Gay Weddings and Marriage Magazine Summer 2019

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ON THE COVER Daniel and Cameron’s wedding can be viewed on page 58. PHOTOGRAPHER:

Jessica Hunt Photography

A LOOK INSIDE I love that traditional white dresses are being set aside for something fun and edgy. Personalizing your attire with unique accents (check out the Swavroski bling on page 61) or customized items (the Boston Terrior cartoon bow-ties on page 40 are amazing!) are seen in almost every wedding. Check out these fun alternatives to the traditional tux, shot by photographer Shelby Laine on page 70.



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Gay Weddings & Marriage Magazine is published twice a year. © 2015, 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.

In this issue Gay Weddings & Marriage Magazine / Summer 2019

4 16 18 20 26 34 38 80 / GWM 3

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tyled shoots are one of my favorite ways for myself and local vendors to show off what we can do within our fields as creatives. I am so excited to share with you today a styled shoot that myself and several local Columbia, South Carolina wedding vendors collaborated on together! We worked together to design an event to provide inspiration for couples planning either their wedding or elopement on New Year’s Eve. We wanted to provide a unique twist on the tradition of an ‘All White Party’, so we did a little brainstorming and settled on the idea of an ‘All Black Party’! Our couple was dressed in classy tuxes from the Black Tux, both in all black, and the rest of our decor included elements of gold and navy throughout the shoot to elevate our theme of an ‘All Black Party’ to vibe with the feeling luxury and opulence that New Years Eve provides. Traditionally, White Parties are are held for large celebrations, and we thought what better way to throw a version of that than on New Year’s Eve. Below are some tips and tricks so you can achieve the same look at your event. Our elopement venue was the Lula Drake Pastor’s Study on Main Street in Columbia, South Carolina. The Pastor’s Study is a historical location that sits right above the wine parlor. The study is a little room toward the front of the venue, and it was previously the office of the pastor of nearby Ebenezer Lutheran Church. The words “Pastor’s Study” are still painted on an interior door. Pews, rescued from the old University of South Carolina law school, line the walls. John C. Seegers and Christopher C. Habenicht debuted this building by September 1865 as a saloon and brewery. During the 1870s and 1880s, the property served as a meeting place for several German organizations, including the Schuetzen Verein and Freundschaftsbund, / GWM 5

shooting and friendship societies. In 1937, an Art-Deco inspired renovation altered the building’s original appearance. That modern treatment was removed in 2015 during the building’s adaptive use as Lula Drake Wine Parlor and the Pastor’s Study, a project that received a Historic Columbia preservation award in 2018. So, not only does the Pastor’s Study have a rich history, but it also provides the perfect secluded location for an intimate and private elopement or wedding ceremony. All of our vendors involved in this shoot truly went above and beyond in creating their elements for the photos. Our catering vendor, Southern Way Catering, created a luxury three-course meal to fit our couples dreamy NYE elopement. There was even gold foil on the dinner salads to ensure the meal matched the couple’s day. The Bubbly Bus, a local mobile champagne bar, pulled up on Main Street in Columbia, South Carolina to serve our couple and their guests a few glasses of bubbly to celebrate the new year, too! Our planner and designer Jevettra from Avila Dawn Events flawlessly organized each of these vendors to create inspiration for other couples on how to host the most intimate elopement experience. She coordinated with each of the vendors to ensure we were all working together to create one cohesive inspirational gallery for couples to use when planning their own New Year’s Eve celebration or wedding. Our paper goods vendor, Pretty Written Things, went above and beyond with an exquisite invitation suite, complete with gold foil and 6 GWM / Summer 2019 / GWM 7

antique stamps. Andrew Stinson Aifd Cfd with WAS Design Works created the modern and unique floral arrangements for both our grooms and the dinner table, as well! Chandler from Cakes by Chandler crafted a beautiful matte black cake with gold foil to bring everything together for us, too. All-in-all this beautiful styled shoot was perfectly executed by every vendor involved, and this shoot provides unique and diverse inspiration for other couples planning to host their intimate union on New Year’s Eve!

Event Planner: Avila Dawn Events Cinema and Video: John Antaki Makeup Artist: Carly Wilson Artistry Jewelry: Unforgettable Fine Jewerly Specialty Foods: The Bubbly Bus Bakery: Cakes by Chandler Caterer: Southern Way Catering Professional: Crisp Event Rentals Calligrapher: Pretty Written Things Floral Designer: WAS Design Works Event Venue: Lula Drake Pastor’s Study Photographer: Jessica Hunt Photography

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featured book

YOUR FUTURE FAMILY The Essential Guide to Assisted Reproduction


rom one of the world’s leading authorities, a practical resource guide filled with the essential information you need to

know about assisted reproduction Third-party reproduction is now easier, more accessible, and more

successful than ever before, yet it is still a complex process. Before you start down this path to parenthood, there are important questions to consider such as, “How are sperm, eggs, and embryos screened?”, “How do I find a donor?”, or “What are the legal issues surrounding surrogacy?” Here, psychologist Kim Bergman—an expert in the field and a mother herself through assisted reproduction—provides the answers you need and more. Your Future Family provides a roadmap for navigating the journey of building a family through assisted reproduction. It outlines the very first steps you should take, the options available to you at each turn, and includes essential advice and tips to help set you up for success. Filled with personal anecdotes from Bergman’s own life, as well as the lives of her clients, this book brings the human element of creating a family this way to life. The definitive primer on assistant reproduction,Your Future Family provides a foundational knowledge of the entire process, includes essential facts, as well as a list of resources to help you along the way. Kim Bergman’s expertise and her open, honest approach will inspire confidence to fulfill your dreams of creating a family. FIND YOUR COPY HERE. / GWM 9


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View this wedding on page 68.


Real Weddings

ERIN & ROCHELLE March 22, 2019 / J. Colony Photography

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Real Weddings

Erin and Rochelle were married at the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix, AZ on a perfect March day. Erin started the day getting ready in a private room with her sisters and mom, complete with lots of hugs and twirling. Rochelle got ready in a room across the way with her parents and bridal party. They exchanged the sweetest letters to each other printed on the cutest stationary, and you could just feel the love oozing from their vows as they read separately. When the ceremony came Rochelle couldn’t wait to see her soon to be wife walking down the aisle. There were tears from the whole bridal party and Erin couldn’t help but smile as she walked down the aisle with her dad. This was an especially big day as Rochelle had just had a double mastectomy weeks before the wedding due to an early breast cancer diagnosis. The vows to be there in both sickness and health were something they knew all too well and it truly bonded them in a way that you could feel throughout the whole day. The reception had tables lined with greenery and beautiful linens, and the tables had such a feeling of community and togetherness. The dessert table was the real show stopper though!

Event Venue: Desert Botanical Garden Photographer: J. Colony Photography 14 GWM / Summer 2019 / GWM 15

Real engagements

WILL & NATE Sarah Katherine Davis Photography

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HOW DID YOU MEET? TELL ME ABOUT YOUR FIRST DATE AND HOW YOU FELL IN LOVE. Will and I met in our first class at UofL in 2007. We were friends throughout college and lived together for several years before deciding to date in 2013. While we were already living together and such good friends, our first official date just felt right and I can’t imagine a better match. WHAT WAS YOUR PROPOSAL LIKE? It was Nate’s birthday and we went to Harvest for dinner with some friends. After dessert, Nate thanked everyone for coming to celebrate. He then slid off his chair onto one knee and said “The only thing that could make this night more perfect is if Will would say he would spend the rest of his life with me.” I started ugly crying and said “Of course!”

Venue: Buffalo Trace Distillery Photographer: Sarah Katherine Davis Photography / GWM 17

Real engagements

KERI & NIKKI Amy Maddox Photography

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HOW DID YOU TWO FIRST MEET? Nikki sent me a request on Her, a dating site much like Tinder. I believe our conversation started by her asking how I was and if I thought she should cut her hair. Neither one of us were using the site really for dating but rather for making friends and connections in the area. So soon after that first conversation we decided to meet for lunch. At first look, I knew she was going to be someone special to me. Later during the lunch, after playing and winning at Bananagrams, Nikki innocently touched my hand and apparently, I turned beat red. She let me know I didn’t hide my impression of her well at all. WHAT MAKES YOUR RELATIONSHIP SPECIAL/ UNIQUE? I like to think of Nikki as the color and lightness in my world. The excitement that pushes me to believe in myself like never before. To her, I’m the stability, the support, and the nerd with dad jokes to keep her laughing. Before everything though, we are best friends and we focus on listening and growing with each other as partners. HOW DID YOU KNOW YOUR PARTNER WAS THE ONE? For me, there was no singular moment. It was a build-up of time spent. Without trying, she made me into a better person just by being there and the most natural decision I could make is to spend my life with her. PROPOSAL STORY? We were on our way to the most amazing vacation trip of my life. Two weeks spent abroad, in Iceland and Spain. We had talked about marriage and decided that I would be the one to propose when I felt it was time. I was in the midst of planning, trying to figure out the best proposal, and waiting for her ring that I ordered to come in. Well, on our overnight flight to Iceland, Nikki disappeared for a bit while I was busy thinking of plane snacks. When she returned, she said she had something for me (snacks?!) and pulled out a beautiful book with a letter she wrote on the inside cover. It was the most beautiful and thoughtful gift. She then asked me to open the rest of the book and inside was an absolutely perfect ring and with tears in both our eyes she asked me to marry her. It was a wonderful surprise and absolutely perfect for us. Location: Enchanted Rock Photographer: Amy Maddox Photography / GWM 19


bakers, a newly opened (modern) family owned bakery located in Midtown, Miami, was built on the foundation of letting inner creativity run loose while crafting outrageous and extraordinary confections in a fun and welcoming environment. In addition to their collection of unique macaron flavors, oversized cream puffs, tarts, cupcakes, etc. used for alternative wedding desserts, the artistic team is constantly designing out-of-the-box custom wedding cakes to satisfy their customer’s wildest dreams. In addition to the traditional cake flavors, dbakers offers specialty options including salted caramel, snickers, guava and cream cheese, cookie dough, pistachio and raspberry, tiramisu, dark chocolate passion fruit, lemon meringue, strawberry shortcake and more!


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Cake: Naked Cake Flavor: Almond cake with cherry preserve filling and vanilla bean buttercream DĂŠcor: Succulents cascading on front of cake

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Cake: White Square Cake Flavor: Vanilla cake covered with white fondant. DĂŠcor: Adorned with white sugar flowers, white lace and sugar pearls. / GWM 23

Cake: Hexagonal Travel Cake Flavor: Chocolate cake with double expresso buttercream DĂŠcor: Covered in white fondant with water color splashes and gold edging. Adorned with hand painted decorations.

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Cake: Square Rustic Cake Flavor: Banana walnut cake with chocolate ganache Décor: Covered in ivory marble textured fondant and “white wood” fondant, watercolor hand painted to give lights and shades of grey. Wafer paper poppy flowers with sugar paste eucalyptus and touches of gold leaf. / GWM 25

Real Weddings

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TOMMY & ZACH August 25, 2018 / North Arrow Creative / GWM 27

Real Weddings

TELL US ABOUT YOUR WEDDING! In short, we just wanted our big day to be a PARTY and reflect the fun we have with each other and everyone we’re lucky to have in our lives. We let that drive everything, which translated into a banging playlist, bright colors, lots of sequins, and CONFETTI CANNONS! Since this was a gay wedding, we weren’t tied to any traditions, so we ran wild and made it our own. LET’S TALK WEDDING DECOR. For decor, we wanted it to be simple, but fun and stylish. We had simple eucalyptus arrangements for the women in the party that we re-used for the reception. The tables were lined with navy and plum sequin tablecloths and the head table was gold. We went with dramatic uplighting to drive it home. WHAT WERE THE FLORALS LIKE IN YOUR WEDDING? Our flowers were simple, but classy. Each of the women in our party had a eucalyptus bouquet with a single white rose that we reused as table decorations for the reception. The men had matching boutonnieres. We lined the stage for the ceremony with large, overflowing eucalyptus arrangements as well. WHAT WERE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE PARTS OF YOUR WEDDING? Our playlist was a reflection of not only our music tastes, but all of our friends and family as well, with a little something for everyone. Not a single slow song - the dance floor was packed all night and we brought out glow sticks, confetti sticks, and flashing LED wands to keep the party going. On top of that, we had confetti cannons and smoke machines that went off throughout the night!

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HOW DID YOU MEET? Zach’s friend worked with Tommy’s sister and they set us up! Zach was living in Jefferson City (2 hours from St. Louis) at the time and traveled to STL for our first date. We we’re together for just over 5 years before the proposal. For that, Tommy arranged for a walk in the local park with the dogs while their friends Kori and Beau took pics. In the middle of the “photo-shoot” Tommy got down and proposed with a tie and a note that said “let’s tie the knot.” He knew better than to try and pick out a ring - Zach is way too picky. DO YOU HAVE ANY WEDDING PLANNING OR MARRIAGE ADVICE THAT YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OTHER COUPLES PLANNING THEIR DAY? No one notices the small things. All they remember is if they (and you) had a good time, so focus your time and energy on that! Reception Venue: River City Casino & Hotel Cinema and Video: North Arrow Creative Tuxedo and Mens Attire: The Black Tux Cake Designer: YolkLore Floral Designer: Soulard florist Photographer: North Arrow Creative / GWM 29

Real engagements

CHRIS & RICK Sabotta Imagery

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LET’S START AT THE BEGINNING. HOW DID YOU TWO FIRST MEET? Rick had just moved to LA for a few months to see if he wanted to move his career in the entertainment industry to the west coast from NYC. While he was here he wanted to meet some new friends and even go on a few dates... but was not looking for a boyfriend. He joined OKCupid while in LA and on the first day he got a message from Chris. Chris had been on a few bad dates on OKCupid and when he saw Rick’s profile, he found Rick to be cute and either seemed to be fun, or at the very least a good profile writer. Rick was traveling for work and Chris was in Pennsylvania spending his birthday with family and friends, so our first week was all text and email. We had one night in LA that overlapped and decided to meet for dinner on what just happed to be the 20th anniversary of the release of First Wives Club one of our favorite movies.

a friend asked me if I could see marrying him. In the past I always said, “I don’t know if I believe in marriage.” Being with Chris makes me want to get married! Chris: Similar to Rick, I never wanted to get married until I met him. There are countless moments that validate that constantly - shared laughs, a simple look, the way he just accepts me for who I am, the way we effortlessly became a part of one another lives, families, and circles of friends. I can’t say there was one moment when I knew he was the “one” but there are SO many when I just knew he would be in my life forever. Photographer: Sabotta Imagery

WHAT MAKES YOUR RELATIONSHIP SPECIAL? I think it was meeting in our 40’s that made it really special - in full transparency, Rick was still 39 for a few more weeks. Meeting at this time in our lives allowed us to really know what we want and expect for ourselves as well as what we expect from a partner. From day one something about our relationship just felt natural, organic, and real. It’s been effortless (for the most part). We both now believe in “when you know, you know.” Since we both have demanding jobs we truly value and cherish our time together. It sounds simple but just being at home with someone with whom you can just be yourself is incredibly special. HOW DID YOU KNOW YOUR PARTNER WAS THE ONE? A: Rick: On our very first date, I accidentally sent Chris a text minutes before we met that was meant for a colleague. Chris led with “I don’t think that text was meant for me... take care of what you need to and I’ll let them know we’re here.” There was something about that smile and the light in his eyes that made me think this could really be something special. The moment I knew Chris WAS the one is not really a defined one. If had to pick, it was when / GWM 31

Real engagements

MARY KATE & JULIE April Pinto Photography

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Julie and Mary Kate are a gorgeous couple! We decided to take a beautiful sunset hike along Lake Grapevine for our engagement session. The sunlight couldn’t have been more glorious! We had a blast. They’re such an adventurous couple.

Location: Murrell Park Photographer: April Pinto Photography / GWM 33

Yanni burton

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Yanni burton

But back up… let us explain. Yanni Burton grew up in Adelaide, Australia – a small town that was first put on the map as the birthplace of pop singer Sia. He lived most days in the city with his mother, but holidays were spent in the country on his dad’s farm. “The farm was in the middle of nowhere and I’d arrive in solid gold sneakers, booty shorts and a tank top, like I’d just come off the set of Priscilla Queen of the Desert,” he remembers. “I loved hanging with the kangaroos and Klunk, my dad’s pet Emu.” Yanni had his very first gay relationship at 22 and came out a bit later than most in his generation. He told his Dad while on a trip to rural Pennsylvania, visiting the Amish. “I was bawling my eyes out under the fluorescent lights of a moldy Motel Six hallway and Dad simply hugged me and said, ‘Its ok, I love you.’ When he told his mother he was dating a guy, she slapped him. Not because he was gay. She had already had a vision about that. (When Yanni was born, she noticed a rainbow light up the sky and declared to his father that their boy would be gay.) She was more upset by the man’s advanced age. No son of hers was going to be a sugar baby and luckily for her, that relationship wouldn’t last. We spoke with Yanni about meeting the man he plans to marry.


He describes his life as a “gay thirty-something in New York City,” attending Barry’s Bootcamp religiously, paying too much rent and complaining about it every second he can. He’s also in love! Yanni’s fiancé is smart, attractive and most importantly, twenty-something, which means he is mom-approved.

By Matthew Blanco


anni Burton is an out singer-songwriter best known for his hit pop songs “Awake” and “Messing Around”. In addition to being a pop star, he is also well-known classical bassist. In fact, he holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in orchestral performance from Juilliard School in Manhattan and is Producer and General Manager of the Salome Chamber Orchestra, where he has performed alongside a long list of celebrated artists including John Legend, Michelle Williams, Natasha Beddingfield and Rufus Wainwright. / GWM

wine and Netflix: heaven! What are the biggest obstacles you have had to overcome in your relationship? Yanni: I think the cultural differences were the biggest obstacles. Southern boys, in my experience, are laid back, very polite, and eat a lot of fast food. I’m loud, demanding; I don’t take no for an answer and I don’t eat fast food that often. It took a few months to wrap my head around his interests but I ended up learning what a Mac Gangbang is (it’s a double cheeseburger with a McChicken inside…) and he discovered organic foods and hummus. Tell us about your wedding plans.

How, when and where did you meet your fiance? Yanni: Jordan and I met seven years ago at a bar in New York. I had just gotten off a flight from Australia, and I was feeling a bit jet lag so I decided to go to a drag show. I caught eyes with a handsome stranger and the rest is history! They say opposites attract. Would you consider yourselves opposites? Yanni: Face value, we are. He’s in finance, I’m a musician. He’s all American, I’m a Greek Australian immigrant. He hates Barry’s Bootcamp, I love it. But underneath that, we have a lot of similarities. We have the same social/political views, we love spending time with our friends and family, we are both very ambitious and enjoy the guilty pleasures in life: food, booze, facials, and massages. When life gets busy, what do you do to stay focused on each other? Yanni: We love sneaky weekend getaways and romantic date nights. New York is great for weeknight dinner dates and sneaky cocktails. It’s also so accessible to some of our favorite places like Fire Island, Catskills, and when we’re feeling super sneaky, London or Italy. That and take out from our favorite Chinese place paired with a bottle of 36 GWM / Summer 2019

Yanni: We are still finalizing details, but we are going to keep it relatively small. Our families are in Australia and Alabama, so everyone is going to be travelling. Therefore, we’re thinking of renting a large villa in Tuscany and having everyone stay with us. We thought about doing it in New York, but for one day of celebrations in New York, we can afford one week in Italy…so Italy it is! Do you aim to start a family after you are married? Yanni: Yes! We are definitely keen on having a couple of little ones running around! What advice would you give to a couple that is newly engaged? Yanni: Keep it adventurous, keep planning, keep moving forward. There are so many wonderful experiences to be shared, and thank your lucky stars you’ve found someone to share them with! Follow Yanni on Instagram @yburton

Elin Photography

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 37



hen you decide to pursue surrogacy as an LGBT couple, you may be nervous about one thing in particular: Is there a perfect surrogate for a gay couple like you out there? While views toward LGBT individuals in the U.S. are improving, you may still be nervous about being a gay couple looking for a surrogate mother. Are there women out there who are willing — and excited — to carry a child for a same-sex couple like you? The answer is yes: There are many women who are open to being a surrogate for gay couples, and there are even some who specifically become surrogates for this reason. No matter your sexual orientation or gender identity, you can become parents through surrogacy, and there are many LGBT-friendly surrogacy professionals who can help connect you with the perfect surrogate for this journey. In many ways, your process to find a surrogate will be no different than the process for heterosexual intended parents. In fact, our frequent use of terms like “gay surrogacy” or “gay parents” may seem unnecessary or even insensitive — but it’s 38 GWM / Summer 2019

important to understand that we have a reason for this choice.

WHO ARE THE WOMEN WANTING TO BE SURROGATES FOR GAY COUPLES? No matter who the intended parents are, surrogacy is a beautiful process that creates an intimate bond between them and their surrogate. The women who choose to become surrogates do so because they want to make a difference in someone else’s life; they like being pregnant and want to use their ability to carry a child to help someone who can’t.

HOW CAN YOU FIND A SURROGATE MOTHER IF YOU’RE A GAY COUPLE? It’s normal for you to wonder whether your sexual orientation will impact your ability to find a surrogate. However, these fears are unfounded — there are many surrogate mothers for gay couples in the U.S. today, and all it takes is the right steps to find one for you.

As mentioned before, it’s important that you choose an LGBT-friendly surrogacy agency to help find a surrogate mother. Because surrogates always have the right to select intended For many of these women, it parents that they’re comfortable doesn’t matter what the family with (including sexual orientation structure of the intended parents and gender identity), working looks like — they just want to with an agency that proudly carry a child for someone who displays its positive views toward desperately wants to be a parent LGBT individuals makes it more but cannot do so on their own. likely that you will quickly be Surrogates always have the ability matched with a surrogate who is to choose the characteristics happy to carry for a gay couple they’re comfortable with in the like yours. intended parents when they start this process, and some even If you’re a same-sex couple specifically desire to become a looking for a surrogate, the surrogate for a gay couple. If you matching process will essentially are a gay couple looking for a be the same as if you were a surrogate mother, therefore, you heterosexual couple: can find a woman who is just as excited to work with you as you After initial screening and are to work with her. testing, you’ll create an intended parent profile. This profile will make your sexual


orientation obvious, but there’s no need to focus on that when you’re describing your life. What’s more important is that a surrogate can see how dedicated and prepared you are to become parents. Take this as an opportunity to explain what you’ll be like as parents and why you’re so excited to bring a child into the world.


A surrogate will view your intended parent profile and, once she decides that you are the right intended parents for her, she will let her surrogacy specialist know. From there, you will usually view her surrogate profile to learn more about her and make sure she’s the right choice for you, too.


You will have the chance to speak with the surrogate and get to know her before you officially embark on this journey together. After she undergoes more screening and

your legal surrogacy contracts are completed, you will be officially matched with a surrogate for your LGBT surrogacy journey. In most cases, this matching process is easy and simple to complete. Your surrogate may have questions about how you will raise a child as a gay couple, and you should feel comfortable addressing these and any questions she (or your surrogacy professional) might have about your plans for raising a child born via surrogacy or egg/sperm/ embryo donation.

looking for a traditional surrogate, the process of finding a surrogate may be more complicated, but gestational surrogates for gay couples are common and much easier to find than in years past. To learn more about how you can find a surrogate mother as a gay couple, talk to an LGBT-friendly surrogacy professional today.


In regards to gamete donation, which all LGBT surrogacies require, this will usually not be a challenge to finding a surrogate mother for gay couples. The only consideration may be the syncing of cycles of the donor and the surrogate if you are using a fresh egg donation, which can usually be accomplished easily after a match has been made. If you are / GWM 39

Real Weddings

TODD & SCOTT January 27, 2019 / Andrejka Photography

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Real weddings

As a couple who bonded over music, self-described “nerdy pop culture stuff” and Comicon, Todd and Scott set out to plan a casual and eclectic wedding that would allow their diverse group of family and friends to relax and have fun. From their first date - a romantic and beautiful sunset on the beach at the Don Cesar - to their engagement at Epcot as the clock struck midnight and fireworks exploded into the sky - this couple knows how to celebrate life to its fullest. They found the ideal venue for their celebration in Downtown St. Petersburg, FL at the Station House, a unique venue for collaboration, co-working, and community. Formally a firehouse and a train station, this 1911 structure provided the perfect industrial chic backdrop for these two gents to tie the knot. The grooms personalized the many unique and dramatic spaces of the Station House by hanging their own favorite concert and vintage framed posters. As part of his proposal, Scott had quoted Aubrey Plaza as April Ludgate from one of the couple’s favorite shows, Parks and Recreation. As a nod to this, their cufflinks featured Janet Snakehole and Burt Macklin, two characters created by characters on Parks and Recreation. Banksy, the couple’s Boston Terrier, served as the ring-bearer and sported his own bowtie adorned with - what else - Boston Terriers. Local vendors provided culinary creativity such as a popsicle cart (their favorite way to eat a popsicle is to dip it in a glass of

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champagne!) and a show-stopping groom’s cake towering above individual cupcakes for each guest. Gourmet donuts and Ichicoro Ane Japanese inspired catering treated guests to a fabulous feast. The grooms created a logo and hashtag - Scott & Todd’s Fancy Party - that they featured throughout the event. The reception tables, which were named after characters from Parks and Recreation, featured vibrant flowers in monogrammed beer growlers. Guests could take one of the monogrammed goodie bags and fill it with customized postcards (many guests were from out of town), buttons and stickers. Caterer: Ichicoro Ane Specialty Foods: The Hyppo Ceremony Location: Station House DJ: Grant Hemond & Associates, Inc. Photographer: Andrejka Photography / GWM 43

Real Weddings

MICHELLE & BRITTANY September 22, 2018 / Kat Ma Photography

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Real Weddings

HOW DID YOU MEET? We met on a Sunday afternoon in February 2015 at the Federal Bar in Long Beach where a speed dating event was taking place. We had no intentions of finding Mrs. Right, but couldn’t help take notice of each other. For Brittany, she first saw Michelle from across the room as one of the few Filipinas in a dress and for Michelle, only a mere glimpse of Brittany’s silhouette grabbed her attention. Nearing the end of 30 speed dates, they had their date. Before Michelle could introduce herself, she looked down on her paper and saw the name “Brittany” and just so happens that Michelle has been a Britney Spears fan since 1998. The sparks flew instantly and they knew they were a match made in heaven. Towards the end of their 5 minute date, Michelle asked Brittany if there was a type she dates. Brittany had the liquid courage to respond with, “I would date you.” Michelle pleasantly surprised by her response dared her to put her down as date. The rest as they say is history. WHAT WAS THE MOST ANTICIPATED OR SPECIAL MOMENT OF YOUR WEDDING DAY? For Brittany, the most anticipated and special moment was the first look with her brideto-be which took place on a wooden bridge at the venue. For Michelle, after the ceremony they spent some quiet moments alone together in a secluded area in the venue called the Bird’s Nest where there was no risk of having anyone interrupt this time and had exchanged another set of wedding vows privately that were meaningful and personal to them.

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DO YOU HAVE ANY WEDDING PLANNING OR MARRIAGE ADVICE THAT YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OTHER COUPLES PLANNING THEIR DAY? For wedding planning, think of ways to make it personal both as individuals and as a couple. Add as much of your own special touches to it as possible. Once you know what type of theme or setting you want for your wedding and you find the right venue the rest of the planning will follow and should come easily. As for marriage advice, this is an excerpt from the Art of A Good Marriage by Wilferd Arlan Peterson which was also read during our ceremony, “Happiness in marriage is not something that just happens. A good marriage must be created. In marriage the little things are the big things. It is never being too old to hold hands. It is remembering to say “I love you” at least once a day.”

Beauty: the St James Salon DJ: Rockit City DJs Floral Designer: Vanda Floral Design Caterer: Preferred Sonoma Caterers Event Venue: The Secret Gardens Photographer: KAT MA PHOTOGRAPHY / GWM 47

Real Weddings

NICK & THOMAS June 9, 2018 / Chrissy Gilmartin Photography

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Real Weddings

TELL US ABOUT YOUR WEDDING! We wanted the day to be a celebration of our love. But really focus on our time with the guests. We spent a year completely gutting and remodeling our backyard to have the ceremony. Because of that effort we wanted to do traditional wedding event stuff (our first dance, groom and mom dance, speeches by our best friends) but also get back to enjoying everyone’s company. We heard to many stories about how fast the day goes, how most people barely get to talk to their guests, how you’re rushed from one thing to another. We crossed some stuff off the list just to make time to spend with the guests. LET’S TALK WEDDING DECOR. HOW DID YOU DECORATE YOUR

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SPACE FOR THE CEREMONY AND THE RECEPTION? Us being two grooms we wanted to balance the décor and not have it look too girly. We went for all white tables, chairs and linens. Then incorporated succulents and eucalyptus. DID YOU PERSONALIZE THE DAY IN ANY WAY? Big time! This was the fun part. Personally, I don’t like cake but I love desserts. Cheesecake, brownies, and ice cream any day over cake. Because of that we catered Joe’s Italian Ice which is where we had our first date. They came out in uniform and served the guests. Then we had a dessert table with all of our favorites. Nick LOVES peanut butter so we had Reece’s and homemade peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies his mom baked. We had our favorite bartender from Hearthstone lounge (inside Grand California Hotel) come and serve our favorite drink a Smoked Turkey. The food was catered by Memphis Costa Mesa which we love and I used to bartend at the Tin Lizzie which they also own. HOW DID YOU MEET? We met online. At first our conversations online didn’t flow that well and I thought Nick was kind of boring. He messaged me again and we chatted a bit more. After a few days it led to texting, few days from there we met for ice cream at Joe’s Italian Ice. The proposal was extremely special. Nick knew I was getting to the point of asking him to marry me. He kicked it in overdrive. Had weekly meetings with his friends to plan it. He ended up asking me to take a night off work ( I used to bartend Friday nights). He said / GWM 51

Real weddings

just have your suit on and ready to leave at this given time. That’s all I knew, that we were going to dinner. Of course in the back of my mind I thought maybe it would happen. As we continued the drive I kept marking off restaurants in my head we might be going to. We ended up at the Monarch Beach Resort. By the time dinner was being served and we enjoyed some drinks I forgot all about the possibility of him proposing. While waiting for dessert we took some pictures as the sun was starting to go down. Little did I know his friends were downstairs and he was nervous I would see them. Once the bill came the waiter asked Nick did you want to charge this to your room Mr. Mazza? Not knowing we would have a room I joked and said “Yes put it on that guys rooms!” He asked me to take a walk with him and we went down their staircase that goes to the veranda that overlooks the water. Then he got on one knee and I blurted out “oh my god it’s happening!” Then his friends jumped out of the bushes and took pictures of us. It was amazing. After the friends all quickly left which I thought was weird. So I asked if he wanted to grab another drink at the bar and he said he had an idea. I followed him and he turned the corner to the guest rooms. He had booked a room for the weekend, had champagne on ice and a weekend bag backed for me. It was perfect! DO YOU HAVE ANY WEDDING PLANNING OR MARRIAGE ADVICE THAT YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OTHER COUPLES PLANNING THEIR DAY? Try and minimize what “events” you’re doing on the day, between the bridal party entrance, first dance,

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father/daughter dances, money dances, tossing flowers etc. you’re not going to spend time with the people you love. Which aside from all the money you’re spending to feed them, you should welcome them and really enjoy the day.

Photographer: Chrissy Gilmartin Photography / GWM 53

Real weddings

AMIT & MARTIN October 21, 2018 / Clane Gessel Photography

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HOW AND WHEN DID THE COUPLE MEET? We met almost eight years ago through a mutual friend on Facebook. The connection was instantaneous, we fell in love and have been together ever since. HOW DID THE PROPOSAL TAKE PLACE? It was one day after our 6th anniversary, on one of the coldest days of the year. Martin’s parents were visiting from Azerbijan (where they were living and working at the time). Amit took Martin and his parents (who had already been clued in) to Bow Bridge in 56 GWM / Summer 2019

Central Park (which was where one of Amit and Martin’s very first dates took place), Amit got down on one knee and proposed in the center of Bow Bridge. He had hired a photographer to capture the moments leading up to the proposal as well as the proposal itself.

team behind them. You may think it’s too expensive to hire a fullservice wedding planner but trust us, it’s worth every single penny. In fact, just hire Sonal Shah and you’ll be perfectly fine.

WHAT WAS YOUR FONDEST WEDDING MOMENT? Our fondest moment of the wedding was the same for both of us. It was being escorted down the aisle by our entire family, receiving their blessing to get married to each other. WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR FUTURE ENGAGED COUPLES? Make sure you have an incredible wedding planner with an expert

Event Designer: Design House Decor Event Planner: Sonal J. Shah Event Consultants Reception Venue: Cipriani Wall Street Photographer: Clane Gessel Photography / GWM 57

Real Weddings

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DANIEL & CAMERON June 9, 2018 / Jessica Hunt Photography / GWM 59

Real Weddings

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TELL US ABOUT YOUR WEDDING! All of Daniel’s friends tease that he has had this wedding planned since he was six, which is partially true; Art Deco Southern Glam is what we call it. I took a lot of inspiration from Steel Magnolias and put my modern spin on it. I wanted everything to be romantic, soft and elegant with our own pizazz! For about 90% who attended it was their first gay wedding, and we wanted to make sure they felt the love and remembered our special day for years to come. Navy, blush, rose gold, gold, greenery “pink is my signature color!” So Daniel had to wear blush! My side wore Navy, while Cameron’s girls wore rose gold. Our reception floral pieces were in antiqued gold vases.

LET’S TALK WEDDING DECOR. Our altar was blush and white roses, greenery and eucalyptus. There were two entrance pieces “floating” on acrylic stands, featuring hydrangeas and the altar flowers, with crystals draping underneath. Since our wedding and reception were both in the lobby of the museum, we separated the space using a white sheer backdrop; the backdrop was built by my father and two cousins. The State Museum’s Lobby is breathtaking, with all of the history it holds so for us, not a lot of decorations were needed. Our wedding theme of Art Deco Southern Glam, called for beautiful pintucked Navy linens, rose gold mermaid scale sequin linens for the wedding party tables, and a blush petal linen for the Armadillo to adorn. DID YOU PERSONALIZE THE DAY IN ANY WAY? Our first date was at Cantina 76 so we knew we had to feature them for our food, we had a taco bar and nacho bar from them featuring some of our favorites dishes! Our first big trip together was for Daniel’s parents 35th Anniversary to Italy where we both fell in love with everything, especially the pizza and Gelato; The Wolf Pizza Co of Lexington, SC brought our Italian dreams to reality with four amazing pizza options; a gelato and sorbetto option as well! LET’S TALK FASHION. DanielASOS suit, customized with Swavroski by Miranda’s Vintage bridal, and custom shoes by ZombiePeepshow by Kayla Stojek, custom bow tie by Jake Simpson Cameron- London Fog by Tiknor’s, custom embroidered socks and monogram cuff links / GWM 61

Real weddings

from ETSY, and crystal necklace from Giselle. What we both wore was a surprise to each other, he knew that I was wearing blush and I knew he was wearing a royal blue shade. I absolutely love sparkle and Swavroski, so I wanted to shine on my big day yet still remain elegant. Cameron wanted a classic style that would accent his hair and eyes, with that added touch of glitz in the shoe! HOW DID YOU MEET? TELL US ABOUT THE PROPOSAL. Cameron saw me at SC Pride in Columbia, SC but was too shy to approach me that day so he found me on Grindr. He messaged me and said “I found you!� I teased and jokingly asked what now, and he offered to take me to dinner. We sat and talked for hours and that was beginning of everything! I proposed at Walt Disney World via caricature. It was a complete and total shock to him, and with a crowd gathered around our artist drawing she turned around our picture (me on one knee dressed as Prince Eric and him as Hercules). I was on one knee proposing; he said YES after what felt like an eternity haha! WHAT WAS THE MOST ANTICIPATED OR SPECIAL MOMENT OF YOUR WEDDING DAY? Our first dance and our bleeding red velvet Armadillo cake cut by Ouiser herself! We choreographed our dance together (mostly Cameron), and it was a lot of steps. I was super nervous I would forget them! Jessica captured the most amazing pictures of our cartwheel lift and It was amazing! Our wedding cake was the ultimate nod to Steel Magnolias and one of our dear friends made

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everyone’s evening by portraying Ouiser Bodreaux and cutting the cake! DO YOU HAVE ANY WEDDING PLANNING OR MARRIAGE ADVICE THAT YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OTHER COUPLES PLANNING THEIR DAY? Enjoy yourself, it’s your wedding! Cameron and I danced the night away with our besties and even got to eat! I always heard that you won’t remember anything, you won’t get to eat, you have to talk to everyone, etc. Our wedding was not like that at all! We mingled, drank and danced the night away with our loved ones.

Photographer: Jessica Hunt Photography Second Shooter: Alexis Schwallier Photography LLC Linens and Coverings: CV Linens Invitation Designer: Designs by Sarah West Caterer: Wolf Pizza Caterer: Cantina 76 Hair Stylist: Styled by Price Officiant: Bootsie LeFaris Accomodations: Liquid Assets DJ: Bridal DJ’s Cake Designer: Silver Spoon Bake Shop Cake Designer: 27 Cakes Floral Designer: WAS Design Works Bridesmaid Dresses: Bella Bridesmaids Apparel: JakeSimp Shoes: Kayla Stojek Apparel: Express Men Tuxedo and Mens Attire: Miranda’s Vintage Bridal Apparel: ASOS Clothing Shoes: Just Men’s Shoes Ring Designer: Tiffany & Co. Ring Designer: Tessa Metcalfe Tuxedo and Mens Attire: Tiknor Mens Clothier Event Venue: South Carolina State Museum Hair/Makeup: Breanna Price Hair/Makeup: Shannon Lindsey Hair: Jennifer Richie Macarons: Sweet Accent Macarons Petit Fours: Tiffany’s Bakery & Eatery / GWM 63

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Recipe for Queer Domesticity: Start with a home filled to the brim with love. Add two-part amazing human and one-part equally amazing tiny human. Mix in a vegan-muffin baking session, a game of chase, and a half-hour of reading and cuddling on the couch. Let dwell in domestic bliss. At-home lifestyle family photo sessions are my favourite and when Corinne messaged me to capture her little clan, I couldn’t wait to share an hour with them. Little Olive may have stolen the show with her pro banana peeling, but Rune and Corinne managed to sneak in a few moments alone to grab some shots to commemorate the five years they’ve spent together. WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF YOUR FAMILY PHOTOSHOOT? WERE YOU MEMORIALIZING A SPECIAL OCCASION? We we’re celebrating our five year anniversary of partnership and wanted to capture our daily lives/reality as a family. HOW AND WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THE SETTING OF YOUR FAMILY PHOTOSHOOT? We wanted the shoot to be at our home, because we spend significant time there (especially during the winter), and because our house is a safe space for our family. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PICTURE FROM THE DAY, AND WHY? My favorite picture is one of Rune and Olive cuddling in bed (B&W). It is the most representative of their parent-child relationship, and I can imagine that Olive will cherish it when she is older.

Photographer Christina W. Kroeker Creatives / GWM 65

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Real Weddings

MCKENZIE & KATIE June 9, 2018 / Apaige Photography

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TELL US ABOUT YOUR WEDDING! The inspiration behind our day was a vintage garden theme. Our colors were blush, hints of navy, and a lot of greenery. HOW DID YOU MEET? Katie and I met at a college bar called Kilroy’s while attending Indiana University. We were set up by a mutual friend, but it took Katie some liquid courage to work up the nerve to approach me at the bar. In fact, she was so nervous that the only thing she could mutter was, “hi”. However, I knew that she was a keeper from that very first night. When we decided to propose, because like I said, we can’t keep a secret, we chose to spend a weekend in Chicago together. We knew that both of us would propose to the another during this weekend, but did not know when or how the other would do so. Katie ended up going first, she had my friends distract me at a bar, while she decorated our hotel room with hanging signs mapping out our biggest moments together from the past year. At the end of the trail was a letter from Katie and her down on one knee. Very well done. Katie and I always love trying fun new restaurants, so I chose to propose at the 3 Arts Cafe. We sat down for lunch, and towards the end I gave her a book with all the reasons why I love her on each page, of course by the ending I was down on one knee as well. The entire weekend was full of love, tears, and fun. Luckily, several of my friends live in Chicago l, so they were able to join in on fun with us! Hair Stylist: MAK Salon and Spa Dress Store: Davids Bridal Greta’s Bridal Shop Event Venue: Sundance Studios Photographer: Apaige Photography / GWM 69

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ot everyone feels fab in a white wedding gown. Sometimes a tux is the perfect way to show off your style. Check out these tux combos from an amazing team of designers to find inspiration for your wedding day attire.

Museum: Wichita Art Museum Apparel: Skeffington’s Formal Wear Dress Store: Dress Gallery Photographer: Shelby Laine Photography Models: Hunter Gromala (Blonde) & Alex Wilken (Brunette)

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RAUL & CHRIS October 7, 2018 / Paris Photographer Pierre

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We meet the old fashion way. It was November 15th, 1997. I (Raul) decided to go and check out a club I had never been to. I walked around for a bit and there he was across the room. A young blond haired, blue eye guy named Chris. He was wearing khaki pants, a t-shirt and a flannel shirt wrapped around his waist. We didn’t have the chance to officially meet because all of Chris’ friends were around and we both left the club thinking we would never see each other again. Two days later we both went back to the same club, not knowing each of us was also going to be there. This time we made sure to exchange phone number so that we would meet again. Raul: I knew that we were meant for each other when we first kissed. We had gone out - it was our 3rd encounter (as friends, I didn’t know how Chris felt about me yet). We were dancing but there was something different when a particular song starting playing – the song was, “Forever Young”. As the first verse of the song began our eyes had locked and like magic we kissed and that was the moment for me. Chris: For me it was on our first weekend we had gone out of town together. As we were driving back home I realized we weren’t going to be together and he was going to go home alone – I was sad and upset, I worked up the courage and asked Raul to come home with me and stay with me and he said yes. For some odd reason that was the moment I knew I was in love with this person.

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We really did not officially propose. It was through conversation more than anything. It doesn’t sound romantic but the more we talked about it the more excited we got and, like anything we do, its always “US” so it wasn’t like any unexpected surprise. Getting married after 20 years together solidified that we just want to secure more time with each other, that we are planning for more years of commitment and devotion with each other. To me (Chris) I feel that marriage is extra special if two people are excited about being married after being together for so long. Through it all ?I wouldn’t trade Raul for the world! We wanted something very private, very one-on-one. And we knew we wanted to have Paris as the backdrop. I really felt that after all these years together and through the good and bad, this would be our very final and special step of our union together. By choosing Paris as our destination, we were able to travel once again to the city were we took our first vacation together 18 years earlier. Our favorite part of our wedding day was running around throughout Paris in our tuxedos with the photographer and his team – I loved watching Chris look so happy. We were like kids running through the city of Paris. It was amazing! Our advice for other couples is: Do it your way and don’t listen to anyone else. Everyone has an opinion and wants to get involved, but in the end this is your special day – I had a philosophy, it was our mutual way or the highway – I stayed

stern to that. Remember to enjoy every moment of your special day! Groomsman Attire: The Black Tux Jewelry: Brilliant Earth Makeup Artist: Remake Agency Officiant: The Paris Officiant Ceremony Location: Eiffel Tower Photographer: Paris Photographer Pierre / GWM 77

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featured vendor

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featured vendor


r k D o w n t o w n

Wedding songs are important – they set the mood, they bring the emotion to your performance, they tell a story and engage your guests in a truly special way. Most of all, choosing the right song for your wedding is important because music creates powerful memories. Decades later, you might hear your wedding song




So if you want to have a happy memory of your first dance and avoid embarrassment you’d like to forget for the rest of your life, you will need some preparation

Learning dancing by watching videos online or improvising the dance on the wedding day isn’t a very good idea. You want a professional dance teacher to plan and guide you through the learning process while pointing out ways you and your partner can improve. Finding the right person teacher is important, so make sure you click with your them on the first lesson – they should be clear, patient and open to your ideas and visions for your wedding.


If you plan to get married in the future, though, chances are you are going to have to dance with your partner. Whether you have two left feet or you already walk down the street vogueing and doing the chassées and grand jetés, getting ready for the first dance can be stressful. And why wouldn’t it be? You will have to dance with your partner in a public place and in front of an audience, wearing clothes that don’t necessarily feel comfortable to move in, and your guests will be pointing at you with their phones and cameras, waiting for your next move to share on social media with the rest of the world.




ou might be one of those people whose feet and body move in sync with the music without them even trying, just feelin’ the beats and letting go, moving their body in perfect effortless lines and poses. Or you might be one of those who have been avoiding dancing throughout their lifetime, finding excuses to leave the party or looking for a corner to hide when all your friends hit the dancefloor.



and a bit of structure to get your body moving and sharpen up your dancing skills. Everyone can learn to dance but it takes some planning and some guidance to make it feel and look natural. Here are 5 most important tips to follow so you can truly shine on the dancefloor and really make your partner and your family proud on your wedding day. / GWM 81

playing and you’ll be feeling all the warm feelings and first moments as wedded couple. Most important thing about choosing the song is that it means something to you and your partner. If the emotion is there, dancing will follow.


Discuss the vision of your wedding and your wishes for the wedding dance with your dance teacher. Try to describe your ideal wedding dance to help them advise you. Do you prefer to appear more casual and intimate or would you rather wow your audience with lifts and dips and twirls? Would you like to keep it classical and formal or throw in some Beyoncé moves and hair flips? If you don’t have ideas yourself, ask your teacher to make suggestions! 4 START EARLY

Dancing takes time. Even if you can easily memorize the steps, getting in sync with your partner and getting pleasure out of it will take more than a few days. Enjoy learning how to dance together – dancing is a great activity to share with your partner and will make you become even closer. 5 ENJOY THE PROCESS OF LEARNING

Embrace the whole process of learning to dance with your partner – successes as well as mistakes. Stepping on each other’s feet, bumping into each 82 GWM / Summer 2019

other and forgetting the steps is very common in the beginning and should be welcomed! Laugh it out, stay positive and keep on practicing, because these first moments will always stay with you as beautiful memories once you get those steps down. Ballroom dancing feels great, everyone can learn how to dance and everyone should be dancing! Many dance studios work with same sex couples nowadays and same sex ballroom dancing is getting more and more popular, so don’t hesitate to give them a call

and ask for more information. So stand up straight, keep your head up high, chin down and relax your shoulders. Grab your partner by their hand and take them for a few dance lessons – you’ll be amazed how good it feels to explore this wonderful activity together. Fred Astaire Downtown 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 83

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Jessica Hunt Photography

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