Harrison Thompson (left) and Christopher Hibma | New York photography by Fred Watford
Christopher decided to propose to Harrison in 2010. "I created a day of activities around New York for Harrison to experience on his 40th birthday," Christopher explains. "He had to go to The Cloisters, the Campbell Apartments, the rooftop of the Peninsula Hotel--and it concluded in a dinner at the now closed Gascogne in Chelsea. When the ring arrived on a silver dessert tray, the table beside couple erupted with photo-taking and Harrison said, 'Yes!' before the words were out of my mouth."
But things didn't always go so smoothly. Harrison and Christopher met online on Halloween night in 2004 in Minneapolis, MN, and had their first date a week later. Although they were both skittish about commitment at first--Harrison had just ended a bad relationship and Christopher had a busy schedule with the locale theater--they figured it out and moved in with each other three months after they started dating. The couple moved to Los Angeles for Harrison's job and within six months Christopher was working at the Sundance Institute Theatre Program (he's now its producing director).
Harrison, who grew up in Jackson, MS, says he never quite acclimated to L.A. life, and so he moved back to Minnesota, leaving Christopher (who was raised on a pig farm in rural Iowa) behind. "I thought I wanted the house with a picket fence and dog," Harrison explains. "I later realized that all I really needed was Christopher."
After two and a half years of conducting a long-distance relationship, and the strain that can cause, the couple decided to relocate to New York City in 2008, where they found personal and professional fulfillment. Harrison now works at as an account manager for Bloomberg Law. In addition to supporting Ameriacn theater artists through Robert Redford Sundance Institute, Christopher has worked in East Africa for many years, supporting new work by producing residencies and identifies ways to support artists not only East Africa, but also in the Middle East/North Africa region.
The couple conducted a modest licensing ceremony December 14, 2012 in Manhattan, but they planned an elaborate wedding ceremony in Fanschhoek, South Africa for 20 guests on December 29, 2012. Christopher says he has a deep connection to the continent from his work in Africa, and the couple chose South Africa because same-sex marriage is legal there. "Plus, it's warm in the winter," Christoper admits.
The officiant was Indhu Rubasingham, artistic director of London's Tricycle Theatre. The event included a safari in Kruger National Park, and then they celebrated New Year's Eve in Cape Town with friends. But that wouldn't be their final celebration.
Two photos from the couple's December 2012 South Africa celebration | Photography by Philippa Ndisi-Hermann
On May 4, 2013, the couple had a New York City wedding celebration at Parlor. On that day, Harrison wore a J. Crew Ludlow suit (gray Irish linen), a shirt and bow tie from Brooks Brothers. Christopher wore a custom-made suit by My.Suit (in cream linen), a bow tie by Seiko, shirt from Reiss (and went sans tie). The rings are from Tiffany. At the party, the couple continued with the more casual theme, Harrison wearing Converse (and Christopher sticking with his Cole Haan shoes).
Christopher (left) and Harrison at their New York City celebration on May 4, 2013
Watch a video of images from the South Africa ceremony below: