2017 Say I Do! LGBT Wedding Expo Magazine - Washington, DC

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Contents Welcome to the official Magazine of Say I Do! LGBT Wedding Expo Many wedding shows are just so...well...straight! Say I Do! was created to give same-sex couples a wedding expo experience that breaks tradition! At Say I Do! DC we don’t do cookie-cutter, we don’t do boring, we don’t do stuffy and we certainly don’t do predictable! We do fun, entertaining, informative, creative and inspiring with the best vendors and workshops around town. Say I Do! was founded to give LGBTQ couples a forum to meet LGBTQ-affirming vendors who are ready, willing and able to make wedding dreams come true whether its bride-bride or groom-groom! No need to “come out” to each vendor, Say I Do! is a place where our love is accepted, affirmed and celebrated! Because truly, love is all we need.

ABOUT THE COVER Gorgeous beauties Cecily Collins-Pierce & Sharrise P. Pierce celebrate their union. Photography: Keyla S. Photography www.keylasphotography.com

Welcome to the 2017 Say I Do! Wedding Expo.

meet the host

8 Rayceen Pendarvis

joy petway

top 3 tips for 17 registering your wedding

tips from the pros

gift of 9 the authenticity


how to select your lgbtq affirming vendors

music to our ears

19 12firstlgbtq-friendly dance songs Say I Do! Magazine | 3

letter from the editor SEVEN YEARS!!!!!!!!! Say I Do! has definitely leveled up this year! There is something to say about lucky seven… I cannot believe I can even say that there are 41 vendors involved with Say I Do! DC this year! Yes, 4-1!! We delved into our community to ask for support and they showed us just what that support looks like. Grateful doesn’t begin to sum up how it feels to be in the company of such great spirits!!

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Sharia Barksdale


In addition to the fab 41, I am grateful to say that a random thought I had last year became reality when Jessica & Nichole Berry sent an email about the desire of one of them to wear a wedding gown. One of the two is a trans woman who didn’t have the honor to wear a gown when they initially married, as they wed before she transitioned. From a very humble request came one of the most fulfilling experiences I am blessed to facilitate—their five-year anniversary vow renewal ceremony. I cannot imagine the bravery it took for her to send a random email through a contact form with a simple request…but the outpouring of love from this very special community will be one for the books!! I am so grateful that they trusted us to make this day a reality for them.

Christopher Murphy / Digital Empire Graphic Design www.digitalempiregraphics.com

I have to send a very special thank you to my adopted brother, Manuel Lowery-Perez, for quarterbacking Say I Do! this year. He has been the support system I’ve always needed and I am grateful that he stepped up without even being asked and got things DONE!! Who would have known a request for a t-shirt would have turned into such epic power moves and endless laughs!!

Keyla S. Photography BHUNTERco Twist Photography Ken Maurice Studios Candace Nicole Photography

To every single sponsor, speaker, vendor, volunteer, and attendee of Say I Do!, THANK YOU FOR SEVEN WONDROUS YEARS!! As we embark on bigger and better, I cannot wait to continue this journey with you all!! We made the news this year; let’s see how we can top THAT! Here’s to year seven, eight, and beyond!! Richmond, you’re up next!! (Insider Intel: Say I Do! Richmond is coming your way this fall…it may or may not be on October 1…a little birdie may or may not have told me that…) With Epic Dopeness and Eternal Love, Sharia Barksdale DC Area Director, Say I Do! Wedding Expo CEO & Event Innovator, Resident Rock Star, Eclectic Fête

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Joy Petway / Achieving Joy Sharia Barksdale / Eclectic Fete Bree Ryback / Capitol Romance Bron Hansboro / The Flower Guy Bron Danya Lee Sarah Pete Rizzi / Sincerely Pete Events



Sharia Barksdale | sayido@eclecticfete.com


SAY I DO LGBT WEDDING EXPO www.sayidoexpo.com sayido@eclecticfete.com

@sayidolgbt #SayiDoLGBT #SayiDoExpo The views expressed in the following pages and advertisements are not necessarily those of SAY I DO LGBT WEDDING EXPO.

2017 vendors

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Sponsors Tagg Magazine – MEDIA SPONSOR www.taggmagazine.com Tagg Magazine is the lesbian publication for Washington, DC, Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware. Your connection to lesbian events, news, lifestyle, and culture. The American Institute of Architects VENUE SPONSOR | www.aia.org/eventplanning With distinctive architecture, two-story glass windows, a grand staircase, and a private courtyard oasis, AIA’s urban location is perfect for your city wedding and reception. DJ Angie D Entertainment ENTERTAINMENT SPONSOR | www.djangied.com We are a Maryland based DJ, lighting and sound company. Our in-demand DJs add a unique and interactive element to your celebration and will get your guests on the dance floor. Keyla S. Photography – PHOTOGRAPHY SPONSOR www.keylasphotography.com The joy and fulfillment received from documenting the most special moments on a wedding day compares to nothing else. Keyla S. Photography believes wedding photography, when done correctly, is artwork that is worth preserving. Soiree Meetings & Events – SWAG BAG SPONSOR http://soireemeetings.com/sayido We are passionate about gatherings. Run by an event veteran with more than 10 years’ experience, who is also a married member of the LGBT community, you’ll receive high-level service from someone who has been there and done that. Southern Maryland Entertainment – PHOTO BOOTH SPONSOR | www.somdentertainment.com We are a premiere open/social style photo booth rental company servicing the DC Metro region. It is our goal to be your go-to photo booth company for all of your weddings, reunions, mitzvahs, quinceañeras, and more! Eclectic Fete – LOGISTICS SPONSOR www.EclecticFete.com Eclectic Fête was birthed to execute avant-garde events and weddings for daring people searching for a unique experience. We promise to think in love, speak in love, act in love, and CELEBRATE ALL LOVE. Pretty Simplified Design + Co. – DÉCOR SPONSOR www.prettysimplified.com Pretty Simplified Design + Co. offers beautiful styling and rentals for special events wishing to create an enchanting look for the most intimate aspects of any celebration.

Hosts & Live Entertainment Team Rayceen | www.AskRayceen.com Team Rayceen produces free community events in the DC area, including The Ask Rayceen Show, a free monthly community festival and entertainment event on first Wednesdays at HRC Equality Center, hosted by Rayceen Pendarvis. Anthony Oakes | www.facebook.com/writtenscruples Anthony Oakes hails from North Carolina. He studied comedy through In Laughing Color’s Comedy Workshop. His southern charm and quick wit has been charming audiences for over two years. DanceSport Dupont Circle www.DanceSportDupont.com We offer highly professional and authentic dance entertainment and instruction by some of the finest & most experienced teachers throughout Metropolitan Washington DC, MD & VA. KiDe Music (Soul/R&B/Jazz) https://kiabennett.bandcamp.com Kia Bennett and Desiree Jordan are both individual artists in their own right who come together to perform as KiDe’—a soul/R&B duo with a sound reminiscent of Zhane. Both are lead vocalists in the currently revamped Roy Ayers Music Project (RAMP); an American soul/jazz band of the 70’s.

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Nellie’s Sports Bar | www.nelliessportsbar.com Eat, Drink, and Be Nellie! Games on TV, drag events (bingo & brunch), poker nights & karaoke draw patrons to this casual pub.

Speakers Achieving Joy | www.achievingjoy.com Achieving Joy’s vision is to empower the LGBTQ community by offering skills to build strong meaningful relationships and manifest the lives we desire. The Flower Guy Bron | www.theflowerguybron.com A master of the art of floristry, The Flower Guy Bron provides bespoke design and styling experiences for events of all types in the Richmond, Hampton Roads, Charlottesville, and Northern Virginia areas. MRM Associates, Inc. | www.mrmassociates.com We analyze and review your current financial/insurance plans and help you execute a plan to reach your goals. As an independent agency, we can provide a variety of financial solutions and products to do.

Vow Renewal Ceremony Dr. Tosha M. Parker-Meredith, Officiant Presiding Bishop, Kingdom International Ministries Virtual Church | http://kimvirtualchurch.org Dr. Parker-Meredith oversees the first virtual church of its kind with 20+ Pastors, Evangelists, Elders, Deacons, and over 800 members internationally. Zoya’s Atelier | www.zoyasatelier.com Zoya’s Atelier offers high end designer evening and bridal wear and accessories and offers bespoke creations and alterations. Edibles Incredible Desserts | www.ediblesincredible.com The most award winning bakery in Northern Virginia with over 50 awards the last 10 years in a row, we offer custom cakes, cupcakes, dessert buffets, home-made confections, wedding favors and artfully designed gourmet gifts. Becky J. Invitations | www.beckyjinvitations.com We believe in beautiful design, professional craftsmanship and quality, and handmade materials that reflect the unique personality of each of our customers. Floral Affairs by Jean Marie | www.floralaffairsbyjm.com We are floral artists who do what we love most: use our creative vision to bring your dream day into fruition. We are about Flowers, we are about Style, we are about Events, we are about Weddings! Makeup by Mai http://maimaimakeup.wixsite.com/makeupwithmai Mai-Ly Ryan is a cruelty free, lesbian makeup artist based out of the DMV area. With over 3 years’ experience as a self-taught Makeup Artist, she specializes in bridal, colorful and editorial makeup. Modern Bridal Studio | www.modernbridalstudio.com Makeup and Hair on Location for weddings and events.

Tabletop Competition Events by Stacie D | www.eventsbystacied.com Your wedding is more than just a one day event... it is the first memory you create as a married couple. At Events by Stacie D, I work with clients to create an exceptional experience that will be remembered for years to come. Wedding Muse | www.museyourwedding.com Wedding planning and design company including fresh florals and décor.

Vendor Partners Cryos International - USA | usa.cryosinternational.com With 30 years’ experience and delivering to more than 80 countries, Cryos International Sperm and Egg Bank aims to ensure a wide selection of high-quality, extensively screened donor sperm, and donor eggs from all races, ethnicities and phenotypes for tailored fertility treatments. Foresters Financial | www.foresters.com We provide everyday families and individuals with finan-

cial solutions, guidance and tools to meet their long-term needs across all life stages. Phoenix Park Hotel | www.phoenixparkhotel.com The Phoenix Park Hotel is where historic sophistication meets contemporary comfort. We have lovely function space for weddings and social events. We are just steps from all the history that Washington, DC has to offer. Twist Photography | www.seethetwist.com Twist Photography offers couples a modern perspective on their wedding day. We want our photos to be the voice of your most important memories, boldly highlighting the details and moments that you never want to forget.

Artisan Matchmaker LLC www.artisanmathmaker.com We are a local, women-owned business specializing in invitations, calligraphy and event décor; but we can do anything you see on Pinterest and more! We love a good challenge so send your creative requests to us! BKBYCARISSA http://shop.bedroomkandi.com/7253 Bedroom Kandi Boutique Consultant offering adult toys and private parties. Bridal Registry, Inc. | www.bridalregistryinc.com Direct market, not sold in stores, cookware and cutlery Empowerment Liberation Cathedral www.empowermentliberationcathedral.org We celebrate our church being a welcoming and affirming, radically inclusive, LGBTQIA celebrated congregation, where ALL of God’s children are welcomed. Fourk’d Catering LLC | www.fourkd.com FOURK’d Catering is dedicated in promising our clients an experience of Flavor, Presentation, Creativity, and Passion. FOURK’d provides full-service catering, party planning, equipment rental and event management services for a wide range of events. The House of PEREZ KORDAY thehouseofperezkorday@gmail.com We as a people can change the world when we spread the power of optimism, love, and inspiration. THOPK exists to create experiences where passion and purpose come together to manifest your dreams. Jain Jewelry Network | www.jainjewelrynetwork.com We are a referral based jewelry store and have been providing affordable jewelry since 1987 in the DMV area. We offer up to 24 months payment plan, with no down payment, no interest, no finance charges, and you wear as you pay! Maureen Burke Ceremonies www.MaureenBurkeCeremonies.com Do you want a meaningful and beautiful ceremony? An officiant with whom you connect, who takes the time to get to know you, and has terrific delivery? Then experience a Maureen Burke Ceremony. Please check out my reviews on GayWeddings.com. Mobtown Fermentation LLC www.mobtownfermentation.com Established in 2015, we are a local kombucha brewery from Baltimore, MD. Sold in over 150 stores in the Mid-Atlantic, our kombucha brew is made with organic and vegan ingredients and our tea is fair-trade. The Registry at Bloomingdale’s Chevy Chase www.bloomingdales.com Wedding Registry department at Bloomingdale’s Chevy Chase, Maryland. Scorpio Entertainment www.scorpiodjs.com Scorpio Entertainment, LLC, featuring actor/DJ Edward Daniels, celebrates 11 years and over 800 events booked from coast to coast, in 2016. Re-define your event experience with our team of professional DJs! The Travel Siblings \ www.thetravelsiblings.com Voted by Travel + Leisure Magazine, 4 years in a row, as ‘A List’ Agents for honeymoons and destination weddings.

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nown interchangeably as the High Priestess of Love, the Goddess of DC, and the Queen of the Shameless Plug, Rayceen Pendarvis has been a prominent figure in the Nation’s Capital for decades. Rayceen is a renowned host, emcee, moderator, entertainer, and public speaker who has received numerous awards and recognitions. For several years, Rayceen has had a column in SWERV magazine, and more recently, has written articles for Q Virginia and TUV magazines. _______________ In addition to annual events such as the OutWrite LGBT Book Festival and special Team Rayceen events, Rayceen hosts monthly Reel Affirmations film screenings and THE ASK RAYCEEN SHOW, a free monthly community festival and live entertainment event on the first Wednesday of the month. The Ask Rayceen Show takes place at the HRC Equality Center, 1640 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington, DC. Doors open at 6pm. All are welcome and admission is free.

! t s o H e h t Meet

For more information about Rayceen Pendarvis, Team Rayceen, and The Ask Rayceen Show, please visit AskRayceen.com

n e e c y ra s darvi n pe

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The Gift of Authenticity By, Joy Petway, LICSW LCSW-C , Founder of Achieving Joy

When you choose to be your most authentic self, you are giving yourself the opportunity to be loved authentically as well. We all want to be loved for who we really are, how we live our lives, what we are most passionate about, and even for those things that we continue to work on internally: shame, guilt, fear. But nobody talks about how to really get there and the work we must consciously do for ourselves first. What often lingers from our childhoods are the perceptions of being disconnected, detached and unaccepted from our peers and family. When our wants or needs are not fulfilled, we each decide how we will act to protect ourselves from further hurt. These decisions can come in the form of withdrawing, becoming unconscious pleasers to others, or being overly expressive and intolerant. Our past realities are becoming our present and future behaviors before our own eyes and we don’t even recognize it. We can sometimes spread these realities into other relationships, including marriage when we do not address and acknowledge them. Phrases like “You don’t love me” and “You don’t even know me” then become our thoughts and misunderstandings of ourselves.

When we shield parts of ourselves or deny ourselves of who we are, we loudly say to our heart, mind, and spirit “you are not worthy”. This behavior encourages lies and the need for facades. Why? Because, “I will do anything for you not to know my truth” becomes our truth, which unfortunately worsens with time. The act of being inauthentic creates long-term effects such as decreased intimacy, resentment, and feelings of disconnectedness and/or loneliness. When we choose to be our full selves, engaging in what brings us joy, we offer up the opportunity for our partner to see us fully and love us as we are. The road to authenticity is not easy and it is painful to say vulnerable statements like, “I have been dishonest”. However, without taking the journey of realization of self, we stay in our greatest fears of not being loved, happy, seen, or truly understood. In the end, we are ultimately hurting and being disloyal to ourselves which then makes it even more challenging to be really loved by another. Will you choose to love your true self today?

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eing behind the scenes at Say I Do, we are honored to receive a TON of inquiries from excited couples across the country seeking help sourcing LGBTQ friendly and affirming vendors to service their weddings. And while we always revel in the excitement and joy of another engagement, Say I Do! currently doesn’t have the capacity to research LGBTQ vendors in each city across the country (…not yet anyway, but stay tuned).


Nonetheless, we recognize and understand the importance of hiring the right team of vendors to execute your wedding vision—especially in the LGBTQ community where your love isn’t always accepted. Always working to be a resource for this amazing community, we decided to craft some suggestions on how to find your perfect wedding vendors for our distant relatives that don’t have the benefit of a Say I Do! event. Here are a few tips to sourcing your LGBTQ wedding vendor family no matter where you are! 1) Know Your Style! Before you contact a soul, take some time to figure out what it is that you want!! If you know you want a rustic/ vintage barn wedding, why waste your time contacting vendors with a citychic style? You both would be working against your strengths to make this wedding work. Save yourself (and the vendor) a headache and sit with your partner to evaluate what you really want from your wedding experience BEFORE you begin your search. 2) Shop Local Always, always, ALWAYS go local and contact the organizations that are in tune with your neighborhood LGBTQ community for vendor recommendations! In Washington, DC, we are fortunate to have an immense resource of options including Tagg Magazine, Capitol Romance, the DC Center, and Say I Do! (shameless plug), that could recommend some awesome providers. Also, hit up your local Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (www.nglcc.org) for vendors as well. Although local reigns supreme, there are some awesome national resources online like GayWeddings.com, Equally Wed,

Catalyst Wedding Magazine, and H&H Weddings that have vendor directories that are amazing. And hey, if you have a friend that was recently married, ask for their vendor list as well! Because if nothing else, they can give you the scoop on if they would hire a company again! 3) Find a “Friend” Once you and your boo have honed in on your desired wedding style and researched some potential vendors, it’s time to find the vendors that speak your language. The goal is to hire someone that could be your friend in real life, because they should share your perspective on your overall wedding experience. If you know you speak in emojis and exclamation points, why in the world would you contact the vendor that speaks in a verbose

Choosing your LGBTQ Friendly Wedding Vendors ale By Sharia Barksd

manner with exceptional grammar? (See what I did just now? Exactly my point.) You want to find vendors that see the world the same way you do. When that happens, they are able to interpret your potential needs, design a wedding you’re bound to flip over, AND give you advice or answers on tough scenarios that you yourself would suggest if given the opportunity! Communication is KEY when finding the right vendor partner, so this step is imperative! It could save you a LOT of time and heartache later down the line. 4) Check the Web Check your potential vendors’ websites!! In reaching out to Say I Do! partners, I always look to see if a vendor has served LGBTQ couples in the past! Also, check

out their photo galleries and even pay close attention to the language used on their website. Is it gender-neutral? Does it reference serving couples in the LGBT family? Just a quick note: steer clear of the vendors that you find have a “secret” LGBTQ page that you can’t find from their main website. They may be culture vultures and just out to get your money. Vendors like this do exist and you have been warned. #SorryNOTSORRY 5) Ask! Have you found your dream vendor, they come highly recommended, they speak your language, but you’re still not sure if they service LGBTQ couples? Why not give them a ring and ask? Weddings aren’t for the faint of heart, so just like you popped the question to your future spouse, don’t be afraid to ask about a vendor servicing you!! Just like we receive inquiries from couples looking for vendors, we also receive a TON of emails from vendors who want to show their support, but haven’t found an LGBTQ couple to host! It’s time for us to start bridging the gap here people!!! Take a chance; you may be pleasantly surprised at how much you are loved! To take it a step further, don’t be shy about asking a vendor you’ve already contracted for their recommendations!! Most wedding industry people have friends in other service areas that they work with often—and a friend of a friend is always a great idea in this business!! If you’re a bit intimidated by this process and have a specific vendor you’d like to inquire with, shoot us an email at info@ sayidoexpo.com and we’ll contact them for you! But that’s the beauty of Say I Do! It was created for so you wouldn’t have to do all that leg work ...just saying! :-) Sharia Barksdale is your straight-ally bff. She’s been shaking, sticking, and moving in the hospitality industry for the last 10 years. She’s been at the helm of the DC Say I Do! Expo for the last two, and she’s yet to meet a piece of chocolate she doesn’t like! She’s also the CEO and Resident Rock Star of Eclectic Fete. It’s an event company. It’s kinda dope. You should check it out at www.eclecticfete.com

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adv g n i n n a l p g n i wedd


Things to Know About Your Wedding

rehearsal Posted by Bree Ryback


e tend to attract super laid-back couples (which we LOVE) and sometimes our couples have such small wedding parties, that they don’t think they need to do a wedding rehearsal. We also have couples that use some of the more alternative venues in DC for their wedding – ones that don’t always cater to making the space available (and not charge extra!) the day before for couples to do a rehearsal. These are two common problems or issues we see often, so I thought I’d share my thoughts on the top things to know about wedding rehearsals.

1. You should always do a wedding rehearsal

4. Try to think about who you want processing, before the rehearsal

Even if it’s literally only one person down the aisle – it’s the most nerve wracking part of the day (I am not even exaggerating here!) and it makes everyone feel better, if you practice a few times the night before the wedding day.

Sometimes I get to my rehearsals and ask my couples, OK – who’s walking down the aisle? And they look at me with a blank stare, because they hadn’t really thought about it. There’s no right/wrong way to do this — you can have grandparents as part of the processional, dearly beloved canine friends, full wedding party, just the bride’s side, both parents, no parents, and everything in between. But I do recommend talking about this with your partner BEFORE the rehearsal, as unspoken assumptions might lead to deep conversation, and it will help to ensure anyone processing is invited to the rehearsal!

2. You don’t HAVE to have it in your actual ceremony location I’ve done rehearsals in restaurants, parks, apartment complex rec rooms, and even outside Eastern Market! Though it’s ideal to be able to practice in your actual ceremony space – scheduling of the space can be tricky sometimes, so don’t fret if it’s not available. Just find an easy place, that is near your dinner location, and practice away!

3. Start at the end of the ceremony The easiest way to start your wedding rehearsal is actually as if the ceremony is just about to end! Line everyone up next to you (the couple) and have your officiant or planner say the final words, then practice the recessional. THEN line up for the processional, run through your ceremony (as much or as little as you want), and recess once more. Do one more processional run through – and then you’re done! 14 | Say I Do! Magazine

5. Try to keep the invite list small You really only need anyone who is walking down the aisle, doing something special during the ceremony, your planner/ coordinator (if you have one), and your officiant (though I’d say only about 30% of my rehearsals have the officiants at it!). The more people you invite, the more people you have to wait to have on time, get into the space, be quiet to listen, and just generally HERD. Keeping it small will help it go smooth and get you to your rehearsal dinner on time!

Posted with permission from Capitol Romance - http://www.capitolromance.com.

Curate the Perfect Table Design .










Tips Provided by Master Florist, The Flower Guy Bron

1) Base Linen: Choose floor-length linen that compliments the design of the event. Some timeless classics include crisp white linen for a cooler look or ivory Lamour linen for warmth. There are also a variety of specialty linens with fun textures and designs. 2) Napkins: Opt for a fun themed napkin design such as a bold pattern or watercolor. You can also explore unique folding techniques or personalized napkin rings that can bring style and personality to your table. 3) Charger Plates: Consider charger plates for an added touch. Chargers add depth and dimension to the overall tablescape and can assist with filling the empty space created by smaller centerpieces. Most rental companies offer a wide variety of colored and textured chargers to give your table a pop. The Flower Guy Bron 1001 E Main St, Suite A Richmond, VA 23219 Contact: (804) 223-2350 info@theflowerguybron.com www.theflowerguybron.com

4) Utensils and Stemware: Flatware and stemware have come a long way. Gone are the days of the standard stainless steel flatware. Pick traditional gold flatware for a more timeless presentation or opt for a sleek silver set for a more contemporary feel. The same applies for stemware, choose cut crystal for a more traditional look or fun colored glass to play off your napkin choice. 5) Table DĂŠcor: This is a great place to let your personality shine. Add seasonal colors to floral centerpieces for a traditional look or opt for trending styles such as woodlands, blush, jewel tones and my personal favorite, glam! Also, consider an array of hard good items such as books, driftwood, geometric figures, terrariums, and pottery. I find some of the most unique oddities around my home and local eclectic shops. 6) Lighting: Hurricanes, floating votives, tea lights, pillar candles, tapered candles, lanterns and string lights. Lighting is one of the best and easiest ways to create ambiance in any venue.

Photos: David Abel Photography, Capture Photography, Marie Grace Photography

7) Seating: For an added pop, choose seating that plays well with other elements. For some, the obvious answer is a chiavari ballroom chair which comes in several colors and styles to meet the needs of the design. Others may choose ghost, vintage or bench style seating. My favorite chair currently is the rose gold mirrored Infinity chair.


ver the past few years, The Flower Guy Bron has made a name for himself in the wedding and event industry. Known for his ballroom style designing and signature color blocking techniques, flowers are no doubt one of his greatest passions. However, his love for design doesn’t stop at flowers. His eye for creating thoughtfully curated surfaces gives his clients the editorial quality look they desire. Along with his husband and business partner, Lloyd, the duo has launched their much anticipated lifestyle brand, Curated by The Flower Guy Bron. Curated aims to enlighten individuals on how to create memorable designs and lifestyle experiences that can be easily incorporated into the fabric of everyday living. Say I Do! Magazine | 15

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How to Create the Perfect Registry So you said yes. Great! You’ve selected the venue and its the perfect site. Catering, done! You can’t wait for your guests to taste the amazing entrees. Music and entertainment, check and check! The reception is going to be amazing. With the big three taken care of, what’s next? Before you select the invitations or any of the wedding activities begin, now is time to curate the perfect registry. Where do you begin? It’s easier than you think. 1) What do you want/need? This is the moment to decide what you want/need to create the perfect start to your marriage. If you are not sure of where to begin, there are checklists available on many of your favorite shopping websites. What if you decide you have everything you need or don’t want a bunch of stuff that you think you’ll never use? That’s ok too! There are many non-traditional registry options available based on your various interest and hobbies. Don’t believe me, google nontraditional registries and see what comes up. Still feel uncomfortable asking your guests to buy you gifts? Then why not have your favorite charity or organization be the beneficiary of your union. It usually only takes a few small steps to set it all up. 2) Based on your selections from above, search out your favorite retailers to establish which ones carry the best selection of those must have gifts or services. Now narrow that that list down to three! While your guests appreciate options, too many options can get overwhelming for some.

3) So now you’re ready to register… If you are short on time you can get the process started right online. It’s usually as easy as filling out a simple form and then adding your gift selections. Sounds effortless right? It can be, until you can’t decide which toaster oven is the best quality for you or if there a difference between the $29.99 and $59.99 towels or which sheets feel the softest. When that happens it’s time to call on a professional. Some of your favorite retailers have consultants or sales professionals available to assist you with those very things. Give them a call and make an appointment to work with someone who will turn from a frustrated bundle of nerves to home furnishing pro! Welcome to your introduction to creating the perfect registry. This is an often overlooked, but very important part of the wedding planning process. The people that you choose to share this special time love you and want the best for you. Gift giving is one way for them to share in your joyous journey. Don’t make them guess at your design style or at what you’d love as couple! Have additional questions? You can reach me at DesigningDL@Gmail.com - Danya Lee Registry Specialist & Lifestyle Design

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12 LGBTQ Friendly

First Dance Songs

by Sarah Pete Rizzi

12 amazing Equality- Minded first dance songs that have our seal of approval: 1. “You Are The Best Thing,” by Ray LaMontagne


2. “First Day of My Life,” by Bright Eyes

However, as a wedding planner, I have seen that this important moment can often be filled with stress to pick the perfect song.

6. “How Long Will I Love You,” by Ellie Goulding

You may begin by asking the following questions:

8. “Fly Me To The Moon,” by Frank Sinatra

here are many times during your wedding day when all eyes truly will be on your and your fiancé. One of those moments is the first dance. It’s a special time, as you and your new spouse sway back and forth on the dance floor, as the soundtrack of your relationship plays.

How fast should the tempo be? Should you go with a classic? What about a new hit? What message should it send? What should it actually say? But for same-sex couples, this task can be especially difficult. Once you stop and actually listen to the lyrics- many songs simply don’t make the cut. There seem to be endless options about the traditional girl-meets-boy romance but very few LGBTQ-friendly love songs.

3. “All of Me,” by John Legend 4. “Exception,” by Paramore 5. “Thinking Out Loud,” by Ed Sheeran 7. “At Last,” by Etta James 9. “Make You Feel My Love,” by Adele 10. “The Nearness of You,” by Norah Jones 11. “Love Someone,” by Jason Mraz 12. “I Choose You,” by Sara Bareilles Sincerely Pete Events is a lesbian-owned, boutique wedding & event planning company that cultivates beautiful and meaningful weddings and events for equality-minded couples. Learn more at www.sincerelypete.com

So, let us ease some of your burden and give you some starting ideas!! Say I Do! Magazine | 19

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Cecily Collins-Pierce & Sharrise P. Pierce T H E D E TA I L S Location:

Union Station, Washington, DC Photographer:

Keyla S. Photography www.keylasphotography.com

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Buddy & Chad T H E D E TA I L S Married: September 10, 2016 Location: Bedford, PA Photographer:

BHUNTERco www.bhunter.co

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Katie & Lindsay T H E D E TA I L S Married: November 14th, 2015 Location: Baltimore, MD Photographer:

Twist Photography www.seethetwist.com

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Harrison Guy & Adrian Homer Frat Brothers Marry Each Other After 10 Years Together Adrian Homer, 31, and Harrison Guy, 40, both belong to the fraternity, Delta Phi Upsilon. Delta Phi Upsilon was founded in 1985 on the campus of Florida State University in Tallahassee, FL. It is a national service organization that is the oldest Greek-lettered organization for gay men of color. Delta Phi Upsilon offers scholarships for black gay males. Aside from scholarships, the organization focuses on fundraising, promoting safe sex, and educating men on HIV. Both Homer and Guy are active members. In the beginning, Homer and Guy were simply fraternity brothers. However, Homer was attracted to Guy and he decided to say something. “He finished all of his requirements to gain membership and he just kind of texted me to tell me he was interested”, Guy said. “I gave it a shot. We went on a few dates and that was the beginning.” After 10 years of being together, the two fraternity brothers decided to tie the knot. While it is clear that both men love each other, Adrian was more excited about the idea of a wedding than Harrison. Harrison’s indifference had nothing to do with the love he has for Adrian, but it wasn’t a goal for him at the time as he knew their wedding wouldn’t be legal. “Adrian is a little different than me in that he’s always dreamed of having a wedding”, Guy said. “I didn’t share that same kind of goal or objective necessarily and then with it not being legal for such a long period during our relationship, it was just kind of one of those things where when we did talk about it, it was always like, ‘Well, we could go away, get married, and then come back, but it still wouldn’t be legal here at home.” Despite his hesitation of having a wedding, Homer and Guy had a wedding of their dreams as Guy described the experience as “surreal”. Their theme was called “Two Kings” and the Texas men married on April 15th, their 10 year anniversary. Surrounded by family, friends, and even some of their frat brothers, their wedding was beautiful and fit for a king. What Harrison once thought could never happening, was happening right before his eyes. “It was a dream and a goal, but once marriage equality actually happened, we started to kind of actualize and think about it — a little bit more real”, Guy said. “That day was just — I was just overwhelmed with emotions the entire day, like from the morning all the way through just because it’s something that — you kind of just tell yourself that it probably would never happen.” And the couple still participates in fraternity activities together. Harrison is the officer for the fraternity’s southern region and Guy is still active in the local chapter in Houston. 26 | Say I Do! Magazine

T H E D E TA I L S Married: April 15, 2017 Location: Houston, Texas planner/designer:

D’Concierge Events www.dconciergeweddings.com Photographer:

Ken Maurice Studios www.kenmauricestudios.com

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Christine & Nadirah T H E D E TA I L S models: Nadirah and Christine are

featured in a same-sex styled wedding shoot for Catalyst Wedding Magazine’s 2017 Out of the Box Challenge.


Rebekah Naomi Cake Design www.rebekahnaomicakedesign.com hair/mUA: Anitra Natalia Beauty www.instagram.com/anitra.natalia Photographer:

Candace Nicole Photography www.candacenicolephotography.com Planner: Eclectic Fete www.eclecticfete.com Location: Fare Well Diner www.eatfarewell.com Location 2:

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Larry & Will T H E D E TA I L S Location:

Union Station, Washington, DC


Keyla S. Photography www.keylasphotography.com

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