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WINTER 2016 / GAYWEDDINGSMAG.COM

GWM REAL

G AY W E D D I N G S & M A R R I AG E M AG A Z I N E

Couples Weddings Advice


CORNELIS HOLLANDER

www.Cor nelisH olla nd er.com

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


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In this issue Gay Weddings & Marriage Magazine / Winter 2016

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from the editor

I

really don’t mind change. It is a fact of life that we cannot avoid. Holding fast to my convictions that I control my own destiny: change tends to be forced on me instead of a natural progression of events. I set my goal, then I hurl toward it with all of my force. Then change smacks me in the face when I am forced to slow my momentum and see the realities of my situation. I then make the necessary changes, adjust my course, and keep running toward my vision of what life should be. I’m changing a few things here at GWM as I have been forced to open my eyes and see what the magazine needs more than what I think the magazine needs. We will be printing twice a year now instead of quarterly. It will be a much larger publication, closer to 300 pages instead of the usual 100. Also, the website will no longer feature regular real weddings from our readers. It will be more of a landing page to lead readers to the magazine. I’m excited to see where these adjustments will lead the publication and me! I look forward to hearing your feedback as well regarding these updates to our magazine.

ON THE COVER

Rima and Matty’s engagement shoot can be viewed on page 44. Photographer: Paul Sanderson Photography

PUBLISHER/ EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Renee Clancy

SENIOR DESIGN CONTRIBUTOR TODD RUSSELL

WEBSITE

Scott Rogers

I was overwhelmingly impressed with the quality of products featured in this edition. From jewelry to infant items and clothing; we always make sure to feature the very best. Each of the items you read about have been experienced and enjoyed by our team here at GWM. We know you will love them too!

WRITERS

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

ADVISORS

Wendy Clancy, Erik Earl The Ollie Swaddle Cozy Swaddling Solution - Reduce the risk of SIDS, hip dysplasia, and other hip problems associated with swaddling. View more on page 92.

GWM INTERNS

Bri Messamore, Jay Wilkinson

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

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

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wedding prep

5

Questions to Ask Before You Book a Wedding Coordinator

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tress. No one ever really wants it, especially on the day of your wedding. You and your partner agree you want to relax and enjoy every nuance the wedding day holds, not worry about orchestrating it. You’re in need of a wedding coordinator. If you’ve contacted a few and seem impressed, there are some things you should ask that wedding fairy godmother before you deposit and find out their magic wand is just tinfoil and streamers.

1

Can I See More Photos from Your Portfolio?

Checking out a wedding coordinator’s portfolio is usually a surefire way to ensure you’re hiring someone who is professional and matches your style. The key word in that last sentence is “usually.” Photography fraud in the wedding world is on the rise, and more wannabe wedding professionals are stealing from those who work hard and have original ideas. If you can crosscheck the photographs, try to do so. If the coordinator’s portfolio looks too good to be true, Photo by Retrospect Images. The full wedding can be viewed on page 113. gayweddingsmag.com / GWM 7


tell him or her you’d like to see more photographs from the photographer who was there on that wedding day. Most coordinators have no problem reaching out to photographers they’ve worked with to get more photos for you to see. If you never hear back from the coordinator after that meeting, it’s probably a good sign they weren’t the ones who planned the wedding they were trying to pass off as their own.

2

Do You Take Commissions for Referrals?

Many vendors, not only planners, have set referral fees they charge to fellow wedding vendors.

The best thing you can do is bluntly ask the question. While taking a referral fee isn’t the worst thing a planner can do – it’s fairly common practice, however shady it might be – be wary if your potential coordinator starts to be very pushy about you selecting certain vendors. Chances are, it’s because they are getting a better kickback from them than others.

3

Will You be Onsite the Day of Our Wedding? How Many Assistants do you Bring the Day Of?

You may be under the impression 8 GWM / Winter 2016

Photo by Retrospect Images.

The reason referral fees matter is that the wedding coordinator might not be referring based on how well the other wedding vendors perform but by how well he or she gets paid for referring the caterer, photographer, or other vendors.


the person you meet with will be there when you say “I do.” You know what they say about assuming, right?

decorating AND coordinating the day of, but chances are they’ll need assistants to help get everything done.

Don’t leave anything to misunderstanding. As you vet wedding coordinators, ask them if they will be onsite the day of your wedding. If they aren’t, ask them when your wedding gets passed off to one of their assistants.

Be very wary of any coordinator who says he or she is completely comfortable managing all logistical to-dos as well as decorating. If something goes awry with the DJ, and the decorating isn’t done, you’ll know why.

Another question that goes handin-hand with this one is, “How many assistants do you bring along the day of the wedding?” With the rise of outdoor weddings, wedding coordinators have a lot more ground to cover on the day of than they used to at a church or in a reception hall or banquet room. Cover your bases by finding out how many assistants are going to be there or if it is an additional cost.

4

Do You Consider Yourself More of a Decorator or a Coordinator?

Everyone has his or her expertise, including wedding professionals. You can save yourself a huge headache if you ask upfront whether your potential wedding assistant feels he or she is more of a decorator or a coordinator.

5

This is Our Budget… Can you work with us?

This question links perfectly with #4. Some wedding professionals will cover the entire spectrum, including pre-wedding planning, day of coordinating, decorating and styling. Some may even do flowers. The question is: what can you and your partner afford? Know your budget for your wedding and stick to it. If you find a wedding planner who offers a bunch of a la carte items, pick your top necessities first to see what the price comes out to; if you have money left over, then you can add in those extras to really top off your special day.

The reason this point matters is because having someone who has an eye for design is amazing… unless you’re looking for someone who loves keeping people on schedule and dealing with logistical nightmares. Wedding planners and coordinators can be both great at gayweddingsmag.com / GWM 9


Real Weddings

STEVEN & JAMES May 6, 2016 / Derek Chad Photography

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Real Weddings

HOW DID YOU TWO MEET? We met in August 2012 while stationed together in Japan. WHO PROPOSED? WHAT WAS YOUR PROPOSAL LIKE? We didn’t do a traditional proposal. As we both fell in love and eventually decided to live together, we knew that getting married was the next practical step. One day while sitting at home, I asked, “Do you think we ought to get married? ” The answer: “Yeah, probably. I think so.” It might seem un-romantic, but in a relationship as easy and practical as ours it was a perfectly romantic moment because we were both able to interpret what that decision truly meant.

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WHY DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR VENUE(S)? With such a small wedding, we wanted an intimate space with beautiful views that highlight our awesome new hometown. It also happens to be one floor above our house! ARE ANY OF THE DETAILS PARTICULARLY SPECIAL TO YOU AND WHY? We are particularly fond of food, as are all of our siblings. Steve’s brother-in-law works in the hospitality industry, Jimmy’s brother is a phenomenal cook, and Jimmy’s brother-in-law proposed to his sister using all sorts of food from her home town. We decided to have a small wedding as a way to splurge on the food. The social aspect of eating together is a central point of the wedding . We are trying to “upset” the idea of the traditional wedding. It’s not that we don’t want our friends to be present, it’s that we feel that the intimacy of having only our immediate family as our wedding guests will more effectively solidify the idea of companionship. Keeping the ceremony and reception simple and understated is in line with both of our personalities. We’d rather have something small and high quality than huge and half-assed. WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO THE MOST ABOUT YOUR WEDDING DAY? The chance for our families to meet for the first time in a beautiful location and over great food. Hopefully we’ll be presented with San Diego’s typically awesome weather as well!

Photographer: Derek Chad Photography

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Real Weddings

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“WE ARE TRYING TO “UPSET” THE IDEA OF THE TRADITIONAL WEDDING. IT’S NOT THAT WE DON’T WANT OUR FRIENDS TO BE PRESENT, IT’S THAT WE FEEL THAT THE INTIMACY OF HAVING ONLY OUR IMMEDIATE FAMILY AS OUR WEDDING GUESTS WILL MORE EFFECTIVELY SOLIDIFY THE IDEA OF COMPANIONSHIP.”


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Real Weddings

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SUSAN & ELAINE July 8, 2016 / Yuri Vaysgant Photography

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Real Weddings

HOW DID YOU MEET? We met working at a summer camp in the woods. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TOGETHER? We have been together for 5 years. What do you love the most about your spouse? Elaine: Susan is my wife and best friend and I feel every day like I’m the luckiest girl in the world. I wish I could pin down one favorite thing about her, but it feels impossible to try! She is my partner in everything and I knowI can trust her to laugh at (most of) my jokes, listen and understand when I’ve had a tough day at work, push me intellectually more than anyone else I know, give me more than half the blankets when I need it and be by my side, without question every day. Susan: My favorite thing about Elaine is that she is so willing to grow and try and change and be present in every area of her life. Elaine is always energized and excited to try a new recipe, go on a seemingly

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pointless road trips, research 10 possible vacations, or process and reflect on every challenge she is facing, I am facing, or her amazing students are facing. She is equally happy, however, watching the West Wing for the 100th time, goingon a walk, or playing scrabble. She is my perfect partner because she keeps me both grounded and adventuring, wondering and wandering, and safe andsure. DESCRIBE YOUR WEDDING DAY: In the week leading up to our wedding, the weather was forecasted to be either 98 degrees and blazing sun, or 55 degrees and a cold drizzle. It turned out to be perfect - mid gayweddingsmag.com / GWM 19


Real Weddings

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60s with little patches of sun throughout the day. We decided to spend the morning getting ready with all of our bridesmaids, and then separated midday to get our hair done. The morning proved to be much more fun than we anticipated - good friends and family, yummy food and a growing excitement about the evening to come. Once we arrived at the venue, wedid our first look and took lots of pictures with our families before the ceremony. Once the pictures got started, the rest of the day went by in a flash. We wanted tofocus on making our wedding feel like a big party with everyone that we loved, instead of a very formal event, and that’s exactly what it felt like. We had Susan’s brother-in-law

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Real Weddings

and our good friend officiate the ceremony, which felt so personal and perfect, and had two good friends do readings. During cocktail hour, we had lawn games set up and, because pictures were done, got to spend cocktail hour with our guests. Our reception was in a beautiful tent on the property, and had a cozy yet elegant feel. We were hesitant about doing all of the traditional wedding things, but ended up doing a quick but lovely first dance, a joint father-daughter dance and avery subtle, off to the side, cake-cutting ceremony. After toasts and dinner, we went right into an awesome night of dancing. Our DJ was great, and our friends are fun dancers, so the rest of the night was spent having a ton of fun with all of our friends. Overall, our wedding felt personal, lovely and fun, and was a time and space to share our love for each other with our closest friends and family. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART? Susan: My favorite part of the day was our first-look before the ceremony. After a little bit of build up, seeing Elaine immediately calmed all my nerves. Taking pictures beforehand with our families and bridal party helped get us so excited for the rest of the day and really made us appreciate what was so exciting and loving about our wedding in the first place.Elaine: My favorite part of the day was immediately after the ceremony. After we recessed (to Rihanna’s DzNo Place I’d Rather Bedz) we took a moment to stand off to the side and watch all of the people we love dance their ways back down the aisle. Afterwards, we took about 10 minutes to just breatheand be together and take in the fact that we just got married. This few minutes of peace together felt so special amidst all of the other excitement of the day.

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Were there any surprises (good or bad) that happened? We were both a little worried about feeling too much like the center of attention, but once the day began we felt so much better. The day was all about celebrating and we realized that if we were relaxed and having fun, everyone else would be too. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER COUPLES PLANNING THEIR WEDDING? Find what is important to you, focus on that and don’t stress about making it the perfect day. Everything will come together because weddings are beautiful and great - you don’t need to put in a million hours on Pintrest to create a perfect day. Whatever day you create will be perfect because it is yours.

Photographer: Yuri Vaygants Wedding Consultant: Ceremony Site: The Estate at Moraine Farms Reception Site: The Estate at Moraine Farms Caterer: Fireside Catering Wedding Cake: Konditor Meister Florist: Annette Rinaldi Clothing/Gowns/Suits: JCrew and David’s Bridal Hair: Trisha Bodwell Makeup: Eli Goetzman Music: DJ Graeme Ritchie DJ: DJ Graeme Ritchie Linens: Fireside Catering Rentals: Fireside Catering Lighting: The Estate at Moraine Farms Invitations: Paperless Post

NOW THAT THE WEDDING IS OVER, WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS OR FUTURE PLANS AS A MARRIED COUPLE? We are so excited to travel the world and experience new things and places together. We both love travelling and eating and drinking good wine and can’t wait to keep making amazing memories together as a married couple.

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2

grooms are better than

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1


Olivia Cross of Lavish Engagements shares her tips to create an elegant event.

W

hen I started planning the design for this styled shoot I knew I wanted it to be very masculine. Everything

from the flowers to the backdrops and even the cake table, were all designed to be completely black and white. Pulling in gold was something that happened when I started playing around with the table setting. The gold accents completely brought my vision to

life. It pulled an elegant yet classic look into the room. I absolutely LOVE this color pallet. It is simple but powerful. Adding gold into the cake immediately drew your eye towards it when you walked into the room. The flowers were all black and white, mostly black &

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white satin calla lilies and textural greens. I was over the moon with happiness when I saw the boutonnieres with black calla lilies, it was such a unique feature. When starting to pull the design together for a real wedding I always start by figuring out what will capture the couples personality and showcases their style. Some couples want something formal and traditional, other couples want a bohemian or country style wedding. One couple may swoon over soft color pallets

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while others are excited by bright bold colors. From there I start playing around with the design. I always look for something unique for the table, something that you usually wouldn’t see on a table. With this shoot I used the gold compass. My advice for couples planning their wedding and designing everything themselves is to start playing around and see what you like. Remember, this is supposed to be fun! Although sites like Pinterest are a great tool for couples, I recommend that once you have found that inspirational look online, close out of it, pop into a local rental company and have some fun creating a mock table setting. You can play with different linen textures and colors, different gayweddingsmag.com / GWM 27


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flatware and plates and different styles for your centrepieces. Once you have the table design figured out, think about how you can take it up a notch with your florals. I personally love florals, they make such a big impact. Start looking around to see what kind of stand or vase you want for your centrepieces, what syle of candles you like. You can think about unique place cards, table numbers and menu cards to add to the table. All of the small details that go onto a table are the things your guests look at and remember, after all they are sitting there for a few hours! Once you have figured out your design, take pictures, go home and come back and do it all over again in a few months. You will come up with new ideas and change things around until you know it is absolutely perfect!

Photographer: McKinnon Photography Event Planner: Lavish Engagements Design and Decor: Always Invited Event Rentals Bakery: Cakebread Artisan Bakery Floral Designer: Campbell River Florist Event Venue: Crown Isle Resort and Golf Community Tuxedo and Mens Attire: Jims Clothes Closet Hair Stylist: Roots the Salon Paper Props: Tickle Tree Design Studio

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Real Weddings

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WILLIAM & DAVID June 28, 2016 / Thompson Photography Group

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Real Weddings

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TOGETHER? We have been together for just over three years. DESCRIBE YOUR WEDDING DAY: Our wedding was held in June on the rooftop of a, old hotel at the beach in Asbury Park, NJ. Ours was the very first wedding ever held there, gay or straight. WERE THERE ANY SURPRISES (GOOD OR BAD) THAT HAPPENED? The view from the rooftop included a view of the old Paramount Theater on the Boardwalk in Asbury. That

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day, totally unexpectedly, the Paramount was flying a huge Pride flag on its rooftop flagpole, and it was waving in the wind right behind us as we said our vows.

Photographer: Thompson Photography Group Event Venue: Berkeley oceanfront hotel Caterer: Berkeley oceanfront hotel DJ: Dave Nase Floral Designer: Peter James Floral Caterer: Porta Restaurant

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GWM TIPS: Real Weddings Sunshine, blue skies, and not a storm cloud around. These two grooms made the most of a beautiful day surrounded by family and friends. Their oceanfront hotel was the perfect setting to encapsulate this sunshine-filled wedding. Planning an oceanfront wedding like this handsome couple? Here’s what you need to know: Ceremony Logistics: Many beach towns allow you to host weddings on the beach with no permit if you’re under a certain amount of people. Be sure to check well in advance if your location requires you to obtain a permit. Consider doing your wedding in the offseason to avoid being overly gawked at by tourists, or pick a beach that’s not necessarily a tourist destination. Reception Logistics: Unless you will be on a private beach, chances are it will be extremely difficult to host your reception on the actual beachfront. Renting a home or cottage nearby that has a gorgeous outdoor area is a perfect solution. Guests can rent houses nearby, walk straight to the ceremony, and then head to the reception. With a private rental house, you’ll be able to provide alcohol, which you otherwise would not be able to do on the beach. Keep in mind there may be other vacation goers around, so research the noise ordinance to make sure your party can go well into the night if that’s your goal!

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married life

HAPPY 33RD ANNIVERSARY TO MY ONE AND ONLY By Donna Capodelupo

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y wife, Pam, and I were married in May 2004, three days after Massachusetts became the first state to make samesex marriage legal. So, for the past 12 years, we have recognized May 20 as our “official” anniversary date. Except it’s not. Our “real” anniversary takes place each year in October. This is our thirty-third.

toll on even the most in-love couples. The stresses that accompany sickness, career rejections, arguments, family issues, loss of loved ones and myriad disappointments -- they all chip away at our sense of well-being. They make us just a little less secure, a little less sure of ourselves, a little less resilient. Ideally, it’s our spouse who would give us back that feeling of security, assuredness, resilience. Except they’re dealing with the same stresses and heartaches, and sometimes they don’t have a lot to give. Unfortunately, every apology missed or request ignored can create a well of hurt feelings that grows deeper and more entrenched as time goes on.

The young believe love is enough to keep two people together.

Many “first-wave” same-sex married couples no doubt share our reluctance to adopt our “legal” anniversaries instead of the original ones we celebrated, whether they mark a first date, first intimate encounter, move-in date, declaration of monogamy, or whatever signaled the permanent nature of our arrangements. Pam’s and my legally recognized marriage came 21 years after our own non-legal but every bit as binding ceremony. We’re not about to discount the 21 years between the day we celebrated our commitment to each other and the day the state finally agreed to legitimize it. A lot happened during those 21 years. We saw each other through the 38 GWM / Winter 2016

deaths of parents and grandparents, bought a house, learned to live as a couple instead of two people. We weathered lean financial times and nursed each other through serious illnesses. We shared great joys and shattering heartaches.

We’re proud that we’re coming up on our 13th year of marriage, but prouder that we have stayed together so far for 33 years (and a few more months, once this column is published). There was a time when we’d read or hear about couples who’d been together 20, 30, 40 years and more who surprised friends and family by separating or divorcing, and we’d wonder how they could break up after so many years. The longer we’re married, the better we understand. Not that we’re contemplating such a thing, mind you. But life -- real life in all its messy, chaotic glory -- takes its

The young believe love is enough to keep two people together. They say a relationship isn’t worth keeping if it requires “work,” which may explain the divorce rates among all married groups. We believed that once, too. Then we got older and we realized what every couple learns if they stay together long enough. Failing to “work” at a relationship is tantamount to throwing it away. Taking it for granted is much the same.


In our wedding vows, Pam and I promised each other to live “in the certainty of enduring love.” But being certain our love will endure isn’t enough. Doing the things that are necessary to make sure it endures -- that’s the real promise. I could use remedial help on a few relationship skills. For one, I am terrible at apologizing. I don’t do it as often as I should. I’m going to work on that. Second, I am what TV host Phil McGraw calls a “right fighter.” I hate to be wrong. Hate it. But being right makes someone else wrong, and that’s not a good way to maintain a relationship. So I am going to do my best to admit when I’m wrong and to ask forgiveness. Finally, I am going to stop taking my wife and her love for me for granted. Both are a gift that I am grateful for every single day. I don’t tell her nearly as often as I should; that changes right now. Happy anniversary to my wife. Pam, I love you more than words can say. Forever.


Real

Engagements

RIMA & MATTY Sep 26, 2015 / Paul Sanderson Photography

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Real Engagements

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ima and Matty met through a mutual friend. At the time, Rima lived in Ottawa and Matty lived in Toronto, so they continued an online/long distance relationship for a while until Matty decided to make the move to Ottawa. They have been together over five years now. Rima and Matty are planning a destination wedding in the near future. Rima is the curator of Leztalk. ca and has an active social media

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presence. Photographer: Paul Sanderson photography Other Location: Gatineau Park

GWM TIPS Be Natural: The thing your spouse loves the most about you is YOU! Don’t feel like you have to move or pose in a way that’s not natural. The best engagement photos are the ones where the couple is acting like it’s just the two of them. Let the camera capture a real moment. Be Comfortable: Not into wearing a plunging neckline or heels in the ‘real world’? Don’t do it for your engagement shoot either. Let your real style shine through. Pick clothes you find comfortable and that fit your fashion sense. Be Be-YOU-tiful: If you’re planning to get your makeup done for your engagement photos, be sure you are comfortable with your makeup artist. Makeup should enhance your

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Real Engagements

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Real Engagements

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natural beauty, not be caked on to make you look like a different person. Go a little bolder on the eyes and lips than you would in ‘real life.’ It will help you keep from appearing washed out. Location is always everything, even when it comes to engagements. Pick a spot that has sentimental value or that really speaks to the two of you. Rima and Matty absolutely shine in this outdoor setting!

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Marriage

PREMARITAL COUNSELING How to Create Your Happily Ever After

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by Rachel Madorsky, LCSW

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

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

Appreciate. Give. Receive. Repeat. One of the secrets to a happy long-lasting marriage is appreciation. Frequent, sincere appreciation. Everything runs smoother with appreciation. Say thank you daily for dinner, for making the bed, for the special way your partner expresses kindness toward your pet. Anything and everything you like, 48 GWM / Winter 2016

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

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

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


build a happy long-lasting marriage.

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

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Real Weddings

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DARRYN & ZACH Jul 17, 2016 / Ryan Horban Photography

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Real Weddings

D

arryn and Zach are from the Pacific Northwest, so when they were trying to figure out where they would have their elopement they decided on a place they both loved: Palm Springs, California. They knew the weather would be lovely and the city could serve as a vacation for their eight total guests who also flew down from Seattle. The ceremony was simple, the emotions were strong and the love was all around in the 110 degree California heat!

Photographer: Ryan Horban Photography Location: Private residence Planning a Private

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GWM TIPS: Getting married at your home or a friend’s residence may sound easy, but there’s a lot of details you have to pull together. Darryn and Zach did an amazing job. Weather is always a concern, so plan and budget in case you need a tent of some sort. Going with a smaller guest list can alleviate a lot of issues. Something as simple as restrooms can be an issue when you’re planning a 200 person wedding, so think through the details and execute them well!

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When planning a wedding at a private residence, keep the details light. The vibe of the space will do a lot for the event. Set your focus on spending as much time with family and friends.

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For a more intimate gathering, in lieu of wedding gifts, ask each of your guests to bring some of their favorite beverage or bubbly along to share with their table. It’s a great way for guests to get to know one another and celebrate the occasion by trying some new libations!

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Gifts

ISABELLE GRACE LOVESTRUCK NECKLACE Such a gorgeous way to celebrate summer love! You can personalize this piece with your initials and the date you two met or your anniversary. The fine silver Lovestruck Necklace measures approximately 1 inch in diameter and is accented in 22kt gold. The edges of the piece are also lightly hammered for effect. You can select either a 14kt gold fill chain or a sterling silver chain. $118.00.

DOUBLE NAME BAR NECKLACE A great piece to layer with a longer necklace, the Double Name Bar Necklace features a (.999) fine silver bar custom inscribed with two names or sets of initials separated by a 22kt gold heart. The edges are slightly hammered to give it a distressed look. $155.00

TRIBE LOVE NECKLACE There is strength in numbers, so celebrate your tribe with this lovely accent. You can represent your love with little 24 karat gold nuggets! The fine (.999) silver charm measures approximately 1 1/4 inches wide and can be personalized with up to 20 characters.

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Gifts

LOVE MONOGRAM TAG NECKLACE This gorgeous (.999) fine silver tag is the perfect way to commemorate the lovebirds’ monograms. The back of the piece can be personalized as well, with a special date or short message. $175.00

ANNIVERSARY TAG NECKLACE The Anniversary Necklace was created to commemorate that special day in your life. A beautiful fine (.999) silver tag (approximately ž inch long) featuring a 22kt gold heart is stamped with your wedding/anniversary date or a word (up to 5 characters) and along side a doublesided Name Bar with both of your names. A great piece to commemorate that special day. Stone not included with this Necklace. $178.

HAMMERED TAG NECKLACE Style up your guy with this unique gift! Each tag features an initial and is hammered for a sophisticated look. $62.00 Isabelle Grace Jewelry believes in the beauty and integrity of all of their handmade pieces. All Isabelle Grace Jewelry pieces are made in the USA by local artisans using recycled metals whenever possible. There is no assembly line; no mass production. Loved by celebrities like Christina Milian, Katherine Heigl, Victoria Justice, Camila Alves, Lyndsay Price, Tamera Mowry, Alyson Hannigan, and Tori Spelling, the voguish, customizable necklaces will be cherished for a lifetime! You can see all of the styles online at www.isabellegracejewelry.com gayweddingsmag.com / GWM 59


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BEN & FRANK February 29, 2016 / Genya & Erik Shenko Photography

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en and Frank’s sweet Akumal wedding was full of emotion and playful fun. Their friends and family members shed endless tears as they watched these two exchange rings and have their first kiss at the beautiful Akumal beach as a married couple. The grooms rented out two entire villas at South Akumal (villa Bliss) for them and their guests. They had total freedom and no need to pay outside vendor fee to bring your favorite photographers as in many resorts of this area. As a result, their wedding week was an extended party in paradise with swimming, sunning, boating and dancing. In the heart of this celebration of love and joy were Ben and Frank, two wonderful people, who have a connection that is incredible to witness.

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Photographer: Erik Shenko Photography Band: La Mata Design and Decor: Turtle Bay Weddings Floral Designer: White Gardens

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Registry

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he new Amazon Wedding Registry, www.amazon.com/wedding, is a completely revamped experience perfect for any and every couple. A meticulously curated selection of relevant items across Amazon and beyond, paired with multiple ways to browse and find the perfect things to start your new life together, takes out the stress and makes creating your registry fun.

1

Create the registry. It’s pretty simple, follow a step-by-step setup and provide your information, including where the gifts should be delivered and even choosing an option to go green and avoid gift wrap.

2

Now for the real fun, picking your things! Not quite sure where to start? Head to Registry Suggestions and browse curated gift ideas across 15 different categories, including Small Kitchen Appliances; Dinnerware & Serveware; Flatware; Drinkware & Barware; Cookware; Bakeware; Knives, Tools & Storage; Bed & Bath; Home Décor & Appliances; Sports & Outdoors; Lawn & Patio; Home Improvement; Electronics; Fun & Games; and Investment Pieces.

6

Already know your couple style? Shop By Gift Guide to check out hand-picked items based on your lifestyle - Eclectic Entertaining, Hollywood Chic, Palm Springs, Streamlined Sanctuary, The Modern Mix, The Heart of the Home, Scandinavian, and Outdoor Elements.

7

Once you’ve picked your items the Thank You List feature allows you to track which guest has purchased which gift for you, so you can get a head start on those thank you cards!

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Registry

5

3

See what everyone else is putting on their list by viewing Top 100 Popular Items, updated weekly.

Wanting something a little more unique? Explore Boutiques and enjoy brandnew third party selection from MoMA and Jonathan Adler and Michael C. Fina.

4

Already know your favorites? Go to Explore Brands and shop by collections from top brands, including everything from Le Creuset cookware sets to SONOS speaker systems to an assortment of Black + Decker tools, and much more.

9

After the big day, use the one-time 10 percent Wedding Completion Gift, which you will receive within a month after your wedding and can be used on any product shipped and sold by Amazon for up to 90 days after your wedding.

8

Your guests will reap the free shipping benefit on items over $49 and you’ll receive bonus gifts when you register for items from select vendors and when your guests make purchases!

10

Return anything you no longer want with Amazon’s 180-day return policy.

ding Registry

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DAVID & ROBERT April 16, 2016 / Fairy Tale Photography

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avid and Rob met at work after destiny brought Rob from Baton Rouge to Dallas. Their office romance grew and their whirlwind relationship was off to a tremendous start. Twenty-four years later and passports in hand, the couple has traveled across the globe from their favorite city of Paris to adventures in Mexico City. After the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage, David and Rob planned a simple elopement ceremony to coincide with the 24th anniversary of sharing life together. Their original plans to elope quickly gave way to a simple, intimate ceremony with a few close friends and family. David and Rob both admit that the change was good, and their ceremony was surprisingly emotional as they shared wedding vows with each other. The ceremony took place outside in the backyard garden at their home that they have

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cherished remodeling together over nineteen years. After the ceremony, an indoor-outdoor celebration commenced at their home that had rustic charm was ideal for mingling with the newlyweds. While rustic charm may describe their home, it was graced in grand elegance – bright lights, beautiful flowers, elegant tables and stage, shimmering candles, dazzling cake – the atmosphere was truly inviting and luxurious. To incorporate their 24th anniversary, the musical instrument anniversary, alternative acoustic guitarist Jefferson Williams took to gayweddingsmag.com / GWM 71


Real Weddings the backyard stage and performed ten original songs specially written for the couple. A soundtrack CD completed the celebration, and just like it should be - shared the joy of music and twenty-four years of love with departing guests. An additional treasure was the attention and time our couple was able to spend with every guest, making them feel welcome and a part of this wedding of a lifetime.

Photographer: Fairy Tale Photography Floral Designer: 21 Parc Cake Designer: Dallas Affaires Cake Company Lighting: Dallas Landscape and Lighting Event Planner: Earthling Events Calligrapher: Quills Calligraphy Tuxedo and Mens Attire: Nordstrom Caterer: ReMARKable Affaires Caterine Ring Designer: Tiffany & Co. Officiant: Weddings by Blake 72 GWM / Winter 2016


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TODD & JOE October 18, 2015 / Hyer Images

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odd and Joe were wed in front of their closest friends and family at Founders Hall in beautiful Charleston. Their love and excitement was obvious in both them and their guests. Many antique pieces were used as accents around the venue, as Joe has a knack for them. They danced the night away and were entertained by talented Drag Queens.

GWM TIPS: Make Time for Just the Two of YOU. The big day goes by in a whirlwind of excitement and fun. Be sure to carve out some time for just the two of you to be together, especially if you don’t do a first look. You won’t regret those special minutes where you just hold hands, laugh and talk, and just BE.

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Todd & Joe’s bridal party kept the vibe of the event alive with their blue and gray ensembles. A touch of cohesiveness like this example keeps the day’s theme going strong without being overbearing. And it allows you to add that special flair to other parts of your day (cue the drag queens!) P.S. Don’t you just adore this details shot? Specialty socks are definitely in for 2017!

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Incorporate Puppy Love. Most couples who own dogs love them to the moon and back. Why spend the day without them? Incorporate them into your photos or even your ceremony. Check out the local area to see if there is a boarding facility who will pick up your pups if you can’t keep them at the wedding the entire night.

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Put Time into Your Attire. Guess what will be photographed the most on the day of your wedding? The two of you! So while the cake is important and the flowers will look grand, what you’re wearing will be a HUGE focus. Todd & Joe did a fantastic job of letting their styles shine through in a classic, unique way.

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Home & Family

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he award-winning Ollie Swaddle is a totally unique swaddle that’s made better, feels better and helps your baby sleep better. The Ollie is named after and invented for a baby boy named Oliver—a foster baby that wasn’t thriving until Ollie Swaddle founder (and his foster mom) Hindi developed it. It helps improve quality and duration of sleep for all babies (including preemies and high risk) and helps baby self-calm. The Ollie Swaddle has been shown to reduce fussiness/colic and help babies sleep. It can reduce stress in preemies and high-risk infants and ease the pain of colic. It can also help keep baby in a safe, supine sleeping position and prevent sudden jerky arm and leg movements that wake babies up.

The elasticity allows for freedom of movement while the opening at the bottom makes it easy to change diapers. Parents and newborns everywhere need the Ollie Swaddle! Introducing the new Nature Collection features four new colors—Lavender, Sky, Nest and Stone. The new solid colors are soothing, calming and sleep inducing. Certain colors and patterns can be over-stimulating to your little one’s eyes and consequently could have the opposite effect of soothing. The new colors will make baby feel calm, comforted and at peace. Retails for $59 at www.theollieworld.com

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he DockATot baby lounger gives parents a safe, snug spot for little ones to comfortably relax, play, and get in tummy time and sleep with a unique shape and design. Moms and dads love DockATot’s portability, it can go anywhere at anytime so baby can get the rest he or she needs at home and anywhere. For a baby to be perfectly comfortable and safe, we need to think not just about their global climate, but about their microclimate as well. DockATot is hypo allergenic made with the most nurturing and hygienic fabrics that also have excellent air-permeability. DockAtot provides the ideal microclimate that mimics the womb. It’s 100% breathable and even safety tested in the UK for air permeability.

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Home & Family

The stylish covers are perfect for chic moms and dads. All covers are machine washable and safety-tested. Choose from white, zebra, chevron, blue toile, classic pink and blue and at the newly launched Lovemetric’s: Geometry of Love collection. Available in two sizes: Deluxe (0-9 months) and Grand (9-36 months). Retails for $185-290. DockATot’s celebrit-y following includes: Kim and Kourtney Kardashian, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Molly Sims, Emma Hemming Willis, Missi Pyle, Tiffani Thiessen. DockATot is a Mom’s Choice Award, TillyWig Award, and Silver NAPPA Award Winner and has earned the National Parenting Center Seal of Approval. To learn more about DockATot, visit their website at www.dockatot.com. You can also follow DockATot on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

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eet Eli the Elephant, Gus the Giraffe, and Leo the Lion. They are non-toxic stainless steel toy keys that will satisfy your child’s desire to play with metal keys without the hazards of lead contamination, sharp edges, or the daily grime that come with the keys in the bottom of your diaper bag. Each Kleynimal has been safety tested to ASTM/CPSIA standards for babies 6 months and up by a third party laboratory. Kleynimals – Good for Kids, Good for the Environment, Proudly Made in the USA .

Commitment to Being Green: One of the reasons Kleynimals is made from stainless steel is because of its lower environmental impact. Stainless steel is 100% recyclable and the average stainless steel product contains over 50% recycled material. Stainless steel has longevity, which makes Kleynimals a product you can pass down to the next generation (or pass on to a friend). Stainless steel is non-toxic and safe. Since Kleynimals are made in the USA and the stainless steel used to create the keys and flatware comes from the USA, the environmental impacts of transportation are minimized. The company’s manufacturing site is mainly powered by a hydroelectric plant and they do not use the same toxic chemicals that are often used as a wash overseas. The Kleynimals office is based in a LEED Platinum building. Check out Kleynimals at www.kleynimals.com. Follow Kleynimals on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

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Home & Family Finn + Emma manufactures organic baby clothes, toys, and gifts made from organic cotton & wood. Eco-friendly, Non-Toxic & Fair-Trade, the gifts feature modern baby prints and colors. Here we live in the balance of stylish and sustainable, classic and contemporary, whimsical and sophisticated. Here, boring designs and toxic chemicals are a thing of the past while modern colors, fresh prints, and heirloom quality construction are abundant:

Our muslin swaddles are made from supersoft organic cotton and non-toxic, eco-friendly dyes. The loose weave keeps infants cozy by allowing their body temperature to moderate itself. Heirloom quality construction will keep the swaddles in the family for years. They are multi-purpose as well: perfect as changing pads, nursing and stroller covers, and carseat liners. - 100% G.O.T.S. certified organic cotton - Eco-friendly inks and dyes - 2 blankets (1 print and 1 solid) - Size: 47� x 47� (120cm x 120cm) - Machine washable and made in India

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Home & Family Hipster Collection Style up your little tot with trendsetting fashions in eye-catching hues like Rose Red, Tropical Peach, and more!

Wood Teething Rattle Hello little one, I’m a wood teething rattle made from Indian hardwood, finished with natural vegetable seed wax, and stuffed with beans. They’re Indian cooking beans and they make me sound like the ocean when you rattle me. I’m soft, smooth, and very safe for your precious little mouth to bite! $19.00 - Untreated indian hardwood - Non-toxic vegetable seed wax - Filled with beans - Fair trade - Made in India

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Robot Collection Your little one will love all of the adorable robot designs in this collection! Choose from robot-themed onesies, shirts, shorts, and other fashions.


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

BEFORE

DURING

AFTER

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.

gayweddingsmag.com/ vendors

gayweddingsmag.com/ real-weddings

facebook.com/gayweddingsandmarriage

gayweddingsmag.com/ marriage---family

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CANDICE & JESSICA February 26, 2016 / Derek Chad Photography

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HOW DID YOU TWO MEET? Jess worked with Candice’s sister at a coffee shop. Candice basically told Jess she was going to take her out on a date. We went out on one date and have been nseparable for the past seven years. WHO PROPOSED? What was your proposal like? Jess proposed to Candice on a picnic on a coast side cliff in palos verdes,ca. It was sweet and intimate. WHY DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR VENUE? I looked at several venues before selecting the Fallbrook golf course. It was beautiful, quiet, not on a busy street. The venue had a great package deal that made coordinating a wedding from out of state much easier.

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ARE ANY OF THE DETAILS PARTICULARLY SPECIAL TO YOU AND WHY? Our theme for our wedding is our French bulldog Cashew, you will see little bits of frenchies throughout the wedding day. It was really the only theme we could agree on. Lol it’s also very special and almost bewildering to both of us that so many of our family members are actually excited about being at our wedding. We are very excited and honored to have so many of our loved ones there to support us on our special day. WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO THE MOST ABOUT YOUR WEDDING DAY? We are looking forward to having all of our most important people in our lives together in one place to celebrate us. It’s something neither of us ever like to do (be the center of attention) but it is going to be so amazing to have everybody together in one place, happy and celebrating our love. ..... That and the dancing....

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And of course the honeymoon the day after. Oh, and Jess can’t wait to finally see Candice’s wedding dress. (It’s killing her.)

Photographer: Derek Chad Photography Floral Designer: Bellaflora Cake Designer: Elegance on Display Bakery: S’more Play DJ:Southern Cali DJs Reception Venue: Wedgewood Golf Club of America

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LIELANI & MELISSA May 12, 2016 / Heather Anderson Photography

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t was 2015 and Melissa’s birthday. She was gathering with all her family and friends to celebrate her birthday dinner at Karl Strauss. Melissa had no idea Leilani ever wanted to get married. Leilani had a special surprise planned for this birthday dinner. She had both of their kids wear t-shirts underneath button up shirts. Leilani’s son’s shirt read, “Melissa will you marry my mommy? ” Melissa’s daughter’s shirt read, “Mommy will you marry Leilani?” Leilani had the kids go over to Melissa and unbutton their shirts to reveal their t-shirts underneath... and when Melissa turned back to look at Lielani she was holding out a ring! Melissa broke out in tears with a huge smile on her face, and Leilani asked her if she would marry her.

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Over the next year they spent time traveling back and forth from Arizona to Temecula California to plan the wedding of their dreams.

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DAN & BRADEN October 24, 2015 / Retrospect Images

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an and Braden were married at the beautiful Mountain Winery in Saratoga, CA. The two said their tearful vows at the beautiful terrace overlooking the serene valley and there was not a dry eye in the crowd. The couple shared a touching embrace post ceremony when they were away from the crowd, then proceeded to enjoy a celebration with live music, heartfelt hugs, and lots of dancing.

Photographer: Retrospect Images Floral Designer: Bunches Lighting: Magical Lighting Cake Designer: Sweet Tooth Confections Reception Venue: The Mountain Winery

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LIZ & ALLISON June 26, 2016 / Katie Childs Photography

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HOW DID YOU MEET? Liz is the

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photographer for a local university. Allison was sent to her office to have a portrait taken for an award she received. Sparks flew! After being friends for several months, we began dating.

How long have you been together? 2.5 years

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE YOU’VE HAD TO OVERCOME AS A COUPLE? Although we are people of faith,

not everyone that we consider friends agrees with our beliefs regarding our relationship. One particular group consulted with their church leaders regarding the subject a couple weeks beforehand and ended up backing out of helping with Liz’s proposal to Allison at the last minute. Previous to this, we’d been welcomed as a couple to all activities with this group and the subject of our sexuality never arose. We were shocked when they backed out and hurt because the idea of this happening, with these people, had never occurred to us.

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WHAT DO YOU LOVE THE MOST ABOUT YOUR SPOUSE? Liz: I couldn’t

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imagine someone with more integrity, kindness and inner/outer beauty than Allison. Her smile and zest for life are contagious and it’s nearly impossible not to laugh while she’s around. Allison: Liz is stubborn as a mule. She refuses to put herself first. Her drive to help, love, and support others is unparalleled. She makes me want to be a better person.

DESCRIBE YOUR WEDDING DAY:

It was better than we both ever imagined. It was a mix of traditional Southern belle culture, our faith and all that encompasses, and bits from each of our personalities. The ceremony was very traditional--down to the two of us serving communion to our guests. The house we chose to have the reception at spoke to Allison’s love for the Antebellum era’s aesthetic. Our reception tables’ centerpieces were created from vintage books that Allison loves and vintage cameras that speak to Liz’s career and love of photography. We chose to go with white flowers because we find the beauty in simplicity. Overall it was a wonderful day spent with our family and friends celebrating the start of our journey with us.

WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART?

For Liz: the pinnacle of that day for me was immediately after the toasts had been said. I looked out at the tables containing our guests and was hit with a tremendous wall of love. For Allison: the words “unequivocally yes” at the end of our pastor’s sermon on whether our love was real. It was a monumental moment, not only for us, but for those there whose love had also been questioned.

WERE THERE ANY SURPRISES?

Bad news first...Allison’s dress broke immediately before our “first look” was supposed to take place. She had a corset back dress that had a loop break. She made it work for the pictures and her amazing bridesmaids fixed it before the ceremony started. She was a little nervous. Good news second...Liz’s grandparents (who live in England) made the trip across the pond to celebrate with us.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER COUPLES PLANNING THEIR WEDDING? Get a pre-wedding

planner tailored to YOU. Be reasonable, but firm on what you want. While the ceremony is all about you, remember that the reception is for your guests and plan accordingly. We were too 114 GWM / Winter 2016


overwhelmed and excited to truly even enjoy the food/cake/drinks. DO plan a honeymoon. You will want to get-away after all of the planning. We HIGHLY recommend the island of Sint Maarten.

NOW THAT THE WEDDING IS OVER, WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS OR FUTURE PLANS AS A MARRIED COUPLE? Our first big trip as a married

couple is something each of us individually always wanted to do: backpack through Europe! That will be our last “hoorah” before we begin the adoption process later on in 2017. Photographer: Katie Childs Wedding Consultant: Todd Sweeden Ceremony Site: Central Presbyterian Church Reception Site: Belle Helen Bess Caterer: Cass Housley Wedding Cake: Catherine’s Cakes Florist: Sweeden Florist Clothing/Gowns/Suits: Rendezvous (Dress) Ed by Ellen (suit) Hair: Scarlet Locke Hair Lounge Makeup: Scarlet Locke Hair Lounge Music: Vicky Kiehl (organist) DJ: Atomic DJs Invitations: Minted.com gayweddingsmag.com / GWM 115


books

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he author behind the gay fiction darlings, The Fallen Angels of Karnataka, Willem of the Tafel and Living The Rainbow: A Gay Family Triptych, returns this summer with SHORTS: Stories From Beneath the Rainbow. This latest collection from Hans M Hirschi is a tapestry of the LGBT experience, featuring stories that span the wide spectrum of personalities that together, make up the fabric of the LGBTQ community. There is a dried up spinster, a Navajo dyke, a completely unfiltered twink, and more; all meant to show the humanity of the LGBTQ community and how, like heterosexuals, queer people struggle with selfesteem, fall in love, help others and fight to survive even the harshest of realities. ”The funny thing is that you could take literally take any of the characters and completely remove the mention of their sexuality and they’d still be compelling and inspirational,” says Hirschi. SHORTS: Stories From Beneath the Rainbow will be available Saturday, July 9, 2016, digitally and in softcover, on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple’s iBookstore, Smashwords, and at select local bookstores, via Beaten Track Publishing.

who experiences his first same-sex kiss to “The Loner”, a reflection of how the gay community looks at middle aged men (not a pretty picture); every story manages to look at LGBTQ life from a different angle and perspective. Alex, a story about a trans doctor who rescues the life of an adolescent, aims to encourage readers to remove labels of he or she. “Trans is a very broad concept and it’s easy to get lost with pronouns and identities,” says Hirschi. “It’s been my experience that transgendered individuals simply want to be viewed as people, not by their sexuality. And honestly, isn’t that what we all want?”

SHORTS: Stories From Beneath the Rainbow

“Growing up, a boyfriend was my life’s goal,” recalls Hans M. Hirschi from his home in Sweden that he shares with husband Alex and three-year-old son, Sascha. “Living with a man was a stretch goal and never would I have imagined being able to get married and have children with him. Never! I realize how extremely fortunate I am due to the strength and perseverance of the LGBTQ heroes that came before me. I feel an obligation to give back a little, to bring hope to those who have none, with stories of love that depict a bright future for the next generations of LGBTQ people.” Each story in SHORTS: Stories From Beneath the Rainbow carries a special and unique message. From “The Kiss”, which recounts a Somali refugee 116 GWM / Winter 2016

“The Slasher” bears an eerie similarity to the Orlando shooting. It involves a gay club with multiple murders, the mention of ISIS, terrorism...

Hirschi explains, “When I wrote ‘The Slasher’, the idea was to portray pure evil. The killer is a closeted gay man himself and even that may share commonality with the Orlando attacker. We don’t quite know yet. But what we do know is that very often the greatest homophobes are oppressing their own self-hate.” For the first time, The Queen of Unconventional Happy Endings writes several stories with notso-happy endings. Yes, it’s true, not all stories in SHORTS: Stories From Beneath the Rainbow end happily. But the stories remain, as a whole, very hopeful, which is why Hirschi chose the book’s title. “The rainbow is a powerful symbol for our community,” he says. “It’s the promise of sunshine after a storm. I saw one just the other day, a few days after Orlando, and it made me smile for the first time since the horrific tragedy. I can’t help but find it a very optimistic sign, and a symbol of love and sibling-hood, not just within the LGBT


books community but among all of humankind. SHORTS: Stories From Beneath the Rainbow by Hans M. Hirschi will be available digitally and in softcover Saturday, July 9, 2016on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple’s iBookstore, Smashwords, and at selected local bookstores via Beaten Track Publishing. Left: Hirshi with husband on wedding day. Below: Hirshi, husband and child.

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GWM w i nt e r

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Paul Sanderson Photography

Gay Weddings and Marriage Magazine Winter 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 and Marriage Magazine Winter 2016  

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

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