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A Real Weddings Special Edition


www.Cor nelisH olla nd er.com

4151 N. Marshall Way, Scottsdale AZ 85251 480-423-5000 1-800-677-6821 Proudly Made in Scottsdale 2 GWM / Fall 2016

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In this issue Gay Weddings & Marriage Magazine / Fall 2016

70 34 110


54 118 130 9 12 gayweddingsmag.com / GWM 5

from the editor


don’t believe in destiny. I hold fast to the idea that we make our own destiny. Yes, life can get in the way, and we are faced with decisions that will guide our future. Sometimes this philosophy has come back to bite me on the butt. When I should sit back and see what comes my way, instead I charge toward my goals. I may have missed opportunities with this approach, but how I’ve lived! I know I would regret the things I’ve never tried instead of the experiences I’ve had and the people I’ve met. For some reason, the past two years have felt out of my control. All well-laid plans have gone awry. I felt like I needed something to get me back on track; back in control. So I got a tattoo of an antique key. It’s on my arm, so I can see it whenever I start to feel overwhelmed. It’s beautiful, and it’s already working. When I find myself needing to take a deep breath and get centered, I just look down at my key. It reminds me that I hold the key to my destiny. I hold the key to my future. No one but me. My plans may not always work out, and I’m okay with that. But I sure as hell am going to try. Do you own your own destiny? Or does it own you?


Kit and John tied the knot on February 27, 2016 in an intimate ceremony with family and friends. Read about their event on page 70. Photographer: Cathy Baron Photography




Scott Rogers


his Real Weddings special edition features 19 weddings from large to small. I was especially impressed with the styled shoots that were submitted. I usually don’t accept styled shoots, because I want GWM to focus on Real Weddings. But I think this would be a disservice to you. The vendors that plan these styled events are crazy talented. Here, you are getting their tips and advice for free. The event featured below can be found on page 110.


Donna Capodelupo, Todd Russell, Michael Eric Brown


Wendy Clancy, Erik Earl


Annie B’s, B.T. McElrath, Rachel Madorsky, Mike Berrios


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.

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Mark VanDonge Photography




ne of the most exciting parts of your big day is the fact that you and your partner get to celebrate your love in the company of family and friends. Many couples choose to honor important people in their lives by including them in the wedding in the form of bridesmaids, groomsmen, ring bearers, or flower girls. However, whenever someone is included it unfortunately means someone else is excluded. How should you go about picking members of your wedding party so that no feelings get hurt?

Family Comes First If you do choose to have important friends and family stand up in your wedding, it’s paramount to include family in the process before anyone else. While there may sometimes be extenuating circumstances,

as a general rule, if you and your partner are on good terms with your respective siblings, they should always be offered a role in your wedding party. After all, family is forever (and so are your wedding pictures).

Gender Doesn’t Matter In a traditional wedding, it is customary for each partner to have an equal number of members “standing up” on their side of the altar. Since you and your partner are already defying “traditional” norms, so too can your bridal party. You do not need to include someone you aren’t close with just to even everything out. If most of your friends are women and greatly outnumber the guys (or vice versa), don’t be afraid to have a bridal party that is predominantly one sex. If symmetry is an issue,

we’re willing to bet that any of your friends would be happy to stand on your partners “side” during the ceremony. Pictures also shouldn’t be an issue – as long as everyone in the picture is important to you, when you look back on your big day, you’ll only see the love.

Take “No” For An Answer Asking friends and family to be a part of your wedding day is an exciting request for any bride or groom. Keep in mind when you are asking someone to be a part of your wedding, you are doing exactly that: asking. No matter how close of a friend, they are allowed to say “No.” While it may come as a shock that your friend isn’t as excited about the wedding as you are, keep in mind that there are a lot of expectations and expenses placed upon bridesmaids and groomsmen. gayweddingsmag.com / GWM 7

If a close friend doesn’t feel like they are in the position to provide you their full attention or be able to afford aspects of the wedding planning process, allow them to respectfully decline. If this happens, don’t take it to heart – chances are your friend will still be more than happy to celebrate your love from the sidelines.

your best friends, siblings, cousins, and parents know that even though you are not including them in your actual ceremony, there is no way you would want to celebrate this day without them there by your side.

Including the Kids A great way to incorporate your little loved ones in your wedding is to offer them the important role of Flower Girl or Ring Bearer. Before having your heart set on a tiny set of toddlers walking down the aisle, there are a couple things to keep in mind before including kids in the wedding party.

Avoid it Altogether Some couples are choosing to avoid having a wedding party altogether. If you and your partner choose to forego having anyone stand up at your wedding, it is a good idea to still find a way to let close friends and family know how much they have meant to you throughout your life’s journey. Let 8 GWM / Fall 2016

Mark VanDonge Photography

Be sure to speak to their parents about whether or not they think their child would be up for a role in the wedding – Sometimes even the most outgoing child will freeze up in front of an audience. Parents will know whether or not their child will be able to show up or shut down when the time comes. If you decide not to have children in your wedding party and their parent (whether it is a friend or family member) seems offended, try to sidestep the situation by allowing the child to still have a special outfit or “job” at the wedding so that they (and their parents) still feel included without having to take a trip down the aisle.

Transgender Times


Laila By Michael Eric Brown


ot that long ago, two individuals were born thousands of miles apart who were destined to not only serve their country, but also to pursue a special journey of a gender transition and somehow find each other to share in those journeys.

Laila and Logan were both serving in the U.S. military when they met online in 2012 through a group call Outserve. Both were in the middle of their transition journeys, and they had both filed the paperwork for legal name and gender marker changes. They have said of their meeting and their subsequent relationship, “Our relationship is stronger since we have an in depth understanding of life as a transgender person who is serving in the United States military.”

Who They Are Logan, having always known who he was, said being “different” was a way of life for him. He says about finding someone to share his life with, “I never thought about the label itself. I just knew I would love whole heartedly the person that I would end up with. The only thing that changed during transition was my limitation on what type of person I would be with, cis or trans, male or female.” When he met Laila, he recalls, “When we formally met, she just got it. She understood. And it was a relief knowing that I didn’t have to explain it to her. That she genuinely understood what I have to go through.”

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In her words, Laila stated “Before transition, I identified as homosexual. But when I started to transition, I started identifying as heterosexual because I was identifying as a female who is attracted to males. I was conscious of that change and the more I understood it, the more comfortable I became with myself… .I stumbled across a few special people that helped mold me into the woman that I am today that I can comfortably and genuinely identify as heterosexual…The local people of Hawaii that worked with me provided comfort when I needed it. Culturally, transgender people are embraced and celebrated by the Hawaiian culture. Their unconditional love and support provided me the chance to endure the hardships that I faced daily [in the military].” She shares her recollection of her meeting with Logan, “ Meeting him for the first time, I had never felt so connected to one person like that before and that is why I married him. Because love came when I least expected it from a person I least expected to fall in love with.”

who have stuck by her through her transition. As far as work was concerned, however, her gender identity caused a problem for those who didn’t understand, and because of the unwillingness to understand, she separated from the military in December of 2015.

Logan flew home, “After having seen him, I was sorta depressed that I wasn’t able to actually physically feel him next to me.” The next morning, she was leaving for work, but was unable to find her house key. She asked her family about it, but of course, they were in on Logan’s plan, and feigned Their Love Story ignorance. She was disappointed to have not heard from Logan on It wasn’t until early 2014 that Logan FaceTime, but her sister sent her and Laila formally met in person, a message asking her to be the where they were both attending “wingman” on a blind date with a conference in Houston that her. She agreed, then found the was geared towards transgender date was to be at sunset on the people serving in the military. beach. Still inwardly questioning They continued to learn about the oddity of this, “Who as a blind each other after the conference date at the beach at sunset?” using FaceTime, since they were she went with it anyway. Her supervisor, who was also in on the secret plans, let her off work at noon instead of the regular 4:30pm. Her sister and cousin had her clothing laid out, and said that the “blind date” would be wearing a white shirt, khakis, and flip flops.” thousands of miles apart from each other. That summer, Logan hopped In That Moment on a plane headed for Hawaii to spend personal time with Laila, Once at the beach, Laila was facing then had to return back home and the shore and heard her niece call to work. out to her sister. She turned in time to see a man walking towards Logan says of the time after her in a white shirt and khakis. returning “We both agreed that “I became overwhelmed with it felt as if there were something emotions. Logan walked up to me missing from the entire trip but with the biggest smile ever. Behind couldn’t put a finger on what it was him followed my parents. He pulled exactly.” When he arrived home, it me away from the reef and got only took him moments to realize down on one and proposed to me what he needed to do, and he on a beach full of people. And of booked a flight to Hawaii to return course, with tears rolling down my only two days later. He decided to face, I said yes. The whole thing make it a surprise, and enlisted the was perfect: the breeze, the beach, help of both their families to make the sunset, the proposal.” Logan the surprise possible, and made it recalls this special time on the to Zales to get an engagement ring. beach “In that moment, nothing else mattered. I had her, she had Unsuspecting Laila recalls after me. I was grateful to have had

In that moment, nothing else mattered. I had her, she had me.

Their Support Systems Logan has had mostly positive experiences in regards to his transition in the military, and says that those around him have been “quite supportive.” His family and friends “have been nothing short of amazing in the love and support they provide.” He has chosen to be completely open and honest, patient, transparent and willing to teach others in order to make positive impacts on those he meets. Laila says that her family is proud of her and are her best friends, and she has a small group of friends 10 GWM / Fall 2016

the help of both of our families in planning that spontaneous and adventurous proposal.”

The Night Was Magical Logan and Laila were married two years later in May of 2016 on the same beach they had become engaged. Both were now living as their authentic genders, with all their documents reflecting this fact. More than 150 close friends and family gathered to help celebrate the occasion. Laila tells us, “With the open ocean as a back drop for our vows and the rich and savory food of the Hawaiian culture to the melodic sounds of the Piano Guys, the night was magical. It ended with us looking up at the starlit sky that blanketed Hawaii. It turned out more prefect than we had ever expected. Definitely a night we will never forget.”

transition process and being completely transparent, that the sky is the limit in making a positive impact on strangers, but also understanding they can’t win every heart over has humbled them. Their story came out in the New York Times in 2015, and it opened

Words of Advice There will be times when you feel like no one loves you, that’s absolutely untrue. You must first love yourself and work on yourself in order to allow the love of someone else to blossom and flourish in your life. Never give up on love, because love will never give up on you. And never limit yourself on who you find love in, because sometimes you’ll be surprised in where you find the purest and genuine of love. Links: The New York Times article/video: http:// www.nytimes. com/2015/06/04/ opinion/ transgender-atwar-and-in-love. html?_r=0

Trans Advocacy Since getting married, they have both become more involved in the TransMilitary Project, a project that is helping to change the policy on open trans service in the United States Military to allow transgender people to serve and serve openly. They have both noticed that being willing to educate others on the

Author Note: At the time of this writing, the Pentagon plans to announce the repeal of its ban on transgender service members July 1, 2016.

Outserve: https:// www.outserve-sldn. org/ up “a world to other supporters and people who go through and continue to go through the same things we go through…. our experience has been mostly positive. And our continued work as advocates continue to change the hearts and minds daily.”

TransMilitary: The Fight for Gender Equality: https://www.kickstarter. com/projects/144032359/ transmilitary-ending-the-ban-ontransgender-servic?ref=thanks_ share gayweddingsmag.com / GWM 11

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When Modern Rustic Marry Follow these tips from Tobey Nelson at Vases Wild to create a perfectly modern wedding! Pick a modern texture and pattern for your wedding cake, with a little “pop” of some edible metallic (too much metallic is old-school, just a touch is modern and brings the cake to life). Geometric patterns are a great choice, and when used with restraint can produce a cake that has a perfect balance of what’s “edible” and what’s “art”. Our cake for this shoot had a crackle texture that helps to update the look of the more traditional fondant cake with its perfectly porcelain/matte exterior. One of the growing trends in the pastry world is aging/degradation/patina, so we figured the crackle effect -- in combination with a clean geometric pattern of alternating dots -- would be refreshing and current. A crucial element of styling the modern urban cake table is to use a stunning linen with a print that delicately echoes the cake’s pattern without being too literal, and adding pops of textural interest (e.g. seed pods, unexpected foliage and floral adornments like sea holly) that are so fresh in juxtaposition with a round multi-tiered cake.


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VENUE It all starts with the venue! Choose a venue whose spaces and vistas reflect a clean, minimalist vibe. Having metal, concrete, and high ceilings along with a cityscape to shoot against was such a great combination in this instance. Having a clean slate with thoughtfully chosen fixtures that can serve as meaningful visual elements makes a huge difference in the feeling and the imagery (I loved the long dangling lights in the main front room, and the globes in the ballroom). It can also help save on the budget - if they have great backdrops or features, you don’t have to provide them! 14 GWM / Fall 2016

When shopping for a wedding ensemble with a contemporary vibe look for silhouettes with strong lines and smoothly finished fabrics. And again that fresh thinking – if you’re not a dress girl, by all means wear pants! We chose a three-piece pantsuit combination for this shoot, including a French style jacket for a fresh twist. The high-waisted pants were made from a light ivory crepe and were paired with a navy colored cage shoe. When she removed the jacket, our model was able to show off her tattoos in a minimalist crop corset. For a sleek, modern feel seek out dresses made from matte silk crepe or silk


faille. Designs with sleeves are sophisticated and hip, and a tiny splash of sparkle will keep the look formal. Like the halter dress in the shoot, look for simple designs with little or no embellishment.

FLOWERS Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. You’ve heard it before, but really – being modern means being fresh and innovative. Think about traditions and make sure they work for you, rather than just doing them because everyone else does. Think of your bridal bouquet as an accessory – and make a statement. Or don’t carry one at all, and wear some floral jewelry – like the succulent necklaces sported by this couple. And why spend money on a bridesmaid bouquet that the ladies will carry for the half hour of the ceremony, when you they could sport instead a cool living plant cuff that they wear all night and into the coming month? (and then plant it to grow on as a momento?!)

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The tabletop is the introduction to the overall meal and reception experience. Introduce your guests to an indulgent evening with a gorgeous place setting highlighted with beautiful centerpieces. Choose china that reinforces your design elements – the metallic gold element with the pattern plays beautifully into the pattern on the overlay. And of course with all the gold we had to pick gold flatware! For florals, I like to create layers of interest, using tall vases in between seats to create interest above without blocking views, and then smaller things at the place setting for close-in interest, like the potted succulents and the poppy pot accent on the place setting. And of course, you can never have too many candles! Candles can be a great way to make a tabletop feel full and rich without going overboard on flowers.


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CEREMONY Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. You’ve heard it before, but really – being modern means being fresh and innovative. Think about traditions and make sure they work for you, rather than just doing them because everyone else does. Think of your bridal bouquet as an accessory – and make a statement. Or don’t carry one at all, and wear some floral jewelry – like the succulent necklaces sported by this couple. And why spend money on a bridesmaid bouquet that the ladies will carry for the half hour of the ceremony, when you they could sport instead a cool living plant cuff that they wear all night and into the coming month? (and then plant it to grow on as a momento?!) Layering a few simple elements creates enough interest without having to go overboard on costly florals for interest. For the ceremony we relied on a simple banner with a meaningful quote, LOVE marquis lights, and potted plants that the venue had on site. Any of these could be repurposed easily in other areas of the event. Select a simple and strong color theme, and reinforce it in each gesture. I chose slate and gold as the main colors. Often people go with black and white when they think modern, but this can feel cold. The choice of slate blue kept the look cool and serene while being a bit more approachable and less stark; metallic gold warms it up and adds depth and pizazz.

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HAIR Stylist Simple, Keep the hairstyle simple. Sleek and sophisticated never goes out of style. Choose your style accordingly, is your wedding inside or outside? Prepping the hair is essential, choose products that work with you not against you. A medium hold, brushable hairspray with a dry conditioning shine spray that holds the style but leaves a dry super shiny finish. Design your style with purpose and passion, making sure it compliments the theme of the wedding.


LINENS Play with texture. For this shoot I chose patterns that relied on contrasts of texture, rather than color, to keep a calm, minimalist vibe that feels deep, rich and a touch earthy. The slub of the blue linen tablecloth adds richness in a subtle, almost unseen way. The close-contrast pattern of the overlay brings a playful, interesting element but in a super low-key way so that the overall effect is still quite simple. The stripe of the napkin adds even more interest, and since it is also in gold tones, the textures can interact without worrying about color clash. Add a graphic element. Geometrics are so hot now, but they also feel a little dated. Keeping classic shapes like circles, squares, and ovals give a contemporary feeling without getting too trendy. The circular pattern in the overlay is repeated in the choice of cylindrical vases, dots on the cake, plates, and on the signage suite. I also chose strong, graphic floral elements such as succulents, artichokes and poppy pods. Photographer: Suzanne Rothmeyer Photography Venue: Within Sodo Linens and Coverings: Choice Linens Linens and Coverings: Cort Party Rentals Dress Store: French Knot Couture Cake Designer: Honey Crumb Cake Studio Hair Stylist: La Salon Bella Design and Decor: Pedersen’s Event Rental Signage: The Feather & Fox Floral Designer: Vases Wild Spirits: Whidbey Distillery

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married life



n your romantic life, are you a talker or a doer? My wife and I compared notes with each other and with two other couples, discovering that among the six of us, three talkers married three doers. The talkers say “I love you,” out loud and frequently. They call from the office to say, “I miss you.” They sing love songs.

I’m the doer. For those of you old enough, think of Edith Bunker. When

husband (also a guy, I might point out) says it often. As they compared notes about talking and doing, my wife suggested that maybe she says “I love you” so much that I have become deaf to it. The other day, my wife offered to sell a special possession to help us manage a short period of financial stress. I turned to her and said, “You really do love me, don’t you?”

I turned to her and said, “You really do love me, She was shocked. “I tell you ten don’t you?” times a day. Of course I love you.”

The doers are more likely to express love in their dayto-day actions, like pouring their spouses’ morning coffee, stocking the fridge with their loved ones’ favorite foods, or taking responsibility for chores such as billpaying or grocery shopping.

The talkers say the doers are short on romance. The doers say the talkers ignore reality. On what side of the line do you and your partner fall? My wife is definitely the talker in our relationship. She tells me many times a day that she loves me. She is almost always the one to say it first. She sings a rendition of Joe Cocker’s “You Are So Beautiful” that makes me laugh so hard that tears stream down my face.

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For her, love is happiness. It doesn’t have to be discussed, analyzed, proven. It shouldn’t be work. She loves joyfully.

her husband, Archie, wanted a drink, she brought it to him. When he got ready to go out, she handed him a hat. Making him comfortable was her job, and she embraced it. For me, love is expressed with sacrifice and displays of thoughtfulness. It’s serious business. The problem with showing love in only one way? Eventually we stop seeing (or hearing) it. Pouring coffee no longer means “I love you;” it turns into, “here’s a cup of coffee.” A friend of ours admits he rarely says “I love you” to his husband. He chalks it up to it being a guy thing. But his

But her offer to sacrifice something she holds dear was a declaration of love in my language. Conversely, my writing a love letter is a much more special means of expressing affection than cooking her favorite dinner, because I cook dinner every day but don’t write love letters very often. If we’re lucky, our spouses love us just the way we are, and our usual means of expressing love are simply a part of who we are. But if these discussions are illustrative of anything, it’s that a declaration of love in your partner’s language is more likely to be heard loud and clear.

Real Weddings

JOE & MICHAEL July 4, 2015 / Tyler Boye Photography

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Real Weddings

Michael and Joe met ten years ago during their junior year of high school. Although they traveled in very different social circles initially, they met each other in art class and their simple friendship grew very quickly to love following high school graduation. They maintained their relationship while both pursuing their passions at Penn State University supported by each other and the love of their friends and family. Even now, Michael and Joe balance and support each other, often noting how their differences have made them both better people in all aspects of their lives. In everything they do, Joe and Michael mix their unique styles, tastes, and personalities to

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compliment each other and build a life that is the perfect blend of who they are and what they love. Since Michael proposed at their alma mater in 2014, planning for the wedding was a great opportunity for both men to express what was important to them and thus they chose Independence Day as a date that would symbolism their new beginning together. The wedding mixed themes of classic American architecture and style infused with the beauty, history, and natural excellence of the Knowlton Mansion located in North Philadelphia. The ceremony, located outdoors, presented the ideal combination of strong geometric design with natural elegance and was a perfect location for Joe and Michael to express their love through a personally created ceremony crafted just for them by their Officiant, members of their families, and vows straight from their hearts. For the reception, both men were inspired by the mansion’s lush grounds and historic architecture, to pair live plants in Joe’s personally handmade ceramic planters with gold accent pieces and candelabras on beds of moss to perfectly match the style and sophistication of Knowlton’s antique decor. They also took advantage of the opportunity Knowlton offered to make use of the entire mansion with personal photos in eclectic gold frames for their guests to enjoy and reflect on throughout the cocktail hour and wedding. So it was, surrounded by family and friends, both men expressed their love and celebrated the night away gayweddingsmag.com / GWM 25

Real Weddings

with incredible food catered by Conroy Catering, the perfect mix of popular and classic dance hits from the music styling of SYDNEY of EBE Talent, and a fireworks and a sparkler send off to commemorate not only our American Independence Day; but also a brand new chapter in Joe and Michael’s love story.

Venue: Knowlton Mansion Caterer: Conroy Catering Band: EBE Events and Entertainment Apparel: Mrs. Bow Tie Tuxedo/Men’s Attire: Vera Wang Photographer: Tyler Boye Photography


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Real Weddings

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TAMARA & MICHELLE August 2, 2015 / Kelsey Goodwin Photography

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Real Weddings

HOW DID YOU MEET? We met in 2008, while working towards our Masters of Arts in Counseling Psychology. We had an instant friendship that lasted throughout the entire three-year program. We feel as though our love story is one that is truly a journey. We have faced many obstacles; we have had much laughter, many tears and we have developed an eternal love. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TOGETHER? We’ve been together for 7 years. Four years into our relationship, Tamara proposed while on vacation in Tofino, British Columbia. This proposal took place in the most magical setting you can ever imagine. WHAT IS THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE YOU’VE HAD TO OVERCOME AS A COUPLE? We completed our masters, registered as psychologists, built a new home, and opened up our own private practice. Aside from all of these events, nothing could have prepared us for the challenges

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that we faced in relation to the non-acceptance from some family members. Together, we embraced our challenges and these challenges remind us to live each day with gratitude, knowing that we are blessed and loved by so many. WHAT DO YOU LOVE THE MOST ABOUT YOUR SPOUSE? I love Tamara’s kind and gentle soul. Tamara is compassionate and caring, which is noticeable in the ways she treats her loved ones. She is incredibly ambitious and challenges herself to perform her best; I immediately fell in love with Michelle’s infectious energy. She is one of the most kind and considerate people I have ever met. gayweddingsmag.com / GWM 31

Real Weddings Michelle has an innate strength that most people do not know about. I love how she treats her family, friends, and loved ones. DESCRIBE YOUR WEDDING DAY: Our wedding day was breathtaking and exceeded all of our expectations. Our wedding was filled with family, friends and loved ones, who traveled from afar, to truly and wholeheartedly honor our union. It was a beautiful day in Victoria, B.C. The sun was shining as we overlooked the harbor. The venue was so incredibly elegant. There were 125 guests present with us, supporting and blessing our wedding vows and union. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART? Both of us admit that our most favorite part was when we saw each other for the first time during the ceremony. WERE THERE ANY SURPRISES (GOOD OR BAD) THAT HAPPENED? The greatest surprise was our own calmness on the actual wedding day. This calmness was due to us having such an amazing team in place to create our special day. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER COUPLES PLANNING THEIR WEDDING? Don’t lose perspective in the process. Always remember the meaning behind your special day. NOW THAT THE WEDDING IS OVER, WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS OR FUTURE PLANS AS A MARRIED COUPLE? We plan to start a family, continue to travel, and create new memories together. 32 GWM / Fall 2016

Photographer: Kelsey Goodwin Wedding Consultant: Ashley Haddow/Jennifer Scigliano Ceremony Site: Inn at Laurel Point Reception Site: Inn at Laurel Point Caterer: Inn at Laurel Point Wedding Cake: Inn at Laurel Point Florist: Details Special Event Planning & Décor (Nicole Jespersen) Clothing/Gowns/Suits: Tamara’s dress from David’s Bridal; Michelle’s dress from The Bridal House; Indian Traditional Attire from Pooja’s Boutique; men’s suits from Moores & bridesmaids dresses from David’s Bridal Hair: Salon C Makeup: Artistry by Alexa Music: Wunderbread Linens: Inn at Laurel Point Rentals: Details Special Event Planning & Décor (Nicole Jespersen) Lighting: Inn at Laurel Point Invitations: Evergreen Stationary (Edmonton)

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lo ve



n a windy Wednesday afternoon in March 2016, a group of talented vendors in the Saint Louis area gathered together to create a beautifully crafted inspirational shoot at Silver Oaks Chateau in Pacific, Missouri. With the colors lavender and sage in mind as our color palette in addition to grey to round out the overall look, choosing the photographer and venue was the next step. We had wanted to work with Hannah Leigh Imagery for a long time, and this shoot was the perfect opportunity for that partnership. We wanted an outdoor, raw view of what love looks like. We found that with Silver Oaks Chateau.

With extreme attention to detail through their patio and dressing suite as seen pictures, we were in awe of the venue’s overall aura. The unique choice of decor pieces makes this ordinary venue into an extraordinary one. Hannah used the fur rug in the dressing suite to display the thoughtfully designed stationery by Corey from Rock Paper Scissors. Corey utilized the lavender and sage perfectly in her specific designs, matching the simple elegance of our soft rustic shoot. We laid Corey’s escort cards in addition to the handmade lavender and sage soap favors created by Olivenar from Etsy in a bed of lavender to display on a wine barrel provided by Silver Oaks. Corey’s use of grey in the invitation suite paired perfectly with the groom’s suits from Generation Tux. Sported by Christian and Jordan after they

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were made up by Emily Miller Hair & Make-Up, the grey suits were a soft canvas for the bold Tacori cuff links and wedding rings graciously provided by Distinctive Diamonds. Kira from Roses & Mint put together incredible floral decorations on site for the reception table and the groom’s chairs. She came ready with plenty of possible choices for boutonnieres. My personally favorite piece that Kira made was the floral crown for the flower girl, Cadence. It was delicate yet

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structurally sound when it was paired with the Etsy flower girl dress from OliviaKateCouture. She also carefully decorated the cake which was brought to us by Lia from Made.by Lia. She created an elegantly simple vanilla cake, two-tiered and textured with mouthwatering buttercream. To pair the dessert, Nicole from Hollyberry Catering put together an array of delicious small plates that laid perfectly atop the floral decorations on the reception table. They also provided a dessert plate full of cookies and gooey butter cake squares‌yum! Every member of this team had a vital part in its success, and we could not have done it them! Cheers! #willandchrissittinginatree gayweddingsmag.com / GWM 37

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Vendors: Photographer: Hannah Leigh Imagery Location: Silver Oaks Chateau Ring Designer: Distinctive Diamonds Beauty: Emily Miller Makeup & Hair LLC Men’s Attire: Generation Tux Caterer: Hollyberry Catering Company Cake Designer: Made. by Lia Favors and Gifts: Olivenar Dress Designer: Olivia Kate Couture Invitation Designer: Rock Paper Scissors

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Real Weddings

REBECCA & NIKKI February 26, 2016 / FineArt Studio Photography

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Real Weddings HOW DID YOU MEET? Nikki and I met one night almost at bar-close. My friend pointed to this girl across the way with long wavy locks and a fedora on. Before I knew it, my friend had pulled me across the bar to Nikki, pointed at her and said, “you’re cute”, pointed at me and said, “you’re cute”… “you both should talk”. To this day, neither Nikki nor I are exactly sure what the other said. But we exchanged phone

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throughout your special day. We had previously looked into some venues stateside and found out along the way that they do not perform/allow same sex marriages. Other than that, in a general sense, I highly recommend doing a destination wedding. Having a wedding planner to work with, and enough options (but still with limits) helped us make decisions beforehand so that when the day came, everything was taken care of. All we had to do was show up and take in the ocean breeze :) Photographer: FineArt Studio Photography Wedding Consultant: Dreams Ceremony Site: Gazebo Reception Site: Beachside bonfire Caterer: Dreams Florist: Dreams Hair/Makeup: Dreams

numbers, went on our first date, and confirmed the chemistry. The rest is history! WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE WEDDING DAY? Being together with all of our loved ones and letting loose. WERE THERE ANY SURPRISES (GOOD OR BAD) THAT HAPPENED? One of the highlights was the tequila bar we had set up. Our guests took a variety of tequila shots, including chocolate, almond, and fruity flavors, as well as reposados and an anejo. It sure helped our party get under way! WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER COUPLES PLANNING THEIR WEDDING? My advice to same sex couples planning a wedding would be to make sure and do research about the wedding spot/venue beforehand to ensure you are surrounded by open-minded people who will be working with you gayweddingsmag.com / GWM 43

Real Weddings

HOW DID YOU MEET? We met in Orlando, Florida through mutual friends. Samantha came on a paint balling adventure to come celebrate my birthday. We became friendly then. TELL US ABOUT YOUR RELATIONSHIP. This year makes seven years that we have been together. We finally decided that this year was the year to take the plunge. We are a couple that balances each other. Samantha is the planner and then Millie is the spontaneous one. Together we make a great team. A couple of months into dating, Millie purchased a cookie cake for Samantha because Samantha had expressed her love for cookies. Samantha had come to visit from Oklahoma. On the cookie cake I wrote “You’re Amazing”. She opened the cookie cake in front of her family and they made fun of her the entire day. Cookie cakes became our thing ...and Samantha ended up proposing with a cookie cake. HOW DID SHE PROPOSE? Samantha proposed to me at our home in Oklahoma. She came in from out of town and bought a cookie cake. When I opened the cookie cake she had the icing say “will you marry me?” ...and the ring in hand. Of course I said yes. ANYTHING ABOUT YOUR PERFECT WEDDING! Our wedding day was amazing at City Hall. Alex was an outstanding photographer and made the experience very pleasant.

Venue: San Francisco City Hall Photographer: IQphoto Studio

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SAMANTHA & MILAGRO March 14, 2016 IQphoto Studio

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Wedding tips

BEST BUDGET DECORATION IDEAS FOR NEWLYWEDS by Todd Russell, Senior Design Contributor

ou’ve just tied the knot, paid for the honeymoon and purchase the home of your dreams. You’ve also invested in a home warranty to cover breakdowns of major home systems and appliances. So right now may not seem like the best time to tackle and extensive home decoration project. Or is it? With my top ten easy and inexpensive decorating tips, you can create a beautiful and comfortable living space as you begin your life together.


SPRUCE UP THE FRONT DOOR Your front door is the first impression guests have of your new house, and you want to make the most of it. Paint the door a very eye-catching high gloss paint. Classic colors include bright red, black, or blue. If you want your door to be distinctive and make a big impression use yellow or orange. These colors have symbolized happiness and hospitality.

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BUY SECONDHAND Purchasing furniture pieces and accessories from flea markets, yard sales and thrift stores isn’t entirely about saving money. Buying inexpensive second hand pieces gives you the latitude to follow the latest design trends. It’s also a way to deal with your ever evolving design sense. Your taste as a couple will likely go through a number of changes before you settle into your desired style.


CREATE A GALLERY WALL Purchase an assortment of cheap picture frames from flea markets or local discount stores to create a focal point. The entire wall behind the sofa or up the staircase is a great place for these pictures. Make your gallery even more impressive by pairing the frames with black and white photos, botanical images from a calendar, or your own creations. Be sure to unify the fames by painting them white, gray, gold

or black.


UPDATE OUTDATED FINISHES Update finishes around the house with a fresh coat of paint and a few tweaks. Take that ugly brass chandler and spray it with satin nickel paint. Revive kitchen cabinets from the 60’s by painting them white adding new hard ware and installing glass doors. Cut out the center panel of the cabinet door and replace it with clear or seeded glass inserts. Refresh switch plates and outlet covers. It’s easy to change damaged or dirty on with clean replacements.


BRING FABRIC You don’t need to undertake a major redesign to add style to your home. A little bit of fabric will breathe life into any space. Fabrics are a great wat to bring color and texture into your home. Inexpensive throw pillows on the sofa or new dining chair pads add instant pops of color. Fabric store remnants, clearance

bed sheets or table cloths can be fashioned into placemats, shower curtains, window treatments and dinner napkins. If you have an upholstered chair with good bones but tired fabric, consider making a slip cover to highlight its beauty and extent its life.


KEEP WALLS NEUTRAL If you are choosing colors and painting walls for the first time, stick with neutrals like gray, beige or taupe to maintain a comfortable flow throughout the house. Light, neutral colors allow for flexibility when choosing furniture and accessories. If neither of you is comfortable picking paint colors try this trick: select a paint strip in the color family you like. Go with one of the lighter tones then move up and down a shade or two to create a subtle variation from room to room.


EMBRACE THE MINIMAL LOOK When you’re starting out, it’s tempting to buy everything you want at one time to fill up space. You may even be home décor fanatics, but resist the urge to fall into the clutter trap. Keep things clean and simple. Take your time and purchase items that you love. This way your furnishings will look like a natural extension of your personalities.


ADD PLANTS TO YOUR DESIGN Including plants in your interior design adds visual interest to your rooms. Potted plants, floral arrangements or a simple herb garden will add life and fragrance to your home. Indoor plants are also beneficial to your health. They release oxygen, increase humidity levels and help purify the air.


CREATE INEXPENSIVE ARCHITECTURAL DETAILS Create architecture where none exists. Use painter’s tape to make painted crown molding or a classic chair frail effect. Employ the same technique to create the illusion of picture frame molding on expansive walls. With faux molding you add a dimension and traditional appeal for very little money.


BRIGHTEN ROOMS WITH MIRRORS Mirrors make a space brighter by reflecting light. Interior designers like me suggest hanging mirrors on wall adjacent to windows rather than directly across from them. Mirrors can also make a cramped room appear larger by doubling what the eye perceives to be additional space.

as newlyweds can be very challenging. My advice is to prioritize the projects. Nothing looks better than a home that has gathered things over time. Believe me it is leaps and bounds over having the furniture showroom deliver the exact matching set up you saw in the showroom. 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

Decorating your first home

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Real Weddings Laszlo & Joel’s vision for their wedding was “casual, elegant, traditional, Hungarian, gay and fabulous.” The day started with the couple getting ready at their home in Princeton, New Jersey. Father Paul of Trinity Church in Princeton presided over the ceremony in the beautiful church where love was a consistent theme. Laszlo & Joel’s niece and nephew preceded them and the couple walked down the aisle together, witnessed by a church full of friends and family. Princeton University provided a beautiful backdrop for portraits of the couple. The reception was held at Rutgers University, where a

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LASZLO & JOEL March 12, 2016

Leslie Barbaro Photography

dining hall was transformed into a gorgeous space with an incredible international feast including traditional Hungarian fare, a whole roasted pig and paella.

Photographer: Leslie Barbaro Photography Location: Rutgers University Flowers: Biagio’s Florist Attire: Bonobos, J. Crew DJ: Hurricane Productions Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas

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Juan Euan Photography

Picking You

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ur DJ

Top 5 Tips to Pick The Right DJ for Your Wedding Know your DJ! This does not mean hire a friend of the family. What it does mean: He/she must be comfortable and familiar with gay weddings. You need to also hire a DJ that you can meet face-to-face. This does not necessarily mean in person. With today’s technology you can Skype, periscope, etc. Many couples are doing destination weddings, and an in-person meeting would be difficult. Make sure the DJ you meet with will be the person at your event. Be comfortable and confident with your DJ. You are trusting this person with the largest part of your wedding day. After your wedding the next 3 to 6 hours will be a reception and celebration. The person handling this should be an accomplished MC (master of ceremonies) and DJ. If you can get a recommendation from a friend or you have seen the DJ at another wedding would be awesome. If you are doing a destination wedding, a good idea is to rely on recommendations from vendors you have already hired. This will ensure that they have already worked with/seen the DJ. Hire a DJ that fits you and your partner’s personality. The DJ must encompass your style and individuality. Your wedding must be just that: YOURS. This is essential. I do not believe that your wedding should be “cookie-cutter.” Make sure your DJ will allow you to create a customized playlist. Who knows your guest better than you and your partner? This goes back to making the wedding “Yours”. A playlist of your favorite songs and artist would be great. Have A Your DJ agreement Have a signed agreement naming all the pertinent information including who the DJ/MC will be. On the agreement, you should have any other contracted services such as additional set up, personnel, lighting, musicians etc. Everything you discuss must be on paper. It is also important to know what the payment and cancellation policy are.

Mike Berrios Entertainment Director, MB Event 754-703-6935 || 954-901-5116 info@mbeventdjs.com www.mbeventdjs.com

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PREMARITAL COUNSELING How to Create Your Happily Ever After


by Rachel Madorsky, LCSW

hat’s so great about premarital counseling? Oh, just everything!

First, let me say that I am completely biased. As a psychotherapist and relationship coach for over two decades serving the LGTBQ+ community, I have had the pleasure of helping hundreds of couples create relationships and lives they love. During this time, I have seen couples experience the highest highs and lowest lows, and I can tell you that many break-ups and heart aches are preventable. If I could give marrying couples just one piece of advice it would be this: Take the time, make the investment, Do Premarital Counseling. According to the research, couples with premarital education report higher levels of marital satisfaction and are 30% less likely to get divorced within the first five years. Good premarital counseling can help you create a strong foundation, by having a caring relationship expert there to guide you, ask thought provoking questions and teach valuable relationship skills. For example, great premarital topics to cover include; sex and sexuality, handling money and financial matters, sharing chores, work, pleasure and values, giving and receiving love, relationships with in-laws (especially the less accepting ones), raising children, blending families, handling stress, as well as balancing individuality and freedom with closeness and intimacy. Inside each of these topics are even finer points and insights to be gained, including the importance of learning communication and conflict resolution skills. Here are three relationship-healthy habits you can start now to create (or maintain) your own Happily Ever After.

Appreciate. Give. Receive. Repeat. One of the secrets to a happy long-lasting marriage is appreciation. Frequent, sincere appreciation. Everything runs smoother with appreciation. Say thank you daily for dinner, for making the bed, for the special way your partner expresses kindness toward your pet. Anything and everything you like, 52 GWM / Fall 2016

say thank you for it and let your partner know why that thing she or he does means so much to you. The other two secrets to a happy marriage are generosity and kindness. Give your time, your love, your laughter, your back rubs, your kindness, your compliments. ...And then, receive. Giving gets a lot of good press, but what about receiving? Not so much. Become a good receiver and your life will change!

There’s a difference between being selfish and being a good receiver. How does it affect your partner when you find it difficult to receive? It’s like saying, “No thank you, I reject your gift”. On the other hand, it feels great to give a gift that gets appreciated. It’s a circle, a cycle and one part cannot happen successfully without the other. The more comfortable we get with receiving, the more good can come into our lives. So keep the good flowing by appreciating, giving, receiving and repeat.

Practice Listening with Love Sometimes we confuse listening to our partner with nottalking-while-we-wait-our-turn-to-say-the-thing-we-wantto-say. This isn’t really listening. In times of conflict or stress, one of the best things we can do for our selves and our relationship is to listen to our partner with love. This means putting our own agenda on pause and quieting our mind, while we generously take in our partners words, thoughts and feelings. The longer we’ve been with someone, the easier it is to assume we know what they’re going to say, what they mean and how they’re feeling. The truth is, we are always changing, we are all works in progress, growing and evolving every day. Try listening with new ears, with curiosity and interest. For bonus points, you can try repeating what you heard and asking your partner if you got it right. The value of understanding and feeling understood is priceless. It is one of the foundational practices on which to

build a happy long-lasting marriage.

Say YES More! Saying Yes let’s the joy in. There’s a great exercise called “Wouldn’t It Be Great If”. It’s a fun and practical way to develop healthy shared rituals and pleasurable plans for your life. Try it with your partner. Sit together with paper and pen while you brainstorm ways to make your life even better. Say “Yes” to every idea - since its just an idea session, and see if you can come up with new ways of making life great. For example: Wound’t it be great if... we stayed in bed all day once a month. YES! Wouldn’t it be great if... we made a list of every place we want to travel together and took turns picking a vacation spot each year. YES! Wouldn’t it be great if we tried a new restaurant every week. YES! etc. Keep going until you have a list of lots of fun things. Then pick two or three items, no matter how big or small, that you will take action on and incorporate into your life together. Saying Yes keeps the fun, spontaneity and sense of adventure alive in your relationship and in your life. Building a solid foundation requires care and time. I can’t think of anything more valuable a couple can do for their relationship than investing in a good premarital counseling experience. From meaningful conversations on important topics to learning new and healthy communication skills, in my professional opinion, premarital counseling is the best thing you can do to start your marriage and create an authentic happily ever after. ...... Rachel Madorsky is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Premarital and Marriage Counselor, Relationship Coach and Founder of Love Your Life, LLC and Austin Counseling & Relationship Therapy. For the last 20 years Rachel has been helping couples create relationships and lives they love. To learn more about Rachel and the services she offers visit www.rachelmadorsky.net.

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Real Weddings

ARIEL & TRACY September 23, 2013 / Wide Eyed Studios

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Real Weddings

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN MARRIED? We’ve been married for almost three years now. WOULD YOU CONSIDER YOURSELVES OPPOSITES? OR MORE SIMILAR? In some ways we’re scarily similar, and in other ways we differ quite a bit. I’d say we’re more similar than we are different. One thing that drew me to my wife was her humility despite her obviously high intelligence, and also her biting humor. Our styles of humor are nearly identical. We laugh at all the same things. WHAT HAS CHANGED IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP SINCE YOU GOT MARRIED? Not much, in all honesty. Life after marriage was mostly the same, but now I get all mushy when I think about the fact that I’m married to my best bud in the whole world. WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST OBSTACLES YOU HAVE HAD TO OVERCOME IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP? Fortunately, we haven’t had many obstacles in terms of our relationship itself, but we did both lose our fathers at an 56 GWM / Fall 2016

early age, and we talk about that frequently. Our dads would’ve been friends not only with each other, but they would’ve loved their new daughters­-in-­law in turn. My dad loved David Bowie, and my wife has been obsessed with David Bowie for decades. He was also a huge Trekkie and loved sci­fi, and Tracy loves Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek, all of it. They would’ve been great friends, and that’s hard to think about. HOW DO YOU KEEP AN OPEN AND HONEST COMMUNICATION? I loathe passive aggression, so that’s something we both try to avoid. I also have something of a temper, so I need to know when to walk away rather than letting something nasty come out of my mouth. We try to be honest, but in a way that’s beneficial. If it’s technically honest but absolutely unnecessary to say, I like to think we keep a lid on it. WHAT IS YOUR THEORY ON ARGUING? A NECESSARY EVIL OR SOMETHING TO BE AVOIDED? Arguing is essential. You have to be able to find middle ground, or at least agree to disagree. There are very few things about which we disagree, thankfully, but we always try to find each other somewhere in between. Humility is essential, so I

try to strive to always be humble and realize that I am far from correct about a lot of things. WHAT IS THE BEST PART ABOUT BEING MARRIED? The best part about being married, to me, is getting to come home to my best friend, cliché as that is. It’s like an awesome sleepover every night,

but it’s an awesome R­-rated lesbian sleepover! DO YOU PLAN TO START A FAMILY? My wife and I have both discussed it, and we have no desire to have children. It’s just not something she or I want. We do believe it takes a village, though, and plan to help gayweddingsmag.com / GWM 57

Real Weddings

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out with the kids of our friends and families if we can. WHEN LIFE GETS BUSY, WHAT DO YOU DO TO STAY FOCUSED ON EACH OTHER? That’s an area in which I know I could personally do better, but my wife is always a rock star in that regard. We try to keep each other grounded, and have frequent date nights away from friends and family. We’re both introverts, so we need a lot of me time, but time together counts as me time. Photographer: Ashley LaBonde and Rebecca Gudelunas of Wide Eyed Studios Ceremony Site: Morris Arboretum Caterer: Company’s Coming Catering Wedding Cake: Night Kitchen Bakery Clothing/Gowns/Suits: Suit from J. Crew. Gown from Terani Couture. DJ: Jeremy Sweigert AKA DJ Swaggle Linens: Company’s Coming Catering

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PATRICK & SCOTT June 2nd, 2016 / Photographer Enrico Capuano

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Have love

HOW DID YOU MEET? We met on January 9th, 2002 at a Sports Bar in Phoenix. At the time, I was working from home and had a fairly long, stressful day. I decided I needed to get out of the office and be around other people, have a cocktail and relax a little. I was there by myself, playing Billiards when Patrick and a group of his friends came in. I was minding my own business, just trying to decompress for the evening. After about 30 minutes this guy, Patrick started to poke fun at my Billiard skills. In his defense, I was playing alone. After enough ribbing from him, I suggested he get off the stool and come and play me a game and we will see how good he is. He did. As it turns out he is a HORRIBLE Billiards player. He’s got one shot, hit it hard and see where it goes. So I began to ridicule his playing, in a very friendly joking way of course. After about an hour his group of friends said they had to go, they were to attend a play or something of that nature. Patrick said that he decided to stay behind because he wanted to talk to me more, he thought there was something there. His friend were not very happy with him, and they left. As it turns out, He was on a blind date but no one bothered to tell him that. So the guy he was “with” on the date was very angry and has never talked to him since. His loss was my gain. Patrick and I have been together ever since that night. WHAT IS THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE YOU’VE HAD TO OVERCOME AS A COUPLE? Trust and faith in each other, and we still battle those today, albeit in a much smaller way. When we met Patrick had just come through a 15 year relationship that was filled with abuse. This

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Have love

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profoundly affected his ability to trust other people. Myself, I had come out of my second marriage (to a woman) I was 36 before I came to terms with who my true self was, but thankfully I did. Every relationship carries the remnants of past relationships, which determine we who are at that moment. The challenge is always to put the past into perspective and realize that it may dictate who you are at this moment, but doesn’t have to determine who you will be in the future. We had to learn to trust one another, to believe that each of us are where we wanted to be with each other and trust that the future is going to be bright as long as we fight for it together. It hasn’t always been easy, but we have never lost sight of the love we have for each other, and we also believe that love can overcome many things.

taught me to be more spontaneous, open minded, and express a more free spirit. I have taught him to be more responsible, more caring and trusting. We entered each others lives 15 years ago to save each other. WHAT DO YOU LOVE THE MOST ABOUT YOUR SPOUSE? He loves to have fun and laugh. He has an amazing smile that lights up when anyone sticks a camera in front of him, that cracks me up every time. He is extremely intelligent and is not afraid to say “I’m sorry” when he should. He likes to think he is tough, but he is really a softie.

Looking back, 15 years has gone by in a blink of an eye. The battles fought and won on either side are nothing more than small distractions today. I am a very tightly wound, conservative, organized type A personality. He is the complete opposite, he’s random, lives in the moment and is not afraid to try anything. He has

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Have love

DESCRIBE YOUR WEDDING DAY: I would like to start by telling you how we decided to marry in Ravello, Italy. We have been traveling to the Amalfi Coast for a number of years already. It’s our favorite place to Vacation, it’s so relaxing and beautiful. A few years ago, we happened upon Ravello while we were out exploring the coast. We spent the day there, enjoying the town square, lunch and people watching. We walked all over the town and as we were walking down an alley way, we passed a gate. Behind the gate was the stunning Villa Eva. Although the gate was closed, we walked in to look at the grounds and the view of the Coastline. We were blown away. We were standing at the fence line overlooking the Coast and Patrick said to me, “ If I ever get married it’s going to be right here”. Fast forward 3 years. In May 2015 we were once again vacationing on the Amalfi Coast. We went to Ravello for lunch and walked about to our favorite Villa, Villa Eva. Although I had this planned all along, he just didn’t know. While we were there, standing in the very same spot, overlooking the Coast, I got down on one knee and asked him to Marry me. I presented him with a set of beautiful Rings I had made in New York and he accepted. Surprisingly the actual Wedding Day was not stressful, it was extremely smooth and wonderfully comfortable, I attribute that to great planning and an amazing Wedding Planner and his team. The only thing that went wrong was that it rained an hour before our ceremony which was to be held outside, so we had to move it indoors. There was a benefit to that rain, there was an amazing rainbow over the coast, now if that isn’t perfect I don’t know what is. I would be lying if I didn’t say I wasn’t nervous, because I was. We spent a hour or so before the wedding with our photographer, getting ready and this for some reason made me a bit nervous because it was the sign that this is really going to happen. I remember thinking how happy I am that this day has finally arrived, that our friends were there to enjoy it with us. I am not one who is prone to emotion, but when I saw my daughter in her beautiful dress, I just started to cry. She walked us down the aisle and gave us to one another, it is a moment that I will never forget. The love and excitement in her eyes to be a part of this momental event will live in our hearts forever. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART? Patrick’s emotions. He doesn’t hold back, he was extremely emotional. The look in his eye and the beautiful things he said. I think about it now, and I don’t even remember other people being there at the moment of our ceremony, it was just he and I.

WERE THERE ANY SURPRISES (GOOD OR BAD) THAT HAPPENED? Aside from the rain an hour prior to the Ceremony, there really wasn’t anything bad that happened. I think a surprise for me was that we had 50 people together for 4 days of events and the camaraderie and friendships (for those who didn’t know others) blossomed much more than I would have anticipated. All our guests got along wonderfully and it made the experience all the better because of it. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER COUPLES PLANNING THEIR WEDDING? Find compromise. The early stages of the planning wasn’t difficult because we knew where we wanted to marry and when. We had a prolonged discussion about cost, events, amenities and sometimes we just couldn’t agree and had to leave it for another day. Ultimately it was our Wedding Planner that helped us to move in a direction we could find agreement. So having a Wedding Planner that knows what they are doing was a HUGE help. We couldn’t have planned such an event ourselves, thousands of miles away. If you are doing a destination wedding, hire a competent Wedding Planner. NOW THAT THE WEDDING IS OVER, WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS OR FUTURE PLANS AS A MARRIED COUPLE? We own multiple businesses together and plan to continue to work together as a business partners, life partners and lovers. We are blessed, and we know it. We don’t take it for granted. We love life, and enjoy everyday together, we wake everyday asking what is next. And everyday, we love to be together. So for the future, our lives will reflect our love for one another and our love of life.

Photographer: Enrico Capuano, amalficoastweddings Wedding Consultant: Mario Capuano, Wagner Tours Ceremony Site: Villa Eva, Ravello, Italy Reception Site: Villa Eva, Ravello Italy Caterer: Villa Eva Wedding Cake: Villa Eva Florist: Carmela Cappotto Clothing/Gowns/Suits: Suit Supply DJ: Alfonso Liquori/ Filippo Di Costanzo Invitations: Momental Designs, Individually Hand Painted Invitations Videographer: Pier Canta

Real Weddings


rom the beginning, Kelsey and Nicole had a special connection, as well as a taste for affordable elegance. When they set eyes on the stunning Palmdale Estates in Fremont, they know that this ornate and romantic property landscaped with lush gardens would be the perfect place to exchange their vows. The theme of the event was “Love Birds”, or as the MIRA creative team titled it “Hearts a-Flutter”. We combined graceful, natural touches with elegant motifs and handcrafted details for a unique, warm, and celebration focused event. Guests arrived on property and made their way into the impeccable Sunken Garden, where a pre-existing gazebo was artfully enhanced with a branch, moss,

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KELSEY & NICOLE June 25, 2015 / Viera Photographics

and floral garland. Waiting for the ceremony to begin, they were able to pick out one of the hand cut wine bottle favors made by our hardworking brides. As the Officiant began to speak of the significance of the day, the mothers of the brides stood up and held hands across the aisle in a display of solidarity. In all my years of wedding planning, I have never heard a crowd erupt into celebration at the proclamation of marriage as I had on that day.

Photographer: Viera Photographics Venue: Palmdale Estates Cake: Margaret’s French Bakery Event Planner: Mira Events Makeup: Moderne Beauty Flowers: Sassy Diva Designs DJ: SJAV

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KIT & JOHN February 27, 2016 / Cathy Baron Photography By John Stein

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Real Weddings


n February 27, stars of the LGBT-themed web series, EastSiders - and Gay Wedding Magazine coverboys! - Kit Williamson and John Halbach, tied the knot in an intimate ceremony at Keys View in Joshua Tree National Park, overlooking the San Jacinto Mountains and the Salton Sea. It was followed by a reception at a private home in Palm Springs, California. The wedding was a star-studded affair, attended by Constance Wu from the ABC comedy Fresh Off the Boat, Stephen Guarino from the ABC comedy Happy Endings and the Showtime comedy I’m Dying Up Here, Brea Grant from the NBC series Heroes, young adult novelist Brittany Cavallaro, Out100 honoree actor Ben Baur and more.

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The couple wore green and blue herringbone suits from Ted Baker and exchanged platinum wedding brands from the sustainable jewelry company Brilliant Earth. We caught up with the happy couple a month after their nuptials. HOW IS MARRIED LIFE? Kit: Married life is fantastic! In many ways it’s identical to boyfriend life, and engaged life, but you can feel a tangible difference beyond just the weight of the ring on your hand. It feels like a different kind of commitment. John: Married life is so far so good. In addition to the added level of commitment, I’m so glad we did it because it got all our friends and families together. With Kit’s family being in Mississippi, my family being in Minnesota, and our friends being spread out between New York and Los Angeles, it took a wedding to finally make that happen. LET’S GO BACK A LITTLE: HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR CEREMONY? Kit: So much fun. We put our entire family on a bus from Palm Springs to Joshua Tree, and held the ceremony at Keys View, overlooking the San Jacinto Mountains and the Salton Sea. John: I describe our ceremony as part road-trip and part house-party. It was so fun to take 50 of our closest friends and family on a bus into the middle of the desert and then back to an amazing house in Palm Springs to celebrate.

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Kit: We had our arrival timed for sunset down to the minute, and we almost missed it because we let everyone out of the bus first to go get in place and told the driver to make a loop so we wouldn’t block traffic...only there wasn’t any place to turn around. We drove nearly a mile before we finally made an illegal u-turn. Thankfully it all worked out and we arrived just as the sky turned an otherworldly orange. It actually made for better pictures that we were a little late! WHAT IS ONE THING YOU WOULD HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY? Kit: I would have maybe gotten there a day earlier, but everything came together in time. John: I might’ve had an official wedding party. We enlisted our sisters and some of our best friends to be our unofficial wedding party and help out on the big day. We couldn’t have done it without them, and in retrospect we should’ve asked them to be “groomsmaids”

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or “best women.” They deserved a fancy title! WHAT’S ONE THING YOU HAD IN YOUR CEREMONY THAT YOU RECOMMEND ALL COUPLES INCLUDE? Kit: I’m a big advocate for writing your own vows. We were both crying and really speaking from the heart about our history together and our future. I’ll never forget what we said to one another. John: One thing I recommend is something we almost didn’t have, but I’m so glad we did: a videographer. We have an amazing video from our friend John Lavin at Epic Event Films that we put on our YouTube channel to share with our friends and family. He caught a lot of great details and moments we weren’t able to see while we were running around getting ready. He gayweddingsmag.com / GWM 77


also gave us the raw footage from the ceremony and the speeches, which I’m incredibly grateful to have. WHERE DID YOU GO ON YOUR HONEYMOON? Kit: We haven’t gone on our official honeymoon yet, but we stayed an extra week in Palm Springs to unwind and decompress. It was such a relief not having to go immediately back to work and the city and just spend time with one another. John: Yes, hanging around in Palm Springs after the wedding was great. We’re hoping to take our official honeymoon next year. WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST CHANGE IN YOUR PARTNERSHIP SINCE BECOMING ‘OFFICIAL’? Kit: I think the cat takes us more seriously as a couple. Seriously, though, I think it’s having our families become more of a single unit. Our parents hadn’t actually had the chance to meet before we got engaged and it was amazing bringing the people we love together. WHAT’S ONE THING YOU WISH YOU KNEW BEFORE WALKING DOWN THE AISLE? Kit: I had been warned about this, but the day before the wedding was way more stressful than the wedding itself. Having everyone arrive and not having the time to really connect with and talk to everyone, all while planning the rehearsal dinner and coordinating the next day, was crazy. A lot of our friends have had similar experiences. My advice to grooms is just breathe through it and know that it’s all going to be worth

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it when the wedding day goes smoothly. John: Also: some things are going to go wrong. Just accept it, and don’t obsess over having the perfect wedding. Your wedding will be perfect if you marry the person you love, no matter what happens. FIRST CAME LOVE, THEN MARRIAGE. ARE YOU MAKING STEPS TOWARD THE CARRIAGE? Kit: Not at the moment. Never say never but right now we’re both so consumed with our careers and starting our life together. John: Taking care of each other and the cat is enough for now. ARE YOU WORKING TOGETHER ON A THIRD SEASON OF YOUR SHOW? Kit: We are definitely talking about gayweddingsmag.com / GWM 79

it, and I’ve been writing, but we’ll see what happens! John: Kit is writing some amazing new stuff for the EastSiders gang, so fingers crossed we get to make it! Watch EastSiders on Netflix. Kit Williamson and John Halbach have also launched a Vlog series following their life as newlyweds and indie filmmakers at https://www.youtube.com/user/ EastSidersTheSeries.

Photographer: Cathy Baron www.cathybaronphotography.com Videographer: John Lavin www.epiceventfilms.com Written by By John Stein.

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t’s never been easier or more affordable to create an organic or ‘green’ nursery for your child than now. Luckily, these vendors know how important the safety of your baby is to you. They have created quality products without harmful chemicals or toxins. Give them a try!

Baby Care by e-cloth® Chemical-free Cleaning Toy & Nursery Cloth/$7.99 The Chemical-free Cleaning Toy & Nursery Cloth removes over 99% of bacteria from toys and nursery surfaces using just water and a cloth. No chemicals used. Where to buy: www.ecloth.com/Baby-Care-by-ecloth/

HABA Clutching Toy Rainbow Circles/$13.49 Follow this rainbow to find the fun! HABA’s colorful rainbow circles clutching toy is sure to delight! Six twotoned beech wood beads, colored with a non toxic water based stain are strung together with sturdy cord to make this the perfect grasping toy for your little inquisitive one. Where to buy: www.HABAusa.com

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Lassig Green Label Allover Fleur Neckline Diaper Bag/$179.99 Lassig’s Green Label Allover Fleur Neckline Diaper Bag keeps you organized and looks like a super-chic handbag. It boasts fabric made from recycled plastic bottles, 2 large main compartments, lots of pockets, a changing pad, wet pocket, and more. Available in Black Mélange and Choco Mélange. Where to buy: www.buybuybaby.com


HABA Pure Nature Pudgie Musical Puppy/$24.99 Waterproof music box that plays a soothing melody of the classic “Hush Little Baby� when its child-safe string is pulled. This high-quality musical toy is made under controlled organic farming processes to ensure the highest quality cottons for both the threads and the outer materials. Where to buy: www.HABAusa.com

Urbana Sacs Creative Sac/XLarge (shown here), ($45), XSmall ($10), Small ($22), Medium ($29) and large ($35) Individually handmade in Los Angeles with washable paper fabric, Urbana Sacs is designed so that you can cuff and shape them to suit your needs. The Urbana Sacs washable paper is a sustainable lightweight material made with a variety of virgin pulp fiber blends and recycled polyester felts. Like fabric, it can be washed and reused over and over again. Available in six shades. Where to buy: www.urbanasacs.com

Lassig Large 3-Pack Summer Dream Swaddle & Burp Blankets in Blue/ Grey/White/$28.99 These pre-washed multi functional muslin swaddling and burp blankets are unlike traditional receiving blankets. One must touch the breathable, 100% cotton to truly appreciate their uniqueness. The special cotton weaving technique used gives them the ability to become softer with each wash. Lassig Muslins can be used as a light blanket, a nursing cloth or for swaddling. Where to buy: www.buybuybaby.com

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Real Weddings

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EDGAR & MACIO April 2, 2016 / Clane Gessel Photography

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Real Weddings

HOW DID YOU MEET? We met March 30th, 2014. It was a Sunday, Edgar’s 40th Bash. My friend Mia invited me to go with her: I was a plus one. It was love at first sight. That night we kissed. We were at Dolce Hayes Mansion, same place we got married two years later. The rest is history, our love story. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TOGETHER? We’ve been together over 2 years. Best time of my life. WHAT IS THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE YOU’VE HAD TO OVERCOME AS A COUPLE? Learning how to Compromise and Listen to your loved one is the key for an amazing relationship. I married my bestie, so it’s been fun. We have lots of laughs, and when things get tough, we talk. WHAT DO YOU LOVE THE MOST ABOUT YOUR SPOUSE? Edgar has the biggest heart. For him, it’s always about making sure everyone around us is happy and taken care of. I’ve learned a lot with him how to be

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patient and positive. He is so friendly and always makes me laugh. DESCRIBE YOUR WEDDING DAY: While planning the wedding I asked Edgar for pink, pink and pink, all shades of them. My obsession for pink is a bit embarrassing, a guilty pleasure. I am lucky that I was marrying a wedding designer and florist. Edgar looked back at me, calm and serine, always polite and said: I think we should use white, lots of white. I have the solution, jokingly I answered back: Barbie meets Frozen = Fabulosity. Poor Edgar, once again he looked confused with my crazy ideas.

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Real Weddings Cherry Blossom is my favorite flower. From the invitation to the wedding design, everything was inspired on its beauty and uniqueness. According to Japanese culture, Cherry Blossom represents love, joy, simplicity and friendship exactly the principles of our relationship. It was endless nights of planning and design, disagreement happened, but never shadowed the joy and excitement we both felt creating our own dream wedding. Each obstacle brought us closer together. Each decision, each surprise, everything was set to create long lasting memories to our beloved family and amazing friends. We had food, and lots of drinks, did I mention thousands of pink roses? We had Mariachi, we had Samba dancers. Even “Amy Winehouse” showed up. Everything was over the top, but nothing topped the immense gratitude that we both felt for all friends who shared their talents to make our dream wedding come truth. Some call them vendors, we are blessed enough to call them friends. We are forever thankful to have such an amazing group of friends who were able to help us with our ideas and wishes. It was so gratifying to see all friends last minute rushing to have every single detail ready for the ceremony. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART? The evening was set: Californian sunset, cherry blossom trees, family and friends together, and my best friend Maria ready to marry us. My mother walked me down the aisle, Edgar’s daughter walked 88 GWM / Fall 2016

him. I cried a lot, Edgar laughed a lot, usually is the opposite. Every single word of the ceremony is forever with us. My sisters there, my in-laws, Edgar’s family, our grandson. It was magical. Fabuloso, the real size crystal elephant, welcomed our guests to Veuve Clicquot Lounge, our favorite champagne. Another of my crazy ideas: elephant, champagne, and lots of love. According to the Indian culture, the elephant represents richness and prosperity. We felt really blessed and thankful for all our guests being around us to celebrate truth love, real friendship, and equality. Fabuloso brought his energy, his light and his authenticity to that unique and breathtaking moment. WERE THERE ANY SURPRISES (GOOD OR BAD) THAT HAPPENED? Some things went wrong, most of it went perfect. We all decided to focus on the positive. The energy was amazing. We had our beloved family and amazing friends celebrating love with us: no judgement, no agenda, simply LOVE, EQUALITY, and RESPECT!!! WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER COUPLES PLANNING THEIR WEDDING? Drink lots of champagne. It’s very stressful time, but it’s very exciting too. Use this time of planning to share amazing moments with your loved one. Don’t let the stress be the front runner of the process, it’s always great to have in mind that you’re planning a celebration of love, friendship, partnership and unity. Celebrate you, celebrate your loved one. It’s a great time to enjoy each other’s company. NOW THAT THE WEDDING IS OVER, WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS OR FUTURE PLANS AS A MARRIED COUPLE? Have lots of fun together… travel, enjoy family and friends, and most important: laugh a lot. gayweddingsmag.com / GWM 89

Real Weddings

Photographer: Clane Gessel Photography Event Planner: CC Events Floral Designer: www.flowersbyedgar.com DJ: Gatsby Entertainment Group Shoes: Gucci Cake Designer: Jen’s Cakes Photo Booth Equipment: Onesnap Photobooth Tuxedo and Mens Attire: Tom Ford Equipment Rentals: Allure Events Cinema and Video: AVR Films Reception Venue: Dolce Hayes Mansion Equipment Rentals: Fine Linen Creation

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Wedding prep

What If

Five Reasons Why You Need Wedding Insurance What do a new car and a wedding have in common? They both can cost upwards of $30,000 – and they are both way too expensive not to insure. If you’ve started the wedding planning process, you know that costs can quickly add up. So why would you spend that much money without protecting your investment? While it’s somewhat of an obscure offering, several large insurance carriers offer wedding insurance (also known as special event insurance). With premiums starting at $160 and many policies that have no deductible, the peace of mind you can gain by purchasing a policy might be worth every penny. Wedding insurance offers customers financial protection when certain unfortunate, unforeseen events occur. Policies can offer a variety of coverage to protect contracted financial expenses as well as liability, property damage and host liquor liability. Depending on the policy, wedding insurance can cover items such as lost deposits, unavoidable cancellation due to weather or military leave, lost or damaged photographs, host liability and more. It can help cover costs should something unexpected happen like a bankrupt banquet hall, torn wedding dress or a no-show vendor. Plans can reimburse you if an important item related to your wedding (for example, your ring) is lost or damaged before you get married. The plan can also reimburse you in case you lose your deposit if a vendor (for example, your florist) goes out of business before your wedding. According to Travelers Insurance, which recently analyzed wedding insurance claims from 2010 through 92 GWM / Fall 2016

2015, the costliest and most common causes of wedding claims typically include problems with vendors that are contracted to provide a service at the wedding. But claims can also relate to severe weather that impacts the wedding, military deployment, sudden illness or injury, and property damage. Here are the top “what ifs” that might make you think twice about not buying wedding insurance:

What if your photographer goes out of business? Whether your event is one year away or one week away, vendor failure can happen to any couple. For example, let’s say you discover the photographer you’ve booked has gone bankrupt and out of business—leaving you with a lost deposit and no photographer. Wedding insurance can provide coverage for certain cases where your wedding vendors leave you empty handed and for instances of failure to perform the contracted service, all of which could happen even before your big day.

What if a hurricane closes your wedding venue? Winter blizzards, tropical storms, hurricanes, and tornados can wreak havoc on the best wedding plans. These storms can cause more damage to a wedding than just structural damage to a building—it would be almost impossible to plan a wedding around one of these catastrophic weather situations. Wedding insurance can provide reimbursement for the nonrefundable contracted expenses if you have to postpone or cancel your wedding due to extreme weather conditions.

What if you or your partner were deployed? Serving and protecting your country may mean having to cancel or postpone your wedding. Wedding insurance can provide coverage in the event of an unexpected call to duty or if your approved leave were to be later revoked. Either situation could cause the event to be held sooner or later than originally anticipated, or in some cases, completely cancelled – which could cause lost funds to the engaged couples and their immediate family.

What if someone gets really sick? A sudden illness or injury can throw wedding festivities into disarray. If the couple or an immediate family member were to fall ill, that could mean a postponement. Wedding insurance could provide reimbursement for any non-refunded expenses and contracts, ensuring that you spend your big day surrounded by the people you love the most.

What if someone wrecks your party? Recently, some wedding and event venues have been holding customers responsible for damage caused by guests during weddings and receptions. Venues may even require wedding couples to carry property damage coverage, so that there is additional coverage for the repair and replacement cost to venue and rented property. For example, if one of your wedding guests accidently knocks over an expensive centerpiece at the event, the rental company might hold you responsible for the accidental damage. Wedding insurance can provide property damage coverage as an optional endorsement to the standard policy package. cont. on page 134 gayweddingsmag.com / GWM 93

Real Weddings

HOW DID YOU MEET? Randy and I met in a chat room on AOL. He was looking for a barber at the time and my screen name was barber4585. He asked if I was a barber and he came into my salon in Canton, Oh and became a client and then we began a friendship. Randy then went to cosmetology school and got the training and license and joined me in my salon. A deeper friendship began and eventually we became roommates for financial reasons as we both found ourselves separated and divorced and it made sense to help each other out that way. In the beginning it was simply a casual arrangement and our lives became a mix of each others family and friends until a very deep relationship was developed. HOW LONG HAVE YOIU BEEN TOGETHER? We met in January of 2000. WHAT IS THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE YOU’VE HAD TO OVERCOME AS A COUPLE? The biggest obstacle to overcome at the beginning was we both had been in heterosexual marriages and had children so to be interested in each other was new

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DOUG & RANDY June 17, 2016 / Ashley Danielle Photography

territory especially for me, Doug, as I had never thought about being a gay man let alone living openly with a male lover. I was a very private person and so it took some time, many years to come to terms openly with my new life. Randy was more accepted in the gay community as he had a brother in law who was openly gay and many gay friends. Then I received a cancer diagnosis in November 2012. I was not supposed to survive the tumor. I did survive after surgery. I had one 6 week round of radiation and chemotherapy. After surgery, I had four months of chemo, having to wear a portable unit for three days a week, one week on one week off. My family and Randy were told I would not survive my treatment. I lost 100 lbs. From January to August. I lost my hair, my finger and toe nails, my mouth blistered, swelled and cracked and bled openly including gayweddingsmag.com / GWM 95

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my tongue. I could barely let water trickle down my throat. I could not eat for weeks. I had an ileostomy bag hanging off my belly on the right side. That’s when the relationship became a new thing. Randy became my caregiver, my nurse, my housekeeper, chauffeur and cook. He got me to doctors and hospitals and did everything for me. My illness lasted 4 years and continues to be problematic as I had a recurrence in 2014 and had to have a partial right lung removal in 2015. He was there for it all. He was still there hanging in with me when others had left my life because they could not cope with my cancer. I realized then I had very deep feelings for him and never could be without him. I realized too he had been in love with me the entire time. So Poopmuch so he came into an inheritance and spent nearly the entire sum on taking me back to my home state of Washington from Ohio and bought property there we loved, put a new home on it because he wanted me to be where I always was happy and where my heart was for as long as I have left. How can you not love him for selflessly doing that? WHAT DO YOU LOVE THE MOST ABOUT YOUR SPOUSE? I love that Randy taught me how to have fun and let myself enjoy life. I was always so serious and responsible, which in and of themselves were fine traits to possess, I did not know life could be wild and crazy fun too. Randy says I am caring, loving and always is able to work things out no matter what, even when we don’t agree. He says also that his life is full now that we are completely committed. DESCRIBE YOUR WEDDING DAY: our wedding day was in the planning stage for ten months. Most done by internet from Ohio planning everything 2500 miles away. It was just as I had imagined in those early

stages. I had two planners that did not share my vision, so I let them go and did the whole thing DIY. I had a very intimate group of close family and friends from all over the US. We both had the best day ever. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART? Our favorite part was our dear friend, Doreen Morris, got her credentials to officiate our marriage. She supported us from day one and said if it ever became legal for same sex marriage and we ever decided to take the step, she wanted to unite us. Unite us she did in such a beautifully done way. WERE THERE ANY SURPRISES (GOOD OR BAD) THAT HAPPENED? I wanted an outdoor wedding and an indoor reception. French Creek Manor was perfect. An cont. on page 134 gayweddingsmag.com / GWM 97

to NAPA Wedding Prep

meet your guide


hile celebrating the one-year anniversary of Marriage Equality in the USA, we are able to choose so many locales to celebrate our unions and equality with a wedding. My name is Charles Kimball. I have the premier LGBTQ wedding concierge service here in California Wine Country.

Winery homestead. It was a fun and exciting wedding of two women from Louisiana. There are five bedrooms, pool, and vineyards that are walking distance to Sonoma. The wedding was so beautiful, and they are now my friends. www.beautiful-places.com/villas/casa_sebastiani

I include the towns and counties of Napa and Sonoma when I mention Wine Country. I have lived in the area for many years and managed events for many different businesses and now my own. I am an avid reader of Gay Weddings and Marriage Magazine, and they have asked me if I could share some of my experiences and thoughts of what it is like to organize weddings here in this great part of the world.

We all have so many choices of where we want to celebrate our unions. The options are endless. Wine country is so close to many great places! All of your guests will want to travel here, and after your wedding continue on to their vacations and you your honeymoon. That could include a road trip to Big Sur, Lake Tahoe, LA, Oregon or elsewhere. I have been in the hospitality field since my childhood in New Hampshire and now have made Northern California my home. I live in the small vineyard town of Healdsburg in Sonoma County. Always remember that Wine Country covers a large area that stretches from the shores of the Pacific and then onto the redwood forests and hills covered in vineyards. When couples contact me I ask them to describe what their fantasy wedding is. I help them make it happen. I have so many great locations that range from a cliff with an old barn overlooking the ocean to a mountaintop in a redwood forest. We offer clients the most famous locations. We have vineyards and wineries that would be the best backdrop for anyone’s idea of a dream wedding. The next important step is to find out how many friends and family are going to be with them. This past year I arranged for a group of friends to stay at the Sebatiani 98 GWM / Fall 2016

Here in Healdsburg I have a location with two cute cottages in a vineyard and barn that is just an amazing place for a ceremony. The barn has a chandelier hanging from the rafters that creates a great site for dancing and dinner All the guests can stay in Healdsburg before and after the wedding. The activities here in Sonoma are amazing. Kayaking and Hiking and swimming. www.hcgweddings.com In Napa there are a few wineries that offer great locations for larger weddings. Here are two wonderful examples. www.vsattui.com/events-and-weddings/weddings charleskrug.com/Weddings.cfm I also work with a great resort on the ocean called Sea Ranch. They have an old barn on the cliff overlooking the ocean. I have officiated some wonderful ceremonies from two people to twenty at that location. www.searanchlodge.com So as you can see from the above and the photos that I have taken and included the options are many. My passion for marriage equality and life make this a fantastic area for my friends and clients to be. Feel free to share this info with your friends and family or give me a call to discuss. www.CaliforniaGayWeddings.net

When couples contact me I ask them to describe what their fantasy wedding is. I help them make it happen.

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Real Weddings

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AMANDA & JACQUE May 10, 2015 / Sascha Reinking Photography

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Real Weddings


he Cop Cot Elopement of Amanda and Jacque was such a wonderful experience.

These two were so very much in love with each other and it shows in the photos of their wedding day. It was pretty warm in Central Park that day, and we decided to take some photos before the ceremony. We left the Cop Cot for a bit and walked across the Gapstow Bridge. We took wedding photos at ‘The Mall and Literary Walk’ before we returned for the ceremony. Guests had arrived by that time and even Tony Bennett made an appearance as he listened in on the ceremony for a bit. There were lots of happy tears while Amanda and Jacque tied the knot. It was just a perfect moment in the ‘Big Apple’. After the ceremony the happy

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couple and their guests made their way to UVA for some well deserved drinks. Photographer: Sascha Reinking Photography Floral Designer: Starbright Floral Design Restaurant: UVA

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Real Weddings

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TYLER & CODY Jan 22, 2016 / Jenny DeMarco Photoraphy

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Real Weddings


yler is one of our own local Austin wedding vendors - He is a florist with Westbank Flower Market. The community gathered around to help and support him. WHAT ARE YOUR DAY JOBS? Florist and Choir Teacher

WHERE DID YOU BOTH GROW UP? Tyler Lubbock Cody Bryan-College Station HOW DID YOU MEET? We met during the summer while we were both waiting tables at a small restaurant called Zed’s. TELL ME ABOUT THE PROPOSAL? We went to London for New Years. Cody decided to wait until the day before we left to look for his passport... to

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which he couldn’t find it. So Tyler ended up going to London on the scheduled flight and Cody came the next day after getting his rush passport. The whole time in London, Cody was trying to propose but Tyler kept ruining it. Finally after dinner we went to the London Tower Bridge and again I ruined it... so finally Cody just asked while we were walking down the sidewalk. NAME A FEW PLACES THAT ARE SPECIAL TO YOU. Napa Valley. We took our first trip here and had so much fun on our wine tour with the cubans. Boston- had a good trip and went to the Red Sox game which was a highlight North- our first dinner date was here and we stayed way past closing talking. Cody refused to give me a kiss goodbye though! London- The Fireworks at gayweddingsmag.com / GWM 107


the London Eye on NYE. We snuck fifths of vodka in our coats and just had a great time. WHEN YOU CAN DO ANYTHING YOU WANT TO DO, WHAT DO YOU DO? We love a good brunch. Love to do anything with our dogs. Estate sales. Travel. Peter Pan Golf. Ipic Theater. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MUSIC AND/OR SONGS THAT MEAN THE MOST TO YOU AS A COUPLE? Cody hates everything tyler likes. I’m more country, pop, christian. Cody is more classical, opera, and a little pop. We are going to see Kelly Clarkson, and Penatonix is opening and we are each excited for opposite reasons. In the car it’s usually a low country station playing and me singing at the top of my lungs. (I’m a terrible singer but think it’s funny that Cody teaches it for a living. WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE FOODS/ RESTAURANTS? Chinese food.... all day. PF Changs. Cheesecake Factory. We frequent tacos and tequila on the weekends. Cody makes a great chili that we have a lot. ANY PETS? Cody had his dog Chloe before we met. she is a small mix. We call her “Chole” cause the vet typed her name in like that and they think its her name... really he just couldn’t spell chloe... I’ve had my dog for 10 years now. Her name is seven and she is just the best. Lab mix and in her old age is getting grouchy. I registered her as a service dog so I can take her anywhere we go. We rescued our third about 6 months ago. Her name is Bonnie and she was very abused so she doesn’t get out much but loves us and the other dogs.

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ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE FOR ME TO KNOW? We like a nice patio, a good glass of wine, and nice food.

Photographer: Jenny DeMarco Photoraphy Caterer: Dagar’s Catering Lighting: ILIOS Reception Venue: Mercury Hall Event Planner: Pearl Events Event Designer: Premiere Party Central Equipment Rentals: Premiere Party Central Bakery: Simon Lee Bakery DJ: Texas Professional Disc Jockey Floral Designer: Westbank Flower Market gayweddingsmag.com / GWM 109

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TIPS from the Experts

Blair Bush Weddings, Stephanie Andersen, owner of carolyn a. events, and a team of experts come together to give you tips on how to create your perfect wedding. HOW DO YOU COME UP WITH YOUR VISION? B: I glean inspiration from tons of different places. Things that aren’t “wedding-y” inspire me the most. My husband and I recently went to see some of Basquiat’s work here in Atlanta at the High Museum of Fine Art and I was so inspired by his bold use of color. Wanting to marry that edge with the upscale grit of the city was the main drive behind this particular shoot. HOW DO YOU PAIR BOLD WITH BOLD? S: The key here is to use complimentary colors, choose a dominant color, and then accent with a neutral. For example, we chose yellow and turquoise that complimented each other but used turquoise strongly while the yellow was an accent color; we then used gold serve as a neutral base color that would comfort the eye. gayweddingsmag.com / GWM 111

HOW DO YOU CREATE A TABLESCAPE? S: Tablescapes can be as simple or elaborate as wanted; however, it’s important to add layers and dynamic so as to catch the eye. We chose to start with a basic farm table and highlight the centerpiece. To do this we incorporated low layers via the chargers and plates while the centerpiece stood a few feet tall and brought the entire look together. HOW CAN HAIR AND MAKEUP COMPLEMENT THE OVERALL THEME OF THE WEDDING DAY? B: I think it’s important for every bride to remember her setting when making these sorts of decisions; for example, having your hair down may be lovely, but that style won’t hold in the humid Georgia heat. Selecting updos for this particular project was a 112 GWM / Fall 2016

no-brainer since we wanted to make sure that elegance and grace came through in a very gritty, raw setting. HOW IS ATTIRE SELECTED? THERE ARE SO MANY OPTIONS. B: Again, paying attention to your setting and making sure the overall look is cohesive is a huge component to keeping your theme pulled together. You typically wouldn’t see a ballgown on a beach, or a loose, flowy sort of gown in an urban rooftop venue. So many times we see brides come into a bridal salon with the belief that she’ll want one sort of dress-the dress she’s dreamt about for forever--only to go with something completely different. WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO CONVEY MY VISION TO MY VENDORS? S: The best way to convey your

vision is to start with something concrete; write down three words that convey your desired vision and style. From there reduce your Pinterest board to 20-30 images with 1-2 in each category (i.e. flowers, ceremony, dress) and make sure they align with your three words. Then work with a stylist to help you communicate with vendors or directly show your vendors your inspiration board during your consultations. HOW DO YOU SELECT VENDORS? B: Go with your gut. Look up reviews--on Google, the BBB, on the vendor’s website, wedding websites like The Knot and WeddingWire, and Facebook. It doesn’t hurt to ask around and see who your friends have worked with in the past. Another great idea is to simply ask your coordinator/stylist. Our industry is built on the back of referrals and vendors typically have preferences as far as with whom they’d like to work. A good stylist will have lots of options for you based on budget, style, and coverage needs.

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WHAT SHOULD BE MY FIRST STEP IN THE WEDDING PLANNING PROCESS? S: The first step in any process is to determine your budget and guest list; completing this step will ensure that you don’t exceed your resources. From there it’s important to choose a venue that will fit your intended guest list and your vision; after you have a venue and date you can choose a dress that is cohesive and that will lead to other elements such as food selection, flowers, and small details. WHAT DETAILS SHOULD I TAKE INTO ACCOUNT WHEN PLANNING MY CEREMONY? S: Details within a wedding are never simple; however, it’s important that you, your family, and your friends are comfortable and happy. Choose 3 details that are the most important to you, whether it’s the photography, the flowers, or the food--you’ll want to prioritize these above the other elements. That way, you’ll know that your money was well spent and if you find yourself struggling

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here, look into hiring a planner to help facilitate and manage your details. B: Make sure that your ceremony is something that reflects you as a couple. So many times I’ve had to console a bride or groom who feels that their needs aren’t being met in regards to how the ceremony is written, or maybe there is something they’d like to do in their ceremony that isn’t being included. Have a frank, honest talk with your fiance and make sure that everyone is getting what they want out of this once-in-a-lifetime event. After all, the ceremony is the most important part; it should absolutely be exactly what you want it to be. WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE YOU’VE EVER HEARD IN YOUR LINE OF WORK? S: Focus on what is important to you; if you want to spend the night dancing away splurge on a DJ or if you want an indoor garden make sure you spend extra time finding the right florist. Ultimately, you will remember the elements that made this day the best one of your life. B: Take it easy and enjoy every second. Really try to be present in the moment. There are so many things that happen during the span of your wedding day and it’s so easy to forget the smaller things. Take a few moments alone with your new spouse after your ceremony where you can be totally present in the moment with each other without a thousand people around. Relish each other’s company and create a moment to which you can refer

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back throughout your entire marriage. BIOGRAPHIES Stephanie Andersen is the owner and creative director of carolyn a. events, an event design and planning company based in Atlanta, GA. When not planning and styling epic weddings she enjoys spending her free time searching out the perfect inspiration, traveling both near and far, reading all sorts of books, and seeking the perfect cup of coffee. Blair Bush is the creative force behind Blair Bush Weddings, a wedding photography company in Atlanta, Georgia intent on capturing the beautiful and fleeting moments of life and making them last forever. She enjoys creating via many mediums including digital painting, sketching, and mixed media and uses her talents to create an unforgettable experience for her clients. When she’s not photographing people in love, Blair can be found spending time with her husband, Jordan, and playing with their two rescue pups, Ripley and Starfox.

Photographer: Blair Bush, Blair Bush Weddings Makeup Artist: Margaret Snider, Margaret Snider Makeup Artistry Hair Artist: Renee Locher, Renee Locher Makeup & Hair Event Designer: Stephanie Andersen, carolyn.a events Models: Ashley Tindall and Faith Bruner Bridal Attire: Fabulous Frocks of Atlanta Calligrapher: Christine Kirby, Carousel Atelier Floral Designer: Jennifer Liu, J KayMay Florals Cake Designer: Peche Petite Boutique Bakery Furniture Rentals: A Borrowed Event, Shadetree Event Rentals Event Venue: The Goat Farm Arts Center Jewelry: Models’ Own, with The Mrs. Box Cinema & Video: eMotion Wedding Films

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Real Weddings

KEVIN & PHILIP December 19, 2015 / Tres Jolie Photo

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Real Weddings

HOW DID YOU MEET? Philip Maziarz – We met at Market Days in 2008. At the time, I was living in NYC and was in town visiting my friends Shaun Kane and Rian Akey. I met Shaun and Rian when I first moved to Chicago while playing softball with CMSA. We were introduced a friend’s annual Market Days party by our mutual friend Ryan Ruskin. Kevin met Ryan Ruskin when he first moved to Chicago while playing with the gay hockey team and I met Ryan through mutual friends when I first moved to Chicago. Before I came to town Ryan told me about this new guy that had moved to Chicago and thought we would be a great match. After we were introduced we separately told Ryan that we thought the other one was cute. Later in the day we ran into each other again while walking down Halsted. We hung out for a while and then ended up getting separated from our friends. While waiting in the

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bathroom line Kevin informed me that he lived just around the corner and that there would be no line for the bathroom at his place (*wink*). The rest is history. To this day we still refer to Ryan Ruskin as our Jewish matchmaker or Shadchan. WHAT IS THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE YOU’VE HAD TO OVERCOME AS A COUPLE? We have both been really lucky to have supportive and uplifting friends and family. Recently, both of us lost grandmothers - both of whom taught us to laugh a lot, to love more, and the importance of surrounding yourself with positive people. While losing a loved one is never easy, we were thankful that we could be there for each other and to be there with our families. WHAT DO YOU LOVE THE MOST ABOUT YOUR SPOUSE? I love that Philip is strong in his convictions and that he cares so deeply for others. He is the emotional center of our relationship WHEN DID YOU GET ENGAGED, AND WHO PROPOSED TO WHOM, AND HOW: Kevin Romero - Our engagement story is not very continued on page 135 gayweddingsmag.com / GWM 121

Real Weddings

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AMIE & J November 1, 2015 / The R2 Studio

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Real Weddings

HOW DID YOU MEET? We met at Copper Blues in Phoenix. Amie worked occasionally at Standup Live, which is part of Copper Blues and we first saw each other on the Copper Blues side. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TOGETHER? 2 years WHAT IS THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE YOU’VE HAD TO OVERCOME AS A COUPLE? Well J had an animal farm prior to us meeting (with 4 cats and 2 dogs) and about a month into dating we found out Amie was severely allergic to the cats. It has been interesting throughout our relationship trying to keep the cats separated from Amie but at least it wasn’t a “deal breaker.” WHAT DO YOU LOVE THE MOST ABOUT YOUR SPOUSE? Amie’s answer: I love J’s patient, generous personality because it is so opposite of my personality. She is by far the kindest person I have ever met… persistent…but kind. Annnnnd I love

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her smile. -J’s answer: I love everything about Amie…her smile and laugh and how she never seems to hold back. I love the way she looks at me when she’s being sweet and the way she always makes me feel better. DESCRIBE YOUR WEDDING DAY: Our wedding day was perfect for us. J spent the entire day prior to the ceremony hanging with her best friends and sipping whiskey, whereas Amie spent the entire day in hair & makeup extremely nervous prior to the ceremony. Our photographers introduced us to the idea of a “first look,” which ended up being fantastic and exactly what gayweddingsmag.com / GWM 125

Real Weddings Amie needed to calm down. Our ceremony was very sentimental with Amie’s dad “giving her away” and Amie’s cousin Joey being the officiant. Amie’s brother also spoke during the ceremony and made sure to poke fun at her lack of emotion by calling her the “terminator.” The rehearsal was like a huge party with everyone dancing…even Amie’s parents and J’s mom! Amie’s parents won the anniversary dance with 39 years of marriage and made sure to warn J that she needed lots of patience to be with Amie. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART? Amie’s answer: My favorite part was when J surprised me with a dance her and the wedding party had been choreographing for months. They danced to a specially mixed version of Good Feeling by Flo Rida and even my brother got up and danced. They looked so great and it was such a surprise. -J’s answer: My favorite part was when I got to see Amie in her dress for the first time. I also really loved the look on her face when we did the surprise dance for her. WERE THERE ANY SURPRISES (GOOD OR BAD) THAT HAPPENED? Amie’s answer: The surprise dance was definitely the best! Then there was the surprise of my dress not fitting correctly being way to big. I had to readjust my boobs repeatedly and it really felt like I was going to flash all of our friends and family. Lastly, this wasn’t the day of the wedding but the day before when I checked into the hotel with my side, J had already 126 GWM / Fall 2016

went and decorated the room as a surprise and even had a specially made vase with flowers in it for me. -J’s answer: Amie had done a boudoir photo book with R2 and had them bring it as a surprise when they came to shoot the “getting ready” moments before the wedding. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER COUPLES PLANNING THEIR WEDDING? Don’t try to please everyone. Remember the reason you are having a wedding in the first place and focus on the love that brought you to that decision, rather than focusing on making others happy. It gets really overwhelming planning a wedding and at times you may want to just forget the whole thing and elope in Vegas but just breathe because it is over before you know it… then you want to do it all over again! NOW THAT THE WEDDING IS OVER, WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS OR FUTURE PLANS AS A MARRIED COUPLE? We are planning on having a baby! Also, we have a five-year plan to hopefully move to Hawaii!

Photographer: The R2 Studio Ceremony Site: Tempe Center for the Arts Reception Site: Tempe Center for the Arts Caterer: Atlasta Catering Wedding Cake: Tsoynami Florist: VanCaron Collection Clothing/Gowns/Suits: J & J’s side wore JF J. Ferrar Slim Fit Suits / Amie wore Devilnight UK Custom Double Corset / Amie’s side wore David’s Bridal Long Mesh Illusion Neckline Dress Hair: Toni & Guy – Ryan Daley Makeup: Tina Durham Music: Bolt Entertainment DJ: Mike Zaplatosch Linens: Atlasta Catering Limo rental: Phoenician Limousine Lighting: Bolt Entertainment Invitations: Bethofalltrades Videographer: R2 Photo Booth: Sapshot! Photo Booths gayweddingsmag.com / GWM 127

not-so newlywed

25Years &Counting... HOW DID YOU KNOW YOUR SPOUSE WAS RIGHT FOR YOU? Robin – I’m a romantic and I got the twinkle of a teenager when I first met Edward at a bar in San Francisco. I knew I needed to get to really know him. I lived in Los Angeles so I had to find a job that was closer to him since flying back and forth became a bit costly and frustrating, as there was no opportunity to do anything on whim. I knew he was the one when he held my hand in public for the first time at Union Square after an annoying incident with a drunken

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We’ve been together for 25 years. Left the USA 9 years ago to move to Canada as a political act due to not being able to marry.

Edward – I’m a pragmatist and though I wanted to get to know Robin some more, we lived in different cities at that time - me in San Francisco and him in Los Angeles so any potential relationship would mean distance considerations. Within three months from our first meeting he found a job and moved to San Francisco. We got to see each other more often then. I knew he was the one when he defended me without thinking of his own safety when a drunken bigot started walking towards us screaming the ‘f’ word, as we were about to board the streetcar at Union Square. I immediately had the urge to give him a big kiss in front of the crowd and we went on our way to Fisherman’s Wharf, proud of what he has done.

Our trust in each other has matured through the years. We’ve somehow created our own language and sometimes we don’t verbally speak in public but the combination of short bursts of guttural noise and body language provide us with highly contextual conversations that only the two of us could fully understand. This trust-based relationship results in being able to focus on other parts of our lives; we’ve been able to fulfill academic and career goals. Though distance may have been a challenging factor on our first year, now we work on projects that bring us across the globe for weeks and do not impact our relationship. ook tured in b




s fea e of couple r a s e g a Im

homophobe. He isn’t really a PDA kind of a person so this was big for me.

not-so newlywed lascivious. We have had our share of being hit on. Trust has been tested in our relationship through the years in various forms and at each time, we somehow figure out a way to discuss what has happened, what considerations we identified and what our course of action would be the next time a similar occurrence happens. Robin can be holistic and highly objective in these situations and debriefs situations like this like it was a work event. Edward provides a strong passion for relationship impact and long-term effect. The complimentary discussion results in a workable, resultsbased solution so that no party feels hurt or unloved.

so on. We do not want a yes-man in these types of conversations.


The common conversation topics, on the other hand, like where we should have dinner or what movie to see are not topics for long discussions. We seemed to have matured in identifying and judging whether a topic needs discussion

Ability to learn and course-correct for any missteps in action or words. We were in our early 20s when we became serious in our relationship and through the years we both have grown to understand that there will be mistakes, there will be misspoken words, there will be wrong choices made but it’s how we recover in those missteps is what’s more important. When we change direction in our actions or words to align with our common goals then we are golden. We both think that good spouses don’t automatically appear in front of you, there is a bit of nurturing, guidance, reflection, trust and lots of discussion. So long as there’s that intuitive kindness in one’s heart and openness to maturing together, then you’re on the right path. That’s how it worked for us, at least.

HOW DO YOU KEEP AN OPEN AND HONEST COMMUNICATION? By talking after a pause has occurred right after an emotional situation. We give ourselves breathing time to pause and calm down before we debrief. What we’ve found through the years is that this pause has shortened from what may be hours to a 1-2 minutes. WHAT IS YOUR THEORY ON ARGUING? A NECESSARY EVIL OR SOMETHING TO BE AVOIDED? A healthy argument is part of a real relationship. It is not something to be avoided because as individuals we have our own unique perspective of the world. We know this; we’ve studied this through the course of our academic years. We leverage it even especially when we are discussing big questions like do we adopt, do we find a surrogate, do we move to a different city, and


or just simply needed an assent. What is interesting is that we have divided the work that sometimes agreement is implied like when it comes to choosing travel options, Edward will just make those decisions. When it comes to edutainment choices, Robin will take care of that. Because we have learned each other’s strengths, we leverage what each is really good at and we can go about our days fairly smoothly.

We did not raise a family when we started since we realized that it would not have been the right time as we were struggling to get by ourselves. In time our focus has changed, we opened a restaurant, we moved to another city, we focused on advancing our education, we wanted to be executives in our chosen career paths. Twenty-five years later, we are considering it, so we may raise a family yet. WHEN LIFE GETS BUSY, WHAT DO YOU DO TO STAY FOCUSED ON EACH OTHER? cont. on page 135 gayweddingsmag.com / GWM 129

Real Weddings

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TODD & ROBIN Oct 31, 2015 / Sowing Clover Photography

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odd and Rob were married at Yaborough Mill, which is deep in the mountains of North Georgia, on Halloween of 2015. They both grew up in the same small town in South Carolina, and though they had mutual friends in high school, they didn’t meet until they were in their late 20s while both living in Atlanta. They are very outdoorsy and were lucky enough to have one of their favorite bands play at their wedding, The Whiskey Gentry Band, who nailed their performance!

Photographer: Sowing Clover Photography Tuxedo and Mens Attire: Banana Republic Dress Store: J. Crew Specialty Foods: King of Pops Band: The Whiskey Gentry Jewelry: Worthmore Jewelers Event Venue: Yarborough Mill Shoes: Chacos Caterer: Ibiza Bites Officiant: Lauren Staley Morrow Floral Designer: Your Dekalb Farmers Market

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Real Weddings Doug & Randy, continued from page 97

hour before the ceremony was to start our sunny day turned stormy and rainy. I was unaware as we were changing downstairs for the wedding and the staff brought everything inside. It was heartbreaking to not have my outdoor wedding. But minutes before my guests arrived the birds were chirping and I knew the rain was over. I told everyone present to take everything back outside and the birds kept singing throughout the ceremony and I knew it would be good. The second best part was our honeymoon at The English Inn in Victoria, BC. They treated Randy and I first class and never once did we feel slighted by being a gay couple. This is a small B&B wedding venue always full of traditional brides and grooms and we were welcomed with open arms. It just made our wedding perfect and we loved Victoria,BC. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER COUPLES PLANNING THEIR WEDDING? I had two planners. One had terrible communication skills and early on I knew trouble would be in store come our wedding day so I let her go. The second one kept telling me I could not do this or that. She said I could not wear brown tuxes in summer they were too dark. I loved them so much I didn’t just rent them but bought them. She said I could not do the eiffel tower vases on the guest tables. I had to have small arrangements so instead I didn’t have her for my wedding. Problem solved. My advice is to create your vision, make adjustments if need be but 134 GWM / Fall 2016

let no one make you lose sight of your day. Also trust your vendors. This was the first gay wedding for my venue, my photographer and my dj. I had the best of each and felt 100% cooperation from all. My cakes were fantastic and with all the publicity about bakers and gay marriage, I was nervous my baker would walk but she was a professional who wanted my day special and she helped it to be so. my advice is that the world has come strides in accordance with the law of the land on gay marriage and aside from the few narrow minded, those in the wedding business are there and got your back. NOW THAT THE WEDDING IS OVER, WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS OR FUTURE PLANS AS A MARRIED COUPLE? Our goal is to hope I stay cancer free and live a nice life in Washington State and transform our little acre of heaven on earth into beautiful gardens to go along with our beautiful new home. Four years ago I was planning my funeral but now I have a new home a new lease on life and more importantly a new husband that I have to enjoy it all with. Life is good! Photographer: Ashley Danielle Photography Ceremony Site: French Creek Manor in Snohomish, Wa Caterer: Cindy @ French Creek Manor Wedding Cake: Happy Cakes & Events in Everett, Wa by Gay Soriano Florist: Elle’s Floral Design in Lacey, Wa. and Global Rose.com DJ: Adam Winter Photographer: Ashley Danielle Photography Ceremony Site: French Creek Manor in Snohomish, Wa Reception Site: French Creek Manor in Snohomish, Wa Caterer: Cindy @ French Creek Manor

Wedding Cake: Happy Cakes & Events in Everett, Wa by Gay Soriano Florist: Elle’s Floral Design in Lacey, Wa. and Global Rose.com DJ: Adam Winter @Bootstrap Music Co. in Seattle, Wa Bootstrap Music Co. in Seattle, Wa

wedding insurance continued from page 93

These and other mishaps could cause a significant financial impact as you are just getting started as a married couple. What better way to have peace of mind on your big day than with an insurance policy? Travelers Wedding Protector Plan can help couples guard against financial losses caused by issues with the wedding and/or reception. Wedding insurance coverage also applies to the rehearsal dinner and now, Travelers is extending wedding insurance coverage to include the next-day brunch (not available in all states). The Wedding Protector Plan can be purchased from an independent insurance agent or online. Every wedding insurance policy is different, so make sure to discuss your event details with an insurance agent to make sure the coverage is right for you. www.protectmywedding.com

not-so newlywed Real Weddings continued from page 129

continued from page 121

Thanks to technology, we can focus on what is going on with each other especially when we’re in different cities. Skype, text, email, voice, and social media are just a few of the regular ways we connect. We prepare for when we are going to be busy so we know when it’s ‘me’ time and when it’s ‘we’ time. Through the years, we’ve learned to sharpen our marriagesixth-sense to ensure we know when to drop everything for each other. This has been tested through the years. When this innate sense for “feeling as one” combines with all the technological options to converse, we seem to now know when a simple “I’m doing ok” is sufficient and when an “I need to chat with you” are needed.

fascinating, but it led into the idea of having a Surprise Wedding Illinois had just legalized gay marriage before Christmas 2013 and both of our families were wondering when we would make it official. Around that time while sitting at dinner we decided that getting married made sense. After Christmas, we went to Puerto Vallarta with friends and we ended up getting engaged while sitting on a couch next to each other. Philip was browsing wedding venues and our friends who were with us asked if we were engaged. We looked at each other and were like “well, no. No one has proposed.” And then Philip asked “Do you want to get married?” And I said “Sure”. It’s not a very exciting story - but it ended up being a part of our wedding. I really wanted to re-write that part of our story so when I had the idea for the surprise wedding, one big component of that was me getting on one knee and “proposing” again.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A COUPLE THAT IS JUST ENGAGED? Don’t be afraid to challenge your partner’s thinking on the big stuff. Listen well and look at how your partner is viewing their world with you in it. Do not look at it from your own lens only as that would only lead to further conflict. Learn to compromise when it’s the right move, and you will know when it’s the right move. Do not focus on the little stuff because that will just end up being a nagging situation. Focus on what is really going to make or break the 5 year or 10 year future you…together with your partner. We looked at long term goals with a practical eye so we figured (yes using pen and paper) how we will achieve those goals through 1-2 year plans. It worked for us, we hope it will work for you as well.

DESCRIBE YOUR WEDDING DAY: It was a surprise wedding – Philip had no idea that I planned his dream wedding without him. Coming up with a Surprise Wedding: When some of our more extravagant ideas never gained steam and some of our quick ideas didn’t happen, I kept thinking about how I could make Philip’s dream of an intimate wedding happen while balancing my goal of having something truly unique be part of our wedding. So while visiting some friends in Madison, I pitched the idea of a surprise

wedding. The immediate reaction was ‘No Way!’ But after I explained that I would be throwing Philip his dream wedding and them knowing us as a couple, my friends and I agreed that it would be a really fun idea. I then ran it by some more mutual friends, by his sister, and by my family and about two weeks later (end of September) I was in planning mode! The biggest internal challenge I had was that I couldn’t share accomplishments with Philip; he is my best friend and someone I speak with every day and I knew that saving the accomplishments until our wedding day would mean more than the incremental accomplishments along the way. So I had to remind myself that keeping the secret would be worth the outcome. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER COUPLES PLANNING THEIR WEDDING? As much as this day is about you, it is also about celebrating those around you. Take the time to relish your relationships, but don’t worry about what anyone else thinks! It’s your day! NOW THAT THE WEDDING IS OVER, WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS OR FUTURE PLANS AS A MARRIED COUPLE? We recently moved to New York City, so we are adapting to life in Manhattan. We hope to adopt children in the future and continuing surprising one another for life. Photographer: Tres Jolie Photo Jewelry: Cathy Wang Jewelry Cake Designer: Defloured DJ: Dustin Drase Event Venue: Firehouse Chicago Groomsman Attire:Hugo Boss Caterer: Paramount Events Caterer: Vincent Restaurant

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Wedding tips


ive your guests a wedding favor they’ll be talking about for years to come with Annie B’s Caramel & Popcorn and B.T. McElrath Chocolatier. Whether you’re offering a candy buffet, adding to a dessert table, or gifting your guests with a favor box, Annie B’s and B.T. McElrath are the perfect duo. Your guests will thoroughly enjoy this little slice of heaven in a sweet little caramel or scrumptious truffle. Annie B’s is a decades old family-owned caramel company that thoughtfully handcrafts their authentic and delicious caramels. For 20 years, B.T. McElrath Chocolatier has been a pioneer in gourmet chocolate. You’ll find their chocolate both deliciously balanced and exquisitely worked.

Minnesota-made Annie B’s is a small, family-owned caramel company with a 30-year tradition of making delicious handcrafted caramels and popcorn. Each individually wrapped caramel is made using simple, local ingredients like brown sugar, water, corn starch, butter, corn syrup, sweetened condensed milk, inverted sugar and natural flavor. Annie B’s caramel is slow cooked in copper pots through small-batch cooking. Each piece is handcrafted with the exception of cutting and wrapping of the caramels. You just don’t find handcrafted caramel like this anymore! Available in bags, boxes, and tins. Caramel flavors include—Original, Sea Salt, Coconut, Cinnamon, Black Licorice, Blueberry, Apple, Maple, Cherry, Chocolate, Butter Rum, Chocolate, Black Raspberry, Cappuccino, Amaretto, Huckleberry, Chocolate Raspberry. Available in the following—10-piece Caramel Gift Bag ($5), 16-piece Caramel Box ($8), 45-piece Caramel Tin ($30), 60-piece Round Caramel Canister ($35), Also available in bulk orders. Popcorn flavors include—Original, Sea Salt, Jalapeño, Triple Treat, and Sharp Cheddar. Available in the following—Individual Popcorn Bags ($2), Popcorn Tins ($30).

Find your favorite caramels, popcorn and B.T. McElrath chocolate at www.anniebs.com. Find them on Facebook: www.facebook.com/


Or call: 800.328.5598 for ordering information. 136 GWM / Fall 2016

wedding tips

For nearly 20 years, B.T. McElrath Chocolatier has been a pioneer in gourmet chocolate. Their chef-driven approach to chocolate, featuring ingredients such balsamic vinegar and Zinfandel wine, has been a perfect complement to the growing global food movement. B.T. McElrath serves an audience that appreciates fine ingredients and challenging flavor profiles. You’ll find their chocolate both deliciously balanced and exquisitely worked. B.T. McElrath offers chocolate bars, mini chocolate bites and truffles in flavors such as Buttered Toast (featuring toasted artisan breadcrumbs in a proprietary blend of 40% cacao milk chocolate), Changemaker (70% dark chocolate with crushed espresso beans), Salty Dog (salted chocolate), Prairie Dog (with butter toffee pieces, toasted almonds and sea salt), Super Red (featuring cherries, strawberries & raspberries) and Dark and Milk Chocolate. Their award-winning Epicurean truffles come in an assortment of flavors such as Salted Butter Caramel, Passion Fruit, and Lemon Supreme. Available in 14-piece Individual Chocolate Bites ($9), 28-piece Individual Chocolate Bites ($17.50), Chocolate Bars ($6), Truffle 2-piece Pack ($4.50), Seasonal 5-piece Truffles ($13.50), 9-piece Award-winning Truffle Pack ($23), 15-piece Award-winning Truffle Pack ($39).

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Kit and John, Thank you for sharing your lives and your love with Gay Weddings and Marriage Magazine. Renee

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Profile for Gay Weddings and Marriage Magazine

Gay Weddings & Marriage Magazine Fall 2016  

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

Gay Weddings & Marriage Magazine Fall 2016  

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