Heather Matarazzo has played some tough parts in her career _ from Dawn Weiner in "Welcome to the Dollhouse" to Sadie Atkins in the upcoming "Manson Girls." But the 28-year-old actress sees her next role as the most important.
With New York becoming the sixth, and largest, state to legalize same-sex marriage, Matarazzo plans to wed longtime girlfriend Caroline Murphy.
"My eyes and spirit have opened up since I found someone that I get to share my life with," Matarazzo says of Murphy.
But the couple had no desire to make history last Sunday by getting married on the first day the law took effect.
"I always wanted a wedding," Murphy says. "Not a trip to City Hall."
Wanting to share their union with their closest friends and family, the couple opted to plan their dream wedding. Though plans are still in the making, both seem to favor a bucolic setting in the fall or spring for the ceremony and reception. And with large families on both sides, Murphy expects the wedding list to top 200 guests.
For the ceremony, Matarazzo envisions wearing a simple, off-white dress, but has yet to find the right one.
"When I see it I will just know," she says
Murphy, a recording artist currently working on her first album, says she'll likely wear a white pants suit, "but a sexy one," when she walks down the aisle.
Engaged for three years, the couple originally planned to marry in California two years ago. But their plans were nixed when Proposition 8 eliminated the rights of same-sex couples to marry in the state. Now they hope that impending court challenges do not reverse New York's law before they can say, "I do."
The couple experienced another bump when they returned to New York and met with then-governor David Patterson.
"He led us to believe gay marriage would be legal last September, and he even agreed to marry us," Murphy said. "We started planning on that, and that went away."
They're both anxious to start a family.
"We've always talked that Caroline would have a child first, and then I will go," Matarazzo says.
After that, they plan to adopt.
Matarazzo says she sees herself and Murphy as complete beings that came together to help one another grow.
"I don't believe that I've found my other half," she says. "That would mean I was thinking of myself as incomplete."
Murphy agrees and remembers calling her mother the day she met Matarazzo and telling her: "Mom, I just met my wife."
(This version CORRECTS spelling of Murphy's first name, Caroline instead of Carolyn. )