So that brings me to a question: what are some pros and cons of having a wedding on a holiday or holiday weekend?
- You have two evenings (typically the Saturday and the Sunday) for a great party.
- More time to recover before work, typically on Tuesday.
- More time to spend with your guests over an entire weekend/more events where everyone can be together.
- Often more expensive for your guests to travel, if applicable.
- Hotel rooms may be more expensive.
- Some vendors may charge more than usual (though typically only for winter holidays).
In every wedding blog or magazine, the images you'll see are mostly the details - the stationery, the cake, the favors, the shoes, the socks, the dress. And the details are important and certainly memorable. I always encourage a cohesive design vision. I'll tell you that some of the guests don't even notice. But what they do notice is...
- the first thing they see, hear or are encouraged to do the moment they enter the venue
- whether your wedding starts on time
- the length and tempo of the ceremony
- the food at cocktail hour
- how long they have to stand around before they can have a seat
- how easy or difficult it is to be seated
- traffic/congestion/crowds at the bar, food stations, buffet, receiving line, etc
- the customer service by every single staff member
- the music
- how long it takes to receive their meals
- how long the toasts are
- whether or not they know/like the other guests at their dinner table
- how soon they get to dance
- how the night ends
More pics will come when the professional photographer sends them along...
Congratulations Paula and Gail!
Remember - these are an area where you can personalize the guest experience. Don't feel limited by the venue's wine list. Don't be afraid to ask for something off-list and find out what the fee is to bring something special in.
If you are lucky enough to bring your own bar to the wedding, the sky is the limit! Consider a wine, beer or signature cocktail that goes along with your wedding theme. Our July 3 wedding included a Liberty School Cabernet, for example.
I encourage my clients to try wines and experiment with signature cocktails at home. It's fun and good engaged-couple-bonding. We had a small signature cocktail tasting party during our wedding planning and it was a blast.
What signature cocktail will you be serving at your gay wedding?
Without further ado, we are very pleased to announce the winners: April and India from Nashville, Tennessee. We loved April and India's stargazing story - from the beginnings in Chicago to their current life now in Nashville.
Says April: "'Conundrum', that would be the word of the day, every day that can describe the story of our lives together. There is not a day that has passed that we have not learned something new about one another. I have two children, ages 8 and 4, girl and boy. India has a 17 year old son. We have slowly merged our families together and now are inseparable. The kids fight just as any brother and sister would fight, India and I discipline them, nurture them, teach them and create family time frequently for our family of five just as our parents did with us.
We come from totally different backgrounds, environments and parenting which brings us diversity and creativity inside of our home. I am 9 years younger than India, I bring energy, motivation and a new generation of thinking that makes her call me crazy often. We have fun together, we cry together, we hope, dream, pray and inspire together. We see our future as clear as day and strive daily to overcome hurdles and obstacles which have came and went...Our future is bright, twinkling just as the stars will be that we observe in the sky. We are still a unit, still in love, still stargazing."
After all, as much fun as the party is, really it is just a party - and the day is truly about your marriage.
So, how do you make your same-sex wedding ceremony personal and uniquely you? I'll start by telling some fun client stories:
- One of my first gay wedding clients ever had a pagan wedding. The brides processed together, holding hands, into a recorded version of "All You Need is Love". The guest chairs were set up in a circle and they greeted their guests during their processional. There were four altars at which there were blessings. There was a traditional handfasting ritual and the wedding concluded with a jumping of the broom! The brides had exactly the ceremony they envisioned and it was perfectly reflective of themselves.
- Another pair of brides had a ceremony co-officiated by an interfaith minister and a District Court Judge/noted civil rights attorney. Their deeply personal, handwritten vows included phrases like, "I promise to walk with you at sunset every chance I get" and "I promise to take you to Italy at least once a year." They processed out to a live flute and guitar version of "You Are the Sunshine of My Life" by Stevie Wonder. Goosebumps!
- Two grooms with a son had a dear friend officiate their wedding ceremony. She came into Boston from California quite prepared but try as I might, I couldn't get the grooms to focus on writing their own vows (they had a lot going on in their lives!). Even at the wedding rehearsal, they still had nothing scripted - nothing like the last minute! The next day, the ceremony was flawless: the grooms processed into a live "Trumpet Voluntary", holding their son's hand. Their friend delivered a stunning ceremony script and the grooms presented before the other the most personal and heartfelt vows I'd ever heard. There was not a dry eye in the room - and it was so clear why these two gentlemen were absolutely perfect for one another.
- A few years ago, two grooms held their gay wedding ceremony in their gorgeous living room with thirty friends and family members (who had been drinking champagne and having nibbles for 45 minutes). The 25 minute same-sex wedding ceremony was scripted and delivered by a Celebrant who beautifully told the story of their relationship after asking them to complete individual questionnaires and spending quality time learning about their lives together. One of the readings was from the book Giovanni's Room, one of the groom's favorite novels...
- ...and after that wedding ceremony, my (now) wife Jen was convinced that ours should be deeply personal and memorable as well. We hired that Celebrant (Cindy Matchett) to officiate our own wedding.
- Choose a venue that has a room where a babysitter can set up. If you can’t set aside a children’s room, set up a table for children’s activities. This table can include crayons and coloring books, toys and puzzles. Put the babysitter (or someone else) in charge of this area.
- Communicate with your caterer about the number of children who will be attending, their approximate ages, and any needs you may have for high chairs, booster seats, cups with plastic lids and children’s food (pizza, chicken fingers, grilled cheese, sliced fruit and French fries are always popular).
- Hire children’s entertainers to distract the children so the adults can play. I work with an outstanding entertainer who has a Jedi Knight Training show and a Hogwarts Academy show that is appropriate for kids under the age of ten. The shows are perfect for weddings.
- Coordinate with your band or DJ to play kid-friendly songs (for example, you may want to pass on “Baby Got Back” in favor of “The Hokey Pokey”). I asked one band to play the theme song to the show The Fairly OddParents during the reception. The kids loved it.
Are you inviting kids to your wedding?
- Are ex-boyfriends and ex-girlfriends invited? I know the lesbians tend to love to keep in touch with their exes!
- Do you invite friends you haven’t talked to in three or more years if the friendship has grown apart?
- Do you have to invite everyone whose wedding you attended, even if it was many years ago and the friendship hasn’t survived?
- Do your work colleagues get invited?
- What about friends from high school and college that you‘ve reconnected with via Facebook or another social networking site?
- Do you invite children? Do you let babies come?
- Do you ask your single friends to bring a guest? (a plus-one in Sex and the City speak). What if they are in a serious relationship but not living together? What if they are in a serious relationship and living together? What if they seem to have no hope of being in a serious relationship any time soon?
- Are friends and neighbors of your parents invited? Your parents may want to honor some of their dearest friends with an invitation—but then again, some parents don’t want to draw attention to their child’s gay wedding.
- Are your parents’ work colleagues invited?
So, who are you inviting to your gay wedding?
The dream I had the night before last was that we were all just casually hanging out at my sister’s place (who miraculously lived in Boston) and she told me it was 7:15 and I freaked out. I was in shorts and a t-shirt and we were due to get married at 7:30 p.m. and was nowhere near the venue or even close to being ready. Duff was the calming influence and just told me that the wedding would run late, but I was worried about cutting into everyone’s party time. It was an awful, awful feeling.
Most of my dreams have been like that one. Me realizing that I am not where I’m supposed to be or forgetting a huge part of something that was needed to be done for the wedding. In one dream, I had forgotten to pay for the venue and we got there and the venue was closed and locked…
What are some of your wedding nightmares?
- Marc and Joey at the Mondrian Hotel
- Michael and Greg's Wedding at 632 on Hudson
- How to Get Married in...
- Your Parents and Your Same-Sex Wedding
- Delaware Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage
- Scouting the Field - Great Venues in NYC for a Gay Wedding
- Civil Unions are Legal in Colorado
- Family Equality Night at the Pier Fundraiser
- Rhode Island Legalizes Gay Marriage
- How to Plan a Gay Wedding
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