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2 GWM / Spring 2016


In this issue Gay Weddings and Marriage Magazine / Spring 2016

5

32

Transgender Times Ashlie & Tina Carrier

34

Featured Vendor Carina Photographics

36

Real Weddings

5

Katrina & Sandy

Honeymoon Tips

42

Boarding Your Dogs While Honeymooning

Wediquette

6

How to Rock the Room With a Killer Wedding Toast

DIY Dare Building Bouquets

44

8

Real Weddings

Real Weddings

Jeremy & Nicolas

Laura & Jyoti

10

One Love: One Venue

46

Honeymoon Advice Delaying the Honeymoon

Hard Rock Hotel in Palm Springs

47

14

Treat Tips

Married Life

5 Unique Treats

A One-of-a-Kind Wedding Day

48

15

Real Weddings

Wedding Tips

Dory & Rosalynn

10 Ways to Cut Costs Today to Save Money for the Wedding

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16

Planning Tips

Max & Luigi

56

Have Love, Will Travel

Planning With Pride

20

Real Weddings

Interview

Ted & Greg

Johnny Salib

58

10

Marriage Advice After Marriage Comes... Children?

60

Real Weddings Daniel & Joseph

62

Real Weddings Thomas & Daniel

66

Honeymoon Advice Honeymoon in Telluride

67

Partner Advice When Your Partner Doesn’t Want to Plan

68

Real Weddings E. Asher & Nicole

76

Real Weddings Maria & Melissa

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22

Gay Life After 40

Laura & Nadira

80

Real Weddings

19 Years and Going Strong

28

Gift Guide

Making a Grand Entrance The Entryway Sets the Scene

30

Real Weddings Jason & Jeff

Eye on Etsy

6

84

Celebration Tips Gurkha Cigar Gift Sets gayweddingsmag.com / GWM 3


from the editor

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016 will need to be pretty amazing to top the events from 2015. GWM started in January of 2015, then we were on shelves across the US, Canada and Mexico by June. In September our readership skyrocketed to 30,000, and we closed the year with a new website with over 10,000 unique visitors a month. I ask you to continue sharing your love stories with GWM and to be patient as we stretch with new growing pains that are expected at the start of any new business. Thank you for supporting us, and we look forward to what 2016 holds for GWM!

EDITOR’S PICK I love hotels. I love the unique architecture, the service, and the amenities. I’m sure that someone who travels for a living would have a very different opinion, but I was more than excited to experience the Hard Rock Hotel in Palm Springs to check out their wedding packages. I read about so many couples that are planning a destination wedding, and I see their frustration when coordinating vendors, travel and more. Check out the article about the Hard Rock Hotel. You’ll see that it is possible to plan your wedding with just one phone call.

ON THE COVER

Lisa and Mary originally married at a Justice of the Peace in Canada eight years prior when same-sex marriage was illegal throughout the United States. They renewed their vows in 2013 when same-sex marriage was made legal in Minneapolis. Photographer: Carina Photographics

PUBLISHER/ EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Renee Clancy

CREATIVE DIRECTOR Misty Voitovski

WEBSITE/ SOCIAL MEDIA Scott Rogers

WRITERS

Michael Eric Brown, Donna Capodelupo, Stacey Lantz, Todd Russell, Lauren Stine

ADVISORS

Wendy Clancy, Erik Earl,

CONTRIBUTORS

AZ Flower Market, Hard Rock Hotel

GWM INTERNS

Alicia Arzaga, Bri Messamore, Jay Wilkinson

COMMENTS OR QUESTIONS? Contact Renee at: renee@gayweddingsmag.com www.gayweddingsandmarriage.com

Gay Weddings & Marriage Magazine is published four times a year. © 2016, all rights reserved. Reproduction or use of content in any manner without permission by the publisher is strictly prohibited. Opinions expressed in columns and articles do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. Printed at Publication Printers Corporation.

4 GWM / Spring 2016


honeymoon tips

BOARDING YOUR DOGS WHILE HONEYMOONING ou did it. You tied the knot and the stress of wedding planning has come to an end. The honeymoon is around the corner and you’re all set to go. But wait! What about your dogs? Will they be taken care of when you’re enjoying a relaxing getaway with your new spouse?

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Have no fear. Boarding your dogs is a great way to make sure your pets are safe and well cared for while you are out of town. So, how might you prepare your dog for their stay at a boarding facility? • When researching boarding facilities, choose one that offers live-stream cameras so you can check in on your dog. You can visit www.onlinedoggy.com to see which facilities offer live stream cameras, and take virtual tours of different facilities in your area. Businesses who offer live-stream cameras provide a real-time look into what your dog is up to! Being able to check in on your pet real-time gives peace of mind so you can enjoy your honeymoon without worry. But be careful - watching the dogs play can be very addictive!

Perhaps you want to take your dog with you on the honeymoon! After all, dogs are part of the family. Here’s how you can prepare: • Make sure your dog is in good health. Traveling can be stressful for any pet, so it’s better for a dog who may have some health ailments to stay home unless absolutely necessary.

• Always double-check facility reviews online (Google, Yelp, Angie’s List, Facebook and other social media platforms). It’s better to bring your dogs to a boarding facility that has more positive reviews than negative reviews.

• Get up to date vaccines and a health certificate from your veterinarian. You never know if you will run into sick or unvaccinated dogs while vacationing. Carrying vaccination records or an official health certificate is good to have in case anyone questions your dog’s health.

• If possible, take your dog to the boarding facility PRIOR to packing. If your dog watches you pack, they may get stressed out and anxious because they know you are leaving.

• Pack something that smells like home. Whether you are traveling by airplane, car or train, having an item of clothing or a blanket that smells like home will bring your dog comfort.

• Pack one extra day of food/medication just in case travel plans get delayed. Also, dogs who are more active in group play burn more calories and should get a bit more food each meal to compensate for increased activity level.

• Have proper identification on your dog. Make sure they are wearing a collar with tags that have your updated address and phone number(s). If your dog has a microchip, update that information as well. It can be life-saving if for some reason your dog gets lost.

• Don’t give your dog special treats before bringing them to a boarding facility. It can be very tough leaving our fur kids behind, but something like a meaty cow knuckle can upset a dog’s stomach within a few hours.

• Bring plenty of food, treats and toys. Give your dog lots of treats and praise for being well behaved while you are traveling. Pack extra food in case of travel delays. Toys are

important so your dog has something fun to do at your final destination. It’s important to research boarding facilities before you leave for your fabulous honeymoon! See if you can take a tour of the facility you’re interested in before you allow them to take care of your dogs. You never want to leave your dogs at a place you don’t trust. If you’re in the Phoenix area, Happy Pets Palace & Playground is the go-to place for boarding! They are an awarding winning facility, voted Best Pet Boarding Service in Mesa, AZ for 2015. Happy Pets Palace has webcams so you can see what your dogs are up to while you’re gone. They even have overnight staff to offer late night potty breaks! If you want to get in on the award-winning action, Happy Pets Palace & Playground will also be offering franchise opportunities to dog lovers in the future. So go on, have fun and prepare your dog for the honeymoon, whether he/she will be staying with a boarding staff or traveling alongside you and your spouse. Fido will appreciate the hard work that was put in to making them comfortable! Amanda Yantos, owner of Dog Mom Days. Find more valuable information for pet parents at www.dogmomdays.com. Happy Pets Palace: www.happypetspalace.com

gayweddingsmag.com / GWM 5


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diy dare

BUILDING BOUQUETS By Renee Clancy

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he first topic of conversation you will have when planning your wedding is about which items you will take on yourself and which items you will source out. If you and your fiancé love to decorate and are great organizers, then planning the reception décor will be a good job for you. Do you have a beautiful backyard? Then skip the venue search; you are set. What about the flowers? I mean how hard can it be? Don’t you just have to stop by your local grocer, pick up some stems and wrap them up in a bow? Uh, no. I learned this lesson when I needed two bouquets for a shoot last year. I stopped by a local retailer, picked up some blossoms I thought were a good color, and then I grabbed some ribbon to tie them together. You don’t remember seeing this special feature? That’s because I never published it. My flower bouquets were a disaster. They were horribly mismatched, old, breaking all over, and the flimsy ribbon I purchased was no match for the thick stems. This time I wanted to do it right, so I reached out to the owners of Arizona Family Florist for some tips. Brad Denham and his wife Cheryl were happy to help. Enter the Interns. Jay and Bri joined the GWM team last year, and they were excited to be a part of this DIY Dare flower feature. They arrived with pictures of two bouquets that were similar in style and color but still unique.

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STEP 1: Brad helped Jay and Bri find similar flowers to match the images they brought in. Brad’s advice: Be flexible. The flowers you love may not be in season, but there is probably another similar option. STEP 2: Have a strong pair of floral shears and a thorn stripper to remove excess foliage. If you’re using roses, don’t forget to remove the imperfect guard petals from the outside of the rose.

STEP 3: Use a vase when prepping the flowers. Laying flowers down flat on a table can cause damage. STEP 4: Be prepared with the correct tools: Floral tape to wrap stems, floral adhesive to affix pearls, jewels or wayward buds, floral pins to secure ribbon. STEP 5: Use green floral tape to secure stems before wrapping with ribbon. STEP 6: Push pins up and into the stems to secure ribbon. Be careful to make sure it does not stick out the other side!

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STEP 7: Practice and ask for help. Florists like Brad and Cheryl are always happy to offer advice along with full or partial service options for your event.

Here are a few more tips to consider from Brad for successful DIY wedding flowers: • Keep it simple. For centerpieces; using all the same flowers in one vase is an easy way to arrange with little instruction. Feel free to mix it up by having several varieties of flowers, but group the same stems together. If you are challenged by floral design, consider multiple vases with one stem per vase. I love a single peony in a short vase. • Don’t keep your plans a secret and be sure to get help! Enlist your attendants, partner or even out of town guests. • Make sure to have enough buckets and flower food in advance. Make sure you have enough clean water in the containers and keep the leaves from touching the water, and store them in a cool dark place. • Purchase 10% more than you think you will need. • Don’t worry; most flowers are heartier than you think. Avoid supermarket flowers,

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because you don’t know how old they are and be sure to pick up your flowers 1-3 days in advance. This will give them time to open up for the wedding day. • Set up an assembly line. • Figure out how you are transporting the flowers in advance. Don’t underestimate the skill necessary to make the more technical arrangements. Consider consulting a florist. We do a lot of “Partial DIY Weddings” with local wedding florists. Consider having a professional like LUX Wedding Florist assemble your bouquets, boutonnieres, or anything you find more challenging. Bottom line… “Don’t be intimidated! Just go for it and make a gorgeous mess!” Brad Denham and wife Cheryl, are the owners of Arizona Family Florist, the parent company of Arizona Flower Market, which is the only wholesale-to-thepublic flower market in Arizona. They have been in the floral industry for 11 years and are now one of the largest floral retailers in the Country. Their family of floral brands also includes Arizona Florist, an all occasion, full-service floral & gift shop serving the entire valley and LUX Wedding & Event Florist, an upscale, boutique floral design studio. All brands are housed in the same 35,000 sq ft complex in downtown Phoenix, dubbed the Phoenix Flower District. Special thanks to Michele E. Dusz at Lux Wedding Florist and Eileen Watters at Arizona Family Florist. azflowermarket.com

gayweddingsmag.com / GWM 7


Real Weddings

HOW DID YOU MEET? Through mutual enjoyment of the L Word… Online. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TOGETHER? Laura and I have been together for nine years. WHAT IS THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE YOU’VE HAD TO OVERCOME AS A COUPLE? Blending two families into one has been a challenge; raising children from a prior relationship with a toddler from our current one. We also have a shared custody of the older children. WHAT DO YOU LOVE THE MOST ABOUT YOUR SPOUSE? Laura: She loves life, adventure, and me. Jyoti: She loves me for who I am. She has always pushed me to try new things and explore. She is the biggest risk I ever took in my life and is by far one of my best decisions in life. DESCRIBE YOUR WEDDING DAY: It was casual and not overly planned. This was facilitated by the help of people we know who just did what they do best: Peter Marantette at Reserve took care of the food and wine; Kaci Muller of Just Delightful Events and Damsel Floral put together simple, elegant arrangements and helped with the flow; and Paige Gabert created beautiful images with minimal time and a simple setting. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART? Finally becoming legal amongst loving friends and family and not having to fret about the details. WERE THERE ANY SURPRISES (GOOD OR BAD) THAT HAPPENED? No, just a lovely evening. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER COUPLES PLANNING THEIR WEDDING? Doing everything in one location makes it better for everyone. NOW THAT THE WEDDING IS OVER, WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS OR FUTURE PLANS AS A MARRIED COUPLE? Loving each other, raising our kids, traveling, enjoying wine, and working hard to make it all happen. 8 GWM / Spring 2016


LAURA & JYOTI July 17, 2015 / Paige Gabert

Location: Reserve Wine & Food, Grand Rapids Wedding Consultant: Kaci Muller/Just Delightful Events Ceremony/Reception Site: Reserve Wine & Food Caterer: Reserve Wine & food Wedding Cake: The Cakabakery Florist: Damsel Floral Co Clothing/Gowns/Suits: Ann Taylor Hair: Stephanie Hientskill @ Panopolous Salons Makeup: Stephanie Hientskill Music: Reserve Wine & Food Linens: Reserve Wine & Food

gayweddingsmag.com / GWM 9


By Renee Clancy

10 GWM / Spring 2016


he Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs is like no other venue. From the moment I walked in, I knew that a wedding at this hotel was bound to be unforgettable. The lobby was warm and inviting with tapestried walls and bold striped wood floors. I could instantly see opportunities for a wedding party to congregate or a couple to grab a drink before the nuptials. The walls featuring music memorabilia are unique conversation starters, and art lovers will appreciate collectablecovered halls.

PS. You have a team behind you, and they are dedicated to creating the perfect event for you. Whether you are considering a destination wedding or you are a short drive away from Palm Springs, your entire event can be planned on site. From the invitations, flowers and caterer to the photographer, décor and weekend events, the HRH PS has everything you can dream of for your event. You will never need to call a vendor again and have to start with the dreaded questions about if they support your marriage or not.

Another fun feature about the Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs is their vicinity to local shopping, dining, and entertainment. Within walking distance you will find adorable coffee shops, boutique décor, art galleries and any kind of food you desire. I suggest you arrive early and spend a few days relaxing before the wedding. Enjoy a massage at the Rock Spa on site or stroll through Motif, a nearby modern art store. Or, remain at the hotel after your wedding is over to enjoy your honeymoon in this energetic and exciting town. Rent a cabana during the pool party on the weekend or rock out with your own electric guitar in your honeymoon suite! The possibilities are endless.

Martha: Couples come from different parts of the country and state, all over. Some are destination weddings, and they come from as far as Chicago, or Canada. Other couples drive in from other parts of Southern California. Due to the Palm Springs International Airport that is down the street from our hotel, it is much easier for couples to travel here and spend time on planning and enjoying the city and traveling.

I was excited to speak with Martha Stolting, the Catering Sales Manager and wedding coordinator about all of the possibilities, and I was not disappointed. Martha (I’d like to think of her has the Hard Rock Hotel’s own personal Martha Stewart!) is the ideal wedding planner. She is professional, creative, and easy to work with. I can see why so many couples flock to the venue for their event. After speaking with her, I got the feeling that a couple is never alone in the planning process. If you’ve started your wedding planning at all, then you may already be overwhelmed with options and organizing. But I felt so at ease with Martha. I knew immediately that a wedding in her hands would be magical.

GWM: ARE COUPLES COMING TO THE HRH PS AS A DESTINATION WEDDING OR ARE THEY LOCAL?

GWM: WALK ME THROUGH AN INITIAL MEETING WITH A COUPLE. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE QUESTIONS YOU ASK THEM?

Martha: Like any wedding planner I want to know, “What is most important for you on your wedding day?” The rest of the planning falls into place easily when the expectations are communicated. We can then spend time on finding the best way to plan their dream wedding. Time of year, number of guests, and timeline are all necessary items to cover so we can create the best package for our clients.

You may feel overwhelmed when you first begin planning a wedding. So you wanted to find a venue to relieve that stress and offer an alternative to the typical frenzied wedding event. After talking with Martha and her staff at the Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs (HRH PS), I knew I didn’t need to search further. You are no longer alone in planning your wedding when at the HRH gayweddingsmag.com / GWM 11


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GWM: HOW INVOLVED ARE YOUR WEDDING DAY-OF COORDINATORS?

Martha: The nice thing about our hotel is that our coordinators are with the client from beginning to end. There is no need to hire outside help for an event at the HRH PS. We believe you should enjoy your event, so we take care of everything! GWM: WHAT ARE THE MOST POPULAR CATERING OPTIONS RIGHT NOW?

Martha: We are fortunate to have talented chefs on site that are ready to meet the needs of any culinary guru. We see that clients still love personal service that includes food stations and individual small portions. This gives the guests an opportunity to try a variety of options instead of the traditional buffet. GWM: WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE YOU SEE A COUPLE FACE WHEN PLANNING A WEDDING?

Martha: Couples stress a lot about making other people happy. I encourage them not to be concerned with pleasing everyone else. This is their special day. Their guests are here for them. GWM: DO YOU HAVE PREFERRED VENDORS YOU SUGGEST?

Martha: Absolutely! We have cultivated a list of talented and unique vendors that are familiar with our venue and they are wonderful to work with. From the invitations and flowers to entertainment and lighting, we can provide it all. A couple can decide how involved they would like to be as well. Once the venue is booked, I can give them the list of vendors, and they are more than welcome to reach out to them. However, many decide to delegate that responsibility. We are flexible, and we want to create a package that fits the unique needs of each couple. When planning your wedding, don’t hesitate to call The Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs. I plan to return and enjoy another fun-filled and unforgettable weekend soon. Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs 800-280-2971 www.hrhpalmsprings.com gayweddingsmag.com / GWM 13


married life

Andrea Bibeault, A Wedding Photojournalist

A ONE-OF-A-KIND

By Donna Capodelupo urs may have been the weirdest wedding day ever. {Salisbury Town Clerk Norma MacDonald, But it was perfect for us. sealing the deal on our wedding day} The ceremony lasted about five minutes. There were no white dresses or So we were thrilled when we saw fancy suits. No walking down the aisle, no a newspaper interview with Norma bridal bouquets. No special hair-dos or MacDonald, the town clerk in Salisbury (a manicures. There was no rice tossed into the beach community about 20 miles from our air, no limousine, and no clinking of glasses home), who was disappointed because no that could be silenced only by a public kiss. gay or lesbian couples had contacted her There were no photos or videos. No office about taking out a marriage license. guests or witnesses. No presents. There was She couldn’t wait to perform a ceremony. no reception. No DJ. No RSVPs declaring We became the first same-sex couple to choice of “chicken” or “steak.” There marry in her town. were no songs about cake-cutting and no We couldn’t have picked a better dancing—unless you count the spontaneous Officiant. She was happy for us, and that’s “dance of joy” that we broke into at the end. all we wanted. She wanted to make our day There’s nothing wrong with any of that special. She wasn’t sure the Town Hall was stuff, of course. It’s just that neither of us the most romantic venue, and suggested wanted it. We wanted our wedding to be we consider the town library, which had ours, and ours alone. a fountain. We decided we were fine with I never pictured a fancy wedding day, Town Hall, and exchanged our vows next and my wife, Pam, didn’t either. Neither to the American flag in the lobby. And it of us dreamed of being a bride in the was the most romantic/patriotic municipal traditional sense of being the focus of building lobby we’ve ever been in. attention and following a scripted ritual. As I’ve shared previously, we wrote our Just the thought of it made us very nervous own vows. They weren’t very long, but and uncomfortable. said everything we needed to say, which We did put a lot of thought into whom basically was, “I’ll love you forever, will we would choose to officiate, however. We never doubt your love for me, and will do agreed that we wanted someone who was everything I can to make you happy for the excited about the opportunity to marry rest of my life and yours.” a gay or lesbian couple. We didn’t want Then, we drove home, watched an someone who was doing it because they episode of “Dr. Phil,” and ate steak dinners were being forced into it by the new law. that we cooked ourselves.

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Now, you may not think that adds up to a very special wedding day. But we’d had a looooooong engagement. Twenty-one years, to be exact. For us, our wedding wasn’t about a party or dream dresses or even sharing the day with our friends. We weren’t starting our lives together. We were nearly half-way through (less, if we’re lucky) with a home and responsibilities. Our friends have been loving and supportive for many years. We know they care about us as individuals and also as a couple. On our wedding day, we were given something we never expected to receive: the validation of our state government. We were so afraid we’d lose it that we married on the first day we were able. Massachusetts law requires couples to wait three days after receiving their marriage licenses before marrying (unless they pay a fee). We weren’t going to pay the fee, but we weren’t going to wait a day longer than we had to, either. And so, on May 20, 2014, Pam and I said our “we wills” (no “I do’s” for us!) and walked out of Salisbury Town Hall a married couple. In many ways, for us it was a day just like any other … almost. Except for those five minutes in the middle, it felt like many of the days before and many since. We weren’t necessarily MORE committed the day after our marriage than the day before. It’s just that an official entity now considered us committed, where it didn’t before. I guess you could say it wasn’t really us who had changed.

By the power vested in me by the state of Massachusetts, I pronounce that you are married according to the laws of the Commonwealth.


Wedding tips

10

WAYS TO CUT COSTS TODAY TO SAVE MONEY FOR THE WEDDING

our dream wedding costs money and in today’s world, the financial burden typically falls on the couple. That means you are going to need to come up with the funds to pay for the big day. These 10 cost cutting tips will allow you to save a little extra cash over the next year to put towards your wedding.

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SKIP THE STARBUCKS, Dutch Brothers or whatever your favorite coffee joint is at least once a week and make it at home. You probably pay about $5 a cup. You could save $20 a month or $240 over the next year. Skip it two days a week and you could save close to $500!

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PACK YOUR LUNCH a few days a week instead of hitting the drive thru or vending machine. This can easily save about $20 a week. RENT A MOVIE instead of going to see it in the theater. Splurge from time to time, but don’t make movie tickets a weekly expense. Make some tasty snacks, turn the lights down low and snuggle with your honey in the comfort of your home instead of a big, cold theater.

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MAKE A CHANGE JAR. Throw all of your loose change into the jar. Just before it is time to start paying vendors, cash in the coins and see how much you managed to save without even trying. GO GROCERY SHOPPING with a list. Don’t randomly buy this and that, you are likely to buy what you don’t need. There are plenty of menu planning apps that will help you create a menu and a shopping list to help you budget your money better.

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IF YOU CURRENTLY RENT a storage unit that holds a couple of boxes that you don’t even remember what is in them, get rid of it. De-clutter your home and find a way to get rid of that expensive storage unit.

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SKIP THE TRIPS to the mall for a new wardrobe each season. Buy a couple of pieces that you can interchange to create several outfits. Shop the clearance racks and off-season sales. You can skip the designer jeans in favor of having a beautiful wedding.

CONSIDER CUTTING THE CABLE or satellite television for a bit. You can sign up for services like Hulu or Netflix and still catch all of your favorite shows for a fraction of the price. TAKE THE BUS or subway instead of a taxi. Taxi rides are expensive compared to the bit of change it costs to take public transportation. TURN YOUR CLUTTER INTO CASH. Have a yard sale! Sell your old clothes, books, movies, games and so on. The stuff you don’t use that is just taking up space can be turned into cash for your wedding. There are lots of ways you can save a couple dollars here and there. Sit down and think about your daily habits. Even if it is only saving a dollar here, when you add it up over a year, it is big savings. Stay focused on the goal and you will be able to avoid those tempting money traps.

gayweddingsmag.com / GWM 15


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MAX & LUIGI October 10, 2015 / WeddingCity Photography

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HOW DID YOU MEET? Max and Luigi met on a gay chat called gayromeo. From the first time they met, (at Luigi’s house in Treviso near Venice) they understood that something different was happening. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TOGETHER? Maximilian and Luigi met each other three years ago. WOULD YOU CONSIDER YOURSELVES OPPOSITES? OR MORE SIMILAR? Luigi is a very simple and linear person. Maximilian is more complex and full of ideas about work, living, cooking, and fun. WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST OBSTACLES YOU HAVE HAD TO OVERCOME IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP? They live in Venice in Maximilian House. Maximilian is an architect, Luigi is a worker, actually unemployed. But they will start to have an activity together: a little guest house in Venice, furnished with recycled typical Venetian items and new furniture. The idea is to let the guest feel as home as in a Venetian modern home. Maximilian’s parents live in south Italy. They know about the homosexuality of Maximilian, and they accept the relationship of Maximilian with Luigi with love and joy. Luigi is now a very good friend of Maximilian’s brother and

at Christmas they are invited to spent the holiday with family. Luigi’s parents have passed and they didn’t know that their son was gay. They had some issues in the beginning of the relationship, but the new guest house project is a great chance for them to work on their communication and goals. TELL US ABOUT THE PLANS FOR YOUR WEDDING. WILL IT BE BIG, SMALL? WHY? In Italy it is not allowed to have a marriage or

something similar between two men, so they decided to celebrate the union privately. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A COUPLE THAT IS NEWLY ENGAGED? I can suggest to the newly engaged couples to stay together and don’t give up at the first hurdle. It is very easy to break a relationship between gay people, there are many temptations, but it is not so easy to find compatibility between two people. So don’t give up! gayweddingsmag.com / GWM 19


interview

JOHNNY SALIB ON LIFE, LOVE & QUEERDEER MEDIA TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF! WHERE ARE YOU FROM, WHERE DID YOU GO TO SCHOOL, ETC.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES YOU’VE FACED WHILE WORKING WITH QUEERDEER MEDIA?

My name is Johnny Salib and I’m from Toronto, ON. I studied at Humber College for Theatre Performance and later studied at George Brown College for playwriting. I’m primarily a devised/ movement based theatre creator and sound designer, although I dabble with other artistic practices.

I think the main issue is outreach. Queerdeer has a strong support group, but it’s hard to keep your name out there while there are so many other companies trying to do the same thing. WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT IT?

It’s so cliché, but it’s the people who approach me at queerdeer. I love getting e-mails from people who are excited by the work I do and want to take part in sharing their own experiences. I’ve always wanted to help magnify the voices of the LGBT community and so to be able to do my job makes me feel quite accomplished. There’s nothing better than hearing that the stories published have changed the perspectives of subscribers.

YOU HAVE A LONG HISTORY WITH ACTING, THEATER AND THE MEDIA. WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE PROJECTS OR SHOWS YOU’VE PARTICIPATED IN?

I have a few favorite projects. For theatre, I enjoyed creating my oneman show Oasis Love. Oasis Love is a piece that follows Damien, a love stricken boy, as he navigates himself through his first real relationship. Oasis Love explored topics such as manipulation, infidelity, and delusion (the idea of holding your significant other on a pedestal, ignoring the warning signs of an abusive relationship.) Why did I enjoy creating this piece? I really got to let it simmer over the span of a year to really explore the text, shredding it to pieces and reassembling it in an abstract form which doesn’t follow a linear storyline. I also got to design some kick-ass music, playing off of variations of “I Wanna Be Loved By You” by Marilyn Monroe. As for music/ sound design, I had a great time working on my debut Album Distant Star. Released in 2014, Distant Star really put my design skills to the test. I used a lot of found objects for instrumentation on the album, trying to redefine music and design for myself. It’s also the only album I have released that features my voice. I have a really big fascination with redefining what art is to me.

YOU ALSO FOUNDED OUR QUEER HISTORY, OUR QUEER STORIES, OUR DAILY QUEER AND OUR QUEER ART. HOW DO YOU BALANCE ALL OF YOUR PROJECTS AND YOUR PERSONAL LIFE?

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO OPEN QUEERDEER MEDIA?

To be honest, it was partly out of necessity. I find promotions and advertisement quite inaccessible for emerging artists and creators. So, I created queerdeer to use my social media knowledge to help other queer artists for low rates. Along the way I began becoming a lot more political and started using queerdeer as an outlet for articles regarding queer life and the LGBT struggle. Now queerdeer has become a much bigger project. It helps support films, events, books, artists, quite frankly any queer folk who need the extra hand with advertisement and promotions.

That’s a tough one. In reality, I don’t. I’m still trying to find the perfect balance between all of my projects and my personal life. I’m at a stage where my projects are always on the go. From April 2015 to October 2015 I rarely had only a few days off where I could relax. I remember in the month of June I had one day off which I used to go out on a date with my partner. Luckily, he’s insanely understanding and supports the work that I do. HOW DID YOU AND YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER MEET? HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TOGETHER?

Funny enough, Tinder. I was never a fan of “social dating apps” and when I finally downloaded it I swiped everyone right. Yes, you can shake your head at me for being continued on page 78

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Real Weddings

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LAURA & NADIRA October 4, 2015 / Willow Noavi Photography

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Real Weddings

HOW DID YOU MEET? Nadira and Laura met unexpectedly through a mutual friend at a local pub in Grand Rapids. It was love at first sight for Nadira, but Laura needed a little convincing (you can’t be too careful these days!). It took some time for Nadira to get a date with her, but when she sent flowers, Laura finally agreed to coffee. They talked for hours like old friends and Laura realized her hesitation was unnecessary, she had found the one. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TOGETHER? Three years this February. WHAT IS THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE YOU’VE HAD TO OVERCOME AS A COUPLE? We’ve spent a significant portion of time, energy and emotions navigating through unaccepting family members. Unfortunately this is common in the LGBT community, and dealing with it on top of wedding planning was stressful. We set healthy boundaries and leaned on each other as well as our loving support systems. WHAT DO YOU LOVE THE MOST ABOUT YOUR SPOUSE? Nadira: I love how Laura brings out the best in me and is supportive in everything I do. She’s my rock. Laura: I love how selfless Nadira is and that she is the greatest cheerleader for our relationship and any obstacle we encounter. Her positivity and resilience inspires me to be better every day.

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DESCRIBE YOUR WEDDING DAY: Our wedding day was surreal. Every element was woodsy, ethereal, and romantic, filled with love and excitement. Our ceremony and reception was held at a historic inn underneath ancient pine trees overlooking Lake Michigan on Traverse City’s Old Mission Peninsula, Michigan’s wine country. The day was cloudy until we headed down the aisle and the sun came out just for our ceremony. There were blankets awaiting our guests in an antique steamer trunk, toss cones full of lavender, and hand-lettered signage on vintage mirrors. We had about 90 friends and family members who flew from all parts of the country to celebrate with us. The cocktail hour was held on the stone patio, complete with a trellis covered in grape vines and a huge fireplace with stone seating. Our reception space was decorated with greenery, lux linens, taper candles and gold décor. We had an outstanding band that played strings for the ceremony, jazz for the cocktail hour and entertained with a variety of music the rest of the night. There were multiple activities for guests to enjoy including a photo booth with props, a s’more station outside by the fireplace and a sendoff where we all lit dozens of wishing lanterns into the sky. We’re blessed to have shared a beautiful, perfect day with our loved ones. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART? Nadira: Laura walking down the aisle with her father. I was nervous and excited until I saw her and then I was awestruck. We had been encouraged to do a first-look but I’m so happy we didn’t because I wouldn’t trade that moment for anything. Laura: My favorite part was signing our marriage license. I never thought I would be able to legally marry the love of my life. Signing those papers with my family members there to witnesses was incredible. gayweddingsmag.com / GWM 25


Real Weddings

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WERE THERE ANY SURPRISES (GOOD OR BAD) THAT HAPPENED? Nadira had one of our engagement photos with Justice Kennedy’s opinion printed on wood. It was delivered to me on our wedding day by our photographers and the whole room erupted into tears when I opened it. It was a very emotional moment that I will never forget. Also, my sisters’ gave a toast together that received a standing ovation. There were so many beautiful surprise moments that happened throughout, all of them blessings that enhanced our special day. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER COUPLES PLANNING THEIR WEDDING? Be patient with each other and commit to a look and feel from the beginning so you can take a step back when things become overwhelming and refer back to your plan. Consider using local artists and seek recommendations from trusted vendors or other brides. Don’t be afraid to drop a venue if they’re not giving you good customer service. We had a bad experience with our first rehearsal dinner location. We canceled about 1 month before the wedding and went with another restaurant. We were terrified because it was so last minute but ended up being the best decision. Lastly, remember that at the end of the day your wedding is about your love and commitment to each other not a perfectly curated show. When the day arrives, just focus on the two of you and enjoy your guests…it goes by so fast. NOW THAT THE WEDDING IS OVER, WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS OR FUTURE PLANS AS A MARRIED COUPLE? We want to enjoy being newlyweds right now. We are looking forward to learning about each other as a married couple. We have plans to work on some home renovations and do some traveling. Laura was accepted into an EMBA program when we were engaged and has three semesters left until graduation. We hope to eventually start a family in a few years but right now, we’re incredibly grateful and blessed to just enjoy our lives exactly where we are at. Location: Traverse City, Michigan Wedding Consultant: Sarah Rhodes-Boyce, Sincerely, Ginger Weddings Ceremony Site: The Front Lawn at Mission Table Reception Site: Peninsula Room Caterer: Jolly Pumpkin/Peninsula Room Wedding Cake: Simply Sweet by Jessica Florist: BLOOM floral design Clothing/Gowns/Suits: Laura’s gown: Maggie Sottero, Nadira’s gown: Catherine Deane, Bridesmaids’ gowns: Jenny Yoo, Men’s tuxes: The Black Tux Hair/Makeup: Memorable Occasions Music: Brena Band Linens: La Tavola Fine Linens Invitations: Wide Eyes Paper Co.

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By Todd Russell ongratulations! The planning and preparations are coming together for your wedding day. You have chosen and registered items that represent the both of you for the perfect wedding. Blending your styles together in your home is also an important step to take with your new spouse. The first impression anyone sees should represent both of your styles. Now when you cross the threshold of your home together, how will the entry to your new home represent the style for both of you? We all know the importance of making a great first impression, and the old saying doesn’t just hold true for job interviews. You really don’t want the first thing people see in your home to be a messy, misused thoughtless spot. It is important that your entryway seems planned, organized and deliberate. There is a vital combination of practicality and personality. The entry is a taste of what you’re going to get in the rest of the home. Whether you’ve got a giant entryway with plenty of room to spare, or a door

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that leads directly into a tiny studio apartment, even the tiniest of foyers can become an appealing area for guests to pause and prepare to further delve into your dwelling. Walk into a well-appointed foyer and you’ll know you’ve arrived. Here are a few creative ideas to make your entrance great and grand. Play with color. If you are able to paint it is the single least expensive way to add character. The tendency is to paint the entry a neutral color to appeal to the majority and open up the area as much as possible. However, if you are not quite brave enough to use a strong color in other spaces in your home, this is the perfect place to add that wow color. It won’t overpower as this is a space you simply pass through rather than linger. After all, this is an area that should reflect the personality of you, your spouse and family. Why not put a smile on people’s faces as they arrive? To make a simple entry more grand, start off with some sort of surface where you can toss your keys, the mail, loose change or whatever else you pick up and drop off as you enter or exit your home.

You can start with something as simple as a console table; even one that’s on the small side will give you a landing strip for your belongings. If the table has a drawer for storage even better, but if not think of baskets or bins that can easily slide underneath the table and help conceal everything from shoes to umbrellas. A table or chest is a great idea if you have the space but if you don’t, try installing a shelf or wall bracket. You’ll still get a surface area without sacrificing space. Many foyers will have a chandelier or overhead fixture which is great, but it’s always nice to also have another light source such as a table lamp. If you come in when it’s dark it’s nice to be able to turn a soft light on right away without overwhelming your eyes with too much light. They can also create a soft and welcoming atmosphere that’s really lovely when guests come over. A runner or rug of some kind is welcoming thanks to its softness, texture and color. Since this is a high-traffic area, choose a rug that can take the beating. A rug will also help define the space. Generally speaking the bigger the rug


the bigger the space feels. If you choose a dinky rug, it will make the space feel dinky. Remember not to get something so thick the door can’t open and close over it. On the wall, you can’t go wrong with a mirror. Most of us like to take one last look at ourselves before leaving the house. A full length mirror is great if it makes sense in your space, but otherwise hanging one over your table or shelf is perfect. Mirrors are also great because they open up the space and reflect light. In a small entryway a mirror can make a world of difference. Create a gallery of your favorite photos. It gives a visitor an idea of the family, friends, pets, children and places that you both love and enjoy. If there’s no closet be sure to add a coat rack or some wall hooks for hanging coats and bags. A vase of flowers is a magnificent touch. It’s a lovely thing for you to see as soon as you walk in the door. A bench, stool or chair is great for sitting down and slipping on or off your shoes. Even if you don’t use it, it’s a nice thing to have when guests come to visit.

An umbrella stand is a great idea if you’ve got the space. There are a lot of really nice ones available on the market and they can be an interesting decorative element. It’ll also make sure you never lose your umbrella. If you live in a condo or apartment, you may not be able to do much to the exterior of your entryway. If you can, make the most of the first introduction people get to your home. Even something as simple as sweeping your front walkway goes a very long way toward creating a welcoming feeling. If you’re in a situation where you can paint your front door, it’s an easy way to give your façade a facelift. A high-gloss exterior paint is very dramatic. Go classic with navy or charcoal grey or really make your entry pop by selecting a color like yellow. Do something clever and interesting that screams welcome but yet talks to your own personality. Remember you’re setting the stage and helping everyone outside see a little of your personality. Give them a reason to come knocking on your door. Accessories like plants, doormats and house numbers can complete the look.

The entryway sets the scene for your home, so when decorating a foyer be sure to include things that represent both of you. Put as much thought into it as you would any other room in your home. Think about style, color, and what kind of tone and mood you want to create. Remember the most important part of any entryway is the person’s hand that you hold while crossing the threshold. Now it will be even easier to surround yourself in beautiful home décor. Be sure to shop my new home collection at bluedothome market.com Design is everything. EVERYTHING! Todd Russell is a professional Interior Designer with over 20 years experience in helping couples create unique living spaces. He can be found on his Facebook page Blue Dot Interiors. facebook.com/bluedotinteriors gayweddingsmag.com / GWM 29


Real Weddings

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eff and Jason’s La Quinta Resort wedding was such a fabulous affair – everything was so well planned and put together. Set up on a blind date while in New York, Jeff and Jason instantly clicked. During his vows, Jeff reminisced about hoping that Jason was the One … and he was. They spent their entire first date just roaming around the streets of Manhattan, getting to know each other until finally sharing their first kiss on the corner of 26th and 7th. It’s been a fantastic love story ever since. Watching them together was beautiful – two people perfectly matched to be together. The ceremony, led by their family friend Bill, was brief but so full of heart. Jason’s eldest son, Jackson, read a poignant poem about how falling love is like owning a dog (by Taylor Mali), and it brilliantly spoke of how love is a responsibility and a gift, and something to be taken care of and cherished. Once he was finished, Jeff surprised Jackson and his younger brother Johnson with personalized dog tags, which had everyone in tears. It was a surprise gesture that even Jason didn’t know about, and they turned out so awesome. They’re both incredibly busy with their jobs, which have kept them apart for two years. Jeff has been busy working with a show tour and Jason’s work is based out of Dallas, so they are looking forward to finally starting their lives together. It was absolutely fitting that their recessional song was “It’s 1200 Miles from Texas to Palm Springs” by Dean Martin. After the ceremony, Jeff and Jason’s closest friends and family gathered for a lovely reception in the La Casa courtyard at the La Quinta Resort, and danced the night away under twinkly lights and a full moon. The tables were decorated with lovely flowers from Jensen’s, and each guest received United States shaped cookies that maps their love story from New York, to Texas, finally with a cute little heart in La Quinta.

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JASON & JEFF April 4, 2015 Randy and Ashley Studios

Tuxedo and Mens Attire: Brooks Brothers Shoes: Converse Tuxedo and Mens Attire: Happy Socks Groomsman Attire: JCPenney Tuxedo and Mens Attire: Swatch Ring Designer: Tiffany & Co. Event Planner: Celebrations of Joy Cake Designer: Exquisite Desserts Floral Designer: Jensen’s Foods Reception Venue: La Quinta Resort and Club Equipment Rentals: Signature Party Rentals DJ: Zephyr Brown

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transgender times

ASHLIE & TINA CARRIER By Michael Eric Brown elebrating a second marriage to the same person is proof of lasting love and friendship, and Ashlie and Tina are evidence of this certainty. Having met in an online chat room in 2000 after failed past relationships and living in separate towns, they struck up a conversation that led to a summer of falling in love. By that fall, they had started dating and then spent the next seven years traveling and enjoying their young lives together. “After talking about marriage many times and many ‘proposals’, we officially got engaged in early 2006 at Tina’s birthday party,” said Ashlie, and in May 2007, they were married and honeymooned in Niagara Falls.

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Life was perfect… but then, something happened…

It was a beautiful wedding with over 200 guests, and “Life was perfect” says Ashlie. But then, something happened that changed not only how they saw each other, but also in the way the world saw them as a couple. You see, when the couple met, Ashlie was still presenting as male, and their marriage was a typical straight marriage between a man and a woman in New Hampshire. Ashlie explains that over time, “I began to question my gender identity. This was a long time before I knew that there was a word to describe myself.” She says she had a fairly normal childhood, and even into her adult life with her wife, she lived and worked as a man. She was involved with drama and band in school, was a DJ at events, and she never worried about what other people thought about her, although she had not shared with anyone about what thoughts were going on inside. Once her and Tina were together, however, she opened up to her and shared some of these private thoughts, such as wanting to have long hair and painted fingernails. Tina, being supportive, helped her embrace these feelings, and it wasn’t long before Ashlie had grown out her hair. Her voice had always been naturally high, 32 GWM / Spring 2016

and after losing some excess weight, she put on some of Tina’s clothes and her best friend gave her a makeover. She chose the name Ashlie for her feminine self, and the two began going out on the weekends as two women. Ashlie continues, “What started as fun times on the weekends with Tina as two fun girls turned into me realizing my true self.” After someone at work asked her if she was transitioning, and a night of the two of them Googling about it, she admits this was what cleared it all up for her and led her to coming out to Tina as Trans. It was inevitable that Ashlie would begin her gender transition in order to live as her authentic female self. Ashlie mentions, “When I came out to my wife as transgender, Tina was pregnant with our daughter. We discussed many things, and we ultimately felt that my transitioning and going full time was best to complete before our daughter was born.” Wasting no time, she began living full time as a woman two weeks later.

We pledged to stay together through everything that is thrown at us

When asked how she felt about this new development in their marriage, Tina told GWM “It was weird at first, but we have so much love and needed to stay together. We pledged to stay together through everything that is thrown at us. It’s definitely been a test of our true love for each other.” In the early months of Ashlie’s transition, many of their friends questioned

Tina’s commitment to her, and judged her often. Although they never lost any family, Ashlie states “a few mutual friendships and work relationships ended—for the better.” One of the largest positive changes was how both of them, as well as most of their friends, took it surprisingly well to the couple presenting socially as lesbians, although Tina admits that it took her a little time to come to terms with her new social sexual identity. She had always been considered a straight woman, but because it was important for Tina to think about their marriage, and herself, in a different light, soon she was comfortable with her new social identity. Ashlie also mentions their daughter again, “Our daughter knows the truth behind her parents, and she is very proud of her two moms.”

Her chance to be a bride

Tina realized that she wanted to have a marriage license that reflected both of them correctly – Ashlie and Tina—two lesbians. One evening, as they were cuddling and talking (yes, even after all those years!) she asked Ashlie to marry her again. Tina’s eighth anniversary present to Ashlie was to redo their wedding and renew their vows as the same sex couple they are today. They also both agreed that it would be nice to have wedding pictures to show, reflecting Ashlie as her true self, since the originals are now locked away. Their 2015 legally-recognized samesex wedding ceremony was in Syracuse on their seven-acre farm, in a beautiful outdoor garden area. Fifty friends, colleagues and their parents attended their wedding and their minister, Laureen, officiated. It was here that these two women created new vows and promises to each other. For Ashlie, it was a chance for her to be a bride, and the garden had been created especially for her to remember the support, love and commitment that Tina showed to her during her transition. During the celebrations, it became the first time someone referred to Ashlie as Tina’s wife. Until then, since Ashlie’s transition they had always used the terms


transgender times “spouse” or “partner” to refer to each other, but now Ashlie says about Tina “Since the new wedding, she has been proud to tell everyone that I’m her wife.” Both agree it was a magical day, complete with anniversary rings and a Sand Ceremony. Their daughter Emmah, was Ashlie’s Flower Girl, and their niece was Tina’s Flower Girl. Their honeymoon was a romantic cruise to Bermuda. Ashlie, in sharing her feelings towards Tina, says, “To this day, I feel that the bond and relationship that we share has made me the amazing woman I am today. She has taught me the world.” Tina, too, has positive things to say about Ashlie, including “By watching her grow emotionally and physically, it has created a more romantic and feminine aspect to our relationship and marriage.”

We marry the souls of our spouses

Ashlie wants other couples that are going through a gender transition to know “Love and compassion for each other’s souls

Although you ultimately fall in love with the person in front of you, remember that who they really are on the inside is what matters.

makes every day adventures easier. Always give time to your spouse to listen to their issues and address them as a couple always. Although you ultimately fall in love with the person in front of you, remember that who they really are on the inside is what matters.” Tina adds to this by saying, “We marry the souls of our spouses. Not their bodies. Trans people are born in the gender they come out as, so to cis[gender] women, your husband didn’t ‘become a girl,’ they’ve just always been one.” She also says that love and compassion are the strongest support one can show their spouse, and although it’s true that your life will “flip upside down” for a while, and you’ll go through a mourning process, you’ll see your spouse become truly happy. Tina wants others to know that it is this authentic happiness that allows your shared emotional bond to grow even stronger, and “as long as you open your heart and mind, love will find a way.”

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featured vendor

CARINA PHOTOGRAPHICS M y name is Joanna Carina and I am a Minneapolis wedding photographer. Some wedding industry colleagues and I had put together a styled wedding photo shoot this past fall with a real-life Minneapolis couple and an extremely unique venue.

I had been invited to photograph at The Big Wedding Party at the First Universalist Unitarian Church of Minneapolis immediately following the legalization of same-sex marriage in MN in August of 2013. There I met an adorable couple who were renewing their wedding vows - Mary and Lisa. They had been originally married at a Justice of the Peace in Canada eight years prior when same-sex marriage was illegal throughout the United States. I had a mutual friend ask them if they would be interested in working with me as I had been looking for models for my upcoming styled wedding photo shoot in 2014, and they were so cute and perfect. Not only were they interested when asked, they were downright excited!

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featured vendor

Here is Mary’s description of her thoughts once we started working together: “When we were first asked to do the shoot we thought it was too good to be true. We would have loved professional wedding pictures but thought that opportunity had long passed. We were excited by the offer of being the models for the stylized shoot but really had no idea what it meant. When we heard from Joanna about setting a date for the shoot (over a year from the time we were invited to do the shoot) we couldn’t believe it was really going to happen. We thought we would wear our dresses; do our own hair and make-up and meet for a couple of hours to take a few pictures. We had no idea about what was really going to happen. When we got a call from Casey (our wedding planner) we got a little nervous. Whoa. This was big time! When we heard we would have professional hair and make-up as well as headpieces customized just for us we were surprised and wondered what we had gotten ourselves into. (All good, by the way.) I know for me I took the approach of feeling honored and grateful to have the opportunity and to just be myself. It was exciting to have all of this attention

placed on us (the brides). Everyone I was meeting who was involved in the shoot made me feel so special. I really felt like this was my wedding day all over again. When I saw how Lisa was transformed from my life partner; a mother; a friend; to a bride again I felt like the luckiest person on earth. Wow! To be able to recreate those amazing/powerful feelings you feel on your wedding day not just once...was truly unreal. The photo shoot allowed Lisa and I an opportunity that many young parents and professionals do not get - the chance to reconnect and remember why we married each other in the first place. I felt the same natural high I felt the day we actually got married 8 years ago. continued on page 78

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Real Weddings

KATRINA & SANDY June 27, 2015 / Colette Kulig Photography

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Real Weddings

HOW DID YOU MEET? We met while working together in Burlington, Vermont. We became friends during the short time that we worked together. Katrina found out that she would be leaving the area for a new job in New Hampshire, and made it clear that she did not wish to leave Sandy behind. We officially became a couple, and a few months later, Sandy moved to the area. Two years later we moved in together and in two more years we were engaged and moving to New York. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TOGETHER? We have been together for 6 and half years, and were engaged for 2 years. WHAT IS THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE YOU’VE HAD TO OVERCOME AS A COUPLE? In the beginning, I think it was hard for some people to accept our relationship or take it seriously because of the considerable age difference (19 years), the fact that this was Katrina’s first same-sex relationship, and how quickly the relationship progressed. We knew when we first met that there was something between us that we could not ignore. Eventually, everyone else saw how happy we were together and knew our love was genuine.

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WHAT DO YOU LOVE THE MOST ABOUT YOUR SPOUSE? Katrina: I cannot get enough of her laugh! And going along with that, how she makes me laugh. Sandy: Her sense of humor! DESCRIBE YOUR WEDDING DAY: Our wedding day was special before it even began because it came just a day after the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have the right to marry in all 50 states. Even though it had been legal for us to marry in Vermont since 2009, it was amazing to know that the federal government would recognize our marriage, and that all couples across the country could now share in the same joy that we were about to experience. Another special part of our wedding was that it was the first time that our families met. Given that Sandy’s family lives in Tennessee and Katrina’s family lives in Vermont, this was the first opportunity to get everyone together in one place. It meant the world to us that most of Sandy’s family was able to make the trip from TN. The whole ceremony was just as we had imagined-- meaningful and intimate with our closest friends and family. At the end of the ceremony we danced down the aisle greeting all of our guests to Brandi Carlile’s “Wherever is Your Heart.” The inside of the tent was decorated with kites, because we are big kids at heart and we have always enjoyed flying kites together. These kites tied in beautifully with the rainbow kites on the wedding invitations that were designed by Katrina’s sister, Vanessa. The tables were draped with red gingham checked table clothes, sewn by Katrina’s Aunt Patti, to give a backyard picnic feel. We were adamant that we were not going to have set “colors,” so we chose multicolored glass bottles and flowers to decorate the tables. Katrina’s mom and her best friend, Debbie, chose and arranged all the flowers for the tables and bouquets the night before the wedding. Also on the tables were bottles of maple syrup and Mason jar shot glasses for the guests to take home. We attended our own cocktail hour because the food and fun was too good to miss! We had a variety of lawn games set up around the yard to give our guests something to do other than sit around. People really seemed to enjoy this! While playing games like bocce, Polish horseshoes or corn hole, our guest munched on fried pickles, Parmesan artichoke dip, mini black bean burgers, and Thai rolls. Colorful outdoor ottomans were scattered around the yard for seating. gayweddingsmag.com / GWM 39


Real Weddings

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Although you wouldn’t normally want restrooms to be a focal point of a wedding, we ended up getting a ton of compliments on them from our guests! We wanted to make sure our restrooms would go with the whole theme instead of being an eyesore. We first splurged on two-room luxury restroom trailer completed with flushing toilets, sinks, air conditioning and music. For the outside, our family friend, Chuck, and his crew build an unbelievable façade to look like a rustic cabin-like outhouse. Katrina’s mother stained all of the raw wood to make it look aged and weathered. She also constructed a rustic looking lemonade stand for photos, and decorated a mailbox to hold the wedding cards we received. As you can tell, our family and friends really pulled out all the stops to make our wedding special and one-of-a-kind. We stocked our bar ourselves with plenty of wine, beer, liquor and moonshine. Katrina’s dad was happy to offer his wooden bar, and his old canoe filled with ice to keep the beer and wine cold. Once we made an announcement that the Mason jar shot glasses were for the moonshine, people were lining up for white lightning and moonshine soaked cherries! Katrina’s sister even took a shot before her speech to get some liquid courage; while Sandy’s niece blamed the alcohol for losing her place in the speech she had written moments before. Both speeches were heartfelt with jokes thrown in for good laughs. Our cake was decorated with our two favorite colors, blue and orange, and a tall purple iris in memory of Sandy’s mother. Thanks to our cake artist, Abbi, the cake tasted just as good as it looked. There was ample super sweet cookie and cream icing between layers of vanilla cake. There was even a surprise Mason jar full of mostly icing for Sandy, since that is her favorite part of any cake. On top of the cake was a custommade cake topper: a unicorn with a veil and dragon holding a bouquet. We included a written story about why we call each other Dragon and Unicorn, which is far too long to explain here.

WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART? Katrina: Dancing all night with our friends and family to music that we had picked out, explicit versions and all! Sandy: All of it! The whole day from start to finish. WERE THERE ANY SURPRISES (GOOD OR BAD) THAT HAPPENED? The tent and crew arrived the Wednesday before the wedding because we knew we would need as much time as we could get to set things up under the tent in advance since our wedding was very DIY. We had the two site options checked out multiple times starting a year in advance so that there wouldn’t be any problems. The tent took about two and half hours to set up from beginning to end and it looked great! Ten minutes after the crew left, a truck pulled into the driveway. It was the power company. I went up to them and asked if they were here for something related to the wedding (thinking that they needed to do one final inspection given that they showed up just after the tent crew left). The one guy answered, “Nope, we’re here because that tent is too close to the power lines!” To say I lost my mind on them would be a huge understatement! I told them that we had had this checked out a year ago and we were told that this would not be a problem. (Meanwhile in my head I’m thinking if we can’t keep the tent here, we have no other options even if the crew was able to come back to move the tent because the ground in the backyard was too wet from so many rainy days). If we didn’t have the tent, we didn’t have a wedding! It turned out that a neighbor with nothing better to do had called the power company to complain. After many hours of anxiety, pictures of the site, visits from supervisors, calls to meteorologists, and a return visit from the tent crew to add additional stakes to the tent, continued on page 82

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Wediquette

HOW TO ROCK THE ROOM WITH A KILLER WEDDING TOAST

By Lauren Stine

elivering an inspiring wedding toast is no easy feat. Your Best Man or Matron and Maid of Honor will truly be up to a challenge to produce witty, humorous, and touching tributes to you and your new spouse. There are, however, some tips and tricks that can help them out. Slip these ideas into conversation with them, or for a more direct approach, stick this page in their purse or car!

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A TIME FOR TOASTS, NOT ROASTS

There is a fine line with humor in a wedding speech. While one person’s sense of humor might be slightly crude and his or her friends love it, you have to take into account everyone who is listening to your speech. A good rule of thumb when writing your toast is not to say anything you’d be ashamed to say in front of your dear grandma or adorable auntie. You wouldn’t want to make her spit champagne out on her nice dress, would you?

THE NEVER-ENDING STORY

In wedding speeches, less is truly more. Keep your speech short and witty. If it’s longer than three minutes, cut it down. Yes, we’re serious. Chances are, several people will be giving toasts. Don’t let guests remember you as the speech-giver who delayed dinner for twenty minutes while you told notso-funny jokes. Practice your speech before the wedding and time it. When you stumble or get off track, make some notes. It’s okay to have an outline of what you’re going to say as long as you can look up and make eye contact while giving your speech.

TREAD LIGHTLY

Everyone has things in the past he or she would probably prefer to forget. If you know one or both of the newlyweds has a few skeletons in his or her closet, your job is not to touch those topics even with a twenty-foot pole. Nothing will be more unbearable for the new couple than sitting in embarrassment as you divulge some sensitive information. Chances are, the guests won’t find it amusing either.

DON’T DO NEGATIVES

When writing your speech, try to keep everything in a positive light. If you’re friends with only one of the newlyweds, teasing or light-hearted jokes can sometimes come off the wrong way to the crowd, or worse, to your friend’s new husband or wife. If you choose to recount memories, stick to happy, positive ones. If you think a story or quote might be received the wrong way, it probably will be. Go with your gut.

BALANCE IS BEST

The biggest challenge to remember is this toast is not really about you. Your job is to channel the love of two amazing people who just took a huge step in their relationship. Keep the spotlight on them. Take time to balance humor with emotion; this speech shouldn’t be a standup comedy routine, but you shouldn’t be so choked up you can’t finish your toast. The key to an amazing speech lies in tailoring it to the couple and the listeners and leaving everyone with some feel-good vibes they can carry on into the rest of the evening.

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Real Weddings

HOW DID YOU MEET? We met on an online website called OK Cupid. Nicolas heard a news report on NPR Radio and decided to try it. Jeremy was on their for about a year. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TOGETHER? 4 ½ years. WHAT DO YOU LOVE THE MOST ABOUT YOUR SPOUSE? Nicolas has the patience and drive that I have always been looking for. He is the most caring, sensitive person I know. Both are parents have been together for over 35+ years and marriage is important to us. Jeremy has the drive, always giving back to his community with non-profits and volunteering. DESCRIBE YOUR WEDDING DAY: We got married in San Francisco at City Hall a couple months prior to the wedding because it was illegal in Arizona. So, we decided to have a big party to celebrate our marriage. We had over 250 people to celebrate with us. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART? Blending both parts of our heritage. We had a Gay Rabbi to bless our recent marriage (Jeremy is Jewish) and had Greek traditions as well. Nicolas purchased over 250 plates that were broken on the floor as a celebration.

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JEREMY & NICOLAS November 22, 2014

Leland Gebhardt

WERE THERE ANY SURPRISES (GOOD OR BAD) THAT HAPPENED? Nicolas surprised Jeremy with a vintage Rolls Royce to drive to the wedding celebration. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER COUPLES PLANNING THEIR WEDDING? Patience. Compromise. Don’t get disappointed in people not being able to make it to the event, make it about you both and only you. This is your day. NOW THAT THE WEDDING IS OVER, WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS OR FUTURE PLANS AS A MARRIED COUPLE? To be great role models for our community. Volunteer as much as we can as well as being supportive to our family and friends. Location: The Heard Museum Reception Site: The Heard Museum Caterer: The Hyatt Wedding Cake: Janet LaDue, Love and Buttah Clothing/Gowns/Suits: Custom Tuxedos-Lynn Marvel, Tom Ford Bowties DJ: D Jay Kaibil Invitations: Phil Conley Designs

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Honeymoon advice

DELAYING THE HONEYMOON

f you’re busy planning your wedding, chances are you’re pretty excited about your honeymoon as well. Most couples depart for their honeymoon right after their wedding. However many couples delay their honeymoon due to work, school, or other demands. But delaying your honeymoon a bit can actually be a fantastic idea!

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Here are three reasons why it’s great to wait:

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THE WEATHER: Let’s say you’ve been dying to go to Costa Rica, but you’re getting married in September. September is the height of the rainy season! So by delaying your honeymoon

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and going to Costa Rica in December or January, you’ll have a much more enjoyable experience.

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THE SAVINGS: A Christmas holiday wedding can be beautiful, but also falls in one of the most expensive times of year to travel. By delaying your honeymoon a few months, you can save significantly on flights and hotels.

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THE ANTICIPATION: After months of looking forward to your wedding, the months after can seem a little less exciting. Scheduling your honeymoon a few months after your wedding gives you a new event to look forward to!

While traditionally the honeymoon does start within a couple of days of the wedding ceremony, it really can be great to schedule it a few weeks, or even months after your wedding. Bliss Honeymoons is an award winning, boutique travel agency located in Columbus, OH serving all couples nationwide. The pros at Bliss Honeymoons are very well traveled, and can help you have an amazing honeymoon, destination wedding, or romantic get-away. To learn more about our services, contact us today at www.blisshoneymoons.com!


treat tips

5 UNIQUE TREATS 1

We all know the drill: Dance, Speeches, Cut the Cake. I’ve seen it happen time and time again. The guests start to tune out during the reception from the routine of it all. Wake them up with some of these unique dessert ideas, and I promise your guests will be talking about your wedding long after you say I DO.

1 MINI LAYERED CAKES can bring color and variety to your event. Also, they cost about the same as a slice of cake.

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2 CAKE POPS are fun, and you won’t waste money on pesky plates and forks. But be prepared for your guests to consume two or three each! 3 ASSORTED PIES AND CAKES are an affordable alternative to the traditional wedding cake. Pick them up at your local bakery the day before. 4 MACAROONS are a unique addition to weddings that are trending up this year. Order a variety of colors to fit perfectly with your décor. 5 CUPCAKES are popular, because guests can help themselves. Also, plates and forks are one less thing to worry about.

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Real Weddings

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DORY & ROSALYNN November 7, 2015 / Ali Bonomo

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Real Weddings

HOW DID YOU MEET? I saw Dory for the first time at a Dolly Parton music event at Mississippi Pizza in Portland. I have always been attracted to redheads and skaters, she was both. I will always remember seeing her at the bar in her cutoff, jean jacket vest ordering a beer--what a cutie pie! I kept looking at her from afar and remember her skating away into the night later that evening. After this encounter I realized my recently found friend Leilani was roomies with Billy, one of Dory’s friends. I negotiated my way into going out with Leilani when I knew she would be accompanied by Billy and Dory. On such a night we were having drinks before going out to a dance night called Booty. We were getting ready to leave and I was on a bike and Dory on a Skateboard, so I offered to tow her up a big hill and the rest was history. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TOGETHER? 10 marvelous years! WHAT IS THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE YOU’VE HAD TO OVERCOME AS A COUPLE? Learning to compromise and experiencing grief as a couple. Compromise: Even though we are similar in a lot of ways, there are always ways in which we are distinct from one another. Whether it be our style, food choices, music/movies preferences or home decorating, everything needs to be discussed and negotiated. In those instances that we don’t agree on something of course we need to compromise. Over time we have learned to work through our differences in calm and collected manner, but no one is ever perfect and negotiations can still turn into arguments from time to time. Grief: Through our 10 years together, we have experience the loss of my (Dory’s) father, and the loss of 2 of our beloved pit bulls, Eddie Munster and Roxy. Grief is such a personal expression of loss and everyone grieves in their own way and has their own unique needs when they are hurting. When my father passed, Rosalynn sustained me in every way possible. She was my rock and I leaned on her for support. The loss of our dog was also really challenging because when you both are grieving at the same time and both needing support, it is presents new obstacles because people express it differently.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE THE MOST ABOUT YOUR SPOUSE? Dory: Rosalynn is the most amazing person I have ever met. She perfectly balances the drive and intensity that it takes to build a successful career with the silliness and carefree attitude that it takes to maintain a social life. She is one of the most dedicated 50 GWM / Spring 2016


and loyal people you will ever meet. She can plan the pants off of any event or vacation that you throw at her. We didn’t even have a wedding planner, because Rosalynn is so amazing that she was able to organize it all, practically on her own. We both share a passion for backpacking and hiking, traveling, and bully breed dogs. We have coffee in bed together EVERY morning and always start our day with love, laughter, and puppy dog kisses. Life could not get any better. The question is not, “what do you love most about your spouse?”… It is “what is there not to love?” Rosalynn: When I first met Dory I found her free and adventurous spirit to be intoxicating. I had never met such an independent person. I was also attracted to her hardworking nature and charming ways. Not to mention her sexy body and good looks. Being someone who is always assumed to be straight, I simply loved how gay she was/is, is that wrong to say? Fast forward 10 years later what I love most about Dory now is her smart brain and ambition. Now that Dory has found her calling in life and knows what she wants there is no stopping her. She is also my best friend unconditionally, in a world full of judgement and there is a lot of comfort in having someone that loves you no matter what your ups and downs may look like. Dory is also a thoughtful and sincere listener and as someone who tends to be that person for other people, it is a luxury to have someone in my life like Dory that does it for me.

DESCRIBE YOUR WEDDING DAY: Walking down the aisle arm and arm with my mom and dad was a moment I will never forget. I couldn’t hold back my tears because it was humbling to see 150+ friends and family from all periods of my life in a sea before me. Like my dad said during his toast the crowd was like a wave, propelling our surf boards towards shore on the ride of our lives. When Dory and I had our first conversation about the ceremony, we knew without speaking our officiant would be Joey Stevenson. Originally she had been Dory’s friend from the Michigan Women’s Musical Festival however, overtime, the three of them became family. Joey was actually sharing a seat with Dory the first night of our first kiss. Joey was obviously the perfect choice. Did I mention she is the daughter of a minister? She took the planning very seriously and, during three visits to Portland, in addition to several skype dates, together we perfected a ceremony that reflected our personalities and relationship. The narrative we developed honored the memory of Dory’s father Bo, acknowledged the recent political gains of the LGBTQ movement, and generated laughter from our guests the entire ceremony. There was a time when I thought Dory and I would never be legally recognized as a family. As a public servant, I had a hard time accepting this. Every day I work to make the world a better place and to witness firsthand a social injustice such as this was a tough pill to swallow. gayweddingsmag.com / GWM 51


Real Weddings

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Aside from the legal benefits, our country is experiencing a cultural shift and the traditional concept of what a family looks like is changing. While I planned the wedding, there were countless times when I was told what the ceremony was supposed to look like. Several people assumed, as women, we were both going to wear wedding dresses, when there was never a question in Dory’s mind that she would wear a suit. What I cherished most about our wedding was that the ceremony and evening festivities were a visual manifestation of our relationship. The new reality is that there is no normal and marriage ceremonies should be a creative reflection of the couple’s personality. In the past, when I listened to friends or co-workers talk about their wedding, it was commonly described as the best day of their life. At the time I would pretend to understand but internally I was skeptical because I didn’t see my life style fitting into the traditional mold. It turns out they were right because November 7th was the best day of my life. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART? To pick one part of our wedding as the favorite part would not do it justice because all of the pieces coming together perfectly is what made it so special. Plus it wasn’t just the event itself we loved but the entire process of planning it was very intimate. The absolute best part was having Rosalynn’s 93 year old Grandmother at the family dinner on Friday as well as the ceremony on Sat. Two weeks after the wedding she passed away unexpectedly and both of us feel extremely thankful she was able to make the long trip from Seattle to be with us.

WERE THERE ANY SURPRISES (GOOD OR BAD) THAT HAPPENED? Good Surprise: The wedding fell into place seemingly and overall went very smoothly. Also, even though we were forecast for heavy rain all day (not too unusual for Portland this time of year), the skies opened up for us miraculously during our outdoor photo shoot at the St. John’s Bridge. During this photoshoot there was also another wedding about to start and a rap video being shot. As soon as we wrapped up, it started to rain again. Bad Surprises: Dory: After the outdoor photo shoot, I ran up to use the restroom only to find someone getting ready in there. By the time I had the opportunity to go, I scrambled to pull my pants down and heard a rip. I checked the button and everything seemed OK so I put myself together and went to the hallway to start the processional. It wasn’t until the end of the night that I realized my pants had ripped where the tailor took them in in the back. Apparently, only 1 or 2 good friends noticed the rip. Thank goodness for suit coats! Rosalynn: Korin Noelle, a local ceramic artist was kind enough to let us borrow her recently handmade ceramic table number holders. Each was made in the likeness of a different animal. They were adorable and we were ecstatic that we could use them. At the end of the night the caterer and our friends were cleaning up and collecting all of the table decorations. Our dear friend Alex Simon was unofficially “in-charge” of collecting the ceramic critters. Much to her dismay, most of the critters went missing. Thankfully she waited to tell me until the next day and eventually said, “Roz, there is one thing I need to tell….ah I could only find 4 of the 20 animals.” We had agreed to pay full value for any of the table decorations that went missing, so needless to say, we panicked a little. This resulted in me digging through the trash with Alex the morning after the wedding. It wasn’t until Dory went to work a few days later that she saw one of the critters randomly on a shelf at the clinic she works in. She quickly realized something was amiss when she saw the guilty expressions on her coworkers’ faces. Apparently, her coworkers that were at the wedding, decided to pull a prank on Dory by collecting all of the animals, kidnapping them, and then placing them all over the clinic for Dory to find as a sort-of scavenger hunt. It was a very stressful situation with a funny ending. continued on page 83

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planning tips

By Lauren Stine

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ou’ve planned and you’ve prepped for months for the big wedding day, but you and your partner agree something is missing: pride. Gay pride of course! You still want it to be a classy event, but you know there has to be some way to throw a little rainbow spin into the mix.

Check out these seven unique ways to let love shine in an elegant and whimsical way. RAINBOW FLAGS & STREAMERS When you’re finally pronounced wife and wife or husband and husband, there will be nothing quite like walking down through an aisle filled with rainbow flags and streamers waving all for you. Ribbon streamers on long dowel rods are easy to make and will produce amazing photographs. Throw some pride flags into the mix, and you’ll have a hard time getting your guests to stop cheering for you. NO COLD FEET HERE Sock photographs are all the rage at weddings, but put your unique spin on this

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wedding day trend. Have each wedding attendant wear a different color pair of socks to create the rainbow as you all stand together. Not into socks? Chucks are a fun alternative that will add a kick to your day. LET THEM EAT CAKE Nothing is better than cake, are we right? WRONG. Rainbow cake reigns superior. Surprise your guests as they watch your cake cutting and discover your cake is chock full of gay pride. Better yet, surprise your new husband or wife. Call up the baker and ask them to make

a special order. We’ll want to see photos of that cake cutting because they’ll be amazing. We guarantee it. TASTE THE RAINBOW Apothecary and clear cookie jars are great for staging candy jars, and why not make it a candy bar that represents your love. Provide different colored candies in various jars, and you’ve found yourself a great way to incorporate some rainbow love into your wedding. Candies that work well are special ordered M&Ms, skittles, Swedish fish, rock candy, peach rings, and lollipops.


planning tips

TOAST TO LOVE One of the most memorable moments of your wedding day will be when your loved ones get up to speak about you and your new spouse. To honor their heartfelt words, toast with a set of rainbow champagne flutes. ACCESSORIZE The best part about your wedding day is it’s about you and your future spouse. You get to wear and do what you want, and that’s what makes it so special. Many wedding dresses now come with a sash; why not make it in the colors of the rainbow? Or maybe you’d really like all of your attendants to wear a different color bow tie? The options are endless. From cufflinks to rainbow shawls, the little touches are really what pull your wedding day together and will tell the story of your love. SPREAD THE LOVE “Love grows by giving. The love we give away is the only love we keep.” – Elbert Hubbard. If you’re looking for a thoughtful idea for guest favors, look into making a donation to a reputable LGBTQ Foundation, such as the Arcus Foundation or Get Equal.org. A $5 donation on behalf of each guest is probably less than you would spend on making or buying a favor, but it will have a larger impact. It’s a simple but noble nod toward a new future where everyone is accepted, regardless of whom we love and marry. What ideas do you have for your wedding? We’d love to hear how you plan to incorporate pride into your wedding day. Email pictures from your wedding to info@gayweddingsmag.com. gayweddingsmag.com / GWM 55


Real Weddings

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HOW DID YOU MEET? We met in Key West, while I (Ted) was living there for a couple months during the winter months. Greg worked as a bartender at 801 Bourbon, and I was out one night after work and stopped by his bar, where he came over and served me a Kettle and Soda. It was a slow night at the bar and I didn’t really know many people in town so I was just sitting by myself and enjoying a drink. Then Greg came back over and started to make small talk and I was interested. We always say I picked him up and then he kept me. There was no doubt in that I picked him up, but was expecting a fun night or a couple of nights and that was it. We have been together ever since. Our first date was at McDonalds, yes McDonalds. We were supposed to go to Outback for a dinner before he had to start his shift for the night. I had been day drinking and lounging pool side so when he said he was going to shower and then meet me, I said great and was looking forward to it. Unfortunately, I fell asleep on the couch and missed his calls and texts. When I woke up he said he was just going to McDonalds to grab a quick bite so I met him there and offered to buy dinner. So we joke of what a big spender I was on our first date.


TED & GREG July 18, 2015 / Melissa Perella

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TOGETHER? 4 ½ years. WHAT IS THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE YOU’VE HAD TO OVERCOME AS A COUPLE? Merging two very different lifestyles – me working corporate and having day hours and Greg working evening hours. We still have very different schedules, but we somehow make it work the best way we can. I work remotely and at home, so that definitely helps the schedules sometimes. WHAT DO YOU LOVE THE MOST ABOUT YOUR SPOUSE? We both love that we really do get each other and all of our quirks we find funny. We always just want to make sure the other is laughing and smiling and we both try that for each other. DESCRIBE YOUR WEDDING DAY: It was a sunny beautiful day and about 90 and we had planned for an early evening start at 6:30pm. Our guests were shuttled from Hotel Monaco in downtown Pittsburgh. We had arranged transportation in limo vans and then custom local trolley company, Molley’s Trolleys. The guests started to arrive around 6 pm, and we had a cocktail reception and hor’d ourves were served. This allowed for a wonderful greeting and being able to talk to our guests. We did not continued on page 83

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Marriage advice

AFTER MARRIAGE COMES…CHILDREN? By Stacey Lantz t seemed that my wedding had barely ended before people started asking about when we were thinking of having children. I’ve always been pretty adamant that I would not have children but then again I had also been adamant that I wouldn’t get married. People saw the fact that I changed my mind about marriage as proof that I would change my mind about having children. They started talking about how fulfilling it was to have children and how much more complete my life would be with them. I have known for a long time that I don’t want to have children and have been really clear about that with partners. I get

I

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extremely nervous when I hear people say that they decide about children after marriage. I know that anxiety stems from former partners and society thinking that I would change my mind or that, with enough time, I can be persuaded. When I made the decision to get married, I reiterated that my position about children was not going to change. It was important for me to be with someone who wouldn’t pressure me about children one or ten years down the road. It’s not that I don’t like children, in fact I love them and I love watching them learn and experience the world. I spent much of the last year as a nanny for several families and raved about the infants I cared for and how they changed on a daily basis.

The juxtaposition of how I feel about children with the fact that I don’t plan to have any is a difficult concept for people to understand. However, being married and having children are not intrinsically linked and nor should they be assumed life milestones for anyone, especially women. I’ve been called selfish and told that I’ll never be complete or know real love. I’ve changed the way that I act around children so that I don’t incur questions about when I will start a family of my own or be told that I would be ‘such a great parent’. I’ve learned to sidestep those insults and comments and to brush them off. The truth is that it really hurts when I hear these things, especially from friends and family who are aware of how


Marriage advice much time, energy, and love I bring to relationships. There are many reasons I don’t want children, although I shouldn’t actually need to outline them for anyone to justify my decision. I want to be devoted to myself, my aspirations, and my dreams and also devoted to those of my partner. We are family enough for each other and are looking forward to a life full of love, happiness, and being childfree. I’m greatly looking forward to my friends and family having children. I have already committed to spending a few weeks with my best friend after she and her wife have their first child. I have lists of children’s books that are social justice and activist oriented, queer-inclusive, and racially diverse to add to friends’ libraries. I am going to be the best aunt and mentor to so many children and I look forward to the many changes and lessons that they bring to my life as well. Although justifications and reasons are never required, there are many ways to respond to people’s inquiries and questions about your decision to not have children. Some common inquiries I’ve had include:

“You’re young, you’ll change your mind.” (or “Tick, tock.” or “Wait until

your biological clock kicks in.”) Age has nothing to do with making this decision and is incredibly invalidating of my opinion and feelings as to what is best for me. Also, I could change my mind and that would be perfectly acceptable. If that happened, I could choose to have children, adopt, or foster. However, this is a decision that I think is best for me and it is important to respect other’s’ decisions and opinions rather than superimposing your own.

“You’re missing out on the best thing in life!” (or “Your life isn’t

complete without children.” or “You won’t know love until you have children.”) What makes life complete is going to be different for everyone. We find meaning and love in different places and none is more valid than another. The life that I have built with my family, partner, friends, and other communities is extremely fulfilling and supportive of who I am.

“What if your partner changes their mind and wants kids?” (or

“Was your partner upset when they found out?” or “Do you think your partner will leave you because of this?”) My partner knows exactly how I feel about children. I was clear when we started dating and it has been the topic of many conversations throughout our relationship. It was something we talked about in depth again before deciding to get married because it was important for us to be on the same page. They are welcome to change their mind about what they want and considering how open and honest I’ve been with them, I would expect that they would be comfortable sharing openly with me as well. It’s entirely possible that we may decide that we want two very different things and would then have decide whether to stay together or not.

“What’s wrong with you?”

Absolutely nothing. Society tells us that we need to hit specific milestones (marriage, kids, house, etc) but that is simply untrue. We all have our own lives to lead and can make the best decisions for ourselves. “But you’d make such a great parent!” Thank you for noticing that I am great with kids, I really do love spending time with them and helping them to grow and learn. However, just because I enjoy kids does not mean that I want to have my own nor should I be obligated to simply because I have the skills. Regardless of how often we explain to people why we don’t want children, it can still be draining. It’s not always possible to know when these conversations will arise or predict how people will respond. We can prepare individually and through networks to respond to these situations so that they have the least possible negative impact. Some ways to do that include:

and how you reached it, use sarcasm to deflect the question or point out how inappropriate it is for them ask, or just ignore the question all together. How you respond will probably depend on context: where you are, who it is, their tone, etc.

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If most of the questions are directed towards you, ask your partner to step in and either provide an answer or deflect. Be direct with friends or family members who ask persistently about children that their comments are inappropriate and unwelcome. Use social media to post articles about childfree living and responses others have as to why they aren’t having children. If possible and desired, limit time with people who are judgmental or try to impose their own beliefs upon your life. If it isn’t possible, create a plan with your partner or others about how to handle being in shared spaces and how to avoid talking about children.

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Remind yourself that you are the expert on your own life and that your choices are completely valid and normal. In group situations, ask supportive friends or family members to back up you up and voice their support. These could be people who do or do not have/want kids. Constantly fielding the questions yourself can feel incredibly isolating and exhausting so having others answer can be important for emotional health. Additionally, having others voice support can demonstrate how it is a normal and valid decision for whoever is asking questions.

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Make friends with others who don’t plan to have children. It can help to validate and support your decision and also provide a soundboard for when other people pass judgment or demand explanations of your childfree life. There are a multitude of ways to respond to people’s questions and comments. You can offer a legitimate explanation of your decision

Create answers to common questions you hear so that you don’t have to expend mental and emotional energy in the moment to come up with an answer. Engage in self-care after having a particularly difficult conversation or before entering a situation where people don’t understand why you don’t want children. gayweddingsmag.com / GWM 59


Real Weddings

HOW DID YOU MEET? Daniel went with his best friend to be a wingman at an election party Joseph was hosting for the 2008 presidential election. We met for the first time that night, cheered when the election results came in, and then quickly became friends. After 4 months of friendship, many life changes, some obvious flirting and chemistry, we officially became boyfriends on 2/1/2009. We moved in with each other after only 3 months of dating and moved to Denver after just 6 months. When you know, you know. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TOGETHER? 7 years as of February 1, 2016. WHAT IS THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE YOU’VE HAD TO OVERCOME AS A COUPLE? We’ve overcome many obstacles as a couple. We moved to a new city as a brand new couple and knew almost no one. Daniel’s mother passed away in 2012. We’ve been through buying and selling many homes including a couple home renovations. We planned and coordinated a wedding, which is hard enough on its own. And just one day after we said our vows, we found out one of our passports was thrown away in the wedding chaos. We had been planning a European honeymoon for over a year and suddenly realized it would not be possible. We quickly cancelled all our prior reservations and together planned an amazing Hawaii honeymoon in just a few hours. We had been looking forward to this much needed honeymoon, and even with broken hearts we never once got mad or raised our voices. We worked together and ended up planning a phenomenal honeymoon.

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DANIEL & JOSEPH May 30, 2015 / Alison Rose Photography

Another obstacle we had to overcome was actually part of the wedding planning process. When we were picking out a photographer, we decided to go with a company that contracted up and coming photographers. We were able to choose one of their photographers based on their style and portfolio. We chose someone who had the style we were looking for and booked her. We signed the contract and paid our deposit. We tried to book our engagement photo session and after we hadn’t heard back from the photographer, we contact the company to see what was going on. We received an inter-company email string where the staff discussed the best way to tell us the photographer didn’t feel comfortable taking pictures of us on our wedding day. No apologies, no mention of how they were going to make sure this was not an issue going forward, they just told us to pick another photographer. Obviously, we politely declined and gave them tips on how to improve their customer service. Then we met our photographer, Alison Rose. She was WAY out of our budget as she is such a prominent gay and lesbian wedding photographer in the Denver area. Daniel decided to tell her our story just to see if we could work something out. Alison met with us after she read what happened, and continued on page 82

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Real Weddings

62 GWM / Spring 2016


THOMAS & DANIEL August 22, 2015 / Rachel Black of Rowan Berry Photography

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Real Weddings

HOW DID YOU MEET? We met at the Polo Club on Maple Ave in Hartford, CT, which is now closed. I (Tom) met a friend of Dan’s from out of town, and we all made plans to hang out again. A day or two later when we finally got together, Dan and I wound up on the same team during a serious game of Catchphrase. We both felt the sparks fly. I was WAY more into Dan then I had been into his friend, but I had no way to contact him except through the other guy. Ironically enough, Dan and I bumped into each other outside of a local Starbuck’s. We exchanged contact info and the rest is history. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TOGETHER? As of December 31, 2015, 6 ½ years. WHAT IS THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE YOU’VE HAD TO OVERCOME AS A COUPLE? Thomas: I’m a dreamer and Dan is a realist. Our personalities are constantly complimenting and offending the other. Learning to blend the two was both simple and extremely difficult. But a balance of both is what makes us so perfect for one another. Daniel: The biggest obstacle we’ve had to overcome is the issue of trust. We have been able to allow each other complete access to one another’s hearts, and in doing so, have found our love to be forgiving and steadfast. I may not trust him to take out the garbage but I trust that he is there for me, putting my best interests ahead of his own, and will have my back throughout our lifetime together. WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR SPOUSE? Thomas: Dan is one of the kindest, most caring souls I’ve ever come across. He is able to comfort me with a glance, and I can let him into the deepest reaches of my mind without fear of judgment. Daniel: I really admire Tom’s independence and confidence. From the moment I met him I just had to be around him. He is genuinely likeable, brutally honest, and a rare beauty. I’ve always found comfort in knowing that he just got me, that we just got each other. DESCRIBE YOUR WEDDING DAY: Our wedding day was the perfect combination of casual tradition and backyard family fun. Although it was a whirlwind for us, we believe our guests felt the warmth and laughter that we tried so hard to add into every detail. From the caterers, to our justice of the peace, to the serving staff – they were all friends, coworkers or friends of the family. This further added to the feeling of love that permeated the day.

64 GWM / Spring 2016


WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART? Thomas: I believe my favorite part came after. It was in everyone’s responses. Telling us how much they enjoyed themselves, how special the day was to them. The fact that everyone had such an amazing time made the stress of planning worth every minute. Daniel: My favorite part was the love I felt during our ceremony. Looking around I saw all the people in our lives united to celebrate and support us on our special day. A close second was at the end of the night, when all the remaining guests belted “It’s All Coming back to Me Now” by Celine Dion in unison. WERE THERE ANY SURPRISES, GOOD OR BAD THAT HAPPENED? No surprises per se, the forecast had been iffy in the couple weeks before and everyone was happy to see the sun shining all day. We were both shocked at how quickly it all happened. Before we knew it, the weekend was over and we were headed back to business as usual. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE OTHER COUPLES PLANNING THEIR WEDDING? Take your time – enjoy every moment of planning. Before you know it, it’s over and you’re on to the next. Don’t focus on the stress, focus on remembering all of the important moments. Those are the only ones that stick with you. Now that the wedding is over, what are your goals or future plans as a married couple? Building our family for sure. We’ve spent the last six years being the best uncles we could be, and it has done nothing but fill us with excitement for our own. We currently have five dogs, two coming from a litter our other two dogs had together. After raising a litter of puppies, kids should be a breeze.

Wedding Consultant: Thomas Sledesky and Ashley Hebert Ceremony/Reception Site: The home of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Mosher of Broad Brook, CT (Tom’s aunt and uncle) Caterer: Chef David Awad of The Lucky Goat Butcher Shop in East Hampton, CT Dessert Spreads: Truffles Bakery of Avon, CT and Whole Foods Market of West Hartford, CT Florist: Always Bloomin in Plainville, CT Clothing: Men’s wear: Men’s Warehouse in West Hartford, CT; Flower girls dresses:

Country Couture of etsy.com; Wedding party dresses: individually purchased Hair: Maggie Wazny of Salon Dev in West Hartford, CT Music: Vocals by Matt Saucier; Piano by Tony Romeo DJ: Earle Zuberi aka DJ B E-Z Linens: Taylor Rental of West Hartford, CT Rentals: Taylor Rental of West Hartford, CT; Connecticut Rental Center of Middletown, CT; New England Country Rentals of Hanover, MA Lighting: Taylor Rental of West Hartford, CT

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Honeymoon advice

HONEYMOON IN TELLURIDE

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lanning your honeymoon can be overwhelming. Where to go, what to do and what to see can sometimes be more taxing than fun. Coordinating your honeymoon to coincide with a Pride event may be the perfect transition from your joyful wedding day into a happy marriage. Telluride Gay Ski Week has existed for 14 years, but this is the first year that it is run locally by Telluride vendors. You can participate in as much or as little as you like. From an evening with Sandra Bernhard to skiing on the slopes, your honeymoon can be a one of a kind event.

HOW DID TELLURIDE GAY SKI WEEK BEGIN? It was a market and community demand along with a wise consideration from an economic standpoint.

DESCRIBE THE ENTIRE WEEK IN TWO WORDS... THEN EXPLAIN WHY!

Fun/Equality. Telluride is a magical destination filled with spectacular beauty, unending activity and open minded and welcoming locals. We are known for our easy-going attitude with a cosmopolitan twist.

WHAT ARE THE ROOM ACCOMMODATIONS LIKE? HOTELS? CONDOS?

It’s a mix of mainly hotels, private homes and condos. You can really have your pick here at every level of luxury. 66 GWM / Spring 2016

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE ACTIVITIES DURING THE WEEK?

Skiing is obviously first priority in Telluride, but we have infused the week with some amazing special day and nighttime events. Including, multiple dance parties in pop-up nightclubs around town as well as during the day on the mountain, comedy/cabaret shows, and Apres Ski pool party. We are also collaborating with the Telluride AIDS Benefit that creates an over the top fashion show.

IF SOMEONE IS NOT AN EXPERIENCED SKIER, ARE THERE NON-SKI EVENTS PLANNED?

Yes, We have multiple excursions planned including snowmobiling, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing. We also have spa day and yoga. The majority of our events are in venues that can be reached for the nonskier. Telluride is very easy to navigate with much to do off the ski hill.

WHY WOULD A COUPLE WANT TO SPEND THEIR HONEYMOON AT GAY SKI WEEK?

We create the party for you. All you have to do is book a room and you are met with unending fun events, where you will really get to see all aspects of this special town, meet new people and come away with an experience like no other.

WHAT SUGGESTIONS WOULD YOU GIVE TO A COUPLE TO HELP PREPARE FOR THE WEEK?

Get loads of rest! The week is chock full of activity, so you need to come ready to jump in and have fun in a beautiful surrounding.

IF A COUPLE WANTS SOME QUIET/ALONE TIME, WOULD YOU STILL SUGGEST COMING TO GSW? Yes, of course. It is quite romantic and you don’t have to sign on to all events. Telluride Gay Ski Week individually tickets our events, so you can pick and choose where you want to participate. If you want a quiet few days but don’t want to miss a dance party one night, we can accommodate you perfectly.

February 20th – 27th 2016 (Check back in the fall for next year’s event dates.) www.telluridegayski.com. Wendy Jacobs Hampton; Owner-Event Producer at Soiree Telluride. (970)708-0297, www.telluridesoiree.com.

SCHEDULE:

Saturday February 20th, 2016 Daily | Time to GEAR UP! Boots, Skis & Snowboard Rentals Venue: Boot Doctors and Telluride Sports Every morning our rental equipment partners will be on hand to help Gay Ski Week attendees get geared up for playing in the snow.  All stores have Snow Shoes, Skis, Snowboards for rent or purchase along with lots of great clothing!  Locations in both Town of Telluride and Mountain Village in the Heritage Plaza.

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partner advice

WHEN YOUR PARTNER DOESN’T WANT TO PLAN By Jessica Goldblatt

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Photos courtesy of Sherman Chu Photography

or many couples, the task of planning their wedding is an exciting venture. They look forward to finding that perfect venue, picking the right DJ, and tasting slice after slice of cake. For others, it can be a daunting undertaking – why must there be so many tablecloth colors and how do I figure out who sits next to my crazy Uncle Bill? And for some, it’s just, simply put, uninteresting. Not the wedding itself or the excitement of getting married, but the whole planning portion isn’t their cup of tea. If you fall into one of the two latter groups, we’d like to make a few suggestions that will help with the process. Before tackling the project of planning the big day, we suggest that couples first decide what things are important to them, both as a couple as well as individuals. You should include pragmatic elements as well as aesthetic preferences. Include any religious, cultural, or family customs that you feel are important to incorporate. Each person has specific components that

Aisha and Nic: Aisha and Nic met at work. They were married three years later.

are important to them and we think it’s essential to make note of those things. From there, you can begin to list the various tasks that will need to be handled in order to bring everything together. In an ideal situation, the various responsibilities would be tackled 50/50, but that’s just not realistic. Sometimes it’s because one person doesn’t have the time to put into the planning. Other times, they’re just not into it. What we recommend is, if one person is a bit more gung-ho about the planning, have their partner pick some items they’re willing to be responsible for. Make sure to clearly outline what those responsibilities include and give deadlines. This way, one person doesn’t feel overwhelmed or resentful having to do all the work while their partner just gets to show up and enjoy the celebration. Sharing the workload, even if it’s not 50/50, is crucial to keeping the process positive and enjoyable. What we’ve found is that the tasks that require little to no creative decision making seem to be the easiest ones to dole out, for example, securing transportation needs, making vendor payments, setting up room blocks, and finding a location for the rehearsal dinner. For some things, it’s important to have input from both sides, but for the party who isn’t quite as enthused, we’ve found that offering limited choices works really well. This way, they don’t feel overwhelmed but are still participating in the process. We also think that the person who has been doing the bulk of the legwork wants to get that feedback so they feel comfortable with the choices made. One important note we always pass on -- if they’re asking for your opinion, give it to them. If they already had their mind made up, they wouldn’t be bothering to ask. Responding with an, “I don’t know” or “I don’t care, whatever you want” actually makes the matter worse, even if you’re just trying to be easy! There is a tremendous difference between a marriage and a wedding. The marriage is the important part; the wedding is the icing on the cake.

Try not to get so flustered planning the wedding that it takes the joyfulness out of it. Remember, you’re preparing for a celebration! While the planning doesn’t have to be a complete joint effort, one important thing to remember throughout the process is that this wedding belongs to both of you and should reflect the personalities of both of you. At the end of the festivities, your guests should walk away feeling that your event fully represented you as a couple and both of you should look back and feel good about all the love and energy put into creating this incredible moment. Jessica Goldblatt is the Owner & Event Specialist at Dreams on a Dime Events & Weddings. Dreams on a Dime Events & Weddings is a full service event planning and coordination company based in San Francisco, CA. We offer the range of event and wedding planning assistance from dayof coordination to full planning. We are firm believers that everyone has the right to love and are thrilled when we are asked to be part of your special day. www.dreamsonadime.com, info@ dreamsonadime.com, (415) 264-2764

Ron and Vince: Ron and Vince met online Memorial Day weekend in 1999 and live in Walnut Creek, CA with their black lab, Shasta, who they adore.

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Real Weddings

E. ASHER & NICOLE August 5, 2015 / Stark Bellamy Photography

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Real Weddings

70 GWM / Spring 2016

HOW DID YOU MEET? We met on an online dating website, OKCupid. I ran across Nicole’s profile and thought to myself “You would be an idiot if you didn’t reach out to this woman.” After I sent Nicole a message, Nicole reminded me that we had actually met on the same site 2 years prior and apparently I blew Nicole off the first time we talked. Luckily for me, Nicole was still willing to meet. Our first date was at a local coffee shop. I was extremely nervous as I sat across from this stunning, tattooed, confident woman with a shaved head. Nicole was calm, collected and very classy. While sitting at the counter talking, we began to realize a second date would be in our near future.


WHAT DO YOU LOVE THE MOST ABOUT YOUR SPOUSE? I love Nicole’s passion and dedication to learning and creativity. Nicole is an amazing partner. She is compassionate and kind and takes amazing care of our home and our animals. She has truly made our house a home. I love that Nicole challenges me to grow every single day. Nicole loves my willingness to learn how to have an emotionally intimate relationship and also my commitment to provide for our family of nine – two dogs, two cats, two birds, and one fish. Nicole also cherishes her nightly foot rubs. DESCRIBE YOUR WEDDING DAY: The theme of our wedding was “freedom of expression.” Nicole and I have both had to overcome many judgments from society in regards to our sexual and gender identities, as well as our professions. So when it came to our wedding day, the freedom to express ourselves was of utmost importance. We both chose our own outfits, without coordination, trusting the outcome would be just as it should be. We both wanted to express ourselves and to honor one another’s freedom to express our personalities. Our wedding day was colorful, unique and a collaboration of creativity and trust. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TOGETHER? Nicole and I have been together for 2 years, since December 2013. WHAT IS THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE YOU’VE HAD TO OVERCOME AS A COUPLE? Nicole and I have never had an easy relationship together. We never had a “honeymoon phase.” Throughout our time together, we have struggled both as a couple and individually. Within the two years of our relationship we both were diagnosed with chronic health issues. Nicole has an autoimmune disease and I have a condition, which causes me to have too much cerebral spinal fluid pressure. Nicole’s passion for science, epigenetics, diet, and healing have virtually saved both of our lives. When allopathic medicine provided neither of us with any answers, Nicole took matters into her own hands. We have both been healing due to her knowledge, research, creativity, and our dedication to health. I am forever grateful to Nicole. No matter how challenging any aspect of our lives together has been, Nicole and I are committed to healing, growth and a life together. As our health improves, so does our relationship. I look forward to the honeymoon period that I believe is right around the corner. gayweddingsmag.com / GWM 71


Real Weddings

Our day began by a hike in the mountains with our dogs, Leilani and Diego. Afterwards, we showered and headed downtown to our room at The Crawford Hotel at Union Station in downtown Denver. We had our photographers start shooting as soon as we got to the hotel to get ready. We got ready together and once we were dressed, we took photos around Union Station. We arranged to have a limo pick us up and take us to the courthouse. On the drive, we listened to the playlist we had spent months creating together. Our family met us at the courthouse where our ceremony took place. Judge Alfred Harrell officiated our unique ceremony steeped in our Buddhist philosophies of truth, equanimity, and presence. Our vows included messages of reality, willingness to grow, openness, vulnerability, truth, and acceptance. After the ceremony, Nicole and I returned to the hotel to spend some time alone to connect and be alone. Afterward, we met up with our family at Venice Ristorante. We had a phenomenal five-course Italian dinner. We were able to connect and converse with all of our guests. It was an intimate gathering like we had wanted.

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WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER COUPLES PLANNING THEIR WEDDING? On your wedding day, do exactly what you want to do and be true to yourselves and your relationship. Your wedding is a celebration of your relationship and your commitment to one another. It is about you two and your relationship. Many people will try and have input into the “what” and “how” of your wedding day. Do what is in your heart and is true to you both. Also, take a honeymoon right afterwards. We did not do this but wish we had. After the busy week and outpouring of people, it would have been nice to take time, with just the two of us, to connect and be still together. The Sunday following our wedding, we had a BBQ with all of our friends and family at Bear Creek Lake Park at a picnic area next to the river. I had spent the six months prior to our wedding folding 1,000 paper cranes for Nicole. Amid the traditional American mixed with French country décor, the paper cranes highlighted my commitment and dedication to Nicole and our relationship. We decorated the tables with baby’s breath put in rustic vases we found at thrift stores. As the guests arrived, we were changing into our celebration outfits in the bushes next to the picnic area. Our guests lounged together, laughed, and ate the burgers, brats, pies, donuts, and Oreo cookie “dirt” desserts. Our favors were bags of pink cotton candy, one of Nicole’s favorite desserts. At the BBQ we danced our first dance to “Just to See You Smile” by Tim McGraw. Once the guests had left, Nicole and Asher stayed until dark opening their gifts. It was another perfect day; an end to a perfect week celebrating our commitment to one another.

WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART? My favorite part of our wedding day was the limo ride following our courthouse ceremony. I felt so much gratitude for Nicole, so much love, and, while smiling from earto-ear, serenaded Nicole with our wedding song, “Laid” by James. Nicole’s favorite part of our wedding day was receiving all of the attention and, of course, her freedom to express herself. She also loved her peacock feather and calla lily bouquet that her sister made for her – it was a representation of her sister’s creativity and Nicole let her choose exactly how to make it. It turned out perfect. WERE THERE ANY SURPRISES (GOOD OR BAD) THAT HAPPENED? No, the day went exactly as planned. In fact, the surprise was that the wedding day and reception were both more wonderful than we could have ever hoped. It was a perfect wedding week that we will always remember.

NOW THAT THE WEDDING IS OVER, WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS OR FUTURE PLANS AS A MARRIED COUPLE? We have finally planned our honeymoon. We will be spending 3 weeks in France in February, where Nicole’s family is from and she spent many summers growing up. We will begin our honeymoon in the French countryside, ending our time there in Paris. Asher cannot wait to see where Nicole’s family is from and they are excited to spend their first Valentine’s Day as a married couple in the romantic City of Light. Nicole plans to pursue a Doctorate in Psychology in Neuropsychology. We will continue to grow individually and as a couple, take care of and adore our many animals, and possibly have children to expand our family even further. At some point we may relocate to a smaller town with a slower pace, hopefully near the ocean. Location: Denver Union Station Dress Designer: Sherri Hill

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Real Weddings

HOW DID YOU MEET? We actually met when we were 12 and 15. We played basketball together. Melissa then graduated and went on to play college basketball at St. Bonaventure and then furthered her career playing professionally in Italy for 12 years. When she came home she found Maria on Facebook and inquired about Cross Fit – where Maria is a trainer. There rest is history.  HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TOGETHER?  3 years. WHAT IS THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE YOU’VE HAD TO OVERCOME AS A COUPLE?  We would have to say the biggest struggle is support. It was very hard weeding through and finding out who really is supportive and loves you for who you love, family including. Experiencing some family disapproval has been heart breaking for both of us  WHAT DO YOU LOVE THE MOST ABOUT YOUR SPOUSE?  Melissa: I love Maria’s strength. She is the strongest person I know and she doesn’t even know it. She has this ability to just go get what she wants, or do what she wants to and nothing stops her. She puts on the blinders and goes for it.  Maria: I love Melissa’s ability to make everyone happy. Whether you just meet her or have known her all your life, when she comes into your day it is bound to be better.  

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MARIA & MELISSA August 29, 2015 / Something Blue Photography, Susan Tibak

DESCRIBE YOUR WEDDING DAY: Perfect! Our goal for our wedding was for it to be about love and laughter from start to finish. It was a Carnival theme. We had games like beanbag toss and horseshoes. There were tons of balloons and large bulb circus lights and lanterns. There was a hot dog cart and popcorn machine. We had a photo booth wall with props for our guests to take photos. We had carnival food, BBQ, and it ended with a cake with adorable carnival pennants throughout the entire thing. Sundresses and bowties were on our guests and we did not stop smiling the entire day.  WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART?  Our favorite part was the overwhelming support we had from all our family and friends. We DIY’d just about everything and there was something in each part of our wedding that came from the people who were there. It was the most loved and fulfilled we have ever felt in our lives. WERE THERE ANY SURPRISES (GOOD OR BAD) THAT HAPPENED?  Our friends chipped in and rented a Rita’s Italian ice cart to cover for the wedding! Which somehow turned into Vodka filled Italian ices. It was a great surprise. 

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER COUPLES PLANNING THEIR WEDDING? Make your wedding about the important things. Not the small details that most people will never remember. Make a list of things that are truly important, and focus on those. On the day of your wedding, take a second and look around and take all of it in. Look around and see everything there. The day flies!  NOW THAT THE WEDDING IS OVER, WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS OR FUTURE PLANS AS A MARRIED COUPLE?  Support each other as individuals together. Yes you are now a team, but stay true to all that you are and enjoy your spouse who is there to push you through.   Ceremony/Reception Site: Porch, backyard wedding Caterer: DIY Wedding Cake: Short Cakes, Marisa VanStrien Florist: DIY  Clothing/Gowns/Suits: Maria Gown, Demetrios style 1341. Melissa suit, J. Crew Hair: Eva Scillia Makeup: Carrison Hanson Music: JSoul, Jonathan Guilfoyle Linens: DIY Lighting: Paper lanterns and large bulb lights in tent  Invitations: PIP printing, (Melissa’s Business)

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Johnny Salib, continued from page 20

Featured Vendor, continued from page 35

“that douche.” Something about his profile made me message him. I think it was because his bio had a joke that the baby he was holding in his profile picture wasn’t his, or something like that. Our conversation led to a number of jokes and I started falling for him. We’ve been together since May 2015.

Daily | Virtual Hospitality & Concierge We’re working on some tools to keep all the attendees connected. Stay tuned! 11:00 AM | Special Welcome & TGSW Launch Venue: Base of Lifts, Mountain Village 1:00 PM |Dance Party at the Beach, LAUNCH PARTY Venue: Gorrono, Mountain Village DJ: TBD BBQ, DRINKS, MUSIC, DANCING AND FUN IN THE SUN at the mid Mountain Gorrono Ranch outdoor deck. Have some food, drinks, fun in the sun (and snow!) and dance the day away.

DO YOU SEE MARRIAGE IN YOUR FUTURE SOME DAY? STARTING A FAMILY? WHY OR WHY NOT?

8:00 PM | Opening Cocktail Party Venue: Arroyo Gallery & Wine Bar DJ: TBD

I do. Him and I talk about it a lot. We joke about what we’re going to wear, who’s going to walk down the aisle, how my mother is going to be my “best man”, and how it’s going to be some theatrical shebang. We recently adopted a stray cat and have discussed how many children we’d ideally like. I’ve always wanted a family of my own. ANY RELATIONSHIP ‘WORDS OF WISDOM’ YOU CAN GIVE?

Communication is so important. Communication isn’t just talking though, it’s really about listening. Get to know your partner’s needs, learn their body language, and whatever is on your mind share it. Secrets cause so many problems and they probably feel the strain even though you haven’t brought it up. Also, you define your relationship. Don’t let others tell you what you should be doing and when you should be doing it. Do what you feel is right and if your gut says it’s good, it probably is good. Johnny Salib is an award winning actor, composer and theatre maker located in Toronto, Ontario. He is the Artistic Director of Sisyphean Productions, a theatre company dedicated to the development and creation of new works, and is the founder of queerdeer media. Website: queerdeermedia.com Check out our projects Our Queer Art, Our Queer History & Our Queer Stories 78 GWM / Spring 2016

Honeymoon in Telluride, continued from page 66

10:00 PM | Pop-Up Night Club Venue: La Marmotte, Telluride DJ: TBD Dance the Opening Day and Night away in the boutique dance club at La Marmotte in the Town of Telluride.

“At first I was really nervous since I didn’t know what to exactly do for the photo shoot, but Joanna, Casey and Mike made us feel so comfortable. It felt like we were hanging out with old friends we had known for a long time. As the day went on I remember feeling a bit sad about the anticipated end to the day. All of these people put time an energy into this shoot and while we know they all had goals they wanted to get from the photo shoot, I couldn’t help but leave feeling like they had done it all just for us. This was the dream ‘faux’ wedding we never had and our new friends were there to document it!” Our styled wedding shoot took place at a property that was owned by a same-sex couple, Tim and Bruce Foster that reside in Minneapolis and have spent over 25+ years creating a gorgeous formal English garden as their “weekend retreat”. They are another long-time couple who were finally allowed to be married this past summer (2014) after decades together. Their garden inspired us to use a loose combination of “Alice in Wonderland” and “Secret Garden Tea Party” themes in our photo shoot. Photographer: Carina Photographics Event Planner: Belle Noelle Events & Design Jewelry: Commers Custom Jewelers Makeup Artist: Creative Beaute Agency Floral Designer: Foxglove Market & Studio Bakery: Ganache Desserts and Confections Dress Store: J. Crew Invitation Designer: Olive Juice Stationery Veils and Headpieces: Ruby 3 Hair Stylist: Sarah Drews

Sunday February 21st, 2016 Daily | Time to GEAR UP! Boots, Skis & Snowboard Rentals Venue: Boot Doctors and Telluride Sports Every morning our rental equipment partners will be on hand to help Gay Ski Week attendees get geared up for playing in the snow.  All stores have Snow Shoes, Skis, Snowboards for rent or purchase along with lots of great clothing!  Locations in both Town of Telluride and Mountain Village in the Heritage Plaza. Daily | Virtual Hospitality & Concierge We’re working on some tools to keep all the attendees connected.  Stay tuned! 3:00 PM | Après Ski Pool Party Venue: Madeline Sky Terrace, Madeline Hotel and Residences, Mountain Village DJ: Soul Atomic STAY TUNED for more details. 5:30 PM | Telluride Sleigh Rides EXCLUSIVE TGSW RIDES: For an unforgettable experience, enjoy a dinner sleigh ride under a canopy of stars. Telluride Sleighs and Wagonsis locally owned and operated by the Aldasoro family who has lived in Telluride for four generations.  Located on their private ranch outside of Telluride, Telluride Sleighs and Wagons offers diners the most unique dinner experience in the valley.  Enjoy a Spanish-Basque meal in the “glamping” style canvas tent complete with warm wood burning stove that diners access on either sleigh or wagon pulled by trusty snowcat. 7:30 PM | Telluride Sleigh Rides EXCLUSIVE TGSW RIDES: For an unforgettable experience, enjoy a dinner sleigh ride under a canopy of stars.  Telluride Sleighs and Wagonsis locally owned and operated by the Aldasoro family who has lived in Telluride for four generations.  Located on their private ranch outside of Telluride, Telluride Sleighs and Wagons offers diners the most unique dinner experience in the valley.  Enjoy a Spanish-Basque meal in the “glamping” style canvas tent complete with warm wood burning stove that diners access on either sleigh or wagon pulled by trusty snowcat.   Monday February 22nd, 2016 Daily | Time to GEAR UP! Boots, Skis & Snowboard Rentals Venue: Boot Doctors and Telluride Sports Every morning our rental equipment partners will be on hand to help Gay Ski Week attendees get geared up for playing in the snow.  All stores have Snow Shoes, Skis, Snowboards for rent or purchase along with lots of great clothing!  Locations in both Town of Telluride and Mountain Village in the Heritage Plaza.

See the rest of this schedule online at gayweddingsmag.com


Gay life after 40

19 YEARS AND GOING STRONG HOW DID BOTH OF YOU MEET?

We met when we both lived in Chicago in the 1990’s. I (Charlie) was looking for an apartment, and I (Michael) was the property manager of the complex. It was instant love at first sight. We didn’t know it at the time but we were both checking each other out.  When he called to state I had the apartment, we started dating and I took the unit next to his. We knocked down the door and joined the two units together and celebrated our first Christmas together!  We’ve been together ever since…19 years and going strong!

Our dear friend, Anna Chasteen married us, who I have known since I was a youth, and we reconnected through Facebook years ago.  Other dear friends were there Jason, Teri, Lynn, Mike, Anna’s family, and our niece, Jayme.  Jayme and Anna’s husband, Gary were our witnesses.  We are big believers in family and both of us are committed to our family and friends.  It is important for everyone to bear witness to that love in small ways like spending time together with a nephew to big ways of getting married. The evening reception was held again at Parliament House and the morning breakfast was held at Hamburger Mary’s Orlando for their Broadway Brunch.  

WHY DID YOU WANT TO GET MARRIED VS. JUST LIVE TOGETHER?

WHAT DID GETTING MARRIED MEAN TO BOTH OF YOU?

We have been together for a long time and we knew that due to the laws allowing marriage, this was the time we needed to do it. We needed to start thinking of our future together and make certain that our love was expressed to not only us, but to our family and friends. Also, we needed to make certain the law protected the other in case something should happen to us.  

Getting married meant to us the ultimate commitment to one another and a deep expression of our love for each other.

THE WEDDING: DESCRIBE THE DAY? WHO ATTENDED, AND WAS IT A FORMAL OR INFORMAL WEDDING?

Well, the double bachelor party was at The Parliament House in Orlando and we got married on our anniversary, which is September 19. So not only was it our anniversary, but also our 19 years together. It was an informal wedding with some traditional wedding elements. The day was a glorious, sunny Florida day.  We were married in a grotto at the Mennelo Museum of American Art in Orlando, Florida.

WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM PAST RELATIONSHIPS THAT MADE BOTH OF YOU BETTER HUSBANDS? HOW WE ARE DOING THINGS DIFFERENTLY NOW?

We have a different respect for one another and we have absolute trust with each other.  We have both matured in our life together. And absolutely, don’t focus on trivial matters.  

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU WANT TO GIVE TO OTHER COUPLES?

Keep the lines of communication open, understand each other’s viewpoints, don’t sweat the small stuff, because life if full of challenges and you must overcome them as a couple.  Be strong and supportive each and every day.  Remember to show your affection to one another on a daily basis whether it is a peck on the cheek, a soft word, or a strong hug.   WHAT DO YOU LOVE THE MOST ABOUT YOUR RELATIONSHIP AND YOUR PARTNER? 

The security of knowing that when we come home, we are coming home to one another and there is comfort and support waiting for you.   WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS AS A COUPLE? 

We will continue to make a safe home for us and our fur babies, have a healthy, happy long life, tour the states, laugh, be silly, and remain young at heart, and continue to learn from one another as we change and grow. You can read more about real couples and relationship advice at www.gaylifeafter40.com.

gayweddingsmag.com / GWM 79


gift guide

EYE ON ETSY

T

he tradition of giving your fiancé a special item on the wedding day dates back to the 16th century. Consider one of these handmade items from Etsy as the special token to represent your love.

ELYCIA & T.J. FREEMAN Elycia Camille, Handmade Ceramic Art, Carbondale IL elyciacamille@yahoo.com, www.facebook.com/elyciacamille, www.elyciacamille.etsy.com Custom ceramic wedding ring holders.

ROCK MY WORLD Jackie Kaufman, Florida www.rockmyworldinc.etsy.com Fingerprint Custom Thumbprint Ring Wedding Band Jewelry in Sterling Silver THE CRAFT MILL Sandra Watson, Sebastian Florida www.thecraftmill.etsy.com, 772-453-3839 Binary Geek LOVE! From One Geek to Another, A Geeky Way to Say I Love You. Necklace is Stamped in Binary Code To Read “LOVE” NEWFAVORS: PROVIDES CUSTOM ENGRAVED GIFTS Sarah Mehra, Tennent, NJ, United States www.newfavors.net Personalized jewelry box - Silver jewelry box with free engraving

80 GWM / Spring 2016


gift guide

YOUR 2016 GIFT GUIDE METAL PRESSIONS Elisha Argentinis, Savannah, GA www.etsy.com/shop/MetalPressions This sleek, simplistic design is perfect for anyone with a modern, contemporary style. Add a set of coordinates, words or names to this bar for a one-of-a-kind gift.

SM MADE Diana Ross, New York www.smmade.etsy.com, www.smmadellc.com Her One Her Only with heart hand stamped necklace set

NATURAL BANDS Gene Wong, www.naturalbands.etsy.com, 212-603-9064 This ring is made of 14k white gold with a outer layer of Bubinga solid hard wood. It will have your very own fingerprint engraved on the inside.

gayweddingsmag.com / GWM 81


Real Weddings Daniel & Joseph, continued from page 61

we were all a perfect match. We were what she called her “inspirational weddings”. She worked with our budget, was involved in the planning process, and was such an amazing energy! She really turned our crap situation into the best thing that could happen. She took amazing pictures, made everyone smile, and we still stay in touch. She even came to our 4th of July party this year. We are very lucky to have had Alison shoot our wedding and become part of our new life. WHAT DO YOU LOVE THE MOST ABOUT YOUR SPOUSE? Daniel: What I love most about Joseph is his intelligence and selflessness. He has such a vast amount of random and interesting knowledge. It amazes me how much can fit in his brain. But what I love absolutely the most is how much he cares about others. He always wants the best for others and goes out of his way to make others happy. He doesn’t do it for attention or praise; he would rather not be acknowledged. Seeing others happier or better off because of his actions is enough for him. He is definitely my more subtle better half. Joseph: I love Daniel’s energy and his dedication to accomplishing anything he sets his mind to. If he wants it, he will make it happen. I love his charming smile and his infectious laugh. DESCRIBE YOUR WEDDING DAY: Our wedding day was just one big, awesome party. It went smoothly, there were no issues, everyone had an amazing time, the food was perfect, our guests were a blast and to finish the night in the bowling alley with all our closest friends and family was so perfect WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART? The after party! We rented out the entire 50’s style bowling alley in the basement of the Denver Athletic Club. Our DJ set up with amazing music, we had giant pizzas and we filled up the 8-lane bowling alley. WERE THERE ANY SURPRISES (GOOD OR BAD) THAT HAPPENED? No wedding day surprises. Everything went perfectly. The passport fiasco was plenty surprise enough. We did have a venue surprise during the planning process. We booked our wedding venue at a Mansion around the corner from our house well in advance and found out they decided to sell the property and cancel all outstanding 82 GWM / Spring 2016

contracts. This left us without a venue and well into our wedding planning process. We had to find another affordable venue with little time. It ended up working out perfectly, because The Denver Athletic Club was such a phenomenal place to host our wedding and any wedding setback turned out to work well in our favor.

Katrina & Sandy, continued from page 41

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER COUPLES PLANNING THEIR WEDDING? Have fun, make it a long engagement so you aren’t rushed, make and actually use checklists, and get a wedding coordinator! Nicole Cruse, our wedding coordinator was a savior! We couldn’t have done it without her. NOW THAT THE WEDDING IS OVER, WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS OR FUTURE PLANS AS A MARRIED COUPLE? We want to continue to buy, remodel, and sell houses and to travel more (after we replace the missing passport). We want to live long, happy, and healthy lives together. Location: The Denver Athletic Club 1325 Glenarm Pl, Denver, CO 80204 Wedding Consultant: Ashley Nicole Events (Nicole Cruse) Ceremony Site: The Denver Athletic Club Roof Reception Site: Same - After party in the bowling alley of Denver Athletic Club Caterer: The Denver Athletic Club Wedding Cake: The Market @ Larimer Square (cheesecakes & compotes) Florist: globalrose.com (we put the arrangements together ourselves) Hair: Cali Trostel with Rusk - Daniel’s Wedding Party & Vanessa Couture - Joseph’s Wedding Party Music: DJ Uniq Thret DJ: DJ Uniq Thret Linens: Urquid Linen/The Denver Athletic Club Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas Other: We did a lot on our own. We purchased things on-line and then made arrangements ourselves. It was a great way to keep costs down and maintaining control (which is a must for Daniel).

we were allowed to keep the tent up. It had to come down no later than 7:30am after the wedding because of a windstorm that was coming. Celebration Tent Rentals was amazing from beginning to end with the fiasco, and they assured us the whole way that they would do whatever it took to make the wedding happen. NOW THAT THE WEDDING IS OVER, WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS OR FUTURE PLANS AS A MARRIED COUPLE? We have set our sights on moving into New York City, and we are getting closer and closer every year. We love everything about the city (except the price!) and we are currently saving up as much as we can in order to make this dream come true. Location: Rutland, Vermont Ceremony Site: Bruce and Doreen Milo’s backyard Officiant: Carl Mazzariello Reception Site: Bruce and Doreen Milo’s yard Caterer: Maple Street Catering Wedding Cake: A to Z Cakes Florist: Purchased from Central Market Florist (Price Chopper) bouquets arranged by Doreen Milo and Debbie Lee Clothing/Gowns/Suits: David’s Bridal Rehearsal Dinner Site: The Vermont Inn Hair: Avanti Unisex Hair Salon Entertainment/DJ: Rinaldi Entertainment Linens: Red gingham overlays made by Patti Westburg all other rental from Celebrations Rentals Inc. Tent Rental: Celebration Rentals Inc. Invitations: Vanessa Milo Bartenders: Amber Stone Unusual Rentals: Restroom Trailer: Stone Industries Restroom Façade: Charbonneau Design and Construction Rings: Pearce Jewelers Cake Topper: White Hart Creations on Etsy


Ted & Greg, continued from page 57

Real Weddings Dory & Rosalynn, continued from page 53

IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING ABOUT THAT DAY, WHAT WOULD IT BE? WHY? If I could turn back time, I would have done more to take in the day and keep it from going by so quickly. We spent several months planning and then it was over in a blink of an eye. The unraveling of the event, coupled with a menagerie of emotions and excitement, made it feel like one big blur. We were really happy to have such a talented photographer bring our memories back into focus. It’s also frustrating because you have so little time to talk to all of the guests who traveled miles and miles to be with you. There just wasn’t enough time to spend catching up with all of our loved ones.

NOW THAT THE WEDDING IS OVER, WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS OR FUTURE PLANS AS A MARRIED COUPLE? Prosperous and healthy long lives. I live to travel and want to visit every corner of the earth with Dory at my side. I adore the home we bought together and get a lot of enjoyment out of fixing it up together. I want to continue our nesting and am excited about future improvement. I also really love our families and friends and want to continue to nurture our communities as we grow old. Location: The Colony in St Johns Wedding Consultant: Planning aficionado Rosalynn Greene Ceremony Site: The Colony in St Johns Reception Site: The Colony in St Johns Caterer/Rentals/Linens: Crown Paella Wedding Cake: Cupcake Jones Florist: Espe Floral Clothing/Gowns/Suits: Rosalynn’s wedding dress was from Brides with a Cause, Dory’s suit was from Asos Hair: Tara May (Tiger Tiger Salon) Makeup: Tara May DJ: Mary Charming

have seated guests or assigned seating. We had various food stations set up around the house as well as multiple tables inside and out. During the cocktail reception multiple pictures were taken with family and friends. As everyone mingled and socialized, dinner was then served as I (Ted) really wanted to have the wedding at sunset with the city lights in the back drop. It was about 8:45 and Greg and I had a short but beautiful ceremony. Greg’s mom and dad walked him from one corner of the outside and I walked with my parents from the other corner till we met on a small stage. It was very nice and we said our vows. Greg’s vows included something very special to me, he was sure to include my mama who had passed of cancer 5 years before. My mama was a very big part of my life and him including her was perfect. My brothers brought out a special picture of her and everyone had blue and white balloons. These balloons were blown up, hidden, and kept 100% secret from me until the actual ceremony. It was truly amazing. As balloons were set off, we finished the vows and were married. When we said “I do” fireworks went off (literally). The first one had a little trouble but the show went on. Immediately after the ceremony, Greg had planned a flash mob for me and also serenaded me and included our friends. Greg sang snips of Home by Phillip Phillips, into Marry You by Bruno Mars, into We Found Love (our song) by Rhianna, into Shout, and finished it off with We Go Together from Grease. They were all dancing and I was just in awe of everything he pulled off and I didn’t have a clue. Afterwards everyone began to dance and continue to have fun. We did our first dance as a married couple to “We Found Love” but a slow mix that Greg found. We did the mother son dance together to through the years by Kenny Rogers. Ted’s father made a beautiful speech that brought the whole crowd to tears, including us. Before we knew it, it was near of the evening and we were throwing an after party at our bar, Cruze, in the downtown Pittsburgh Strip District. The after party was amazing! Everyone filled the dancefloor and partied till the end of the evening. As the trolleys started to transport our guests back to the hotel or to Cruze, we had realized we never cut our cake! We just laughed.

IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING ABOUT THAT DAY, WHAT WOULD IT BE? WHY? That we had more time, we both feel like we didn’t get to talk to everyone. Other than that, we both thought it was perfect and more than either of us expected since we never planned an event like this before. NOW THAT THE WEDDING IS OVER, WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS OR FUTURE PLANS AS A MARRIED COUPLE? We are in process of selling our house we purchased a year ago. We flipped it and are moving closer to the city to enjoy some city life and loft living. We hope to build up the bar more and more with our partners Steve and Peter. I (Ted) will continue to work the bar when I can and continue to build my career in the corporate world, and save up our funds to start a family. We would love to have a child or children and plan to find a surrogate or adopt in the next 2-3 years. Ceremony Site: Private Residence Officiant: Honorable Anthony W. Saveikis Caterer: All in Good Taste Productions Wedding Cake: Sam’s Club (Yes, and everyone LOVED it!) Rehearsal Dinner Site: Cruze Bar Music: DJ H (Harold Purdy) Limousine Company: Molley’s Trolleys

WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART? Ted: How my husband incorporated my mama into the wedding, it was more thoughtful and beautiful than I could have imagined while marrying my best friend. Greg: We come from very different worlds, watching them collide seamlessly was amazing all while spending the most important day of my life with the man of my dreams. gayweddingsmag.com / GWM 83


celebration tips

GURKHA CIGAR GIFT SETS igars are the ultimate symbol of celebration and the Gurkha Gift Sets are perfect for parties or gifts. Gurkha is recognized for quality and uniqueness because of a superior product and ornate and embellished boxes and packaging. When someone purchases a Gurkha box they have something they want to keep forever and hand down for generations. They are all unique and beautiful and perfect to serve as a keepsake box of wedding day memories.

C

125TH ANNIVERSARY    www.gurkhacigars.com/core-brands/ gurkha-125th-anniversary-detail.html Using a carefully chosen blend of selected tobaccos, the the medium bodied 125th Anniversary blend features an oily Cubra, Brazilian Habano wrapper, accompanied by an Ecuadorian, Habano binder and a complex combination of Nicaraguan, Brazilian and Dominican fillers for a smooth and complex taste profile.

WARLORD www.gurkhacigars.com/core-brands/ gurkha-warlord-detail.html This Warlord blend has a unique and robust Nicaraguan wrapper that is complimented by Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers for a multi-layered flavor profile.

CELLAR RESERVE www.gurkhacigars.com/core-brands/cellar-reserve-detail.html The vintage Cellar Reserve uses the finest quality 15-year-old aged tobacco, comprised of an oily Criollo 1998 wrapper, that combines an aged Dominican, olor binder with a 15-year old Dominican Filler for a medium to full bodied cigar.

ROYAL CHALLENGE www.gurkhacigars.com/core-brands/gurkharoyal-challenge-detail.html The majestic Royal Challenge blend is highlighted by an aged silky Connecticut/Ecuadorian shade wrapper, a Habano/Honduran binder that is perfectly complimented by Nicaraguan and Dominican fillers for a mild to medium bodied cigar that is smooth and complex.

GRAND RESERVE www.gurkhacigars.com/core-brands/gurkha-grand-reserve-detail.html A silky 5-year Connecticut wrapper with an aged 3-year binder and filler, packaged in a gorgeous glass tube create Grand Reserve, the best selling cognac-infused cigar in the industry. 84 GWM / Spring 2016


GayWeddingsmag.com We are all in different stages of our relationships. Our site provides tools and tips for success for all of them.

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DURING

AFTER

Find LGBTQ experienced vendors and tips for your big day.

Experience real weddings from real couples and their stories.

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gayweddingsmag.com/ marriage---family

twitter.com/gayweddingsmag gayweddingsmag.com / GWM 85


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Gay Weddings and Marriage Magazine goes beyond wedding day tips to address the needs of LGBTQ families and marriage. Advice from wedding coo...

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