Andy Starbird and Dennis Roth’s romance began when they were living in New York City. A mutual friend invited each of them to a Labor Day party with the intention of setting them up. Neither one was particularly enthusiastic about attending the gathering, but both reluctantly went.
Starbird says, “I walked in the room, saw him, and thought to myself, 'I’m going to spend the rest of my life with this person.'”
They talked for hours into the early morning, and shortly after the party, they moved in together. The couple resided in New York City for about 35 years before deciding to retire in Austin.
“We considered ourselves married from about a year after we met,” says Roth. “But we always said we would do it if it was legally recognized.” When same-sex marriage was legalized in the U.S. in 2015, Starbird and Roth decided to wait a year to wed on their 45th anniversary.
Starbird and Roth were married on September 7, 2016, in an intimate ceremony with 50 guests at The Oasis on Lake Travis. Noting that a number of the guests (and even band members) got emotional, Starbird says, “I think it was just very nice for us to finally be recognized as a couple and no longer feel like we were less than first-class citizens.”
After the ceremony, guests enjoyed a cocktail hour while the couple took photos. Their photographer, Cory Ryan, suggested they take one of them kissing underneath the Oasis sign out on the main road.
Starbird recalls, “I leaned in to kiss him, and we heard screeching tires from across the road. I said, ‘Look at that ... we’re stopping traffic!’”
The reception took place on the third floor, known as the Top of the Oasis. Dinner included choices of roast beef, sun-dried tomato and goat cheese stuffed chicken, and pepita-crusted snapper.
Matchmaker Band, an award-winning Motown, funk, and soul ensemble, provided the music. Fittingly, Starbird and Roth had their first dance to “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.”
Considered the historians of their families, Starbird and Roth designed a special wedding guestbook for their friends and family to sign with photos beginning when they first met through their relationship up to that moment.
When they were searching for pictures to include in the book, they came across an old photo from around 1920 of two men embracing each other. Neither Starbird or Roth knew who the men were besides the fact that they were somehow part of the family. They used the photo as the book’s cover to honor everyone who wasn’t able to be there to celebrate with them.
On the back of the photo was a handwritten inscription: “Ain’t love grand.”
Ceremony venue: The Oasis on Lake Travis
Reception venue: The Oasis on Lake Travis
Florist: Central Market
Catering: The Oasis on Lake Travis
Cake: Blue Note Bakery
Photographer: Cory Ryan Photography
Band: Matchmaker Band