogue couple Kate and Dee Smith celebrate their wedding together as one of the first same-sex couples on Long Island to wed. Videojournalist: Jessica Rotkiewicz (July 23, 2011)

The weeks of frantic wedding planning and the tension caused by a family rift all ended shortly after midnight Sunday.

Dee Smith and Kate Wrede married at 12:14 a.m., becoming one of the first same-sex couples to wed under the state's new Marriage Equality Act.

"It was the best day of my life," Wrede said afterward. "It's better than a dream. It's a real day where we were happy and everything was beautiful."

The Patchogue couple exchanged vows with the help of a judge from Queens and a rabbi from Boston, but the biggest boost came from Kate's parents, whose presence at the wedding had been in doubt.

Not only did they attend; they also played key roles in the interfaith ceremony, with Kate's father walking her down the aisle and her mother reciting a heartfelt blessing.

In an ivory gown, Wrede, 21, drew smiles from more than 150 guests as she entered the reception hall at the Viana Hotel and Spa in Westbury. Dee, 25, dressed in a black tuxedo, waited under the chuppah, a Jewish wedding canopy.

Smith and Wrede got their license at midnight at the Town of North Hempstead clerk's office. After Justice Darrell Gavrin, of State Supreme Court in Queens County, waived the 24-hour waiting period, Rabbi Lev Baesh pronounced the couple "beloved married."

Wrede cried as her mother and father, conservative Christians, stood up and gave the couple their blessing.

Wrede's mother, Beth, read from a note: "Dad and I have loved you, cared for you and protected you . . . Today, on your wedding day, we ask that God will bless you and keep you in his care."

As the party started, Smith, a website designer, and Wrede, a personal trainer, danced to "Come Away With Me." They were soon surrounded by their parents and other couples.

"They are a very lovely couple," said Marlene Pearl of Patchogue, Smith's great aunt. "They deserved this moment, like any other couple in love."

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