Gay Weddings and Marriage Magazine Winter 2019

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WIN TER 2019 / GAY




ON THE COVER Jay and Gabriella’s story can be found on page 62. PHOTOGRAPHER:

Renee Clancy

PUBLISHER/EDITOR RENEE CLANCY WEBSITE SCOTT ROGERS A LOOK INSIDE YOUR SOMETHING NEW- HOW TO MAKE TRADITION By Louis Baragona, Associate Real Weddings Editor, The Knot There are certain traditions we’ve been taught as compulsory traditions when it comes to weddings. You know the ones: Something borrowed. Something blue. White dress. Black tux. Bride. Groom. But what happens when the rules or “traditions” don’t include you? When there’s no bride involved or even if a white dress just isn’t your thing? Continued on page 30 Photo by Cassie Rosch



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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 / Winter 2019

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ust because you choose to elope with a small group or plan an intimate backyard event, does not mean you need to skimp on the details. Your wedding day is about celebrating your love and the adventure on which you both are about to embark. This styled elopement was designed by a talented team of expert wedding vendors. Below is the advice they would like to share with you about how to make this elegant event your own. Nestled within Temecula Valley, The Retro Ranch created the perfect backdrop for this earthy intimate elopement. The private 10 acre estate provides endless areas throughout the property and hidden locations to capture unforgettable memories. The retro 1968 air-stream also provided a fun backdrop for the cake and dessert area. Hues of emerald green, sage, taupe, ivory and slate created a modern twist and was visually breathtaking. The inspiration added a little mystery and masculinity to this earthy intimate elopement. For the ceremony, the venues natural pampas grass was a stunning backdrop along with an assortment of candles that lined the stairs of the red barn as they exchanged “I dos” gave a romantic edge while the subtle but detailed textures of the amazing macramé art made by Ox and Nag was the perfect ceremony piece along with some pieces throughout the reception and dessert station. Perfectly coordinated for the occasion, each Groom looked sharp as they wore emerald green and navy blue tuxedos paired with velvet bow ties to add / GWM 5

some texture from Stitch and Tie and beautifully accented boutonnieres provided by Bloomies Creation. Along with a beautiful head table presentation that included eucalyptus leaves, faux fur, moss and slate colored candle sticks to tie everything together. The Sweet Apron designed a visually stunning geode cake that incorporated the color palette perfectly. The geode design continued with the delicious pastry spread of white chocolate covered Oreos, Madeline’s, cake pops, and marbled designed chocolate covered pretzels all provided by Vlocakepops. A hike to the wondrous and picturesque views along with a champagne toast to celebrate the occasion and their fur baby “fox” made for a perfect way to start the first day of the rest of their lives together.

Location: The Retro Ranch @theretroranch Bakery: The Sweet Apron @thesweetapron Bakery: Vlocakepops @vlocakepops Fiber Artist: Ox and Nag @ox.and.nag Floral Designer:Bloomie Creations @bloomiecreations Calligrapher: Karen Martinez/Fioribelle @fioribelle Tuxedo and Mens Attire: Friar Tux , Stitch and Tie @friartux /@stitchandtie Beauty: Juanita- BridesbyJLO @bridesbyjlo Photographer: Melissa Fe Chapman Photography @melissafechapmanphotography 6 GWM / Winter 2019 / GWM 7

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wedding PREP

Brides: Samantha Gordon & Ashley Menin Photography: Katie Edwards Photo 10 GWM / Winter 2019


wedding prep


How to Make Your Party Yours with

o, you and your partner for life are what? We’re sure that by now you’ve gone to a few different places seeking wedding inspiration. Whether you’re a devoted Pinterest board maker or a loyal servant of Google’s resources, you’ve no doubt seen some gorgeous examples of somebody else’s Big Day. But what about yours? That’s where the event experts of For Your Party come in. Since 2004, For Your Party, a Chicago company, has made its name in creating some of the finest quality, professionally printed, custom party accessories in the wedding game. They’ve worked with everyone from recent bride Olympic athlete Missy Franklin and superstar hostess Rihanna, to corporate branding for Club Monaco, Crate & Barrel, Marc Jacobs and more. We asked FYP to gently guide us

through the process of planning for your biggest day yet, and guess what? Turns out it’s not as tough as we thought!

Consider Your Individuality For Your Party encourages you to consider individuality when planning what will be a day that you and your loved ones will remember forever. You’ll want your wedding photos to mirror a day that is as timeless as it is a true reflection of your relationship, and For Your Party offers extreme customization every step of the way!

Envision YOUR Day What are the steps along the way, you ask? Traditionally, it’s your engagement party, the bachelor(ette) festivities, a rehearsal dinner, your wedding reception, and your post-nuptial “thank you”s. Your day and / GWM 11

your gatherings may not fit tradition and that is totally ok! You and your beloved deserve to have the experiences that best fit the two of you and the life that you’re building together! Weddings are constantly evolving - no need to stick to the usual routine!

Decide Your Priorities Together You’ll also want to sit down for a serious chat about what you and your other consider to be the most important parts of your tying the knot. Is it inviting all of your family and friends? Is it important to keep your party small and intimate? What are you both prepared to spend on the big event? These are not the most fun things to discuss but, once you’ve discussed them, consider yourself to be in good shape. Ready to plan? Let’s go.

Choose Your Color Palette Color palette is the perfect place to start when figuring out just how to showcase your wedding to your loved ones. It could be as easy as searching FYP website categories like “Color Palettes” or “By Event” to get your planning started, as the site will begin to round up some of the best selling hues and favors per your individual taste. 12 GWM / Winter 2019

Personalize, Personalize, Personalize Have your colors picked out? BOOM! Half of the battle is now complete when you are planning alongside For Your Party. Favorite colors in tow, you’ll be able to pick out your favorite designs, textures, templates, and finishes for your invitations, cocktail napkins, guest towels, menus for the bar or table, gift bags, and some of the smartest souvenirs around. Personal style accounts for everything, and For Your Party has plenty of modern, classic, boho-chic, rustic vintage, Hollywood glam, you name it! Everyone’s personal style can be curated with FYP.

Plan and Prepare As planners, there’s nothing that For Your Party takes more seriously than preparedness. While you may not know what should be ordered and ready per wedding event, FYP absolutely does, and has guides and checklists for nearly every detail that you won’t want to miss located right on their site. Find a guide you like that’s particularly helpful? Print that bad boy out and keep it with you at all times during the planning process. It may sound silly, but it could serve as a reminder you need to keep planning! Your day is not going to plan itself! But the good news? You have all of the help in the world at your fingertips!

Propose to Your Wedding Party As you’re planning your wedding shower dates and events, make sure to decide the best time to “propose” to your wedding party. FYP recommends that you make your maid of honor, bridesmaids and groomsmen feel extra special with something personalized! Perhaps a customized gift box filled with a candle, a cute initial necklace, maybe a handwritten note? You’re guaranteed to get happy-tears flowing and a big “YES!” from your loved ones. / GWM 13

Choose Your Wedding Party Wisely Remember, pick those wedding parties wisely - these will be the people you’ll be surrounded by during your most intimate moments and let’s not forget, they’ll also be keeping your bachelor/bachelorette secrets for a lifetime. Be it a weekend venture or just a night out on the town, be sure that everyone around you knows this is your beloved crew!

Highlight What is Important to You at Each Event At each event that leads up to your wedding, you’ll want to feature what’s most significant to you about the event at that given party! So, if your engagement party is the last time you’ll be enjoying your own last name - make it count! Personalize your cocktail napkins or matches to emphasize that. Or, if you want to make sure to really prep your guests to use your wedding hashtag - time to print whatever adorable couple hashtag you came up with on any favor imaginable!

Enjoy Your Day, Stress Free Other than having a great time, not flubbing your vows, and greeting all of your guests, there is no reason you should be stressing on your wedding day! For Your Party has you covered from start to

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Photography: Katie Edwards Photo

finish in your planning journey. Find FYP on Instagram, Facebook You know what they say about and Pinterest @foryourparty planning, don’t you? Failure to plan is planning to fail!

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g .1 i 5 b .2


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OUR FAMILY 16 GWM / Winter 2019




It has been such an honor to watch Katie and Stormie’s family grow! We met them at a bridal show in 2017 where they won a free engagement session. We hit it off immediately. We were lucky enough to capture their wedding in 2018 and now their first family photos as a family of three in 2019. Katie and Stormie are so selfless and loving to their son, Porter. According to Katie and Stormie, “He is the light of our lives and brings us so much happiness. It’s amazing to see, and experience how much love Porter has surrounding him! His entire existence is our favorite part about life and about being moms.” When we asked Katie and Stormie to describe their family, their first response was “TIRED! We are still getting accustomed to the parentlife, but we are enjoying every moment. While we have the basics figured out, you know the hunger cry from the dirty diaper cry from the tired cry, there is so much more for us to learn. As Katie puts it, we are learning as much from him as he is from us. Porter is ever changing, growing and learning, which means we are ever changing, growing and learning ourselves. From early morning snuggles, to lazy Sundays on the couch, our hearts are content as long as we are together!” Katie and Stormie wanted a Fall feel for their holiday photos this year and boy oh boy did we make it happen. We captured their family session at Live Oak Park in Fallbrook, California. We were surrounded by leaves changing colors and lots of smiles for the Westendorf Family. Paul Douda Photography

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KATIE, STORMIE & PORTER Paul Douda Photography / GWM 19


EMILY, EMILY & OLIVE Elizabeth Greve Photography

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When we heard that Chicago had rainbow crosswalks for pride month this year, we knew we wanted to do photos! This is our first year as moms, our 2nd pride as a married couple and it’s the 40th anniversary of Stonewall. It seemed like a good opportunity to celebrate pride and our family! HOW AND WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THE SETTING OF YOUR FAMILY PHOTOSHOOT?

Liz actually was the one who told us about the rainbow crosswalks! It seemed like the perfect setting for our family photos. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PICTURE FROM THE DAY?

My favorite picture is the one with Emily and I kissing and Olive sitting between us. It’s such a nice representation of our family and I can’t wait to show it to Olive when she’s older.

Elizabeth Greve Photography / GWM 21

Real engagements

JUAN & DANNY Photography by Cinder & Co.

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They met online. Juan messaged Danny a couple of times before he decided to answer. Danny doesn’t remember ever seeing those first messages. They hit it off since the first date. WHAT MAKES YOUR RELATIONSHIP SPECIAL?

They complement and counter balance each other pretty well. Danny is spontaneous, while Juan likes planning. They both love to travel and explore nature. They are both foodies who enjoy discovering new dishes around the city or inventing their own at home. HOW DID YOU KNOW YOUR PARTNER WAS THE ONE?

Juan: I always joke with Danny saying I knew he was the one when he ordered sanchocho (a hearty soup) on our first date. Jokes aside, I really got a good vibe since that first date. Danny: (Laughing) His bacon was so crispy and delicious! GIVE US ALL THE DETAILS ABOUT THE PROPOSAL. HOW AND WHERE DID IT HAPPEN? WAS IT A SURPRISE?

The proposal was a surprise for Danny. Juan searched for places around the city which were romantic and not crowded. He settled for Roosevelt Island when he took Danny there one night and Danny fell in love with its quietness. ”It doesn’t feel like New York City” were Danny’s words. Juan asked Christian to be part of the process and not just a photographer. Christian would wait for them at the designated spot, acting like he was taking pictures of the skyline. Once the couple walked by, Christian would approach them and ask them to pose for a photo. ”Danny will never turn down a picture,” Juan told the photographer. And that’s exactly what happened. They posed for a couple of pictures, and then Juan knelt and proposed. Danny didn’t know the photographer was part of the setup until it was over!

Photography by Cinder & Co. / GWM 23

Real engagements

AMIAH & SHEAVAE Love to Love Photography

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We met in the beginning of December at a night club in Ybor. We both locked eyes and couldn’t stop looking at each other until she finally came up to me and asked for my name. We have talked every single day since that night. WHAT MAKES YOUR RELATIONSHIP SPECIAL? Our relationship is

special because we balance each other out perfectly. We both have what the other might lack and it just works. We know how to make each other laugh all the time. Both of our families are supportive of our relationship and have taken us in with open arms which is most important. HOW DID YOU KNOW YOUR PARTNER WAS THE ONE? I actually

knew the night we met that she might be the one. After the club around 4 am she asked if I made it home safe and wished me a good night which meant a lot. GIVE US ALL THE DETAILS ABOUT THE PROPOSAL. HOW AND WHERE DID IT HAPPEN? The proposal

happened in the comfort of our apartment in Lutz, Florida. We had been talking about marriage for a while so it wasn’t really a surprise but still such a special moment. ARE YOU EXCITED TO START PLANNING YOUR WEDDING DAY?

Our wedding is going to be November 24, 2019. It will be a beautiful fall wedding at a garden venue surrounded by gorgeous greenery and flowers. Our colors are going to be neutral champagne with pops of burgundy. Couldn’t be more excited! Love to Love Photography / GWM 25

Real Weddings

DRAGISA & DUSTIN June 30, 2019 / Tulle & Tweed Photography

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Real Weddings

Dustin and Dragisa met while Dustin was travelling in Berlin. They saw each other at a bar, and Dragisa knew it was love at first sight. They spent a whirlwind week together, and decided to pursue their relationship further between Berlin and Canada. After a few trips to visit each other, Dustin proposed on Valentine’s Day in Berlin. He invited Dragisa to move to Canada to begin their lives together in Victoria, BC. When Dustin proposed, he knew exactly who he wanted to officiate the ceremony. Victoria Mayor, Lisa Helps, had been hugely influential in his decision to stay in Victoria after university, rather than pursuing more lucrative opportunities elsewhere. He loved the direction that the city was headed, including its utmost support and inclusiveness for the LGBTQ+ community. He decided to write Lisa a love letter of sorts, explaining why he would be honoured to have her be a part of their special union. Lisa had never received such a request before, and agreed to co-officiate with the always lovely Amanda Tarling. We visited the beach and Beacon Hill Park for their creative portraits, and finished off at Government House for some photos with Dustin’s prized possession, his vintage 80’s Mercedes convertible. Their love radiated in the photos and their excitement for their ceremony and after- party built as the day passed by.

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Dustin and Dragisa’s wedding took place on this sunny June evening, perfectly timed to kick

off pride-week in Victoria. With their closest friends and family, they shared their personal vows on the rooftop of the Regent Hotel in downtown Victoria. The ceremony overlooked the inner harbour, and the seagulls squawked in approval, while the seaplanes hummed in the background, making this a truly westcoast wedding in every possible way. Every guest (including me) was in tears for the duration of the ceremony. Cocktails and dinner followed, with Jill Cooper’s talented voice serenading the guests into the evening.

Officiant: Amanda Tarling Reception Venue: Victoria Regent Hotel Caterer: Toque Catering Photographer: Tulle & Tweed Photography / GWM 29

Photo by Jessica Hunt Photography

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Your Something NewHow to Make Tradition By Louis Baragona, Associate Real Weddings Editor, The Knot

There are certain traditions we’ve been taught as compulsory traditions when it comes to weddings. You know the ones: Something borrowed. Something blue. White dress. Black tux. Bride. Groom. But what happens when the rules or “traditions” don’t include you? When there’s no bride involved or even if a white dress just isn’t your thing? Especially when conventional tradition doesn’t include you or your wedding visions, you can twist it or make something entirely new—and there are so many ways to do it. At The Knot, we’re constantly seeing couples make their own traditions, and there’s nothing we love more, because the ultimate rule with weddings nowadays? You do you. The Knot’s “Make Tradition” campaign was born for that exact reason. The group of millennials getting married today is the most diverse group yet, and they want a wedding that incorporates who they are. Make Tradition was created to reflect those diverse identities, styles, cultures, fashion, and love stories. We empower our couples to plan their weddings their way, and while some couples may embrace existing traditions, others may opt to redefine what those traditions look like for them, and that’s ok— in fact, we encourage it. As gay people, making our own traditions is something we’ve had to do for centuries, before coming out was beyond conversation and legal marriage was a reality. Now, more than ever, couples are taking matters into their hands, breaking the rules, and making traditions of their very own, serving as inspiration for all tobe-weds to follow. / GWM 31

When it comes to one’s engagement, a bended-knee or engagement ring isn’t always the name of the game. Instead, couples like Allison and Sam and Danny and Vinnie are popping the question with watches or other keepsakes. Why? Well, in Allison and Sam’s case, “a ring just isn’t our thing.” Personalization and preference are at the heart of #maketradition. If the usual isn’t “your thing” either, you can surprise your partner with something they love—a watch, a necklace, or maybe even just a trip somewhere they’ve been dying to go. One of the ways in which binary gender is most often enforced with weddings is through fashion. Couples are switching things up with their looks. Kathleen and Kayla embraced their love for colorful attire and Hawaiian shirts with matching parrot shirts for their surprise wedding. Jennifer picked a vibrant, eyecatching purple suit, while Marisa added a Latin-inspired twist to her blue look with colorful embroidery. Cameron and Daniel completed their looks with sparkling touches (a necklace and bowtie respectively). Your wedding day fashion is just one of the many details that you can go as wild as you’d like with as much color, pattern, and tailoring as you want, free of binary confines. And when it comes time for the big day, feel free to remove any moments that just don’t fit for you and your partner. Don’t want to have one person walk down the aisle first? Why not walk together like Kevin and Zak who escorted their moms down the aisle at the same time. “It was 32 GWM / Winter 2019

fun to walk as one family,” Zak said. Or maybe have a ceremony in the round with two aisles for you two to meet in the middle. Another ceremony element that’s highly customizable are your vows—think about what’s most important to you and your partner and share them that way, whether that’s in private or maybe even in song. Angela and Brittany chose to honor their community and their values by signing a community manifesto along with their vows. Throughout your entire wedding day, don’t be scared to honor your families, cultural identities, or your roots in ways that speak to you as a couple. Even the traditional wedding cake can be subject to a bit of queer affirmation. When looking for cake toppers, Clay and Mike noticed there weren’t many playful options for same-sex couples, including LEGOS, which only come in heterosexual pairs.

“A friend bought two LEGO sets and replaced all of the bride pieces with groom pieces,” Clay says. “We knew it had to go on our cake!” Sometimes you’ve gotta work with what you have, because we can have our cake and eat it too. Get creative in a space that doesn’t always allow you options. Plus your wedding food is a great element to personalize beyond the cake, whether by incorporating food from your family’s heritage or even food from the restaurant where you two had your first date—the options are endless. Just remember: have fun. The ultimate rule of making tradition is that it should speak to you, so just as we as queer people have defined ourselves, our identities, and our rights for ourselves, we can also do the same with our big days. Consider it our something new.

Photo credits: Page 32 top left: Cassie Rosch Page 32 bottom left & right: Sposto Photography Page 33 top left: Jessica Hunt Photography Page 33 top middle: Emily Wren Photography Page 33 top right: Cassie Rosch Page 33 bottom: Hunter & Light Photography / GWM 33

Real weddings

CLINT & AHMAD March 30, 2019 / Jessica Hunt Photography

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HOW DID YOU TWO MEET/START DATING? We met online in December, 2013. We messaged each other on and off for roughly two weeks before we decided to meet in person. We actually had our first date on 1-4-14, which we have used as our “anniversary” date for the last five years.

the best in each other and continue to do so since day one. We are from total opposite backgrounds, careers, and cultures, but we somehow fit so seamlessly. Of course all couples have arguments, but we use those times as building blocks to continuously re-solidify our relationship.



Carolina/Clemson party and all of our family and friends were over. I (Clint) hadn’t the slightest clue that anything was going on in the background during the party. It was brought to my attention that my future sister-in-law had a dead battery and needed someone to come assist her. Ahmad was INSISTENT that it was I that went and assisted her in jumping her car. So his brother and I went together and half way there we got a “call” that said she was fine now and someone else had stopped to help her-so we turned around and headed back to the house. When we were pulling back into our neighborhood, Ahmad called his brother and had him hand me the phone, but I had already noticed there were several large prints of us leaned against all the mailboxes leading to our street. At this point I was well aware of what was about to take place.

things, when time permits. Some of these things are: Traveling abroad, taking a cruise, going on mini trips with friends, tackling mini projects in/around the house, spend time with family and friends.

We turned onto our street and everyone was outside, holding a rose, and when I got out there was a walkway of rose petals for me to walk up to Ahmad. He had a special song by Sam Smith playing in the background and it is now a favorite of ours. He had the sweetest proposal plotted out and memorized it to a “T.” Please keep in mind that I was a MESS, I’ll blame the wine of course. He went through his well rehearsed script he created and concluded with “What do you say Batman, will you marry me?” and here we are today. (Side note: we have favorite superhero characters, his is Superman and mine is Batman. I loved how he integrated that into the proposal. Also, that may not be verbatim, like I said, I was a mess = crying) TELL ME ABOUT WHAT YOU LOVE ABOUT EACH OTHER! There can be so much to put here, but

I am going to keep in short and sweet. Simply put, Ahmad is the Yin to my Yang. We bring out / GWM 35

Real Weddings


first few weeks that I could see myself with Ahmad long term. However, I didn’t want to jump in all at once, so I waited a while to tell him that I loved him. I had never really expressed myself to anyone else this way before and wanted to make sure it was love and not lust. Once I became certain I wanted to tell him, I wanted to do so in a sweet and unique fashion. So, I decided that I was going to make a set of chalkboard coasters (8) and write “I love you” on them in eight different languages with the last one being in Arabic. Ahmad is Lebanese and the language he and his family speak fluently is Arabic, so I wanted to somehow relate it to my gift. He obviously knew what the coasters were saying when it go to the French and Spanish tiles, as these are easy to decipher. It was a great memory we had together and still cherish to this day. I used a special coat of poly to seal in the tile that was written in Arabic and he uses it daily.

Second Shooter: Brennan Booker Photography Invitation Designer: Vistaprint Bakery: Celestial Cakery Floral Designer: Twigs and Twine Floral Design Dress Store: David’s Bridal Tuxedo and Mens Attire: Joseph Abboud (Groom’s Custom Tuxedo ) Tuxedo and Mens Attire: Mens Wearhouse Reception Venue: Spring Lake Country Club Photographer: Jessica Hunt Photography 36 GWM / Winter 2019 / GWM 37

Real engagements

COURTNEY & MACKENZIE Impressions Photography

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Courtney proposed to Mackenzie on a surprise vacation to Captiva Island. Mackenzie had thought that they were going to use their vacation days to chill at home, she had no idea that they were even going to Florida. It wasn’t until they were on their way that Mackenzie even found out about the trip! Courtney had been planning for months to also propose on the trip. She worked with talented Naples, Florida event planner, Creative Eventology, to make the moment extra special. The planning team created both an area for Courtney to pop the question as well as a fun and romantic seating area for the couple to enjoy the moment. The Impressions Photography team was on hand to capture all of the emotions of this huge surprise and Mackenzie’s resounding “Yes!”. FROM THE COUPLE

Mackenzie and I met at work. She is a police officer and I am a paramedic. We were answering a 911 call at a local women’s rehabilitation center and being as we are both females it was our responsibility to handle the call. I instantly wanted to know who she was and even tried peeking at her badge but could not figure out who she was for a long time! Eventually we ran into each other a few more times and then we were able to start talking over messenger. We moved in together after two weeks and now after two years I can’t imagine spending a night without her! Event Planner: Creative Eventology Cinema and Video: IheART Films Location: South Seas Island Resort Photographer: Impressions Photography / GWM 39

Real Weddings

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CASSIDY & HANNAH August 6, 2019 / Vee Taylor Photo / GWM 41


Real weddings

These two went on the adventure of a lifetime when they eloped next to a waterfall in Iceland. It was pouring rain during our trip as they facetimed with their family during the ceremony. Afterwards they went to Reijavik to celebrate with cake and photos.

Ceremony Location: Kvernufoss Other: Andi Pope Dress Designer: BHLDN Makeup Artist: Makeup by Christina Lopez Photographer: Vee Taylor Photo 42 GWM / Winter 2019 / GWM 43

Real Weddings

RINA & DUKE April 20, 2019 / Photography by Studio Nine

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Real Weddings

Paying homage to their heritage, Margaret & Rina’s culturally rich ceremony was all about family, friends and a fusion of traditions. The couple met in 2010 while working together at Cetronia Ambulance Corps as EMTs. They started dating April 20th, 2011, making their wedding day their 8TH anniversary, and have been inseparable ever since. They endured multiple moves from cities to rural areas, had to switch jobs, and, like everyone else, have had their share of family dramas. Throughout all of this, they have prevailed and found true happiness in a real love that most spend years looking for. Their week long celebration was a true testament to their love for each other and their cultures. The lovely duo began their week with garba - sangeet, and a pithihaldi ceremony. Their big day began with a traditional Baraat and Hindu ceremony, exchanging garlands, walking around the fire, tying the knot and the auspicious mangalsutra. The evening continued as the pair donned a traditional tux and gown for an opulent white wedding ceremony, where they swapped vows and exchanged rings.

Ceremony Location: Normandy Farm Hotel Event Planner: Events Cherished Photographer: Studio Nine 46 GWM / Winter 2019 / GWM 47

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An open bar is what most couples envision for their special day when planning their nuptials… until the budget breakdown takes place, that is. There is no disputing booze takes up a large portion of the budget. However, while couples can save thousands of dollars with an open bar, many guests will be inevitably disappointed when they learn they have to pay for their drinks. The good news is if you prioritize experience over practicality, there are ways to create a significantly cheaper open bar for a lively celebration! The key? Affordable spirits labels, of course. Choosing the right booze for a wedding can be overwhelming when debating price vs quality if you don’t know what to look for. To help get you stay within budget without sacrificing caliber, we asked bar manager Jonathan Rodriguez at W South Beach’s Living Room to share his tips on the best booze worth the buck for the open bar of your dreams. / GWM 49

RUM Ron Barceló’s Dark Series ($23) and Ron Barceló Grand Platinum ($20) “Ron Barceló Dark series is a premium rum. It’s really smooth and perfect for a vintage cocktail (like a Highball or Old Fashioned) or on the rocks. For cocktails like Mojitos and Piña Coladas, use the Platinum Barceló.” Rum With Me 2oz Rum .5oz Lime .5oz Coco Lopez 1oz Pineapple 1 Basil 3 teaspoon Granulated Brown Sugar Double Rocks Glass Top w Angostura Bitters Garnish: 2 Pineapple leaves covered in brown sugar

VODKA Tito’s Vodka ($20) “Tito’s Vodka is a value brand and mixes well with just about anything. In a cocktail, Moscow Mule is best.” MenteMelon 2oz Vodka 1oz Watermelon .5oz Lime 3 dash Crème De Mente Coupe glass Garnish: Lime wheel with Mint sprig

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TEQUILA Tequila Espolón ($25) “Tequila Espolón is a great value brand, where event the reposado is cheaper than some Blanco tequilas! Besides, shots, it makes good Palomas and Margaritas”

GIN Gin Tanqueray ($30) “Gin Tanqueray is a wellknown brand that is cheaper than Hendricks and Bombay. It’s best for simple cocktails, like a Gin & Tonic or Negroni.”

Garden Fresh 2oz Reposado Tequila .75oz Lime ,25 aperol .25 Agave 3 Cherry Tomatoes 5 dash Olive Oil Coupe glass Garnish: Olive oil

Guava Fiz 2oz Reposado Tequila .Guava Fiz 2oz Gin 1oz Lemon 1oz Rosemary Syrup 1oz Guava puree 1oz cream Egg White Chilled Collins glass Top with Guava Soda Garnish: Rosemary

PRO-TIP FOR AN EVEN CHEAPER OPEN BAR: “Another way to budget for your special day is to create His/His or Hers/ Hers cocktails. Featuring two cocktails that might be favorites of the wedding couple gives a personal touch, while controlling what spirits and mixers you need, and the total price. Add personality to the drinks by giving them creative names. For the guests who don’t drink cocktails, have a beer and wine alternative.” / GWM 51

Real Weddings

RENE & DEAN December 1, 2018 / Shaunte Dittmar Photography

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Real Weddings

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New Orleans and architecture inspired our special day. The city is where we met, and fell in love, but we have also both been in love with the venue since it was an abandoned, boarded up, graffiti ridden blight on the neighborhood, with grass growing through the brick walls. We would walk by or visit our friend Craig’s coffee shop across the street, and marvel at the grand structure in hopes that someone would clean it up and bring it back to life. When we discovered that the site had been purchased, Dean contacted Nathalie about our interest, but the venue was years away from completion. Her vision was grand but we had no idea that Hotel Peter and Paul would be

that stunning, or an experience so unique as to be listed on Time Magazine’s 2019 List of World’s Best Places. We were simply excited to be a part of the buildings’ restoration, even purchasing a brick (inscribed with what we hoped would be our wedding year and month) to support the fund raising efforts. When the website finally launched three months before our wedding date we were the guinea pigs for their room block system, many rooms were 1st used by our guests, and of course, we were the first wedding to be held at the birth of this iconic location. DID YOU HAVE A SPECIFIC THEME, STYLE OR COLOR PALETTE? We’re

both in our 40’s with a bit of grey in our beards so we thought grey would be the perfect color. Being the beginning of the holiday season, we also thought silver would work well for some sparkle without being too blingy. We also thought it would be funny to answer the inevitable wedding color question by saying “shades of grey.” DID YOU INCORPORATE ANY CULTURAL OR RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS IN ANY PART OF YOUR DAY? We are both from varied

deeply religious backgrounds so we wanted to ceremony to have a sense of reverence but without religion. We chose a combination of music and readings that blended our cultures: “Love Sonnets: XVII” by Pablo Neruda (read in Spanish) for Rene’s Latin heritage and “Touched by an Angel” (Rene’s last name, “Angel”) by Maya Angelou for Dean. Dean’s choral music background was represented by nine acapella voices from

New Orleans Vocal Arts Chorale, and for Rene, classical Spanish guitarist Brandon Camaro played traditional Mexican ballads on the steps of the cathedral as guests arrived. Following the ceremony, we took a moment to stroll the neighborhood streets while guests enjoyed Sorrel, a traditional Trinidadian holiday drink, and Cava, a Spanish sparkling wine in the hotel’s Piazza. A lone trombone player interrupted the cocktail hour to “pipe-piper” all 110 guests through the large cathedral doors. “Where Ya At” Brass Band greeted quests in the vestibule and led them, dancing and swaying, into the cathedral for the reception. The brass band

and this experience for our guests represented our mutual love of New Orleans culture. LET’S TALK WEDDING DECOR. HOW DID YOU DECORATE YOUR SPACE FOR THE CEREMONY AND THE RECEPTION? We chose to

get married on the steps of the Church at Hotel Peter and Paul, instead of inside the Cathedral, to have the grand doors and brick façade as the background contrasting the gritty beauty of the neighborhood. Guests sat on bright white chairs perfectly arranged on the sidewalk, with standing room behind in the “no parking” zone, creating the perfect shield from any inopportune noise. Being outside on our surprisingly warm winter day with the sounds of the / GWM 55

Real weddings

Spanish guitar and NOVA Chorale floating through the air called neighbors to their windows and forced passersby to slow and gaze. We wanted the building to speak for itself. Besides, everything happens on the streets in New Orleans! For the reception we kept it simple with one big idea – Christmas trees. Up-lights at the altar’s dome highlighting the original baroque ceiling murals, created an intriguing focal point to the room and backdrop to our simple table. For the centerpieces we chose Christmas trees that were narrow enough to allow comfortable table conversation but tall enough to exceed the tallest person standing. A forest of 6’ tall, lit, silver tinsel Christmas trees anchored by silver Mardi Gras at the base centered each table. DO YOU HAVE ANY WEDDING PLANNING OR MARRIAGE ADVICE THAT YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OTHER COUPLES PLANNING THEIR DAY? Capture the moments,

they goes by very fast. Separate from a formal rehearsal dinner, plan a pre wedding get together for your guests, especially if many are from out of town and haven’t met. It could be as casual as happy hour at a dive bar. It creates a completely different atmosphere at the wedding when there are no strangers. Accept help, don’t try to do everything yourself. Choose or add an editorial/ photojournalist approach to your wedding photos. There is a lot that happens at your wedding that you wouldn’t otherwise see. Unexpected things will happen on the wedding day/weekend – let someone else handle it / role 56 GWM / Winter 2019

with it / let it go. At the end of the day, it’s all about you and your fiancé. A destination wedding is a great way to “manage” your guest list. As a gay couple, we experienced challenges with the concept of us as a couple, getting married, or having a large and very public wedding, so we established one rule. Only persons who had been fully supportive of our relationship would be invited, regardless of whom you were; parent, sibling, relative or friend, there would be no obligatory invitations. Not having the pressure of disapproving guests, who needed to be managed, created a fun and love filled atmosphere for everyone! Rene and Dean are excited to share that they have just completed training to become foster parents in January 2020.

Ring Designer: Torkkeli & Co. Oy Musicians: NOVA CHORALE Tuxedo and Mens Attire: Dobell Officiant: Gizelda Toomer Equipment Rentals: Event Rental Second Shooter: Anza Foto Film Event Venue: Hotel Peter & Paul Event Planner: Craig Nero Caterer: Who Dat Cafe Band: Where Ya At Brass Band Accomodations: Elysian Bar (Bar Service) Floral Designer: Arbor House floral-event-creative Apparel: Eden Slezin Band: Brandon Carcamo Accomodations: Hotel Peter & Paul Photographer: Shaunte Dittmar Photography / GWM 57

Real weddings

HEIDI & BURDOCK October 5, 2018 / Photography by The Drawhorns

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Real weddings


B and Heidi won a giveaway we did for a free photo session and B took the opportunity to propose to Heidi during their sunrise session. We became fast friends and eight months later we photographed their private elopement at Bread Bar in Silver Plume. They had just renovated a vintage Silver Streak travel trailer (which looks a bit like an airstream) to live in in Denver and were just so unbelievably READY to be married after everything they had accomplished together. We 60 GWM / Winter 2019

helped them arrange the space for the wedding by moving all the furniture and rearranging all the antiques and plants in the space. Heidi, who is a teacher and zero waste educator, foraged wildflowers for her DIY floral crown. B set up a little altar with seashells and rocks and other trinkets important to them. Before the ceremony B played guitar and sang a song they wrote for Heidi. Their officiant performed a beautiful ceremony that included handfasting and a private unity ritual. After the ceremony B made drinks for us all because they love making cocktails at home. Then we explored the town of Silver Plume, took some photos in the aspen grove, stopped by Plume

Coffee to say hello to Bjorn the husky and to take some portraits in their space. It was an absolute whirlwind, because we only spent two hours with them, but they were so intentional about every moment of the day and spent so much time loving and admiring each other.

Photographer: The Drawhorns / GWM 61

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rarely get a chance to photograph the couples that are featured in this publication. We are very lucky here at GWM to have so many gifted photographers that are willing to share their talent with us and loving couples that invite us and our readers into the most intimate day of their lives. I met Jay when I first started GWM in 2015, and he worked as an intern while attending design school. I was so grateful for his efforts and willingness to contribute to the magazine. Our paths crossed again recently, and when he spoke of his girlfriend Gabriella, his eyes lit up. There was a happiness I had never seen in him before, and I knew I just had to capture it and feature their relationship in this edition. HOW DID YOU MEET?

Gabriella: We met at school, but we were just friends. Jay: We were both into fashion, but I’m into fashion marketing and she’s into fashion design. We had a class together, and when she spoke I thought “Where is she from?”. Her Afrikaans accent was beautiful. WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO TOGETHER?

Gabriella: We like to go out and drink and try new bars. Jay: We love to eat too. WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS THIS YEAR?

Gabriella: We want to start a fashion brand, so we’re starting to get that figured out with our branding. Jay: Yah, we’re excited about the process. Photographer: Renee Clancy Photography Location: Mesa Arts Center/Arizona / GWM 63

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Real weddings

MADELEINE & KATIE July 6, 2019 / Two Mann Studios

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Real weddings


Our focus for the wedding was good people + good food = a good time. We tried not to get hung-up on the small stuff and the little details. We knew those things wouldn’t matter. We have great family and friends in our life, but never before have we had the chance to pull everyone together to meet. It was an amazing experience to have all of the people you love and have had in your life for every good time and challenging time, under one roof. LET’S TALK WEDDING DECOR. HOW 68 GWM / Winter 2019


was DIY. Madeleine’s mum is a creative artistic genius so we asked her to take the lead on it. She spent the spring sending us photos from Pinterest, crafting photo collages, collecting pieces, making place cards and renting things on Kijiji. It was amazing and greatly reduced our stress!! On the tables we had piles of antique books (from family collection & used book stores), we had jars of flowers and nameplates all made by mum. We hung fairy lights over the main space to give it an intimate, cozy feeling. Madeleine’s mum also created these beautiful photo collages - some which showed Katie and Madeleine growing up and others which highlighted the years together leading to the wedding. There was a special table that held a suitcase that held photos of all the previous marriages that came before M&K on both sides of the families. Cycling has always been a part of our relationship and Madeleine’s dad spent the weeks leading up to the wedding creating an art piece from an old bike. He was tickled pink to showcase it at the wedding. DID YOU PERSONALIZE THE DAY IN ANY WAY (FOOD TRUCKS, GUEST ENTERTAINMENT ETC.)? WHAT WERE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE PARTS OF YOUR WEDDING? The whole

wedding was personalized - we had our family and friends help set-up, we had family make the decorations, we had Madeleine’s sister who created the candy table, we had all our little cousins & nieces from Katie’s side be the flower girls, Madeleine’s brother was the master of ceremonies, / GWM 69

we had lawn games outside, we had our friend Travis make the photobooth and so much more. Even our DJ was from Madeleine’s sister’s wedding so he already felt like family. Highlights were: The party (the dance floor was so full!) The speeches Having our sisters sign for us The part of the dance floor when our friend did a backflip for the crowd...and so much more! LET’S TALK FASHION. HOW DID YOU BOTH CHOOSE YOUR WEDDING DAY LOOK? Katie and I both

dislike shopping. We also are awfully indecisive and the outfits ended up being the most difficult part! Katie knew she didn’t want to wear a dress but she didn’t want to look like a girl wearing a boxy men’s suit. We ended up buying three different outfits (and returned them) before we found one that felt good. We shopped together - there is just a practical side of being two women. We trust that the other one is going to tell us when we look awkward or something doesn’t fit right. And we both have ridiculous busy schedules so to plan an ‘outing with friends/family to look at dresses’ didn’t ever seem possible. A neighbor recommended we check out Holts Renfrew. So one Saturday we found ourselves in the Theory section of Holts where we met Cassandra. She loved fashion, she was incredibly passionate about her craft and made us feel like we were in great hands. We felt that we could trust her to make us look good. We both ended up finding exactly what we needed. During the time that Katie was deliberating different pieces of her outfit Madeleine was wandering around and found the dress she ended up wearing. It was a dress with pockets and she’ll completely wear it again. What a win-win! HOW DID YOU MEET? TELL US ABOUT THE PROPOSAL. Let us start with saying the gay

community in Calgary is pretty small. When we first met we were dating other people. We would see each other at events and friends parties. And then one day we bumped upon each other and we were both single... finally the timing was right! Madeleine grew up hiking in Calgary. Getting to the summit of mountains never seemed like a big deal for her. So when she and Katie 70 GWM / Winter 2019

started dating she dragged Katie up to Mount Yamnuska - where Katie had a bit of a panic attack and almost fainted. Since then, Katie made it her mission to get better at mountain climbing... so she could propose. Cute, right? But the proposal never happened. Getting married was something K&M spoke about regularly, so when Madeleine was accepted into an after-degree program in Lethbridge (2 hours away) it spurred the engagement. Here’s how it happened: Saturday morning, coffees in hand, curled up in our bed in our newly purchased house we both choose our engagement rings from Enzo. (They’re these practical, flexible rings that meant we could both be active and not worry about losing something expensive.) It’s not the romantic story that we see in movies. It’s a 21st century practical engagement and we love it. WHAT WAS THE MOST ANTICIPATED OR SPECIAL MOMENT OF YOUR WEDDING DAY? When we look

back on the day the most special part for both of us were the speeches. We felt so much love from everyone and those words will stay with us forever! The other highlight was the party. We both love to dance and we have a community that loves to use these moments to have a lot of fun. It was really special to see our different worlds collide and celebrate together. DO YOU HAVE ANY WEDDING PLANNING OR MARRIAGE ADVICE THAT YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OTHER COUPLES PLANNING THEIR DAY? Don’t sweat the

small stuff - focus on what matters to you and do that really well. Have fun with it. The day goes by so quickly you’re not going to notice anything you spent hours belaboring on.

Officiant: JP Weddings Floral Designer: Oasis Flower Shop Makeup Artist: Blush & Coco DJ: Summer Bounce Entertainment Caterer: Bite Catering Photographer: Two Mann Studios / GWM 71

Real Weddings

JUSTIN & ZACHARY August 17, 2019 / Brandy Angel Photography

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JUSTIN AND ZACKARY WERE MARRIED ON AUGUST 17TH, 2019 IN A PRIVATE RESIDENCE. Caterer: The Oakwood Cafe Caterer: Chick Fil A Equipment Rentals: Lake Oconee Rental, Inc Photographer: Brandy Angel Photography / GWM 73

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T O D AY ’ S Q U I N T E S S E N T I A L B R I D A L W E A R



lbeth Gillis brings bridal couture to the woman who wants to stand above the crowd. Every gown is unique and specifically made to measure. Constructed from luxurious fabrics sourced from around the world, an Elbeth Gillis wedding dress is exquisitely handcrafted and distinctively personal. Known for timeless sophistication, an Elbeth Gillis bridal couture piece is forever. Founded in 1997, Elbeth Gillis is internationally known for her bridal and evening couture. As the head of her world-class brand, Elbeth embodies the same virtues that her brides find in her dresses – style, charm and uncompromising class. Elbeth is relentless in her pursuit of distinction and refinement. She searches for opulent French laces and sumptuous silks, satins and chiffons made by prestigious fabric houses known to supply bridal royalty. Renowned for sheer luxury and a sophistication that transcends time, the Elbeth Gillis brand is the hallmark of femininity.

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As a young girl, Elbeth was surrounded by the beauty of fabrics, inspired by the magic that took place as her aunts and mother brought beauty and grace to the garments they sewed. By the age of 12, Elbeth knew she was destined to study fashion. Now, over 20 years later, the reputation of the Elbeth Gillis brand is a testament to Elbeth’s talent. Brides looking for something different will fall in love with the enduring, Audrey Hepburnlike design aesthetic. Stocked by boutiques around the world, Elbeth takes private appointments in Cape Town, South Africa. At the Elbeth Gillis Atelier, each gown is carefully handcrafted to ensure impeccable fit and quality. Each gown is the epitome of style, sophistication and uncompromising luxury. Facebook: @ElbethGillisCouture Instagram: @elbethgillis / GWM 77

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hether you’re looking for a location for your destination wedding or just a weekend getaway, then I must suggest you visit Haven Riviera Cancun. I’ve travelled throughout my life, but I’ve never been so pampered as I have when I visit Haven. From the moment I arrive at the airport I can see Haven’s attention to detail in the transportation waiting for me, to the service staff waiting for me at check-in. Did I mention the glass of champagne handed to me when I step into the hotel? Luxury spas, oceanfront suites, and to-die-for food are all a part of the Haven experience. When I visit Haven, my soul breathes a sigh of relief, as if I’ve entered a zone where I can remove myself from the crazy race that is our daily lives. As a retreat from the world, Haven is ideal, but it also doubles as a venue for your destination event. Pre-wedding bachelor/ bachelorette events, destination weddings, or honeymoon getaways are all accommodated at this oceanfront sanctuary. Here are just a few reasons why Haven Riviera Cancun is my home away from home. / GWM 79

WEDDINGS & ROMANCE Haven Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa is one of the romantic, tranquil and secluded venues in the Mexican Caribbean – the perfect setting for your destination wedding. Your guests will be enchanted by our sophisticated design and memorized by our sweeping ocean views. Celebrating your wedding at Haven will guarantee you will experience an unparalleled level of hospitality and impeccable, 80 GWM / Winter 2019

personalized service. You will be guided by our certified on site planner, exclusive group rates, and a luxurious, private bridal suite. Beyond anything you can imagine and exceeding your every expectation, a wedding at Haven Riviera Cancun will enchant and delight any couple with our unique all exclusive experience.

FLAVOURS Get ready to be “wowed” by Flavours at Haven. Here, you’ll find an endless array of delectable dishes in a casual, unique and comfortable setting. It’s a social gathering spot; a place to relax and to enjoy your favorite foods, including a wide variety of artisan and local fare, all presented in distinctive culinary stations. With a diverse spectrum of restaurants ranging from global fine dining experiences with mesmerizing ocean views, to a toes-in-the-sand Beach Stand the restaurants at Haven Riviera Cancun are a celebration of the flavors, beauty and vibrancy of the Mexican Caribbean. / GWM 81

SUITES On a secluded stretch of shoreline near Cancun, Mexico, Haven Riviera Cancun is an ultra-luxury fusion of sophisticated design with the five-star amenities and personalized service expected from the world’s best all-inclusive resorts.

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Within each of our 333 suites, the splendor of our oceanfront setting is reflected in upscale Mexican dĂŠcor, ocean or garden views and indulgences like whirlpool tubs, aromatherapy menus and plush King beds with personal pillow menus.

SPA & WELLNESS One of the best new spa retreats in the Mexican Caribbean, the MySenses Spa at Haven Riviera Cancun is a 15,700-square-foot sanctuary offering tranquil ambiance, cutting-edge services and customized therapies incorporating Mayan healing philosophies to create a wonderfully unique experience of peace and Well-being. LUXURY SENSORY JOURNEY SUITE (SINGLE OR DOUBLE USE):

Welcome ritual area Massage – facial – body treatment area Reflexology massage area for hands & feet​ ​Whirlpool for two Indoor terrace area of rest and relaxation with panoramic windows LUXURY SPA PARTY SUITE:

Exfoliation – wrap - reflexology massage station Facial and scalp massage station Cervical and back massage station Make-up and hair care station Manicure and pedicure station Lounging area with healthy food and beverage corner Indoor terrace area of rest and relaxation with massage tables and shiatzu chairs / GWM 83

Real Weddings

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CHELSEA & KYLEE October 19, 2019 / New Adventure Productions / GWM 85


Real Weddings

There are so many defining moments in life that make up who we are as individuals and as couples. We are defined through the life that we live as it writes our story. Of course, a good story should have a few plot twists and romance. The romance that we are speaking about today is the marriage between two wonderful people who found one another amidst all the noise and the subplots their stories and came together, at first over long distance, and today, owning a home together just minutes from one of their favorite places in the entire world, Purdue University. Planning a wedding is challenging but the love for one another, I believe, carries us through to the finish line and later on, down the aisle. Fast forward to October 19, 2019 at Ross Ade Stadium, the football stadium at Purdue University in West Lafayette, and we find Kylee and Chelsea preparing for their best day together. Of course, no wedding day would be complete without a half marathon, am I right? Well, perhaps that didn’t happen on my wedding day, but these ladies both ran and completed the Purdue Half Marathon hosted on the morning of their wedding day. Along with many of their bridesdudes and bridesmaids, who completed varying aspects of the race as well, these ladies were in the finest of company as they began their day. Purdue’s school colors are black and gold, so naturally, hosting their wedding at Purdue, being

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Purdue Alumni, and attending absolutely every home game that they possibly can, they chose their wedding colors to be black and gold. The perfect and classic touches of these colors together enhanced the already beautiful space of the Stadium banquet areas and brought together the themes of college pride and the love for family and friends. Both women shared personal vows that attest to their love and dedication to one another. Chelsea shared to Kylee, “And most of all, I promise to love you openly, fiercly, and forever. In all of the ways, on all of the days.” and Kylee promised to Chelsea, “Mostly, I promise to make every day with you an adventure, to love you madly and fiercely, and to always remember that love should never be mediocre.” The reception hosted the Shamy Mule, as the house cocktail, served to the brides in moscow mule mugs (of course!). As the evening continued, the dance floor grew and grew as Audio Inferno’s David Schuck kept the beats rolling and the dance floor moving. The ladies even shared a mutual bouquet toss to the crowd before ending the first part of their evening with a beautiful glow stick send off. Afterward, the party moved away from campus to their favorite campus bar, Harry’s Chocolate Shop, a once upon a time chocolate and ice cream parlor, founded in 1919 that later moved to the edge of campus in the late 30s and later gained its edge and notoriety by replacing ice cream with beer!

Reception Venue: Ross-Ade Pavilion Floral Designer: Rubia’s Flower Market Bakery: Sweet Revolution Bake Shop Dress Store: David’s Bridal Shoes: Converse Caterer: Levy Restaurants Cinema and Video: Unscripted Visuals DJ: Audio Inferno LLC Photographer: New Adventure Productions / GWM 87

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he main vision behind this shoot was to create something to showcase the love between two people, to showcase that love is love, and there are no boundaries to it. Once we found the perfect couple, who was celebrating their ONE month anniversary, we began designing this stylized elopement session for them. The idea behind it was simple, we wanted to curate a set up that incorporated masculinity while still maintaining details like soft color palettes, with colors like emerald, black classic and gold accents throughout. The pallet and design all compliment each other against the beautiful winery in San Juan Capistrano. The venue showcases beautiful hilltops and orange groves, that simply look stunning as the sun sets. Bloom Theory Floral Design did a beautiful job piecing together blooms to freshen up the lounge space. It added the perfect touch of elegance to the lounge area showcasing the mobile bar by The Aero Space. Delicious and beautifully garnished beverages were crafted by Critics Choice to freshen up the space and bring to life the mobile bar. Plus, who doesn’t like a tasty cocktail on a perfectly warm evening. The cake designed and mastered by Cocoa Berry Cake Co. was inspired by the allusion of smoke. We wanted to bring in the masculinity, elegance and create something that is out of the norm. It was designed to give the effect of cigar smoke rising, which made it the perfect accent as it was showcased on the gold beverage cart. / GWM 89

Jason and Basile, are such a fun and easy going couple. We loved seeing their personalities shine as we photographed them in their element. They shared beautiful vows and enjoyed so many laughs together and truly are definition of love. Fun Fact: They were celebrating one month married, and they seriously could not be anymore perfect! A very handsome pair!

Arch Vendor: @hummingwithfinnegan Design and Decor: Provenance Rentals Calligrapher: Scissor Tail Creative Co Cinema and Video: Sameng Film Caterer: Critic’s Choice Catering Signage: Olive Mint Shop Apparel: Friar Tux Cake Designer: CocoaBerry Cake Co. Other: The Aero Bar Floral Designer: Bloom Theory Design Event Venue: Stone’s Throw Winery Photographer: Stephanie Weber Photography 90 GWM / Winter 2019 / GWM 91

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A New Way to Capture Your Event More affordable than a photo booth and a lot more fun! The new Polaroid Pop Instant 3×4 Photo Printer & Digital Camera with touchscreen display is the perfect DIY addition to your wedding or bachelor/bachelorette event. • Mini photo & video camera: not only does this classic Polaroid camera let you snap and print pictures instantly, You can record full 1080 HD video or a fun gif. With ZINK Zero Ink Paper technology, there is toner, no film, no shaking this new spin on an old classic is truly instant • Print & edit photos instantly: we’ve kept the iconic 3. 5 x 4. 25 inch prints with the classic Polaroid Border, but now you can add notes & captions with your finger or emoji’s and shapes on the 4 inch touch screen display before you print • Portable pic printer: not just a camera, This Polaroid can print photos from almost any device! Connect your smart phone, computer or tablet to the camera and you can edit and print the photos as if you just snapped them on the camera itself • Premium specs: with built in WiFi you can instantly share photos on Facebook, Instagram or anywhere else. The camera takes stunningly vivid shots with a 20 mega pixel lens. The built in speaker and mic lets you record video • Best Mini camera: the pop 2. 0 Polaroid is unlike any other instant camera you’ve experienced before. It makes an awesome gift, It’s great as a portable travel camera, and it’s perfect for use at parties and special events like weddings

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Helzberg Diamonds Ordains Associates to Become First Jeweler to Offer Free Marriage Ceremonies Beginning October 2, 2019, couples interested in getting “Hitched at Helzberg” just need to bring their partner and their marriage license to their nearest Helzberg Diamonds location – no purchase necessary. Ordained associates will be available to perform free marriage ceremonies during regular work hours in any Helzberg Diamonds location. Since October 2, over 26 weddings have already been performed! “The Universal Life Church has a long and proud history of making the institution of marriage more personal and more accessible,” said Rev. George Freeman, presiding chaplain of the ULC. “We’re excited to welcome new members into the ULC family and are thrilled that so many

associates of Helzberg Diamonds chose to get ordained.” Couples who plan to get “Hitched at Helzberg” will be responsible for securing and submitting their marriage licenses and witnesses in accordance with their state laws prior to the ceremony. Participating couples will receive a custom celebration kit from Helzberg Diamonds following the ceremony, including a commemorative marriage certificate.

Shifting marriage trends

The recent survey data uncovered additional trends and perceptions of modern love and romance, including: • More than half of all respondents believe current engagement trends and wedding traditions should be modernized • The top-three reasons

millennials consider eloping are to save money (59%), to avoid having to plan the ceremony (46%) and to keep the ceremony more intimate (43%) • 56% percent of respondents who hope to get married would prefer someone other than a religious figure to officiate their wedding • More than half of respondents don’t believe there is a set time people should be together before getting engaged; in fact, 54% of respondents know of couples, or they themselves, got engaged after knowing their partner for one month or less • 70% of millennials surveyed said it’s acceptable for women to propose to men To learn more about getting “Hitched at Helzberg” or to find a store near you, visit / GWM 95

Real weddings


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Real weddings

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Alfred and Nam’s wedding was filled with love, acceptance, and elegance. Their reception was outdoors and guests enjoyed their dinner under Los Altos’s summer nights. We really enjoyed photographing these two because Nam had the humor and wit, Alfred had vulnerability and softness, both went hand in hand like a jigsaw puzzle.

Other: Smith’s Beverage Bakery: Midnight Munchies Event Planner: JL Events Cinema and Video: Collideskope Photo Booth Equipment: Memorify Photobooth Floral Designer: Fractal Flora Bakery: Sweet Orchid Event Venue: Los Gatos History Musem Caterer: Greenfish Catering Cake Designer: Satura Cakes Photographer: KAT MA PHOTOGRAPHY / GWM 99

CHOOSE LOVE By Margot Schulman

The problem is that when you are unhappy in your relationships, you are unhappy in every aspect of your life. So many people go through their lives suffering immeasurably, unable to figure out how to create and sustain healthy, joyful relationships in all areas of their lives. They recreate the same unhealthy patterns, despite having awareness of the patterns and understanding of why they developed originally.

herself and taught to countless coaching clients to break free from longheld negative patterns and finally enjoy healthy, joyful, sustainable relationships. You can purchase CHOOSE LOVE on Amazon or follow this link.

In this profound book, Margot shares the simple practical steps she used


From breakfast in bed, to taking over a household chore for your partner, to simply making time to cuddle togeth- er—this guide shows you just how easy it is to keep the romance alive in your relationship through small gestures you can do anytime! In Simple Acts of Love, you’ll discover a multitude of sugges- tions for strengthening your relationship and having more fun together, including: 100 GWM / Winter 2019

• Leaving a note in your partner’s suitcase for them to find while traveling • Getting up early to make the first pot of coffee • Buying their favorite snack to share as a mid-week surprise These simple actions make it easy to be romantic every day while showing your partner just how much you care about them. With Simple Acts of Love in hand, you can eas- ily brighten your partner’s day and keep your relationship strong and happy. You can purchase SIMPLE ACTS OF LOVE on Amazon or follow this link. 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 101

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