Browsing the travel section at DC’s Kramerbooks in 2009, Jason Geske struck up a conversation with Patrick Wilson, whom he says he found both funny and—as a Republican and an Army officer—“slightly exotic.” Patrick, on the other hand, thought Jason was too young to date, noting with disbelief that he had never been to a hockey game. This could never work! But after getting to know each other by text, they agreed after several weeks to meet for drinks at a Cleveland Park sports bar.
Later that year at a family wedding in New Jersey, Jason came out to his loved ones by bringing Patrick as his date, one of the defining moments the couple would face together. The military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy prevented the couple from formalizing their relationship, but they persevered through a first deployment. When it was time to gear up for another—Patrick’s yearlong stint in Iraq—they decided to celebrate New Year’s Eve and all that was to come at the Greenbrier in West Virginia. As midnight struck, Patrick presented Jason with a ring and asked that he wait for him while he was overseas.
Nine years later, Jason, a congressional staffer, and Patrick, a lobbyist, finally celebrated their nuptials—a simple standing ceremony in the Hay-Adams’s mahogany-paneled dining room. “There was laughter, tears, and amazing warmth from all of our guests—more people mentioned the vows than the expensive dinner and dancing details that we’d sweated over for weeks,” Patrick says. One of the special touches that no one could overlook: a tiered “cake” made of various fine cheeses, served with an assortment of ports and spirits from around the world, and accompanied by a cigar to savor the evening.