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LGBTQ+ And Getting Married in 2019

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The wedding industry is evolving and becoming more diverse and inclusive. Ever since gay marriage became legal in all 50 states four years ago the LGBTQ+ community no longer is invisible. Over time, it became more common to see non-straight narratives in advertisements and more industries have shown their support, but unfortunately we still have a long way to go. This dawned on me one day as I experienced what it is like to feel uncomfortable while looking for a wedding vendor. Still, there’s a lot of positive things that have happened over the years so here’s a little of my experience. I also included advice for those of you who are in the industry on how to become a better LGBTQ+ Ally.

Photography by  Juan Saco Mironoff

Photography by Juan Saco Mironoff

Mr. & Mrs. 

One thing I always thought was tacky were the Mr. and Mrs. signs – at least until I walked into a store and saw Mr. and Mr. gift bags. I had never seen them casually displayed anywhere before. It’s nice to see how inclusive the market has become. Now, you see cards for same-sex couples, cake toppers, all types of merchandise that never existed before. But as great as it is to see more inclusive items, sometimes they can still make people uncomfortable. A venue I visited had a Mr. & Mrs. sign hammered to their wall. As a same-sex couple (speaking for Jeremy and myself) it’s not a problem to see something like this, but when it’s permanently attached to the wall it shows my partner and I that you never thought to cater to same sex couples. So if you yourself own a business, keep in mind if you have novelty bridal items such as Mr. & Mrs. and no same-sex selection it looks as though you are not an ally or comfortable working with same-sex couples. Just something to keep in mind – a little effort goes a long way. 

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Say yes to the dress 

One scary experience for same-sex couples is showing up to a vendor meeting with your partner and having the vendor look at you in shock. I had an experience like this that I want to forget, but it happened to Jeremy and me. I made the mistake of not mentioning my fiancé was a man. Luckily, we have mostly had vendors greet us with open arms, and so have other same-sex couples we know. Jeremy’s cousin was afraid of poor treatment when calling to reserve slots for her and her fiancé Nicole’s wedding dress fitting. She wanted to mention that they were a same-sex couple on the phone to one bridal shop but before she could say it, the associate asked if they were and made them feel totally comfortable. This made them feel good, because there is always a fear someone might make you feel unwanted.  No one wants to made feel different or ashamed for who they love.

Photography by  Manolo Doreste

Photography by Manolo Doreste

Gay wedding

Some people get so excited when they hear about gay weddings. Their curiosity gets the better of them. They ask things like: Who is the bride? The groom? Is it the same as a heterosexual wedding? The answer is none of that matters. All weddings are the same, it’s two people are taking a vow to be together forever. It’s not a gay wedding – it’s a wedding. Most traditions are the same but same sex couples tend to be a little less traditional. In the LGBTQ+ community we try and be inclusive with everyone. We try not to label everything and everyone in masculine/feminine terms. So let’s shy away from assuming it’s always bride/groom. Instead ask: Are you the bride? And your what’s your fiancé’s name? Do this instead of handing over a form to fill out with the words bride and groom printed on it. 

Photography by  laylledigitalmedia

Photography by laylledigitalmedia

The key to being an ally is simply showing a bit of support. Treat the LGBTQ+ community with the same respect as one would for any other couple. We are all human and I am a firm believer that we are here to love. Let’s break away from our old school  thoughts of only man/ woman weddings. Not everyone is the same, and together we can make the world more inclusive and an overall better place.

How to deal with loss before your Wedding

Most of us have dealt with the loss of a loved one. No matter if we are prepared for it or not, it can be very heartbreaking. What does one do when you are planning a wedding and a family member passes away? It’s a nightmare turned reality for some unlucky people - one that I’ve seen happen a few times. 

Huge flower to commemorate the loss of a loved one.

Ways to cope 

There is no magic antidote or any medicine that can help you cope with a death of a loved one especially right before such an important time in your life. I think one of the best ways to cope is by making their presence known at your wedding. One of my brides had an ofrenda that is customary in her culture. An offenda is a table filled with photos, candles, and flowers for loved ones who have passed. Right before she walked down the aisle, she visited it and made a prayer. This helped her pay her respects and made her feel complete. Many people choose to do very similar things like having a photo of their loved one on a table where everyone can see. Some even leave an empty chair with a photo of them at the ceremony. You can even add a locket to your bouquet with a photo. These things won’t take your pain away but it will make you feel as though they are there with you and every little reminder of them helps. 

Small tabletop floral arrangement with roses anemones in a copper vase.

It’s ok to cry 

Let it out, it’s OK to cry. You are already going through so many emotions. This is a stressful and very happy time in your life. Losing someone you love is devastating for some. But remind yourself of the love that they had for you. Would they want you to feel this pain on your wedding day? Ask yourself this question and think about how happy they are for you even though they are unable to be there for you physically . This is the time when all of your family members will be together and even though there will be a moment of sadness you will all rejoice with happiness for the love and marriage that has been created.

Hard holding a beautiful white garden rose.

They are always with you 

I believe that the people you love stay with you way after they are gone. They live in our hearts and in our memories. I’ve lost a few people that I love very much and I’ve noticed over time that they have made their presence known to me in some way or another. I’ve had my grandparents visit me in dreams before birthdays, and photos appear in random places at times when I needed them the most. If you believe in life after death we must remember that they will always watch over us and send their love and blessings no matter where they are. 

Floral centerpiece with white tulips and mimosa.

I never like to see my brides go through such a hard time right before an event they have dreamt of for most of their lives. I’ve had brides lose their loved one a day before her wedding. I have seen strength in these beautiful women and I have seen happiness in them too. Death is a part of life – it’s a new chapter and with all new chapters we must accept that they are moving on to a better place. Even though they are no longer with us physically they live in our hearts forever.

Hand holding a small bunch of flowers.

The Mermaid Bride

The Mermaid Bride

IG: @Mermaid_jules  Photography @thestory

IG: @Mermaid_jules

Photography @thestory

Many of us have seen Little Mermaid. As a child I would flip my hair just the way she did in the movie in my bath tub splashing water all over my bathroom (poor mom). So you could only imagine what I felt when I discovered a bride of mine was a professional mermaid! I became one of her biggest fans and would stalk her instagram on the regular.

IG mermaid_jules

IG mermaid_jules

I remember the first time I spoke to mermaid Jules. She was everything you would expect a mermaid to be like. She was bubbly , sweet , and very pretty. She has a pink mermaid tail , her hair was long , and she wore crowns made out of seashells. Anthony her fiancé definitely resembles a prince. Anthony was a tall, dashing, dark haired gentleman. The both looked like they came straight out of a fairytale.

Head table floral arrangement for beach wedding in Miami Beach Florida

What does a mermaid Choose for her wedding? A seaside wedding of course! Starfish were placed on every table, pearls were added to her bouquet and a mini starfish in Anthony’s boutonniere . Her colors were blush pinks, pearly whites and light shades of greens.

Beach inspired boutonniere for Miami Beach wedding groom
Simple wedding cake florals for Miami Beach wedding

On the day of the wedding I wore my Little Mermaid shirt. I must say it was a hit, especially for my bride who noticed it immediately. What does a mermaid wear on her wedding day? A dress with a seashell top, pearl necklace , and a smile that made the entire ocean sparkle with her. When she walked down the aisle her dress flowed as her bare feet hit the sand. Hair blowing in the wind she married her prince in front of all of their her loved ones. It was a happily ever after straight from a fairytale.

Whimsical wedding arch with lush flowers and greenery on the beach at Miami Beach
#MermaidSquad

#MermaidSquad

Look closely at the petals in her bouquet!  Fun Fact : Mermaid Jules made her dress!

Look closely at the petals in her bouquet!

Fun Fact : Mermaid Jules made her dress!