More pics will come when the professional photographer sends them along...
Congratulations Paula and Gail!
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."
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?
For small gay weddings, a bed and breakfast or an inn can be a great place for a wedding. We've worked in the Taylor House in Jamaica Plain several times and have a wedding booked at the Kemble Inn in Lenox later this year. Like many inns, these have nice sized dining room and foyer spaces and provide options for a beautiful ceremony backdrop and magnificent outdoor gardens.
Some things you should consider when having a gay wedding at a B&B or inn:
- the best style reception is a cocktail reception or food stations
- you'll have to buy out all of the guest rooms - so be prepared to host some guests overnight
- you'll have to bring in lots of rentals - typically tables, chairs, china, flatware, stemware, etc
- you'll need to bring in your own caterer and bartender
Would you consider an Inn or B&B for your wedding venue?
Two of our dear friends recently got engaged after a 18 months of dating and will probably be marrying sometime in the next year or so. And to us, and to our other friends, this is just what happens now. Marriage is legal and gay weddings are happening all over the place. Most of these weddings have no overt political agenda - they're just about the love of two people.
But the funny thing that happens is that guests at these gay weddings see the love story of the normal, happy couple play out, return to their neighborhood and tell their friends and co-workers the story of last weekend's wonderful gay wedding, leading to a ripple effect of positive momentum. The stories get told and these are the stories that change the world.
What's my favorite part of a gay wedding? All the tears of joy during the wedding ceremony, culminating in the phrase "I now pronounce you legally married."
What's your favorite part of a gay wedding?
I had such an opportunity back in August when Frank and Matt from Arkansas hired me for a Vows plus package, which involved the license in one day, cake, flowers, a ceremony location (they chose a church in Brewster), photographer and dinner reservations for their ten guests.
Most of my planning with these couples is done by phone and email so meeting in person is always a treat. One of the things that Frank and Matt shared with me is that they are one of the plaintiffs in a case brought by the ACLU against the State of Arkansas, seeking to end the ban on adoption by unmarried couples, which was a law passed last November by a voter referendum and was designed to discriminate against the LGBT community.
This week I was walking around my neighborhood and stopped by someone from the ACLU looking for my support and that young person mentioned this case. I feel such a personal connection to this case because I adore these great guys.
These are the kinds of guys, who have returned home to Arkansas, legally married with a relationship legitimized by a government, who are changing hearts and minds about the issue of gay marriage - just by knowing them, hearing their story and seeing how in love they are. Their decision to be part of that ACLU case is just a bonus.
Here they are on their wedding day - and by the way, you should consider supporting the ACLU:
Photo by Zoom-Photography.
Photo by Gretje Ferguson
Step seven: As the wedding gets close, distract your parents some more. If your parents live out of state, when they come to town, keep them busy with projects. This means that you should ask them to write out escort cards, bring gift bags to the hotel and tidy your house so it’s clean after your honeymoon. They will have nervous energy, still with no expectations about a gay wedding and will be all wound up possibly worrying about what others will think. Channel their energy to your own benefit.
We had Jen’s mom assembling out of town guest gift bags and writing out escort cards. We had her parents, her sister and her sister’s boyfriend over our condo loading up the car with everything and tidying our house so we wouldn't come home to a mess post-honeymoon. Worked like a charm and everyone had fun with it.
These steps have been spread out in part because they take time to execute. This is a gradual process but I know for a fact that these steps really work to ease your parents into the idea of a gay wedding. Please leave a note in the comments letting me know if these have worked for you!
Step six: Give your parents a project during the wedding planning process. Channel your parents’ new enthusiasm into a very narrow and specific project. This is very important if you want to retain ownership over your wedding plans. The trick is to distract your parents with something they would strive to be very good at. Pardon my use of gender roles, but I've observed that moms like being a hostess so give them the project of planning wedding weekend activities for out of town guests. That’s my favorite thing to focus eager moms. Also, if you are having gift bags to welcome wedding guests to your hotel, put mom in charge - she'll love the shopping AND the assembly.
But maybe your dad likes to make homemade beer or wine? Maybe he can make favors for your guests. Or maybe he's very handy - can he build you a chuppah (if you want a chuppah)?
Jen’s mom was in charge of the bridal shower. She also had a lot of input on the post-wedding brunch and the weekend activities. She had stuff to do and for which to feel responsible - but this was channeled appropriately so we could stay focused on our own responsibilities.
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