H&H Weddings

fashion & décor

Summer Décor

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Ajay Title_key Zlatan

Real Wedding
gallery Jan 4 2017
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Modern LA Grooms

Tell us your love story!

We met at our favorite queer bar in Los Angeles - Akbar. We have completely different memories of what happened that night (alcohol may have been involved). But we’ve seen each other almost every day since that night (over 7 years ago).

What about the proposal?

We went out to dinner the night before Zlatan’s 31st birthday. I (Ajay) hid the ring in my car and surprised Zlatan with it after dessert came out. Zlatan opened the ring box and said something like, “Oh, you got me a ring for my birthday!” Unprepared for this response, I blurted out something like, “Let’s get gay married!” Zlatan somehow thought it was a prank, and I spent the next few minutes trying to convince him it was a serious proposal. He said yes (whew!)

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

Probably after our trip to India together, when Zlatan met all of my (Ajay’s) extended family. We spent a week on the road together in Goa and in North India. After that, I knew our relationship was built to last. For me (Zlatan), our relationship was pretty effortless from day one. I had never been with anyone before that cared that much for me. I knew we were meant for each other early on in our relationship. I was having lunch with one of my best friends about a year into it when she asked me if he was the one, and without hesitation, I answered “absolutely!” I had no doubts about it!

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

We wanted something low-key, with our close friends and family. We did not want an elaborate ceremony. We wanted our guests to feel like they were at a dinner party at our house.

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

I (Ajay) was shocked at how much Zlatan and I agreed on things! I don’t remember any major disagreements in the planning process. The hardest part was figuring out the guest list -- our venue could only accommodate 150 for a seated dinner.

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

It’s impossible to make everyone (guests, family, your partner) happy, so don’t try to do it. Get a planner and stay out of the venue the day of your ceremony! I was hoping to be more hands on with décor, flowers, and the setup but realized there was no way I could handle it. Having someone else worry about all of that was the best thing we could have done!

Any advice for couples planning weddings now?

Keep things as simple as possible -- it’ll be easier on you and your guests! Try to sleep the night before because you will be exhausted otherwise.

What was your favorite part of your wedding day?

For me (Ajay), it was definitely the ceremony. Our good friend, Stacey, who is hilarious, officiated the wedding. She brought so much joy, humor, love, and insight to the whole process -- we couldn’t have asked for more. I choked up during my vows and cried like a baby. It was excruciating, but also the most meaningful event of my life. For me (Zlatan), it was all about being able to celebrate our union in front of our family, friends, and loved ones. It made the day that much more special!

From the photographer...

This historic 1920's house was such a charming venue for their ceremony and reception. After getting ready at Hotel Covell, a small, boutique hotel located in the Los Feliz neighborhood, we took a trip to the bar where the couple first met, and had some fun recreating some dance moves in the back room where a disco ball was hanging over head (but it was during the day so we had the whole place to ourselves).

At their venue, candles, succulents, and white hydrangeas provided the perfect accent to the exposed brick walls of the venue. The couple's ceremony was officiated by their dear friend Stacey, and there was not a dry eye left by the time Ajay and Zlatan were done with their vows. Zlatan, an Art Director for Barbie, of course had to have the doll herself at his wedding - she guarded the guest book and made an appearance on the dance floor later in the evening.  

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Tagged: summer fashion, summer décor, california, grooms, wedding, los angeles, rachel stelter photography, day of gal
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Matt Title_key Skip

Real Wedding
gallery Mar 21 2016
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Wisconsin Nuptials

How We Met (As told by Skip)...

Well, how we met is pretty typical. We were set up by a mutual friend and had a blind double date. It was a lovely night once I realized that Matt existed. Let's just say that I may have spent the first 45 minutes catching up with my friend and kind of ignoring him...so, I go to the bathroom and Rachel asks Matt how it is going. He indicates he likes me but gets the sense I am not that in to him. I come back from the bathroom and then Matt excusing himself. Rachel basically jumps on me once he was up from the table and was like, "What are you doing? You have barely talked to him." Needless to say, when Matt got back to the table it was like I had laser beam eyes on him and we spent the rest of the night hitting it off. Like the gentleman that he is, he walked me home afterward.

Now our second date, that is a story....that might require an interview.

The Wedding Day...

When your dog barks at just the right moment during your wedding ceremony, then you know perfection is all you can really call your wedding day… and that’s exactly what happened with Matt and Skip’s special day along the water at their private lake house in Ephraim, Wisconsin.   As if to naturally set the tone, it started with getting ready together while their classical guitar player and cousin started to practice the processional song. Through some happy tears, these two grooms just sat on the porch together and listened, excited for what this day meant to them. Inspired by blending nautical and rustic details together – such as red and blue check and a delicious pig roast – these two grooms envisioned a beautiful day in Door County with their closest loved ones. Matt’s most sound advice? "Go non-traditional. Find a space from the past or your time together as a couple and really make it your own."

With a homemade pickle bar, seafaring bunting banners, family-painted signage, hand-stamped napkins, there was not one detail that wasn’t personal and memorable for Matt and Skip. 

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Staci Title_key Kristin

Real Wedding
gallery Dec 7 2015
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A Gorgeous Garden Cremony

Tell us your love story!

We met through friends, but the sparks didn't fly right away. In fact, we hardly said a word to each other during our first meeting, because we were both distracted by others. It didn't even happen when we kissed the first time, several months after our first meeting. Sparks finally flew when Staci texted Kristin after waiting TWO WHOLE DAYS after she planted the kiss on her!  Once we started talking and getting to know each other, the attraction grew like wildfire. We both loved to laugh, and Staci was starting to realize Kristin just might be witty enough to keep up with her! Kristin knew pretty early on that Staci was the one, so naturally she started running around like a lovesick teenager talking to anyone who would listen about her budding relationship. Staci was playing it cool but she knew what she wanted, and that was Kristin. So, one night Staci asked Kristin if she wanted to give this thing a real shot, by removing any distractions and just focusing on growing their new relationship, which already seemed to have endless potential. Kristin was beside herself with excitement that Staci only wanted her, and said YES without hesitation!

From then on, it was an easy transition into falling madly in love; with lots of laughs, adventures and a mutual respect for what we had found in each other.

Kristin became Staci's Lily, and Staci became Kristin's Forever.

What about the proposal?

We were having a birthday party for Kristin as well as a house warming party to celebrate moving into our new place so we were surrounded by friends and family. As everyone gathered to sing Happy Birthday to Kristin there was a huge surprise waiting for her, written on the cake was “Kristin, Will you marry me?” Kristin was so oblivious that she did not even look at the cake until the birthday song was nearly over. Staci had to come over to Kristin and point it out, immediately she started crying and said yes, of course. Staci banked on Kristin saying yes because she had a sign immediately revealed as well as a champagne toast in personalized glasses that said "She said yes!” and the date on them.

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

Pretty immediately. We decided early on that our budding relationship was worth eliminating any distractions of other people. We wanted to focus on growing the strong connection we developed. We had both grown up with loving friends and family who we hold in very high regard, that helped us to bond very early in the relationship.

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

From the beginning of the planning stages we knew we wanted our special day to be not only about our love, but all of the people in our lives that helped to get us to the point where we were ready to receive the forever kind of love. We wanted our wedding to be heartfelt and thoughtful. We also enjoy a good party as do a majority of our guests, so we threw in a few fun surprises as well as signature cocktails to get the party started. We wanted to decorate with textures rather than color because the outside venue was already so naturally lush. We outfitted the venue with lots of creams, textures, succulents and pops of gold (Kristin’s personal favorite touch).

What surprised you during planning?

The surprising part of planning is how much is involved in it, even when you think you have a grip on what needs to be done, more things arise. The easy part was being completely confident in who I was marrying, all the other things become minimal compared to that. I think an ease comes with that fact, which makes the planning all go a little more smoothly. The difficult part is deciding when to say no, there are so many extra touches you can add to make the day unique and special but it is so easy to overdo it.

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

The whole day goes by so fast, enjoy the planning process. We had a fabulous wedding coordinator, Chanda of A Monique Affair. We were pretty organized through the process but hiring her earlier on might have relieved some stress.

Any advice for couples planning weddings now?

My advice is to not only stay present the day of the wedding but during the planning process. Having a videographer is so important, the day goes by so fast and there are a lot of moments you will miss.

What was your favorite part of your wedding day?

Everything!! I feel like all the special touches went off perfectly and were well received. I think everyone who came noticed the effort we put into it and really appreciated it. Everyone who attended felt the love and had an amazing time. 

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Amber Title_key Sydney

Styled Shoot
gallery Nov 18 2015
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Boho Babes

This boho beach inspired shoot on the soft, sandy shore of Laguna Beach, California at the Surf and Sand Resort will make you green with envy! The free-spirited prettiness is pulled together, effortlessly in every detail. We are seriously drooling over here!

The deep, colorful blooms & textured florals combined with vintage rugs & furniture make for a warm, inviting setting. We love how organic this feels set against the breaking waves. The dreamweaver quality in the paper goods is just too perfect! 

This shoot has us missing the summer sun already! 

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Jen Title_key Lauren

Real Wedding
gallery Oct 14 2015
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Brooklyn Babes

Getting married is the BEST.

I think I told every person at our reception that I loved them -- every single one.

Getting married is quite the enterprise and there were dozens of people working at our wedding -- bartending, serving and organizing. And I loved every one of them. Not to mention all the friends and family. That is truly the oddest and most overwhelming sensation -- to stand in room with 150+ people and know and love every one. To have every person in that room be hurtling well wishes in your direction. It is the most joyous occasion.

Jen and I are so grateful for the experience, the sacrifices, and the generosity. We are still brimming with joy from the day.

Here are some final thoughts on the details.

Flowers:

Jen and I decided early on that we didn’t really care about “florals.” We decided to save money here. We ordered succulents online and potted hundreds of them in my mom’s backyard. My mom bought potted marigolds from the garden depot, Jen’s mom made a floral arch with clippings and daisies, and on the day-of, Allison (our day-of coordinator/angel) bought an assortment of greens and tulips from Trader Joe’s. Nothing too fancy. The result was bright and green and exactly what we wanted. I stopped at a bodega on the morning of my wedding and bought an assortment of bright flowers and greens and made my flower crown while drinking mimosas with my bridesmaids. Easy peasy!

Bridal Parties:

Originally, Jen and I thought we’d be easy and simply ask our Maids of Honor to stand with us. It’s a weird tradition, right? The whole barrage of friends in matching dresses and suits? Well, that went out the window. We ended up having epic bridal parties and could not have been more thrilled. We asked our sixteen attendants to choose a floral to wear: dresses, jumpsuits, suits, ties, shirts, whatever. It was so fun to see how these melange of flowers worked so well together and we were delighted to get to spend more time with our best friends prepping.

DIY:

I’ll be honest, I went a little crazy with the DIY. I wanted everything to be in my handwriting, made programs, giant plywood menus, illustrated bridesmaid guides, reserved signs, washi-tape flags, oversized confetti, temporary tattoos with our likenesses. It was a lot and a few days before the wedding I was a bit of a mess. I wouldn’t change any of this, but it’s a lot to take on. AND my favorite DIY piece ended up being the one I didn’t make: our amazing floral backdrop for the photobooth was made by Gina Paola.

Something Blue and Other Traditions:

Jen and I both wore blue suede shoes-- for tradition and also Elvis. We both wore something old, something borrowed and something new-- and the kicker-- sixpence in both our shoes! We thought a lot about tradition when we were planning our wedding. There’s so much to consider, so many gender norms, and a lot of pressure to make thoughtful decisions: who is walking who down the aisle? First dances? What to do with an odd numbers of bridesmaids? Wearing white!?! Jen and I choose ones that were fun and meaningful to us.

Hors d’eouvres for Hours:

We did not have a sit down dinner. Honestly, we didn’t want to have to deal with making a seating chart, something that would inevitably be complained about by guests. We had a cocktail-style reception where small bites were served throughout the night. We had one station with crudite and what not, but other than that -- it was bite-sized reubens, tortas and cucumber sandwiches being passed throughout the night. This was recommended as a money saving option and it was -- you don’t have to rent dishes and silverware -- but we couldn’t recommend it more highly. Our caterer, Steven Brown, made a huge variety of delicious food and was super open to our “sandwich-theme.” No one had an assigned seat (truthfully, we didn’t even have enough chairs for everyone) and was encouraged to mix, mingle, and most importantly, DANCE!

Dollar Dance:

This was Jen’s idea and I was skeptical. It is a tradition in all the weddings held where Jen grew up (upstate New York). People line up to dance with the brides, attendants collect a dollar and allow 25-45 seconds of dance time per person. Our DJ (DJ Mikey Palms) played a wild medley and we got face-time with nearly everyone. Throughout the night, you’re thrown around from toasts to pictures, to cake-cutting, and it was so nice to be able to spend a few seconds with each guest, one-on-one.

Desserts:

My mom made our cake. It’s my grandmother’s recipe and it was served at my parent’s wedding. I thought we’d just have a small cake to cut and smoosh in Jen’s face and that would be it, but my mom insisted that we needed enough cake for everyone. It was delicious and massive and we are still eating it. We also had two custom ice cream flavors made. I am the Creative Director at Ample Hills Creamery (homemade ice cream shop in Brooklyn) and the chefs churned and gifted two tubs of “Jen” and “Lauren” flavors. Oatmeal stout dark chocolate with peanut butter pretzels for Jen and, for me, a Moscow Mule blueberry sorbet with candied ginger. I ate one bite of cake off Jen’s fork and didn’t even see the ice cream, but people were raving about it. Honestly, you’re too busy to eat or drink, but it’s not for you and leftovers are a good problem to have. (NOTE: For our rehearsal dinner, our Maids of Honor made a bleeding (red velvet) armadillo cake: a nod to Steel Magnolias! That is also in our freezer for our “one year.”)

Toasts:

…are the best. Our DJ had the amazing idea of giving each person making a speech an at-bat song: Robyn, Reel Big Fish, Garbage and Mariah Carey, respectively. I publicly sobbed for twenty minutes while having my picture taken. Again, wouldn’t change a thing. At the end of the night, after eating that one piece of cake, I gave a short toast to the gathered guests. Jen and I thought it was important to take this rare and amazing opportunity to say thank you:

"During this whole process-- falling in love, getting engaged, and now-- getting married-- there have been VERY few things where Jen and I have felt “different,” felt “other,” felt “less”-- and that is such a rare and amazing privilege -- that today had very little to do with us being gay, but everything to do with us and our families. We want you to know that we are so grateful for your choice to love us -- in spite of, because of, and most of all, because it doesn’t matterI think I made our wedding program while listening to the Supreme Court oral argument about marriage equality. It’s an awesome time to be at a gay wedding. Thank you for being a part of ours."

Wedding advice

1. Hire a day-of coordinator. It may seem like an unnecessary expense. You can definitely get married without one. But for us, Allison was everything. Allison made it possible for us not to worry about flowers or timing or vendor contacts. I felt like I was just floating on a cloud of elation all day, simply moving from person to person, from photo to photo-- we didn’t have to make any decisions that day, Allison and our wonderful photographer, Jen Brister, made all the decisions for us. We were simply pointed in a direction and told to smile. (We didn’t need to be told.) We didn’t look at our watches or phone or wallets all day. And not having that stress was everything.

2. Hire people you want to be there. Your photographer and makeup artist will be around you and your family for hours on your wedding day. You want to be around people you love and make you glow.

3. Call in all the favors. Friends helped us with everything -- the photobooth, the wine, the kegs, the invitations, playing our ceremony music. We are so grateful for their generosity and in the end, our wedding reflected their talents and these wonderful friendships.

4. DELEGATE. This cannot be stressed enough. Family and friends want to be included and they want to help. This does not mean turning into the famed “bridezilla” that so many television shows are centered on; this means having a clear idea of what you want, recognizing that you, personally, may not absolutely need to do it yourself, and giving specific instructions. Those washi flags mentioned above? Yeah, we didn’t have time to finish making all of them ourselves. Jen dropped off a shoebox full of sticks, washi tape, scissors and some examples, along with some prosecco, and some of her family and wedding party sat around chatting and drinking and making these flags.

5. Piggy-backing on the delegating advice: CHOOSE YOUR BATTLES! You can spend so much time and energy worrying about people’s shoes, dance steps, and inane details. If it’s important to someone else - do it. This is not just a compromise between you and your partner, but a giant collaborative effort, and some people really care about certain parts. Let it go, it’s all going to be perfect.

6. Hashtag and Photo booth: Do it. It was so wonderful to scroll through everyone’s pictures the next day. Our Bosco Booth sent everyone pictures that night. You have to wait a few weeks to get the fancy photos. We loved seeing everyone’s candids and floral-filled gifs immediately. #fivethirty530

7. Say “thank you.”

We loved getting married. We love being married. And we are so grateful to Kate and H&H Weddings for showcasing our experience.

Thank you,

Lauren & Jen 

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Tagged: summer fashion, summer décor, summer florals, summer inspiration, damali nyc, outdoor wedding, gina paola design, brides, suits, story & gold weddings, steven brown caterers, mikey palms, ample hills
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Chad Title_key Matt

Styled Shoot
gallery Oct 7 2015
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Calistoga Cuties

As a potential venue inspiration for the same sex couples looking to wed, A Monique Affair assembled a team of fabulous creative partners and headed for Napa Valley. With the mission of highlighting the beauty and elegance of the Northern Bay area, A Monique Affair chose to the showcase the majestic grounds of the Solage Resort and Spa located at Silverado Trail deep in the heart of Calistoga.

Featuring the gorgeous couple, native to the Bay Area, A Monique Affair made this photo shoot a personal experience for both the models and the creative team who came together to create an amazing experience and some beautiful images.

The creative mind of Chanda Eddens-Daniels helped direct the team and it was her creative eye that brought it all together in the end. Using subtle bases and stylish textures combined with bold colors and the bright California sunshine, A Monique Affair brought this pretty photo shoot to life. Continuous encouragement to each partner to pull out all of the stops when creating their look for this event allowed the photographers, Rachel and Chloe to capture the whole experience of the day. Sheela, of Sarah’s Garden, introduced a beautiful selection of arrangements in both bold colors and traditional touches to make the tablescapes and vignettes stand out and inspire. The floral arrangements combined with vintage and contemporary props rented from both Pleasanton Rentals and Bright Event Rentals, provided the perfect polish to tie the entire look together.

Once the wedding stationery, created by Carrie and Nikki at Creative DNA, was incorporated into the tables, we were ready to shoot. The models were styled in a combination of looks provided by Cirkl, with Santa Rosa’s Wine Country Bride. The models were topped off with creative hair and make-up styling by Oakland’s own Angela Womack for a classic look. And of course we can’t forget the decadent wedding cake, created by Oakland’s own Marla Erojo, owner of Cakes Made by ME, it brought the entire photo shoot together!

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Bryan Title_key Chris

Real Wedding
gallery Sep 9 2015
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Proud As Peacocks

Our first day set the tone for our lives together. Expect the unexpected.

After thinking Bryan stood me up for our date (at a sushi restaurant in North Florida) I got a phone call as I pulled out of the parking lot. It was Bryan telling me he “didn’t think he was going to make it to dinner. He was pretty sure his car was totaled.” Bryan had been in a (3 time) roll-over accident avoiding a deer that ran out onto the highway and his car was completely destroyed, yet he was okay-literally every hair still in place. I asked if he was okay and he started to cry and said he was sorry to miss the date. He didn’t have family or anyone to call to come and get him on the side of the road so I volunteered to go pick him up. We met in the flattering headlights of a sheriff’s patrol car complete with red and blue flashing lights on the side of a dark country highway. It was too late for dinner so we went and got Waffle House take out (the only thing open) and we sat up all night talking about life and how crazy this first date had turned out to be. We joked that this would make an amazing story for our children one day. I helped Bryan find a rental car the next day and take care of insurance business and drove him home and dropped him off. He texted a few hours later asking for a second chance at a first date that night and we have been together ever since.

Within weeks we knew this was the one. I am a former Broadway performer and now teacher and he was an up and coming television news journalist. We knew our public persona and living under the microscope because of our careers would be an issue and we wanted to make a unified effort to show we were a committed team and were both in it for the long run.

Bryan proposed to me 11 days after he met me. Yes! Even we thought we were crazy. It was more about the commitment. When we chose a new car for him he called and asked me to look at a particular car and tell him if I thought it was safe enough for child car seats. He has always been the one making a valiant effort for commitment to me and our family. I am the wild and fun artist and he the sensible, family man. And it has always worked. We wanted to wait until marriage became legal in the state of Florida because it was important for our family and friends to witness a personal AND legal commitment where we lived.

Three years later the window opened. We were not sure how long it would last, so we decided to jump. We had assumed it would happen in 2015 and had begun planning a big family wedding but when we were told the door would crack open at least for a moment on January 6th,we took a chance. We, once again, were flipping out. Our team of amazing people and friends- Kehrin Hassan from Jet Set Wed, Matt Steeves and Fallon Long from  Matt Steeves Photography, and Debra Mehrberg of DM Paper Designs not only agreed to style and shoot our wedding  “on the fly” but they overwhelmed us by being our support team during an emotional and possibly very tense time. With only days to prepare, they all sprang into action as we quickly flew in our minister, Donna Littlepage, from Birmingham, Alabama and braced ourselves for the first day of legal marriage in Collier County, Florida. We applied for the license with the help of the Collier County Clerk’s Office and enrolled in couples’ online marriage counseling and completed the course over a few nights and a few bottles of wine.

The day of the wedding could not have been more amazing.  The sun was shining in Naples and Kehrin, Fallon, and Matt met us at our home before sunrise with hot Starbucks coffee and calming, good vibes of friendship which set the celebratory tone for the day. Not knowing whether to expect protesters or a sudden judicial stay on the ruling for same-sex marriage had tensions heightened as we arrived in our caravan to the courthouse.  All of our friends and family wore the colors of the peacock – an idea we had planned for our November wedding going along with our love of blues, purples, and greens. It also symbolized our pride in the day and the concept of “proud as a peacock”.  We dressed in black and white because we wanted to symbolize that our union was now as clear as black and white in the eyes of the law.

We were surrounded in a parking deck by friends and family and our “team” and met increased security and several media outlets on the steps of the courthouse for this monumental day.  Submitting all the information at the courthouse is all a blur. From applause to laughter and then a brief, private ceremony in the clerk’s office chapel (they waived our fees!) we felt supported by those closest to us and now protected by the laws of the state we call home. There were tears, more applause, and the celebration from everyone in the courthouse as we became the first same sex couple to apply and legally be married in Collier County. We followed with a gorgeous brunch with our entire glam squad, friends, and family on Naples Third Avenue and then had a private stroll to reflect on what the day had meant to us and to our state and country. People stopped us to congratulate us or gave us thumbs up as they drove by. The waiter at brunch asked to take our photo. For one day we felt special doing just what everyone else does.

Looking back, I’m so thankful Bryan flipped for me on our first date.  We’ve been tumbling through this journey ever since.  It has opened doors to endless possibilities in life and friendship and has set the tone for how we want to spend the rest of days; expecting the unexpected.

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Ashley Title_key Sam

Real Wedding
gallery Aug 24 2015
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Connecticut Romance

Ashley & Sam know how to make our little hearts go pitter-patter! This lush, romantic setting is SO swoon-worthy! 

From the brides...

We met unexpectedly. Neither of us was looking for a relationship and we both went to the bar where we met that night, reluctantly.

After Ashley’s friend noticed her staring in my direction she insisted they approach my group to talk. The group conversation quickly turned to a one on one between Ashley and I. We soon found out that we had many things in common including where we grew up. The hours went by quickly and our friends left us. When we finally realized the time I asked for Ashley’s number and we said goodbye.

The following week I thought about her often and persistently asked her to hang out. I reached out every day until she caved. It would be safe to say we fell in love shortly after that during adventures in Astoria, in TriBeCa, and in Brooklyn between the hours 12am and sunrise.

Ashley and I, being in our early twenties at the time, were different people than we are now, yet our values and goals in life were always the same. As time progressed so did we. We grew together and formed an unbreakable bond.

I knew I wanted to propose to Ashley for a long time. I told her I’d one day make her my wife only a few weeks into our relationship. Five years later, I kept the ring in the safe at work and plotted the perfect way to ask.

The proposal happened during a trip to California. I had booked two nights at the beautiful Calistoga Ranch that Ashley was unaware of. When we pulled up to the grounds Ashley was completely shocked. After spending the afternoon in a heated pool, overlooking Napa Valley while drinking a bottle of cabernet, we headed to dinner. Our meal went quickly and I tried my best to act as normal as possible. Everything had to be timed just right for my plan.

While Ashley went to use the bathroom I alerted the maître d’ to get everything started.

When she came back, I convinced her to go for a walk to look at the California stars, and begrudgingly, without putting on her comfy clothes first, Ashley followed. I led her through the pool gates, down a path and into the vineyard. As we walked through a candlelit row of vines down from the hill, a solo guitarist was playing our song. I led Ashley to the rose petal covered stone patio that overlooked the vineyard as he followed us singing. I got down on one knee and proposed there under the stars.

The wedding took place on the lawn of the rustic Connecticut venue, The Barns at Wesleyan Hills. Surrounded by lush green grass and weeping willow trees, Ashley and I shared an intimate ceremony with our closest friends and family. We “tied the knot” during an ancient hand fasting ritual where ribbon was tied around both our hands as they were blessed. We were serenaded by our friend singing Patty Griffin’s Heavenly Day with acoustic guitar. Even the ceremony reading was unique as it was a poem I wrote for Ashley years prior read by another great friend.

Ashley had a vision and I stood by to watch the magic come together. From the seating cards made with rustic keys hung from a flower adorned fence, to a cake created to look like a wooden barrel the entire barn boasted our theme. The day was perfect. The support and love from our friends and family was overwhelming. It was truly the best day of our lives.

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Tagged: summer fashion, summer décor, spring inspiration, summer florals, summer inspiration, wedding dress alternatives, outdoor wedding, we laugh we love photography, brides, lesbian wedding
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#TBT
gallery Aug 20 2015
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Tomorrow, we turn 2 and we couldn't be more thrilled. We'll be celebrating with champagne & cake. Also, we are wondering if business years are like people years...is this the terrible 2's? Either way, we wanted to spend this #tbt looking back at our very first post. Ever. It seems like it was a decade ago!

Relive this stunning wedding & help us celebrate!

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Tagged: summer fashion, summer décor, mademoiselle fiona photography, summer florals, summer inspiration, #tbt, summer
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Cropped

Gary Title_key Charles

Real Wedding
gallery Jul 20 2015
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Brooklyn Boys

Tell us your love story!

We met when I (Charles)was visiting New York for the weekend, back in 2007. I was living in San Francisco at the time. My friends and I had tickets to see Margaret Cho at the Zipper Theater, but dinner finished early, so my friend suggested going to a nearby bar, Barrage, to have a drink. It was pretty early for a bar, so there weren’t too many people. We needed an extra chair and there happened to be one at the table where Gary was sitting with a friend. I went up, asked if it was OK if we took it, he said yes. When I sat back down with my friends, I happened to look his way, saw him looking at me, and I thought, he’s cute! I remember his smile. After a minute of us looking at each other and not really doing anything about it, my friend Kevin, a little exasperated, said, “Would you just go over and say hi already? He’s been looking at you since we walked in.” (Gary contends that the eye contact was mutual) So I did, and when I got to his table, Gary looked at me with this playful/wry look and said, “So, here to steal another chair?” I said, no, I wanted to see if I could join them. He eagerly said yes, please do, and then we (including his friend Jason) talked for an hour or so. A very fast hour. My other friend came up to us, told me we needed to make our way to the theater, so we exchanged phone numbers. And that commenced a series of non-stop texting that led to our meeting--just the two of us--a few nights later and then more texting and calling once I returned to SF. I was back in NY to visit and stay with Gary within three weeks. We spent the next 6 months traveling back and forth between SF and NYC. We saw each other every 2-3 weeks (racking up a lot of frequent flyer miles) and Skyped each other almost every day.

Tell us about the proposal!

It was June 26, 2014. The day that the Supreme Court was giving its verdict on the Windsor case. Gary is a political nut, so he follows MSNBC, all the blogs, knows everything about the House, the Senate, governors, etc. I can never follow politics, I can never remember names or offices. But this particular week, and on that particular day, I was following the news very closely, and when the news came out that the Supreme Court favored Windsor--clearing the way for federal recognition of gay marriage--we were obviously thrilled. At home from work, we watched the news programs on MSNBC. We rarely do that; usually, over dinner, we watch something like “Top Chef” or “Project Runway”, something light we’ve DVR’d earlier in the week. Tonight was different. After eating, we made our way to the couch and were watching Rachel Maddow. And suddenly, it hit me: I wanted us to be engaged on this historic day. Never mind I hadn’t done anything to prepare (like a ring, or a speech), or that we hadn’t talked about marriage in years. We’d talked about it before as something we wanted to do but not until it was legal on a federal level. Now it was, and I felt convinced we had to do it now. So I asked Gary if he would marry me. I think he thought I was being theoretical, he answered “yes” in a such an unemotional way. So I said to him something to the effect of, “I mean, I am asking you to marry me.  Will you marry me?” And he said yes again. He was really taken aback.   Something to know about Gary: he’s impossible to surprise. I am easily surprised, which is why he’s been able to plan surprises for me for birthdays and things like that, because I’m gullible and suspect nothing. Gary is always thinking several steps ahead. When we watch mysteries or thrillers, he knows who did it within minutes, whereas I haven’t even thought about it. The only way I can surprise him is if I don’t know what’s about to happen either.

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

Charles: We did long-distance--SF/NY--for six months, and by that point, we knew we wanted to live together. We would have been happy living in either one, but it was a lot easier for me to move and find a job in NY than it would have been for him to come to SF. So it took another six months before I could make all my arrangements to move. I drove in my car across the country, with Gary meeting me in Omaha, to drive together the rest of the way. I can’t think of a specific day or moment when I knew we were meant to be together, but by the time I left my SF apartment, I knew this was going to be it. Gary and I weren’t old, but we weren’t young kids. We’d been around, so we knew what felt serious. And this did.

Gary: I can’t pinpoint an exact moment that “I knew” but I have a general idea.  After a couple of years in my apartment, we decided to look for more space. We ultimately bought a house that turned out to be a gut renovation. It was a very stressful and time consuming project. At any point during the three year process, one of us would be freaking out about some aspect of the renovation, while the other would be a calming and grounding force. At some point during those three years I realized how wonderfully suited we are for each other, with enough in common to connect us, but with enough difference to balance the other. It is not something I think I would have recognized at a younger age. It also helped that all of my friends absolutely adore him.

Tell us about your big day…

Magic. It was the culmination of a weekend of festivity. It was a Sunday late afternoon wedding, so starting the middle of the week leading up to it, our families and out of town friends began to arrive. On Friday, Gary and I had dinner separately with our extended families; Saturday morning we hosted anyone who wanted to come for coffee and light brunch, and Saturday night we had the rehearsal dinner where our parents met for the first time. It was a big build-up. Sunday morning, Gary and I just relaxed and went to a local restaurant that we go to every weekend for brunch. It’s like “Cheers”; everyone knows our name there, we have the same waiter every time. We had a normal brunch, just the two of us, then came home, and started getting ready for Jacqueline to arrive at 2pm. I felt nerves, but good nerves, the sense of something exciting to come. Jacqueline was great; she spent an hour with us in our home, taking pictures of our house and of us getting ready, and looking back, I think it helped us get in the “wedding mode” and ready for the attention we were about to receive. And did we. We got to the site about an hour before the ceremony, did some family photos as the guests began to arrive. Melissa, our planner, had us go to a little room with family members who were going to be in the ceremony. Then, she had us get into our ready positions just outside the courtyard entrance to the Green Building. Once the music cue for the ceremony went on, things took off. Everyone always told us that the wedding goes by so fast you don’t have time to eat or think, and it’s true! Once Gary and I made our vows, things accelerated. It wasn’t a blur, because I felt like I was present at every moment. But it was non-stop and exhilerating. Everything was amazing from the flowers, to the music, to the Koolhaus ice cream truck that pulled up late in the evening. t was a perfect party and a great reflection of our personalities. We had arranged for a Photo Booth for a four hour period, and Melissa came by us toward the end and made sure Gary and I got a picture in there. We were the last people to take pictures, and it made me realize just how fast things had gone. I couldn’t believe it was already 10pm, which was the time we’d told the caterer and the DJ things would be done by. (Melissa asked our DJ, Duane, and Jacqueline if they wouldn’t mind staying an extra half hour, and they were so generous about it.)

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

We always joke that Gary is a planner at heart. He likes a plan. Not even 24 hours of engagement bliss had elapsed after the proposal that he said to me he’d already researched places to have a ceremony and we had to act fast because those places were booking up!   We knew we wanted to have the wedding in Brooklyn, and we knew we wanted the Mister Sunday (afternoon dance parties thrown by Mister Saturday Night) crew to be the DJs. Everything else, we were open to. We knew nothing about catering, about flowers, about decorations. Gary quickly found out about the Green Building, which appealed right away because it’s close to our house and close the Mr. Sunday parties which (until that summer) had been just a few blocks away, on an abandoned lot on the Gowanus. So, we had booked the music and the venue before we even had our wedding planner. Everything else was a bit of a mystery for us. 

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

When we got engaged, we’d just three months earlier moved into our house, which had been a gut renovation and took three years. It had been a nightmare of logistics but also decisions: what kind of light fixtures, how many, what color paint (there are hundreds of shades of white, I learned). Gary is far better than I am at filtering through and making a few selections. I need to have 3-4 options at most given to me, and then I can tell you which I like the best. We had the help of Melissa to guide us through it, but since we wanted this wedding to reflect on our lifestyles and personalities, she wasn’t in a position to make every decision for us as we wanted to be involved. So if you have the same problem I do, just be prepared: there are decisions to make. I took the advice of another friend who was also planning a wedding (but six months in advance of ours), someone prone to over-planning and getting neurotic about it. She warned me against feeling I had to meet lots of vendors in a specific category; she said it was OK if I only met one and went with it, if I felt good. So Jacqueline at Readyluck was a good example. We had looked at the websites of various photographers that Melissa suggested, and Melissa had reached out to arrange meetings with a few. We met Jacqueline first after another one had to cancel and reschedule. There was a particular album of Jacqueline on her webpage that I loved, so for me I just wanted to meet her and see if we got along.  Gary pretty much deferred to me on picking the photographer.) We met, liked her a lot, and so I told Melissa we were going with her, so we could cancel all the other meetings. And she did great! I think the month prior to our wedding--late April/early May--we’d hit wedding planning fatigue. Even though all the vendors were pretty much in place, there were still some things to change (like one vendor not having the specific table/chair or something like that). We were frankly tired of it all.

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

Well, there are some people who probably don’t have this problem, but our wedding was not dissimilar from our house in this respect: it cost a lot more than we originally planned!

Any advice for couples planning weddings now? Anything you would have done differently?

Just some random thoughts:

  • As I mention above, you don’t have to meet a ton of people in every category (catering, flowers, etc). Most of the vendors we went with, we only met one in person. All of them were fantastic.
  • On that same note: there is no one perfect wedding option that is out there you should be straining for. There are lots of great options out there, and if you don’t stress out too much, it will end up becoming perfect.  
  • Don’t feel locked into convention or what everybody else has done. There are truly no rules. For example, we didn’t want a first dance, so we just turned it over to the DJ after we thanked everyone and let the party begin. Likewise, neither of us are wild about cake, so we had lots of little desserts passed on the dance floor and to the tables and then had an ice cream truck show up late in the evening and everyone piled out into the street.  
  • Photobooth for people to take playful photos: WORTH IT. Do it!!!! And pay for the option to have an album made on the spot for guests to sign. Those pictures are priceless, and it was great having an album right away that we could look at.
  • Having Melissa get everything together for us and handle it all seamlessly on the day of: so worth it. I know some people don’t hire a planner and have friends/family do it. It’s a serious responsibility with a lot of stress for that person (and I would imagine possibly for the couple, if that person doesn’t handle stress well). Our wedding site was the kind of place where you have to arrange everything, so this was much more of a big deal than a wedding venue where all the catering and supplies are handled in-house.
  • For people who are worried about having a Sunday afternoon/evening ceremony (we were worried about it) because the next day is a workday: relax. The people you care about most will definitely fly in and come for it.

What was your favorite part of the day?

Hard to pick favorites, but the toasts given to us--by three friends and one unexpected by Charles’ father--were lovely. That was the one point I wish someone had videorecorded the event. We also loved the few minutes that our planner carved out for us alone in a side room with a cocktail and some of the appetizers just to absorb the moment together before we reemerged as a married couple.        

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Tagged: spring fashion, spring décor, summer fashion, summer décor, spring inspiration, summer inspiration, readyluck photography, grooms, brookyln, the green building
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