14 Stories
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Weddings Redefined

A Wedding at the Red Inn

Steven and Richard, who live in Los Angeles, hired us to plan four days of parties in Provincetown, Massachusetts as part of their wedding celebration. The 100 guests joined us from all over the world beginning on Thursday for welcome reception at the Harbor Lounge, followed by a clambake at Crown and Anchor on Friday, and then the wedding itself on Saturday at The Red Inn, and finally a closing brunch at Victor's on Sunday. 

These four parties were full of great details and lots of laughter. Most of these guests had never been in Provincetown before so it was an extra special treat for them to explore this tiny arts community at the edge of the continent. Steven and Richard chose a nautical theme for their wedding. The design was carried through on their aisle runner which then became a sign-in board for their guests and will be framed in their home as artwork. The design was also on their wedding invitations and stationery, on the artwork in their flip-flop station, and all other printed materials. 

The Red Inn is a very special place and one of our favorite venues in which to work. Its unparalleled views and exquisite food make it a really spectacular wedding option. We held the ceremony on the west deck and brought in these amazing battery operated chandeliers provided by SocialLight. As the night wore on we danced under the tent and brought out surprise guests: two aerial acrobat performers dressed as sailors who put on a very special show for the guests. The groom's and their guests had an awesome time concluding with the bouquet toss at the end of the night. 

Enjoy the beautiful photos by Kate McElwee

Bernadette Smith
A Wedding in the Pines

Chris and Jeff live in Manhattan but hired us to plan a three day wedding celebration at one of their favorite places in the world: the Fire Island Pines. Planning a wedding in Fire Island is no easy feat, especially considering that there are no roads and no cars! Every rental item, every guest and every vendor had to come over to the island by ferry or freight. Planning a wedding in the Pines truly requires having a great team and knowing all the right people to call, but is so worth it. The views, nature elements and sense of community are unrivaled.

After a spectacular welcome reception on Friday evening, complete with a surprise fireworks display (a gift from Jeff to Chris), we were so exited for Saturday. The ceremony was held on the beach at Coast Guard Walk. As the guests approached the ceremony space, they were offered flip-flops to change into, then greeted with champagne and a fun handkerchief featuring a quote from the Jess Glynne song "Hold My Hand" (the recessional song). The ceremony itself was beautiful and we were blessed with perfect weather. 

Immediately after the ceremony, the grooms walked the beach and the guests walked back up the boardwalk to Whyte Hall, the theater space that was transformed into a beautiful reception area. Chris and Jeff are casual, fun guys and they wanted a wedding that reflected that. We brought in Cocktail Caterers who created an extended cocktail party menu, starting with hors d'oeuvres and followed by a wide variety of small plates. We had plenty of seating and plenty of activity and entertainment for the evening but made sure to keep guests moving and out of their seats. We wanted Whyte Hall to feel intimate and warm and brought in beautiful lighting to create this coziness. We also incorporated the groom's favorite colors, orange and purple, throughout the printed materials and decor. 

Chris and Jeff's dear friend, Sam Griffin designed all of the stationery materials you see here as well as officiated the very meaningful and moving ceremony. He really was an amazing addition to the celebration. Congratulations to Chris and Jeff for an extraordinary wedding weekend in the Fire Island Pines and thank you so much for having us be your planner. Check out the beautiful photos below by Thompson Photography Group.

Bernadette Smith
Travel Guide: The Ritz-Carlton Naples, Florida

In January we were invited by the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Naples, Florida to train their staff on same-sex weddings. While we were down there doing the training we were also treated to a stay at the hotel and were able to experience the finest of what the Ritz-Carlton has to offer, including their exceptional spa, pool, beach, restaurants and club level. 

The aesthetic of the hotel is classic Ritz Carlton, very chic, warm and inviting. And of course the Ritz-Carlton service experience is as extraordinary as you would come to expect. People remembered our names and requests and treated us with complete respect and care throughout our stay. Additionally we felt very comfortable at the property as a same-sex couple and there were no issues being publicly out at any time during our stay.

This property is an extraordinary location for your same-sex wedding. Ceremonies can be held on the beach or they can be held by the pool. The restaurants on the premises are exceptional. The sunset from the property overlooking the Gulf Coast is amazing. I highly recommend this property especially now that the entire sales and events team is really prepared to serve you well, understand same-sex wedding traditions and trends, and being an amazing advocate for you throughout your wedding planning process.

14 Stories plans weddings throughout the world and can take you to the Ritz-Carlton Naples for a beautiful gay destination wedding. We also know great teams of wedding professionals in nearby Tampa who will be the perfect creative partners for your wedding. We love this place and know you'll love it, too.

Bernadette Smith
Travel Guide: The Breakers in Palm Beach

We stayed in the Imperial Suite at the Breakers Resort in Palm Beach, Florida and had an amazing experience at this property. The Breakers is a historic, Italian-Renaissance hotel located on Palm Beach with sweeping views of the Atlantic. It's one of the most extraordinary hotels in the entire country. 

As you drive up to the property you can immediately tell that the architecture and design is unparalleled. As you walk through the lobby and experience the architecture of the property your eye is drawn to the incredible detail work and extraordinary care that the team does to maintain this beautiful aesthetic. Our stay in the Imperial suite was absolutely exceptional. This is truly one of the nicest suites in which we've ever stayed in in any hotel in the world (and you can imagine that we've stayed in some exceptional properties). The balconies overlook the Atlantic and provide dramatic views that any couple would be thrilled to wake up to. 

There are numerous numerous wedding locations where you can have your ceremony and reception throughout the property but none are more extraordinary, in my mind, than the Circle Ballroom which is a nice size for 100-200 guests. The wedding team at this property know the property inside and out and have planned some very elaborate parties! I led them in a short training to help prepare them for same-sex weddings and know they'll do a great job with yours. We can't wait to bring couples here to experience the Breakers service. Your whole friends and family would enjoy every second of your gay wedding on this property. 

Bernadette Smith
Using Your Home for the Wedding

In theory, there are some nice advantages to planning a wedding at your home or another private residence. The home could have a special meaning to you. You could save on a venue rental fee. You are not limited by an eight hour rental period and can set up and break down at your leisure. The party could go all night if you want. 

But don’t be blinded by the advantages and think through these potential obstacles before making your final decision:

  • How is your septic system? Can it handle 50 or more guests? Do you have 2 or more restrooms that guests can use? Will you have to rent portapotties or a luxury potatpotty trailer? 

  • How is your parking situation? Is there enough parking for all of the vendors in the driveway. What about the guests? Will you have to hire a valet or rent a lot and provide shuttle service? 

  • Is the home big enough for everyone to be inside for dinner and dancing? Or will you require a tent? Are you prepared to deal with the damage that tents (and the tent delivery truck) cause to the lawn? 

  • Is there a good spot on the property for a wedding ceremony? What if it rains? 

  • Are there any noise ordinances in the city or town where the wedding would be held? Are there nosey neighbors or neighbors who would call the cops to complain about noise? 

  • Is there a large kitchen onsite? The caterer will have a lot of food to warm up or prepare and will need plenty of counter space and ovens. If you can’t offer that, the caterer may have to set up a catering tent and/or rent convection ovens. 

  • How many amps of electricity does the home have? Are there some circuits with available power? If you are bringing in a tent, the lighting and heating of the tent requires significant power. If you are bringing in a DJ or band, they require significant power. So does a nice portapotty. Find out if you have enough power to provide or whether you will need to rent a generator. 

  • Is the home in an area known to have poor drainage in the event or rain? Is it especially buggy in the summer and if so, can the property be sprayed? 

In general, unless it’s a very well equipped property or a wedding smaller than 50 guests, I advise against holding a wedding in someone’s home or on their property. The logistics can get very complicated and I would definitely suggest that you hire a wedding planner to make sure that all of these details are covered. 

Please use a caterer for your wedding in a private residence. Don’t rely on your friends, family or let alone, yourself to prepare food. If you need to, you can prepare the food in advance and rent wait staff and bartenders to serve it – but please outsource at least some of this for your own sanity! 

Are you planning to get married in a private home?

Bernadette Smith