July 3, 2012 By Christian Murray
It may not be as big as last year’s Royal wedding or Kim Kardashian’s short-lived affair with a NBA basketball player, but this month’s marriage of Jimmy Van Bramer to his long-time partner Dan Hendrick will be the biggest wedding featuring Sunnysiders for some time.
The wedding is scheduled to take place on the evening of July 28 on the rooftop of Studio Square, the Long Island City venue best known for its skyline views of Manhattan and Queens.
“We wanted to have it in Queens,” Van Bramer said. “It’s where I grew up and it’s where we both live. It’s meaningful to us that we get married close to home [Sunnyside Gardens]…and that we don’t have to go to Canada or Massachusetts to do it.”
Van Bramer met Hendrick in Kew Gardens in 1999 at a LGBT fundraiser. At the time, Van Bramer was living in a studio in Woodside, while Hendrick was sharing a 3-brm house in Long Island City.
Hendrick has spent much of his career in Queens. He was the former editor-in-chief at the Queens Chronicle, has authored a book about Jamaica Bay and is currently producing a film about it, titled “Jamaica Bay Lives.”
The pair announced their engagement in November, after Hendrick proposed to Van Bramer at a restaurant in Puerto Rico– just four months after New York State signed into law the Marriage Equality Act.
The men are expecting 225 guests. Many of those guests will be part of the greater Van Bramer family—since he is one of eight children, and has 34 nieces and nephews. Conversely, Hendrick has one sister and one niece.
Van Bramer would not disclose the elected officials—or other public figures—that are planning to attend. However, he said “several council colleagues are expected to be coming.”
The marriage officiate will be Audrey Pheffer, who is the Queens County clerk and is a former state assemblywoman. “She is someone we both know and like,” Van Bramer said. “When Dan was writing about Jamaica Bay [at the Queens Chronicle] she represented much of that district.”
“The focus of the event will be on family,” Hendrick said, adding that “it is a celebration of the love we have built over the past 13 years.”
The pair said they were pleased that all four of their parents are alive and are participating.
“While the world has changed a great deal, not every gay couple have loving families to celebrate their wedding with, and this speaks to the love and support we have,” Van Bramer said.
A member of each family will be saying a few words, with Sunnyside resident and best friend Rob MacKay making a toast.
The event will be a formal affair, where both men will be wearing summer suits.
The two don’t have any honeymoon plans. “We might take some brief time off but no big plans are in the works.” Van Bramer said.