Summer 2017 GWM

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Marriage Family Home

from the editor


ince I’m pretty sure that my family are the only people that read this note, I’m going to dedicate this edition to them. When I started GWM two years ago, never once did they discourage me. They have supported me emotionally and continued to give me useful advice and guidance throughout the process. Even when I decided to no longer be available in Barnes and Noble and go completely digital, they never suggested I give up. They’re love and support keeps me going. In honor of them, and since I’ll never be able to repay them for all they have done, GWM is featuring our first family on the cover! Derek Chad Photography submitted the images, and I knew from the first glance at them that this was the family to honor. Thank you to Josh, Kevin, and their son Oliver for representing all of the love and goodness that can come from our families.


Oliver and his dads, Josh and Kevin’s family shoot can be viewed on page 199. Photographer: Derek Chad Photography




Scott Rogers

SUGAR ARTISTRY World renowned sugar artist Candace Chand is the face, cake designer and owner of Candace Chand Sugar Artistry. In this issue, she gives handy tips about how to make your desserts unique and keep your guests saying “Wow!” long after the weding day is over. (Page 102)


Donna Capodelupo, Todd Russell


Wendy Clancy, Erik Earl


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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In this issue Gay Weddings & Marriage Magazine / Summer 2017

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wedding prep

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wedding prep

DAPPER Event Design and Production


ed by two gents, Dapper Event Design and Production is a dynamic and innovative event management company based in Phoenix, Arizona. Dapper is fiercely passionate about their clients and

with a distinct philosophy revolving around their clients, Dapper events are completely customized and reflect the personality and brand of each couple. From the initial meeting to the final send off, Dapper not only produces unforgettable events, but also orchestrates a fun and engaging experience for each client throughout the planning process.

Meet the Dapper Gents

Alex Wurth, Dapper’s Director of Events and Operations, grew up in the floral and wedding industry and has the keen ability to create an energetic yet cohesive environment with a love for the details. Dapper’s Creative Director, Collin Shepherd, has unparalleled experience living, working, and producing events in 30 countries around the world, which propels his inspiration and ideation to produce unforgettable experiences. With unique event experience and expertise, Alex and Collin fused their passions and interests to launch Dapper in Spring 2016.

The Initial Meeting

When first working with a couple, Alex and Collin find that it is crucial to build a foundation of trust. After a few initial emails or phone calls, the Dapper gents set up an in-person meeting. Alex says, “The initial meeting is essentially a ‘get to know you.’ It’s a bit like dating, everyone is excited and perhaps a little nervous at first.” Nerves are quickly / GWM 5

calmed after the Dapper gents carefully listen to their clients’ needs and expectations, and are able to provide the couple with some ideas and advice. Since the gents are motivated to make the planning process fun for their clients, they like to incorporate fun elements into their initial meetings. One particular activity to help break the ice and generate some inspiration is to show each couple some cards with various images. One image may be an eccentric bridal bouquet with vibrant colors, and the next might be a very traditional white rose bouquet. All aspects of the wedding aesthetics are integrated into the game. Collin says, “This is a fun activity because the couples rank each image and it gives us a chance to see the couple’s personality. It also provides us with a framework from which to build their proposal and design board.”

The Proposal After meeting with the couple, and before the couple says “I do” to the Dapper gents, Alex and Collin create a comprehensive design board and proposal. Alex explains, “The proposal begins with our understanding of the client’s needs. It’s important that we get it right from the very beginning, which is why we provide them with such a thorough proposal.” In addition to the costs associated with the design and planning fees, the Dapper gents include a design board that provides suggestions from color palettes for the wedding, floral and décor designs, catering menus, suggested venues, and more. 6 GWM / Summer 2017 / GWM 7

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The Timeline Once the couple approves the proposal, the gents create a customized timeline for the couple. The timeline breaks down all of the many to-dos before the big day. Alex states, “It is often overwhelming for the couple to try and figure everything out that needs to get done, but this is why we break it down week to week, and chip away a little at a time.” Collin adds, “We do as much as we can to take all of the work and stress off of our clients’ plate, while keeping the couple involved and engaged with the important decisions.”

The Dapper Dates Throughout the months leading up to the wedding, Alex and Collin stay in close contact with the happy couple. Alex explains, “We enjoy going out on Dapper dates with our clients. We find that informal meetings are sometimes the most productive. A trip out shopping with our couple will provide us with more information regarding our couple’s personalities and tastes than any sitdown meeting ever would. We learn so much from these Dapper dates.” Collin and Alex have even chatted about floral ideas with their clients while visiting the local botanical garden, and thumbed through table linen options while sipping on margaritas at a rooftop restaurant and bar. Alex says, “Let’s be honest, weddings can be stressful, but it’s up to us to make sure our couples are having fun throughout the process and the days leading up to their special day.”

The Big Day On the most exciting day for the Dapper gents, the wedding day, Alex and Collin are with the couple to

create a relaxed atmosphere and to ensure that the couple has a clear mind to take in each and every special moment of the day. As Collin says, “It’s all about our clients and creating a beautiful memory. We will do what it takes to give our couple the special day that they deserve and have been looking forward to for so long.“

From the first scent of a gardenia to the band’s final note, each detail is carefully crafted to produce the ultimate event experience. The Dapper gents strive to combine passion with efficiency, personality with originality, dreams with detail, and perfection with celebration. But for Alex and Collin, it all comes back to the client and ensuring that their experience is just as vibrant, meaningful, and fun as it is for these Dapper gents.

Event Planning Dapper Event Design and Production 859-513-0380 Photography Denise Karis Photography DeniseKaris.Com 480-567-2262 Rentals Prim Rentals 602-481-6922 Floral Dapper Event Design and Production 859-513-0380 Cake Design Sugar Petals Custom Cakes 480-694-2667 / GWM 9

Real Weddings

AMANDA & LAUREN June 26, 2016 / Nemus Photography

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Real Weddings

HOW DID YOU MEET? Lauren and Amanda met while working together at a local hospital while helping to bring babies into the world. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TOGETHER? We’ve been together for 4 years. What is the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome as a couple? We are complete opposite in some ways and both can be stubborn. Learning to work through our disagreements in a constructive way has been a challenge for us. WHAT DO YOU LOVE THE MOST ABOUT YOUR SPOUSE? Lauren is the most spontaneous, funloving, hilarious and loving person Amanda could have ever

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hoped to meet. Lauren loves Amanda’s charming personality, her unwavering dedication, and her willingness to try new things. DESCRIBE YOUR WEDDING DAY: Perfect Tahoe summer day, filled with family and friends, dancing and laughter, beautiful intimate ceremony and reception with loving handmade touches throughout. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART? We were ecstatic to have our families celebrating with us. Amanda’s large immediate family made the journey from the east coast to be with us on our big day. Also, it was breathtaking to see all of the hard work come together: from the handmade flower arrangements by Lauren’s aunt and mother, to the small knickknacks on each table carefully arranged by family friends, to the gorgeous arch built by Lauren’s father for the ceremony — our wedding was truly an amazing day gifted to us by those who love us the most. WERE THERE ANY SURPRISES (GOOD OR BAD) THAT HAPPENED? Amanda’s brother surprised her with a dance promised to her grandfather who was unable to attend. Lauren’s father also surprised us with a beautiful song dedicated to us. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER COUPLES PLANNING THEIR WEDDING? Take your time, do what feels right, and remember some of those “major decisions” won’t matter on your actual wedding day (no one cared what color my napkins were!) Enjoy everything as it all passes by so quickly! / GWM 13

Real Weddings

NOW THAT THE WEDDING IS OVER, WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS OR FUTURE PLANS AS A MARRIED COUPLE? We plan to travel as much as possible, snuggle our animals, and enjoy each other every day.

Photographer: Nemus Photography Wedding Consultant: Take the Cake Events Ceremony Site: Ehrman Mansion, Lake Tahoe, CA Reception Site: Ehmran Mansion, Lake Tahoe, CA Caterer: Cherry Bomb Catering Wedding Cake: Sugar Pine Cakery Florist: Dragonfly Design and Debbie McAfee. Clothing/Gowns/Suits: Pronovias from Swoon (Lauren) and Maggie Sottero from Blue Garter (Amanda) Hair: Edin Carpenter Makeup Artistry Makeup: Edin Carpenter Makeup Artistry Music: Chromatic Events DJ: Chromatic Events Linens: Roundabout Catering & Party Rentals Rentals: Roundabout Catering & Party Rentals Lighting: Chromatic Events and Roundabout Catering & Party Rentals Videographer: Mabble Media

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Real Weddings

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NICK & JONATHAN April 2, 2016 / Andy Seo Photography / GWM 17

Real Weddings

HOW DID YOU MEET? We met through a mutual desire to save money on gas. We were part of a group that had organized an outing to a concert in Los Angeles. Given that we both lived an hour away from the concert, I sent Nick a message on Facebook asking him if he wanted to carpool, and he said yes. We ended up getting along really well and continued to carpool to events over the next few months. We began to spend more time together from there, and as they say, the rest is history. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TOGETHER? We had been together for nearly 5 years when we got married. WHAT DO YOU LOVE THE MOST ABOUT YOUR SPOUSE? Jon: I love how stable and loyal Nick is. I have never had a reason to doubt whether or not he loves me, and he has never given me one in all the years we’ve been together.

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Nick: We make such a great pair. People are important to him, and I like that a lot. DESCRIBE YOUR WEDDING DAY: We wanted the ceremony to be elegant and beautiful, and the chapel certainly helped to establish that atmosphere. The live music (both the band and the church organist) really brought the feel that we were looking for. Being in a sacred space, we elected for traditional elements as much as possible (such as saying traditional vows rather than writing our own). For the reception, we wanted to switch gears into more of a party / GWM 19

Real Weddings

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mode. I think the thing that really set the tone here was the Puppy Bar, where guests could play with and take pictures of puppies – who wouldn’t love that? The reception itself was so much fun, with good food, great music, and lots of dancing. One of our favorite moments was when Jujubee appeared! She has been our favorite drag queen for quite some time, and having her come to our wedding to perform some songs and mingle with the guests was a dream come true. It was so surreal, it actually felt like a dream. Luckily we have videos to confirm that it actually happened. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART? Jon: There were so many. If I had to pick one, though, it / GWM 21

Real Weddings

would be the moment before we did our grand entrance. Our DJ did such a fantastic job of energizing our guests, and I couldn’t believe how deafeningly loud the room was when we entered. It was felt wonderful to be surrounded by everyone we loved and to know that they were excited to be there. We went straight into our first dance from there, set to a beautiful live version of one of my all-time favorite songs (“Tonight, Tonight” by the Smashing Pumpkins). During the dance, Nick sang the lyrics to me, and it felt so intimate that I completely forgot that we were surrounded by so many other people. Nick: The church was stunning, and I loved the flowers, but the best part was just having all of our loved ones there and showing them a good time. And the puppies. WERE THERE ANY SURPRISES (GOOD OR BAD) THAT HAPPENED? Nothing major. Nick and I both like to plan, so every minute of the day had been mapped out and reviewed (and re-reviewed) many times in the months proceeding. The one hiccup was that by the time the cake was brought out, most people were fully in “I just want to dance” mode, so a lot of the cake didn’t end up getting eaten. But if the biggest surprise happened because the guests were just having too much fun, I guess that’s something I’m okay with. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER COUPLES PLANNING THEIR WEDDING? Jon: If I had to boil it down to two things, they would be: Make it personal, and obsess over details. We really tried to make every element of our wedding reflect some aspect

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of ourselves, from the musical selections (many of which came from movies and video games that we loved) to the food (a mix of Korean and Western food which reflected the joining of our cultures), and many of the guests commented on how they enjoyed finding all of our little “easter eggs.” In terms of obsessing over details, what I mean by this is that there is literally no detail too small to account for. While it’s easy to get caught up in planning the “big and grand” parts of the day, don’t forget the little things (Who’s bringing the pens to sign the guest book? Who’s going to start the slideshow? Does the DJ know how to pronounce everyone’s name?). These little things can be obnoxious to think through, but if not accounted for, they can make the day stressful for you when you should be having the time of your life. Nick: Don’t get so caught up in all the materialistic non-sense, and just focus on making sure

that it’s going to be a good day for you and your guests. Also, get a coordinator!

Photographer: Andy Seo Photography ( Wedding Consultant: Claudia Casanova ( Ceremony Site: First Congregational Church of Los Angeles, Main Sanctuary ( Reception Site: First Congregational Church of Los Angeles, Stuart Hall ( Caterer: Banchan a la Carte ( Wedding Cake: Sweet Lady Jane ( Florist: The Flower (213-239-3740) Clothing/Gowns/Suits: Banana Republic (men’s), various (women’s) Hair: Makeup by Hanna Choi ( Makeup: Makeup by Hanna Choi ( Music: Lucky Cricket Music ( DJ: VIP DJ Entertainment ( Linens: Banchan a la Carte ( Rentals: Event Plus ( Lighting: Event Plus ( Invitations: Pear Tree Greetings ( Videographer: April Story Films ( Other: Drag Queen: Jujubee (, Photo Booth: cre8tiveoutlets (cre8tiveoutlets. com), Puppy Bar: Puppies and Reptiles for Parties ( / GWM 23

party tie program that recently TELL US ABOUT DAVID FIN TIES? WHEN DID YOU START IT, launched. WHY DID YOU START IT, HOW HAS IT BEEN GOING? WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO CREATE YOUR COMPANY? I started David Fin in the beginning of 2016. The vision of the company was to give men a new option for neckwear: better style, better quality and a better price point, all wrapped in our important foundation of being Made in the USA (right here in NYC). We also give $5 of each tie we sell to The Folded Flag Foundation – an organization dedicated to helping the children of fallen heroes pay for education. Our motto is look good, feel good, and do good.

WHAT ARE THE SPECIFIC DIFFERENT PRODUCTS YOU GUYS SELL? We sell ties, bow ties and pocket squares, with a new collection that launches every season. We also have a ready to wear wedding collection and a new, custom, create your own bridal 24 GWM / Summer 2017

Candidly speaking, I was inspired because of the lack of interesting companies in the luxury tie space. We are doing something completely unmatched by anything in the market by using the finest fabrics sourced from the best mills in Como, Italy, but bringing the labor to New York City by hand making each tie in the USA. The fact that I can make ties this high in quality that rival the top designers at a fraction of the price is something unique to the market. I also am proud to give back with each tie we sell because we truly value the importance of helping those in need. To pay homage to our work with Veterans, the back of our ties are lined with a camouflage silk design (on the tip) that compliments the color of the tie being bought. It’s a great / GWM 25

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conversation piece that reminds us of the importance of giving back.

WHY NECKWEAR? WHAT IS IT ABOUT NECKWEAR THAT IS SO SPECIAL? Neckwear makes your style and brings your entire outfit together. The tie changes everything and sets the tone for your look. In the corporate world, while many guys wear the same basic suits (navy, grey, black, etc), the tie is where you can express yourself and have some fun. Outside of the corporate world, a tie can serve so many purposes for so many different styles. For example, if you are going for more of a GQ look and have on dark denim, a leather jacket and a woven, the tie you put on to dress up your look can alter the entire feel of what you are wearing. A tie is actually quite powerful, no matter what the reason for wearing it may be.

TALK TO US ABOUT THE MADE IN THE USA ASPECT OF THE BRAND. WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT TO YOU? HOW DID YOU DECIDE TO DO THIS? I believe it’s very important to incorporate your company with supporting local jobs as much as possible. We do that by manufacturing our product in NYC. It feels that much more special to know that the ties were created right here in your very own backyard.

THE PRICE POINT IS FANTASTIC. HOW DO YOU KEEP THE QUALITY SO HIGH AND THE PRICE AFFORDABLE? We achieve this by being direct to consumer. We don’t wholesale to the big department stores because that would interfere with our margin. We believe everyone deserves to have a beautiful, high quality tie that will last them for years without having to shell out hundreds and hundreds of dollars. Quality is so important and can easily be spotted a mile away, so its crucial to invest in a tie collection that is top of the line, but we want people to be able to have the opportunity to do so by making the price point affordable. 28 GWM / Summer 2017 / GWM 29

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I got inspired to help our Veterans when a close friend returned from duty and was having trouble acclimating back into the real world. There he was, gone for years serving for our country and now that he was back with no corporate job experience, he was finding it hard to find employment. I saw the challenges our Veterans face so I decided right then and there to always vow to help our Veterans. In the first year of business, I partnered with Hiring our Heroes which helps Veterans find meaningful employment. This year we partnered with the Folded Flag Foundation and give back $5 of each tie sold to help fund education for gold star families. We were proud that during our holiday pop up shop at John Allan’s, we raised $10,000 for The Folded Flag Foundation.

WHERE HAVE YOU GUYS BEEN FEATURED? We have been featured on NBC’s The Today Show, GQ mentioned us as being “One Of The Best Ways To Look Great,” our ties have been worn by famous newscasters, hosts and athletes and currently we can be seen on the Hallmark Channel being worn by Mark Steine on Home & Family. We also have been highlighted in WWD, The Observer, Huffington Post, New York Times, and a few others. We have been really excited to / GWM 31

Real Weddings

COURTNEY & JANE September 24, 2016 / Ellysia Francovitch Photography

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Jane and Courtney are the most adventurous, fun loving couple. Their wedding day was surrounded by laughter and joy by family and friends. They gathered with a few friends and some immediate family at The Inn at Cook Street, and then we all walked down to Harbor Lounge where they had their ceremony and reception. After the reception they walked with friends and family down Commercial Street to cheers and high fives from people walking by when they announced that they just got married.

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Photographer: Ellysia Francovitch Photography Caterer: Angel Foods Dress Store: Anthropologie Ring Designer: Simply Wood Rings Floral Designer: Stop and Shop Event Venue: The Harbor Lounge / GWM 35

married life



couple of weeks before this last Christmas, I found myself balancing on tipsy piles of boxes and bags, looking for just the right collection of unbreakable, pet-friendly ornaments. And where the heck were the multi-color lights for the tree -- not the tasteful white lights we used on our first few holidays, when we covered the tree with ivory-tinted lace bows instead of tinsel (what were we thinking?) and hung matching balls crafted from satin ribbon. Grateful that I found enough of the ornaments we use these days -- the ones we put on the tabletop tree as part of our dog-proof decor -- and some holiday platters to hold Christmas Day lasagna and braciole, my search was mercifully short. The remaining boxes, filled with memories of Christmases past and plans for Christmases future, stayed put. I’m not sure we have enough holiday seasons left to decorate with all the blown-glass tree 36 GWM / Summer 2017

ornaments, pre-World War II pottery figurines and Christmasthemed linens we’ve lovingly collected. Our home is small and comfortable, with room for one tree, maybe two … yet we’ve amassed enough ornaments that ours could be the centerpiece of a White House Christmas Tree Tour. When we started -- in 1983 -- life was simpler, our wallets were fatter, and our home seemed much bigger, mostly because it was pretty empty. While searching for each perfect piece, whether the third wise man to finish the Christopher Radko ornament trio or silver-rimmed red chargers in just the right shade to match the plates that would sit on top, we imagined the beauty they would bring to our home and how they’d impress the family and friends who would share the holidays with us. Now might be a good time to mention my wife and I are well matched in our love of poking around places that sell old, wellloved things. We don’t travel or hit the casinos, we’re not much for

big shows, or even a weekly trip to the movies. We’ve never taken a cruise and we’re not about to start now. We’re all about feathering our nest. Like many children whose parents lived through the Great Depression, we carefully packed the most exquisite pieces away “for best,” planning to take them out only when the whole family could be together for the holiday, or once the renovations on the house were complete. In the meantime, we’d reminisce about the Great Wise-man Ornament Search, or the time we got lost in coastal Maine looking for the outlet store that promised a sale on those perfect, crimson chargers. The Christmas carol sing-along from that trip is still the stuff of legend. All the while, we sat side-by-side on the couch, eating our delicious Christmas dinner off everyday plates, our tree’s boughs bending under the weight of our less precious ornaments. With all our goodies packed out of

sight, we’d encounter new dreams in antiques stores and vintage shops. I’m glad we have those memories. They are far more dear to us than the bounty we collected. But I wish we’d curbed our “save it for best” tendencies and enjoyed the pieces we cherished so much. Our younger selves couldn’t imagine the twists and turns that life had in store. That’s a good thing; youth should be carefree. We always thought there would be the time, the occasions, and the means to use all the fancy dishes and linens and trinkets and furnishings we’d collected. To see places we’d talked about seeing. To learn a new language or a new skill.

jobs and we are all we have left of family. Today, our dogs bring life and joy to the house, but they preclude the use of a big, breakable ornamentcovered holiday tree. Times and circumstances change, and we change with them. Somewhere hidden in crates full of the most beautiful and meaningful decorations we could find are those blown-glass wise men who have never hung on a tree, and probably never will -- at least not in our house. Someday, another couple picking through an antiques shop like the

Our younger selves couldn’t imagine the twists and turns that life had in store.

We celebrated this past holiday season amid some serious health issues, which got us to thinking about the reality that we now have fewer years in the windshield than the rear-view. And that has prompted us to take stock of the lives we’ve led and the decisions we’ve made so far. Years ago, we dreamed of uninterrupted together time, with no need to rush back to work, and no questions about whose family would “get us” for brunch on Christmas Day or dinner on Christmas Eve. In what seems like such a short span of time, we no longer have those pressure-packed

ones we enjoy will come across our Christmas keepsake, picturing a holiday celebration with glittering tree and a house full of family and friends. My advice for them is this: Even if the house is empty save the two of you, and those are the only three ornaments on your Charlie Brown tree, place them proudly on the boughs and start making memories along with your plans.



QIANA & TIFFANY April 6, 2016 / Fabio & Adri Photography

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Real Engagements


iffany is a loving partner that will do whatever it takes to make Qiana happy. Even if it isn’t her comfort zone. Isn’t it what we need in life? A great partnership! Qiana is an accomplished model, including being a Playboy Playmate a few years ago. So she was looking for fashion engagement photography and, as photographers that love creative lighting, those words had a nice ring to them.

Photography: Fabio & Adri Photography 40 GWM / Summer 2017 / GWM 41

Real Engagements

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H i l t o n

ilton Waikoloa Village is a sweeping Pacific playground and alluring destination on the sunny Kohala Coast of the Island of Hawaii. Guests enjoy two distinct lodging experiences from premium accommodations in MAKAI at Lagoon Tower to a grand atrium welcome at Palace Tower.

W a i k o l o a

Amenities include three swimming pools, an oceanfed snorkeling Lagoon Beach, waterfalls and waterways, locally-inspired treatments at Kohala Spa, and a wide variety of dining outlets that include Legends of Hawaii Luau, Kamuela Provision Company featuring panoramic sunset dining over the Pacific Ocean, Kona Tap Room, offering craft brews from Kona Brewing Company; and a Museum Walkway with 1,800 unique art pieces. Hilton Waikoloa Village is a gateway to the Island of Hawaii and its attractions, including active volcanoes, snow-capped mountains, lush valleys, breathtaking waterfalls, colorful beaches and Aloha Spirit.

V i l l a g e

Hilton is a proud supporter of gay travel. Stay Hilton. Go Out. / GWM

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Unique The Ultimate Styled Wedding Shoot / GWM 47

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START WITH PERSONAL INSPIRATION The inspiration for this shoot came from Katy Perry’s song Teenage Dream. I wanted to walk down the isle at my own wedding to this song, but didn’t because I didn’t think that was the “proper” thing to do. As they say, hindsight is 20/20 and I really wanted to inspire brides to have fun planning their weddings. It’s not about doing the right thing for anyone else, and we shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously. The lyrics to the song are beautiful, playful and ultra romantic. We wanted to show brides the way to plan a unique wedding, is to listen to their hearts and start with authentic inspiration that can come from just about anywhere.

MAKE A STATEMENT WITH CEREMONY DECOR The freeform balloon arch was our starting point. We wanted something playful and romantic,

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but still bridal. Using balloons for weddings is a growing trend, and it’s all about presentation. This very talented group of artists built this piece onsite to create it’s fun and organic feel. Mixing large statement flowers amongst balloons of varying sizes to create visual interest, the arch is the focus of this eclectic wedding ceremony. Grouping large pillows, cozy blankets and all the comforts of home into each cozy nest in the ceremony space, furthered the eclectic festival feel.

STAY TRUE TO YOUR STYLE Modern brides are choosing a variety of non traditional attire. The couture bridal jumpsuit was the perfect compliment to this wedding gown. We knew we wanted to create two bridal looks with personality. Leaving behind

traditional gender roles, our brides both rocked a feminine look unique to their personalities. Combining contrasting structures and textures with complimentary fabrics and colours was the perfect way to create visual interest in the bridal attire.

WORK WITH NATURE We used as many of the natural elements of the venue as we could. When styling your wedding, look for ways to incorporate the venue into your decor. It’s important to consider the lighting of your space, colours in the background, and how these elements will change the feel of your wedding. Also look natural frames like the half pipe created for our ceremony, to draw your guests into your space and create an intimate feeling anywhere. / GWM 51

DIY THE DETAILS Add a personal touch by including handmade elements your guests will love, like this custom confetti mix. Incorporating the colour palate with a mix of textured papers, glitter, and sequins, and then placing cones made from the pages of old books around the ceremony seating, will allow the guests to get involved in creating a playful atmosphere.


SOFTEN THE ATMOSPHERE Adding romantic elements, like the crystal chandeliers and white head table backdrop, can change the atmosphere of your venue. The perfect way to create your desired mood in any ceremony space.

KEEP IT PLAYFUL Surprise your guests and take your party pictures up a notch by popping these confetti filled balloons on the dance floor.

There no better place to add decor than your wedding cake. A great cake artist will draw inspiration from all the design elements of your wedding. Share as many details as possible with your designer and allow them to create a piece that will anchor the decoration of your reception space. The watercolour painting of this cake paired perfectly with the invitations and menus, while the ornate bronzed detailing infused the eclectic theme.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS START WITH STATIONARY The invitations set the tone for your wedding long before your guests arrive. Consider the theme of your day when choosing invitations, and give your guests their first insight into the style of your day. Keep this consistent by adding matching menus into the table decor.

GO BIG WITH YOUR BOUQUET Huge bouquets are the coolest new trend in wedding flowers and they are sure to make a statement walking down the isle. The other bride’s equally impressive balloons added the right balance to their look and a whole lot of fun. 52 GWM / Summer 2017

Photographer: Julie MacKinnon Photography Design and Decor: Elegant Event Designs & Decor Magical Moments Inc, Other: Uptown Parties and Balloons Dress Designer: Beth Anne Couture DIY or Handmade Goods Designer: Brickbubble Floral Designer: Calyx Floral Design Event Venue: Canyon Ski Resort Hair Stylist: Jasmin Hebert Model: Jenaya Niessen Makeup Artist: Makeup By Tamara Lynn Model: Morgan Vercholuk Apparel: Novia Mia Bridal Invitation Designer: Paper Blush Bakery: Sugar by Tracy / GWM 53


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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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 double-sided 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. / GWM 55

Real Weddings

CHRISTOPHER & BRYAN November 14, 2015 / Matt Steeves Photography

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HOW DID YOU MEET? We met on social media and arranged a “blind date�. Bryan is a local news reporter and Christopher is a retired performer with the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Bryan had a car accident on his way to the date totaling his car and standing Christopher up. They met on the side of the highway at the scene of the accident on their first date. After a make-shift Waffle House date a romance ensued and the wedding happened four years to the date on their first anniversary. Were engaged two weeks later but waited three years until the supreme court ruled and they were able to legally marry in a courthouse ceremony as the first legal wed same sex couple in Collier County Florida on January 6th, 2015. The November ceremony was a chance to celebrate and reaffirm vows in front of family and friends.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TOGETHER? Married on their 4 year anniversary. Now together almost 5 and a half years. WHAT IS THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE YOU’VE HAD TO OVERCOME AS A COUPLE? The wait for marriage equality. Moving locations due to jobs and life changes but always waiting for the window of opportunity to make it official. WHAT DO YOU LOVE THE MOST ABOUT YOUR SPOUSE? Christopher - I love Bryan’s passion for life and news. His craft as a journalist inspires me to be aware of the world around me. He also makes it clear that / GWM 59

Real Weddings everything he does is for me and our family. Bryan-Christopher exhibits a spontaneity and joyful outlook on life that enable me to not take a single moment for granted. Together we are the perfect mix of living life to the fullest and working to fulfill each others’ dreams. DESCRIBE YOUR WEDDING DAY: Guest gathered from all around the world. Performers and friends and family came together in Naples, Florida for an epic reunion that celebrated the past, the present, and the future. Our families from Florida and Alabama mixed with loved ones from New York, LA and all around the world made for a diverse crowd of people who had one objective in mind - to celebrate this union.

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WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART? Our favorite part was watching everything come together. Also, being surrounded by the friends and family - some of which we hadn’t seen in years. People from all walks of our lives were converging and having and amazing time together. We enjoyed watching the whole event as much as everyone else who attended. WERE THERE ANY SURPRISES (GOOD OR BAD) THAT HAPPENED? Bryan arranged for Christopher’s former boss, who is an accomplished singer from NYC, to surprise him and sing the song that played as the wedding party and grooms walked down the aisle. Another great friend played the piano. It was overwhelming emotionally to watch the surprises take place and for everyone to

respond in such a loving way. Both grooms had arranged countless surprises for each other throughout the event so everyone was holding on to secrets knowing great things were about to unfold. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER COUPLES PLANNING THEIR WEDDING? First of all, choose the vendors that will memorialize your experience in the way that you have always dreamed. Do not settle. Even if it means working harder and paying more. Catering makes all the difference if you want your wedding to stand out. We had cuisine from all over the world including a custom “taco truck” and our favorite desserts. Stationery sets the tone and can be the detail that brings your entire wedding together. If you want people to attend, go for something unique / GWM 61

Real Weddings and special. Get yourself a planner. Period. They are the experts and you won’t regret a penny spent. Finally choose a photographer whose body of work will capture your big day in a way that you will always want to remember. Our wedding photos are so popular among friends and family because we chose the absolute best in the business. NOW THAT THE WEDDING IS OVER, WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS OR FUTURE PLANS AS A MARRIED COUPLE? We have a few ideas of what lies on the horizon for us. The biggest thing to remember is that as long as we do things together, we can accomplish anything.

Photographer: Matt Steeves Photography Wedding Consultant: JetSetWed Ceremony Site: Naples Performing Arts Center Reception Site: Naples Performing Arts Center Caterer: Tastebuds Custom Catering Wedding Cake: Grace and Shelly’s Cupcakes Florist: Signature Florals Clothing/Gowns/Suits: Asos Hair: Gabriella Macchiarolo - Texture Hair and Make Up Studio Makeup: Gabriella Macchiarolo - Texture Hair and Make Up Studio Music: Judi Ludovico, Johnny Kim, Christina Koller DJ: DJ Johnny Rich Linens: Party Time Rentals Rentals: Party Time Rentals Invitations: Save the Dates, Invitations, and Day of Wedding Stationery - DM Paper Designs

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Real Weddings

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APRIL & ANDREA August 26, 2016 / Meredith Harris Photographers / GWM 65

Real Weddings


pril and Andrea came from Indiana to Boulder, CO for their dating anniversary. They loved the mountains and enjoyed hiking together. Unbeknownst to Andrea, April had something in store for their hike at Gross Reservoir. She planned for a few close friends and family to meet them at a specific location, complete with officiant and photographer. They started on their hike, their 4 year old son along too, when April stopped Andrea and started talking. I couldn’t hear all the words from my hidden perch down the hill, but I could hear when April said “will you marry me” to which Andrea replied “yes, of course.” April followed that with “okay, let’s go get married!” Dumbfounded, Andrea was led down the hill to the overlook where we all awaited to surprise her with an actual wedding.

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Their son happily became the ring bearer and a heartfelt ceremony ensued. The day and location were gorgeous and perfect to hike around for more photos.

Photographer: Meredith Harris Photographers / GWM 67

Fall A styled shoot

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s wedding bartenders, we are often asked to participate in styled photo shoots for magazines and blogs. These collaborations are a wonderful chance to showcase our work and to meet other talented vendors in the industry. However, we are one of the only LGBTQ-owned wedding companies in Portland, and I have noticed a distinct lack of articles that feature gay, lesbian, or transgender couples. This lack of representation can feel very isolating at times! To address this issue, I had the idea to put together a photoshoot featuring the natural beauty of winter in the Pacific Northwest and a real-life couple who happen to be gay. Adam and Andrew have been together for several years. This shoot was an opportunity to honor their relationship with a beautiful set of portraits while also showcasing Pacific Northwest

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Our inspiration for the photo shoot was actually a color combo: the beauty of oxblood red juxtaposed with the stark winter weight of the snow on Mount Hood. We envisioned a relaxed, cozy, beautiful afternoon that captures the intimacy of the love that Adam and Andrew share. Our signature cocktail features fresh winter citrus, local brandy, and plum simple syrup. To make this drink at home, simply combine 1 ounce of fresh lemon juice, 2 ounces of brandy, and 1 ounce of plum simple syrup in a mixing glass. Shake vigorously, and strain into a chilled goblet or a coupe glass. Slice an orange as a garnish and enjoy.

vendors who support marriage equality. I brought on a team of vendors who are passionate about this cause and wanted to donate their time and energy to bring attention to this issue. Just a few of these vendors include the wonderful family who manages Miller Farm Retreat (who prepared for our visit by cleaning up their forests for days after a big winter storm!), Aerin from Royal Steamline invitations, who put together the invitations and cocktail recipe card, Lane’ from Something Borrowed Vintage Rentals, who styled the entire shoot and created beautiful displays, Katie from Duchess Clothier, who fit both gentlemen for gorgeous bespoke suits, and of course Brittany Lauren, who captured it all with dreamy, lightfilled photography.

Photographer: Brittany Lauren Photography Tuxedo and Mens Attire: Duchess, Clothier Beauty: Gina Marie Campbell Floral Designer: J Blooms Event Venue: Miller Farm Retreat Cake Designer: Rosycakes Invitation Designer: Royal Steamline</a>// Equipment Rentals: Something Borrowed Portland Caterer: Mint and Mirth / GWM 71

Winter A styled shoot

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“IT’S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR” This was our inspiration for this styled shoot. We wanted to create a dreamy Christmas wedding showcasing two stunning men. For the decor we created a traditional Christmas scene with sparks of reds, golds, and bling, featuring Neira Event Group for design. We also wanted to incorporate the cozy Christmas feelings with fireplaces, pillows and hot cocoa. The Chula Vista Resort was the perfect cozy setting, located on the Wisconsin River. To showcase our modern men we used sleek tuxes provided by Nedrebo’s Formal Wear. Their intimate reception took place in a small Chophouse room featuring gold accents, plaid, and iconic Christmas trees. Featuring a naked wedding cake made by Taylor’s Cakes with sweater fabric accents.

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Our shoot came complete with a fluffy dog, snow, and the perfect swooning garland lining the aisle. Our stunning men are a married couple in real life, incorporating their natural chemistry for our shoot. It came with ease to bring out the love these two had for one another. “All I want for Christmas is you.”

Photographer: Peer Canvas Reception Venue: Chula Vista Resort Tuxedo and Mens Attire: Nedrebo’s Formal Wear Event Designer: Neira Event Group Invitation Designer: Sugar Pear Design Bakery: Taylors Cakes / GWM 75

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DAWN & LIZ April 8, 2016 / Airen Miller Photography / GWM 77

Real Weddings

FROM DAWN: When Liz and I met, I never would have thought we would be married a year and a half later. We met at work. We chatted a bit one day and realized we had the same day off during the week. We decided we would meet out one night for margaritas. Not realizing that night was going to change both of our lives. Being around Liz was just easy. We really enjoyed each other. We laughed, talked and even cried. The more time we spent together, the more we realized we didn’t want to be without each other. As we got to know each other I couldn’t help but love Liz’s determination, drive for success, and just all around passion for life. Although she is one of the most stubborn people I know, I have grown to love that too. When people say, ”you just know,” it’s really true. You just know!!! Liz is everything I have dreamed of and more; From her smile, to her

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beautiful eyes, to her compassion and understanding. In her I have found my best friend, my love for life. On April 8, 2016, we were to be married. Our Wedding day was Magical! I never imagined I would be so happy, so complete. You could actually feel the love in the Society Room of Hartford. Seeing our family and friends share in our Celebration of Love was truly a dream come true for me. There were so many amazing moments: From our introduction, which we created with a Beyoncé theme, to dancing with our Moms’. This was the best day of our lives, or so I thought. When you are able to share everyday with your soul mate, the days get better and better. True love is amazing and I couldn’t be happier that we met for margaritas. Here’s to our future together. FROM LIZ: Dawn and I worked together at a car dealership fro about a year before we showed any interest in each other. Since day one we became friends. We made each other better people and we were always open to expressing our true feelings about anything. We learned from one another everyday, and that’s how our love began. We realized very quickly that we wanted to spend this crazy life together. After being together for nine months, we got engaged. During a long 4th of July weekend and in two different destinations, we proposed to each other. And nine months after that, we were dressed in white, and joining our lives.

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At the beginning it was extremely difficult to get the family to accept our relationship. We spent a couple of months overcoming every obstacle, which only made us stronger and more in love. Fighting the battle of defending your love only makes you understand the meaning of true love. As I have always said, “Love is a choice that you make. A choice to understand that person day by day and understand that people change and grow. And even then, you’d have to chose to learn how to love them all over again.” What I love most about Dawn is that no matter what we are going through, we can always communicate. Even though we are two very different people, we can come back to a common ground, understand each other, and respect our differences. We are a great team! April 8th 2016 was a fairytale! Everything went just as planned. We had the perfect wedding, White and deep red flowers, metallic burgundy tablecloths, all glass centerpieces, and white rose petals on all of the tables. We were both dressed in simple silk ivory dresses with very small trains, with no headpieces. The ambiance in the venue was perfect. Love was in the air! The music was telling our story, the food was exquisite, and our guest had a great time. My favorite part of the wedding was being able to escape with my wife to the bridal sweet. I made it a point to steal her from the floor every hour so that we could reconnect, freshen up, rest our feet, and eat a bit! Last thing we / GWM 81

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wanted was to pass out at our wedding! This helped us take it all in through out the night. We enjoyed our wedding very much! We danced, we sang, we enjoyed our family and friends… and we looked good!! Thankfully, there were no surprises on our wedding day. The staff at the Society Room of Hartford kept everything under control at all times!! There’s no other word to describe the day but PERFECT.

Photographer: Airen Miller Photography Venue: The Society Room of Hartford Flowers: Sharon Elizabeth’s DJ: Rudy C Productions Hair & Make Up: Dana Bartone & Company (Dana Bartone and Laura Moore) Cake: Kim’s Cottage Confections Dresses: Liz’s : Casablanca from Argelia Novias Bridal Dawn’s: CB Couture from Mariella Creations Paper Design: Magnet Street / GWM 83

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pening in 2018, JW Marriott Nashville, the luxury hotel located in the heart of downtown, will offer couples an unforgettable wedding experience meticulously tailored to individual tastes. With stunning views, a restaurant helmed by Michelin Star Chef Michael Mina and striking interiors by renowned design firm Stonehill & Taylor, JW Marriott Nashville provides the perfect location to celebrate nuptials in elegance and ease. Couples will enjoy the pleasures of exceptional cuisine, superlative venues, and a staff devoted to exceeding every expectation. The 533-room property will accommodate weddings ranging from intimate affairs to large-scale ceremonies at its five distinct venues, including two ballrooms, two restaurants and al-fresco terrace lounge with extraordinary views on the 33rd floor. JW Marriott Nashville’s commitment to creating a personalized experience begins with a dedicated events team who works directly with each couple throughout the planning process, assisting with vendor communication, scheduling appointments and allowing guests to enjoy every moment of their special day. “Turnberry Associates is excited to bring our expertise in event planning to Tennessee with the opening of JW Marriott Nashville,” said Philip Goldfarb, corporate representative. “With over 30 years of hosting exquisite ceremonies and events at both Fontainebleau Miami Beach and Turnberry Isle, we look forward to bringing that experience and impeccable service to couples at JW Marriott Nashville. With a highly skilled events team that anticipates every detail, the hotel’s striking design, first class cuisine and ideal location, JW Marriott is the perfect backdrop for a once in a lifetime event.” JW Marriott Nashville’s wedding venues include an expansive terrace lounge of terrazzo granite, travertine limestone / GWM 85

and flecked marble overlooking the city and two ballrooms encompassing over 25,000 square feet of flexible space. The Grand and Junior Ballrooms will accommodate up to 1,200 guests when combined, and offer couples a more traditional setting with customizable elements. Both of the hotel’s restaurants, including Nashville’s first Michael Mina restaurant, Bourbon Steak, are available for weddings, rehearsal dinners and private gathering when the hotel opens in 2018. JW Marriott Nashville will offer customized wedding packages in each of its event spaces. Wedding parties are invited to prepare for the main event at JW Marriott’s state-of-the-art spa. The serene oasis will offer manicures, pedicures, facials and a variety of massages to ensures couples feel and look their best for the big day. Conveniently located just 10 miles from the airport, and a short walk to up-and-coming neighborhood The Gulch and must-see Music Row, JW Marriott Nashville allows wedding guests to easily access all of Nashville’s first class attractions.

ABOUT JW MARRIOTT HOTELS & RESORTS JW Marriott is part of Marriott International’s luxury portfolio and consists of beautiful properties in gateway cities and distinctive resort locations around the world. These elegant hotels cater to today’s sophisticated, self-assured travelers, offering them the quiet luxury they seek in a warmly 86 GWM / Summer 2017

authentic, relaxed atmosphere lacking in pretense. JW Marriott properties artfully provide highly crafted, anticipatory experiences that are reflective of their locale so that their guests have the time to focus on what is most important to them. Currently, there are more than 75 JW Marriott hotels in over 25 countries; by 2020 the portfolio is expected to encompass more than 115 properties in over 35 countries. Visit us online, on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Visit Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR) for company information. For more information or reservations, please visit our web site at, and for the latest company news, visit / GWM 87

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STEVEN & ALEX May 14, 2016 / Derreck Tribbey Photography / GWM 89

Real Weddings

HOW DID YOU TWO MEET? Steven and Alexander met at a bar in Miami. There was first a friendship that developed across the distance between Miami, where Steven lived, and Dallas, where Alexander lived. But, as time passed, the distance was no match and Steven moved to Dallas. WHO PROPOSED? WHAT WAS YOUR PROPOSAL LIKE? It wasn’t long before Steven knew that Alexander was the man for him. Alexander on the other hand was more cautious and hesitant. The couple therefore agreed in this circumstance that when the time came, Alexander would be the one to pop the question. “This avoided us each secretly planning engagements simultaneously and

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ending up with numerous rings” said Steven. “There really was no rush. Alexander knew where I stood, and he could do it when he was ready, and surprise me.” They also both desired to get married when they were ready to start a family. On February 14, while on vacation in Maui, Steven woke up to find Alexander on bended knee and the wedding planning began immediately! WHY DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR VENUE(S)? We wanted to be by the beach and have a weekend affair, with quality time spent with our guests. Steven was from Florida, so easy start... “We had a close friend, Meredith Clarin of Kitanim – a Florida Design and Event Company, who was a florist, other family friends in the invitation and music business, another friend who is a / GWM 91

Real Weddings

wedding photographer, Derrick Tribbey of Derrick Tribbey Photography, and a close friend who managed the Four Seasons hotel in Palm Beach, so we asked them if they wanted to be a part of our planning and help create the intimate wedding of our dreams, which they all jumped on board with, without hesitation.” This made for an incredible team of friends who were truly invested in making the wedding impeccable. “We also picked the Four Seasons knowing that their standards of service, quality of product, and venue matched our taste and style, which made the planning easier and gave us time in the end to enjoy the wedding weekend and really be with our guests.” DESCRIBE YOUR PLANNING EXPERIENCE. “We had a lot going in our lives so we broke down the planning into monthly tasks.” Having selected the venue – the Four Seasons in Palm Beach – and the date, a decision that triggers all the rest, it all unfolded from there. Steven took the

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lead making decisions on his own while consulting Alexander with those matters of interest to him. “We were very aligned regarding our wedding. We both wanted an intimate wedding and to be surrounded by a small group of close family and friends. Alexander was big picture. I took on the details. Generally, our focus was to spend quality time with loved ones, capped off with a ceremony celebrating our love. Being decisive of course was key to the planning process, and it kept it all fun and enjoyable and stress-free. I was surprised how easy it was to make our plan a reality once the tasks were broken down, so long as we didn’t second guess any decisions.” WERE ANY OF THE DETAILS PARTICULARLY SPECIAL TO YOU AND WHY / WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MEMORY OF YOUR DAY? As for the wedding, Steven’s most memorable moment was seeing Alexander walk down the aisle. “It was raw emotion of pure joy and happiness one cannot hide or stop, or create.”

DID YOU TAKE A HONEYMOON? No. DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES (INCLUDING SPECIFICALLY FOR SAME-SEX COUPLES) PLANNING THEIR WEDDINGS? Have patience, communicate, and remember what this wedding is all about .... a celebration of the grooms. Surround yourselves with loved ones. Our wedding was only about two individuals celebrating their love for each other… In fact, for both of us, it was our first gay wedding!” “We have since realized, the wedding itself was also important as it is a means to breaking down barriers by showing others who do not regularly interact with same sex couples that we are no different, we love and marry in just the same way as everyone else.” Lastly..... Elizabeth and Asher (our daughter and son) were born in the Fall, are now 7 months and doing great. Happy and healthy.

Alexander’s favorite moment was turning to see their family’s and friend’s joy: smiles and tears, alike, upon being declared “husbands in life.” In terms of favorite memory, when it came time for the cake, guests were surprised by an array of petit fours adorned with pink and blue ribbons. Coinciding therewith, and true to their plans to marry when they were both ready for a family, Alexander and Steven were delighted to announce the pending arrival of their twin boy and girl in October.

Photographer: Derrick Tribbey Photography Venue: Four Seasons Palm Beach / GWM 93


LIZ, SARAH, LOLA & JONES Candice Baker Photography

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Liz and I (Sarah) met over seven years ago when Liz was visiting Colorado from Iowa, she moved to Colorado a few months later. We have been married for almost five years. Our dream was to have a family together, the process of picking donors and making babies was very overwhelming at first but we got very lucky and now we have 2 healthy children. I (Sarah) carried our daughter Lola, and Liz carried our son Jones using the same anonymous donor. Sometimes we miss our old life of traveling and doing whatever we wanted but wouldn’t change a thing. We feel extremely blessed. Candice Baker Photography / GWM 95

Real Weddings

ERIN & KAYLA February 14, 2016 / Erica Ferrone Photography

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HOW DID YOU MEET? We were both stationed in Yokosuka, Japan aboard the USS George Washington while serving in the United States Navy. We met via a mutual friend at a food truck (“The Roach Coach”) that was parked on the pier. After that first meeting, our paths kept crossing at random in places like the gym, walking through Tokyo, and a Fertility Festival, so we decided to start hanging out. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TOGETHER? We’ve been together for four years and married for one! WHAT IS THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE YOU’VE HAD TO OVERCOME AS A COUPLE? 
Erin: I separated from the Navy a year before Kayla, which meant we had to do a deployment away from each other. It was only four months in length, however I was trying to adjust to civilian life without my partner, which I thought was

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very difficult. Communication during deployment was very limited, which was frustrating. Thankfully, we both believe that if your relationship has strong foundations, you can get through anything, and it has proven true for us.
Kayla: Being separated for four months wasn’t fun, but I thought it was more difficult when I returned after deployment. I was making a lateral transition within my department on the ship, I was working long hours, and poor Erin was left at home alone a lot. It’s hard to say which is worse, having your partner over 6,000 miles away or having your partner 15 miles away and still not able to see them. WHAT DO YOU LOVE THE MOST ABOUT YOUR SPOUSE? Erin: What don’t I love about Kayla?! She’s amazing, but if I had

to choose, it would be that she is patient and kind-hearted. She brings out the best in me, and always brightens my day. Kayla: She is so intellectually stimulating for me, and she’s funny too. She’s the greatest mix of “work” and “play”, and she balances me perfectly. She’s also half-Cuban, so that little Spanish accent doesn’t hurt! <3 <3 DESCRIBE YOUR WEDDING DAY: It was truly a magical day. Our family and closest friends attended. Guests came from Alaska, California, Washington, Florida, Texas, Iowa, Nebraska, and everywhere in between to attend our special day in Virginia. It was the coldest weekend I’d ever experienced while living there, 19 degrees (F), but there wasn’t a single cloud in the sky and the sun was

shining brilliantly. We had the ceremony and reception, with a cocktail hour in between, at the same location. Our theme was Winter Wonderland/ Dreams Come True, so we had both Disney-inspired and Harry Potter themed decorations: our cake was Up! themed, our centerpieces had Cinderella’s castle with a beautiful quote, and the beverages included hot buttered rum and hot chocolate. The mantle of the outdoor fireplace was covered in different “potions” and Hogwarts-style winter-wear. Our colors were dark purple, dark blue, and silver. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART? 
Erin: Watching Kayla walk down the aisle. “I can’t describe to you the feeling of watching the person you love walk toward you knowing they are about to make the greatest commitment / GWM 99

Real Weddings

to you and your relationship. She looked radiant, absolutely stunning, and it felt like time had slowed down as she walked toward me.”
Kayla: Oh, it’s so hard to pick just one! The dancing, probably. The dancing and actually seeing how many people came to our wedding! Some cousins I hadn’t seen in years, maternal and paternal aunts and uncles that have never met each other, and the merging of mine and Erin’s family. It felt like the most amazing family reunion where I got to dance with my favorite person in the world to my favorite radio station the entire time. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER COUPLES PLANNING THEIR WEDDING? 
Erin: Hire a wedding consultant. Carloyn was an absolute lifesaver. She kept everything on schedule and took care of all the finite details of our special day. We didn’t have to worry about a single thing. Also, hire a good photographer. The photos from this day are going to last forever and you want them to be amazing. Erica really has a great eye and our pictures are incredible! I would also hire a videographer. We didn’t do this and I wish we had.
Kayla: Don’t sweat the small stuff (don’t be a Bridezilla!). There are so many moving parts to a wedding, something is bound to happen differently than you planned it. Just let it go, and don’t let it ruin your day. It’s supposed to be the best day of your life! Take a breather, relax, and have some snacks in your room while you’re getting ready. NOW THAT THE WEDDING IS OVER, WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS OR FUTURE PLANS AS

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A MARRIED COUPLE? We both want to start a family, but not just yet. Kayla separated from the Navy in August, and we are both currently attending the University of Houston. Kayla is studying Biotechnology to be pre-med and wants to pursue her dreams of being of a Pediatrician. Erin is pre-pharmacy and will be applying to pharmacy schools for Fall of 2018. Short term, we want to travel as much as we can. We’ve been to five continents between the two of us, so we’d like the complete set!

Photographer: The One and Only Erica Ferrone Wedding Consultant: Carolyn Cox with Carolyn Celeste Weddings Ceremony Site: Woman’s Club of Portsmouth Reception Site: Woman’s Club of Portsmouth Caterer: Yummy Goodness Wedding Cake: Jennifer Shockley with Shockley’s Sweet Shoppe Florist: Kathy Williams Clothing/Gowns/Suits: David’s Bridal (gown); Balani Custom Clothiers (tux) Hair: Kristal Lane Makeup: Kristal Lane Music: Atlantic Digital Entertainment DJ: Atlantic Digital Entertainment Linens: Waterford Event Rentals Rentals: Waterford Event Rentals Invitations: Invitations by David’s Bridal Other: Boardwalk Photo Booth Company; Sand Shark Limo / GWM 101

owadays couples still take the route of the “traditional� wedding cake, but there are also lots of fun, creative, non-traditional dessert ideas to choose from as well. A bar of sweets is an easy way to impress your guests. Plus it is open to guests of all ages. TRENDING IDEAS INCLUDE:

A rustic wooden dessert stand with homemade tarts, a naked cake, and chocolate covered pears. A pie-pop dessert stand and assorted cake pops.

A whimsical wooden tiered donut tower lined with apples and cider.

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Candace Chand Sugar Artistry



Candace Chand of the world renowned Sugar Artistry in Vancouver, BC, Canada gives her expert advice on how to make the desserts at your event fit your unique style and taste. See more of her amazing work at / GWM 103

A dessert table featuring a small wedding cake and stacked macarons. Vintage cookies and milk dessert bar. A coffee bar or tea bar with assorted jars of teas on an antique dresser. A frozen treat like shaved ice (think: retro snow cones) or fruitinfused popsicles. A hot chocolate stand featuring an array of donuts, candy canes, and chocolate-covered marshmallows for winter weddings. Today couples even rent ice cream trucks for their guests to enjoy! Having smaller desserts let you have multiple flavors of each item, or for both you and your spouse to choose your favorite

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flavors, or even flavors that represent the two of you, similar to having signature cocktails. Candy bars with bags for your guests to fill and take home, or creating your own ice cream sandwiches or sundaes, allow everyone to get involved at more laidback casual receptions. Such desserts add personality to the overall wedding. ABOUT THE ARTIST: World renowned sugar artist Candace Chand is the face, cake designer and owner of Candace Chand Sugar Artistry. Born and raised on the beautiful Islands of Fiji, she moved to Vancouver, BC, Canada in 2001 and pursued her studies in Business Administration and Marketing. Though always having worked in the corporate world, her love of baking and crafting started in / GWM 105

her early teens. Through the love and support of her better half and two sons, she took her cake decorating hobby to the next level. Her vision with her cakes that she portrays is natural and simple, yet sophisticated. Her collection of cakes are luxe, ethereal, and an interesting blend of modern and embellished designs. Candace believes in effortless designs that are not lazy. Candace is a proudly recognized “Artist of Excellence” by Satin Ice Fine Foods and is a Partner with DIY Weddings Magazine of USA. She is an international cake decorating instructor and has many projects/classes coming up. She has also been featured in the DIY Weddings Magazine USA, Mehendi Weddings Magazine Chennai India, American Cake Decorating Magazine, Cake Central Magazine, Cake Masters Magazine UK, Sweet Magazine of Australia, Cake Craft Magazine UK, Pretty Witty Cakes Magazine UK, Gay Weddings and Marriages Magazine USA and The Hindu National Newspaper of Chennai India. See more of Candace Chand’s amazing work at

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wedding prep



ou did it. You tied the knot and the stress of wedding planning has come to an end. The honeymoon is around the corner and you’re all set to go. But wait! What about your dogs? Will they be taken care of when you’re enjoying a relaxing getaway with your new spouse? Have no fear. Boarding your dogs is a great way to make sure your pets are safe and well cared for while you are out of town. So, how might you prepare your dog for their stay at a boarding facility? When researching boarding facilities, choose one that offers live-stream cameras so you can check in on your dog. You can visit to see which facilities offer live stream cameras, and take virtual tours of different facilities in your area. Businesses who offer livestream cameras provide a realtime look into what your dog is up to! Being able to check in on your pet real-time gives peace of mind so you can enjoy your honeymoon without worry. But be careful – watching the dogs play can be very addictive! Always double-check facility reviews online (Google, Yelp, Angie’s List, Facebook and other social media platforms). It’s better to bring your dogs to a boarding facility that has more positive reviews than negative reviews. If possible, take your dog to the boarding facility PRIOR to packing. If your dog watches you

pack, they may get stressed out and anxious because they know you are leaving. Pack one extra day of food/ medication just in case travel plans get delayed. Also, dogs who are more active in group play burn more calories and should get a bit more food each meal to compensate for increased activity level. HERE’S HOW YOU CAN PREPARE: Make sure your dog is in good health. Traveling can be stressful for any pet, so it’s better for a dog who may have some health ailments to stay home unless absolutely necessary. Get up to date vaccines and a health certificate from your veterinarian. You never know if you will run into sick or unvaccinated dogs while vacationing. Carrying vaccination records or an official health certificate is good to have in case anyone questions your dog’s health.

with tags that have your updated address and phone number(s). If your dog has a microchip, update that information as well. It can be life-saving if for some reason your dog gets lost. Bring plenty of food, treats and toys. Give your dog lots of treats and praise for being well behaved while you are traveling. Pack extra food in case of travel delays. Toys are important so your dog has something fun to do at your final destination. So go on, have fun and prepare your dog for the honeymoon, whether he/she will be staying with a boarding staff or traveling alongside you and your spouse. Fido will appreciate the hard work that was put in to making them comfortable! Author: Amanda Yantos, owner of Dog Mom Days. Find more valuable information for pet parents at

Pack something that smells like home. Whether you are traveling by airplane, car or train, having an item of clothing or a blanket that smells like home will bring your dog comfort. Have proper identification on your dog. Make sure they are wearing a collar / GWM 107

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PATRICK & ANTHONY September 9, 2016 / Green Holly Photography / GWM 109

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A MADE IN DETROIT STORY: 50 YEARS IN THE MAKING Tony Misuraca and Patrick Brewis started their journey 50 years ago. They first “met,” albeit briefly, at birth. Born just 5 days apart in the same hospital, Patrick, a C-section baby, was born first on June 1 and Tony arrived on June 6. In 1966, C-sections and mothers were usually in the hospital for a week. Hence, they “met” in the hospital as newborns. In fact, Patrick’s mother worked for the doctor who delivered both Tony and Patrick… the same doctor brought them into the world. However connected it seemed that they would be, it would take 48 years before they would reconnect on their journey; giving special meaning to good things really do come to those who wait.

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After Tony raised two beautiful girls, he came to terms with his sexuality. First generation Sicilians generally just don’t come out as gay. After a career as a professional performer, Patrick moved back to Michigan from NYC. Just about 20 years after he moved away, he came home to take care of his Mother who had been diagnosed with esophageal cancer. He packed up his entire life in 48 hours with the help of some great friends and headed home. Meanwhile, Tony was packing up his life with his former wife and two beautiful daughters heading into the unknown territory of being single and out as a gay man. Within a year, the two were introduced through a connection between mutual friends. It was love at first sight for Tony and for Patrick it was a glimmer of hope: a hope that he might just actually find love in Michigan. After a two-year courtship, two scrapped proposal attempts, and one landmark Supreme Court decision, Patrick finally proposed to Tony in Cancun, Mexico. On September 9, 2016 they were married in Detroit at the Rattlesnake Club, just over 50 years after they “met” in the hospital. Patrick’s creative events and design services firm, Creative Detroit Placemakers, LLC conceived, designed and implemented the event. With the beautiful Detroit River as backdrop and under a bright, warm late summer sky, the two were escorted by mother and daughters from river to brick / GWM 111

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terrace and wed in a 45 minute outdoor ceremony followed by hors d’oeuvres and drinks on the Rattlesnake patio as sunset approached. Then, as guests entered the storied Stroh’s building, they were greeted by a park-like setting with lit trees and park benches that funneled them into the six-story glass atrium. Once inside, guests were greeted with a “Made In Detroit” theme. Tony and Patrick created a floor plan with a combination of family style and round tables that paid homage to Detroit’s street grid. The two grooms, Tony’s daughters and Patrick’s mother dined at a table marked Grand Circus Park and 130 family and friends feasted at tables titled Michigan Avenue, Eastern Market, Jefferson Avenue, Woodward Avenue, Belle Isle, Campus Martius, etc. Miniature replicas of Detroit street signs were used instead of table numbers and a seating chart that resembled a map of Detroit’s street grid aided all in finding their seats. Additionally, a network of fairy lights, hung 40 feet high in the atrium, twinkled above guests. These lights, symbolizing a constellation of fireflies in the night sky, reminded Tony and Patrick of the many deep conversations they had on their back patio with accompanying fireflies. Masculine colors of deep blue and leather brown adorned the tables with flourishes of deep raspberry, white and greenery in the architectural floral arrangements. Finally, as a show of appreciation for all the love and support

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they received, Tony and Patrick proudly created a “Made in Detroit. Just Like Us.� table. A sensory delight complete with Detroit classics for their loved ones to enjoy: glass bottles of Faygo and Vernors, bags of Better Made potato chips and Detroit popcorn, Velvet Peanut Butter, and Sanders hot fudge and caramel sauce. All of this a part of a made in Detroit story: 50 years in the making!

Photographer: Green Holly Photography Cake Designer: Good Cakes and Bakes Floral Designer: Kravis Events Design and Decor: Creative Detroit Placemakers Reception Venue: The Rattlesnake Club / GWM 113

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TRACY & SARA August 6, 2016 / Sarah Babcock Photography

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HOW DID YOU MEET? We met at work. We worked at the same hospital and ended up assigned to the same unit. We found that we worked really well as a team in our work environment and became fast friends both on the job and outside the hospital. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TOGETHER? We have been together for three and a half beautiful years. It may not seem like a very long time, but when you meet your soul mate, it just feels like you have been waiting forever to begin your life together. When you know, you know. WHAT IS THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE YOU’VE HAD TO OVERCOME AS A COUPLE? The biggest obstacle we have had to overcome as a couple was when Tracy was away for 4 months fighting wild fires in 2015. It was a challenging time for both of us to be apart for so long, especially not knowing when we would be able to speak on the phone or see one another next. Tracy was traveling between Oregon, Washington and California with her crew, never knowing what to expect from the fires or where they would be stationed next. Sometimes they wouldn’t have cell service for days, while out in the middle of the forests. We learned very quickly that this would be a truly nerve wrecking for both us. However, it turned out to be an amazing experience for building our relationship together and to work on us individually. Did we mention that this time when Tracy was away is when she was able to plan and make all the arrangements for proposing to Sara? She had a lot of time to

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Real Weddings think and developed not only a beautiful proposal weekend for us, but she also designed the most beautiful engagement ring. The wild fire season of 2015 turned out to be a blessing in disguise. WHAT DO YOU LOVE THE MOST ABOUT YOUR SPOUSE? Sara – I love Tracy’s passion for adventure, her determination to always do her best and her incredible heart. When we discuss going on adventures and getaway trips, whether out here in the beautiful PNW or elsewhere, she is always the first to begin making a game plan, mapping out the sites to see and the excitement to find. I can ALWAYS rely on her for a map or sense of direction (because I would quite physically be lost on my own with my lack of directional sense). She will always lend a helping hand to anyone in need and she loves harder than anyone I have ever known. Tracy’s love is the most incredible feeling I have ever experienced. Tracy- I love Sara’s smile. Whenever I see that incredible smile it just makes me melt. She lights up a room every time she walks through the door. She makes me feel like I’m invincible and that together we could take on the world. That is one thing that I have never had before her, a sense of belonging and partnership that seems unbreakable despite the challenges life throws at us. We are the perfect team. We 118 GWM / Summer 2017 / GWM 119

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compliment each other and really push each other to be the best versions of ourselves. Sara has an amazing way of bringing out the best in people and allowing them to shine. DESCRIBE YOUR WEDDING DAY: Our wedding day began very serene and intimate with the two of us waking up together, in our beautiful hotel room and venturing out for coffee in the quiet of downtown as the sun was beginning to rise. Our sisters (Tracy’s younger sister and Sara’s younger sister) and 3 of our closest friends arrived along with Sara’s mom to begin getting ready for the magical day. Toward the conclusion of morning Tracy and Sara were separated until they both had completed the finishing touches and experienced their first look, which was very special. Tracy was both beautiful and dapper in her suit and so cute when she first saw Sara. I remember the words she said to me “I am afraid to touch you! You look so beautiful!,” as she hesitantly went in for a hug. Before we knew it we were off to the venue to begin taking photos and just a short time later we were walking down a path in the woods to a song by our favorite musician. We would finally meet on the magnificent redwood deck among towering trees and surrounded by warmth of our loved ones. Our ceremony was perfect. It was officiated by a close friend, everyone laughed, we exchanged promises for the future that we wrote together, rather than traditional vows, and then sealed it with a “pinky-swear” and a kiss. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART? Sara – My favorite part of the whole day was the ceremony. I think it was the one true time that day during which I briefly forgot that anyone else was there. It was just Tracy and I standing on the stunning redwood deck, staring at one another with huge smiles, exchanging promises for our future together and then we would say something funny and the guests would giggle… making us aware we did still have company. WERE THERE ANY SURPRISES (GOOD OR BAD) THAT HAPPENED? At the conclusion of the night our family formed a tunnel of sparklers and, as we were running through it, to my surprise my dress came unhooked and started to unzip

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itself! I popped upright really quick, dangerously, in a tunnel of sparklers! Everyone was chanting for us to kiss at the end, while I just stood there laughing with a look of surprise on my face and shouted “I can’t!” while thinking “Oh no! I guess this is a sign the night has come to an end,” haha. -Sara WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER COUPLES PLANNING THEIR WEDDING? Stay true to what you want on your special day. It is way too easy to fall into the trap of other people’s advice and suggestions. It is your special day and, no matter what, you want to be able to look back on it and know that it was truly yours, not someone else’s dream. The only other advice I would give is, if you’re going to splurge on anything, make sure it’s your photographer. This is the person that is capturing the memories of a lifetime and you want them to be amazing. They spend so much time with the couple and the families that it is really important to find someone that you click with and trust. Our photographer, Sara Babcock, was incredible. She not only took the most beautiful photos, but was the creative genius and event coordinator to many of the details that we hadn’t even thought about. Do not skimp on your photography budget! NOW THAT THE WEDDING IS OVER, WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS OR FUTURE PLANS AS A MARRIED COUPLE? Remodeling our house and, of course, babies! Tracy has her fingers crossed for twins!

Photographer: Sarah Babcock Ceremony Site: The Redwood Deck, Hoyt Arboretum Reception Site: Stevens Pavillion, Hoyt Arboretum - hors d’oeuvre and dessert catered by family Dinner: Henry’s 12th Street Tavern Wedding Cake: Wedding Pie made Tracy’s godmother Pam Van Scoyk Florist: Adam Foote Clothing/Gowns/Suits: Tracy’s suit – Banana Republic / Sara’s gown – Charolette’s Weddings and More Hair/Makeup: Hair by Kelsey Music: Margaret Wehr Linens: The Party Pros Invitations: Designed by Tracy and printed by Oblation Papers & Press Videographer: David Schmaus / GWM 121



he new Amazon Wedding Registry,, 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.


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.


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.


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.


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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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.


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.


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.


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!


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

ding Registry / GWM 123

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DIY WEDDING FLOWERS Celebrity Florist Roberto Gonzalez Shows You How

By Justin Salamone Are you brave enough to DIY your own wedding flowers? It’s a doable project, but be prepared for a few dead flowers and very likely, a few tears, too! There’s deciding on your overall design, buying vases and floral supplies, learning how to arrange, and figuring out how you are going to transport the finished product to the venue. To help make your DIY florals as successfully as possible, we turned to a man who has designed flowers for Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Hudson, Barbara Walters, Shania Twain, and President Obama. Roberto Gonzalez, owner of Chicagobased Robert James Events, is as mighty with the bloom as he is with his biceps. He shares his best tips and tricks for making your florals awesome and painless. IS IT A BIG MISTAKE TO DIY WEDDING FLOWERS?

Roberto Gonzalez: I have seen it done successfully but I have also received many frantic daybefore-the-ceremony calls, asking me to take over. Then it becomes more expensive than if one had hired a professional from the start. If you are considering doing your own wedding flowers, I suggest you first watch a few video tutorials. See how wedding flowers are designed and really / GWM 125

ask yourself if this is something you can take on. Consider the amount of pieces you will have to make and the amount of flowers you will have to buy. DO YOU RECOMMEND PULLING IDEAS FROM PINTEREST? Pinterest can be dangerous for first-timers. I would suggest not getting too technical and complex as it can be risky. The simpler, the better. I suggest picking one or two flowers and then practice constructing the arrangement before hand; not just once but three or four times. HOW SHOULD ONE GO ABOUT CHOOSING THEIR FLOWERS? For starters, make sure to pick hardy blooms that will last a while. As soon you get your flowers, cut the stem and put them in a bucket with clean water and remove all foliage below the water line. Keep the flowers in a cool place, out of direct sunlight. 65 to 70 degrees is optimal. Keep away from cooling vents, fans, radiators and windows.

WHERE ARE THE BEST PLACES TO BUY VASES? Often times, I find the best prices at craft stores and flea markets. When I’m in New York, one of my favorite places to get vases is Get the vases ahead of time and consider the scale. Something that appears large in a store can look too small on a table. Think about the height of the piece, especially when all the guests are seated.

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You should buy all your supplies ahead of time, and become familiarized with them. You can get them easily online. My favorite scissors are from Jamali Garden. The best professional floral foam is by Oasis. It’s available on Amazon. You’ll also need ribbons for bouquets and boutonnieres. They can be found at your local craft store.

The real heroes are the drivers that make sure all florals get to the venue impeccably. Remember, centerpieces takes space because flowers cannot be stacked on top of each other. Take special consideration of the available height inside the car. When transporting water vases, the packing material becomes extremely important because you want to avoid spills. I suggest using strong flower boxes or milk crates with packing paper. And watch out for pot holes!

Most people send the centerpieces home with special family members to show their appreciation. If you have lots of flowers left, a nursing home, a church or a children’s hospital would be happy to receive them.


Visit Follow Roberto on Twitter @robertoFlorist. Photography by Rick Day.

It depends on the kind of task you want to embark on. I would recommend trying both to see which results you prefer. Some people find floral foam easier to work with. Others prefer water. SHOULD THEY ALL BE DONE THE DAY BEFORE? Bouquets should be made the day before. Plan for about 30 minutes to 1 hour for construction and about 25 mins for each bridesmaid. One boutonniere is a breeze but when you have to make more, it becomes tricky. Centerpieces can be created two days before. Plan for spend about two to three hours for twelve centerpieces. You may need two people working on it if it’s a large centerpiece. HOW MANY PEOPLE DO YOU USUALLY HAVE ON A TEAM? We usually have about 15 professionals working on all the florals. / GWM 127

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ROLF & RICARDO September 24, 2016 / Susan Hennessey Photography

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HOW DID YOU MEET? We started chatting over the Internet but just a couple of weeks after our first chat, Rolf decided to visit Québec City, where Ricardo was living. WHAT IS THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE YOU’VE HAD TO OVERCOME AS A COUPLE? Distance. Rolf is a university professor at the University of Pennsylvania and Ricardo is a university professor at Cornell in Ithaca, so we live in different states during the academic year but we try to be together as much as we can. The flexibility of academia is very helpful. WHAT DO YOU LOVE THE MOST ABOUT YOUR SPOUSE? Ricardo about Rolf: I really love Rolf’s intellectual curiosity. He already

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knows a lot about an enormous variety of things, and he still wants to learn more. And then I love that he truly enjoys sharing his knowledge, just as much as he enjoys sharing his love. Rolf about Ricardo: I love Ricardo’s gentle and sweet nature. When I met Ricardo, I adored him immediately and thought, this is really someone special, unlike anyone I have ever met before! DESCRIBE YOUR WEDDING DAY: It was a glorious day filled with love, solemnity and laughter, beautiful music, and sweet dances and memories. The ceremony was a sung AngloCatholic solemn mass with incense, vows from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, and early choral and organ music that matched the architectural beauty of Saint Mark’s church in Philadelphia – which is a National Historic Landmark. We chose music by some of our favorite composers: Purcell, Couperin, Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, Byrd, Tallis, Palestrina, and Messiaen. The music was wonderful and so was the lovely and enlightening sermon by the Rev. Erika Takacs. We are so grateful she prepared us and officiated the ceremony. Our groomsmaids were our nieces, and the groomsmen were Ricardo’s brother, Felipe, and our best friends. Ricardo’s goddaughter was the ring bearer, and the daughter of one of the groomsmen was the flower girl. Both girls walked down the aisle with the sweetest poise and grace. / GWM 131

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For the reception we wanted something that evoked Philadelphia’s golden age as well as Ricardo’s Italian-Chilean heritage. The Stotesbury mansion, which was built in 1890 as a wedding present, was the perfect setting: the ballroom was imported in 1914, piece-bypiece, from a Georgian estate in England. The cocktail-hour and seated-dinner menu was fully designed by Ricardo and featured Northern Italian (Piemontese) and Chilean staples, as well as some Mid-Atlantic and FrenchCanadian touches to reflect our story together. As favors, guests received Gianduia chocolates from the region of the Daziano family in Italy, bomboniere with Jordan almonds, and –at the rehearsal dinner– darkchocolate-covered alfajores (Chilean cookies filled with dulce de leche) and a British scone mix. We wanted to have Italian or Chilean traditions, beyond the food (and lots of it to honor the Italian side of the family) but it turned out we share a lot of the traditions, like wearing

something old, new, borrowed and blue. So, in the end we had very American traditions that were interesting for the guests from abroad: the rehearsal dinner, bridal parties and the series of formal dances don’t exist in Italy or Chile. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART? Having both of our families and all our friends acknowledge and celebrate our vows to each other felt more wonderful than we ever imagined. So many people witnessed our love and supported it. Nothing could have been a better symbol of our decision to be joined together forever. It is hard to single out just a moment, especially because we both loved the entire ceremony. However, Rolf’s favorite part was when Ricardo walked in with his mother and he was waiting at the altar (while the choir sang Handel’s ‘Zadok the Priest’). Ricardo’s favorite parts were the exchange of rings and joining of hands, and receiving communion and a blessing together. At the reception, Ricardo’s favorite part was when the string quartet played, to Rolf’s surprise, a piece written by Rolf when he was only 16. Ricardo had to ‘steal’ the score from Rolf’s computer. Rolf had no clue about any of this until Ricardo announced the surprise performance. Rolf loved the first dance (Etta Jame’s ‘At Last’), cutting the three-tier cake (chocolate chip and chocolate ganache, blueberry and lemon curd, raspberry vanilla and apricot), and the surprise tango danced by one of the couple’s best friends. We both loved being

at the lush sweetheart table. WERE THERE ANY SURPRISES (GOOD OR BAD) THAT HAPPENED? After securing the reception venue and church, we had a big scare. Ricardo had a serious stroke due to a spontaneous artery dissection, when he was arriving to Chicago for a talk. His speedy recovery was a miracle that amazed doctors: in a question of days Ricardo was walking again and after a few weeks, he was fully smiling again. Because of this unexpected event, we view our wedding as a thanksgiving service for a healthy life together. A rather minor surprise followed. The stained-glass window at the back of the church needed to be restored, just a couple of weeks before the wedding. Scaffolding in the exterior of the church and the gorgeous organ in the back being covered to protect it created a little panic moment. However, we thought the restoration work made more evident we were getting married at a historic place. Guests were looking to the beautiful altar most of the time anyway. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER COUPLES PLANNING THEIR WEDDING? Maybe because we are both professors, our main advice is to make informed decisions: set up a budget and then do your research for finding the best vendors that match both your vision and budget. Nowadays there is plenty of resources online to check reviews of vendors and get ideas. However, browsing the reviews and making decisions can be overwhelming. Be careful with planning your budget: adding / GWM 133

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little details here and there do sum up, quickly! Finally, be a little flexible so that you enjoy the day: there is always at least one thing –or more– that won’t go as planned. If that happens, just let it go – nobody will notice or even know there was a problem unless you make it evident to your guests. NOW THAT THE WEDDING IS OVER, WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS OR FUTURE PLANS AS A MARRIED COUPLE? In the short term, we couldn’t take our honeymoon right after the wedding, so we have been planning a little escape to Sardinia and the Italian alps, with a couple of stops in London (where we got engaged), Bavaria and Switzerland. (It doesn’t sound that little, does it?) We hope that soon we can both work and live in the same city during the whole year!

Photographer: Susan Hennessey Ceremony Site: Saint Mark’s Church Reception Site: The Stotesbury Mansion Caterer: Feastivities Wedding Cake: Termini Bros bakery Florist: Offshoots Décor Clothing/Gowns/Suits: Evening Tails: Ralph Lauren (Rolf); Wilvorst (Ricardo) Shirts, waistcoats, and bow ties: Brooks Brothers. Cufflinks: vintage (Rolf, his grandfather’s), Burberry (Ricardo) Ricardo’s shoes: Dsquared. Groomsmaids: White by Vera Wang Groomsmen: Ralph Lauren tuxedos. Hair: Siaani Salon (Rolf). Adolf Biecker (Ricardo). Music: Ceremony: 9-part professional choir of St. Mark’s, main organist and choirmaster: Robert McCormick, second organist: Bernard Kunkel Reception: Elegance String Quartet and Jazz Trio DJ: VIP DJ Entertainment Linens: Feastivities Lighting: Feastivities Invitations: Oscar de la Renta for PaperlessPost Other: Ice cream cart, Little Baby’s Ice Cream Rehearsal dinner: The Dandelion, a Britishinspired gastropub Wedding bands: Tiffany 134 GWM / Summer 2017 We are all at different stages of our relationships. GWM provides tools and tips for success during each 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 135

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COURTNEY & MARISA September 12, 2015 / Mary Veal Photography / GWM 137

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HOW DID YOU MEET? We are both ER nurses in Houston, TX, we met at work actually Marisa was my boss and her story is that I batted my eye lashes and said hi very coy like. My story is a little different, I remember the first time I actually talked to her in the parking lot on her first day of working with me, I think I talked to her about where she could park, but man that smile of hers just made me melt! We didn’t start “talking” until a few months later because we were both in relationships with other people. We stayed professional as long as we could handle it but one day I think over texting she “made the move” haha if that makes sense over text. From there we couldn’t hold it in any longer and the rest is history! HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TOGETHER? We together around 6 months before we got engaged and were engaged for 9 months and now we have been married about a year and a half! Seems like longer, we always tell each other life doesn’t feel like it started until we met each other. So all together almost 3 years. WHAT IS THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE YOU’VE HAD TO OVERCOME AS A COUPLE? Hmmm truly nothing really sticks out, we have overcame little hurdles here and there or little stresses but we seem to support each other through them and conquer them together. Our hurdle right now is getting pregnant which is definitely something you as any LGBT couple have to realize is not going to be easy or romantic as much as you want it to be like everyone else. I (Courtney) am the one that will be carrying so

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my wife has been nothing but supportive, she has been at every appointment and researches everything to do to make a healthy baby, even if that means I have to eat everything organic ;) WHAT DO YOU LOVE THE MOST ABOUT YOUR SPOUSE? That is a hard question! Courtney about Marisa: Everything of course is the easy answer but I think what I love about is how Marisa is just so supportive and always know exactly what I need from her in this deep loving way that truly is unexplainable. I love her funny, goofy, silliness, and how much I truly know how much I am loved when she looks at me. Our relationship is easy because she is there for me and I am for her. Marisa about Courtney: What I love most about my wife is the passion she lives by. Including the passion she has for me, us

as a couple, and our future. It’s what I fell in love with and what fertilizes our relationship everyday. DESCRIBE YOUR WEDDING DAY: Everything we could have ever wanted! The thing that I love most about it was I don’t think I could have dreamed it because nothing is as perfect as a dream but it was perfect for us as a couple and I think that is the most important thing about a wedding, it is not about what you or your partner dreamed of it is what you can create/dream up together that makes it magical and beautiful!... now onto the wedding. Our wedding was rustic tropical, I love the color orange and coral that is tropical but love lace/ burlap accents.

That morning we agreed to spend the whole day apart (which is hard for us since we are always glue at the hip), I spent the morning with my closet friends and my grandmother, mother and sister in law having brunch and bringing up embarrassing stories of myself. The ceremony we decided that we still want both of our fathers to walk us down the aisle and Marisa “did not want to wait” for me. So we decided she would walk with her father down the dock and I would walk with mine down from the house and we would meet at the altar, it worked out perfect! Dinner time we had seafood pasta which I still am getting rants and raves about from everyone, while everyone was eating we slowly made our way around the tables / GWM 139

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and tried to see how all 36 of our guests were doing, which looking back I don’t know how people have weddings with hundreds of people! I was very happy with our 36 close family and friends. After dinner we all danced the night away, my favorite part of the night or any party! We danced to our “Loving You Is Easy” by the Zac brown Band. My wife doesn’t dance much in front of people but will dance in our house all the time so she was a little nervous and practiced her dips with me any chance she could, she still does to this day. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART? All of it! Marisa’s says vowing to be wife and wife forever! WERE THERE ANY SURPRISES (GOOD OR BAD) THAT HAPPENED? Bad surprise: The weather was hot and very very very humid, the sky burst around 11:30. We just didn’t expect it to be that hot. Good surprise: Some of our friends that we go lobstering with made us a canvas portrait with a handmade frame that our friend Eric makes that are truly stunning, that was a sweet thoughtful surprise. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER COUPLES PLANNING THEIR WEDDING? Make it about you as a couple, have some of your hard no’s that you really want to have but compromise because coming up with something that you worked on as a team is pretty special accomplishment and will make your wedding that much more amazing. Let your family feel incorporated in the ceremony and on your day so then they

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don’t feel the need to incorporate in other ways. GET A PLANNER! If you pay someone or use a friend get one! It will decrease your stress level and let you worry about the important things! NOW THAT THE WEDDING IS OVER, WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS OR FUTURE PLANS AS A MARRIED COUPLE? Having a family, we bought a house a couple months before we got married so we are in the process of fixing it up and in the process of getting our family started. We took last year to travel and do what we really love be by the beach and the ocean!

Planner: Julia Timmins Blue Water Weddings Day of Coordinator: Diane Ambrogio Location/Venue: Butterfly Haven, a private residence in Islamorada, Florida Officiant: Lisa Bradeen Hair and Make Up: Linda Schonning @Hair Stylist & Makeup Artist Linda Schonning Florist: Floral Fantasy Caterer: Diane Ambrogio with Caribbean Catering Baker: Caribbean Catering Band/DJ: George Pollis Reel Ting - Steel Drum Band Tent/Chair/Linen/China Rentals: Caribbean Catering Accomocations: Casa Morada Shangri-la Suite Photography: Mary Veal and Mike Freas for Mary Veal Photography Clothing/Gowns/Suits: Tommy Bahama and Macys Invitations: Zazzle / GWM 141

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David Fin


I began realizing men wanted something special for their wedding day, and there was nothing different in the market to make the process truly special for them. I kept hearing from customers that grooms and their groomsmen would look for ties in big department stores, but they either wouldn’t have the proper amount needed for the event, or the style and design of the tie was off from the color themes of the wedding, making it frustrating and difficult to find what they wanted. Ties are one of the most photographed parts of a wedding, appearing in nearly every photo, so it is important to give the wedding party exactly what they want. I thought why not let the wedding parties design exactly the tie of their dreams? And why not make it extra special with a monogrammed message on the back of the tie for the groom and their groomsmen of their choosing? They know the exact colors they want to match, they know the patterns and designs they have in mind – I wanted to make their visions come alive. WHAT IS THE PROCESS LIKE FOR CREATING/CUSTOMIZING A TIE?

We make it very easy! First you pick your color, the fabric, and the design of your tie or bow tie and pocket square and what you want the monogrammed message on the back to say (for example, many grooms put their initials with a heart next to their spouses initials while they monogram their groomsmen’s ties with each / GWM 143

one of their initials). The hard hand crafting work is left up to us!

AS YOU MENTIONED, MONOGRAMMING IS AVAILABLE - HOW HAS THE RECEPTION TO THIS BEEN? Absolutely amazing - it makes all the difference in the world because it is a secret message forever cemented in perhaps the most special outfit you will ever wear in your entire life. From hearts, to hash tags, to love notes, the monogramming makes for beautiful photos and even more beautiful memories. And the groomsmen or people in your wedding party love it because it’s not only something they wear for the wedding, it becomes also their gift/keepsake for being part of your big day.

DO YOU HAVE A READY TO WEAR WEDDING COLLECTION? WHAT IS AVAILABLE IN THAT? Yes! It is ready to ship the same day as when ordered. We have all

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of the iconic, classic colors that can be matched for any wedding. These are great for people looking for ties a month or so before getting married as their finishing touch. Otherwise our custom option is fantastic to truly make the tie experience special, which should be ordered 6-8 weeks prior to getting married. WHAT ARE THE MOST POPULAR TRENDS FOR NECKWEAR IN THE WEDDING SPACE? The biggest trend is solids but we add some texture to them to give the ties life. The textures also are meant to slightly pop in the photographs, giving your entire wedding day look a much richer feel. / GWM 145

WHY DOES THIS MAKE THE WORLD OF A DIFFERENCE FOR WEDDING PARTIES? WHAT HAS THE RECEPTION BEEN? It has been really exciting to see the faces of our clients when they receive their ties. To be able to play a part in adding an extra special layer to the outfits of grooms and groomsmen on their wedding day is priceless to us. Our clients all tell us how vividly our colors pop and the ties make a flawless knot which makes wedding photos look even better - and the monogramming adds a special touch of personalization to last a lifetime.


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Everyone should be able to enjoy a great American made product, no matter who they love. We celebrate love at David Fin ties, and are honored to be a part of anyone’s special day!

HOW CAN PEOPLE INQUIRE MORE ABOUT THIS? E-mail us at Weddings@ to set up your consultation with our team! You can shop our collection online at www.davidfin. com. / GWM 147

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LISA & BRIT February 25, 2017 / Liv Lyszyk Photography

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HOW DID YOU MEET? Random serendipitous events through mutual friends. Our favorite moment is when Lisa volunteered to help set up an event Brit was planning. There was this moment Lisa was blowing up balloons and we caught each other’s eye. Honestly the entire room disappeared. Cheesy as hellbut truly the moment we both secretly knew the other felt the same. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TOGETHER? 4 years WHAT IS THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE YOU’VE HAD TO OVERCOME AS A COUPLE? We have moved across the country together, integrated a family together, made the decision to support each other through simultaneously attending graduate school…and now opened a business together. I’d say we perfectly challenge

and support each other. Smooth sailing from here? WHAT DO YOU LOVE THE MOST ABOUT YOUR SPOUSE? Lisa: how growth oriented Brit is. How empathetic and compassionate she is and her self-perceivedstellar dance moves. Brit: Truly, how thoughtful, focused and willing to seek adventure Lisa is. There’s never a day I don’t find an encouraging, loving note somewhere and there’s never a time I’m rejected on a whimsical adventure. DESCRIBE YOUR WEDDING DAY: The wedding day was nontraditional in every sense. It was important for us to keep it very personal and represent us as a couple. We had a combined wedding party, we walked each other down the isle, we wrote our own vows…we did have

a first dance. That’s about as traditional as it got. We wanted everything to be focused around ease, love and celebration. Because the entire night took place in a greenhouse decoration was simple and elegant. We had eucalyptus vines as center pieces with random crespedia and allium sphaerocephalon. The DJ was INCREDIBLE. Not one person didn’t dance. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART? Our daughter gave a speech at dinner. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room. Hearing her describe our love from her eyes and how each other perfectly compliments the other and influences her was incredibly touching. We had several friends travel from New York, California and Iowa to GR to attend. it was interesting thinking about how the different people, from the different places / GWM 149

Real Weddings we have lived, would interact. Seeing them mesh, and celebrating love together truly made me feel blessed. It drove home how lucky we are to have the friends we do. The chosen family we surround ourselves with. WERE THERE ANY SURPRISES (GOOD OR BAD) THAT HAPPENED? Lisa’s vows surprised me! She’s an amazing writer but I couldn’t predict how moving they actually would be. Brit’s grandparents were at the wedding, which shouldn’t have been a surprise but still feels a little surreal. They grew up in a different era and have struggled with acceptance in the past, but when we told them about the wedding their love didn’t falter. They came and let love govern their beliefs.

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WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER COUPLES PLANNING THEIR WEDDING? Remember what the day is about, you and your commitment to one another. Weddings are pegged as stressful, and to a limited extent that’s inevitable, but never let it govern the process. I made sure each and every time I felt overwhelmed to step away and remember my favorite moment with Lisa (she’s waiting for me to arrive in San Francisco and I see her before she sees me waiting at the airport) and reconnect with the true meaning behind the day. Then I could start planning again focused and stress free. At the end of the wedding the details are lost in the general energy/atmosphere of the day. The day should be about celebration, ease and fun. Remind yourself of this often, be sure to pamper yourself a little, and enjoy the commitment you have decided to put energy towards. NOW THAT THE WEDDING IS OVER, WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS OR FUTURE PLANS AS A MARRIED COUPLE? Rock the Entrepreneur scene! Lisa is a freshly graduated Chiropractic physician, and I will soon follow. we intend to dedicate ourselves towards inspiring health and connecting our community. We believe there is power in all of us, and hope to inspire females, children and men alike to reclaim that power. Much love.

Photographer: Liv Lyszyk Ceremony Site: Grand Rapids Downtown Market Reception Site:Grand Rapids Downtown Market Caterer: Vault Catering Wedding Cake: Sweet Heather Anne’s (Ann Arbor, MI) Florist: Eastern Floral Clothing/Gowns/Suits: an eclectic mix of “good finds” Makeup: Lorde Beauty and cosmetics DJ: AB Music Talks Linens: hand made by Brit Invitations: hand made by the brides / GWM 151

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MICHAEL & MATTHEW October 1, 2016 / Dani Fine Photography / GWM 153

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HOW DID YOU MEET? We met online, on January 2. January 3 was our first date at The Local in Newton, and one of us was 40 minutes late. That was the last time anyone was late! By date 2, Matt was singing karaoke for the first time. His song of choice, “Baby Got Back.” The rest is history. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TOGETHER? 4.5 years WHAT IS THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE YOU’VE HAD TO OVERCOME AS A COUPLE? Planning a wedding. WHAT DO YOU LOVE THE MOST ABOUT YOUR SPOUSE? We love that we are adventurous, thoughtful and very familyfocused. We care about everyone in our lives. DESCRIBE YOUR WEDDING DAY: Things don’t always go as planned (weather). Because it was at our family home on Cape Cod, we saw the evolution from backyard to wedding venue, and it was exciting to be part of creating our party of a lifetime. Things were hectic, but the best decision we made was to have a planner who could manage the things we didn’t want to. The ceremony was the right balance of humor and sincerity. Entering the reception was like entering a wonderland. Every corner of our space was a new experience; food trucks, a 20-seat bar, caricature artists, and every hour or so, something new would be introduced. It kept people interested and kept the party going strong. Instead of a traditional seated wedding with dinner, we designed the space to be loungey, with sofas, communal and café tables, encouraging people to mingle and not feel stuck in one spot. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART? Other than the atmosphere, the best part was seeing our 20 months of planning come together. We are both event planners, so our goal was to give our guests, our family and friends, the most memorable time. If we could pick one single thing during the wedding, it would definitely be our choice

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of food trucks. I think that food trucks offer variety, and can be as classy as you want them to be. WERE THERE ANY SURPRISES (GOOD OR BAD) THAT HAPPENED? It was the great Massachusetts flood of 2016. Literally the rainiest day most people can remember recently. We went from having 3 tents to 7 tents. The soaked muddy ground would have been a complete disaster if it weren’t for the quick thinking of family members to build a floor for guests, especially for wheelchair accessibility. It all turned out well!

Wedding Cake: (cake pops) The Lollycake Ladies Florist: Affairs in Bloom Men’s Suits (grooms, groomsmen) – Combatant Gentleman (fathers of the grooms, nephews) – Ralph Lauren, Women’s Dresses – (grooms sisters, melon) – Macy’s (groomsgals, neices) – David’s Bridal Hair: Caitlin Murphy Makeup: Caitlin Murphy Music: Silver Arrow Band Rentals: Party By Design, Be Our Guest Lighting: Immedia Inc. Invitations: Coppia Creativa, LLC Transportation: Cape Destinations

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER COUPLES PLANNING THEIR WEDDING? HIRE A WEDDING PLANNER. Best decision made, period. Enjoy the moments of the wedding because it flies by. Have your best man/ maid of honor pull you from long conversations, and talk to as many people as possible, as early as possible in the reception so that you can focus on and enjoy the party! NOW THAT THE WEDDING IS OVER, WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS OR FUTURE PLANS AS A MARRIED COUPLE? Travel the world and enjoy life.

Photographer: Dani Fine Photography Wedding Consultant: Amy Kimball Events Ceremony/Reception Site: Family home, Orleans, MA, Cape Cod Caterer: Food trucks and food vendors – Bon Me, Chubby Chickpea, Fire It Up Flatbread, Espresso Dave / GWM 155

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BRANDI & SHANNA November 3, 2016 / Debbie Neff Photography

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HOW DID YOU MEET? We worked together at an animal hospital.

Real Weddings

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TOGETHER? We celebrated the 7 year anniversary of our first date on our wedding day. We considered ourselves a couple from that date on. WHAT IS THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE YOU’VE HAD TO OVERCOME AS A COUPLE? There were so many obstacles! Our relationship started in tragedy. There were lot of questions and sometimes doubts that we were even supposed to be together. It has never been easy for us. Having similar outlooks on love and life, believing that as hard as life can be, everything happens for a reason and that undeniable pull and attraction we feel towards each other, among other things have helped us navigate all the craziness. Outside forces aside, as a couple we just have this ease about us. If two people were ever meant to be together, it is Brandi and I. Didn’t all fairytales start out with some sort of hardship? WHAT DO YOU LOVE THE MOST ABOUT YOUR SPOUSE? Shanna says: It may sound selfish, but I know with all my being that no matter what happens Brandi will always loves me. She will always forgive me, even if I may not deserve it. It’s very humbling to know that someone has such a deep devotion and true love for you and your wellbeing. I am not saying that I will ever intentionally push the limits of her love, in fact it is the complete opposite. It makes me want to be a better person; the kind of person that deserves such affection.

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DESCRIBE YOUR WEDDING DAY: It was exactly as expected. It was chaos and a lot of hard work, mixed with true love and devotion, a plethora of happy tears and a tremendous amount of support from those we love. It was absolutely beautiful!! WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART? Shanna: as we were setting up that morning, a solid white love dove literally just showed up on the reception area floor. It just walked around in an area that was lit by a beautiful beam of sunlight. No one saw it come or leave. It was almost like it appeared out of nowhere just to let us know that everything we had been through up to that point was not in vain. We were doing exactly what we were supposed to. WERE THERE ANY SURPRISES (GOOD OR BAD) THAT HAPPENED? For about 20 minutes Shanna was thought to be a runaway bride. The plan was for me to arrive White chariot style in our beloved 1985 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia. Our good friend Fernando would be the chauffeur and pick me up from the cabin where I was getting ready and drive me to the ceremony site for “the grande entrance”. However, due to the time constraints, I changed locations. Thinking everyone else was aware I waited for my ride. Apparently this little piece of info was not relayed to the pertinent people and I was not to be found. Little did everyone else know, I was watching the whole thing go down in a different cabin. When I saw Fernando get in our “Westy” and drive away, I panicked. I could see everything and if I walked out, everyone would see me. Not quite the entrance I wanted to make, but I knew that eventually, unless someone found me I was making the trek on foot to meet my bride. Eventuality I was found, crises was adverted and it turned out lovely. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER COUPLES PLANNING THEIR WEDDING? Shanna: Hindsight is 20/20 and our best advice is to hire a wedding planner! Do not try to do it all yourself. Make room in your budget even if you are trying to keep keep costs down. You will never be able to anticipate all of the hiccups, whether big or small that can AND will occur beforehand and day of. Having a professional that is solely there to make sure your day goes

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as perfectly as possible is priceless. That is the one thing we regret. We will never be able to show enough gratitude to our friends and family who truly worked nonstop to make our day perfect. Though they never complained, they should have been able to just “be” and enjoy the beauty of our celebration. NOW THAT THE WEDDING IS OVER, WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS OR FUTURE PLANS AS A MARRIED COUPLE? We want to simplify, enjoy our lives and all the many adventures that are yet to come. We are working toward “going tiny”. We want to lessen the material things we hold on to, lessen our environmental impact and live life bigger, together! Maybe even try to have our own little person to share life with us.

Photographer: Debbie Neff Ceremony Site: Bogle Farm Reception Site: Bogle Farm Caterer: Armando Jimenez owner Taqueria Iztaccihuatl Wedding Cake: Ellen Steele owner Bite Me Baking Co Charlotte North Carolina Florist: Hand made fabric flowers by Kristin Goolsbee mixed with Baby’s Breath Clothing/Gowns/Suits: Shanna’s Bridal Gown: Allure Romance Collection, shoes Blue by Betsy Johnson Brandi’s Tux: Calvin Klein, shoes Vans Hair: Tiffany Mangham Makeup: Shannon Stanley DJ, Music and Karaoke: Luna Searles Atlanta, Georgia Linens: Our own linens Invitations: Ann’s Bridal Other: Misc props and decor Fairburn Antique Mall / GWM 161

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KEN & DAVE November 5, 2016 / Enchanted Celebrations

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Real Weddings


hese two newlyweds tied the knot at the beautiful Ram’s Head Inn in Galloway, NJ. With such a beautiful ceremony and perfectly themed reception, their wedding is certainly a hard one to top! Ken and Dave began their day surrounded by loved ones and sharing smiles and laughs. The weather was absolutely gorgeous so they headed outside for a session with our NJ Wedding Photographer. The couple went with a 1920’s flapper themed wedding so they were looking super spiffy! After some beautiful shots were taken, it was time for the ceremony to begin! Once the ceremony began, everyone was filled with anticipation for the big moment! The couple met each other at the altar and they couldn’t stop themselves from smiling throughout the entire ceremony. After they sealed their marriage with a kiss, they walked down the aisle holding hands and were absolutely radiating pure joy. They were immediately congratulated with many handshakes, hugs, and words of congratulations. After the ceremony, it was time for the real party to start. Everybody was decked out in true 1920’s fashion and it was nothing short of fabulous. Everyone was greeted by a group of enchanting flappers who performed a dance routine for the guests. Throughout the night, our NJ Wedding DJ had everybody from flappers to guests on their feet and swinging their hips. To further accentuate their theme, the

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newlyweds made use of our Ambient Lighting to spice up the reception and they also had one of our Personalized Wedding Monograms on the dance floor. The reception was absolutely breathtaking and definitely one to envy. Again, congratulations to Ken and Dave! We are more than honored to have been a part of your special day.

Photographer: Enchanted Celebrations Reception Venue: Ram’s Head Inn

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

By Todd Russell Buying inexpensive second hand pieces gives you the latitude to follow the latest design trends. It’s also a way to deal with your ever evolving design sense. Your taste as a couple will likely go through a number of changes before you settle into your desired style.

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

SPRUCE UP THE FRONT DOOR Your front door is the first impression guests have of your new house, and you want to make the most of it. Paint the door a very eye-catching high gloss paint. Classic colors include bright red, black, or blue. If you want your door to be distinctive and make a big impression use yellow or orange. These colors have symbolized happiness and hospitality. BUY SECONDHAND Purchasing furniture pieces and accessories from flea markets, yard sales and thrift stores isn’t entirely about saving money.

frames with black and white photos, botanical images from a calendar, or your own creations. Be sure to unify the fames by painting them white, gray, gold or black. UPDATE OUTDATED FINISHES

BRING FABRIC CREATE A GALLERY WALL Purchase an assortment of cheap picture frames from flea markets or local discount stores to create a focal point. The entire wall behind the sofa or up the staircase is a great place for these pictures. Make your gallery even more impressive by pairing the

You don’t need to undertake a major redesign to add style to your home. A little bit of fabric will breathe life into any space. Fabrics are a great wat to bring color and texture into your home. Inexpensive throw pillows on the sofa or new dining chair pads add instant pops of color. Fabric store remnants, clearance bed / GWM 167

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sheets or table cloths can be fashioned into placemats, shower curtains, window treatments and dinner napkins. If you have an upholstered chair with good bones but tired fabric, consider making a slip cover to highlight its beauty and extent its life. KEEP WALL NEUTRAL If you are choosing colors and painting walls for the first time, stick with neutrals like gray, beige or taupe to maintain a comfortable flow throughout the house. Light, neutral colors allow for flexibility when choosing furniture and accessories. If neither of you is comfortable picking paint colors try this trick: select a paint strip in the color family you like. Go with one of the lighter tones then move up and down a shade or two to create a subtle variation from room to room. EMBRACE THE MINIMAL LOOK When you’re starting out, it’s tempting to buy everything you want at one time to fill up space. You may even be home décor fanatics, but resist the urge to fall into the clutter trap. Keep things

clean and simple. Take your time and purchase items that you love. This way your furnishings will look like a natural extension of your personalities. ADD PLANTS TO YOUR DESIGN Including plants in your interior design adds visual interest to your rooms. Potted plants, floral arrangements or a simple herb garden will add life and fragrance to your home. Indoor plants are also beneficial to your health. They release oxygen, increase humidity levels and help purify the air. CREATE INEXPENSIVE ARCHITECTURAL DETAILS Create architecture where none exists. Use painter’s tape to make painted crown molding or a classic chair frail effect. Employ the same technique to create the illusion of picture frame molding on expansive walls. With faux molding you add a dimension and traditional appeal for very little money. BRIGHTEN ROOMS WITH MIRRORS Mirrors make a space brighter by

reflecting light. Interior designers like me suggest hanging mirrors on wall adjacent to windows rather than directly across from them. Mirrors can also make a cramped room appear larger by doubling what the eye perceives to be additional space. Decorating your first home as newlyweds can be very challenging. My advice is to prioritize the projects. Nothing looks better than a home that has gathered things over time. Believe me it is leaps and bounds over having the furniture showroom deliver the exact matching set up you saw in the showroom. Now it will be even easier to surround yourself in beautiful home décor. Be sure to shop my new home collection at bluedothome Design is everything. EVERYTHING! Todd Russell is a professional Interior Designer with over 20 years experience in helping couples create unique living spaces. He can be found on his Facebook page Blue Dot Interiors. bluedotinteriors / GWM 169

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MIGUEL & JAMES May 27, 2016 / Paul Rogers Photography Limited / GWM 171

Real Weddings


iguel and James celebrated their wedding on May 27, 2016 at Fulham Palace in London, England.

Photographer: Paul Rogers Photography Limited Event Venue: Fulham Palace

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LISA & JANELLE October 22, 2016 / Smile Peace Love Photography / GWM 175

Real Weddings HOW DID YOU MEET? We met through a mutual friend back in 1999. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TOGETHER? We went on our first date in 2011 and put an official label on our relationship in 2013. WHAT IS THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE YOU’VE HAD TO OVERCOME AS A COUPLE? Distance. When Lisa and Janelle first made their relationship official, they lived a state apart. They would see each other only on the weekends or Wednesday half way dates, where they would drive to a restaurant half way between them just to break up their long week apart. WHAT DO YOU LOVE THE MOST ABOUT YOUR SPOUSE? Lisa loves the kindness that pours out of Janelle. You can actually see it when she smiles. Janelle loves

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Lisa’s positive attitude and sense of adventure. DESCRIBE YOUR WEDDING DAY: It was perfect, though not exactly how we had planned. We were supposed to be married outdoors but when we woke up that morning, it was cold and rainy. We had to make the decision to move the ceremony indoors. It was still just as beautiful and perfect as we had dreamed it would be. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART? We enjoyed the whole day but agree that our favorite part was exchanging our vows. WERE THERE ANY SURPRISES? When the DJ announced us for the first time, he said “Mr. and Mrs.” Our closest family and friends looked appalled and immediately began to boo him.

We both did our best to make it obvious that we were laughing it off. He corrected himself and we were introduced correctly as “Mrs. & Mrs.” NOW THAT THE WEDDING IS OVER, WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS OR FUTURE PLANS AS A MARRIED COUPLE? Our goal is to love and support each other each and every day by recognizing each other’s continuously growing hopes and dreams and accomplishing them as a team.

Photographer: Jill Nobles, Smile Peace Love Photography Ceremony/Reception Site: Wolf Hollow at the Water Gap Country Club Clothing/Gowns/Suits: Janelle wore a gown by Pricilla of Boston and Lisa wore a gown by Henry Roth Officiant, Lois Heckman / GWM 177

Home & Family VANT WALL PANELS The most innovative and user-friendly wall décor system ever created, Vänt panels completely transform a room in just minutes. They’re perfect for every room in the house, from the kitchen and living room to the office and bedroom, and are available in different configurations to suit any need with endless possibilities. Go with one simple style or mix and match for a gorgeous, customized look. Inspired spaces make for inspired living and that’s why you’ll love Vänt! Choose from dozens of eye-catching colors in easycare finishes such as: pearl, leatherette, micro suede, and metallic. There’s no experience necessary to hang the panels, as their patent-pending SimpleMount™ System makes it virtually impossible to get it wrong. The panels are easily removable for cleaning. See the entire selection at

OMBRE RUGS BY LORENA CANALS The perfect marriage between two colors! Available in grey/baby blue, dark grey, emerald, vanilla, and coral pink lavender. Each rug is individually and carefully handmade, making each one unique. Lightweight for ease in transportation, they are soft and cozy, bringing warmth and sweetness to any room. The rugs are made with non-toxic dyes and with 100% natural raw materials, making them safe, healthy, and environmentally friendly. Lorena Canals is socially responsible and does not employ child labor in any of their activities. With profits, Lorena Canals finances the education of children in northern India to give them the opportunity to decide their future. They retail for $249.00 and up at http:// 178 GWM / Summer 2017

Home & Family AZTECA COLLECTION BY LORENA CANALS The Azteca collection has a Southwest inspired look and feel. They capture the essence of the beautiful sunsets in the desert! Each rug is individually and carefully handmade, making each one unique. Lightweight for ease in transportation, they are soft and cozy, bringing warmth and sweetness to any room. The rugs are made with non-toxic dyes and with 100% natural raw materials, making them safe, healthy, and environmentally friendly. Lorena Canals is socially responsible and does not employ child labor in any of their activities. With profits, Lorena Canals finances the education of children in northern India to give them the opportunity to decide their future. Pictured below, left to right: Azteca Natural – Vintage Nude, Azteca Natural – Terracota, and Azteca Natural – Vintage Blue. They retail for $227.00 and up at / GWM 179

Home & Family 15TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL EDITION INDIAN RUG COLLECTION BY LORENA CANALS The 15th Anniversary Special Edition Indian Rug Collection features great Bohemian global inspired designs including Indian Bag Multi, Indian Bag Grey – Pink, Indian Bag Grey-Blue. Each rug is individually and carefully handmade, making each one unique. Lightweight for ease in transportation, they are soft and cozy, bringing warmth and sweetness to any room. The rugs are made with non-toxic dyes and with 100% natural raw materials, making them safe, healthy, and environmentally friendly. Lorena Canals is socially responsible and does not employ child labor in any of their activities. With profits, Lorena Canals finances the education of children in northern India to give them the opportunity to decide their future. Pictured below, left to right: Indian Bag Multi, Indian Bag Grey – Pink, and Indian Bag Grey – Blue. They retail for $299.00 and up at

BLACK & WHITE COLLECTION BY LORENA CANALS Elegance and comfort for the trendiest homes. Available in Cactus Stamp, Bereber Beige, Bereber Black, Pineapple, Diamond, and Zig Zag. The Black & White Rug Collection comes in two sizes—standard area rug (5’x 8’) and runner (2’6” x 7”6”). Each rug is individually and carefully handmade, making each one unique. Lightweight for ease in transportation, they are soft and cozy, bringing warmth and sweetness to any room. The rugs are made with non-toxic dyes and with 100% natural raw materials, making them safe, healthy, and environmentally friendly. Lorena Canals is socially responsible and does not employ child labor in any of their activities. With profits, Lorena Canals finances the education of children in northern India to give them the opportunity to decide their future. They retail for $249.00 and up at 180 GWM / Summer 2017

Home & Family LORENA CANALS MACHINE-WASHABLE BASKETS Your living space will feel more organized if clutter is minimized and everything has a place. These machine-washable baskets are a stylish and unique way to store electronics, clothes, and so much more. Available in “Bubbly” and “Leaf” designs, these artisanstyle baskets are chic, versatile, practical, and useful decorations for any room. Baskets retail for $46.00 and can be found at / GWM 181

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ROD & ALFONSO June 11, 2016 / Derek Chad Photography

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HOW DID YOU TWO MEET? We met online -- on OK Cupid. We had both just gotten out of very unhealthy relationships and we both remember wanting to take a break from dating. Something told Rod to go back on the site one last time, where Alfonso came up as a match and Rod messaged him. They found out they used to work in the same 10UCP building in Universal City a few years earlier (but had never met, despite Alfonso remembering Rod’s unique silver & black Mini Cooper) and reminisced over this Italian restaurant around the corner. Alfonso asked Rod out to dinner there after a few messages and Rod agreed. It was a Tuesday night, and they were there for 3 1/2 hours gabbing away as if they’d known each other their whole lives, and effectively closed down the restaurant for the night.

WHO PROPOSED? Alfonso had never been to Europe and since Rod is all about travel they decided to plan a week long adventure to Copenhagen, Paris and London. It was late November, crisp weather, but beautiful! We were completely on the same page and had already discussed marriage not as an ‘if’ but a ‘when.’ Rod had a feeling since Paris was Alfonso’s #1 bucket list destination, and because of its romanticizing, figured Alfonso was going to propose. We landed in Paris at 7am... checked into our hotel, wandered the streets, gawked at the foot of the Eiffel Tower before / GWM 185

Real Weddings having lunch at Les Ombres with an unobstructed view, wandered the streets more, visited Sacre Coeur and Montmarte... all day, no proposal. We made their way back to our hotel but decided to stay in the room for dinner, so we picked up cold cuts, fresh cheese, a freshly baked baguette, and a bottle of wine. When we got back to the room, we saw the Eiffel Tower starting its nightly light twinkling. We went out onto our room’s balcony and became mesmerized by it. Rod then grew impatient and in the heat of the moment turned to Alfonso and said, more or less: “Fuck it, I don’t know what I’ve been waiting for. We’ve been talking about marriage for months, we know we’re going to spend the rest of our lives together. I love you, you’re the one. Will you marry me?” Even halfway through, Alfonso was nodding and saying “YES!” We hugged and kissed for a good 5 minutes in the cold Paris night. WHY DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR VENUE(S)? We are both very analytical and Rod decided to take charge with finding a venue. He scoured every wedding website, venue site, hotel chain’s list of properties, etc. He made an Excel spreadsheet with 86 venues across Los Angeles, Orange County, Santa Barbara, Palm Springs and Mexico City. We decided to simply start local with branch out from there. I emailed close to half the venues to get pricing estimates, and made appointments to visit about 186 GWM / Summer 2017

one dozen places. The first place we visited was Il Cielo, a small Italian restaurant in Beverly Hills neither of us had ever heard of or noticed before. But the second we saw the space we instantly knew that was it. It was the perfect combination of rustic beauty, old world elegance, and Southern California charm. We had been torn between a beach wedding or a vineyard wedding but this just made everything on our ideal ‘want’ list obsolete. It was a couple miles from our place, the food was INSANELY delicious, the wedding planner Giovanni was the nicest and most easy-going event planner I had communicated with. It was a very easy decision. ARE ANY OF THE DETAILS PARTICULARLY SPECIAL TO YOU AND WHY? We’re still sorting out the details of the wedding, but we’ve always wanted one thing in particular: a blending of Italy & Mexico to show our union coming together. We’re creating signature cocktails which are Latin American drinks with Italian twists; so we’re doing a Limoncello Margarita for sure, and we’re looking to see if we can do a Lavender Mojito. We originally wanted to do a destination wedding in Provence or Tuscany so the idea of lavender has stuck with us the entire way (but because my mom is unable to travel, we decided we needed to have it in LA). We are also going to be having our puppies in the wedding (they’re almost 1 year old now). They’re going to be our ring bearers!

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO THE MOST ABOUT YOUR WEDDING DAY? We’re looking forward to it being over because we’re heading to Disneyland on Monday and then jetting off to Europe on Tuesday! Our honeymoon will have us spending 2 days in Rome, then taking a 10 day Greek Isles cruise, followed by 3 days in Paris at the end. We honestly love traveling and the idea of spending over two weeks together on another European adventure is heaven. We’re just going to really miss our two dogs haha!

Florist - Sam Robinson Flowers by SamVenue - Giovanni Krause / Il Cielo Officiant - Daniel Noble (personal friend) Photographer: Derek Chad Photography Reception Venue: Il Cielo

DAWN & LIZ April 8, 2016 / Airen Miller Photography / GWM 187

Real Weddings

RICK & GRIFF November 11, 2016 / River West Photography

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his wedding was unlike anything I’ve ever seen or been a part of before! First, it starred the incomparable Rick and Griff you can find these two beautiful goofballs on YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook - usually mostly naked, singing/dancing, or exercising (or some combination of the three). I knew their wedding would be unique and over-the-top amazing, but I had no idea how so! The setting was the gorgeous Fox Theatre which is so colorful and lavish to begin with then you throw in some drag queens and a cabaret show with endless/ amazing live performances - custom made Egyptian inspired gowns for the wedding party - and personal messages from the wonderful guest of honor Carol Channing - and voila, you have one of the coolest weddings I’ve ever been to.

Photographer: River West Photography Reception Venue: Fox Theatre

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JORDAN & GUS December 17, 2016 / Kir Tuben Photography

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HOW DID YOU MEET? Like everyone else now a days, on the internet. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TOGETHER? Jordan and I were approaching 7 years together when we married. Our wedding was on the 17th and our dating anniversary is the 19th of December. WHAT IS THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE YOU’VE HAD TO OVERCOME AS A COUPLE? I would say overcoming the age difference was our greatest challenge. It was very important that we truly shared the same values for and expectations with marriage before making such a commitment. WHAT DO YOU LOVE THE MOST ABOUT YOUR SPOUSE? Gus: I love his patience with me, and his commitment to our relationship and me. After experiencing some disappointments in my life, I was very cautious with believing anyone could be honest and dedicated to a relationship. Jordan: Gus is extremely loving and loyal. I know that he will be there for me through anything and we have been through a lot already in our time together. DESCRIBE YOUR WEDDING DAY: We planned our wedding with one month’s notice. After the elections, I realized we needed to move quickly to marry while it was still legal. As a veteran, I also wanted to ensure that Jordan would be registered as my spouse in the military system and given his dependent ID card. I invited folks via Facebook apologizing for the short notice and promising family and friends that if they

could not make the 17th that we would still hold a more formal reception providing more appropriate notice. The idea started off with a lot of stress. The day of the wedding we had some showers overnight through early morning, but it warmed up nicely and we enjoyed a pretty winter day. We love to decorate the house for Christmas and we made the most of those decorations for the wedding. We had a huge turnout for such short notice, about 80 folks shared the day with us. The house was full of friends and family having a wonderful time. My mother and niece flew in from Florida and Jordan’s parents flew in from Wisconsin. Damon did a great job with the ceremony and there were very few dry eyes in the house. The love and support was just overwhelming. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART? Gus: My favorite part was at the end of the festivities when it was just Jordan, his father, and I. We had a chance to talk about how special the day had been. Jordan’s father shared how happy he was for us and teased us that it was “about time”. Watching Jordan’s face light up when he realized we were finally married is a special memory that still brings a smile to my face. Jordan: The ceremony was my favorite part. We were up in front of our family and friends and professing our love for one another. Our best friend Damon was the officiate of our wedding and I wouldn’t want to have anyone else up there for us. From start to finish of the ceremony was my favorite part. It will

be something that I will never forget. WERE THERE ANY SURPRISES? We were pleasantly surprised by the number of friends and family that attended including some friends from back in my Naval Officer days, rugby friends including a very good friend from USA Rugby in Colorado, and a former high school classmate that could not have been happier for the two of us. The caterer forgot to bring warming dishes so the pasta cooled quickly. The local Buca de Beppo Catering Manager apologized and gave us a generous partial refund. It was an unfortunate miscue, but they were very responsive. Nevertheless, even with the cold pasta, folks ate a ton of food and drank a lot of alcohol! It was extremely merry! WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER COUPLES PLANNING THEIR WEDDING? Gus: I was pleasantly surprised with how well everything went given the short notice and last minute planning. Having my mom there was more important than I realized until the day arrived. I had mentally prepared to have an event with only a handful of friends given the notice and the proximity to Christmas, but it was much more fulfilling to have her and my niece there to remind me how much my family loves me. My advice is to not over think the wedding planning and to make sure your family attends if they are inclined. Jordan: Our planning was a little different than a traditional / GWM 193

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wedding. Don’t be afraid to be unconventional with your wedding. NOW THAT THE WEDDING IS OVER, WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS OR FUTURE PLANS AS A MARRIED COUPLE? Well, I am completing my doctoral candidacy at the School of Engineering at George Washington University. My research has been focused on how to evacuate hospitals during a crisis or disaster. The model and prototype created by my research has caught the attention of some corporate and government folks and I may have a chance to expand my work. That potential aside, we’re still planning for me to pursue a teaching position at a university. Jordan is seeking his degree in Physical Therapy and hopes to finish up at whichever school I get to teach at.

Photographer: Kir Tuben Ceremony Site: Our home Reception Site: Our home Caterer: Buca de Beppo Bartender: Charger Stone and his husband Scott Gunn Wedding Cake: Costco Florist: Free Spirit Floral (Alexandria, VA) Clothing/Gowns/Suits: Alexandre of London (Both suits, Gus/Gray and Jordan/Blue) Hair: The Standard Barbershop (Fairfax, VA) Officiant was Damon Downing our dear friend and neighbor / GWM 195

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VALERIE & NICOLE October 14, 2016 / Randy + Ashley Studios

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FROM THE PHOTOGRAPHERS: The sounds of laughter filled the rooms. Surrounded by some of the best friends in their lives, Valerie and Nicole got ready in separate rooms, and anxiously wait for their ceremony to begin. After nine incredible years together, they finally made it official over the weekend at the Riviera Hotel in Palm Springs – and we are so, so grateful to have been part of it! We met Valerie and Nicole a few months ago over what we thought would just be a simple cup of coffee – which turned into a 3 hour lunch date filled with so much laughter and fun that we knew that we were totally in for an amazing adventure with these two!! And once we did their rock n’ roll engagement session at the Palm Springs Hard Rock Hotel over the summer – we got even more excited for their wedding. Their wedding had some beautifully unique details that were very special. Following the traditional American ceremony, the elders of both sides of their family came together for a traditional Chinese tea ceremony. Valerie’s parents presented both brides with beautiful pure gold jewelry. Following the tea ceremony at their reception, both of the brides lit a memorial candle in honor of those who are no longer with us; most notably, Nicole’s father, who passed away only a few weeks ago. It was incredibly touching to see Nicole’s mom walk her down the aisle – there wasn’t a dry eye ANYWHERE, including our own. Valerie and Nicole’s wedding was one of the most emotional weddings we’ve ever witnessed, and we’re so blessed to not only have been able to witness it – but to call both of these wonderful women our friends. Photographer: Randy + Ashley Studios Photo Booth Equipment: Action Flip Books Dress Store: Alfred Angelo Hair Stylist: All Tressed Up Blowdry & Beauty Bar Jewelry: Daniel’s Jewelers Cinema and Video: DP Weddings Floral Designer: Elegant Earth Designs Event Planner: First Pick Planning Invitation Designer: Minted Officiant: Rainbow Weddings Reception Venue: Riviera Palm Springs Equipment Rentals: Signature Party Rentals DJ: Vox DJs / GWM 197

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JOSH, KEVIN & OLIVER Derek Chad Photography / GWM 199

Derek Chad Photography captured the wedding of Josh and Kevin in Palm Springs, so when they asked him to update their family photos, he was happy to do it. Oliver is almost one, and the entire family enjoyed the shoot.

Photographer: Derek Chad Photography Location: Leo Carrillo Ranch

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JUSTIN & NATHAN October 25, 2014 / Casey Hendrickson Photography

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FROM THE PHOTOGRAPHER: He knew Nathan hated surprises…“But first, Justin has a song to sing for Nathan!” smiled the officiant. Justin was grinning ear to ear, Nathan had this look of terror (and love), and then everyone started crying because it was beyond sweet! Justin and Nathan are so perfect for each other, and it’s so obvious by how natural everything is with them. Their couples shoot was such a breeze, and I loved how they spent the time to get ready and enjoy this special day with every moment – together. When we arrived at the ceremony location, they were greeted with nothing but love and excitement. Tears glistened in their eyes as they said their vows, and I was OBSESSED with their ring warming part of the ceremony. They had tied their rings around a silk ribbon, and passed it to every friend and family member there to pray blessings over the rings so that by the time they reached Justin and Nathan again, they would have many prayers and well wishes over them. How amazing is that? After celebrating the two coming together, they shared cupcakes (what DC is known for – AMAZING cupcakes, and I wasn’t disappointed), and finished the night with one of the most touching first dances I’ve ever seen.

Photographer: Casey Hendrickson Photography Floral Designer: Amaryllis Inc Invitation Designer: The Dandelion Patch Event Venue: The Dupont Circle Hotel Caterer: The Sweet Lobby / GWM 203

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LINDA & MAUREEN October 8, 2016 / Thompson Photography Group

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aureen and Linda celebrated their wedding day with a religious ceremony and a casual vegan, lawn party in Massachusetts.

Photographer: Thompson Photography Group Floral Designer: Bloom Couture Floral Studio Caterer: Dante Restaurant DJ: Murray Hill Talent Cake Designer: Oakleaf Cakes Bake Shop Reception Venue: Dante Restaurant / GWM 207

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TYLER & WILLIAM September 8, 2016 / Joanna Tano Photography

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FROM THE PHOTOGRAPHER: Tyler and William were an absolute pleasure to work with! They were surrounded by some of their closest friends. Their exchanged nuptials on the beach in front of the Four Seasons. We lucked out with a stunning sunset. A big congratulations to these grooms!

Photographer: Joanna Tano Photography Floral Designer: Country Bouquets Maui Caterer: DUO Restaurant Event Venue: Four Seasons Resort Maui Ceremony Location: Plumeria Gardens Musicians: Ricardo Dioso / GWM 209

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KATE & SARAH August 14, 2016 / Petersen Pictures

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e chose the location because we love coming to Longbeach and staying at Adrift. It is one of the firstplaces we went together and we wanted to share our special place and the adventures we have here with our our closest friends and family on this very important day. We took a very active role in every detail of our wedding. From helping construct each part of theceremony to the altar we built from wood stumps collected on our various adventures we have gone on, everything was personal and intentional. It was an amazing year of planning, constructing and creating together.When forming our ‘Bride Tribe’ we selected strong, influential women from our lives that have supported us on our individual and collective journey. As opposed to being ‘in’ the wedding, we utilized them to create the space, putting together each detail and utilizing each women’s individual skill and talent to construct the environment. It was an amazing day, full of so much beauty and love.

Photographer: Petersen Pictures Reception Venue: Adrift Hotel Cake Designer: Amber Almond Apparel: Banana Republic Dress Designer: Beholden with Anthropologie Musicians: Kim Archer Caterer: Pickled Fish / GWM 211

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Derek Chad Photography

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