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A more perfect union

Marriage equality coast to coast!



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Fall 2015–Winter 2016 • Wedding Pride

contents up front

6 The wedding checklist 12 Victory!

June 26: A thunderbolt of justice. Plus: Where in the world can you get married? BY PAUL SCHINDLER

16 Just do it!

City Hall’s pop-up wedding bash BY PAUL SCHINDLER

18 Proud moment

Our magazine inspires a marriage BY ILY GOYANES

20 Out of the box


A look at same-sex weddings on TV BY BILL ROUNDY

22 Head count


How many guests should you invite to your wedding? BY TRUPTI RAMI


26 State of happiness

Honeymoons for lovers of New York BY KELSY CHAUVIN

28 I hope you dance Tips for a graceful first twirl



32 Bow in love

The perfect tie for anyone

real couples 34 Surprise! Let’s get hitched!


How one couple tied the knot in just two days time BY ILY GOYANES

38 Personal touch

Couple’s personality shines through in DIY wedding BY ILY GOYANES

42 Stay tuned

Chorus members’ musical wedding brings a bit of drag to the heart of Manhattan



46 Good things come…

Couple’s relationship strengthens over time BY ILY GOYANES

parting gift 52 Marriage with a Z

Want Liza to sing at your wedding? Just marry this man! BY TROY MASTERS

Wedding Pride • Fall2015–Winter2016


20 Cover photo by Steven Rosen 3

“Happily Ever After” Starts here

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Fall 2015–Winter 2016 • Wedding Pride

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Wedding Pride • Fall 2015–Winter 2016



t is exciting to get down on your knee to propose to your future spouse — but the minute you do so, you start a countdown that won’t reach zero until you’re on your honeymoon. To properly plan, use our handy wedding checklist below:

12 months before the big day ■ First, decide on a ceremony and reception site. ■ Pick a venue that is gay-friendly. Some churches, synagogues, and other religious establishments are very accepting — others are not. Find a minister or officiant who weds same-sex couples. This is your wedding and the person performing the ceremony works for you, not the other way around.

■ Hire a photographer and videographer. Make sure that this person is comfortable with same-sex marriages, as the resulting photos will not capture the love you feel if the photographer does not feel it.

■ Look into wedding-day transportation. Do you want a limo, horse and carriage, limo bus?

■ Set the date.

■ Begin drafting your guest list.

■ Decide on a caterer if catering on-site is unavailable.

■ Keep it fun; wedding planning is stressful, but not

■ Begin shopping for your attire. Decide whether to

if you’re on the same page and have fun with it.

wear a gown or suit at your wedding.

■ Start shopping for attendants’ attires. ■ If using a wedding consultant, meet and provide her or him with your vision of the wedding day. Remember, that person also works for you.

■ Begin the search for wedding bands. ■ Hire a florist. Again, remember that this person works for you, so make sure you are happy with the florist’s approach. A true pro will help you work out 6

table settings, extra flowers for wedding party members, etc.

6–9 months out ■ Decide who will play what role in the wedding. Who will be waiting at the altar, and who will be walking down the aisle?

■ Discuss the menu with the caterer. ■ Finalize wedding-day transportation. ■ Book the band, musicians, or DJ. Continued on page 8 Fall 2015–Winter 2016 • Wedding Pride

Photo by Katie Osgood Photography

Wedding Checklist

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“man-and-wife” topper for some ironic purpose — remember, keep having fun with the process!).

■ Continue to compile a list of duties for key players. ■ Mail out hotel and city information to out-of-town guests.

■ Complete insurance issues, such as coverage for the rings, as needed.

■ Remind your partner to order their gown or suit. ■ Let the DJ or band know of special songs you would like played at the ceremony and reception.

■ Purchase wedding favors.

2–4 months out ■ Get your marriage license application (following local laws).

■ Mail out invitations. Hint: make sure to number Photo by Steven Rosen

each invitation because people often forget to write their name on the response card. This way, you can track it.

■ Gather all necessary travel documents such as passports, visas, etc. Get immunization for your honeymoon if necessary.

■ Finalize the menu.


■ Finalize the ceremony and reception music.

Continued from page 6

■ Buy thank-you gifts for wedding party and key

■ Purchase wedding bands and engrave a special saying.


■ Set up your wedding registry.

■ Book your hair and makeup artists.

■ Purchase accessories, shoes, and undergarments

■ Book times for fittings. Aim to schedule your hair

for your first fitting.

■ Ask friends to be key players. Key players are trustworthy pals on whom you can rely for crucial tasks. The key players are not part of the immediate wedding party since they will be busy with photo shoots.

■ Fine tune the guest list. Remember, this is your day, not theirs. You are under no obligation to invite anyone who would put a damper on the festivities.

■ Compile addresses of guests. Mail save-the-date cards to out-of-town guests.

■ Search for wedding favors. ■ Consider honeymoon spots. Call travel agencies for the best packages. See the story in this issue about great Upstate New York gay-friendly destinations.

■ Keep having fun with the process.

4–6 months out ■ Begin the search for hair and makeup artists. ■ Complete the guest list. ■ Order invitations and other stationery. Think about what “look” and wording you want.

and makeup trial on the same day to get a look at the complete package, and make sure to bring your accessories.

■ Begin finalizing seating arrangements. ■ Begin to plan the receiving line, timeline, and itinerary of the day. ■ Purchase guest book, cake knife, champagne glasses, garters, etc.

■ Keep having fun with the process. It’s nuts! You are getting married!

4–8 weeks out ■ Tackle outstanding legal matters, such as name changes, if applicable.

■ Finalize a list of must-have photos. Give a copy to the photographer and key players.

■ Complete a seating plan as RSVPs are returned. ■ Finalize songs for the ceremony and reception. ■ Get a pre-wedding trim and spa treatment so you feel your best during this stressful time.

■ Write your vows. Let the officiant know of any

■ Book wedding-day transportation.

readings or other special requests.

■ Book the hotel for your wedding night, if applicable.

■ Confirm a date for the rehearsal.

■ Select and order the cake. Be sure to have a same-

ers and wedding party.

sex couple as the topper (unless you want the standard 8

■ Finalize favors or create your own.

■ Finalize the list of responsibilities for the key playContinued on page 10 Fall 2015–Winter 2016 • Wedding Pride




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CHECKLIST... Continued from page 8

■ Have a friendly get-together with everyone and distribute responsibilities.

and other personal items for the next day.

■ De-stress your body. Consider deep breathing and other relaxation exercises such as yoga.

■ Book time for the final fitting.

■ Allocate enough time to have fun with out-of-town

■ Arrange rehearsal dinner for one or two days before


the wedding. Invite wedding party and key players.

■ Enjoy your rehearsal dinner.

■ Confirm honeymoon plans. ■ Make checklist of items to bring for the honeymoon. ■ Finalize the receiving line, timeline, and itinerary of the day.

2–3 weeks out ■ Finalize the seating plan. Call guests who have not returned RSVPs.

■ Have your final fitting. ■ If you have a gown, pick it up and hang it in a cool, dry place. Try to avoid sunlight.

■ Confirm details with all vendors. ■ Arrange times for key players to pick up items they are responsible for.

■ Write a toast for the rehearsal dinner. ■ Pack for the honeymoon. ■ Leave your honeymoon itinerary with someone in case of emergency. 10

One day out ■ Double-check that you have packed your clothes

■ Make time to spend alone with your partner. Soak up the moment together. Have fun.

Overall tips No matter what kind of wedding you’re having, hundreds of years of human experience offer some tried-and-true tips for making sure your big day is the best day it can be. Here are some: • Trust your wedding party and key players. • Laughter is the best beauty tip. A smile goes a long way. • Remember to implement the stress-buster techniques you and your partner agreed to use. • Always tell your partner why you love him or her. • Assume that about 20 percent of your guest list will not attend, so invite extras accordingly. • Walk around in your wedding shoes before the big day so that they are properly broken in. • Plan a special dinner with your partner without any wedding talk. Just relax and enjoy a night together. Fall 2015–Winter 2016 • Wedding Pride

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VICTORY! June 26: A thunderbolt of justice BY PAUL SCHINDLER


rogress … often comes in small increments, sometimes two steps forward, one step back, propelled by the persistent effort of dedicated citizens. And then sometimes, there are days like this when that slow, steady effort is rewarded with justice that arrives like a thunderbolt.” President Barack Obama uttered those words in the White House Rose Garden barely an hour after the Supreme Court, on June 26, ruled that gay and lesbian couples have a constitutional right to marry across the United States. In a stunning coda to the president’s remarks, the White House, that evening, was bathed in rainbow lights. For most legal observers, the high court’s decision was hardly a thunderbolt. From the moment last October when the Supreme Court declined to block implementation of three appeals court rulings in favor of marriage equality — setting off a cascade of events that ballooned the number of gay marriage states from 19 to 37 — it became increasingly clear that a majority of the justices were prepared to take the step they finally did this summer. Still, even the very savviest observer of the legal battle proved emotionally unprepared for the enormity of what was won on June 26. “I couldn’t stop crying periodically reading the opinion,” Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, the leading advocacy group on the issue, said in comments to Gay City News. “It was such a powerful recognition of the importance of our


inclusion, the importance of our dignity, the importance of our freedom and equality.” Wolfson had worked on the fight for equal marriage rights for 32 years, beginning with his early 1980s Harvard Law School thesis in which he laid out the legal, political, and social framework for achieving marriage equality. Writing for the high court’s 5–4 majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote, “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family.” In the view of the court, he said, “The limitation of marriage to opposite-sex couples may long have seemed natural and just, but its inconsistency with the central meaning of the fundamental right to marry is now manifest. With that knowledge must come the recognition that laws excluding same-sex couples from the marriage right impose stigma and injury of the kind prohibited by our basic charter … Especially against a long history of disapproval of their relationships, this denial to same-sex couples of the right to marry works a grave and continuing harm.” Kennedy also wrote eloquently about the harm that bans on same-sex marriage do to the “hundreds of thousands” of children raised by gay and lesbian couples. “Without the recognition, stability, and predictability marriage offers, their children suffer the stigma of knowing their families are somehow lesser,” he wrote. Gay and lesbian couples can now get married anywhere in the United States, and married couples who earlier wed in states that allowed it — such as New York — can move anywhere in the nation without surrendering the rights they already enjoy. That’s not to say everyone is welcoming the new normal, especially since the 13 new states put on the board include Fall 2015–Winter 2016 • Wedding Pride

Associated Press / Pablo Martinez Monsivais


Photo credits: (Clockwise from top left) Associated Press / Mark Lennihan; Donna F. Aceto; Associated Press / Wisconsin State Journal / Steve Apps

(Clockwise from opposite page) The White House was bathed in rainbow colors the evening of June 26 after the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling. David Turley, left, places a wedding band on his husband Peter Thiede during their marriage ceremony, on June 28 in front of the Stonewall Inn as Gov. Andrew Cuomo officiates. Vice President Joe Biden at the July 9 Freedom to Marry celebration in Manhattan. Celebration on Capitol Square in Madison, Wis., on June 26 — months after gay marriage began there, but only hours after the joyous high court ruling.

some where resistance to marriage equality was strong. Between February and June, Alabama successfully held off a federal marriage ruling despite the Supreme Court’s refusal to block it — and even now some legislators there are saying marriage licenses should be done away with in favor of marriage contracts publicly registered. One county marriage official is urging the State Supreme Court to publicly defy the authority of the United States Supreme Court. In Texas, the state attorney general, having told county clerks they could cite religious objections in refusing to issue gay couples marriage licenses, took more than a month to agree that a deceased same-sex spouse could be identified as such on his death certificate. And as late as Aug. 13, a federal court has not yet succeeded in getting a Kentucky county clerk to do her job, after she cited her Christian beliefs in adopting a policy of not issuing any marriage licenses — to different-sex or same-sex couples. Advocates remain vigilant in fighting to ensure the high court’s verdict is the reality on the ground everywhere, but Freedom to Marry’s Wolfson, on decision day, was confident problems would fall away soon enough. “I think that the country will embrace this and move forward,” he said. “I think that the overwhelming majority of public officials will follow the law… There may be some acting out, there may be some foot dragging, and we will deal with it.” Wedding Pride • Fall 2015–Winter 2016

By 6 pm on the day the court acted, New York’s gay community gathered where it traditionally does when big news, good or bad, arrives — in the West Village’s Sheridan Square, outside the Stonewall Inn. The mood on that beautiful early summer Friday evening was mostly celebratory, but notes of caution were sounded by speakers — including former State Senator Tom Duane, the chief sponsor of New York’s marriage equality law, and Manhattan Congressman Jerry Nadler — who noted that in 28 states gay people enjoy no comprehensive nondiscrimination protections. “Today, finally, must be a day of re-dedication, re-dedication to eradicating discrimination,” Nadler said. Wolfson predicted the marriage ruling would have profound ripple effects. “It really signals to other courts and other officials across the country that the time of the gay exception is over,” he told Gay City News. “It is time to treat gay people with full dignity and respect under the law.” Two weeks after the big high court ruling, Wolfson’s Freedom to Marry hosted a huge victory party at Cipriani on Wall Street that brought together the successful campaign’s major players. The first phone call he received after the court decision was announced, Wolfson told the crowd, was from Vice President Joe Biden, for whom he had interned decades before. The vice president — widely praised for publicly pushing Obama to embrace marriage equality back in 2012 — was on hand 13

news for the bash and emphasized that it was the community and its advocates who deserved the real credit. “I know it hasn’t been simple for a lot of you,” Biden said, “especially those of you who are older. It took personal courage — physical courage.” Wolfson told the crowd that after hearing from the vice president on decision day, the next call came from

Bernie Cohen, the lawyer who argued the 1967 case that overturned laws against interracial marriage in America. “He told me that was the high point of his life, but he was so glad that it didn’t stop there,” said Wolfson, who then added, “We must all commit that it won’t stop here. We must continue to work for a more perfect union for everyone.”






The Netherlands(2001) Belgium(2003) Spain(2005) Norway(2009) Sweden(2009) Portugal(2010) Iceland(2010) Denmark(2012) France(2013) United Kingdom(England, Wales,Scotland,butnotNorthernIreland)(2013–2014) Luxembourg(2014) Ireland(2015) Greenland(2015) Finland(ineffect2017) 33 percent of Europeans live in marriage equality jurisdictions. Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Croatia, and Northern Ireland offer same-sex couples some partnership benefits.

South Africa(2006) Five percent of Africans live in marriage equality jurisdictions.

The United States(2003-2015) Mexico(ThroughaMexican SupremeCourtruling,marriage equalityisgraduallyspreading statebystate;itiscurrentlylegal infiveof32statesandthatnumberwillcontinuegrowing.) 67 percent of North Americans live in marriage equality jurisdictions, a percentage that will rise as more Mexican states comply with the high court ruling there.

SOUTH AMERICA: Argentina(2010) Brazil(2013) Uruguay(2013) 62 percent of South Americans live in marriage equality jurisdictions. Chile, Ecuador, and Colombia offer same-sex couples some partnership benefits. 14

ASIA: No Asians live in marriage equality jurisdictions. The Middle Eastern nation of Israel recognizes marriages by same-sex couples from other jurisdictions.

AUSTRALASIA: New Zealand(2013) 12 percent of Australasians live in marriage equality jurisdictions. Australia offers same-sex couples some partnership benefits.

WORLDWIDE TALLY The world’s population is just under 7.2 billion, of whom more than 930 million, or 13 percent, live in marriage equality jurisdictions. Fall2015–Winter2016•Wedding Pride

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City Hall’s pop-up wedding bash Photo by Donna F. Aceto



y the time the United States Supreme Court handed down its big marriage equality ruling this summer, New York State already had four years of gay and lesbian weddings under its belt. That didn’t take anything away from the allure of the city diving head first into the jubilation. Less than five hours after the court ruled on June 26, Mayor Bill de Blasio was on the steps of City Hall officiating the weddings of two couples and the reaffirmation of the vows of a third. Denise Niewinski and Cindy Jackson, of Long Island City, together since 1999, and Sarah Joseph and Katrina Council, of Astoria, who met on a blind date at the Stonewall Inn, exchanged vows to become legally wed, while Tony, Emmy, and Drama Desk Award-winning playwright Terrence McNally (pictured, left) and his husband, Tom Kirdahy (right), who was de Blasio’s roommate at New York University, renewed their vows. “As New Yorkers, we feel a singular pride today, because what began at the Stonewall Inn in 1969, when our brothers and sisters first banded together to stand

up for fairness, for justice, for equality — that ignited a movement,” the mayor said. “And that movement swept across this nation and fueled today’s triumph — and that movement will continue to fight for the rights of all LGBT Americans. This is a culminating moment — and let us just remember these powerful and simple words from Justice Kennedy, who wrote, ‘No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family.’ ” In a Facebook post, Kirdahy noted that he and McNally have been “chasing equality” for years, having registered as domestic partners in 2003, then civilly united in Vermont, married in Washington, D.C., having had their marriage recognized by the federal government in 2013, and now seeing it recognized everywhere across the nation.








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Fall 2015–Winter 2016 • Wedding Pride




Our magazine inspires a marriage! BY ILY GOYANES


edding Pride readers often reach out to us to tell us how one of our articles, such as how to deal with wedding-planning stress or tips on how to choose the right vendor, helped ease the wedding planning process for them, and we’re honored by the fact that we’ve helped so many brides and grooms by providing information on what is trending, what is new, and — yes — even what is classic and traditional. However, we’d never heard that we had actually played a role in a couple’s decision to get married … until now. “Wedding Pride gave me the courage to think about myself and what I wanted and needed,” says Stuart Goldsmith. His husband, Jeffrey Gordon, also found encouragement in our magazine because of all the gay and lesbian 18

marriages featured on our pages. “Wedding Pride showed me the options gay and lesbian people have for wedding ceremonies,” says Gordon. The two men were introduced by a mutual friend who felt they had a lot in common. After meeting in July 2012, things moved pretty quickly, and the two moved in together less than a year later. Starting a home together, much like their engagement, was a natural progression rather than a major discussion. “One day we were just walking and Stuart turned to me and said, ‘We’re moving in together,’ and we did,” says Jeffrey. “And that’s how we got engaged as well. One day he turned to me and told me that we were getting married.” The boys considered the marriage a gift to their moms, who have birthdays just five days apart. “I just said to Jeffrey, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to give them a present?’ ” says Stuart. “And that was that.” As sure as Stuart was about moving the relationship forward, that wasn’t always the case. He fell in love with Jeffrey’s voice when they first spoke on the phone, but was somewhat hesitant when they were face-to-face for the first time. “I was a bit uncertain because he did not fit my image of tall, dark, and handsome,” Stuart recalls. “But after services on a Saturday morning, we had lunch and I was very pleased with the man I had met.” Part of the reason for Stuart’s initial double take had to do with Jeffrey’s choice of outfit. “I’m also Jewish, but not as religious as Stuart, but when he asked me if I wanted to go to services on our first date, I agreed,” says Jeffrey. “I wore a blazer and a pair of Bermuda shorts and looking back, I knew a pair of white slacks would have been better.” “What is he wearing?” Stuart recalls asking himself when he first took in Jeffrey’s outfit. Fashion faux pas aside, they knew they were right for each other, and that’s why a traditional proposal wasn’t necessary. This “no-frills” style carried over to their wedding plans. They kept it intimate, with only 12 guests made up of friends and family, and got married at Congregation Emanu-El on the East Side, with Rabbi Benjamin Zeidman officiating and Lori A. Corssin as cantor. Choosing the venue and officiant was easy they say, but both men agree that deciding who to invite — and who not to invite — was difficult. “Like many couples, we had a heated discussion about the guest list but decided to keep it small and have an open house later,” says Stuart. The hardest part of the planning was “not inviting certain people” Jeffrey acknowledges. After the wedding, the couple and guests attended a post-wedding luncheon hosted by Norden and Phyllis Hahn and Rona Weinstein, friends of the couple, so Jeffrey and Stuart didn’t have to agonize over cakes and caterers. Both men credit Wedding Pride with giving them the courage to officially commemorate their love. “In Jeffrey I found someone,” shares Stuart, “who gave me the opportunity to live and enjoy life, not just to exist.”

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Left, Stuart Goldsmith and Jeffrey Gordon say Wedding Pride’s articles helped them decide to marry.

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OUTof the BOX A look at same-sex weddings on TV BY BILL ROUNDY


ny wedding can be a source of drama — so of course it makes for great television! Plenty of television shows have featured a nuptial ceremony, but only a handful have let same-sex couples engage in the same wedding shenanigans as their straight counterparts. Here are a few of the more notable gay and lesbians weddings to appear on the small screen:


Modern matrimony: Fans of “Modern Family” clamored for devoted couple Cam and Mitch to get hitched since the moment it became legal in California, where the show is set. Their wedding, during the 2014 season finale, had no legal barriers, but many, many practical ones, with a wildfire and a rival wedding party forcing them from venue to venue. But the final ceremony, with their family around them and an on-screen kiss, was a victory for their relationship and for the viewers.

The one people remember: It wasn’t the first gay wedding on TV (that was on a show called “Roc,” which — yeah, we don’t remember it, either), but “The One With the Lesbian Wedding” on “Friends” had the biggest impact. In 1996, the show was a monster hit, and when the ex-wife of main character Ross walked down the aisle with her life partner, everybody watched it. Conservative groups howled before the show aired, but after the broadcast there was barely a peep of protest. The pair didn’t get to kiss onscreen, but looking back 19 years later, our biggest question is: what was up with those hats?

Queer cartoons: “The Simpsons” patriarch Homer has bounced between homophobic and homo-friendly, depending on the plot. But in the 2005 episode “There’s Something About Marrying,” hefty Homer went wholehog on same-sex marriage. He got an online minister’s license and married every gay couple in town (except Carl and Lenny, who Marge insists “have to figure it out for themselves.”)

Drawn to marriage: The same year, also in Cartoonland, the always-irreverent “South Park” jumped into the same waters with a typically bizarre episode in which legalizing same-sex marriage in Colorado depends on the outcome of a fourth-grade class project. When the kids come through, fan-favorite Big Gay Al and Mr. Slave get to have their big gay wedding. And who can resist those dresses? Fall 2015–Winter 2016 • Wedding Pride

Daytime drama: With infidelity, amnesia, and kidnapping constant dangers, any marriage in a soap opera faces an uphill battle. But the first lesbian wedding on a daytime soap opera went off without a hitch on “All My Children.” Bianca Kane’s wedding to female architect Reese on Valentine’s Day of 2009 was simply beautiful — so much so that the two ladies did it again a year later, after an affair, an annulment, and reconciliation.

Soap ceremony: The first gay men to marry on a soap opera happened just last year, between Will Horton and Sonny Kiriakis (celebrity couple name: WilSon) on “Days of Our Lives.” The couple had already been through a lot: they opened a business, rescued a pregnant woman from kidnappers, and covered up a murder together. Compared to all that, the ceremony was smooth sailing, with each man escorted down the aisle by his mother. Gleeking out: Just one same-sex wedding wasn’t enough for “Glee!” Toward the end of its final season, the high-school musical spotlighted the wedding of longtime girlfriends Brittany and Santana. But the girls had a surprise for on-again, off-again couple Kurt and Blaine, insisting that the boys get married by their side. We normally don’t approve of teenage marriages arranged 10 minutes before the ceremony, but when the grooms are as cute as these two, we’ll let it go.

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How many guests should you invite to your wedding? BY TRUPTI RAMI


eciding on a wedding guest count is a personal — and potentially stressful — decision. Which coworkers should be invited? Will your second cousin sulk over an absent invitation? What about your neighbors? Short of having an exotic destination wedding — on the moon? — there are few polite excuses to exclude. Jill Gordan of Jill Gordon Celebrate, a boutique event consultation firm in the Hamptons, has been planning weddings for 20 years. She says every couple has different priorities and each needs to take a few criteria into account for their guest list. To start, couples must consider what feels right for them. “Some couples like the idea of an intimate gathering that feels a bit more relaxing and allows them to focus on every hospitable detail,” says Gordon. “Others are all about including tons of friends and family and really rocking it out.” Jacksonville, Florida couple Joel Adams and Aaron Talbot had an incredibly intimate wedding with three guests at the small library in the Iroquois Hotel in Manhattan. After the ceremony, the hotel provided champagne with raspberries, then the whole wedding took the L train to Five Leaves restaurant in Brooklyn’s 22

Greenpoint. “We weren’t really interested in a big ceremony,” says Adams. “We really wanted to get married because we wanted to be married.” Budget is a major factor, especially because guest count has a bigger impact on budgets than other details for the wedding, says Gordon. She consistently advises her clients to remember that a wedding is an intimate event, whether small or large. “Invite only those people you really care about and expect to still know and love in 20 years,” says Gordon. “Have a separate cocktail party for business associates if you feel you must include them.” Adams and Talbot say they preferred spending more money on the dinner afterwards than the ceremony itself. The intimate setting made them feel closer to their guests. “We knew everyone who came,” says Talbot. “It made them closer to us. We didn’t have to shuffle around talking to people. It was just us and friends. When I think back on it, I don’t have anything that went wrong. The mother-in-law didn’t do something stupid. No one got drunk and fell over.” Chicago couple Lucas Fuess and Jakub Owca wanted to keep their wedding size reasonable and control costs, but they also didn’t want to leave anyone important out. “If cost wasn’t a consideration, we probably would’ve invited a few more, but limiting the size of the wedding is hands down the easiest way to control the cost,” says Owca. He and Fuess married in front of 150 guests at a country club in New Hartford, New York, and had friends and family travel from more than 20 states and multiple countries. Owca says they chose the location to help expand the guest list and make it easier for most of their friends and family to attend. “I always liked the idea of a bigger wedding, where we Continued on page 44 Fall 2015–Winter 2016 • Wedding Pride




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COUNT... Continued from page 22

could see everyone important to us in our lives, and have a fantastic evening eating and dancing and celebrating with people who mean so much to us,” says Owca. Jove Meyer, owner and creative director of Jove Meyer Events in Brooklyn, says that for some people size matters. “Resources ultimately decide how many guests can attend. The more guests, the higher the cost,” says Meyer, who has been planning weddings for seven years. “I always tell couples it’s not about the quantity of guests but the quality!” Owca says most venues charge per person, so fewer people equals a smaller bill. “We were okay with our wedding being more expensive to take this into consideration,” says Owca. “In addition, a lot of people in attendance makes for a more exciting dance floor!” Wedding sizes vary from couple to couple, Meyer says. She encourages couples to be surrounded by as many friends and family as possible. To start, she suggests couples make a dream list of everyone you would want to come. Separate the list into three sections: must come, would love to come, and would like to come. Then compare the numbers against the budget and go from there. “There is no right or wrong size for weddings,” says Meyer, who’s


planned weddings as intimate as 30 guests and as large as 500 guests. Couples can always fall back on a destination wedding or smaller venue to cut down the count. “The further the wedding, the larger the dropout of guests,” says Meyer. If a couple wants to have a smaller wedding but are faced with a very large guest list, then they should book a smaller venue that allows a limited number of guests. “This will force you to cut people from the invite list and blame the venue,” says Meyer. On the other hand, couples that want a big wedding need to make sure the wedding venue can accommodate their maximum guest count, in case everyone RSVPs yes. “It’s better to air on the side of caution and book a space that can hold the max end of your guest count rather than hope that people cancel or not attend,” says Meyer. Otherwise, push the wedding date up. “Some couples also plan a wedding in a shorter time frame, two to four months, which likely means some of their guests cannot attend on such short notice,” says Meyer. Owca recommends that to manage costs couples should consider making cuts in the small details to enable a larger guest list. “The little details seem important at the time, but are not crucial to a special day,” says Owca. “If you want a larger wedding, maybe forego the chair covers, premium liquor, fancy napkins, or elaborate decorations so you can have more people in attendance.” Try not to get lost in the details, advises Adams. “The more you plan, the more outrageous things will get.”

Fall 2015–Winter 2016 • Wedding Pride



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Wedding Pride • Fall 2015–Winter 2016


STATE of HAPPINESS Honeymoons for lovers of New York BY KELSY CHAUVIN


t’s been a tremendous year for marriage equality across all 50 states. But let’s not forget that the Empire State did the right thing back on June 24, 2011, when Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed New York’s marriage equality law. Couples here can be confident of finding attractive alternatives for their wedding ceremonies and their honeymoons everywhere from Montauk to Buffalo. However, a few regions stand out both for being great wedding and newlywed getaways and for rolling out the red carpet for same-sex couples.

Niagara Falls When it comes to euphoric natural settings, few places can top Niagara Falls. Its breathtaking majesty is enough to send endorphins flying — though the negative ions are the real source of inspiration. With nearly one millions gallons of water crashing upon itself every second, Niagara offers visitors super-rich oxygen that will boost their energy, not to mention their mood. It is a natural high that is a sure way to keep any exhilarating wedding day or honeymoon even more — ahem — stimulating. While both the Canadian and American sides of Niagara have great views, happy couples need not cross the border to enjoy the waterfall’s splendor. From New York State, it is just a matter of heading to the Observation Tower of Niagara Falls State Park (America’s oldest, since 1885). The park itself plays host to weddings and events, and its website even proclaims, “With the passage of the Marriage Equality Act, New York proudly 26

performs weddings for all couples, including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.” From the park, visitors can get up-close, personal, and wet with the American, Horseshoe, and Bridal Veil Falls aboard a Maid of the Mist boat tour, or Cave of the Winds walk. (Not to worry, both come with rain ponchos.) The town of Niagara Falls and surrounding region offer a scenic escape with a nice assortment of hotels, B&Bs, and resorts, as well as camping options for couples who like full-tilt nature time. Golf, hiking, and other activities are on the menu, too. And with Buffalo less than 30 minutes away, a field trip for authentic Buffalo wings or to explore art and architecture — like Frank Lloyd Wright’s Darwin Martin House — adds a nice dose of culture to any romantic getaway. Visit New York’s robust Niagara Falls Tourism website at for more things to do, and to explore wedding or honeymoon ideas.

Cooperstown For the town that’s home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown offers a whole lot more than sports. In fact, some may even compare the city to Santa Fe or other arts-centric towns, thanks to its museums, theaters, and another heavy hitter: the Glimmerglass Opera Festival. Marking 40 years in 2015, the renowned opera festival puts on a variety of operas at the Alice Busch Opera Theater on Otsego Lake each July and August. The grounds itself may incite romance, with its rolling lawns, shady picnic areas, and the pristine lake — referred to as “Glimmerglass” in James Fenimore Cooper’s series of “Leatherstocking Tales.” If opera isn’t enough to make for a great LGBT wedding or honeymoon destination, some of Cooperstown’s culture, dining, and activities may up the apFall 2015–Winter 2016 • Wedding Pride

Photo by Kelsy Chauvin


peal. History is everywhere in this city that in 2011 Forbes Magazine named one of “America’s Prettiest Towns.” The Farmers’ Museum will take curious newlyweds on a tour of the past, while the Fenimore Art Museum houses everything from folk to 20th-century American art. Accommodations span stately, well-kept inns built long ago to B&Bs, resorts, hotels, and even a horse ranch. Just be sure to plan ahead for your ride home from Brewery Ommegang, Rustic Ridge Winery, or other of the area’s seductive beverage tours. Visit for other event and tripplanning tips.

The Adirondacks Leisure, adventure, art, and history — it would seem that the Adirondack Region is a catchall upstate destination for couples who enjoy having choices. The sixmillion acre Adirondack Mountains are the stunning backdrop in a region that offers four seasons of outdoor heaven, from spring birding and fishing, to summer outdoor theater and fall foliage, to winter carnivals. Planning a wedding or honeymoon in the Adirondacks is a matter of settling on a charming lodge, B&B, or other accommodation. Like other New York regions, same-sex couples are as welcome here as they would be in Greenwich Village, and the local tourism bureau encourages newlyweds to cozy up in Saranac Lake, Bolton Landing, or any of a number of cute towns dotting the shores of Lake George. Museums like the Hyde Collection in Glens Falls may surprise you with works by Picasso, O’Keeffe, and Rembrandt. And Pendragon Theatre is upholding the state’s impressive summer-theater reputation in the bucolic

town of Lake Placid, home to the 1980 Olympics, cute restaurants, and stellar ski slopes. After time exploring cultural outposts, waterways, trails, and forests, escape in an entirely different way with visits to local wineries, breweries, and distilleries. This fertile region is home to a slew of them, several of which include top eateries or gastropubs all happy to raise a glass to the happy couple. Check out for more suggestions.

(Opposite) Otsego Lake is just one of the attractions in Cooperstown. (Above) The Adirondacks offer amazing hiking and cute towns along Lake George.

Visit the state’s LGBT travel page at for more great travel ideas throughout New York.

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Wedding Pride • Fall 2015–Winter 2016




Tips for a graceful first twirl BY TRUPTI RAMI


espite choreographed wedding dances, also known as budding viral YouTube videos, becoming a new norm, a newlywed’s first dance will forever be a memorable moment — and one that should be planned. Here are a few tips from three wedding dance coaches to help a couple navigate how best to jive, boogie, whirl, and twirl on their special night:

Leave ample time for dance prep Most wedding details are planned far in advance — dresses, suits, venues, food, etc. — but many couples leave the first dance to the end. This is a misstep, especially for newbie dancers. “Six months in advance is the ideal time frame to get started,” says Elena Iannucci, co-owner of You Should Be Dancing…! in New York. “Ten to 15 one-hour les28

But consider quality over quantity Beginners may not be able to win “Dancing With the Stars” after 10 lessons, but they will learn to dance in that time. Skipping big chain studios in favor of small studios will keep couples from signing up for unnecessary classes, says veteran dance coach Peter Jones of Ballroom Wedding Dance. “Wedding couples simply need to learn a few basic elements, start to understand how two bodies move as one unit, and relax and enjoy dancing together.”

Keep your outfits in mind It is not every day one twirls in a floor-length gown or moves about in leather dress shoes or four-inch heels. And weddings are no place for wardrobe malfunctions. This doesn’t mean that couples have to take their wedding outfits for a test run, but almost. For a few dance lessons, couples should stimulate their wedding attire and wear their wedding shoes. “This will insure that your choreography is suitable for you wedding attire,” says Iannucci.

Tempos can pose a challenge Medium tempos are easiest to dance to and therefore best for newer dancers. Songs that are too slow, such as “At Last” by Etta James, or too fast can be difficult. Keep in mind that it’s not always apparent how slow or fast a song is, as it is not the singer’s lyrics that we follow when we dance, but the music itself, says Jones. Also, gracefulness is hard to master with slow dance. “Each glitch and error the couple make is very noticeContinued on page 44

Photo by Steven Rosen


sons will provide the most stress-free environment in which to learn.”

Fall 2015–Winter 2016 • Wedding Pride


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happy to assist you with anything that may make your day even more special. When your friends and family follow you all the way to Mexico for a wedding, you’ll want to enjoy spending time with them taking in the local sights and sounds. We can assist you in planning a full itinerary that will keep you and your guests entertained for the duration of your stay with us. Sample itineraries are available and can be customized to meet the entertainment interests of your group. Whether you want an intimate ceremony or a large celebration with your friends and family, Villa Amor is the perfect place for it. With beautiful locations on-site and nearby, as well as the ability to customize your ceremony to your exact style, Villa Amor offers you your dream wedding day — worry free! Call: (619) 819–5407, (619) 819 5969, (602) 748–4144. From Mexico, call 011–329–291–3010. E-mail Karen Ruezga for information at weddings@

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Wedding Pride • Fall 2015–Winter 2016



need the most lead-time, four to six months before the wedding. The cons also include memorizing a two- to four-minute routine that could look mechanical and collapse if moves are forgotten or left out, says Engel.

Freestyle considerations If a couple isn’t choreographing their first dance, there are a few details to consider when going freestyle. A con is that one person will have to lead, which is hard to learn. But a pro is that couples can skip memorizing a routine. Instead of choreographing the whole dance, coaches can teach couples small routines that can be mixed as they dance, says Engel.

Maybe skip the lyrics Instrumental pieces are preferable, especially for beginners who are only taking a handful of dance classes. “The beats are easy to follow,” says Engel.

Keep it simple Learning to dance is like learning a new life skill, says Jones. Dance coaches can teach couples simple combinations of steps that can be arranged and rearranged at will, as well as specific elements for the beginning or ending of the first dance. “Usually a dip or a lift,” says Jones.

Continued from page 28

able,” says Zack Engel of Zacks Dance Loft.

Choreography can take out the guesswork Dance instructors will recommend the best approach, weighing time, talent, and prior dance experience, but deferring to a fully choreographed dance takes the guesswork out of the first dance, says Iannucci. These

Or mix it up Couples don’t have to follow a rigid modern versus oldie song choice. Both can be danced as a waltz, an American rumba, or a fox trot. “The choice is personal,” says Engel, who adds that he finds that many couples are interested in learning disco dances, such as swing, because it’s less traditional and not as smooth a dance.

Photo by Steven Rosen



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n case you missed it, bow ties long ago shed their Poindexter image. Today’s ties are stylish, colorful, and a great way to give your wedding suit a touch of individuality. Male couples can match ties, or each choose a different color of the same style. For a woman opting to wear a suit, a bow tie offers a classic bit of menswear styling, but in plenty of statement-making patterns. Keep in mind that some of these brands offer a coordinating pocket square, for an extra pulled-together look.

Out of East Africa: Printed kitenge tie,  ethically made in  Uganda by SEBO. $49.

Mad for Madras: Funloving preppy madras silk from Vineyard Vines. $65.

In the Pink: Traditonal British check in silk from Thomas Pink. $95.

Poppies ’n‘ cream: Coral poppy satin tie, handmade in England by Mrs Bow Tie. $39.

Something blue: Knitted tie with arrow polka dots by Knot Theory. $35.

Flower power: African Ankara fabric from Effortless DTS. $32. effortlessdts

Bow-quet of camellias: Japanese floral from Kiriko. $65.

Winning combo:  Cotton floral from Original Penguin. $59 (includes pocket square). www.

Easy being green:  Tropical silk style benefits $25.

In-grained style:  Truly different wooden tie from Two Guys Bow Ties. $65. www.

Cupid’s arrows: Handmade limitededition cotton from Fox & Brie. $48.

Smooth as silk:  Silk paisley from Ted Baker. $75.

Fall 2015–Winter 2016 • Wedding Pride

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How one couple tied the knot in just two days time By Ily Goyanes PHOTOS BY STEVEN ROSEN



t may have come as no surprise to those who know college sweethearts Gregory and James that they got married — after all, the couple had been together for 10 years before their May 22 ceremony — but the wedding did turn out to be a complete surprise to one of the grooms. “From the beginning, I wanted to surprise James with an engagement and with our wedding,” recalls Gregory. “So on Wednesday, May 20, I woke James up at 5 am and told him to pack a bag.” And that was the beginning of what would be a whirlwind 48 hours, which would include not only the wedding, but even the marriage proposal itself. Fall 2015–Winter 2016 • Wedding Pride


ames and Gregory met by chance when Gregory went shopping at the Gap store where James worked. After some flirting, Gregory left his phone number, James called, and the two met up that very evening. “I thought he was adorable as he was walking around the store,” says Gregory. “He was trying so hard to be professional as I shamelessly flirted with him.” Since that fateful day, the two have been inseparable. That is why, after 10 years together, Gregory was sure that James would say “Yes” when he realized that their “weekend getaway” was actually code for “surprise wedding.” James thought they were traveling to Florida from their home in Minneapolis, realizing only at the airport that the two were headed to New York. Gregory then told James they were going to see “Finding Neverland” that evening, so he should dress up a bit. Little did James know that Gregory had also flown their close friends John and Kathryn to join them in the city. The friends were to wait at P.J. Clarke’s until after “Finding Neverland” let out and the two men made their way to the restaurant. And laying in wait to capture the proposal was photographer Steven Rosen, who tried to be inconspicuous to no avail. “Once I saw the photographer out of the corner of my eye, I kind of figured out what was going on. Not being a very romantic guy, I grabbed Greg into a hug 36

“I told him we were also getting married in two days!” and wouldn’t let go. He asked me to marry him and I said, ‘Of course,’ ” says James. “Afterwards, we headed across the street to find another surprise; our two best friends from back home in Omaha waiting for us with champagne and Manhattans.” But the surprises were far from over. “I asked James why he thought our friends were there … they weren’t there just for our engagement,” Gregory recalls. “I told him we were also getting married in two days!” Once Gregory made James aware of all his plans, he wanted James to choose the location for the ceremony and the couture the two would wear on their special day. So after getting up early the next morning to get their marriage license, the two spent the day shopping for clothes. “We didn’t want the wedding to be too stuffy, so we decided that suits were out,” says Greg. “I knew I wanted a vest and I think he is cute in suspenders.” Neither of the two grooms was nervous on the big day. “Not at all,” says James. So what did the couple do the morning of their wedding? “We went to a nearby Fall 2015–Winter 2016 • Wedding Pride

(Opposite page) Lincoln Center provided a grand stage for the proposal— although the professional photographer might have given the game away. (This page) For the ceremony, all was needed was a lovely spot on the High Line, an officiant, and the couple’s two best friends from home.

barber shop for a cut and a shave.” New York held a special place in both their hearts after Gregory had surprised — yes, surprised — James with a trip to the Big Apple for his 30th birthday, so he knew it would be the perfect place to get married. But how could they find a venue on such short notice? Turns out they didn’t need to. “We knew that when we saw our spot, we would stop and get married,” says Gregory. “We got married on the High Line in Chelsea.” “In a small corner near an abandoned building,” adds James. The two took the entire experience in stride, which is pretty admirable when you consider that the wedding took place 36 hours after the proposal. “The hardest part was keeping a secret,” Gregory says. “But I did it.” VENDORS: Photographer, Steven Rosen Photography. Officiant, Common Ground Ceremonies with Reverend Samora Smith. Rings, Bergstrom Jewelers in St. Louis Park, Minn. Wedding Pride • Fall 2015–Winter 2016




Couple’s personality shines through in DIY wedding By Ily Goyanes PHOTOS BY STYLISH & HIP WEDDINGS PHOTOGRAPHY


oel and Amy’s wedding embodied the do-it-yourself spirit, but what else would you expect from a couple whose proposal took place during a hiking excursion? By all accounts, the day Amy planned on popping the question — the Friday of Thanksgiving Weekend — was to be one cold day… so cold that Noel almost decided against going with Amy to Storm King Mountain up the Hudson River. Fortunately for Amy, Noel decided that bringing along some hot ginger tea would make the hike bearable, and along with the tea, packed some almonds, and along they went.



my planned to pop the question at lookout point, overlooking the Hudson. “I was really nervous about missing the lookout point, because you can’t exactly drag someone backwards when you’re on a hike!” admits Amy. “So when we got to what I thought was the vista, we sat down on some rocks overlooking the river and enjoyed some hot tea and the view.” Noel became restless after a while, so Amy grabbed her by the shoulders to get her attention, then proposed. “I wasn’t expecting this at all,” recalls Noel. “I just thought she was really stepping it up for our date day and I had been thinking earlier that I needed to put more effort into planning dates. I just kept asking her if she was serious over and over… then I said yes!” Amy adds, “We celebrated by taking a bunch of pictures together at the top of the mountain. Then, of course, once we started hiking again, we got five minutes down the trail and there was the actual lookout spot!” That sense of adventure carried over to their wedding. “We had a pretty DIY space,” Amy shares, “and no wedding planner, so coordinating every single detail took a lot of time and energy, but we had a ton of help from our incredible friends.” The two women got married at Brooklyn Bridge Park, overlooking the river, near the carousel, on May 17. Amy’s mom hand-quilted the chuppah, a canopy used in Jewish weddings under which the couple stands, and Noel’s grandfather made the rings. Their friend Leora Fridman served as officiant. And instead of cake, the couple asked friend Courtney Gillette to make pudding, which was served as dessert. But perhaps most low-key of all was the catering. “We knew we wanted the food to be affordable and to taste good, so we did take-out from a local Mexican restaurant in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. We love Mexican food, so it was the perfect choice for us,” says Amy.

(Top) Amy makes her way down the aisle. (Above) Noel listens to Amy make her vows. (Below) The ladies share a first dance. (Opposite) Amy’s mom made the chuppah.

Even choosing what to wear didn’t faze them; Noel bought the first suit she tried on. As low-key and stress-free as the actual wedding ceremony and reception were, emotions were definitely high on the big day. Noel remembers, “I almost burst into tears when I saw her. She looked so happy and so beautiful.” Adds Amy, “Once we headed to the ceremony site and I saw Noel, I was so happy. She looked so great in her suit and I felt so excited that we were about to get married and officially tie our lives together.” The only downside to keeping it so low-key and DIY? “We didn’t have a strong plan for cleaning up after the reception so Amy and I ended the night at 1:30 am with Mexican food all over the place,” recalls Noel. “The worst part is that one of Amy’s friends had warned us about having a strong clean-up plan,” she adds. “We just forgot with everything going on.” VENDORS: Photographer, Stylish & Hip Weddings Photography. Venue, Dumbo Loft. Music, DJ Trx, Food, Tacos Matamoros. Amy’s dress, Lovely Bride. Noel’s suit, Suit Supply. Makeup, Maria Jones.


Fall 2015–Winter 2016 • Wedding Pride

Wedding Pride • Fall 2015–Winter 2016



Fall 2015–Winter 2016 • Wedding Pride


tuned Chorus members’ musical wedding brings a bit of drag to the heart of Manhattan By Ily Goyanes PHOTOS BY STEVEN ROSEN


hat do you get when you put together a gorgeous venue such as Manhattan’s Essex House Hotel, epic entertainment such as the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus, and four fabulous grooms-maids? Why, a gay fairy tale wedding, of course! It all started with music … “James and I both joined the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus in the fall of 1997,” recalls Christopher. “We met outside during a rehearsal break in Greenwich Village, then followed that up with a drink after the rehearsal at the Monster Bar in Sheridan Square. That night, as James’ subway train pulled away from the station, my eyes never left his face until he was out of sight. I wasn’t necessarily looking for a husband at that time, but after meeting James, I knew I’d met ‘the one.’ ” “At 59th Street he had to change trains, but our eyes never parted; the doors closed and our eyes were still locked to each other until I saw the inside wall of a subway tunnel. I knew something special had just happened,” agrees James. “I got home and called my best friend, who was [later] our best man, and told him, ‘I think I met the one!’ If he called me, I knew my life would change for good, forever.” Both men knew that they had found their soulmate, and Christopher knew that he wanted James to be his husband. Christopher had given James a diamond ring as a present, which unfortunately James lost. Rather than simply replace the present, Christopher decided to turn a stroke of bad luck into good news. On their way to visit Christopher’s family in Ohio for Christmas, they decided to exchange their gifts. Christopher presented James with a wood jewelry box. Inside the chest, Christopher had placed a diamond ring identical to the one he had previously given James. “I told him that I forgave him for losing the last ring, but that this one was different, because I wanted him to keep it — and me, forever as his husband,” says Christopher. Says James, “I coyly told him I would think about it … then I said, ‘Yes! Of course!’” Men can sometimes have difficulty remembering dates, and the two wisely chose their dating anniversary as their wedding date, getting married on Oct. 21, 2012. “This was the anniversary of our actual first date together; we went to see the play ‘Gross Indecency’ in Green44

wich Village,” recalls James. “I would probably forget any other date and it would feel weird if we were to celebrate any other date annually.” “We were legally married on our 15th anniversary,” adds Christopher. The week before Hurricane Sandy, James and Christopher tied the knot at the Grand Salon at the Essex House Hotel on Central Park South. The New York City Gay Men’s Chorus performed, and then, of course, there were the grooms-maids. Explains Christopher, “We had four groomsmen and a shared best man, and, because some of our dearest friends are the most fabulous drag queens in New York City, we asked them to be our four grooms-maids. They gave the evening an extra helping of glamour, glitter, and laughter!” “After the ceremony and cocktail hour, their dresses quickly converted into shorter skirts so they wouldn’t have Fall 2015–Winter 2016 • Wedding Pride

to dance all night in evening gowns! Just amazing!” says James. Both men fondly recall the choir’s performance, which included the National Anthem to commemorate the fact that James is an Air Force veteran. “Loving my country, I insisted on the National Anthem to be sung just before I walked down the aisle,” James shares. “My friends in the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus brought a flair of patriotism to the room that left no one sitting in their seats during this beautiful song!” To the Essex House’s credit, the hotel had a lot to do with making their beautiful, unique wedding go off without a hitch. Christopher and James remember the sense of relief that took over knowing that Essex was arranging not only the accommodations, but the catering, linens, cake, and a wedding planner. Plus, the Essex is majestic. “The hotel’s Petite and Grand Salons are such amazing venues; the frescoes on the wall and the myriad of mirrors gave the illusion we were in the Palace of Versailles,” says James. Also, the hotel’s pastry chef did wonders with the cake, matching the cross-stitch of the couple’s save-thedate cards at their request. “He did an amazing job of matching it, both in its delicate curlicues and vibrant blue color,” says Christopher. Even with such an accommodating venue, juggling grooms-maids, the Gay Men’s Chorus, and a female vocalist and the “A” Band to keep guests dancing all night meant James and Christopher’s big day had a lot of moving parts. With so much going on, plus out-of-town guests, you’d think the boys would be a bit nervous. “Maybe a little!” admits James. “I’ve always dreamt of having an amazing Manhattan wedding, and when Wedding Pride • Fall 2015–Winter 2016

(Opposite page) The JW Marriott Essex House Hotel was a gorgeous backdrop for James and Christopher’s ceremony. The hotel provided the exquisite cake. (Above) The grooms-maids helped give the evening some extra flair. (Left) The newlyweds celebrate their union.

the day finally came, I was thankful and excited and a bit overwhelmed with all the love from our friends and family — I’m not sure if it was nerves or excitement!” For Christopher, there were no jitters at all. “There was no doubt that it would be one of the best days of my life. And it was,” he says. VENDORS: Photographer, Steven Rosen Photography. Band, The “A” Band. Flowers, Flowers by Richard. Entertainment, New York City Gay Men’s Chorus. Venue, JW Marriott Essex House Hotel. 45



Couple’s relationship strengthens over time By Ily Goyanes PHOTOS BY STEVEN ROSEN


ay and Richard’s marriage is proof that timing isn’t everything, its the only thing. The two met at a social engagement in 2001 and were instantly taken with each other — however, they were also taken; each man was in a relationship at the time. 46

Fall 2015–Winter 2016 • Wedding Pride


ecalls Richard, “I was immediately struck by how handsome he was and the sincerity and sensitivity he expressed when he spoke.” “Gosh, Rick is so handsome!” Jay remembers thinking when he first laid eyes on his future husband. Those other relationships didn’t pan out, so single again, they started things off in 2004 with a coffee date … then a dinner date … and still … “Though I thought we would make a great couple,” says Richard, “we were both hesitant [and] shy to suggest that we start dating steadily.” Then Rick invited Jay and his dog Mollie to stay with him at his weekend cottage, and while the gentlemen were taking their sweet time, a certain canine decided to speed things up. “By the end of the weekend, I think both Jay and I sensed something special was developing,” Rick remembers. “We started getting together regularly, several times a week — we lived just a block apart in the West Village — and Mollie took to me immediately and was happy to visit overnight at my apartment.” Sometimes dogs just know … By the end of 2005, the three were living together. Jay even gave up a rent-stabilized apartment, and as any New Yorker can tell you, that meant things were definitely getting serious. Realizing that a future together was unavoidable, a proposal was the next logical step … although the two remember the proposal differently. Jay recalls proposing during a 2006 trip to Paris. “We were having dinner at a very fancy restaurant, which turned out to be really bad. Rick was so mad that he wanted to leave. When he got up to complain, I put the ring box on the table where he was sitting. When he got back he said, ‘What’s this, they’re trying to make it up to us with a box of chocolates?’ I said, ‘Open the box!’ When he did, he just melted and couldn’t stop smiling.” Rick remembers the proposal taking place years later. “We more or less proposed to each other one evening in mid-2013 in a conversation that developed after Jay brought up the question of getting married — New York had legalized gay marriage a few years before — and suggesting what an honor it would be to be a small part of the development of gay history.” 48

At least they both recall the same wedding — surprise serenades and all. Their June wedding took place last year at Manhattan’s Riverside Church, and little did Rick know that he was going to be regaled with words from both Shakespeare and the King on the big day. During the ceremony, Rick recited a sonnet by Michelangelo, as planned, but instead of the short poem he was expecting Jay to recite, he was presented with something, well, a little different. Rick recalls what happened when he recited the last of Michelangelo’s words: “With an impish grin and a twinkle in his eye, Jay immediately said, ‘Ditto!’ Everyone, including me, laughed. Then, instead of the beautiful Chinese poem, he started to recite the lyrics of a song by my favorite boyhood singer — Elvis Presley!” Jay recited the lyrics to the King’s hit song, “All Shook Up,” instead of the ancient poem that had been planned. “The minister and I were flabbergasted, and could only laugh as Jay went on speaking the lyrics,” remembers Rick. “The rest of his wedding party was in on the joke and at the end of the stanza he was reciting, they all chimed in, ‘He’s all shook up!’ ” Jay agrees that busting out Elvis lyrics may be a little irreverent. “However, everyone is still talking about it!” he says. VENDORS: Photographer, Steven Rosen Photography. DJ, Scratch Weddings, NYC. Flowers, Ariston Florist. Cake, Haute so Sweet. Venue, Riverside Church. Caterer, Masterpiece Caterers. Invitations and table name cards, Village Invites. Fall 2015–Winter 2016 • Wedding Pride

(Opposite page) Rick and Jay’s rings. The couple celebrate their new union. (Clockwise from above right) The grooms have a minute to themselves on the big day. Rick and Jay exchange vows and rings. Guests dine during the reception. The cake was adorned with colorful flowers.

Wedding Pride • Fall 2015–Winter 2016


Advertiser Index We would like to thank all of our advertisers for their continued support of Wedding Pride Magazine and the LGBT community.

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Show Your Pride


e can use your help! We’re already looking forward to our next edition of Wedding Pride, so, if you’re a same-sex couple we has recently had a wedding or is planning one in New York, we would love to speak to you!

You can be the talk of your family and friends — and have a great tale to tell the grandkids — by having your big day prominently featured in our groundbreaking publication. If you’re interested in showing your Pride, contact us at 50

CONTRIBUTORS Steven Rosen Photography (718) 625–7076 Katie Osgood Photography (646) 360–0384 Stylish and Hip Weddings Photography (646) 249–3855 Fall2015–Winter2016•Wedding Pride


Contact us to schedule a consultation (631) 766-3309

Wedding Pride • Fall 2015–Winter 2016


parting gift



with a

Photo by Stephen Lovekin

Want Liza to sing at your wedding? Just marry this man! BY TROY MASTERS


lmost every inch of Scott Gorenstein’s apartment is decorated with mementoes documenting a lifelong love of his. Posters and Playbills, press clippings, photos, and ads — all of them signed, of course — adorn every wall. Even his bathroom. And while it isn’t quite a shrine (far more tasteful than that word connotes), you will never find another publicist on earth with pictures of his client’s mother above his bed. That’s right … client’s mother. And the mother in question is none other than Judy Garland. Liza Minnelli really never had a choice in Gorenstein’s attachment to her. After years of his trailing the legend, she just surrendered to something of an inevitability. And Gorenstein started representing Liza. Scott is not someone who passes up an opportunity when it presents itself. “I realized nobody was telling me ‘No,’ ” he explained. “It was all green lights.” Years (many) later, he has helped guide Liza through victory lap after victory lap solidifying her unparalleled place in show-biz history. From red carpet appearances at the Academy Awards to viral campaigns calling for a deserved Kennedy Center Honor to intimate concerts in surprising places like Fire Island, Liza has always stayed on top, thanks in no small part to Gorenstein’s unfailing efforts, though he would never admit to it. “The job is easy,” he insists. “If you wake up in the morning knowing she’s the greatest star as I do, then the rest of it is a cakewalk. Liza is enormously talented, and I serve her talent.” Gorenstein’s longstanding fidelity has earned him a sweet spot in Minnelli’s heart, so much so that on the day the United States Supreme Court declared same-sex marriage a constitutional right, Scott jokingly took to Facebook with this bit of groom-bait: “Marry me and Liza will sing at our wedding.”


Scott Gorenstein and Liza Minnelli go way back (left, in 1991).



Have you had any takers? SCOTT GORENSTEIN:

No, not a damn one! What is wrong with gay men these days? WP: Does Liza have to approve of your husband? SG: My parents have to approve of my husband. I am not running my future husband by Liza Minnelli. WP: Describe your perfect husband. SG: A very rich, elderly man with a really bad heart who adores me. Actually, I don’t care if he’s rich or poor, tall or short. If the chemistry is right, then I’ll know. And believe it or not, I could care less if he loves Liza. That’s my thing. It doesn’t have to be his. But he will be subjected to all things Liza, all day, every day. WP: What would she sing at your wedding? SG: Are you serious? Whatever she damn wants. I never make any creative suggestions because she knows exactly what she wants at all times. Watching her create is watching a genius at work. WP: Can I assume that when you have children with your husband you will name your child Liza or Judy, even if it’s a boy? SG: I don’t want children. I want dogs. I named my dog after Montgomery Clift, and when I told Liza that she said, “That’s terrific!” WP: What Liza tune sums up your love of her? SG: “New York, New York.” When I was growing up, she epitomized the glamour of the city. You can only imagine my surprise when I ran into her at the Howard Johnson’s in Times Square. You never know where you’ll find glamour. Fall 2015–Winter 2016 • Wedding Pride


andaz wall street

H u d s o n Va l l e y W eddi ng s

sH akespear e on the H u d s o n The Catskill’s premier riverfront outdoor venue featuring on-site accommodations

Located on the riverfront in the heart of the Catskill Mountains, Shakespeare on the Hudson is the premier wedding event venue in the beautiful Hudson River Valley. Nestled on the Hudson River’s shore, Shakespeare on the Hudson, comfortably accommodates up to 58 over-night guests, in two incredible private homes on an 100 acre estate, and a boutique hotel and restaurant. The properties feature breathtaking views across the majestic Hudson River Valley.

Let us make your special day complete. Bookings available year-round.

sH a k espea r e on T H e H u dson 216 Route 385, Catskill NY, 12414 | 2 N. Water St Athens, NY 12015 | 518-947-1104 | |

Wedding Pride Fall 2015  
Wedding Pride Fall 2015  

Celebrating Gay and Lesbian Marriage