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Carolyn Title_key Lindsey

Elopement
gallery Jan 19 2021
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A Mountaintop Elopement in Kauai, Hawai’i

Why did you decide to elope?

The story of how we found each other is not traditional. We grew up as best friends in a very conservative, religious community where we fell in love. We spent countless days and weekends adventuring outdoors and this is where we discovered our deeper connection with each other. We wanted our wedding to be in a place where we could feel this connection and be ourselves. That is why we chose to elope on the mountaintops of Kauai. It allowed us to have a wedding that was truly us: outdoorsy, intimate, drama-free, and an epic adventure.

Did you have a traditional proposal? Tell us about it!

I (Lindsey) was the hold out on getting married. I wasn't sure marriage was in the books for me. A committed, lifetime relationship seemed fine. So we always knew I'd be the one to propose. But it came as a shock to Carolyn when I finally popped the question. We were camping in the Florida Keys, watching the sunrise over the water when I pulled out a ring and asked Carolyn to have coffee on the beach with me for the rest of our lives. After asking me, “Are you serious?” fifteen times, she agreed to be my partner for life. (Carolyn was wearing socks and Teva sandals during the proposal).

Did you get any push back from loved ones about your elopement?

Generally, no, we didn't get push back. We made it clear from day one that our plan was an adventure elopement, and our family and friends were fine with it. Those who knew us well knew it was right up our alley.

How did you decide when/where to elope?

It had to be in nature, and it needed to be an epic location. The challenge was agreeing on what location fit the bill for both of us. I love the mountains. Carolyn loves the beach. We initially considered getting married overseas. But we quickly realized the limits on where we could do that as an LGBTQ couple given other countries' marriage laws. So we found an epic location right here in the U.S. with mountains, beaches, and an LGBTQ-friendly community: Kauai.

Did you write your own vows?

Yes. It made them so much more meaningful and personal. Funny enough, our vows had common words and themes in them, even though we didn't see them ahead of time or compare notes.

What was the best part of your elopement?

The decision to do it as an adventure elopement. We hiked a few miles on an isolated trail to our wedding spot. The adventure of the day is something we will never forget. It made it more than just a wedding. We got to experience an awesome hike, killer views, laughter with our two best friends and photographers on the trail, and most of all a wedding ceremony that was truly ours. It was our journey to a corner of the earth where we could celebrate our love for one another and choose each other as our partners in life.

Lindsey is the one in the blue dress and blond hair. Carolyn is the one in the suit and brown hair.

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Mary Kate Title_key Kortney

Styled Shoot
gallery Jan 12 2021
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A Holographic Rock N Roll Styled Shoot

What was the inspiration behind this styled shoot?

The photographer & I wanted to do something rock n roll inspired & use the black dress. She had mentioned the phrase “moonchild” & immediately I thought of holographic tones because how do you possibly describe the actual colors of a star or the moon? We also wanted it to be fun vs just dark & moody so it needed an injection of electric color. When we were interviewing couples we wanted someone to actually love the idea & have fun with it vs being props plunked “on set.” We wanted this to be a shoot that could very easily be applied to a real wedding. I think our biggest inspiration besides aesthetic was that we wanted to showcase an option for a wedding that was fun & edgy but still well done, sophisticated & gorgeous because couples should be able to do whatever they heck they want without feeling ostracized from the “normal” wedding aesthetic.

What are some of the key elements in this shoot?

We incorporated hints of holographic into a bit of everything to where it had a strong presence but played well with everything else. So there’s holographic on Mary Kate's shoes, the tinsel backdrop, elements in the cake, table decor, the hat & so on. We wanted a blend of high end mixed with approachable. So for instance Kourtney has an incredible women’s suit but then is wearing converse shoes. Along this same vein we wanted there to be playful, fun elements such as taking full use of the bathroom neon signs, flamingos in the stationary & fun poses. So I guess to sum up our key elements edgy, quirky, bespoke & fun.

Is there an overall theme and/or color palette in this shoot?

Yes, the theme was “Holographic Rock N Roll” inspired by a phrase from a conversation between vendors “rock n roll moonchild”. The color palette is black, white & holographic with pops of neons.

Why did you choose to use an LGBTQAI+ couple for the shoot? What significance did it have?

The wedding industry is SO saturated with heterosexual couples but it’s also so saturated with rules & what you “must” do for a picture-perfect wedding or publish-worthy styled shoot. We wanted to showcase a wedding alternative that was fun & authentic that any couple can apply to their wedding regardless of who they were marrying. We kind of wanted to say screw it to all the rules. Rules that have told people for so long how they can marry, who they can marry & what constitutes a “beautiful” wedding. In reality, it could have been a heterosexual couple but we wanted to expand representation & feature a real couple in a way that showcased their real personalities. Also, all of the vendors are not only LGBTQAI+ allies but advocates & with the current climate of the political atmosphere we wanted this to be known loud, proud & unapologetically. We want to be actively involved in the community & a safe space for all couples. I am personally moving to Alabama & so it seemed to be even more pertinent to be a resource for couples in a landscape where there may not be as many vocal advocates.

Anything else you’d like to add?

We are really honored to work with such an amazing couple & have such an incredible team of vendors unite behind not only a dope idea but a cause & intent. It’s not just about being a pretty styled shoot. It’s about representing a real couple in an authentic way that encourages ALL couples to just be themselves. You do you!

Mary Kate is in the black dress & Kourtney is wearing the suit. They both use she/her pronouns.

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A Letter From The Editor

H&H Weddings Blog Says Goodbye

Six years, over 300 weddings, thousands of incredible community members. I have so much to be grateful for this year and 2020 has put SO much into perspective.

As I look forward to the new year, I am also looking forward to a new chapter in my life. 

I started H&H Weddings in order to advocate for my community and serve them as they planned joyful, memorable weddings, and events. At the outset, same-sex marriage hadn’t even been legalized in most states. We have seen incredible growth and change — yes, in the wedding industry, but also in laws and within the LGBTQ+ community itself. I am proud of H&H Weddings, and I am excited about the next stage.

Starting in January 2021, H&H Weddings will no longer be a blog. I plan to dedicate my time and energy to nurturing the social media community. I will continue to share real weddings, engagements, elopements, styled shoots, etc. So please, keep tagging us in your photos and sharing the love!

The vendor directory will continue to live in my Instagram highlights.

If you have any questions, you can feel free to email me directly at kate@handhweddings.com

Thank you for the years of support, the follows and “likes” and all of your incredible love stories. 

Cheers to 6 more years of queer love.

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Daphne Title_key Tyonna

Engagement Shoot
gallery Dec 8 2020
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A Niagara Falls Engagement Shoot

Tell us how you met and fell in love!

We met at Brock. T was promoting an event for an Afro-Caribbean group and she used her charm to convince me to buy a ticket and it all began after that!

Was there a proposal? Tell us about it!

We went to Vegas to celebrate Daphne’s birthday! The first night we got there and got settled into the suite, Daphne went into the bathroom and I had her favorite song playing on blast and when she came out I was standing there with a ring and a bottle of bubbly!

Are you planning your wedding right away or giving yourself some time to just be engaged?

We started planning as soon as we got home from our Vegas vacation! Planning during a pandemic has been quite the experience.

What’s the best thing you’ve learned from your spouse-to-be?

T - how to cook good food and how to be more patient and kind, also how to read the room. Not everyone enjoys my dad jokes all of the time.

D- that who I am is enough, I don't have to betray myself for love or acceptance.

What’s your favorite part of your relationship?

T- I can be myself. We’re not only romantic but we’re also best friends. I can be serious but I can also be childish and not fear judgment.

D- That we’re best friends first, we can go from a serious discussion to making up a dance like it's nothing. We just flow.

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Nick Title_key Lee

Real Wedding
gallery Dec 1 2020
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A Moody Outdoor Wedding at Sacred Mountain Julian

Tell us your love story.

This probably won't surprise you, but Nick and Lee first met in person at a bar. The Dubliner isn’t just any bar though. This place has been Nick’s favorite Irish bar ever since he moved to San Diego in 2016. Nick brought many friends here and he just so happened to be out with a group of his shipmates that night when he met Lee. “Do you like Irish car bombs (an unfortunately named popular drink)?” Nick asked. He lost the race then and still loses to this day! Lee fit in so nicely with the group that he spent the rest of the evening bar-hopping. That one night turned into a whole three day weekend hanging around San Diego. Their unusually lengthy first date led to more adventures. Even though scorching 29 Palms is around three hours northeast of where Nick lives, Lee still commuted down every weekend.

From traveling all over New England while Nick had six months of school in Newport, Rhode Island to Lee dragging Nick up and down the Sierra Nevada mountain range, the adventure continued. From exploring the geologically stunning country of Iceland to bringing home their now 6-month-old Australian Shepherd named Cooper (the ring bearer), the adventure continued! There is a lot of uncertainty coming with Lee getting out of the Marine Corps and Nick having to move to Alabama with his ship, but one thing is for sure. The adventure continues!

What about the proposal?

Visiting Iceland had always been a dream for Nick. Having an adventurous spirit like Lee in his life was a perfect way to make this dream become a reality. One day they were both listening to Ed Sheeran’s album, “Divide” when Lee mentioned that they should look up his tour dates. Unfortunately, by then he was no longer touring the US. Fortunately, he would be in Reykjavik, the Capital city of Iceland, right around both Nick and Lee’s birthdays in August. So sparked Nick’s imagination! He created an eight-day itinerary to travel around the famed Ring Road. Tickets were purchased in March and thus began the waiting game. Nick had actually had the ring designed, ready, and waiting hidden in his closet only a month after that. Were there other opportunities to propose? Sure. But Nick knew he wanted a huge ending to what was already going to be a trip of a lifetime. Nick carried the ring box hidden inside the case that usually houses his drone; taking extra care to not let Lee lay a finger on it. Nick was beginning to feel restless that he would never find a location that was surreal yet private enough to keep the proposal intimate. That moment finally came nestled in a quiet valley next to a glacial river. Nick shared some thoughts on whether Lee and he were sure forever is what they could see themselves doing, so there was only one thing left; urging Lee to stand up so that he could pull out the ring and get down on one knee.

When did you know that you were meant to be with each other?

Nick knew he wanted to be with Lee forever the moment he realized that he would never get bored of staring into Lee’s crystal blue eyes. He loves the way Lee challenges him to spend as much time experiencing all that nature has to offer. Lee knew it was meant to be after the first time they went camping together in Joshua Tree; spending the weekend aimlessly adventuring beyond the beaten path.

Going into the wedding planning, what did you definitely know?

We definitely knew we wanted an outdoor rustic wedding in the mountains. The trouble with that is it isn't always easy finding a common location near an airport that people can get to easily. For example, Mammoth Lakes has a regional airport, but that is super expensive to fly into. Lake Tahoe is stunning, but the nearest international airport is in Nevada. Julian was the perfect place for us.

What surprised you during planning? What was easy, what was difficult?

Nick never thought he would need any sort of wedding coordinators since he is so good at event planning and itineraries, but it was incredible how much stress was lifted off of our shoulders with our fantastic day of coordinators. The family affair wedding team really made everything super simple. We just had to show up where and when they told us to and it was all ready to go! The most difficult thing for us was the guest count. Our wedding venue caps off-season weddings at 100 people due to the potential of inclement weather (which we did have). It was really hard trying to figure out if our guests could come or not and then asking friends who we couldn't originally invite closer to the wedding day than we would have liked.

Is there anything you wish you knew while you were planning your wedding that you know now?

Nick wishes he knew that the weather doesn't necessarily make or break the day. I trained almost the whole weekend and stressing over it doesn't help. The weekend went absolutely perfect and Nick wouldn’t change a single second. Lee wishes they had hired the day of wedding coordinators sooner than they had. Having the coordinators from day one would have helped to iron out so many little details that they didn't think of until it was almost too late.

Any advice for couples planning weddings now? Anything you would have done differently or anything you’d like to add?

We got engaged in August and immediately picked a date in march before Nick deployed so that we could get married. Having such a quick turnaround can be stressful, but it is totally doable with the right people involved. We would definitely have roped in our day-of coordinators a whole lot sooner. They had so many recommendations and great points of contact that would have made searching for vendor options a whole lot easier. Their experience made us feel a whole lot more stable and confident with our decisions. Find yourself wholesome vendors!! Every team we met with, whether it was food, floral, or photographer became an instant family member. Everyone was so kind and helpful.

What was your favorite part of your wedding day?

For Nick, it was his synchronized surprise dance with his mom. The DJ was fantastic and dancing with all of our closest family and friends while knowing that the country was literally shutting down around us (COVID-19) made it all the more unique. If the wedding was the following weekend, over half the guest list would have had to cancel. We are incredibly thankful and lucky we were able to celebrate our special day.

Nick is in all white and Lee is in black and white.

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