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VIRGINIA magazine

SPRING I S S U E N O. 1 2 | 2 0 1 8

Equality Through Storytelling

r o E f v n e e r d y r o a n e G A 757-441-5830 x 320

Sometimes you have to go back to get ahead.

As jobs requiring advanced degrees continue to increase, investing in your education is more critical than ever. Our degree programs are designed to meet the needs of working professionals, balancing academic rigor with flexibility and value. Students attend part time in the evening at a pace that supports their other life commitments.

Josh Orange Human Resource Management Student Benefits Specialist | Dominion Payroll

4 | Q Virginia

As an added value (and surprise to many), our tuition ranks among the most competitive in Richmond. Tuition starts at just $480 per semester hour. Plus financial aid and scholarships are available.


Monumental Views. Modern Vibe. With its iconic landmarks and five bridges connecting to the District of Columbia, Arlington has a unique mix of history, culture and fun! Our vibrant urban villages are just minutes by foot, bike, car or Metro to downtown D.C., and have hotel rates averaging 20 percent less. To plan a getaway weekend this spring, or a trip for the Capital Pride Festival & Concert on June 11, visit or call (877) 504-8054. | 5

Save the Date...


6 | Q Virginia | 7

Issue No. 12 Wedding Book

Spring 2018 Q VIRGINIA STAFF Publisher & Editor-in-Chief Managing Editor & Creative Director Art Director Web Designer Logo Designer Advertising Manager National Advertising Collegiate Fellows

Q Virginia Contributors

Justin Ayars, JD

Jesse LaVancher John Dixon/Runningfire Design Taylor Pace Umbrella Management Group, LLC Joy Farmer Rivendell Media Charlotte Ford Amanda Hallesjo Maxwell Manchester Megan Schiffres Yasir Afzal Justin Ayars, JD Amanda Hallesjo Meghan Kennedy Meredith Jenkins Jesse LaVancher Ralph Northam, Governor of Virginia Will Rye Terri Schlichenmeyer Kolandra Sykes Jerome West Michele Zehr

Q VIRGINIA PUBLISHING OFFICE The Brookwood | 1342 Flynn Road | Richmond, Virginia 23225




The Q Guidebook: Virginia's Official LGBTQ Guide & Business Directory

Q Virginia magazine is published by Q Media, LLC. All rights reserved. Q Media, LLC is Virginia’s Official LGBTQ Media Company. It’s mission is to promote equality through storytelling.

8 | Q Virginia

Q Weddings

S P R I N G S e c t i o n s



Wedding Bells

Spring has sprung, flowers are in bloom and wedding bells are ringing. Sit back, relax and soak in the season of love.


Celebrate Spring


New Traditions | 9

The John Marshall Ballrooms 101 N Fifth St. Richmond, VA 23219 804-775-2323

Photo Courtesy of Mike Topham Photography

Photo Courtesy of Kait Winston Photography

Photo Courtesy of Mike Topham Photography 10 | Q Virginia

Beautiful, Historic Ballrooms Located in the heart of Downtown Richmond, Virginia Restored to their original grandeur of the 1920s Parking & Valet Available Seating for up to 350 Soaring Ceilings & Vintage Chandeliers Ceremony & Reception


Commitment to Opportunity A Greeting from the Governor of Virginia


I am pleased to congratulate Q Virginia magazine on its third wedding issue. The media world can be a tough market. The fact that Q Virginia magazine is surviving and thriving is a testament to the value you bring to the LGBTQ community and to your readers. Storytelling is one of the best ways to foster a sense of community and identity, because we have always used stories to explain who we are. My top goal as Governor is to make our Commonwealth work better for all Virginians, no matter who they are or where they live. I was proud that my first act as Governor was to sign an executive order banning discrimination in state employment. This order should provide protections against discrimination in state hiring for a variety of reasons, including sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. I hope that one day, a future governor will not have to sign such an order, and that we won’t have to overtly state what should be obvious— that discrimination has no place here. I have opposed “bathroom bills” that discriminate against transgender people, and supported protections for members of the LGBT community from workplace and adoption discrimination. As lieutenant governor, I cast the tie-breaking vote in favor of protecting LGBTQ public employees from discrimination. Discrimination is bad for business, and it’s bad for Virginians who just want to live their lives fully and openly, without fear. As governor, I will continue to oppose discrimination in all its forms. I want us to build an inclusive Virginia that is open and welcoming to all, no matter where you’re from or who you love.

This administration will work every day to make Virginia a place of opportunity. Every Virginian, in every corner of the state, should have the chance to succeed. To do that, we all need the opportunity for good health, a good education, and a good job. I strongly support expanding access to health care through our Medicaid program, so that up to 400,000 Virginians can get life-saving, life-changing health care. By doing so, we can help create jobs, support our rural hospitals, and improve access to treatment of mental illness and substance use disorders. I also will work toward expanding our workforce development programs, so people have the opportunity to learn the skills they need for 21st century jobs. Building up our talent pipeline also includes ensuring that higher education is affordable, so that everyone has the chance to pursue their dreams. My commitment to opportunity is founded on the belief that every Virginian has a right to succeed in our Commonwealth, no matter who they are, where they live or whom they love. I want to thank Q Virginia magazine and the LGBTQ community for your service to Virginia. As Governor, I will be a strong partner for you and all Virginians who want to live, work, and raise families in a Commonwealth where everyone has the same shot at a good life. Sincerely, Ralph Northam Govenor of Virginia | 11




Geoffrey & Will: Mountain Romance





Foreword: Governor Ralph Northam

Wedding Crossword Puzzles?

Metropolitan Moves

Contemporary Classic: The Ward Center for Contemporary Art





Opinion: Give Love a Chance

Stop and Smell the Roses

Global Marriage Equality Update

Caroline & Jennifer: Rustic Fiesta





Editorial: Let Them Eat Cake

Do You Have an Eagle Eye?

Oceanfront Luxury: The Cavalier

Pastoral Flavor: Bandit’s Ridge





Book Review: Equally Wed

Marriage Equality is for Straight Men, Too?

Kolandra & Sharonda: Magic at the Mansion

Urban Sophistication: Crystal Gateway Marriott





Book Review: Buzz

Active-Duty Couple Married at West Point

Historic Charm: Gunston Hall

Pistils & Stamens: Flowers Throughout the Ages





Horoscopes: Wish Upon a Star

Riddle Me This

Rolling Hills: Stone Tower Winery

It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere

12 | Q Virginia


Message from the publisher

Savory Springtime Snacks

76 June (was) Bustin’ Out All Over

78 Let the Sun Shine

80 Make Your Wedding Regal in No Time Flat

82 Inclusive Churches See Congregations Grow

86 Is Your Partner Congruent?

Welcome to Q Virginia’s third annual Wedding Book! We have a lot to celebrate this spring as we move into the pride season. In April, the Greater Richmond Convention Center will host two major LGBTQ Events: Q Weddings—Virginia’s Statewide LGBTQ Wedding Show—and Equality Virginia’s 15 th Annual Commonwealth Dinner. I hope that you attend both of these wonderful events! Spring also marks the beginning of the traditional wedding season! Speaking of weddings, this June will mark the third anniversary of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court Case, Obergefell v. Hodges, which brought marriage equality I'll sing to him, to the United States. June also marks the 49 th anniversary of Pride, so get your Each spring to him, rainbow f lags ready!

And long for the day when

As we explore topics pertaining to spring, love and marriage in this issue, I ask you to consider all of the writings in history that deal with love—from Bewitched, bothered and the Bible’s Psalms and Shakespeare’s plays to Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s bewildered, am I. sonnets and Katie Perry’s song lyrics. As Huey Lewis and the News said in 1985, -Ella Fitzgerald, “Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered” (1946) “The power of love is a curious thing.” Its spellbinding force can evoke every emotion under the sun; yet, it is the singular force that has connected individuals, families and communities since the dawn of time.

I'll cling to him,

I believe the beautifully frustrating juxtaposition of emotions that love conjures is an excellent metaphor for life itself. Despite the mesmerizing perplexity of life’s most convoluted emotion, I encourage everyone to embrace love and let it take them on a magical journey filled with heartache, merriment and pure splendor.

90 From Paper to Diamonds: Your Wedding Anniversary Gift Guide | 13

o•pin•ion \ ə-’pin-yən \ 1. A belief or conclusion held with confidence but not substantiated by positive knowledge or proof: "The world is not run by thought, nor by imagination, but by opinion" (Elizabeth Drew).

Give Love in Real Life a Chance BY, YASIR AFZAL Currently, most Americans women marry at the age of 27 and most American men marry at the age of 29. This gap from age 21 to 29 allows for a new phase of life most Millennials are currently enjoying: emerging adulthood. This is the phase where young adults can focus on their own personal goals. Instead of getting married and buying a house in the suburbs, Americans are now choosing to live alone, moving to inclusive cities and spending their money enjoying the renaissance that urban centers are enjoying across the nation. The social stigma of having relationships before marriage is changing—dating and even living together before getting hitched is now the new normal. In many respects, technology is fundamentally changing the perceptions people have towards love and the institution of marriage. While the institution of marriage isn't going anywhere, the rate at which people are getting married is drastically changing. With the introduction of online dating and the speed at which it is advancing, relationships are changing before our very eyes. Since one in three new relationships start online, it might be that online dating will become the barometer by which we measure all of our relationships. However, the online world is a vast and unknown realm that humanity has just begun to understand. Online dating is an extremely useful tool to close the gap between you and someone else out there, but the risks may not outweigh the rewards. The best course of action is to take your time when deciding whether to meet up with someone you met online. In your personal search, does quality trump quantity? As with anything, it depends on what you’re seeking. Despite being a Millennial who is supposed to be obsessed with technology, I often wonder what happened to the days of going out to a public space and striking up a conversation with a complete stranger. This practice for meeting new acquaintances, friends and lovers has worked for thousands of years, so why can’t it still? Despite there being no “swipe left” in real life, I encourage everyone to get out into the real world and meet new people. You just might surprise yourself.

14 | Q Virginia

ed·i·to·ri·al \ ,e-də-’tȯr-ē-əl \ 1. An article in a publication expressing the opinion of its editors or publishers.

Masterpiece Cakeshop: The Supreme Court’s Multi-Layered Cake Case is Not About Cakes BY, JUSTIN AYARS, JD

By now, most everyone has heard of Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission that is currently before the U.S. Supreme Court. However, this “cake case” is not actually about wedding cakes; rather, it’s about something much more complex: balancing anti-discrimination laws with First Amendment protections. This dispute began when David Mullins and Charlie Craig, a same-sex couple, asked a Denver-area bakery to make them a custom wedding cake. The bakery owner, Jack Phillips—a self-described “cake artist” and devout Christian—refused to create a custom cake for the couple, citing his religious beliefs. He claimed that this refusal was in line with his decision not to design and bake any Halloween-themed cakes, cakes including alcohol as an ingredient, cakes celebrating divorce or any other cakes conflicting with his religious beliefs. He would, however, sell the couple any products in his store, including a generic (not custom) wedding cake. The couple filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission (CCRC). The CCRC concluded that the baker violated the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA) and that the First Amendment did not permit Phillips to refuse his services to the couple. Phillips challenged the CCRC’s ruling by arguing that applying the state’s anti-discrimination law to require him to create a custom cake for a same-sex couple violated his First Amendment rights to free exercise of his religion and free speech. The couple posits the issue as one involving public accommodations, not free speech. They argue that it is a pillar of American anti-discrimination law that, when a business opens itself to serve the general public, it cannot refuse to serve customers based on who they are. They argue that permitting Phillips to refuse services to them would open the doors to other forms of discrimination that have long been prohibited by courts (e.g. – race, color, creed, sex, national origin, etc.). The Justice Department, on the other hand, argues, “Forcing Phillips to create expression for and participate in a ceremony that violates his sincerely held religious beliefs invades his First Amendment rights." In short, the issue is whether the First Amendment bars application of Colorado’s public accommodations law—which prohibits discrimination in places of public accommodation—to compel a person to create expression (here, a wedding cake) that conflicts with that person’s sincerely held religious beliefs about same-sex marriage. This case has potential far-reaching implications for American society. If Phillips’ position prevails, a portrait photographer could arguably refuse to conduct photo shoots with Hispanic families or a banquet hall could refuse to host events for Jewish families. In fact, the entire inquiry that Phillips endorses—a judge deciding whether a religious belief is sincerely held or a sufficiently material command in a particular religion—would result in an uncomfortable entanglement of the courts in matters of religion. The toughest question in this case is an elusive one: Where is the line when it comes to the First Amendment’s protection of freedom of speech? Phillips argues that his cakes are works of art that convey a message and he, therefore, is engaged in speech. That argument begs the question: Are chefs, tailors, florists, hairstylists, makeup artists, etc. also engaged in free speech because their works convey messages? The Supreme Court will likely try to thread that needle by issuing a narrow decision that does not massively unsettle either First Amendment or anti-discrimination rights. | 15



YO U R B E L OV E D A S K E D. A N D YO U SAID " Y E S." That’s all it took: so simple, yet so momentous and now you’re getting married. That’s nothing new these days; LGBTQ+ couples have weddings all the time, so how do you make yours special? With the new book Equally Wed by Kirsten Palladino, your vows will wow. Like many people, Palladino grew up dreaming of The Perfect Wedding. She could just picture it – but making it happen started out wrong: when she got engaged to her now-wife, Maria, and went looking for help getting started, she could only find books for straight couples. That was definitely not going to work, so the Palladinos created an online wedding magazine and this book. So, you just got engaged. As you might guess, there’s a lot of planning that goes into a wedding, starting with whom (and how) you tell about it. Palladino advocates being gentle with family members who may feel uncomfortable. She says, “… give them some time” and know how to decide to invite them or not. Time management will be your friend in this process, so find a system that works for you and be faithful to it. Keep phone numbers, contracts, 16 | Q Virginia

ideas, lists, worksheets and budgets in the same place, and keep track of all gifts received. Take a look at Palladino’s list of possible items needed, then remember that nothing there is mandatory. Decide on the kind of wedding you want, the venue you’ve dreamed about, and the size of your ceremony. Remember that age and gender of attendants isn’t cast in stone, and the only requisite for attire is comfort. Know what questions to ask the “wedding pros” you need to make your day special: a planner, photographer, videographer, the officiant, baker, bartenders and your DJ. Remember that flowers are optional or you both can carry bouquets; in fact, your decorations and what you carry down the aisle can be anything unique to the two of you. Personalize the ceremony in ways that make you happy; there are all kinds of options and it’s your wedding. Ever since you were small, you’ve dreamed of getting married but, if you don’t have a model to follow, it can be hard to know where to start and where to get what you want. Equally Wed shows prospective “grides” and “brooms” the path. Beginning with gender-neutral terms for wedding participants, author Kirsten Palladino progresses through the year-plus-long preparations for the Perfect Wedding and beyond. Prospective newlyweds will find lists and bullet-points that are useful and reminders for things they may never have considered, including ideas that may seem to fall into an “over-the-top” category. Still, Palladino stresses that individualization is what makes a wedding special and that, inevitably, “[s] omething will go wrong on your wedding day.” However, nobody can ruin it unless you let them. This is an easy-to-use book that covers all bases from “will you?” to “I do.” If there’s a wedding in your future and you need a starting point, Equally Wed is a big “YES!”



ALL BOW TIED TOGETHER. In an effort to provide quality direction of music and ceremonies, and outstanding and personable photography services, Matthew and Kristine have partnered up to give couples the chance to save and hire an experienced wedding team.

Learn more about our team at

www.BowTiedWed | 17



DO U B L E - A . I T H A S M A N Y U S E S , T H AT L I T T L E W O R D - DA S H - L E T T E R It’s good for future baseball players. Good for a pre-teen girl. Great, if you’re a student trying to bring those grades up. And, as you’ll see in Buzz: A Stimulating History of the Sex Toy by Hallie Lieberman, if you’re an adult, double-A is something you never want to run out of… A dozen years ago, to make a little money, Hallie Lieberman found an unusual job: she was a home-party sex toy salesperson in a state where the selling of sex toys was illegal. Ever afraid of being arrested, she stuck to the “script” that the company gave her; it was stilted and full of euphemisms, and the job was demeaning and embarrassing. She felt like she “wasn’t actually teaching people anything.” From her PhD studies, Lieberman learned that “sex toys were ancient.” Some thirty millennia ago, ancient Germans carved phallic objects, though some historians argue that sex mightn’t have been their intention. At any rate, the practice of using artificial devices for sexual pleasure spread across Europe and into Asia and, soon after the Middle Ages, mentions of sex toys began showing up in literature. Closer to home and beginning in Victorian times, rectal dilators and vibrators were made in the U.S. and sold as “medical devices,” approved by doctors; the former were made by “respected rubber companies,” while the latter were available for discreet purchase in department stores for decades. Until laws were created against it, you could even have the devices mailed to your home. Later, to circumvent those and other laws meant to keep sex toys out of the hands of everyday citizens, vibrators, dildos and dilators were sold as “novelties.” 18 | Q Virginia

In 1965, a ventriloquist who was an engineer by profession started manufacturing sex toys; in the early 1970s, a paraplegic welder began making them for women and advising the disabled on their use. Others joined the revolution until, in 1972 (and though they’d long been a staple of sleaze), sex toys gained respectability inside a narrow waterbed-store-turned-sex-shop run by two gay men, hetero people welcome… Of course, there’s so much more to this story but here’s one interesting thing about this book: while you might think it’d be titillating with maybe a few nudge-nudge-winks, that’s not the case. Author Hallie Lieberman doesn’t do that to her readers. Instead, what you get is exactly what its subtitle promises: Buzz is a history of sex toys, from ancient times to modern day, and its use by straight people, the disabled, the LGBT community and feminists. Through the narrative, you’ll see how advocates tied sex toys to equality and self-confidence and how the struggle to make the devices acceptable unfolded but is still not over (including a surprisenot-surprise toward the end). That’s serious stuff and Lieberman offers it in a well-rounded way, though not without lightheartedness when appropriate. This isn’t a book to shock – it’s meant to inform and that’s accomplished, enjoyably. The prurient, the curious, and pop-culture fans will love Buzz, no batteries required.


e e s e m o C s s u f e h t what all t! is abou







25 TH



– N 2 017

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TA U R U S - G E M I N I - C A N C E R

S C O R P I O - S A G I T TA R I U S - C A P R I C O R N



20 | Q Virginia




January 20 – February 18 Big changes are in your future both personally and professionally. Take what you do seriously, and you’ll see great progress and success this year.


February 19 – March 20 Practical and material concerns will dominate your year, but don’t lose sight of your dreams. Always follow your intuition.

7 2 15 ARIES

March 21 – April 19 Settle down and work relentlessly toward career and self-improvement goals. You’ll end the year a better, brighter and stronger person!


April 20 – May 20 Make big goals and noble aspirations this year. Shake things up. Your efforts will yield success and attract a serious relationship this fall.


May 21 – June 21 Expect big improvements and some changes of direction in your career and social life. Your love life will be sizzling! This year, more than any other, the world will be your oyster!


June 22 – July 22 2018 is an open book for you. From work and family to finances and love, you’ll keep everything in balance and working smoothly. | 21


5 0 13 2 1 LEO

July 23 – August 22 This is a golden year for you filled with energy, challenges and opportunities. What you achieve in 2018 can be made to last. Plan and proceed wisely.


August 23 – September 22 This will be an intense year for you. Make the most of the ups while coping skillfully with any downs. It’s also a busy social year for you, so enjoy it!


September 23 – October 23 It’s all about you this year. People will turn to you for advice and leadership, which will come naturally to you. Exercise your authority with grace and generosity.


October 24 – November 21 You're a powerful force of nature this year! This intensity, however, could scare people away. Proceed cautiously and you’ll command both success and popularity.


November 22 – December 21 Your unrelenting energy will propel you to do big things this year. However, take care when advancing your professional and social goals.


December 22 – January 19 A clearer life perspective in 2018 will make it easier to achieve your goals and dreams. Be methodical as you direct your energies towards future happiness.

22 | Q Virginia

Mansion Couples Compromise Nothing

5 804-737-7773 | 23

Make Matrimonial Quiztory

Add a Wedding Crossword to Your Big Day! BY, JESSE LAVANCHER

Are you looking for something unique to incorporate into your Big Day that’s both personal to you and fun for your guests? Consider a wedding crossword puzzle! Ok, I know what you’re thinking: This sounds fun… but when would I use it and how would I make one? There are a number of ways you can bring the fun of a homemade crossword puzzle to your wedding. 1. With the Invitation Most people receive a wedding invitation, put the date in their calendar, send in their response and then leave it at that. With a homemade crossword puzzle, your guests will feel an extra sense of excitement for the wedding. What other fun activities will there be on the big day? What delicious food will be served? Give your guests hints with a fun wedding crossword puzzle. 2. On the Program Almost all weddings have a bit of wait time at the beginning of the ceremony. Place a small crossword puzzle into your program to give people a quiet activity to enjoy while they wait for the main event to begin. Fill the puzzle with clues about love and marriage or give special clues about the bride and groom and the ceremony about to take place. What fun! 3. As Conversation Starters Whether your guests are old friends from school or new friends meeting for the first time at your wedding, a wedding crossword puzzle can get the conversation going. You can give each table or guest their own unique crossword with specific clues and memories, or you can make a general crossword puzzle for everyone to enjoy. Then watch as your guests begin to bond over shared memories and make new ones of their own! 4. As Wedding Favors Wedding favors can be tricky. You want to give your guests something to remember the day, but not something that ends up cluttering their homes. A crossword puzzle commemorating your event fits the bill. Remind guests of the songs played or of the decadent cake served with clues they will remember years later. You can even pair the puzzle with monogrammed pencils and a small eraser or pencil sharpener. Top it off with a picture of the couple on the back for a complete package. BONUS If you haven’t proposed to your special someone yet, homemade crossword puzzles make for a great engagement story, too! Use an online crossword puzzle maker like Crossword Hobbyist to help you make the perfect puzzle for your perfect day. You can make your puzzle in seconds by inputting any word you want and giving a clue to go with it. Then watch as each word fits into the puzzle like magic! Consider bringing a little trivia into your wedding day festivities with a wedding crossword puzzle! They’re easy to create, fun for all of your guests and will make your special day even more memorable! 24 | Q Virginia


A Human's Guide to


How to Enjoy the Moment


1. BUILD A FUTURE IN THE PRESENT While it's important to live in the moment, do so with a clear path towards achieving your goals.

2. CREATE A DAILY ROUTINE Set aside 10 minutes every morning for mindfulness and reflection to jumpstart your day.

3. READ BOOKS Carry a book with you at all times for a source of wisdom, inspiration and/or relaxation. Bonus: Reducing your screen time and reading more will boost your emotional intelligence.

4. BREAK A SWEAT Exercise for 20 minutes every day to release endorphins, increase your quality of sleep, boost your self-confidence and improve your overall well-being.

5. CONTROL YOUR SCHEDULE Strike a healthy work-life balance to enjoy the small things in life, discover your own meaning of “happiness” and create your own success story. | 25

26 | Q Virginia

Background illustration:

Two Straight Men Tie the Knot to Avoid Paying Inheritance Tax BY, MEREDITH JENKINS

Last December, Matt Murphy, 83, and Michael O’Sullivan, 58, walked down the aisle arm-in-arm at Sir Patrick Dun’s Hospital Registry Office in Dublin. This was no ordinary same-sex wedding because both men are heterosexual. They got married to avoid paying an inheritance tax.

As reported in The Irish Times, “I’ve known Matty for 30 years. We became very friendly after my second relationship broke up,” O’Sullivan said. “I have been bringing Matt out in my car to various parties and all that kind of thing. He became friends with all my friends, they all loved him.” The two have both encountered a fair share of hardship. O’Sullivan, a father of three, was homeless before Murphy offered him a place to stay. Murphy suffers from giant cell arteritis, a blood vessel disease which affects the optic nerve, and O’Sullivan is, effectively, his caretaker. Unable to pay O’Sullivan for helping to care for him, Murphy offered to leave O’Sullivan his home in his will so that after Murphy’s death, O’Sullivan would always have a place to live. However, O’Sullivan knew that claiming the home as his own would result in a large tax bill—so large

that he would be forced to sell the house to pay it. One day, according to O’Sullivan, Murphy was explaining this financial pickle to a friend “down the country in Cashel, County Tipperary, and she jokingly said we should get married. Then one night he turned around and said it to me, and I said I would marry him.” By getting married, the two friends legally prevented O’Sullivan from paying €50,000 ($59,312 USD) in taxes on the home that Murphy is leaving to him, thus ensuring that O’Sullivan will have a place to live upon his friend’s passing. The couple said their ‘I Do’s’ in a former hospital on Dublin’s Grand Canal Street in Ireland. O’Sullivan was previously married to a woman, but this is Murphy’s first marriage.

Same-sex marriage has been legal in Ireland since being endorsed in a national referendum in 2015. O’Sullivan praised Ireland’s LGBT community for how hard they fought for equality. “The equality gay and lesbian people did for this country, that they fought hard for, they were discriminated against for most of their lives, they got equality for themselves but also for everybody else.” The two friends couldn’t get over how news of their plans spread around the world. “It’s crazy,” O’Sullivan said. “I read an article about it online in Malaysia.” Meanwhile, Murphy described O’Sullivan as the brother he always wanted, “I would have loved to have had a brother or sister. He’s always so concerned about me. He’s my best friend.” After their wedding ceremony, O’Sullivan kept gushing over his new spouse. “I love Matt and he loves me… as friends.” | 27

The First Active-Duty Gay Couple Get Married at West Point BY, JEROME WEST

This past January, two Army captains who met in the “don’t ask, don’t tell” era of the military, became the first active-duty, same-sex couple to get married at West Point.

According to The New York Times, Capt. Daniel Hall, 30, and Capt. Vinny Franchino, 26, both Apache helicopter pilots, were married at the New York military academy’s picturesque Cadet Chapel by a Unitarian Universalist minister. The couple met at West Point in 2009 when Hall was a senior and Franchino was a freshman. At the time, former President Bill Clinton’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy was in effect. This policy barred homosexual or bisexual members of the military from disclosing their sexual orientation and from speaking about homosexual relationships. Franchino told The Times, “We couldn’t tell the truth for fear of what would happen to us. So, we put it in our minds that we were never

28 | Q Virginia

going to say we were gay, we were never going to get made fun of and we were certainly never going to get kicked out of the Army.” Congress repealed “don’t ask, don’t tell” in September 2011, clearing the way for the pair the pair to come out and go on their first date, which happened in 2012. Franchino noted that since dating openly, “We’ve experienced everything from people feeling awkward around us to being called faggots while holding hands and walking down the street. But despite what we’ve been through, nothing was worse than having served during the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ years.” He continued, “We were serving under a policy that was telling all of us— perfectly capable soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines—to lie about ourselves.”

When the couple learned that Hall was being deployed to South Korea with his Boeing AH-64 Apache attack helicopter brigade, they began dating other people. However, the pair eventually got back together. Soon enough, they were walking down the aisle of West Point’s chapel donning their pressed blue formal uniforms, reading their vows and ducking under a saber-arch salute as an officially married couple. Franchino said that although he’s been through a lot with his new husband, nothing was worse than when he had to hide his identity.

Special thanks to Lauren Gill of Newsweek.

Q's Crossword Puzzle Down 1











3. Heaviest U.S. President 4. Belief in god

5. Sharp, as a pupil







11. Help

12. Part of SOP (abbr.)

42 46


13. With "E", a crafter's website 18. Hospital egresses


22. Gp. headquartered in Lausanne,



Switz. 24. Signs of summer

53 54 62



55 65


26. "____ Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole 57







47. Magazine VIPs (abbr.)

5. Surrounding quality

52. Pip's beloved

14. Deseret, today 15. Que. or Ont.

16. Escape routes

17. Akhenaton's wife

19. Toy named after a president 20. Tiber river port

21. Run a meeting

23. T-shirt tag abbr.

25. Best Picture nominee of 1983 30. Flaws

33. Equivalent wd.


Oak Tree" 27. Icy dessert

28. Start of a demand


9. Beauty's love




1. Rocker Joan

8. Navigate the air 10. English river

45 49

7. David Lee ___

9. Give to in marriage 36


1. Jupiter's wife

2. Summers in France





6. Kind of acid







30 34


19 21












48. Caused disharmony

53. Appropriate for the office (abbr.) 54. Passive demonstration 57. Vice President Burr 61. Beef cut

65. Landmark age

67. Mubarak of Egypt

68. "___ be in England": Browning 69. Narrow land strip, for short 70. Mozart's contemporary 71. Cries of delight 72. "Avatar" race

29. Twisty curves 30. Undamaged

31. Pres. monogram 32. Religion

33. Allotted portion

34. Often-mocked cars of the past 38. Toll hwy.

40. Hostile force 41. Lies

44. Leather from the sea

46. Marketing word for diet foods 49. 551, formerly 50. Arm art

51. What burglars look for

55. "____ Have Nothing" (song featured in "Smokey Joe's Cafe") 56. Eur. nation 58. Historic Parks

59. Running, in a way

60. Cadbury Schweppes brand

35. Cell body

61. Command for silence

36. Toast beginning

62. "____ Mouse" (Robert Burns poem)

37. Jabba is one

63. Ending with court or curt

39. Express disdain

64. Clause connector

42. "Float like a butterfly, sting like ____"

66. Refusals

43. In awe, visibly 45. Work hard

Answers on page 30 | 29

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A R E YO U R E A D Y TO MARRY YO U R L O V E AND MAKE A HOME? Find out which cities other same-sex couples choose to call home! According to a review of tax documents and Census Bureau data published in The New York Times, there are some places where married same-sex couples are more likely to form communities. If you’re a newlywed looking for cities with lots of other LGBTQ couples, be sure to give these locations a shot. WASHINGTON, DC METROPOLITAN REGION The Nation’s Capital region is the second most popular place to settle down for married samesex couples. Beltway politics aside, Washington, DC ranks #2 for male-male couples and #6 for female-female couples. Two of the city’s densely populated suburbs—Silver Spring, MD and Arlington, VA—also rank high: Silver Spring comes in at #12 for female-female couples,

whereas Arlington ranks #16 for male-male couples. LGBTQ culture is rich in the region. The nation’s oldest lesbian bar, Phase 1, set up shop in the Capitol Hill neighborhood in 1970. The Dupont Circle neighborhood, which, along with neighborhoods in San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles, became a part of the burgeoning out-and-proud gay movement of the 1970s. BOSTON Although most closely associated with baseball, there’s good reason that same-sex couples flock to Boston and the state of Massachusetts at-large. Boston landed at #10 for gay married couples while the Western Massachusetts city of Springfield was the fourth most popular city for lesbian married couples. Notably, back in 2004, Massachusetts became the first state to recognize same-sex marriage. PORTLAND This uber-cool, progressive Pacific Northwest port city has long been a haven for LGBTQ people. Recently, Census data showed that more than five percent of the population identifies as LGBTQ, so it’s no surprise that it’s the eighth most popular city for female-female married couples and 18th most popular city for male-male married couples. | 31

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Marriage Equality Around the World BY, JEROME WEST


Last December, Australia’s Federal Parliament voted in a landslide to legalize same-sex marriage after a public vote in November showed overwhelming support for marriage equality. During a speech on the floor of Parliament, Tom Wilson asked his partner, Ryan Bolger, to marry him. This dramatic moment in the House of Representatives was the first time a politician proposed from the floor of the governing body (Bolger said yes). With this landmark legislation, Australia became the 26th nation in the world to allow same-sex couples to marry and the 3rd nation to do so in 2017 (along with Germany and Malta).

The World

The Netherlands was the first country to legalize same-sex marriage in December of 2000. Same-sex marriage is legal in the following countries: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, England & Wales, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greenland, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, Uruguay and the United States. England and Wales are counted as one country and Scotland as a separate country because those part of the United Kingdom passed two separate pieces of marriage equality legislation. Northern Ireland, the other U.K. constituent state, has not yet legalized same-sex marriage. Certain regions of Mexico recognize marriage equality, but the nation, as a whole, does not (much like certain states legalized same-sex marriage in the U.S. before the Obergefell opinion in 2015). No country in Asia recognizes same-sex marriage; however, a constitutional court in Taiwan ruled in May of 2017 that same-sex couples have the right to marry. According to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), at least 71 countries (37% of United Nation member states) outlaw same-sex sexual activity. The death penalty is used as punishment for samesex sexual activity in eight nations: Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

The United States

In 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court made marriage equality the law of the land in Obergefell v. Hodges after a sweeping change in public opinion on the issue. According to the Pew Research Center, in 2001, 57% of American opposed same-sex weddings; in 2017, 62% supported it.

The potential landmark case now before the Supreme Court, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, brings the issue of marriage equality back into the courtroom as justices consider the legal relationship between gay rights and religious freedom. The ruling in this case could have wide-ranging implications for anti-discrimination laws for the LGBTQ community and other minorities across America.


This past February, Bermuda became the first jurisdiction in the world to legalize and then repeal same-sex marriage. Many see this as an unprecedented rollback of civil rights by the British territory. Governor John Rankin signed into law a bill reversing the rights of gay couples to marry, despite a supreme court ruling last year that brought marriage equality to the island. According to the government, the legislation— which, replaced same-sex weddings with domestic partnerships—would balance opposition to same-sex marriage on the socially conservative island while complying with European court rulings that ensure recognition and protection for same sex couples. Vociferously attacking the legislation, LGBTQ civil rights groups say that domestic partnerships amounted to a second-class status and that it was unprecedented for a jurisdiction to take away the legal right to marry after it had been granted. Kevin Dallas, CEO of the Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA), fears the new law will have crippling consequences for the territory’s tourism industry. Luxury tourism is one of the main sources of income for Bermuda. Dallas cites the very public controversies in the U.S. when Republican leaders in North Carolina and Indian attempted to roll back LGBTQ rights, only to face boycotts from businesses and suffer major financial losses from various segments of their economies. Despite lobbying attempts by LGBT rights groups, lawyers and business groups like the BTA on behalf of marriage equality, February’s Domestic Partnership Act is now the law of the land in Bermuda.

The High Seas

In January, Celebrity Cruises held the first gay wedding on the high seas. Francisco Vargas and Benjamin Gray were wed in a ceremony officiated by Capt. Dimitrios Manetas. Celebrity Cruises, which is registered in Malta, has been allowed to legally recognize same-sex weddings performed at sea since that country legalized same-sex marriages in July of 2017. | 33




Wedding Bells L I V I N G A U T H E N T I C A L LY

Kolandra & Sharonda

Geoffrey & Will

Caroline & Jennifer

Magic at the mansion

A mountaintop proposal

A rustic wedding fiesta

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Virginia Beach, VA Born of the Big Band era, host to ten Presidents, a Virginia Beach icon: The Cavalier is steeped in stories— and has now been re-imagined for generations to come. Set atop of one of Virginia Beach’s highest hills overlooking the Atlantic, The Cavalier is among the country’s most notable historic hotels and still brims with the elegance and hospitality of a bygone era. Following an extensive top-to-bottom, multi-year restoration, the soul of its origins remain—now accented by plenty of luxurious surprises. Whether your celebration calls for 25 - 250 guests this historic gem can host your elegant wedding in one of its uniquely stunning venues. Enjoy the artfully restored Grand Ballroom complete with soft, billowing drapery, crystal chandeliers, ambient ceiling rosettes and delicate finishing touches or dance under the stars on their ocean view lawns perched on Virginia Beaches’ highest knoll. The Cavalier Hotel also boasts 85 luxurious rooms including 23 suites, original marble columns, lush gardens, ornate moldings and architectural details unparalleled throughout the Mid-Atlantic. In addition, this modern marvel includes a luxurious spa and signature bourbon distillery on site, three restaurants, a resort-style pool, a Beach Club and access to a secluded beach. Unrivaled luxury, refined hospitality and anticipatory service is the epitome of The Cavalier experience. Recently re-opened in March of 2018, this landmark wedding destination does not disappoint! 36 | Q Virginia


Richmond, Virginia


Mclean, Virginia | 37

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Meet the Sykes By, Kolandra Sykes

My wife, Sharonda, and I met in the summer of 2006. We worked together at a sneaker store called Finish Line. I was dating someone at the time and she had friends she was talking to, as well. Although we kind of flirted a little bit, I was actually trying to hook her up with an old friend of mine! Somehow, we ended up talking to each other. I went over to her house to do her hair and after that, as Sharonda often says, “I had my cherry overnight bag and was moving in!” We officially became a couple that October. Ten years later, at 2pm on a rainy Sunday, July 3, 2016 we met up to have brunch at New York Deli in Carytown after church. After eating, she wanted to take pictures in the photo booth. I love a good picture, so I didn't think much about the request. After taking two sets of pictures, she said she wanted to take one more set. As we were taking the third set of photos, she kept moving and I couldn't figure out why she wouldn’t keep still. As the third picture snapped, she pulled out a box. As the last picture snapped, I finally realized what was happening and burst into tears. I immediately called my girlfriends to let them know what just happened. Needless to

say, she did a really good job surprising me and we have the photos to show it. We planned the wedding together and, boy, was it was a roller coaster! She chose the reception menu while I chose the floral arrangements. We also selected our own outfits with no input from the other. When we first started planning the wedding we simply went on Pinterest every day and pinned everything we liked. When you’re planning a wedding but don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, Pinterest can be a blessing and curse. Once we found a cake design we both loved, we build the rest of the wedding theme from there. We opted to have our wedding at the Historic Mankin Mansion, a true hidden gem located in the east end of Richmond. The place simply screamed us—it was unique and classy with a touch of bling. The grounds are gorgeous, and the staff are very friendly and helpful. We couldn’t have picked a better venue to represent us as couple.

ceiling drapery, gold Chiavari chairs with black cushions and a black floor. We lined the aisles with pink and white rose petals and black lanterns with gold candles inside of them. The reception was decorated in gray, gold, blush and marble. The tables were draped with light gray table cloths and blush satin napkins. Each marble plate was topped with a twig of eucalyptus and a gold leaf tied together with a pink ribbon. We used the venue’s DJ and had our catering done by the same company that baked our beautiful cake. Instead of having typical wedding food, we served chicken and waffles, burger sliders and fish tacos. To this day, our guests tell us how great the food was and how much fun they had. After being together for 11 years and now that we’re married, we are looking to start a family. We hope to have a baby and buy our first home this year. As we remain patient and let God work His magic, we will continue to surround ourselves with those who love and support us.

Our ceremony space didn't need much in terms of decorations because it was already so beautiful with chandeliers, floor-to-



Richmond, Virginia


Sterling, Virginia

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Mason Neck, VA Say, “I do” on the historic grounds of George Mason’s Gunston Hall, a U.S. National Historic Landmark located just south of Alexandria. With 500 acres of beautiful landscape and a breathtaking vista of the Potomac River, you and your guests will have an experience to remember. Weddings at Gunston Hall can include the use of the grounds, the Ann Mason Room (located outside the Visitor Center) and its adjoining private courtyard. The Ann Mason Room and grounds can accommodate up to 100 seated guests or 175 standing for your ceremony or reception. If you’re a history buff or just like the idea of having your wedding in the home of one of America’s most important Founding Fathers, look no further than George Mason’s Gunston Hall. | 41

y r e n i W r e w o T e n Sto ROLLING HILLS

Leesburg, VA Stone Tower Winery offers a one-of-a-kind setting for an unforgettable wedding, with over 60-acres of planted vines over rolling northern Virginia hillsides. The vineyard provides the perfect balance of rustic charm and sophisticated elegance, inviting couples to begin their lives together on the land that was born from a love for these rolling hills. Whether planning an intimate occasion for a select few or a grand wedding for over 230 guests, the staff can tailor your wedding to your taste and personality, creating a breathtaking experience that is a reflection of you.

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Arlington, Virginia


Virginia Beach, Virginia | 43

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A Majestic Mountaintop Proposal By, Will Rye

I have often heard that you will find love when you aren't looking for it. After spending my twenties and most of my thirties experiencing failed relationships, I had given up on finding love. When I came out 21 years ago, two months shy of 18, the world was a very different place. Marriage wasn't on my radar back then because most of us were just trying to be accepted by our friends and families. Through the years, I have watched many of my LGBT friends in long term relationships have commitment ceremonies and eventually get married after it was legalized. When Obergefell vs Hodges made same-sex marriage legal, I became optimistic about the future and hoped that one day I would fall in love again and marry my soulmate. I started chatting with Geoffrey Wilder online in the fall of 2016. At that time Geoffrey had just started his first semester at Virginia Tech and I was in the middle of a Volunteer Fire Academy program for Roanoke County Fire & Rescue. Geoffrey is a non-traditional college student who decided to pursue a Bachelor's Degree in Food Science after a few years in the restaurant business and attending culinary school. His passion for food brought him to Virginia Tech. Neither of us were looking for marriage or a long-term relationship at the time. We shared many common interests and our mutual attraction was palpable. Although it was hard to coordinate our schedules to meet up, we eventually met in person just after Thanksgiving.

Our first official date was just before Valentine's Day 2017. On an unusually warm evening, I took Geoffrey up to the Mill Mountain Star to watch the sunset behind the mountains. Since we both love Korean food, we then went to Wonju Restaurant, the only Korean restaurant in Roanoke. That magical evening led to many more dates. Over time, we discovered a natural chemistry between us. We share a love for food, nature and history, we’re both somewhat introverted and we both love puns. That summer and autumn, I took Geoffrey to a few of my favorite places in the region such as Richmond, Smith Mountain Lake and Grandfather Mountain. No matter where we went we enjoyed being with each other—whether we sat alone in silence or laughed out loud at ridiculous puns we created. This past January Geoffrey proposed to me at the Mill Mountain Star. Before he popped the question, he showed me a pun on his phone that said, "Would you be my otter half ?" Because we were in a public setting, I was nervous how people would react the Geoffrey’s proposal. Although Roanoke has dramatically changed since I came out 21 years ago, there is still part of me that worries about expressing my feelings in public. To my surprise, a group of teenagers who were also under the star applauded and cheered for the two of us. It was a great way to start a new chapter in our lives together.

Geoffrey is planning on graduating from Virginia Tech in May and after that we will see where his career will take us. We had our engagement party at the end of February and are planning on getting married in the fall of 2018, hopefully here in Roanoke so that many of my friends and family may attend. What’s fun about planning a same-sex wedding is that we don’t feel confined to traditions that other couples feel they must adhere to. We can do whatever we want with our wedding ceremony. However, we are simple people and aren’t looking to have an extravagant wedding. For us, getting married is about making our commitment to each other with the blessing of the state and sharing that moment with our friends and family. We would rather spend our money on long term investments such as a home, a garden, a car and travel. As I reminisce about first meeting Geoffrey and our time together thus far, I have to laugh. When we first met, neither one of us was looking for love—love found us. If you’re wondering if you’ll ever find your soulmate, remember that love is patient and will find you when you least expect it.


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W e Th

Petersburg, VA Located in the heart of downtown Petersburg’s historic district, The Ward Center for Contemporary Art is a truly unique venue to have your wedding. The building dates back to 1889 when it was the Rucker Rosenstock department store and later the Butterworth’s Furniture store. In 2014, the building underwent a $6 million renovation and was transformed into The Ward Center for Contemporary Art. Their spacious grand event hall boasts old-world charm with restored wood floors, a grand staircase and elegant chandeliers set against the backdrop of a beautiful modern art gallery. You’ll love the restored historic details, high ceilings, VIP loft area and room for up to 500 guests. If you’re looking for a venue with a fabulous mix of art, history and charm, look no further than The Ward Center for Contemporary Art.

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Norfolk, Virginia


Lynchburg, Virginia | 47

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Caroline & Jennifer’s Rustic Wedding Fiesta By, Meghan Kennedy Edited by, Meredith Jenkins

Since rustic weddings have become all the rage, it’s hard to make yours stand out — however, newlyweds Caroline and Jennifer did just that. They put a punchy Mexican spin on the popular trend, with bright pops of color and even a mariachi band to make their party less like a barn dance and more like a fiesta! The Vintager Inn in New Kent County set the tone for a gorgeous celebration of love between Caroline, Jennifer and their family and friends, shot by eKate Photography. THE LOVE STORY Hailing from different states, North Carolina and Virginia, it seemed unlikely that the two would ever cross paths. A love of rugby led to playing for their own teams—Jennifer on Raleigh, Caroline on NOVA—and, eventually, a shared team in the Mid-Atlantic All Stars. The summer of 2007 found the future couple meeting once more at the annual Cape Fear 7s Rugby Tournament and the two have been together ever since. Six years later, as they were planning to go out to celebrate their anniversary, Caroline kept finding longstemmed roses with love notes attached to them around their house; however, since that’s Jennifer’s normal M.O., Caroline thought nothing of it and even joked about a proposal coming that day. “Before we left for dinner, Jennifer called me back into the house and the rest was history,” Caroline reminisced. “It was very private and sweet just like Jennifer. So, it was perfect.” THE VENUE Location was important to the couple when choosing a venue, as they were looking for a good halfway point between Raleigh, N.C. and northern Virginia, as their guests were split between both places. Also, of course, keeping with their rustic vision, the place had to have the country charm they were looking for. Their wedding planner happened to stumble upon The Vintager Inn—halfway between NOVA

and Raleigh—which, provided the scenery the couple had been imagining since day one. “The main barn that we used for the reception opened up to this picture-perfect view at sunset,” the couple exclaimed. “Our guests are still raving about the venue.” THE CEREMONY The wedding party featured the couple’s closest friends and Caroline’s nephew was their ring bearer. Creating a unique ceremony was important to Caroline and Jennifer, so they wrote the ceremony and had one of their best friends marry them. The ceremony focused on them sharing all the little things that made them fall in love with each other, with a traditional hand ceremony, vows and ring exchange. The couple put a fun twist on their rustic wedding with a fiesta spin on the day’s events. They event surprised everyone with a mariachi band serenading them as they walked down the aisle that continued to play into the cocktail hour. Of their rings, Caroline said, “Our wedding bands were extremely personal and unique, engraved with each of our fingerprints. Neither of us like big or flashy jewelry, so we went simple but meaningful.” THE FASHION Both brides rocked stunning white gowns for their big day. Jennifer opted for a long, halter-style dress à la Marilyn Monroe from David’s Bridal. Caroline chose a more traditional strapless sheath with a sweetheart neckline from Global Bridal Gallery in Alexandria, VA. Their wedding party wore shades of dove gray in perfect alignment with their chosen colors of orange and gray. The brides carried handtied burlap bouquets with white hydrangeas and orange roses. The bridesmaids went simple with burlap bouquets of baby’s breath while the bridesmen and ring bearer had a combination of orange roses and baby’s breath.

THE DECOR The reception, held in a classic red barn, featured one large table for the brides and their wedding parties. The tables, draped in gray tablecloths accented with orange napkins, featured old Coke bottles decorated with orange and gray paper hearts. The world-traveling couple named each table after a place they had visited together, and each table had a picture of Caroline and Jennifer at said location. Luggage tags with guests’ names on them doubled as escort cards and favors. Food and beverages were set up atop wine barrels throughout the room and an open-air barn next to the reception hall housed the full bar and buffet. An antique double-seated bike featured signs directing guests to the ceremony, party and reception. Capping off the rustic decor was a large fire pit surrounded by seats for guests to relax and converse right outside the main reception area. Each table boasted gorgeous arrangements of white hydrangeas, orange ranunculus and baby’s breath. THE PARTY The combination rustic-fiesta theme the brides set up was a huge hit! The mariachi band played during the cocktail hour as guests competed against each other in cornhole, customized by Jennifer and her dad for the wedding. The reception featured a photo booth for guests to take pictures and a great DJ. The newlyweds shared their first dance to “She’s Got A Way” by Billy Joel. MEMORABLE MOMENT “There are so many, but the moments that stuck out the most were our first look, our guests arriving as we secretly looked on and realizing later that evening that we were actually married!” -The Happy Couple

Special thanks to Love, Inc. magazine for making this story possible. | 49

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Louisa, VA Named after the owner’s beloved quarter horse, Bandit, Bandit’s Ridge is a picturesque estate in central Virginia that has numerous charming amenities to make your wedding a truly memorable experience. Situated on 25 scenic acres with a rustic, red barn overlooking the hay field and a new barn that seats 150 guests, this venue can accommodate the country-style wedding of your dreams. From the personalized service to the warm, inviting spaces, you’ll surely fall in love with Bandit’s Ridge!

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t s y Cr

Arlington, VA Experience a gateway into modern sophistication at the Crystal Gateway Marriott. This venue is perfectly situation minutes from Washington, DC and less than one mile from Reagan National Airport, with an interior corridor connecting you to the Crystal City Metro. Their exclusive M Club provides a modern 24/7 sanctuary where guests can recharge, connect and relax. The property has reinvented their spacious guest rooms with modular furniture, premium connectivity, smart TVs and walk-in showers. Boasting almost 40,000 square feet of recently renovated wedding space, 31 event rooms and 30 convenient breakout spaces, they can accommodate weddings of any size. Their Grand Ballroom can comfortably host up to 2,100 guests! This venue is a very popular venue for Indian, military and LGBTQ weddings. If you’re looking for a grand, urban wedding venue, the Crystal Gateway Marriot is your perfect destination for location, space and chic sophistication. | 51


Baker y · Breakfast · Lunch · Brunch

700 Rose Hill Drive, Charlottesville · 434.529.6118 ·

The CENTER for EARTH-BASED HEALING offers survivors of domestic and sexual violence a positive, pivotal, and transformational opportunity to heal the mind, body, and spirit. Twelve campers participate in a gentle wilderness experience for three days, engaging with nature in a safe, supportive environment.


ESCAPE WITH US. Your next adventure

Our trauma-informed approach encourages experiential interactions with Mother Earth, guiding participants to use mindfulness, meditation, movement, and creative arts as resources to stay grounded in the present. Current programs benefit women and teens,

Photo by Lindsey Walters.

Photo by Lindsey Walters.

starts in Staunton.


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enjoy the historic town, incredible dining, charming lodging, & thrilling theatre

I can say that this program has done more to help me heal than anything I’ve ever done. –E.C., Camp Mabon ‘14

as well as the professionals who advocate for

them. For the future, programs are being planned for transgender and gender-queer survivors. Please contact Michele Zehr, CEBH’s executive director and featured Q Virginia columnist, with questions about our programs at, or at

Celebrate Spring L I V I N G A U T H E N T I C A L LY




Fabulous florae fit for a queen

Luscious libations to celebrate the season

Fresh flavors to tantalize your taste buds

page 54

page 63

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FLOWERS "The earth laughs in flowers." —Ralph Waldo Emerson

54 | Q Virginia

For those who love flowers, a garden is a place of enchantment where many happy hours can be spent. Nature is not only a generous provider, but a teacher who imparts wisdom to gardeners as they watch their flowers grow. Any knowledgeable gardener will tell you that a flowering garden is a resource rich in history, food, medicine and the human spirit.

"No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden. . . . But though an old man, I am but a young gardener.� —Thomas Jefferson, 1811 | 55


The Queen There are about 270,000 floral species. Called “the queen of flowers,� the rose has been in existence for about 200 million years. Roses are a popular choice for gardeners around the world as they come in varieties to suit every climate, style and taste.

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History's First Apothecary

Flowers have an ancient medicinal history. The Aztecs used dahlias to treat epilepsy. Roman solders carried lavender to heal wounds and soothe infections. England’s King Henry VIII ate daisies to counter his stomach ulcers. Today, flowers are used to make essential oils, which are often used for medicinal purposes like aromatherapy. | 57


Dainty Elite Currency

One of the most famous flours in history is the tulip. This dainty flower was once so precious that it was used as currency among the elite in Europe and traded much the way stocks do today. The noble house of van Bourse was the center of this speculative trade and the origin of the term “bourse” in today’s stock exchange jargon. Tulip trading peaked in 1634 but was eventually outlawed in 1637, which caused the tulip paper ownership market to crash. It’s estimated that over 10 million tulips were traded, many of which were grown by monks in Flanders.

58 | Q Virginia


Eat Your Flowers

For millennia, humans have enjoyed numerous edible flowers including daylilies, gardenias, lavender and sunflowers. Ancient Romans added calendulas to vinegar as seasoning for their meats and salads. They were also partial to roses and violets. For over 2,500 years, the Chinese have brewed chrysanthemum tea. From the early 1600s, French monks added carnation petals to their famous liqueur, Chartreuse. | 59


Spiritual Adaptations

The Ancient Egyptians considered the blue lotus flower to be sacred. It was found strewn on the body of Pharaoh Tutankhamen when his tomb was opened in 1922. The passionflower is named for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and was formally presented to the Pope in the 1600s. Similarly, the pointed leaves of holly were associated with Christ’s crown of thorns and the red berries with his blood. It’s thought that the word “holly” derives from medieval monks’ original description of “holy tree.”

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Season Tickets on Sale NORFOLK. RICHMOND. FAIRFAX.


Sangria Fresca

8 oz Tito’s Handmade Vodka 4 oz elderflower liqueur or grapefruit soda 1 750-ml bottle rosé wine 12 oz Fresca 1 whole lemon, cut into small wedges 1 whole lime, cut into half-wheels 4 cups fresh cut melon Combine Tito’s Handmade Vodka, rosé, and elderflower liqueur in a large jar or pitcher. Cut citrus and melons and add to liquid. Allow to sit, refrigerated and covered, for about four hours. Before serving, add ice and Fresca, and gently stir. Ladle sangria into punch cups or wine goblets, making sure that each portion receives some of the cut fruit as a garnish.




COCKTAILS "Here’s to alcohol, the rose-colored glasses of life." — F. Scott Fitzgerald | 63

HELLO KITTY COCKTAIL As spring dawns, one of the first things on many minds is an icecold glass of fresh lemonade. Why not transform that into a simple vodka martini? The Hello Kitty is a three-ingredient cocktail that has a gentle fruit flavor with a bit of an exotic twist, thanks to Ty Ku Liqueur. It's a delicate, neon green liqueur flavored with natural fruits and botanicals that make this vodka drink a true beauty.

What You'll Need 2 parts Ty Ku liqueur 1 part vodka

How to Make It Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. That's it!

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LAVENDER SAPPHIRE SENSATION Come spring, a lavender syrup should become a staple in any bar. You will be hard-pressed to find another herb that can evoke the revitalizing feeling of the season as this one. In this simple variation on the Tom Collins, pair the syrup with Bombay Sapphire Gin and lemon juice, topping it off with club soda. The result is the lavender sapphire collins, a tall spritzer with an intriguing depth of botanical flavors and one that everyone will love.

What You'll Need 1 1/2 ounces Bombay Sapphire Gin 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice 1/2 ounce lavender syrup 3 ounces club soda 1 lemon wedge for garnish

How to Make It Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into a collins glass, add lavender syrup and Bombay Sapphire. Stir and fill with ice. Top with club soda and garnish with a lemon wedge. | 65

PINEAPPLE AND SAGE GIMLET Look no further for the ultimate spring pitcher drink. This fun concoction is filled with fresh flavor. It's also one of the easiest ways to make five drinks at one time. The pineapple and sage gimlet is exactly what it sounds like: an herbal take on the classic gimlet. Your taste buds will be tantalized by the play of fresh sage leaves and pineapple while the gin quietly hangs out in the background.

What You'll Need 7 1/2 ounces Bombay Sapphire Gin 3 3/4 ounces lime juice 3 ounces simple syrup 7 sage leaves

How to Make It Build with ice in a punch bowl or serving pitcher and stir. If you want to make this a s a single drink, reduce the ingredients down proportionately. I would also muddle the syrup and sage, then add the other ingredients, shake, and strain.

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THE GREEN GIANT Concerned that you aren't getting enough veggies in your diet? There's a cocktail that can help you out. The green giant is a very interesting recipe that uses sugar snap peas, which are in season during the spring months. Pair those peas with the snap of fresh tarragon, an organic vodka, dry vermouth, and honey and a garden-fresh cocktail is yours to enjoy. Recipe courtesy of Prairie Organic Vodka

What You'll Need 2 ounces Prairie Organic Vodka 4 sugar snap peas 1 sprig tarragon 1 ounce lemon juice 1/2 ounce dry vermouth 3/4 ounce honey

How to Make It Muddle 4 sugar snap peas, 10–12 tarragon leave s and honey in a cocktail shaker. Add the remaining ingredients and shake with ice. Strain into an old fashioned glass over crushed ice. Garnish with two sugar snap peas. | 67

Catering & Special Events With over 30 years of experience, Homemades by Suzanne offers staffed full service catering for corporate and social events, easy “Carry Out� catering, boxed lunches, deli buffet trays, gift baskets, homemade breads and bakery items

Join us at our Two Locations Richmond


101 North Fifth St Richmond, VA 23219 804-775-2323

102 North Railroad Ave Ashland, VA 23005 804-798-8331 68 | Q Virginia

Eats Spring Salutations | 69

food notes | spring

Yield: Serves 6 (serving size: 1/4 cup)

Smoked Salmon Dip If you need a festive recipe to ring in the season, look no further than this easy yet elegant appetizer. Rich, creamy smoked salmon dip is an easy — but very sophisticated! — springtime favorite.

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Ingredients 4 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened 4 ounces light sour cream 2 tablespoons fresh dill 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 4 ounces chopped smoked salmon 2 tablespoons chopped red onion Garnish: additional fresh dill How to Make It Combine softened cream cheese, sour cream, 2 tablespoons fresh dill, lemon juice, salmon, and onion in a medium bowl. Garnish, if desired.

food notes | spring

Yield: 12 servings (serving size: about 3/4 cup) Ingredients 1/2 cup sugar 1/2 cup water 1/2 cup packed basil leaves 1 tablespoon grated lime rind 4 cups cubed pineapple (about 1 medium) 3c  ups quartered strawberries (about 1 pound) How to Make It STEP 1: Combine sugar and 1/2 cup water in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute or until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat; stir in basil and rind. Cool. Strain sugar mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl; discard solids. STEP 2: Combine pineapple and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle with sugar mixture; toss gently.

Basil-Lime Fruit Salad Basil and lime lend this colorful fruit salad a savory undertone. To make ahead, prepare the infused syrup and clean and chop the fruit; refrigerate separately. Toss the fruit and syrup together just before it's time to serve. | 71

food notes | spring

Yield: 12 servings (serving size: 2 chops)

Garlic-Studded Rosemary Roast Rack of Lamb Just five ingredients add up to an entrée with Italian flair.

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Ingredients 3 (1 1/2-pound) French-cut racks of lamb (8 ribs each) Cooking spray 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced (48 slices) 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1/4 cup chopped fresh rosemary 1 teaspoon kosher salt How to Make It STEP 1: Place lamb, meat side down, on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Cut a 1-inch-deep slit between each rib on the underside of each rack; stuff 2 garlic slices into each slit. Turn lamb, meat side up; coat with cooking spray. Sprinkle with pepper and rosemary, pressing gently to adhere. Cover and marinate in refrigerator 8 hours or overnight. STEP 2: Preheat oven to 450°. STEP 3: Sprinkle lamb evenly with salt. Bake at 450° for 20 minutes or until a thermometer registers 145° (medium-rare) to 160° (medium). Cover with foil; let stand 10 minutes before slicing each rack into 8 pieces.

food notes | spring

Yield: 12 servings (serving size: about 3/4 cup) Ingredients Cookies: 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (about 6 1/2 ounces) 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1/4 cup butter, softened 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 large egg Icing: 2 cups powdered sugar 3 tablespoons fat-free milk 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract Food coloring (optional) How to Make It STEP 1: Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, stirring with a whisk. STEP 2: In a large bowl, blend sugar and butter with a mixer at medium speed. Blend in vanilla and egg. Add flour mixture, mixing at low speed until blended. STEP 3: Place dough between two sheets of plastic wrap. Roll dough to a 1/4-inch thickness. Chill 1 hour. Step 4: Preheat oven to 375°. STEP 5: Cut dough with a 2 1/4-inch egg-shaped cutter. Place cookies on a non-stick baking sheet. Bake at 375° for 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool for 1 minute on pan then transfer to a wire rack. STEP 6: To prepare icing, combine powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla; stir until smooth. Add food coloring, if desired. Stir well. Spread or pipe icing onto cookies.

Easter Egg Cookies These festive cookies are loosely based on the Greek Easter specialty koulourakia. Use egg-shaped cookie cutters to create these Easter "eggs." Tint the frosting any color you like (or use several colors). Spread it onto the cookies, or spoon the frosting into a zip-top plastic bag, snip a small hole in one corner of the bag, and pipe the frosting in designs of your choice. The kids can help with the fun. | 73

Enjoy an ambiance that will radiate joy and happiness.

Say "I do" to your dream wedding at The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner with an intimate ceremony followed by an elaborate reception to celebrate your special day. Learn more by visiting TYSONS CORNER

2017 The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C.


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New Traditions L I V I N G A U T H E N T I C A L LY

Nomadic Nuptials

Perfect Match

With Love

June is on the move

Honor thyself

Diamonds are forever

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B US T I N ' OUT A LL OVER 76 | Q Virginia

June's arrival each year is always a time for celebration. It’s the beginning of summer. It’s Pride month. And, historically, it’s been the month to get married. However, many wedding professionals across central Virginia are saying that, when it comes to wedding dates, October is the new June. This probably has something to do with the fact that in October, Virginia combines mild temperatures with picturesque mountain and valley scenes.

FALL IN LOVE WITH FALL Schuyler Somers and Katie Lester operate A Little Party, a Lynchburgbased event planning business. Sommers posits, “October is popular for one reason: The leaves are changing. Sometimes November is too cold, and June can be too hot.” Also, countryside weddings are a big business in Virginia. “Fall weddings allow you to add shawls, blanket wraps, cozy signs, apple cider and hot cocoa,” Lester says. “You just don't see that in June weddings.” Each year, Sommers and Lester notice that more couples engaged to be wed are booking dates from September through November rather than the traditional wedding months of April through June. Mackenzie Cunningham, a resident of Gladys, got married in October in Gladys. For her, getting married in October was important because she feels a connection to the month’s overall theme of change. “To me, just as the leaves change their colors and shed from the trees, people are also ever changing. Fall means new beginnings and getting to marry my

very best friend is just the start of a new chapter.”

AUTUMNAL WEDDINGS: INSPIRATIONS AND TIPS There’s a trend to have fall weddings at outdoor venues. If you opt for an outdoor venue, the weather becomes a serious factor for your wedding planning. Also, when you have an outdoor wedding, it’s a good idea to have interactive stations to give your guests something to do when they’re not eating, drinking or dancing. Consider setting up a cornhole game, coffee stations, a fire pit with s’mores or a lounge area. When it comes to flowers for fall weddings, dahlias are it. Fall wedding colors are usually rich, bold jewel tones such as burgundies and wines, which align with the season. Decorative accents often include seasonal items like apples, pumpkins, bales of hay and colorful leaves. In central Virginia, the average fall wedding costs about $35,000. The cost of a wedding depends, in large part, on the number of guests. Think about it: When you add 10 guests, you’re adding to costs associated with the food, chairs, table, floral arrangements, linens, etc. If you’re trying to cut back on your budget, start by cutting back on your guest list. You can also cut costs by making DIY party favors. Consider going to an apple orchard with your betrothed, pick some apples and make apple butter for guest to take home.


One thing you do not want to cut from your budget are wedding vendors. You may think you’re saving money by doing everything yourself; however, in reality, all you’re doing is taking on an unrealistic burden which will prevent you from enjoying your big day. Don’t skimp on critical vendors like a wedding planner (you can’t do it all by yourself, honey), caterer (Aunt Tilley can’t cook for all your guests) or DJ (your Spotify playlist ain’t gonna cut it, girl). Think about it: A real DJ is an emcee; they navigate the night, let your guests know what’s going on, gauge the crowd and keep the party going without ever missing a beat. When you’re getting married, you don’t have time to be the consummate host(ess). Professional vendors will communicate with and serve your guests, so you can actually enjoy your own wedding. Getting married? Mazel tov! Here are the morals to the story: 1) Stick to your budget; 2) Hire the right vendors, and; 3) Embrace autumn. For generations, June was bustin’ out all over. Now, when it comes to weddings, it’s just busted. | 77


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On Tuesday, March 20th the world observed the vernal equinox, more commonly known in the Northern Hemisphere as the first day of spring (or autumn in the Southern hemisphere). On this day, the sun rose precisely in the east, centered itself on the Earth’s equator and set precisely in the west, resulting in a day of equal lengths of light and dark. Today, this biannual celestial event (it’s sister event, the autumnal equinox, will occur on Saturday, September 22) is marked without much fanfare. However, for many ancient cultures across the Americas, equinoxes were a time for celebration, sacrifice and migration. Some cultures keep their traditions relating to the solar calendar alive by performing ceremonies timed to the equinox.

ANCIENT ASTRONOMERS In the Peruvian desert north of Lima, at a site called Chankillo, sits an enormous astronomical observatory that dates back to 500 B.C. This observatory contains 13 towers constructed in a north-south line resembling a spine. Throughout the year, the sun rises and sets to the left of the first tower at the summer solstice, in the center at the equinox and to the right of the last tower at the winter solstice. Although we don’t know who built this observatory, it’s likely that they worshiped the sun as many ancient cultures in the Americas did. Archaeologist Iván Ghezzi of the Catholic University of Peru notes, “Chankillo is much more than merely an astronomical observatory. It’s a site that was a large ceremonial center.” Chankillo is one of many ancient structures built to align with the equinox, such as the Stonehenge-like circle of wooden poles (nicknamed “Woodhenge”) at a prehistoric site called Cahokia in Southern Illinois, and the earthen lodges oriented towards astronomical features built by the Skidi Pawnee.

LIGHT, SHADOW & BLOOD In addition to marking astrological alignments, another method of tracing the sun’s path through the heavens involves using sunlight to inscribe illuminated shapes or cast shadows. For example, at Chichén Itzá the Maya crafted a sculpture that transforms into a blazing serpent at the equinox, which represents their deity Kukulcan. In 1977, rock artist Anna Sofaer was exploring the petroglyphs of the American southwest at a site in Chaco Canyon, where an ancient civilization thrived for millennia in what is now New Mexico. At the top of Fajada Butte, Sofaer found what’s known as the Sun Dagger, a calendrical marking created from two spirals etched into the rock. During the summer solstice and equinoxes, the spirals are sliced by a dagger of light as the sun shines through slabs of rock. Before the rock slabs shifted, at the winter solstice, two daggers used to appear on either side of the spiral. Interred bird bones found at the site suggests that the Chaco Canyon inhabitants marked the equinox by sacrificing scarlet macaws. This practice was apparently quite common among the Puebloans of the Southwest and Northern Mexico. “In many of areas of the ancient New World, scarlet macaws were symbolically associated with the sun and with fire, probably because of their red and yellow feathers,” says anthropologist Andrew Somerville of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, who has worked extensively at a site called Paquime in northern Mexico. “By sacrificing a symbol of the sun on this solar holiday, one was perhaps ritually ending the dry season and hastening the arrival of the spring and summer rains.”


EQUINOCTIAL HOLIDAY TRADITIONS LIVE ON Some Native American equinox traditions are still alive. For the Lakota of the U.S. Midwest, the vernal equinox not only kicks off a seasonal migration in the Black Hills of South Dakota, but also a series of ceremonies meant to welcome life on Earth and send the souls of the deceased to briefly rest in the core of the Milky Way. Victor Douville teaches ethnoastronomy at Sinte Gleska University on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. Millennia ago, Douville says, the Lakota noticed that every spring, the sun rises in the constellation known as the Dried Willow. “Those stars look like nubs on the branch, and the branch represents the red willow,” Douville says. The inner bark of that red willow is the main ingredient used to make tobacco for the equinoctial Sacred Pipe ceremony, which is meant to rekindle the sacred fire of life on Earth. The ceremony is the first in a series of four that culminates with the Sun Dance on the summer solstice. The Lakota, who followed great herds of buffalo across the Midwest, timed their movements to the motions of the sun and stars. The ancient traditions that accompanied their migrations are still alive on the Rosebud reservation today. “We still have the elders that know about this,” Douville says. “And when they die out, we still have the language.” The next time the vernal equinox crosses our calendars, don’t just make a resolution to do some spring cleaning; rather, consider the importance that this solar holiday had to ancient civilizations across the Americas and how some cultures continue to honor the celestial alignment today.

Special thanks to Nadia Drake at The National Geographic for helping make this story possible. | 79

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On December 18, 2017 Prince Harry announced that he will marry Meghan Markle on May 19, 2018. Without question, their wedding will be truly spectacular—I mean, what royal wedding isn’t? Somehow, the pair will pull it all off in just five months, which seems pretty rushed. Unlike many American engagements, most royal engagements are relatively short. Prince William and Kate Middleton were only engaged for five and a half months. Prince Charles and Princess Dianna were engaged for just six months, yet their wedding is considered by many to have been the wedding of the century. This begs the question: How on earth do the royals pull off such majestic weddings with such a short engagement period? According to Megan Velez of Destination Weddings Travel Group, “Efficiency is key when planning a shortterm wedding. Focus on the big things like the venue, photography, attire and food. There may not be enough time to plan and work out some of the smaller details, so make a list of the most important things to you and your partner and tackle those first.” So, get out your checklist—yes, you will definitely need a checklist—and let’s get started!


CAPTURE THE MOMENT WITH CARE. For most couples, a photographer and a videographer are the most important components of their wedding. Every property has their own rules and regulations, so be sure to book one who’s worked at your venue before. Since you may not have time for an engagement shoot prior to the wedding, talk to the photographer about doing an anniversary shoot instead.

CATERING… KEEP IT SIMPLE. Stick to seasonal and local options for food and beverages. Don’t try to reinvent what the caterer does, either. Let them help guide you through their menus. Don’t offer more than one entrée that requires guests to RSVP for menu selection. Make it simple by selecting one entrée plus a vegetarian option or, if needed, a buffet. Consider a duet plate—a dinner plate that pairs proteins, such as beef and fish.

AVOID WEDDING CAKE CONFUSION. Although a wedding cake is an essential part of any wedding, since they’re usually made a few days before the reception, don’t stress about it. Just make sure you know exactly what you want when you finally talk to your baker.

FIND A SEASONED PLANNER. Do NOT rely on help from your friends (despite their good intentions). Professional planners already have the relationships, so you won’t have to rush to call and negotiate with vendors, do research and order floral arrangements.

OPT FOR SEASONAL FLOWERS. Seasonal flowers are less expensive and will take a lot less time to put together into bouquets and centerpieces.

HAVE LINENS HELP SET THE MOOD. EMBRACE TECHNOLOGY. Using technology is a great way to maximize efficiency. Instead of traditional save-the-dates and invitations that you mail, create beautiful e-versions where guests can receive and RSVP immediately. Make sure you have a final guest count early on, so you can lock down your venue. Also, a short engagement means your guests will have to plan any necessary travel pretty quickly, too. Help them out by creating a wedding website and let everyone know that it’s available. Be sure to include room block information, travel tips and the key dates and times so they can plan accordingly. While you’re at it, download a few wedding planning apps to help you stay organized.

CHOOSE YOUR DATE WISELY. When trying to choose a date, consider something unconventional, like a Sunday brunch or a weekday. That will open up a lot more options in terms of vendor availability and you may even find they are willing to give you and discount for scheduling on an off day. Securing your dream venue will also be a lot easier if your reception is not on a Saturday.

Linens are the simplest way to change the look and feel of an event. Do you want something rich, regal and elegant? Go for something velvet. Prefer something more breezy and airy? Drape runners in a light fabric down your table. Since linens are pretty universal in sizing, you can order them fairly quickly. But don’t put off your linen decision because they can change the entire color scheme of your venue.

AVOID PINTEREST—SERIOUSLY. Pinterest is full of beautiful photos that can inspire your wedding, right? Wrong. The abundance of choice on this popular social media platform will lead to confusion and indecision. Go with what you like and listen to the advice of your professional vendors. That’s it! By staying on task and working efficiently, you can have a regal wedding in no time flat! | 81


A new report out of the United Kingdom called Religious Marriage of Same-Sex Couples has found churches that embrace marriage equality have seen an increase in their attendance. In fact, churches receiving a license to carry out same-sex weddings can have “a positive ‘brand’ for a place of worship.” Academics from Leeds and York universities posit that having an LGBT positive image benefits the institution. Currently, just 182 of more than 40,000 churches in the UK hold same-sex marriages. One Unitarian church reported, “the commitment to same-sex marriage ‘gives us something distinctive to promote’.” Similarly, one Baptist church stated, “As a city centre church, this has positioned us more clearly in the ‘market’ – meaning those who want such a church know clearly who we are and will travel to come to us (very few live nearby).” The new research paper concludes, “Being known for solemnizing same-sex marriage may, therefore, be a positive ‘brand’ for a place of worship and not, as some members of some congregations experience it, a negative attribute.” 44% of the UK’s roughly 170 Unitarian churches welcome LGBT people and celebrate same-sex marriage, the highest percentage of any denomination. These churches have found projecting a more liberal set of attitudes has seen worshipers feel more welcome and, thus, more likely to attend church services. According to the paper, several churches that opted to conduct same-sex weddings have attracted new LGBT visitors or congregation members (this reminds me of what

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” -John 4:7-8

Whoopi Goldberg did in Sister Act). One Unitarian church reported, “there has been an increase in attendance at services by gay and trans people;” another believed their decision to embrace marriage equality “may have encouraged some LGBT people to join the congregation.” Derek McAuley, chief officer of the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches, told The Telegraph, “We have seen people join and become active in several local congregations as a direct result of our welcoming stance on same sex marriage.” It’s worth noting that although our friends across the pond enjoy marriage equality at the secular level (with the exception of Northern Ireland), marriage between people of the samesex is banned by law in the Church of England. The Archbishop of Canterbury, the head of the global Anglican Church,


has said that the church is divided on LGBT issues and even admitted that it is “not handling this issue very well.” The global Anglican Communion has been torn apart by a rift between largely pro-LGBT Western churches and hardline anti-gay Anglican churches in Africa and the Global South. Some churches in the U.S, Canada and Scotland have sparked anger from hardline African archbishops by modernizing on LGBT rights, embracing gay bishops and performing samesex unions. In an attempt to keep the Anglican Communion from splintering, the Archbishop of Canterbury has punished the more liberal Western churches for making “a fundamental departure from [Anglican] faith and teaching” on gay people. However, in an interview with Alastair Campbell for GQ, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby admitted that the rift on LGBT issues within the church was “irreconcilable.” When asked what the church should do about the rift, the Archbishop replied, “We have to be holy, above all [else]. We have to be people who look like God wants us to look like. When people look at the church they should see Jesus, and really, they don’t very often… particularly when we are totally hostile to people, judgmental, unpleasant [and] nasty.” Perhaps, one day, the Anglican Church will embrace the LGBTQ community and welcome marriage equality. In so doing, the church would, arguably, not only love; but, It would also see its flock grow.

Special thanks to Benjamin Butterworth of PinkNews who helped make this story possible. | 83

Smith Mountain Lake, VA Come for a visit... Stay for a lifetime! Mariners Landing is Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia’s premier destination for a romantic weekend, family vacation or dream wedding. We offer championship golf, indoor heated and outdoor pools, tennis, fitness trail, local wineries, historical attractions, Virginia’s second largest Lake and so much more. Call us today to learn more about how welcoming Mariners Landing is to ALL families and friends.

(540) 537-3999

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Does Your Partner’s Outside Match Their Inside? BY, MICHELE ZEHR If you’re about to get married or you believe you have found “the one,” then read to the end, because it just might save you a lot of heartbreak. If 2017 has taught me anything about relationships, it has taught me to constantly ask this question about the person I’m dating: “Does their outside match their inside?” Another way of stating this is: “Do their actions align with their words?” The psychological term for this is congruency, and the word thrown around in spiritual circles is authenticity. I’m here to tell you, if you can’t answer “yes” to that question the vast majority of the time, then you’re looking at inevitable disappointment.

Congruency or authenticity means that the person “shows up” consistently, acts in alignment with their stated values and beliefs, and their outward behaviors match the inner truth of who they say they are as a person. It means you’re seeing the “real” them. It is the birthplace of integrity and trustworthiness, and if those don’t exist in a relationship then you don’t have a healthy relationship. What you have instead is a relationship with a person who is wearing a mask and living a false story about who they think they should be instead of who they really are, and as we all know, actions speak louder than words. You’ll find yourself confused and asking, “Why did she just do that? I thought she said I could trust her.” You know that jagged feeling you get when your partner acts like it is no big deal when they’ve told you they will clean the house, but when you get home you discover they sat around playing video games all day? Do not ignore that feeling just because it’s easier to “ignore the little things.” It is your intuitive wisdom screaming at you to take pause; something is off, and it’s oftentimes “the little things.” The problem is that we live in a culture that teaches us to be anything but congruent. We are taught to conform, people please, and act in ways that gain the approval of others even if it means betraying our truest selves. This creates an environment where many people wear masks while living conflicted lives, where vulnerability is a dirty word, and fear— particularly of what others will think—is the primary motivator behind one’s actions. It’s a painful way to live, and so many people are acting in ways they think others want

them to instead of just being themselves, which takes a lot less effort. As a woman who lives in congruency, I have discovered that practicing vulnerability with people who can honor it is a beautiful experience. I don’t fear what others think of me and there’s a stillness and peace I feel each time I act in alignment, even if I know others might disapprove. In fact, I can’t not live in congruency at this point, and the moment I do, my body gives me an uncomfortable warning signal that says, “Hey! You’re not living with integrity!” If you identify as anything but heterosexual, then you have grappled with this issue of congruency versus cultural norms. You know that it takes tremendous courage to be who you really are, even if it means others don’t approve. It means you have walked the path of vulnerability and facing your fears of being rejected. Congratulations, you are a warrior as you did what so many people never find the courage to do—Honor Thyself. What if you can say your partner is congruent some of the time? How do you know if it’s healthy enough? We humans are made of shadow and light, and sometimes we are going to be “in shadow” where our best selves are smothered by our wounded selves, which causes us to act out in hurtful ways. Believe it or not this is normal, and I 100% guarantee that both you and your partner will hurt one another while in shadow, so just count on it (never tolerate abuse though). What you need to ask yourself is do you see an established pattern of incongruency and how does your partner respond when you share you’ve been hurt by their incongruent actions?

If they have told you they have integrity and they will “own their stuff,” then you can fully expect that they will take responsibility by apologizing, take ownership of their hurtful actions, and do their best not to repeat those behaviors again. You shouldn’t have to ask them to do this either. If they are living in congruency, they will want to do this. If, however, they act in a hurtful manner and they consistently try to blame you—which is called projection—or they deny, avoid, deflect, disappear, or try to justify their hurtful actions, then these are red flags. They are not living from an authentic place within themselves. They may or may not be aware of this, as many people have been so deeply conditioned by society that the mask feels real while real feels terrifying. It doesn’t make them bad people; they are simply unaware and disconnected from their Truth. It’s not your job to change or fix them, as that creates an unhealthy co-dependent dynamic. They must take responsibility when they are ready, and the brutal truth is that they may never be ready. As hard as it is to hear this, at some point, you have to ask yourself if you want to partner with someone who doesn’t show up authentically, because how can you trust someone whose words and actions don’t match? You can’t—period. It’s like living with the boy who cried wolf and you will feel betrayed over and over again. The best any of us can do is focus on living our own lives in congruency and trusting that life will bring a congruent partner into our lives when it’s time. In the meantime, you’ll continue living with integrity, and that’s no small thing in today’s world. | 87


Begin the journey to your career in law enforcement with the Henrico County Police Division at Henrico County is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

weddings | bridal bouquets | receptions | banquets | special events

1600 BROOK ROAD SUITE B RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23220 804.515.1777 88 | Q Virginia


anniversary gifts Do you have an anniversary coming up? Time to start thinking about anniversary gifts. We’ve put together a list of anniversary gifts that will last you a lifetime. Whether you’re in the market for a traditional gift, something more modern, flowers, jewelry or something totally different, We’ve got “Q” covered. Oh, and where you see blanks in the chart, that means there is no “official” gift in that category for that anniversary year. After your wedding bells have rung, be sure to refer to this definitive anniversary gift chart every year. Doing so will make your true love’s heart fill with delight… and keep you out of the doghouse. Mazel tov!

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GET MARRIED IN ARLINGTON: YOUR GUESTS WILL LOVE YOU FOR IT! When you marry the one you love, naturally you bring together those who created you, loved you and welcomed you in the first place. If you're ready to take your relationship to the next level, we're ready to help you tie the knot without tying yourself in knots about what to do with all those extended family members and dear friends. There are loads of fun things to do and see in Arlington, a place named one of 41 American "All-Star Cities" for high standards of inclusiveness and LGBTQ protections by the Human Rights Campaign.


Many attractions are walkable from Arlington's 45 hotels, and a sight opening this spring offers a whole different perspective on the capital area: The Observation Deck at Central Place in Arlington's Rosslyn neighborhood, set to open in May 2018, is 31 stories high. Its outdoor cantilevered terrace will give visitors spectacular views of the Washington, D.C. skyline. The 15,000 square foot space will also be used as an exhibit space and feature a full restaurant and bar.


A wonderful part of visiting the capital area is that so much of it is free, from museums to monuments. Check the calendar for free concerts, shows at Arlington's Tony Award®-winning Signature Theatre, movement-based performances at Synetic Theater and activities galore.



After getting a birds-eye view, your guests will enjoy sightseeing at Arlington's national treasures like the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial and the Marine Corps War Memorial (Iwo Jima). They can visit grave sites of President John F. Kennedy, Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and world champion boxer Joe Louis at Arlington National Cemetery. And they can take in another monumental view of the capital from the 402-foot stainless steel spires soaring from the promontory at the U.S. Air Force Memorial.


For example, reach new pinnacles together with a group visit to Earth Treks Crystal City Climbing Center where 400 roped routes and boulders are begging to be climbed. And here's a cool experience: Skate on the same ice as the professional Capitals NHL hockey team at Kettler Capitals Iceplex.



Or, let Arlington's entertainment come to you! Vendors can come right to your location for unique experiences: Want to unleash your guests' inner artist? ArtJamz can provide everything you need for an arty group activity. They bring paints, art materials, easel, smocks, canvas and artistic guidance to create an upbeat social art studio setting. How's that for a family portrait? For another sweet experience, Kingsbury Chocolates & Confections will come to you with instruction in truffle-making and plenty of chocolate tasting. Demystify how to make ganache and temper chocolate. Taste a variety of chocolates and confections while learning about the history of cocoa. You can also try "wine and chocolate pairing" while you're pairing up for life.





When you're setting the date, keep in mind Arlington's annual events could offer your guests some extra fun and give you a built-in anniversary celebration year after year. From Taste of Arlington to the Columbia Pike Blues Festival, the Armed Forces Cycling Classic to the Rosslyn Jazz Festival, you can plan your wedding to coincide with a great local event. Your guests will love seeing you happy, and in Arlington, you can help make them happy too.

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Q Virginia | Spring 2018  

Wedding Book

Q Virginia | Spring 2018  

Wedding Book