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10 Steps to a Vintage Wedding

Have Love: Will Travel




Venues&Vendors of Rhode Island




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4 GWM / Summer 2016

In this issue Gay Weddings and Marriage Magazine / Summer 2016




Real Wedding Dustin & Brett


Featured Vendor Seams Couture


Honeymoon Tips


Real Weddings Cheney & Marissa

Embracing the Adventure


Real Weddings Lynn & Michael


Expect the Unexpected 5 Tips to Prepare for the Unexpected




Top 5 of Rhode Island

Couple’s Therapy

Venues and Vendors of Rhode Island


Married Life


Real Weddings


Edward & Gerald



DIY Vintage

Featured Vendor

10 Steps to a Vintage Wedding




Wedding Tips

Have Love: Will Travel

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

Sylvia & Kitzia


Real Weddings Nicholas & Bryan


Real Weddings Sara & Sarah


Design Newlywed Master Bedroom


Planning Tips


Real Weddings Jesse & Kara


Wedding Trends Cigars


Newlyweds Heather & Jade


Style Yes, I do!


Real Weddings Cassandra & Danielle


Engaged Nicole Caldwell Studio

The Vegetarian Caterer



Parenting Journey to Same-Sex Parenthood


Parenting Our Family / GWM 5

from the editor


’m in my favorite yoga/coffee drinking pants right now, barefoot, sans makeup, working from the office in my home. With writers, photographers and contributors joining GWM from around the globe, I never saw a need for a separate office location. As many of you who work from home will understand when I say that this means there is no ‘leaving’ the office. You will find me at my desk during early mornings at 4:30 am or sleepless nights at midnight answering emails or compiling the color board for the next edition. Years ago, I thought a brick and mortar storefront was the ultimate flag of success and legitimacy. But now I understand a truth I could not see when I was younger. The truth that success comes with the happiness and love we celebrate in every edition. Success comes when I share inspiring stories from couples that have overcome great odds to be together. GWM is a success, because it shares and celebrates love. Love is my flag of legitimacy, and I fly my flag with pride. So if you call my ‘offices’ here at GWM, and you get my voicemail saying, “I’ve stepped away from my desk”, I’m probably just in the kitchen grabbing more coffee or doing a load of laundry. Please call back. I want to hear your love story, and we can fly our flags together.


e were given the opportunity to experience the best and most talented wedding vendors that Rhode Island has to offer from intimate venues like the Hotel Viking (seen below) to industry experts such as John Orton Flowers and Events. The food, architecture and talent found in Rhode Island inspired our ‘Top 5 Venues and Vendors of Rhode Island’ feature. We are confident that you will be able to find something to fit your wedding needs in this beautiful area. (page 8)


Edward and Gerald surprised their guests when their engagement party turned into a surprise wedding. Read about how they planned this unique event on page 46. Photographer: Dear Stacey Photography




Scott Rogers


Donna Capodelupo, Todd Russell, Lauren Stine, Stacey Lantz


Wendy Clancy, Erik Earl


John Orton Flower and Events The Providence Biltmore Gracie’s, Dr. Michael Aaron, Margaret Riesen


Bri Messamore, Jay Wilkinson


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.

6 GWM / Summer 2016

honeymoon tips



y honeymoon was drastically different than what society tells you a honeymoon should look like. There were no sandy white beaches, spa treatments, massages, candlelit dinners, or room service. In fact, in the three weeks we toured Iceland, Netherlands, and Scotland there was only one week without any rain. We ate nothing but trail bars for almost a week because by the time we realized we had the wrong gas for our camping stove, we were quite literally in the middle of nowhere in Iceland. We slept in a car twice when it was too dark or rainy to set up the tent. We were smacked with hail on multiple hikes in Iceland. Hiking trails were washed out or mislabeled causing us to be gone much longer than expected. I washed my hair at 2pm when the day was warmest because it meant dumping a portion of my water bottle on my head. And it was cold! When I tell people about my honeymoon, some express their disbelief that we would opt for such a trip. Others have jokingly told me that they would have split up before the end of the trip or changed their mind and decided to stay in hotels. I just smile and know that it was probably the best trip we ever could have planned or expected. Despite all the mishaps (controllable or not), I loved my honeymoon. We laughed through every situation

that happened and decided to take it all in as part of the experience. By hiking through the terrible weather, we saw multiple rainbows every day and had many of the trails completely to ourselves. We made jokes about whatever trail bar we didn’t eat for breakfast would be our lunch or dinner. We snuggled extra hard because the rain and wind outside sounded cold even though it was nice and warm inside our tent. We spent every day, from beginning to end, together and that time was so incredibly needed. After a year of wedding planning, crafting, and spending every other weekend with family it was glorious to have time just to ourselves. We didn’t feel rushed, pressured, or that we had to fulfill someone else’s expectations or plans. Each day brought new adventures and we took advantage of every one of them. We were

corralled Icelandic ponies, repelled down a building in Rotterdam, visited our Scottish clan lands, drove across a 3ft raging river in a bus, biked to windmills in Netherlands, and took in positively exquisite views from our tent in the morning. The most important thing about our honeymoon was that it was exactly what we wanted. We didn’t listen to friends or family members who told us that we should spend the time relaxing or pampering ourselves. We didn’t listen when they told us that we’d regret the decision to go hiking and camping because of how much work or effort it would be. We have always viewed vacations as time for adventures, risks, and challenges. Our opportunity to have a honeymoon was no different and we created the perfect trip for us. Stacey Lantz / GWM 7

Real Weddings

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TOGETHER? We met in August 2012 after Michael had relocated to Indianapolis from Los Angeles. WHO PROPOSED TO WHOM? To understand our proposal, you have to understand a little bit about each of us... Michael is the kind of guy that thinks flash mobs and large dramatic gestures are always a good choice and a firm believer in symbols and synergy. Lynn on the other hand humors Michael’s symbols and shudders at the thought of public attention and is much more understated and quiet. We think that for us marriage was always inevitable. We are both traditionalists and “good Midwestern men” at heart... it just became a matter of time and a matter of who would call the question. We had discussed marriage, but had agreed if it wasn’t legal where we lived, that we wouldn’t have a ceremony until we could; additionally we had a couple of nephews who were in the process of getting engaged and planning their weddings and wanted them to have the family focus. Michael began planning the proposal in late fall 2014 and even asked Lynn’s brother and sister for permission leading up to the big ask. The proposal took place in London while we were on vacation in January 2015 on the last afternoon of our stay. In preparation for the ask, Michael had contacted The London Times and secured a “forthcoming marriages” announcement to be published on January 23; the day he would propose. Michael had scheduled that we were to have high tea at 4:00 p.m. at the Dean Street Townhouse. The time was important because the proposal would always be this number sequence 1234, and Dean was Michael’s father’s name (you were warned that symbols are important to him!). The restaurant was in on the plan, too, and had a perfect table in front of the roaring fire ready for us. Lynn got suspicious on the day of the proposal because Michael had spent the better part of the afternoon trying to find a paper to have with him (Michael had managed to keep Lynn from the Times all day, even hiding the one that had shown up at the hotel). So as we settled in for tea, Michael began to stumble his way through the question. Lynn stopped him and said, “If you are asking me to marry you, the answer is yes”. Michael replied, “That’s good, because it is in the 8 GWM / Summer 2016

LYNN & MICHAEL November 25, 2015 / Sascha Reinking Photography

Times”. Michael started to pull out his phone to post the good news and Lynn asked that he not. Michael told him that then he needed to call ... and rattled off a list of people, which prompted Lynn to ask who knew about the proposal and Michael’s reply was it might be easier to tell you who didn’t know. HOW DID YOU KNOW YOUR SPOUSE WAS RIGHT FOR YOU? Michael: I fell for him from on our first date. As we started dating, we figured out that we had so much in common from our family continued on page 84 / GWM 9



Venues Vendors of Rhode Island


ach of the following venues and vendors has a unique style and character. There truly is something for every wedding style and budget to be found in Rhode Island. Whether you are a short train ride from Rhode Island or you are planning a destination wedding from across the nation, every thing you could possibly need for your wedding can be found here in this lovely state.

By Renee Clancy (401) 847-3300

Hotel Venues Providence Biltmore: This elegant hotel is an icon of

Providence. From the first day of your event until the last you will feel pampered. The historic ballroom is breathtaking and needs no additional décor. A little up lighting to highlight the details in the walls and ceilings is all that you need to bring a little drama. I highly encourage you and your guests to arrive a day early and enjoy the luxurious spa. It will be a quiet escape while you prepare for your wedding. (401) 421-0700

Hotel Viking: This venue is the perfect combination of

boutique hotel and sophisticated style. There is something for everyone here from large ballrooms to fit your party of 200 to the intimate courtyard, perfect for your smaller event. Don’t forget to check out the rooms! Your guests will be spoiled when they stay for the weekend in suites that herald the glamour of 1920’s America. 10 GWM / Summer 2016

Castle Hill Inn: The rolling lawns and romantic views at Castle Hill will take your breath away. From the moment you step on the property, it’s like walking into a different world filled with picnics by the beach and high tea on the veranda. You will breath easier as the staff takes care of every detail so you don’t have to worry about a thing but enjoying your first weekend as a married couple. (888) 466-1355

The Atlantic Inn: Flowerbeds dot the expansive grounds

of The Atlantic Inn, and meandering paths give you plenty of

Castle Hill opportunities for a romantic evening stroll with your fiancé. The Inn’s 21 unique antique filled guest rooms will make your guests feel right at home. Make sure you plan plenty of time for pictures on the wrap-around veranda at sunset. It is breathtaking! (401) 466-5883

Newport Beach House: Your wedding will embody an

easier era of beach getaways and retreats when you book at the Newport Beach House. Far from the crowds, you will create memories of beachside luxury as glamorous as the days the Kennedy family found solace in these same sands. (617) 854-5000

Atlantic Inn Gracie’s: Synchronized service and romantic lighting make

Gracie’s the perfect location for an intimate wedding or special dinner. If you are planning a destination wedding, don’t despair. Gracie’s will coordinate with the area’s most experienced professionals so you can enjoy your event. Award-winning Chef Varga and owner Ellen Slattery will customize every detail so you don’t have to. (401) 272-7811

22 Bowen: This restaurant at the harbor boasts specialty

wines and the finest foods. 22 Bowen’s easy going yet sophisticated restaurant provides panoramic views of Newport Harbor, or you can enjoy dinner on the patio terrace in the heart

Restaurant Venues The Dorrance: Hand-crafted cocktails and food to die for

is in abundance at The Dorrance. Every wall is covered with details from an era of opulence, and this former bank-turnedrestaurant will keep your guests talking about your event for the rest of the year. Set in the heart of Providence, this venue will provide a seamless event from start to finish. Whether you book just your rehearsal dinner or the entire wedding here, their personal planner and coordinator will help you create the event of your dreams. (401) 521-6000 / GWM 11

of bustling Bowen’s Wharf. (401) 841-8884

Matunuck Oyster Bar: Matunuck



Oyster Bar is committed to uniting fresh, locally grown produce with farm-raised and wild-caught seafood to make the freshest dishes found anywhere. The restaurant’s signature raw bar offers a variety of Rhode Island oysters. Give your guests the ultimate experience of Rhode Island when you stop by for lunch on the way out of town after your wedding day. (401) 783-4202

Los Andes: World class South American

cuisine is featured here at Los Andes. This fun and affordable restaurant is the perfect setting to start a bachelor or bachelorette party before the big day. You will be transported to South America the moment you enter the doors when the sounds, smells and laughter waft over you. (401) 649-4911

Event Venues Roger Williams Park: Variety is the

word to describe Roger Williams Park. From the historic Casino to the Botanical Center and Carousel, there is something for every wedding theme here. The park’s green hills and seven luscious lakes will add to your wedding party pictures. (401) 785-9450, x 7240

Providence City Hall: You must see

this historic building. City Hall weddings are making a comeback, but don’t think that you have to pass on traditions to get married here. You can still be surrounded by friends and family while decked out in your finest attire, and you will save some cash. Spend that money on an exquisite reception right in the heart of downtown Rhode Island! (401) 421-7740

Kirkbrae Country Club: Kirkbrae

offers all of the features of a country club but at a much better price. This blank canvas is waiting for you and your fiancé to put your mark on it. (401) 333-1300, enter prompt 4

Rosecliff Mansion: I think I want to get married again just so I can have it 12 GWM / Summer 2016

here! Rosecliff offers a grand backdrop and is one of the top Newport wedding venues. The mansion has the largest ballroom in Newport, seating 220 for dinner and dancing. Cocktails can be served on a covered terrace overlooking the ocean, after an unforgettable ceremony on the lawn by the sea. It is the quintessential Newport wedding mansion experience. (401) 847-1000

Harbor Lights Marina and Country Club: Whether you choose

an outdoor ceremony by the sea or an indoor elegant reception, your options are endless here at the Harbor Lights marina and Country Club. This fresh and modern venue is waiting for your personal touch. (401) 737-6353

Vendors Seams Couture: Can’t find clothing in

the stores that fits your style? Consider a custom suit or gown from Harper DellaPiana. You will feel right at home as she welcomes you into her home studio. Take advantage of her 25 years of experience, and get the design of your dreams!

Suite Tart: This retro salon will give you

and your wedding party the pampered day you’ve dreamt of before your big event. While the owner Lulu Locks is more than happy to travel to your hotel, I would suggest you set aside time to get ready at her location. Surrounded by modern day pin-ups, your getting ready session will be an experience you won’t soon forget. (401) 272-8278

John Orton Events: John has been

in the event industry for over 25 years, and he is on the cutting edge of wedding design. Your wedding is safe in his hands! He is also extremely accommodating to a variety of budgets. Give him a call before you contact anyone else. (401) 258 3821

Ellie’s Bakery: This French inspired bakery will transport you to Paris the moment you walk through the doors.

continued on page 90 / GWM 13

married life




fter 33 years together -- 12 of them married -- my wife and I continue to react differently to the experience of meeting new people and describing our relationship -- or letting them discover it for themselves.

combination of confusion, avoidance, happiness, dismissiveness, and no reaction at all.

I continue to learn that I was wrong.

I honestly believed that the expansion of marriage rights would alleviate much of the separation between gay and straight people.

I have fully embraced the idea that marriage equality as an idea permeates society, and I expect we will be treated with the respect and, dare I say, disinterest, that ought to accompany our status. My wife is of the opinion that just because courts and governments, some members of clergy, and roughly 51 percent of society are along for ride doesn’t mean everyone we meet will be comfortable with us as a concept, never mind as a full-blown reality standing in their midst. Experience repeatedly has proven her right, at least in our little corner of the world. We attended an event recently that brought together two branches of family, the outer limbs of which aren’t familiar with each other. When it came time for us to introduce ourselves, the declaration of “I’m her wife,” elicited a

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is so little difference between “us” and “them” that the issue would be no issue at all.

Each time, Pam wondered why I would put myself in a position to face rejection. And each time I had the same bewildered response: Why would I be rejected? I’ve always known I’m more optimistic than my wife (she prefers to call it naiveté), but I honestly believed that the expansion of marriage rights would alleviate much of the separation between gay and straight people. We all understand what it is to love, and I truly thought this understanding would be the underpinning of a new unity. I believed that a government seal of approval and increasing numbers of LGBT couples choosing to marry in states all over the nation would cement the idea in people’s minds that there

Sure, the reactions now are more positive than they would have been years ago. The questionable reactions came from groups more likely to bring up the caboose of the gay-marriage train -- socially and religiously conservative folks, people born before World War II, and the sadly misguided. There were happy surprises, too, with support coming from some corners we expected resistance from. There are many reasons to marry: Love, commitment, finances, legal protections, property rights, to raise a family, companionship. The reasons are as many as there are couples. There are also some reasons not to get married (gay or straight): because your parents expect you to, because you’ve been dating forever and it seems like it’s “time,” or because you seek society’s acceptance. Marriage is hard work, even for the most in-love couples. It’s wonderful, of

course, and worth every challenge, every difficulty, every heartache along the way. Same-sex marriage may be viewed by general society as a fascinating social experiment. But each, individual marriage is a world unto itself, and only two people inhabit it. A hundred, a thousand or a million marriages might change the world’s mind someday. Yours by itself isn’t going to. There’s enough pressure on your marriage to begin with. Loving each other is enough.

Meghan Rolfe Photography

10 16 GWM / Summer 2016

Steps to create a DIY VINTAGE wedding! / GWM 17

1 Choose two words to create a theme for your wedding. These two words will guide the rest of your planning decisions, so choose wisely! Choose words that represent both of you such as vintage and eclectic or modern and classy.


A headpiece that contrasts your hair color will pop in pictures. Try swapping it for a different look at the reception.

No need to match! An eclectic vibe that follows your theme will leave guests oohing all night. 18 GWM / Summer 2016


Start collecting your display items ASAP. Stop by antique and craft stores as often as possible to add the perfect blend of vintage variety for your wedding.


5 Tea lights and teacups go together well, because the saucer will catch any waxy spills. Ask a friend to monitor any that may die out early.

Say goodbye to traditional wedding cakes. You’ll save lots of dough by picking up your favorite desserts at your local bakery.

Choose a location that fits the theme and your budget. It doesn’t need to be a formal venue. Look for loft space at your local restaurants or a friend’s backyard.


7 / GWM 19


A guest gift does not need to be big. Choose a treat that you both love and want to share. It’s a great conversation starter while guests get to know each other.

Fruits, cheeses and crackers can be put together just before the guests arrive. Ask a friend to be in charge. Create a sample tray the day before, and snap a picture so they know what you have in mind. Put together a sample bouquet weeks before the big day to create the perfect look, and see if you are up for the challenge. Most florists will help with tips on flowers that are in season. Check out our DIY Dare from Spring 2016 for a step-by-step tutorial.

Photography: Andie Freeman Photography Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas Planner & Designer: Life’s Dream Wedding-Holly Rodriguez Hair: Grace Armas Makeup: Dina Maire Longer Gown: Fabulous Frocks of Atlanta Shorter lace gown: CTO Bridal Accessories: Icon Stylist Linen: I Do Linens China: Southern Vintage Dessert Table: Miss Milly’s Desserts: Petite Cakes USA, ATL Macarons (macarons & treats) Chairs: Elegant Chairs & Linens 20 GWM / Summer 2016



Wedding tips



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

Y 1

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

2 3

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




9 10

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


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


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

CONSIDER CUTTING THE CABLE or satellite television for a bit. You can sign up for services like Hulu or Netflix and still catch all of your favorite shows for a fraction of the price. TAKE THE BUS or subway instead of a taxi. Taxi rides are expensive compared to the bit of change it costs to take public transportation. TURN YOUR CLUTTER INTO CASH. Have a yard sale! Sell your old clothes, books, movies, games and so on. The stuff you don’t use that is just taking up space can be turned into cash for your wedding. There are lots of ways you can save a couple dollars here and there. Sit down and think about your daily habits. Even if it is only saving a dollar here, when you add it up over a year, it is big savings. Stay focused on the goal and you will be able to avoid those tempting money traps. / GWM 21

Real Weddings

22 GWM / Summer 2016

NICHOLAS & BRYAN October 10, 2015 / Vicki Comfort Photography / GWM 23

Real Weddings

HOW DID YOU MEET? Bryan I met through an online dating website. Fair enough to say that it was love at first sight. Within the first few weeks, we both knew that we had found that “someone special” – how lucky we were! WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THE PROVIDENCE BILTMORE? Growing up in Rhode Island, I had always known that the Biltmore was beautiful. Bryan was from PA and, when he came to RI, had heard about how beautiful the building was and it was such a historical landmark in Downtown Providence. We visited a handful of venues prior to the Biltmore, but none of them “spoke” to us. When we walked into the Biltmore, I looked over at Bryan and instantly knew that it was where we needed to be married. The Biltmore had this “wow” factor – it was just so grand! You walked in the room and it took your breath away. On the day of the wedding, filled with our family and friends, we were blown away with how incredible, grand and gorgeous it was. We lucked out to work with such an incredible team at the Biltmore. They were so attentive, so inviting. Everything went off without a hitch – and if it didn’t, we never knew!

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WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE WEDDING DAY? We were lucky enough to have the ceremony and the reception at the Biltmore. Our florist did such an amazing job setting the room exactly as we had envisioned. Our favorite part of the day was walking into the ceremony, turning the corner, to be greeted by the smiling faces of all our guests. As soon as we came into view, the entire room stood and erupted into applause…. It’s a moment that we have relived many times. At that moment, nobody else mattered but the two of us. We were so overcome that we walked down the aisle, hand in hand, tears falling down our cheeks. I have never felt so loved and so complete. IF YOU COULD DO ONE THING DIFFERENTLY, WHAT WOULD IT BE? Ask the venue to cut the ribbon on the cake prior to the “cake cutting ceremony”. Nick (God bless his soul) tried feverishly to cut through the ribbon with the cake cutter. There is a great picture of our faces – priceless! WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER COUPLES PLANNING THEIR WEDDING? Take the time to enjoy the day. Every couple after a wedding tells you this – “Make sure to enjoy the moments”. I will say – we enjoyed the special moments of that day, whether it was catching each other’s eye in the ballroom, running out into the lobby for a quick kiss, stopping just to exclaim “Wow… we are married.” The moments fly by but, if you consciously take the time to embrace and celebrate them, you can treasure them for the rest of your lives together. NOW THAT THE WEDDING IS OVER, WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS OR FUTURE PLANS AS A MARRIED COUPLE? We are very excited about our future together. We have plans to build a home, travel the world, retire to Ireland. Most importantly, we look forward to many years together, with our friends and family by our side. Reception/Ceremony: Providence Biltmore Photographer: Vicki Comfort Photography Wedding Cake: Awsome Sweets, Pawtucket, RI Florist: Flower Boyz -Michael Charpentier and Ernest Marotta Clothing/Suits: Men’s Wearhouse DJ: Jason Demers at Music Machine Entertainment Lighting: Music Machine Invitations: RSVP Stationery, Cumberland, RI / GWM 25

Real Weddings

26 GWM / Summer 2016

SARA & SARAH May 12, 2012 / HRM Photography / GWM 27

Real Weddings

WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE WEDDING DAY? Sarah (with brown hair) says her favorite memories of the wedding day were everything: seeing Sara look like a medieval princess, getting to eat yummy taco bell as my wedding meal, playing on a dinosaur and turning cartwheels in my wedding dress, being with all the people that I love in such a gorgeous place and on such a beautiful day. Sara (with blonde hair) says: I remember Sarah and I dancing at the end of the day, and then suddenly a bunch of our friends and family were blowing a big cloud of bubbles over us. I have no idea why they decided to do that, or how they all decided they would, but it cemented how lucky we were to have all these wonderful people come as far as they did and spend as much time as they did to share in our day. HOW DID YOU MEET? We met at our first set of medical school interviews at Queens University. Our last names are close enough in the alphabet that we were both in the same waiting room before our interviews. Then my mom who’d come for moral support during the interview process wouldn’t stop talking about the cute, odd other Sarah who’d been in the waiting room. When it turned out we’d both decided to go to Western’s medical school it was like fate and my mother were in cahoots and we had no choice but to fall in love. We’ve now been dating for about four and a half years.

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WHAT IS YOUR IDEAL WEDDING? Our ideal wedding is supposed to be simple and fun with lots of greenery and outdoors. Sarah would like people playing games like Frisbee. I want lots of new green growth to show the start of marriage, and because both of us are outdoorsy people it seems more natural that we’d be celebrating our wedding with nature. . Really, we’re both kind of goofy people and we’d like our wedding to reflect that.

Photographer: HRM Photography Makeup Artist: Caryl Baker Visage Hair Stylist: Diamond Cuts Caterer: Elite Catering by Design Reception Venue: Fanshawe Conservation Area Dress Store: Lady Di’s Officiant: Romantic Wedding Ceremonies Dress Store: Sophie’s Gown Shoppe / GWM 29

Real Weddings

30 GWM / Summer 2016 / GWM 31




e spend one third of our lives sleeping and many hours just laying in bed. The master bedroom is one of your home’s most personal spaces. It’s a place to unwind and recharge. It should be the relaxing space where you can go to escape the rest of life’s pressures. The question is: How do you create a space that feels equally indulgent and functional? I have had the opportunity to create many master bedrooms for many lovebirds and newlyweds. However it takes way more than some sticks, grasses and twigs to furnish your personal nest. If you know what I mean. You want it to be just the right balance of both of your styles and personal likes. It’s essential that the master bedroom provides you with an atmosphere that is inviting, warm and nurturing. I have some master bedroom ideas that should help you create the retreat you both want and need. • The walls are usually the largest space in the room, so it’s important to select the correct color. Since this is a place for relaxing you should select

32 GWM / Summer 2016

sublet shades and neutrals for your paint. Make sure you use a flat finish on your walls as any other finishes will tend to brighten and bounce light around. • Don’t forget the mood lighting. In addition to moonlight and candles, which are essential. Put your lighting on dimmers. Having control of your lighting allows you to set the atmosphere for whatever your activity maybe with just one touch. • The bed or headboard. Use your imagination this can be a set of antiques doors or an old iron gate. A more contemporary idea is an upholstered headboard or large piece of art. I think one of the most important parts of a creating comfort is your bedding. Think of your bed as a 5 layered delicious wedding confectionary. Layer 1: A good mattress is really the basic foundation to a great night sleep. You can easily upgrade your mattress with a feather bed or memory foam mattress topper under your sheets. Layer 2: Invest in a set of good sheets.

I find that most people like at least a 300-count cotton sheet set. Keep the sheet color to neutral or white is definitely a great choice here. By keeping your basics to neutral or white you are more easily able to switch up accent colors and accessories. Layer 3: Ahhhh pillows! Here’s my suggestion for pillows. Have at least two per person. Down pillows are the way to go. However if you or your new mate have allergies to down feathers, there are many alternatives that are hypoallergenic. Lastly remember pillows do play an important part of the design of your space but be careful. You need to strike a balance between too few and being swallowed up by too many pillows. Once you have the perfect sleep pillows accent pillows are your chance to go bold or unique. Layer 4: A down comforter is both practical and luxurious. Down is fluffy and perfect for both warmer months and cooler months of the year. Be sure to jazz up you comforter with a duvet or cover for your comforter. Have fun with pattern and color. Layer 5: A simple throw blanket can really dress up your bed and is very

bedroom practical in case you feel cold. Be sure that when you are selecting these layers you do so with each of them in mind. They should coordinate with each other and connect your space. They can serve as your final touches or just the start to your space. • The type of flooring you choose is a personal one. Carpet can be soft and warming; While hardwood floors can look luxurious. Or you can have both with hardwood floors and an area rug. • Waking up to a fabulous view is a great way to start any day. If you don’t have a view simply add artwork so that is the first thing you see. • A luxurious addition to any master space is a sitting area. All you really need is a comfy chair, a side table for a hot cup of coffee or nice glass of wine. If there’s room consider adding a bench at the foot of your bed or a foot stool to your comfy chair. • Add mirrors. This tip has more to do with furnishings then getting a little frisky. Mirrors reflect light and create the illusion of more space. • If you work a job that requires you to sleep during the day consider room darkening window treatments. This will

help you get a more restful sleep. • If outside noise is a problem the answer is simple. A sound machine. Make sure you and your new soulmate combine your furniture styles. Many times items with straight lines that are paired with curvy shapes can represent both of your tastes and definitely make things much more interesting.

to focus on the things you have in common and use that to build your foundation. Be sure to edit and try new things until you come up with the perfect formula for your master retreat. Now it is easier to surround yourself in beautiful home décor SHOP MY NEW HOME COLLECTION WWW.BLUEDOTHOMEMARKET.COM Design is everything. EVERYTHING!

One of the questions I am asked a lot is TV or no TV? I think it is again a matter of choice. I think it is easier to create a restful retreat if you don’t include electronics. But if you must, try to keep them in a cabinet so you can hide them away and stop them from becoming the main focal point. Don’t be afraid to go big with your accent pieces. Find pieces that incorporate some of the bolder shades in your color scheme. When you have neutral walls accent pieces become more critical for creating a balanced design. Newlyweds are uniquely different people so it’s OK if it takes a while to find your decorating groove. Try

Todd Russell

About the Author: 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. bluedotinteriors / GWM 33

HOW DID YOU MEET? Online on Plenty of Fish

Real Weddings

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TOGETHER? 3.5 years WHAT IS THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE YOU’VE HAD TO OVERCOME AS A COUPLE? We started out as a long distance relationship (2 1/2 hours apart, over 140 miles). We would take turns driving to see each other every weekend. We each owned houses and had careers so it was difficult for one of us to just pick up and leave. Eventually, things fell into place and Brett was able to transfer and sell his house. WHAT DO YOU LOVE THE MOST ABOUT YOUR SPOUSE? Dustin: I love how Brett makes sure to show or tell me he loves me everyday. Brett: Since we first met Dustin felt like home. He’s been there for me and gets me. DESCRIBE YOUR WEDDING DAY: The wedding started at 11am on a sunny and cool day in the French Quarter. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect. We had a short but intimate ceremony that was followed by champagne and music by a brass band. We then second lined to our reception for about 8 blocks, while tourists and locals amassed on the sidewalk along the way to watch and celebrate. For those of you who don’t know what a “second line” is, its a small parade with a brass band. The participants wave handkerchiefs while dancing, and in weddings the couple will carry umbrellas. At the reception, we had a New Orleans brunch style buffet with Bloody Marys and Mimosas. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART? Dustin: Enjoying the company of our friends and family. Brett: The second line, definitely WERE THERE ANY SURPRISES (GOOD OR BAD) THAT HAPPENED? At the last minute, Brett’s parents decided not to come, but we still enjoyed our big day. We didn’t let it discourage us. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER COUPLES PLANNING THEIR WEDDING? Have your wedding how you want it. If you have to spend a little extra, it’s worth it. If you’re enjoying yourself, everyone else will have a good time. NOW THAT THE WEDDING IS OVER, WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS OR FUTURE PLANS AS A MARRIED COUPLE? We each want to start our own businesses and travel more.

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DUSTIN & BRETT November 14, 2015 Josh Williams Photography

Photographer: Josh Williams Photography Reception Site: Faubourg Bistro / 700 Club Caterer: Faubourg Bistro - Matt Hayes Wedding Cake: Flour Power Florist: Petals and Stems Clothing/Gowns/Suits: Men’s Wearhouse / GWM 35

featured vendor



eams Couture is the quintessential example of a boutique designer. Harper Della-Piana welcomes you into her home studio and then creates custom attire to fit your needs. If you are thinking of going the custom route for your wedding finery, then start with these tips from Harper. WHEN DO YOU RECOMMEND THAT CLIENTS START TO PLAN THEIR ATTIRE? At least 6 months out. If they can start earlier, then that’s better. DO YOU HAVE CLIENTS THAT COME IN SAYING THEY DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY WANT? They should come in with some homework. We could sit here for 8 hours... and still not come up with an idea. DO BRIDES EVER START WITH ONE IDEA, AND THEN COME OUT WITH A DIFFERENT ONE? Sometimes yes. It just evolves. We take pictures while doing this. You’re going to take a picture of yourself in it, and you want to see what you look like throughout the process. Sketching is the most important part. Then we create the gown with muslin so you can be in it. Everyone’s body is so different. I want to make a pattern to fit each person.

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featured vendor

DO YOU HAVE SAME-SEX COUPLES THAT COME IN TOGETHER OR SEPARATE? Both. I ask them if they are keeping it a surprise from their fiancé or not. Sometimes I am the person tying it all together with details. Sometimes they are totally involved in the process with their fiancé. I never know. DO THEY USUALLY WANT TO KEEP IT SECRET? Sometimes. One time I had a couple that would take turns. One bride would come up, and I would do her fitting. Then the other bride would come up, and I would do her fitting. They picked all the fabrics together, and I helped them separately to coordinate the outfits. WHAT ARE THE STEPS TO BEGIN THE PROCESS? First, make an appointment for a consultation. Second, we go through fabric options, and I can buy fabric for their needs. Third, we schedule an appointment for the muslin pattern. We drape the fabric at this time. Fourth, they come in for the final fitting! This fitting is a big one, because the dress has been pieced together and the client can really begin to see the end result. I have brides coming from all over. I’m always amazed at how far they will travel. There are a total of about four meetings, so if you are coming from far away, it gets a little more difficult to plan. Also, a bride’s body can change a lot from the first meeting to the last. I have some brides that stress eat, and some that

don’t eat. I’ve had some brides that are unexpectedly pregnant and one that broke her leg playing volleyball. That last fitting the week before the wedding is the most important! DO YOU ASK ABOUT PRICE POINT OR DO THEY KNOW BEFORE COMING IN WHAT KIND OF BUDGET TO PLAN FOR? I had to put a minimum on our site, because many of us vendors had issues with brides having no idea what to plan for financially. I have on my website that the minimum starts at $2,000.

Providence, Rhode Island Winner of Brides Choice Awards from Wedding Wire & The Knot Boston Winner of Northshore Magazine’s Best Bridal Salon BONS / GWM 37

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Sara Zarrella Photography / GWM 39

Real Weddings

HOW DID YOU MEET? We worked together at a large retailer in Seattle, WA for about 3 years before we started dating. She was new to management and I was new to Human Resources, so we were very instrumental to each other’s growth as professionals. That’s one of the reasons we can be so open and honest with each other- the foundation of our relationship was giving each other feedback and seeing each other in often vulnerable situations! HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TOGETHER? About 1.5 years WHAT IS THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE YOU’VE HAD TO OVERCOME AS A COUPLE? When we started dating, our new jobs brought us apart during Monday through Friday, so we were limited to growing as a couple during the weekends. We made the most of it by action-packed weekends and endless Skype “goodnights” during the week. What seemed like 10 long months later, we are so lucky to say every “goodnight” in person. WHAT DO YOU LOVE THE MOST ABOUT YOUR SPOUSE? “Her heart is unbeatable. There is no one luckier than the ones (family and friends) who get close enough to be loved by her.” Cheney about Marissa

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CHENEY & MARISSA April 11, 2016

Silvana Braggio Photography

“She’s the most witty person I’ve ever met and that keeps the laughs coming - there is nothing better than her smile and laugh after she delivers a hilarious zinger.” - Marissa about Cheney. DESCRIBE YOUR WEDDING DAY: We wanted a day focused on the celebration of bringing two families together in a place many hadn’t been, so we chose a BEAUTIFUL venue that showed off our gorgeous desert landscape. Since our focus was on the celebration, we planned a private ceremony for just us and invited our closest family and friends to the outdoor Phoenix reception. It was the perfect mixture of our minimalist style and desert vibes. It was everything we could have imagined! And we couldn’t thank our AMAZING planning team enough (Bloom & BluePrint Event Co) for making our style dreams come true. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART? Dancing! We stressed quite a bit in the continued on page 85 / GWM 41



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5 Tips for Unexpected Surprises on the Wedding Day

ECTED by John Orton Flowers and Events

Thunderstorms: With miles of coastline in Rhode Island, ceremonies are often planned outside at fabulous venues near the water. Unfortunately no one ever knows when a rogue thunderstorm may pass through and it always seems to occur when we are just about to have the ceremony. They usually go as quickly as they came, just be prepared to have the chairs dried off and a slight delay. Intoxicated Groom/ Bride/ Wedding party: Guys often may have played a round of golf in the afternoon and have often times over indulged on a warm summer day turning up for the ceremony, not in the best shape. This can also occur with bride/ bridal party. Occasionally the bride has taken a relaxer that she doesn’t usually partake in to calm her jitters and this combined with champagne toasts while getting ready can make for a very unsteady walk down the aisle. Make sure you eat throughout the day, and try to hold back on the alcohol until cocktail hour Have Needle and Thread on hand: This seemingly ordinary combination can save the wedding. We have encountered pregnant brides who bust open their dress and need to be sewn back in. In another case groom or groomsmen have split open their tuxedo pants getting down on the dance floor, requiring immediate attention. One wedding we worked for, a groom split his pants and took them off to be sewn but before they were fixed, the entire bridal party of groomsmen had followed suit and taken off their pants as well. Be cautious at Rehearsal Dinner: Try to keep in mind that the following day is one of the most important days of your life. One rehearsal dinner a groom got a little too rowdy and ended up falling off the balcony of his hotel room later that night. Luckily he made it out with only two broken legs but the wedding had to be cancelled the next morning. This caused the couple to lose their deposits on their venue, food, florist, cake, and delayed their special day. Triple Check with all of your vendors: Make sure that vendors are all aware of the final dates and times of when you need them. From the planning to the final stages of a wedding there are a lot of changes that happen with dates and times. Have someone that is responsible for confirming the dates and times with all of your vendors a few weeks before the big day. If there are any changes make sure to contact the vendors so they make it to the right place at the correct time. There was one wedding where the cake didn’t show up because the vendor thought the wedding / GWM 43

was the next weekend. A few of us had to go into the back of the hotel, find a cake, and write on it.


The early weddings produced in our RI Design Studio became immediately popular, being one of the first florists in the region NOT to have a retail operation. Wholesalers wouldn’t even deliver at first because of the lack of a storefront! It didn’t take long for our clients to appreciate our “design studio” approach. Armed with an art background, a NY city mindset, and a stable of creative freelance artists – John’s non-traditional designs were an immediate hit! These were pre-Martha days, when wedding work depended heavily on carnations, mums and baby’s breath. We used hydrangea and garden roses years before they became household words! Opportunity knocked and we jumped in 1992. Through a NY production company we worked first on the Barcelona Olympics following with Atlanta, Sydney and Salt Lake. From that first opportunity on, our focus quickly switched to International Corporate Events – and we were off! We’ve designed incredible soirees in all throughout Europe – with dinner for 300 in L’Opera Garnier – the Paris Opera – a particular shining favorite! Australia, Mexico, Canada – even East and South Africa – our floral journey has been the stuff of dreams! These large scale events also provided the unique opportunity to work with some of the worlds best lighting designers, tent and rental companies, gorgeous linen resources, and directly with flowers markets around the world. The present day brings us back full

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circle to our RI roots – again focusing more on weddings and social events in the New England/New York area. We are proud to produce seamless gatherings with great style and flair. Our floral designs are second to none – in any style you can dream of! John Orton Flowers and Events




What is Differentiation?!

by Michael Aaron; Psychotherapist, Sexologist, and Certified Sex Therapist

have often thought, and now have come to firmly believe, that couples therapy is one of the most powerful ways to get people unstuck, not only as a couple, but also as individuals. The reasons for this are multi-dimensional, but in short have everything to do with the concept of “differentiation.” What is differentiation? To my knowledge, this is a concept first introduced by family therapist Murray Bowen to describe the level of individuality present within a family system. The more differentiated a family system, the more the people in that family can advocate for themselves and treat each other like separate individuals who have their own wishes and desires rather than as objects that need to be controlled and molded in order for the family system to survive. I don’t work with entire family systems (children, grandparents, extended relatives, etc.) but the same certainly holds true in couples systems. When a couple is poorly differentiated, neither partner can tolerate signs of individuality or advances towards personal autonomy in the other person. Instead the couple remains stuck in symbiosis, a system marked by unhealthy merger (these couples are the ones who may often be labeled as co-dependent), and may use a variety of methods to try to keep this balance intact. These methods may include various forms of manipulation (guilt-tripping, coercion, passive-aggressiveness) to manage the threat that is experienced by the other partner pushing towards more differentiation. I want to emphasize that by differentiation, I don’t mean that the partner who is trying to differentiate is going out and doing things on his or her own, that’s called practicing; instead, the partner may try to initiate conversations or otherwise call attention to desired changes in the relationship. These discussions, while a necessary phase in any relationship, are intolerable to the undifferentiated partner, and often cause tension, conflict, or even more clingy behavior, which even further pushes the differentiating partner away. So how do I handle these kinds of couple’s difficulties

stemming from issues of differentiation? First, it is important to understand that research shows that couples that are well differentiated actually do much better than poorly differentiated couples. Couples therapists Ellyn Bader and Pete Pearson, out in the Bay area, compare this process to the individual stages of childhood development outlined by psychoanalyst Margaret Mahler. In this model, the child first experiences symbiosis with the parent, then slowly starts to comprehend its difference from the parent (differentiation), then willfully attempts to assert its independence (practicing), and then finally comes full circle to embracing its relationship with the parent (rapprochement). According to Mahler, all of these stages are necessary for proper childhood development. Similarly, Bader and Pearson argue that differentiation is a necessary step in the development of any romantic relationship. In short, I don’t try to reel in the differentiating partner. Instead, I see my role as a facilitator in helping both couples to differentiate in healthy ways that will allow them to function in positive ways both as individuals and as a couple. As I often tell couples, when you get together, you create three distinct entities– the two individuals, and now the third entity, the couple. If either of these entities disappear, if either of you lose your individual identity, you will undermine the potential future success of the relationship. Differentiation. How does this play into my work with couples and sexuality? Actually, quite a bit. Often issues in differentiation come out most distinctly in areas revolving around sexuality. For example, what if one partner is looking to explore some longheld fantasies? The very act of articulating his needs to his partner is an act of differentiation. What if someone is looking to open up the relationship? That discussion is a discussion of differentiation. Now I’m not saying that the other partner should just simply acquiesce and go with whatever is being presented. That passivity would be a very undifferentiated approach, the opposite of what we are aiming at. On the other, rage, defensiveness, or withdrawal are unhelpful responses either, and are clearly undifferentiated forms of communication. Instead, my goal would be to help both continued on page 90 / GWM 45

Real Weddings

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EDWARD AND GERALD August 29, 2015 / Dear Stacey Photography / GWM 47

Real Weddings

HOW DID YOU MEET?, Gerald messaged Edward approximately one year from August 20, 2012 (first date). The message went unanswered leaving Gerald to think Edward wasn’t interested. Was Gerald surprised when early August 2012 he received and message from Edward. We both agreed to a first date in Huntington, NY (approximately half way for both Gerald (Stony Brook, NY) & Edward (Astoria, NY). The details of the date were unknown until we met in Huntington. They ate at an Italian restaurant (unknown and not so good; the food that is) and then went for a walk about the pond to learn more about each other. It was there that they shared their first kiss. And so the story truly continues‌. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TOGETHER? Since August 20, 2012 WHAT DO YOU LOVE THE MOST ABOUT YOUR SPOUSE? Both of us are very similar in style and likes. Gerald is a bit more about the details, deadlines, and focuses on keeping Ed in check. Ed is much more free spirited about things, which often leaves things to the very last minute. We both enjoy that combined, we make good things happen. DESCRIBE YOUR WEDDING DAY: Citrus splendor & urban-garden accents were the perfect pairing for an intimate backyard celebration. Guests were in for a surprise when they arrived at our engagement party, only to 48 GWM / Summer 2016

learn that we had surprise plans to tie the knot that afternoon. Surrounded by our family and friends, we said our “I do’s” with a unique and timeless ceremony (officiated by Ed’s sister Susan Barnett), complete with a one-of-a-kind plant potting ritual (in honor of both our mother who have passed. Hand-hewn chandeliers made out of bistro lights and strung wood crafted an aura of one-of-a-kind romance inside the tented reception, while tables topped in burlap and overflowing with fresh-picked herbs and fruit lent an air of outdoor charm. Loved ones delighted fresh fare prepared by Edward before reveling in the summer sun and celebrating the newlyweds. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART? All of it! We tried really hard to make the day very relaxed and just as we enjoy creating events and parties for other people. Both of us wanted something that represented us, elegant, rustic, not fussy and FUN. Which turned out to be a home run… even the ladies commented when they were surprised and enjoying their evening at a wedding…. without spanks! WERE THERE ANY SURPRISES (GOOD OR BAD) THAT HAPPENED? The entire day was a surprise (engagement party turned wedding). WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER COUPLES PLANNING THEIR WEDDING? Don’t listen to others and do what makes you happy. For everyone that’s something different but not getting caught up in the little things and listening to what everyone did for their wedding, or what everyone thinks is important is not really what it’s all about. NOW THAT THE WEDDING IS OVER, WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS OR FUTURE PLANS AS A MARRIED COUPLE? Our goals and plan for the future are to find our dream farm

property (so we can expand the catering business with intimate to grand events) and adopt kids. But, before all that we plan to take the year and focus on “us” which includes taking a honeymoon. Lastly we felt we should elaborate a little bit further. Both Gerald and I attended culinary school. Both of us have full time jobs but on the side do catering, events, and parties. All and all our day was a bit of an oddity in that it started as an engagement party,

which turned into a surprise wedding. Both of us worked to create the backdrop on the property along with the food, rentals and event. Then passed it off to colleagues and friends to see out our visions so that we could enjoy our day. Photographer: Dear Stacey Photography Wedding Consultant: Edward and Gerald Russo-Stannard Ceremony Site: Private Residence, Mineola NY Reception Site: Private Residence, Mineola NY / GWM 49

Real Weddings

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Caterer: Chef Edward Russo Wedding Cake: Chef Edward Russo Florist: Edward and Gerald Russo-Stannard Clothing/Gowns/Suits: Jeans; Lucky, Shirts; Express, Shoes; Gerald JCrew Boat Shoes, Edward Converse Hair: Defusion Hair Salon, Rockville Centre NY Makeup: Defusion Hair Salon, Rockville Centre NY Music: Tommy Tunes DJ: Tommy Tunes Linens: PTG Event Services Rentals: PTG Event Services Lighting: Edward and Gerald Russo-Stannard Invitations: Edward and Gerald RussoStannard Videographer: Jay Lim Studios / GWM 51

Gracie’s G

racie’s is one of those places you’ll remember for the rest of your life. In all of my travels and adventures, I’ve never experienced anything quite like this unique venue. From the moment I walked in the front door, I experienced impeccable service, classic style, and food that tantalized my taste buds. If you want your wedding to be different from the traditional ballroom event, then consider Gracie’s. They offer several options for an intimate reception or rehearsal dinner. A private dinning experience is available on the lower level, or you can choose one of the elegant tables in the main dining room. Yes, I would also suggest you consider reserving the entire restaurant for your event. The charm and elegance of the design is all you will need for décor. Discuss some floral arrangement options with the event coordinator, and you won’t need to worry about anything else. You and your guests will want for nothing as the experienced staff takes care of your every need. Their synchronized service is something that you will not receive at other venues, and this special touch adds an air of elegance that will take your breath away. I’ve been to too many weddings where you and your guests are waiting for the catering staff to fill glasses or clear plates. But at Gracie’s, your every need is anticipated. We asked Kendal Fitzsimmons, Private Events Coordinator at Gracie’s to share some of her thoughts about how you can create the perfect event. GWM: How do you create an intimate dinner if a couple has a large wedding? Kendal: The space at Gracie’s is incredibly romantic and provides an intimate atmosphere for weddings of any size. Our staff is exclusively trained for fine dining functions. This includes both our regular dinner service as well as private events. The Gracie’s team is dedicated to going above and beyond to make our guests feel completely taken care of and blown away. GWM: How can a restaurant fit the needs of an event better

52 GWM / Summer 2016 / GWM 53

than a venue? Kendal: Unlike most catering company’s staff, the service staff at Gracie’s receive extensive training on everything food, wine, and service oriented. Each member of our team is trained to offer a level of service designed to exceed the needs and desires of our guests. This training covers food allergy protocol, food and wine pairing, knowledge of the menu, a background on the guests, type of event, special requests, timeline logistics, etc. Every single member of our team is here because they love what they do, they are passionate about customer service and fine dining, and they are hungry to expand their knowledge of fine service. Our team is what sets us apart from other similar operations. We shine in any venue, but when given the opportunity to perform on our home turf, the sky is the limit. GWM: How can a couple create a menu to accommodate a variety of unique diets? Kendal: It’s crucial to provide a menu that will appease a variety of palates and dietary restrictions. Selecting several items for each course that vary greatly will ensure each guest can find something they will thoroughly enjoy. Our kitchen team makes everything to order, so we have the ability to alter menu items to accommodate allergies, dislikes, or dietary restrictions. GWM: What suggestions can you make to a couple that is not using a wedding coordinator? Kendal: I would suggest booking with a venue that provides you a wedding coordinator. When a client books at Gracie’s, we not only provide the space, decor and catering, I become their wedding coordinator and assist with all aspects of the wedding planning process. GWM: What do you think sets Gracie’s apart from other restaurants? Kendal: Our mission to go above and beyond to exceed expectations through providing exceptional service and cuisine sets us apart from other restaurants. I often receive calls from prior brides telling me their guests are still raving about their experience with us, even years later. Thank you to Kendal Fitzsimmons for the advice! We will see you soon at Gracie’s.

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Venue: Gracie’s (401) 272-7811 Photographer: Jason Wessel Photography & Media Arts Dress Designer: Harper Della-Piana, Couturiere Florist: Flowers By Semia Food/Beverage: Gracie’s / GWM 55

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SYLVIA & KITZIA October 2, 2015 / Juan Euan Photography / GWM 57

Have love

HOW DID YOU MEET? We met in the most unexpected way, without having paid attention to each other, we agreed on a park every night where we met several people to walk and play with our dogs. Over the day we met and started talking, then we realized that we lived in the same building. Over time we became very good friends, we shared many things, we met as friends in our best and worst moments. Until one day Sylvia had the initiative about giving us the opportunity to be together as a couple, and until that day we fell in love every day that passed we notice that and wanted to be together for a long time, so we make the decision to marry

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TOGETHER? 3½ years or 548 days 13,152 hours, but feel it is much more… WHAT IS THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE YOU’VE HAD TO OVERCOME AS A COUPLE? We do not call them obstacles, but opportunities for growth, improvement, communication and understanding, and that more than obstacles are ways of seeing things; such as the relationship that each has with their families. WHAT DO YOU LOVE THE MOST ABOUT YOUR SPOUSE? Kitzia: “What I love the most about Sylvia is her enthusiasm, dedication, intelligence and good sense of humor” Sylvia: “What I love the most about Kitzia is her smile and the way she looks at me” DESCRIBE YOUR WEDDING DAY: A beautiful and amazing day! We woke up with a coffee and biscuits on the terrace of the hotel, light breakfast because nerves would not let us eat more, the weather was perfect, a sunny day but not very hot, by the morning passed began arriving all the people who made magic (wedding planners, makeup artists, hairdressers, etc.). At 4:00 pm we went to the beach to surprise the guests who thought that we were going to arrive down the aisle, and then the sound of the snail was the signal to begin walking in the beach to the gazebo where the Chaman Eduardo was waiting for us with all our friends and families. The Mayan ceremony was great, full of mysticism and spirituality, after we had the civil ceremony, which officially joined by the law as a couple, and then the party! The toast with the speech of our fathers full of love and good desires. A starry night with a wonderful moon, and an unexpected gift of nature, leaving turtles nest near the site of the party! Each of the guests was happy, in an environment that can only be described as full of “smiles, love, and more love”. There 58 GWM / Summer 2016 / GWM 59

Have love

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were any face without a smile and without enjoying the celebration those were magic moments.

Always communicate and especially not stop kissing every day and telling each other how much we love us.

WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART? Our favorite part was the “Flash mob”, I love you baby or I Can´t take my eyes out of you. We rehearsed the choreography with some friends and after a minute of being dancing our partners in crime joined us, it was wonderful.

Photographer: Juan Euan Wedding Consultant: Luisa Clemente Ceremony/Reception Site: Akin Beach Club, Tulum, Quintana Roo, México Caterer: Luisa Clemente Wedding Cake: La Pasteleteria, Cancun Florist: Florería Clothing/Gowns/Suits: Kike May Hair: Katia Monforte Salón Makeup: Katia Monforte Salón Music: Bullet Queen DJ: Marshall Audiovisual Rentals: Luisa Clemente Lighting: Luisa Clemente Invitations: Zan González Videographer: Nadia Pérez Other: centerpieces: Diana Alvarado, Arte y Reciclaje Mayan Ceremony: Eduardo Colunga

WERE THERE ANY SURPRISES (GOOD OR BAD) THAT HAPPENED? The best surprise the speeches of our fathers. We were solo happy and enjoying every moment that we did not notice during the wedding any bad surprise. Nothing is perfect in this life, only our magical day of the wedding, because days after some friends told us about uncomfortable situations with the staff of the place, nothing that can not be improve for future events, specific to improve communication. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER COUPLES PLANNING THEIR WEDDING? When you do things with love, passion and commitment, any obstacle can be overcome, including the budget, but we recommend you keep in mind that the costs may outweigh the budget. Enjoy every moment of the preparations before the day, and work with wedding planners so you can enjoy at 100% your day without taking care of the logistic. NOW THAT THE WEDDING IS OVER, WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS OR FUTURE PLANS AS A MARRIED COUPLE? Recently we bought a house and planning pay off the mortgage as soon as possible, so we can travel a lot together. Make the dreams of each pair and ours as reality. / GWM 61

planning tips

Photo by Ananda Shorey of Bliss Photography By Margaret Riesen


Vegetarian Wedding Favorites – Even For Carnivores!

love the challenge of a crowd-pleasing vegetarian wedding menu, especially when it involves relatives from the Midwest who want to know “where’s the beef?” The challenge becomes stickier when the couple chooses an all-vegan menu -- with relatives from the Midwest – challenging, but not impossible. Sharing food in community is one of our oldest rituals – and one of life’s great pleasures. You don’t have to be a vegetarian to enjoy a wonderful vegetarian (or vegan) meal. The secret is to start with high-quality, fresh, organic ingredients, and the difference between ho-hum and fabulous is often a choice of seasonings. For many vegetarian and vegan couples, their wedding day is the perfect opportunity to invite friends and family to experience an all vegetarian or vegan meal. It is a way for you to share your heart, and a new experience for many of your guests. I say go for it – it’s your party, celebrate it your way, with the food that you want. And if you offer something really fabulous, your guests will be wowed and might even be inspired to rethink their habitual food choices. I’ve often heard people remark that they “had no idea that vegetarian food could be this good”. Non-vegetarians can get obsessed with the notion of protein. The fact is that all foods contain protein, and creating a protein-rich meal from all-vegetarian ingredients is not rocket science. One way to satisfy dyed-inthe-wool carnivores with a vegetarian meal is to add some hearty fare with eggs and dairy. And the combination of grains and legumes – rice and beans – will provide all your essential amino acids. It’s the staple of many cultures, and the possibilities are endless. I love grains and legumes: they’re satisfying, tasty, and nutritious, and they

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lend themselves to an endless variety of seasonings. Some couples try faking out their guests with faux meats, a staple that is gaining in popularity among many vegetarians and vegans. There are some excellent products on the market, created from natural, organic ingredients. As an example, Field Roast ( products are vegan and include veggie burgers and sausages; my favorite is their chipotle Mexican sausage

which adds texture and “sabor autentico” to a vegan taco bar, enchiladas, or posole. I’m a huge fan of the cuisines of Mediterranean rim, among them the cuisines of Spain, Provence, Italy, Greece, the Middle East and North Africa. Mediterranean specialties tend to be heavily plant-based, with meat added as a condiment. In some instances, the meat can be replaced with a plant-based protein, or it can be left out altogether. Here are a few selections from our Mediterranean menu:

Trio of relishes: baba ganouj, muhammara & beet hummus Elegant platter of high-end cheeses, seasonal fruit & oven-dried tomato Tortilla Española: traditional potato frittata with caramelized onion, mild chilies and peas Spanish paella with seared vegetables, saffron, garlic, pimenton & scarlet runner beans Polenta layered with sauce of tomato, fontina, gorgonzola, basil, marjoram Moroccan tagine with yam, caramelized pearl onion, carrot, dried plum, saffron, cilantro Ratatouille with eggplant, tomato, summer squash, basil, garlic, purple yam Roasted seasonal vegetables with light balsamic reduction Salad of root vegetables, dill vinaigrette, chopped egg Silk Road bulgur pilaf with French lentils, caramelized onion, dried cherry, saffron, pomegranate seeds Persian wedding rice with caramelized onion & carrots, saffron, cinnamon, orange zest, dried fruit, nuts Another popular menu is Cuisines of the Americas, with specialties from Mexico, the American Southwest, and the Caribbean. My favorite is Mexican Posole, traditionally made with chicken or pork and a tasty combination of hominy, seared vegetables, garlic, chilies, and cilantro. Our vegan version includes Field Roast chipotle sausage and heirloom beans. Samples from Cuisines of the Americas: Mini empanadas with yam/chipotle filling and chimichurri dipping sauce Mexican posole with hominy, seared onions, bell pepper, chilies, red ayocote beans, garlic, cilantro

planning tips Torta Azteca: blue corn polenta layered with sauce of seared onion, chilies, bell pepper, garlic, cilantro, queso fresco Vegetarian (or vegan) taco bar with seared vegetables, strips of Field Roast burgers, condiments & guacamole Black beans with mango, tomato, organic corn, avocado, lime, cilantro Coconut pineapple fried rice with garlic, green onion, toasted cashews Red, white & green salad with spinach, red cabbage, jicama, avocado Painted Desert coleslaw: finely shredded cabbage and veggies in a lime marinade Peruvian vegetable salad with baby vegetables, eggs, olives and thinly sliced vegan ham


Our menus span the globe and are prepared with love and expertise from local, organic ingredients. They are custom-tailored to fit our clients’ budget and needs. So whatever menu you choose, follow your heart. It’s your special day, and your guests will be delighted to find out how delicious and satisfying a vegetarian meal can be. And you and your Sweetheart can stay true to what you love – bon appétit! Chef Margaret Riesen brings her love of healthy, delicious food from her native Switzerland, where she was raised among people who grew much of their own food. A long-time vegetarian, Riesen taught cooking

classes through Santa Barbara Community College for many years. She has a degree in biology and believes that a plant-based diet is our best bet for staying healthy and fit into our elder years. She is a published author and wrote a food column for Malibu Monthly Magazine. Margaret Riesen, Owner The Vegetarian Gourmet Elegant Catering for All Occasions Located in the San Francisco Bay Area 510-865-2935

VEGETARIAN Portrait by Nancy Rothstein Photography

caterer Photo by Ananda Shorey of Bliss Photography / GWM 63

Real Weddings


ara and Jesse met at work and hit it off right away, becoming practically inseparable from the beginning. I (Kel Ward) met them for the first time on the day of their engagement shoot. I had seen photos of them, but was kind of awestruck by how incredibly adorable they were in person. Jesse wore jeans, vest, and a bowtie, while Kara rocked a little blue shirt-dress and wedges. They laughed and looked at each other in the most romantic way. I’d catch one of them, just looking at the other, almost in awe. They have similar mannerisms when they laugh, which I found very endearing. They were both apprehensive about being in front of the camera, but they relaxed quickly and I could tell that they were getting each other through it. Their wedding was held at the World Forestry Center in Portland, on a gloomy Friday in October. While the ceremony and reception were both held indoors, we did their portraits outside. Despite the rain and wind, we got the photos (hey, we’re Oregonians). In fact, the weather provided us with a little bit

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JESSE & KARA October 30, 2015 / Kel Ward Photography

of fog that settled beautifully on top of the autumn foliage, of which we had a fantastic view. The wedding party chose their own outfits, based on a red, black, and gray color scheme. The couple was picture perfect, with Jesse in her bowtie (seriously, she rocks a bowtie like nobody’s business) and Kara in her simple, but glamorous dress. They had a first look prior to the ceremony, which was about as sweet as anyone could imagine. The ceremony was full of laughter (lots of laughter), the story of how they met, and a lot of really sweet promises. The reception featured a delicious dinner, catered by a local restaurant, a ballad sung by one of the bridesmaids, and amazing DJ music, featuring mostly 1990s hip hop music. The guests danced the night away and truly had an amazing time. Venue - World Forestry Center Photographer: Kel Ward Photography Clothing: David’s Bride/H&M Hair and Makeup - Jein King Catering - Elephant’s Delicatessen Bar – My Bartender DJ - Wes Walton (DJ Ill Camino) Cake - Helen Bernhard Bakery / GWM 65

wedding trends



e’re in the heart of what wedding planners call “proposal” season; the prime months during which couples get engaged. Wedding planner Maggie Rodriguez, owner of Inspired Events, confirmed the observations of Kaizad Hansotia, Founder and CEO of Gurkha Cigars, that this year’s weddings are a throwback to the past. What’s old is new again. Receptions are earthy, natural, romantic and Boho chic with cigars playing a major part at these events. The following describes the four big wedding trends. 66 GWM / Summer 2016



It’s all burlap and lace on the vintage wedding scene. What’s retro and old is hot again. Antiques and pearls, leatherbound books and rich cigars. Frank Sinatra would have been 100 this year and his flair is back in style. Think “Fly Me To The Moon” in a Las Vegas nightclub holding a rocks glass full with three fingers of dark amber whisky in one hand and an elegant mediumbodied, 18-year aged Gurkha Cellar Reserve cigar in the other.

Grooms want more of a say on how they spend their wedding day. This means a Cigar Lounge before the nuptials for the groom and groomsmen as well as handsomely appointed Cigar Bars at the reception fully stocked with a variety of fine cigars such as Gurkha’s flagship brand – the Grand Reserve and its new Heritage cigar from the East India Trading Company line, as well as accompanying dark spirits, coffee and the traditional Groom’s Cake.

wedding trends CIGARS AS THE GIFTS Traditionally cigars have been handed out to mark special occasions. Today cigars are being given as a reflection of the Bride and Groom’s savior faire. Cigars such as Gurkha’s super premium “His Majesty’s Reserve” are being given to the groom from the bride as his traditional Groom’s Gift as well as to the groomsmen as their unique gift from the groom. These $1,500 cigars are smoked with reverence then purchased again by both the bride, groom, friends and family to celebrate subsequent anniversaries.


and an assortment of global dignitaries, world leaders, government officials and celebrities as well as the Special Forces and Seal Team Six are all clients. Having extraordinary quality, premium blends of tobacco and a reputation for unparalleled excellence, Gurkha now offers 48 distinct brands of cigars. It’s no wonder they’ve found their way into the ultimate institution of celebrations – the Wedding. The International Headquarters of Gurkha Cigar Group Inc. is located at 6600 Hiatus Road, Tamarac, FL 33321. For information, visit To purchase Gurkha Cigars, visit your local tobacconist or you can log on to

Gurkha has been the brand leader in artistically packaged cigars. Given the vintage movement, wedding planners

HOT AS VINTAGE TREND S WEDDING PLANNING are coming up with creative ways to use these award-winning designed boxes for weddings and receptions. Some Gurkha boxes like the 125th Anniversary Cigar Box and the Royal Challenge have been made into incredible centerpieces and used as a keepsake to house the bride and groom’s wedding mementos, including the garter and pressed boutonniere. Gurkha began manufacturing cigars in 1989 and soon became one of the most famous brands of luxury cigars in the world. Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Carlos Slim / GWM 67

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN MARRIED? We celebrate our one year anniversary on March 14th, 2016.


WOULD YOU CONSIDER YOURSELVES OPPOSITES? OR MORE SIMILAR? We have a lot of similar interests but overall, we are opposites in personality. Jade is quiet and more of an introvert while Heather is more social. Both of us enjoy horseback riding, spending time with our dogs and binge watching shows on Netflix.

WHAT HAS CHANGED IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP SINCE YOU GOT MARRIED? We are more open with each other and at this point, there is no topic of conversation we aren’t comfortable discussing. Our relationship feels more real because it is recognized in the eyes of the law. We have found that people are more accepting and respectable towards us now that we are married.

WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST OBSTACLES YOU HAVE HAD TO OVERCOME IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP? Heather was deployed overseas for a year. At times it was quite trying and difficult to stay positive. During that time, we were planning our wedding and Jade was working towards finishing her master’s degree. It was difficult but we had a very happy and rewarding year.

HOW DO YOU KEEP AN OPEN AND HONEST COMMUNICATION? We share everything with each other without hesitation. We are best friends.

WHAT IS THE BEST PART ABOUT BEING MARRIED? Coming home to your wife everyday. Nothing beats that.

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HEATHER & JADE Trash the Dress Session with Lisa Siva Photography

DO YOU PLAN TO START A FAMILY? WHY OR WHY NOT? We are dog lovers. We have 3 fur babies already. At this time, we do not see children in our future. Of course, that could change over the years. Right now we are focused on developing our careers.

WHEN LIFE GETS BUSY, WHAT DO YOU DO TO STAY FOCUSED ON EACH OTHER? We go on dates as often as our schedules allow. We plan ahead so we can maximize our time together and enjoy new things. We always ask how each other’s day went and never leave the house or go to sleep without a kiss.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A COUPLE THAT IS JUST ENGAGED? Take your time and don’t sweat the small stuff. People hear this advice all of the time but don’t tend to follow it. Little fights turn into big arguments and it’s not worth it. Enjoy the wedding planning and have fun with it!

Photographer: Lisa Siva Photography Event Venue: Washington Oaks State Park / GWM 69

Yes, I do!


imes have changed, and so has the way we show our love. Over the last few years, we have seen how people have broken the shackles of taboos, giving way to a much more laid back feeling that allows people to show themselves as they really are. In many countries, the legalisation of gay marriage has given rise to new connections. Age has become a question of attitude rather than of time or years. Moreover, personal relationships at work, friendships and love no longer have a sell-by date or differentiation because of age. When it comes to forming bonds with others, this sense of freedom is one of the most characteristic aspects of present-day society and has served as the muse for this Inspiration Book. The celebration of a bond has also been instilled with this sense of freedom, turning it into a way for couples to let their personalities shine through. The proof of this freedom is obvious when we discover the similarities there are in someone’s everyday look and the look they choose for their wedding day. If we turn back the clock, we can see that the most popular looks for weddings were mostly pompous and ostentatious. This kind of style had nothing to do with the way the newlyweds would usually look; instead they would go to the hairdresser’s looking for the “right” look for their wedding.

MOST HAIRDRESSERS WERE VERY USED TO HEARING THESE WORDS: - “I’M LETTING MY HAIR GROW FOR MY WEDDING” - “I’M TRIMMING MY BEARD FOR MY WEDDING” - “I’M CUTTING MY HAIR SHORT FOR MY WEDDING” The current trends have been set free from those rules that were once so common in the brides’ and grooms’ looks on their wedding days. Nowadays, we can see how there are very few differences between people’s everyday looks and the look they choose for their wedding. As hairdressers, our success comes from the professional way we treat our customers on such a special day. 70 GWM / Summer 2016 / GWM 71

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It means making our customers loyal, making them take care about the way they look everyday. If we manage to make them adopt these habits, the final result will be much more natural on the day they go to a wedding, either as brides and grooms or as guests. In this collection we have tried to express the “new normal” and, at the same time, show the true beauty of simplicity. We also wanted to include the trends that have a strong presence, uprooting those controlled and restrained looks that were so predominant in the past. The catch-line of this collection invites you to continue being yourself, even on the day you walk down the aisle. Your attitude and your authenticity are what make you special.

DO YOU WANT TO? YES, I DO! - “I DO WANT TO GET MARRIED WITH SHORT HAIR” - “I DO WANT TO GET MARRIED WITH A BEARD” - “I DO WANT TO GET MARRIED WITH MY MASCULINE HAIRSTYLE” Credits Hair: Paul Gehring Photographer: Carlo Battillocchi Make Up: Fabrizio Camponeschi Product: Alcina Professional / GWM 73

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Real Weddings

CASSANDRA & DANIELLE July 18, 2015 / Kiel RUcker Photography / GWM 75

Real Weddings HOW DID YOU MEET? We met through mutual friends 8 years ago, but it wasn’t until a year and half ago that we were both single and ready for a true relationship. We hadn’t seen each other in well over a year and met up for breakfast. Cassandra needed another runner for a 200 mile relay race team, and she remembered that I expressed interest in running years ago. We spent three hours chatting at breakfast before we began discussing the race. We knew that day that we had something special. Later that evening, she asked me out on an official first date, which was at an art museum.

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our ceremony. As soon as we both reached the alter (a huge oak tree that split into two trunks) the mist stopped and the loudest clap of thunder sounded above the canopy of trees. Immediately, our wedding party broke out in laughter and tears, bringing all of us together, and relaxing the brides. Throughout our relationship, in moments of sheer gratitude for what we have, we scream “Thank You” to the universe, so as part of our ceremony, we had our officiant explain this to our guests. He invited the entire wedding party to scream “Thank You” with us. We read our own vows while the thunder continued to roll above us. As the ceremony ended, we walked back down the aisle, giggling hand in hand. We had just pulled off the most magical wedding ceremony in 2 months. We took wedding photos with our family before heading to the reception at Stella Mare’s Bistro, taking bride-selfies on the way there. We entered the restaurant and were announced as Mrs. and Mrs. Perez-St.Antoine before beginning our first dance. Half way through the song, we each grabbed our dads from the tables and finished the dance in our fathers’ arms. The night ended with silly speeches and two grateful brides looking at a room filled with loving, supportive family members who had traveled great distances to be there with us to celebrate what was for us the most HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TOGETHER? We had been together a year before we got married, but we knew within the first few weeks of dating that this would be forever. She actually proposed on the race near the finish line overlooking the ocean. WHAT IS THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE YOU’VE HAD TO OVERCOME AS A COUPLE? Being very family-oriented, one of our biggest challenges is having both sets of parents live out of state. WHAT DO YOU LOVE THE MOST ABOUT YOUR SPOUSE? Cassandra: I love that no matter how bad my day is, when she wraps her arms around me, all that melts away. Danielle: She makes my heart smile all of the time. DESCRIBE YOUR WEDDING DAY: Only for us would it rain on our wedding day in the middle of the worst drought in history, and it made it perfectly magical. As we walked down the aisle, we were serenaded by thunder and touched by a light mist, as the soft sounds of an acoustic guitar and conga drum welcomed us into / GWM 77

perfect day.

Real Weddings

WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART? Three months earlier, Cassandra was the officiant for her cousin’s wedding. After the ceremony, she joked with the wedding couple that she should have taken a selfie during the wedding ceremony. Our officiant was the groom of that wedding, and he remembered those fateful words. He opened our wedding ceremony by taking a selfie with the two of us, as our family huddled in behind to get into the picture. It was a complete surprise and one we’re still laughing about. WERE THERE ANY SURPRISES (GOOD OR BAD) THAT HAPPENED? The rain was a surprise and luckily it didn’t rain during the ceremony. Cassandra’s brother’s speech- we were worried about this one, but it turned out to be heartfelt and touching. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER COUPLES PLANNING THEIR WEDDING? Be true to who you are as a couple and try to incorporate that into your wedding. If you

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desire a small wedding, do not let anyone talk you out of it because the intimacy is unparalleled. NOW THAT THE WEDDING IS OVER, WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS OR FUTURE PLANS AS A MARRIED COUPLE? We are fortunate enough to be expecting our first child this summer. We plan to continue our adventures together at home and abroad, always living in complete gratitude of the love that we have found in each other. Photographer: Kiel Rucker Photography Ceremony Site: Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Reception Site: Stella Mare’s Caterer: Stella Mare’s Florist: La Fleur Du Jour Hair: By Lauren (Lauren Partida) Makeup: By Lauren Music: Dean Mucetti and Scott Farr Rentals: Avenue Twelve (Tommy Rouse) Mint Vintage (Vanessa Manzano) / GWM 79


Nicole Caldwell Studio

Daniela & Cristina

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HOW, WHEN AND WHERE DID YOU MEET? From Daniela: Our meeting was kismet. We met during a lesbian event called Aqua Girl in Miami on May 15th, 2015. Cristina’s best friend (who is Puerto Rican), had lived in Miami for almost 3 years, and finally convinced Cristina to come down for the event. On Friday, there was a party called Fuego, which was all Latin music and mostly Latin women. As soon as she walked into the bar she immediately caught my eye. I kept looking for her and finally while I was standing at the bar I caught her eye. Next thing I knew, she pulled me to dance. We spent that whole weekend together and she even changed her flight back home to spent more time with me. From Cristina: I saw Daniela standing across the dance floor with her hands in her pocket, not dancing. I looked her way several times and just knew I had to dance with her. I was really nervous to be there, because I knew that most Latin women could dance well, but I really couldn’t. I finally caught her eye. So I finally had enough courage to go up to her and said “Are you going to keep your hands in your pocket all night, or are you going to dance.” I didn’t give her enough time to answer, and I just pulled her on the dance floor and danced. After 10 seconds Daniela walked away to go to the restroom and I went back to my friends. But then I knew I had to talk to her again, so I got in the bathroom line and she was already in the front. I skipped the entire line (about 10 people ahead of me) to meet her in the bathroom. Introduced myself to her in the bathroom and then bought her a drink after that. After I bought her a drink we only talked for 5 minutes because a friend pulled her away, they had to leave for the night. I didn’t think that I’d ever see her again, but realized that we exchanged numbers in that short instance. The next day she text me and wanted to meet up. We met up and spent the entire weekend together. I ended up changing my flight on Sunday night to a later flight so that I could spend more time with her. I learned later that Daniela had been a competitive dancer for 12 years, while I can barely hold a beat. She’s an amazing dancer. WOULD YOU CONSIDER YOURSELVES OPPOSITES? OR MORE SIMILAR? We are somewhat similar in many ways. We’re both A+ personalities and very competitive. Our personalities can sometimes cause us to clash but we’re also

extremely passionate towards one another. WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO DO ENGAGEMENT PICTURES? Like most “regular” people/couples we wanted to have a reminder of a special moment in our lives. We also wanted to be able to share our love with people in our lives and those that we would be inviting to our wedding. WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST OBSTACLES YOU HAVE HAD TO OVERCOME IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP? When we first started dating, we lived in two different states: Georgia and Florida. We literally flew to each other every weekend for almost 5-6 months until Daniela moved to Georgia. We also spent time zones apart while Daniela was in Thailand for 5 weeks and Cristina was in the Philippines for 2 weeks. Lots of Face Time happened. TELL US ABOUT THE PLANS FOR YOUR WEDDING. WILL IT BE BIG, SMALL? WHY? We are expecting about 125-150 people at our wedding. Our main goal was to celebrate our / GWM 81

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marriage with as many family and friends by having a ceremony (that our Pastors will be presiding over) and then a party that would be the party of the year. Did we mention we met at a party? DO YOU PLAN TO START A FAMILY AFTER YOU ARE MARRIED? Absolutely we plan on starting a family. We believe that one of the goals of marriage is to be able to bring life into the world. We want to be able to raise people who are caring, loving, and who will make positive impacts in the world they live in. I (Cristina) also want someone to take care of

us when we’re old! WHEN LIFE GETS BUSY, WHAT DO YOU DO TO STAY FOCUSED ON EACH OTHER? We have date nights and dance parties. We typically remind each other that we need quality time and plan a date night; sometimes those date nights end up with us dancing by ourselves in our living room. Daniela usually leads. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A COUPLE THAT IS NEWLY ENGAGED?

communicate and learn how to speak to each other’s love tanks. Secondly, we found that it really does help to make time for each other and truly being in each other’s presence. Turn off the TV, put down the cell phones and be present. Third, we’ve been told this more than a few times in our relationship by so many people, don’t go to bed angry.

Nicole Caldwell Studio

First, take The 5 love Languages Test as soon as possible! It really helped us better / GWM 83

Real Weddings Lynn & Michael, continued from page 9

history to our tastes despite growing up in two different states. We figured out that our families used to take holiday on Longboat Key, FL and I am convinced we even stayed in the same resort once at the same time! Lynn: I had a great feeling about Michael from the first time we met. We share many similar interests and the differences in our personalities balance each other We also have a shared custody of the older children. WHAT HAS CHANGED IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP SINCE THE BEGINNING OF YOUR COMMITMENT TO EACH OTHER? Michael: For me, it’s the gravitas of the commitment to each other and responsibility for the shared experience – both good and challenging. Not that it wasn’t there before, but now it is much more empowering to have him as my husband. Lynn: The commitment we made to each other on our wedding day has changed my focus more towards long term goals. There is also a comfort, knowing that Michael is with me for the rest of my days. WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST OBSTACLES YOU HAVE HAD TO OVERCOME IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP? Michael: For me, it is pretty much all of my past... I mean, who would have ever thought that I would find the great love of my life during this season of my time. I had had been previously married (to a woman for 20

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years) and then had a long term relationship that was not healthy, so the thought that I could be happy in a relationship took a great deal of work at the beginning. Thank god Lynn is patient! Lynn: Michael and I both were in very bad long-term relationships, prior to meeting. I had been single for a couple of years before meeting him. I think it helped that I had had the time to process what I had gotten into in my previous relationship. I think it helped that we were able to process what we had been through in our previous relationships and learn that we both deserved to be in a healthy, loving relationship. Since I met Michael, I feel like I’m the luckiest guy in the World. WHY DID YOU PLAN A SMALL WEDDING INSTEAD OF A BIG EVENT? ARE YOU GLAD YOU DID? We had always known that we wanted a small ceremony of family and close friends followed immediately by a party to celebrate. We had the good fortune to attend, in our eyes, the perfect party of two friends who were married in NYC in March 2014. Their reception was at the New Museum and was a wonderful time that resonated with both of us. So once we decided a date we set out on planning something that could emulate that same feeling. Given that this was in the spring of 2015, and before SCOTUS ruling, and although marriage equality was in our home state, it still wasn’t easy. Michael’s best friend is a Methodist minister but couldn’t perform the ceremony; we had a Rabbi friend who would perform the ceremony, but we aren’t Jewish. We had picked the venue for our reception. The event manager giggled through our first meeting. We had decided on a band, booked the venue and locked in with the only caterer approved for that location. After our second meeting with the caterer, and their total lack of understanding of what we wanted for our reception (basically things that did not look like it came from a Pinterest idea!); we were both frustrated and already over it! One weekend, we both looked at each other, over a pile of fabric swatches and invitation samples and said screw it... we’re eloping. Michael had a friend in NYC that was a celebrant and had jokingly said in the past that she would be happy to marry us. We had already planned a trip to NYC for the week of Thanksgiving (and Michael, despite Lynn’s mortification, had bought tickets to see the Rockettes!) and things just started falling into place. We both love NYC and have each spent a great deal of time there. Lynn’s business

takes him there to source materials and supplies for clients and Michael spent a period there in residence at Fairleigh Dickenson University and also with GLAAD. What we decided to do was, though, to keep it a total secret to everyone. After all the craziness of thinking about planning something large scale here at home, the idea of the clandestine simplicity of the two of us with a celebrant and a photographer became very intoxicating. Plans fell into place easily and celebrated what we loved best about NYC for our event. We chose to stay at the iconic Waldorf Towers for our accommodations. Our “rehearsal dinner” was at Eleven Madison Park. We picked the Bethesda Fountain as the backdrop for our big day. The symbolism of the Fountain, its location in the heart of the park and a memorable date of ours at the Boat House all made sense at the plans evolved. As soon as we were wed, we made a quick call to the only other person who knew what was afoot. It was our friend who designed our announcements; he was literally at the post office waiting to drop the envelopes in the mail to announce our great news. Our wedding dinner was at Dovetail, amidst the balloon inflation madness (which resulted in a very funny encounter with New York’s Finest), all still done in time to catch the last show of the Rockettes that night! We returned to our room to a final surprise of a wedding cake from Erin McKenna’s and champagne from the hotel. We returned home to Indianapolis and hosted a pre-planned “thanksgiving” dinner for our families, previously touted as an opportunity to meet before our “big day planned for April 30, 2016. To come full circle to the announcement in The London Times, our marriage was announced in the NYT on Sunday, November 29... for many of our friends, the first they learned about our nuptials! In retrospect, we are very happy we had the “big day” we had. It was very us. It was very ours. No one will ever have the same day; it literally was as unique as we are! WHAT ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT ATTRIBUTES OF A GOOD SPOUSE? Michael: For me, it’s hard to put into words... there is a picture from our wedding day that sums it up best. We are standing in the promenade leading up to Bethesda Terrace... Lynn is standing with his feet firmly planted tightly holding my hand...I am in floating away with a zany expression on my face... it says it all; he is my anchor, my tether and my voice of reason.

Lynn: A good listener, honesty, compassion and a great sense of humor. Clothing: Lynn’s Suit : Hickey Freeman Michael’s Suit: Hart Schaffer Marks Shirts: Brooks Brothers Bowties: The Tie Bar Celebrant: Sarah Ritchie, Weddings by Sarah Photographer: Sascha Reinking Photography Flowers: Roses and Blooms, NYC (the boutonnieres are gardenias) Rings: Tiffany & Company

Cheney & Melissa, continued from page 41

ended the night with. It’s surreal to know we have so many people in our lives that will travel to see us and celebrate our love!

Real Weddings

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER COUPLES PLANNING THEIR WEDDING? Do what fits YOU! The only expectations you should consider are what you and your spouse want. The day is yours and everyone who attends your big day has one expectation: that you have fun! Don’t feel bad if you want to stray away from what is popular online. NOW THAT THE WEDDING IS OVER, WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS OR FUTURE PLANS AS A MARRIED COUPLE? We really want to focus on what makes us happy, which is traveling and exploring the outdoors. We have two fur-babies that we adore, and there’s nothing we love more than doing new things in the fresh air. We can’t wait to see what we can accomplish together! Photographer: Silvana Braggio photography Event Planning and Floral: Bloom & Blueprint Event Company Coordination: The Amburgeys Cake: Sift Bakehouse Invitations and Calligraphy: Paper & Posies

coming weeks that we wouldn’t have enough people who wanted to tear up the floor with us, but we knew we loved our people for a reason! We didn’t stop dancing from the moment the desserts were served. The highlight of the night was when our DJ took a quick break and my 7 year old nephew snuck into the booth do some impromptu mixing... oops!

Rentals: Dang Fine Rentals Hair and Makeup: Heather Van Houten Hair and Makeup

WERE THERE ANY SURPRISES (GOOD OR BAD) THAT HAPPENED? The (not so) bad? Practically the only rain in months was supposed to hit us that evening, so our thoughtful venue continued to give us rain-out options. We had a good feeling that it would hold out for us, and boy were we right! Regardless, a majority of our guests were from Washington, Florida, or Puerto Rico so they were well equipped for a drizzle. The good? The amazing feelings of love we / GWM 85



ame-sex couples are faced with many different options when choosing to have children today. In Journey to Same-Sex Parenthood, author, activist and father Eric Rosswood guides and helps prospective LGBT parents to explore these five popular options: Adoption, Foster Care, Assisted Reproduction, Surrogacy and Co-Parenting. Each section includes a description of the specific family-building approach, followed by personal stories from same-sex couples and individuals who have chosen and gone through that particular journey. The appendix contains important legal issues to consider and questions to ask before deciding to move forward, along with a list of reasons why people may choose each of the five family-building paths and the challenges they may encounter.

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

ook tured in b


Journey to Same-Sex Parenthood provides a unique combination of inspirational firsthand accounts combined with the critical information, tips and advice needed to help couples successfully navigate the complex road to parenthood.

86 GWM / Summer 2016

parenting / GWM 87




orey and Noe wanted to start a family. Read about why they chose surrogacy as an option for them.


We met on September 25, 2008 at Peet’s coffee in Palo Alto, and were married on Friday, February 13, 2015. So, yes, we have been together over 7 years! We were engaged for a few years, but we were waiting for federal same-sex marriage recognition before we tied the knot on paper. WHY DID YOU CHOOSE SURROGACY?

We felt that this was the best choice 88 GWM / Summer 2016

parenting for us and our family to feel the most connected to the parenting experience. We wanted the opportunity to plan the arrival of our children carefully, to experience the pregnancy process, to be there for the birth, and to start caring for them from day one as parents. PLEASE TELL US ABOUT THE PROCESS.

The process was fairly complicated, but overall very smooth once we got the ball rolling. We worked with Jackie Gorton, nurse attorney specializing in egg donation and surrogacy, which was extremely helpful. Jackie guided us through the process, including finding a donor and a surrogate that was a mutual match for building our family. We were very lucky, and everyone was extremely caring, helpful, compassionate, and supportive. It took an army of people including us, the surrogate, the egg

decisions and managed the schedule and requirements carefully to keep things moving smoothly, again with the help of our agency and countless others! We made it through a huge amount of paperwork, check-ups, check-ins, tests, and appointments, working closely with a supportive team to maintain progress and ensure a successful experience. Again, we feel very lucky for the team of amazing people who helped guide us and carry us through this process.

Our main goal is to raise happy, healthy, balanced, passionate, and loving people who make the world a better place. We want to be the best parents we can be.


to help ensure you are successful in building your family. Choose a surrogate who will allow you to be part of the pregnancy process. It’s a very special time in your life; enjoy it.

Paperwork! As described above, the process involved a very large number of people, checkpoints, tests, appointments, fees... you name it. We eventually had to let go in some cases and just go with it. It was like a parttime job for several months from the


Go for it! Be organized, use a good agency, don’t cut corners, and spend time finding and building a great team to help you through the process and

- Corey and Noe Photographed by Mary Bea Photography

Y donor, the agent, two lawyers, a genetic counselor, a psychologist, our regular doctors, laboratory technicians, our OB and her hospital staff, along with of course the fertility clinic (doctors, nurses, and many others). Oh, and of course a public notary once or

time we chose the egg donor to the time of the frozen embryo transfer with our surrogate. And then the real fun began, experiencing the pregnancy with our amazing surrogate and hospital staff who were incredibly caring, genuine, professional, and friendly.

twice. We started the process around July 2014, and our kids were born in November, 2015; we stayed on top of



Top 5 of Rhode Island, continued from page 13


Freshly baked breads, pastries, sandwiches, goodies, provisions, local tea and coffee are just the beginning of what Ellie’s can provide for your wedding. This café is ready to cater your event! (401) 228-8118 ext. 1

Erin McGinn Photography: Fresh

and affordable, Erin’s work reflects the quintessential style of Rhode Island. Trust her to capture the quiet and charismatic moments from your big day.

Drinks at The Dorrance

90 GWM / Summer 2016

Couples Therapy, continued from page 45

partners to really hear and understand the wishes and desires of their lover and work together to come up with a situation that works for both. I’m not saying it’s easy. And sometimes both people are moving in such opposite directions, that really there is no clear common ground. Sometimes people can agree (we will do these things together), sometimes they agree to disagree (sublimating desires because the relationship is more important, or DADT or some derivative) and sometimes they just disagree (going separate ways because our needs and desires are no longer compatible). I always advocate for the reparation of the relationship, and fortunately most of the time, I can help the relationship survive differentiation and come out stronger than ever on the other end. And those few times where it doesn’t work out, my task is to help the couple work together as amicably as possible to move forward in their decision.

But, and here’s the most important point I’m trying to make here– if the couple is unable to move towards differentiation and embrace it, then the relationship stands far less of a chance to succeed and not only survive but thrive. The way I see it, differentiation within a couple is like growing pains. We have to go through some pain in order to come out stronger and more resilient on the other side. And those couples who do, often find themselves with a relationship that is much deeper, transparent, and authentic than they ever may have imagined before they began differentiating. Michael Aaron is a licensed Psychotherapist, Sexologist, and Certified Sex Therapist in New York. He provides couples intensives for those struggling with differentiation and similar issues. 646-580-8640 We are all in different stages of our relationships. Our site provides tools and tips for success for all of them.




Find LGBTQ experienced vendors and tips for your big day.

Experience real weddings from real couples and their stories.

Find family planning, adoption stores and marriage counseling advice from the best. vendors real-weddings marriage---family / GWM 91

GWM summer


Dear Stacey Photography

Profile for Gay Weddings and Marriage Magazine

Gay Weddings & Marriage Magazine Summer 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 Summer 2016  

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