5 Tips for Planning Your Gay Wedding from Across the Country

Gay weddings are a destination business.  Many couples plan their wedding in a place where it's legal from clear across the country.  We've had clients from about 30 U.S. states.  It's definitely a challenge finding the right team of people to work with when you live somewhere else, especially if you are concerned about minimizing the number of planning trips you have to take to your wedding destination.  

So, whether you are planning a New York gay wedding, a Boston or Provincetown gay wedding, or going to Vermont or somewhere else, there are a few tips that are notable:

1.  Make those trips count.  You should be exhausted by the end!  You should book yourselves solid during those few days you are planning.  Maybe you've scheduled 10 venue site visits.  If you haven't, then you should on your first trip.  And don't stop there.  Meet as many photographers, bakers, etc during each visit as you can.  You should return home with a bunch of things crossed off your list of things to do.

2.  Prioritize.  What types of vendors are you most comfortable hiring over the phone or by email?  Some of my clients are cool dealing with floral and music by phone and email.  Some need to meet every single person they hire.  For example, tasting cake and have a catering tasting during your visits are important.  Make your appointments wisely.  

3.  Skype!  Skype is your friend.  Most of us in the wedding industry are used to Skyping with our clients, so if you can't meet personally with every vendor, then Skype is the next best thing so you can get some face time.

4. Hire a wedding planner (preferably one experienced with gay weddings)!  Of course, this makes everything easier so that your trips are well organized and your time is well spent.

5. Consolidate your appointments.  During your last trip before the wedding, get everybody in the same room at the same time so that you can all be on the same page and talk through the wedding schedule, flow and design together.  Some vendors (like the photographer and baker) don't need to be there, but if you can get the caterer, florist, wedding planner and venue manager there, that's an excellent use of your time.

Are you planing a long distance destination wedding?

(photo of one of our weddings planned long distance, by Kat Hempel)

Top Three Places to Register for Same-Sex Wedding Gifts


So, you're getting married.  But maybe you've already been together for 20 years and have a kitchen full of Crate and Barrel stuff.  Or maybe you think asking for wedding gifts is gauche.  Or maybe you don't want to fill out (yet, another) form that says "Bride" and "Groom".  I heard from a groom recently who complained that when they registered for gifts at a major retailer, one of them had to be the "bride" on the form, and he's since been bombarded with promotions for brides-only!

Here are the 14 Stories picks for best places to register for your wedding, if you want to do the non-traditional route:

1.  Newlywish.  Ok, so you want gifts.  But you prefer more unique items and prefer to support local businesses - or at least don't want to worry about a form that says Bride and Groom.  Check out Newlywish, where you can register across many awesome retailers, and where your guests can have an easy, seamless shopping experience for you.  You can even register for experiences like museum memberships and sporting events.  You can't buy that at Macy's.

2.  Honeyfund.  You have the kitchen-full of copper cookware already but know your guests will insist on buying you something.  How about contributing towards your honeymoon?  Our clients set up honeymoon registries all the time and Honeyfund is my favorite site for it.  They don't make you book your honeymoon travel plans through the site but your guests contribute towards experiences you expect you'll have on your honeymoon - like a romantic dinner for two or a couples massage.  Customize your Honeyfund page any way you wish.  Your guests buy you honeymoon experiences and you get a check from Honeyfund.  Can't beat that.

3.  HRC. Whether it's the HRC or  Freedom to Marry or MENY or another charity, many couples choose to set up a charitable wedding registry instead of a gift registry.  HRC and MENY make it easy with their own registry page that your guests can visit to see your profile and make a donation.  Help other same-sex couples get equal marriage rights by supporting the work of these fabulous nonprofits!

Did you choose to register for gifts?  If so, where?

Gay Wedding Survey

For the past year or so, we've been collecting data about gay weddings by surveying hundreds of engaged and newlywed same-sex couples from around the U.S.  Our survey is closing on Friday!  Please help us wrap up by answering these 12 questions - it'll only take a couple of minutes, is completely confidential - and then you can enter to win a $100 iTunes gift card!

The survey link is here - please complete and share!

Photo by Michael Manning

Destination New York: Elopement Package for Same-Sex Couples

For the past three years, 14 Stories has offered elopement packages for couples looking to marry in Massachusetts.  It's only natural that we now introduce our elopement package for couples looking to marry in New York City.  Introducing Destiny New York, our luxury elopement experience for couples from other states who want to legally marry in New York.

Destiny New York provides all couples need for a beautiful, elegant wedding ceremony including:

  • In person assistance applying for your marriage license
  • A luxury wedding concierge to coordinate your wedding experience 
  • A town car to drive the engaged couple around Manhattan during your wedding experience 
  • Officiant to officiate your wedding ceremony
  •  Personal flowers - two boutonnieres or two bouquets, or one of each 
  • Petite wedding cake that serves up to 20 
  • Up to two hours of professional, photojournalistic-style photography coverage (ceremony and portraits), plus one disc of high resolution images 
  • Dinner reservations at a nearby fine dining restaurant of your choice the evening of your wedding, or dinner arranged inside the club's private dining room (excluding food and beverage expenses) 
  • 5 hours of professional wedding planning
  • Access to our members-only rate at a private club where your ceremony can be held
  • Unlimited referrals to other arrangements not limited to but including: spa reservations; videography; hotels and more

The Destiny New York package is now available for booking for dates anytime after gay marriages begin on June 25!

Wedding Invitation Wording for Gay Couples

When you are deciding how to word your wedding invitations, most couples start with who is hosting the wedding.  And by hosting, I mean actively supporting and/or paying for the wedding. The hosts could be a combination of parents, families, brides or grooms, their kids, etc.  And that's how invitations start.

For example:

Parents Inviting:
Jeffrey and Theresa Person
Joseph and Eileen Thompson
request the pleasure of your company
at the marriage uniting their children
Joanne Person and Jamie Thompson

Couple Inviting:
Joanne Person and Jamie Thompson
request the pleasure of your company...

Couple and Parents/Family:
Together with our parents (you can substitute families)
Joanne Person and Jamie Thompson
request the pleasure of your company...


Joanne Person and Jamie Thompson
together with our parents (you can substitute families)
request the pleasure of your company...

Couple and their Children:
Joanne Person and Jamie Thompson
together with Louis and Julia
request the pleasure of your company...

If the names of the two brides or two grooms are on two separate lines, then who goes first?  Alphabetical of course!

Here are some examples of the "request" line that I like:
  • joyfully invite you to share in their celebration of marriage
  • please share in our gaiety as we wed (those were very silly brides!)
  • joyfully request the honor of your presence
  • invite you to rejoice in our love
  • invite you to join in the celebration
And don't forget your invitation suite should also include a response card or postcard and also a logistics card with directions and your wedding website URL.

Introducing the First App Specifically for Gay Wedding Planning

One of my favorite things to do is to look at the wedding industry and figure out what's missing, and then fill in some of the blanks.  That's how 14 Stories started, and that's the reason we just created the country's first app specifically to help same-sex couples with their wedding plans.  Check out the screen shot!

You can get this app at the iTunes store and also the Android market but it looks and works better on Apple (for now).  The Droid version still has a few kinks.  I hope you enjoy this app.  It's a free download and hopefully will help you with your wedding plans!  

 The vendor directory on the App comes from my friends at SoYoureEnGAYged.com who have worked so hard to build the largest database of fully-screened and gender neutral wedding vendors in the world.  You can trust the vendors on their list to completely have your back!  And that makes me very proud to partner with them.


Gay Wedding Confidential at Barnes and Noble

As you may know, my book Gay Wedding Confidential is now available at select Barnes & Noble stores.  They haven't told us which ones but we do know that a bunch of stores in the U.S. will be carrying the book.  We want to sell as many of these as possible and the more we sell, the more Barnes & Noble will order and carry! 

So if you're planning your gay wedding, looking for a planning guide and want our book (which, by the way, is the most fresh and contemporary book about gay weddings available for sale), then please rush out to your local Barnes & Noble and look for it, or have them order it!

Vermont Gay Weddings

Jen and I just returned from a beautiful wintery weekend in Vermont.  I led a workshop for wedding vendors on the nuances of working with same-sex couples and on gay wedding traditions.  We stayed at the adorable Green Mountain Inn in Stowe which, by the way, is a great place for small weddings.

Back in 1999, Vermont was the first state in the U.S. to have some form of statewide domestic partnership protection, when they enacted civil unions - so Vermont is very much a pioneering state in the marriage equality movement.  In 2009, they legalized same-sex marriage.  Vermont vendors are, by and large, experienced with gay weddings and I'm sure you'll have a great experience with most people that you call there.  We love to work in Vermont!

There are some amazing wedding venues in Vermont, if mountains, barns and beautiful rolling hills are your thing.  What's not to love?  If Vermont is your gay wedding destination, it's the perfect place for a leisurely weekend with all of your closest loved ones. We can create a whole weekend celebration designed around your same-sex wedding in Vermont.  Check out some of these beautiful images from Vermont.

Images 3 and 4 courtesy of Closed Circle Photo - the others are unknown.

The Newlywed Game is Casting - and Seeking Same-Sex Couples!

GSN’s HIT SHOW “THE NEWLYWED GAME,” is looking for new contestants, including same-sex newlyweds!

You and your spouse could have the chance to possibly win prizes including a second honeymoon!

If interested, please e-mail CastingNewlyweds@gmail.com with the following information:
  • Full Name of both spouses (must be married less than 2 years)
  • Phone number 
  • E-mail Address 
  • Wedding Date 
  • City/State 
  • Recent photo of you and your spouse 
Once they get your email they'll send you a detailed application.

Dinner Party Style Gay Weddings

A lot of the same-sex weddings we plan are dinner party style - that is, little to no dancing, with a real focus on the food, beverage, conversation and elegant ambiance.  These weddings are so intimate, and while there's always an extraordinary, formal meal, the atmosphere remains so casual and upbeat because the group is small, mostly knows each other and there's no pressure at all.  Everyone can just be themselves and have a good time.  Doesn't that sound great?

With these weddings, the ceremony is typically short and sweet, with  most guests standing around.  The ceremony is important, the most important part, but a formal ceremony doesn't always lend itself to the atmosphere these couples are trying to create.

We created a beautiful wedding just like this on the Cape last September.  The photos will be published in a magazine so we can't give too much away but here's a little teaser...

Photo by Jag Studios