Archive for the ‘LGBT’ Category

Recent Bride Laura Leigh Abby Gives Tips For Planning Your Same-Sex Wedding

Friday, June 30th, 2017

Same-Sex-Couple

Photo: Heather Rice Photography

On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that gay marriage is a right protected by the U.S. Constitution in all 50 states. Prior to their decision, same-sex marriage was already legal in 37 states and the nation’s capitol, but was banned in the remaining 13.

It seems as if today in the United States the rights of same-sex couples are always changing. Just as we (finally) win our right to marry, we’re faced with backlash and discrimination from both the private and public sectors. It’s no secret that planning a same-sex wedding can expose you and your spouse-to-be to the possibility of discrimination. This can be determined by where you live and what kind of wedding you’re planning.

I planned a wedding in New York State and most of my vendors were based in New York City, which meant that for many of them, this was not their first same-sex wedding. Though we raised a few eyebrows, and I had to answer many questions with, “There is no groom, the other bride’s name is Samantha,” we were met with joy and excitement that felt truly genuine. We know, still, how fortunate we are, and that many couples face just the opposite.

Lesbian-Wedding

Photo: Rob Spring Photography

Love Your Venue

Your venue is the beating heart of your wedding, with your vendors serving as veins and valves and other metaphorical body parts. Select a venue where you feel comfortable, accepted and celebrated. This is good advice for all couples. Unless you’re getting married in a private residence, you know that other couples have come before and will come after you at your chosen venue. But during the planning process, right through to the minute you drive away post-wedding, you want to feel like the beloved leaders of a fairytale kingdom.

Vet Your Vendors

I’ve read too many stories of the discriminatory baker who wouldn’t bake the “gay wedding cake,” and I’ve watched as these stories propelled unassuming same-sex couples and business owners into the public eye. I can say with certainty that every single time, the couple is humiliated. This is not a feeling we want to recall when we think back on our wedding.

My rule of thumb is ridiculously simple: Look for experience, but also trust enthusiasm. When seeking out photographers, for instance, click on their website and explore their portfolio. Nine times out of ten an LGBT-friendly photographer will have a same-sex couple featured on their site. Of course, this isn’t always the case. I often collaborate with creatives who insist they’d love to shoot a lesbian wedding, but they simply haven’t been asked yet.

Lesbian-Wedding

Photo: Heather Rice Photography

Know Your Worth

We can also spin these discriminatory-cake-baker stories and use our “otherness” to our advantage. We had one vendor willing to drop her prices significantly because she wanted us in her portfolio. I reminded my wife of this often, “Babe, we are two women. I’m wearing a custom green wedding gown, you’re wearing Vera Wang, we’re throwing this big expensive weekend in the woods. We are a prize, so let’s behave accordingly.”

State Your Case

When choosing our wedding photographer—Heather Waraksa—this was my initial email:

“My fiancée Samantha and I are planning a wedding weekend extravaganza at the beautiful Cedar Lakes Estate next September. We are trying to get on top of some of the planning. As two girls, we both have some strong opinions on this wedding, but so far we’re (surprisingly) seeing incredibly eye-to-eye. My one major concern is photography! I don’t really like the look of most wedding photos, and I’d like something a bit different, specifically someone who can snap those magic moments and make it look effortless. We think your portfolio is incredible and would love to learn more about you and let you learn more about us. Our weekend will include a lakeside BBQ, mountaintop toasts, swimming and sports, vows by the lake, a big reception in a gorgeous barn, and an after-party in the tree house. We think it’s going to be spectacular and we’re looking for the right person to help capture the celebration. If you think you may be interested, and of course, available, we would love to meet you.”

This is essentially the email we sent to every single vendor, with a few tweaks of course. We also created a wedding-only email address: “2Brides2Be.” Our excitement was infectious and we had amazing vendors on board pretty quickly. As is reflective of my personality, I wanted to give plenty of information up front. I wanted potential vendors to know what kind of couple we were and what kind of wedding this was going to be.

Lesbian-Wedding

Photo: Rob Spring Photography

Be The Change

My advice is to be up front about: you as a couple, the wedding you want, and the kind of people you want to work with to make it a reality. There are going to be awkward moments—when I told one dress consultant there would be two brides, she asked if it was a “double wedding”—but I’ve never met a single person in a same-sex couple who isn’t used to the occasional awkward moment. I have no problem with those. In fact, I like being able to help others feel comfortable with how to speak to us and become more inclusive in their business practices. If you’re sick of crossing out the word “groom” then suggest to your vendors, “Maybe you should create documents with alternate wording.”

It’s not that tough to change their forms to read:

Spouse #1 ____________

Spouse #2 ____________

Let’s not be afraid to ask.

Lesbian-Wedding

Photo: Heather Rice Photography

Excerpted from “2 Brides 2 Be” (Rare Bird Books, 2017), by Laura Leigh Abby, available on Amazon.com.

Rustic-Elegant Same-Sex Wedding by Binford Creative Photography

Thursday, February 9th, 2017

Rob and Nathan originally met through a dating app, but their love story didn’t start until one day at the Greek festival. It was a typical rainy day in Houston, but they didn’t let the wet weather ruin their fun. “We talked for hours, nibbled on some tasty food, and the rest was history,” recounts Rob. He knew in his heart this was it. “I planned an elaborate plan to surprise Nathan with a trip to San Francisco for his 30th birthday. We spent the next few days taking wine tours and soaking in the beauty of the California coast with our closest friends, who had joined us.” On the way back to the city, the couple pulled over to take a photo of the Golden Gate Bridge. “I pulled Nathan aside to express how sorry I was that I never bought him anything for his birthday, and asked him to give me more time,” says Rob. Little did he Nathan what was coming next! Rob pulled out the ring, got down on one knee and asked Nathan to marry him. The pair celebrated their wedding with their closest family and friends at a beautiful Hill Country ranch, where rough-hewn benches and white rose petals set the tone for the outdoor wedding ceremony, and accents of succulents and fresh greenery filled the reception room, illuminated by soft candlelight. Sigh. Just take a look at the stunning photos from their intimate wedding celebration by Binford Creative Photography—you’ll be swooning just like us. Congrats to the newlyweds, we wish you a lifetime of happiness!

Rustic-Wedding-Venue 2017-02-02_0002 Outdoor-Wedding-Ceremony Outdoor-Wedding-Ceremony Grooms Cocktail-Hour-Rustic-Decor Rustic-Wedding-Reception Rustic-Reception-Decor Grooms-Dancing Guests-Dancing-at-Reception Grooms-Exiting-Reception

Photos: Binford Creative Photography | Venue: Branded T Ranch

13 Style Essentials For Every Dapper Groom

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

Beyond the tux, these practical and stylish grooms’ accessories and grooming products will have you looking sleek and polished on your wedding day…and every day. Details and links below. Use ’em, honey.

 

Sleek-and-Suave-Groom

1. Texas Bifold Wallet: Paris Texas Apparel Co. 2. Bonobos Navy & Burgundy Floral Silk Necktie: Bonobos 3. Suit Supply Navy Three-Piece Tuxedo: Suit Supply 4. Mr. Burberry Eau de Toilette: Burberry 5. Suit Supply Navy Pocket Square: Suit Supply 6. Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch: Lewis Jewelers 7. Jason Markk Stain Repellent: Jason Markk 8. Barneys New York Sterling Silver Intertwined Circles Cufflinks: Barneys 9. Cuban Seed Hand-Rolled Cigars: Lucho Houston 10. Texas States Bow Tie: Paris Texas Apparel Co. 11. Texas Barware Set Rocks Glasses: Paris Texas Apparel Co. 12. Clinique for Men Post-Shave Soother: Clinique 13. Suit Supply Black Derby Shoes: Suit Supply

Rainbow Wedding Inspiration

Monday, June 27th, 2016

Mix a little sprinkle and a little sun…and you’ve got yourself a rainbow! Mix a little ingenuity, a little DIY, and lot of bright rainbow-inspired color, and you’ve got yourself a brilliant wedding palette. Talk to your wedding planner about ideas on how to include pops of rainbow color to your decor, cake, or flowers, whether fresh or paper, like the gorgeous creations in pic #2 below by Balushka Paper Floral Artistry! If you’re feelin’ this trend too, go ahead and pin some of your faves.

Rainbow-HWB copy

1. Photo by Tin Sparrow Studio 2. Balushka Paper Floral Artistry  3. Suze Shoppe: Etsy  4. Urban Outfitters Push Pop Confetti 5. Izze Sparkling Juice 6. Caity Ash Badashery: Etsy 7. Divas Can Cook Rainbow Cake

7 Items Every Dapper Groom Needs

Thursday, June 16th, 2016

The key advice every man should follow when dressing for his wedding: On this one day, there’s no such thing as too dapper, darling. So get ready to get suited up, with these men’s style essentials. And yes—a flask does qualify as an accessory : )

7 Dapper Items Every Groom Needs

1. Bonobos “Navy Bucks” Silk Necktie: Bonobos 2. Suit Supply “Hudson” Suit in Brown: Suit Supply 3. L.U. Chopard Chronometre Watch: Zadok Jewelers 4. Dot & Bo Whiskey Charm Flask: Dot & Bo 5. Suit Supply Brown Pocket Square: Suit Supply 6. The Tie Bar “Flamingo” Navy Bow Tie: Tie Bar 7. Fossil iPhone 6 Plus Case: Fossil