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USA, Oklahoma: Gay Couple Legally Marries On Tribal Land

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

Gay Oklahoma WeddingThe first legal same-sex marriage just occurred in Oklahoma – on tribal land.

Joe.My.God reports:

In May of this year, two Native American JMG readers married in Michigan at the approval of the Odawa tribe. And now two gay Native Americans have married in Oklahoma with the blessings of the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes: For the past five years, Jason Pickel has wanted to marry boyfriend Darren Black Bear. The two even planned a trip to Iowa, a state that recognizes same-sex marriage. But when the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act last June, Pickel had an idea. He called the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribe’s courthouse and asked a simple question. “I was really expecting a big no,” said Pickel. “I thought we’re on our way to Iowa, but I called the tribe and they said, ‘Yeah come on down, it’s twenty bucks.’” Twenty dollars for what no amount of money could buy in Oklahoma — a marriage license made legal by the tribal code.

Twenty bucks. Amazing.

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Why Do Gay and Straight Engaged Couples Avoid Writing Their Vows?

Saturday, October 19th, 2013

I don’t care what they say, not all wedding vows are equally romantic and sentimental.  The ones written on scraps of cocktail napkin while the groom and his boys are at a bar pre-wedding are not sentimental, because that would imply somebody put some “feeling” into writing those vows.  And let’s face it, we all know it’s whatever chicken scratch he could come up with in between watching the game, talking shit with his friends, and admiring the bikinis strolling by his seat.  No sir, I’m sorry.  You are busted.  You had to write them and you did the required homework, but odds are there’s nothing romantic about them.

Sandy Malone marrying Dwayne and Rodney Byrum on the set of TLC's "Wedding Island" on 12/12/12

Sandy Malone marrying Dwayne and Rodney Byrum on the set of TLC’s “Wedding Island” on 12/12/12

Why is the wedding ceremony such an incredibly difficult thing to write?  I’ll admit, we got married in an Episcopal service by a real priest, so all I had to do was choose the readings and prayers.  But for the rest of you (my clients especially), you have no excuse to be such slackers.  I send you a huge ceremony planning guide right after you hire me, months ahead of your wedding (it’s generic – meaning works for gay and straight clients because it has so many options).  I warned you right then and there that the ceremony is one of the most procrastinated items on the wedding “to do” list and I urge you to knock it out early and get it over with.  It’s like taking logic and stats your freshman year of college so you never have to do it again.  Same with the wedding ceremony, once you select your vows and put it on paper, it’s not going to change.  At least it shouldn’t.  What are you going to do, decide to take out something that you’re promising in your vows six months later because you’re mad at your fiancé?  Not likely.  That’s a whole other blog topic…

So what’s the problem?  And it literally is a HUGE problem for at least 80 percent of my clients.  What is so incredibly daunting about creating a 15-minute wedding ceremony when you have a Mad Libs-esque guidebook to lead you through it and all you HAVE to do it cut and paste into a Word document and add your own names?  Not rocket science.  Not even Sodoku.  But some of you who watched “Wedding Island” saw that I’m not joking and brides really do draft their vows as they’re finishing hair and makeup.  But, at least, they write them down.  Most of the time – I’ve had two brides lately that had me pleading with them to go down the aisle as they finished writing their vows.  One was straight, one was not – therefore proving my theory that all y’all suck when it comes to getting your wedding vows done ahead of schedule.  Doesn’t matter the gender of the wedding clients.  Most of you put off your vows.

What’s even worse than wedding vows written at the last minute???  Extemporaneous vows. Vows “from the heart.”  Oh sure, you’ll hear people defend “winging it” as romantic. No.  It’s not.  I call bullshit on that.  Even if you were president of Toastmaster’s, you need to consider the meaning behind your vows before you spew them out of your mouth on a whim and promise these things for life in front of God and all the world.

Gorgeous set of gay engagement rings from a recent wedding -- so creative.

Gorgeous set of gay engagement rings from a recent wedding — so creative.

I have sat through countless “off the cuff” vows and watched the minister, the guests, and sometimes even the brides or grooms wince as their beloved promises not to “watch football on important days” and not be afraid of her at night when she has “goo on her face” and to “walk the dog and empty the dishwasher.”  No lie, they say these things (it’s usually people who’ve been kind enough to pay for a videographer so we can all watch it again later and try to figure out what they were saying in the first place). And they mean them in that moment.  But your marital vows are supposed to be promises to support each other, work together, compromise together, etc.  Not a litany of things you’ve been meaning to do and promising to do for as long as you’ve lived together.  That’s just not right.  That’s a “honey I WILL do” list and you can work on that together during your honeymoon if you’re even serious about that stuff.

First, there is no rule that says you have to write your own vows.  It’s just a trend.  Thousands of people have kindly done it already and put it out there on the Internet so you can just pick and choose what applies to you.  If you can’t handle that many options, then you can just use our ceremony planning guide and that skinnies it down a bit.  I think a lot of people find the options daunting and so decide to write their own vows.  But I have a tip for you – not everybody is a writer.  And sometimes you can find the words you need already written by somebody else and “borrow” those vows without starting from scratch.

Second, if you’re having trouble getting started but you’re determined to do it yourself, try writing a letter to your fiancé and then see if that converts.  Just try it six months before you’re to be married.  Trust me, you’re likely to be less-stressed and more in love at that moment anyway. There is nothing relaxing about having your wedding ceremony plan hanging over your head the week of your wedding.  Especially when you have an annoying wedding planner like me who is right on your ass about it.

My goal is to give you the perfect wedding day.  I don’t want to see you freaking out about wedding vows, or anything else!  You should be getting handsome or beautiful and enjoying your loved ones and the minister should have been all prepared with your ceremony for at least a month in case they had questions for you.  Your wedding rehearsal will go more smoothly, everybody involved will understand what’s going on, and nobody will be bugging you about your vows while you’re getting ready to get married.

Until next time, happy wedding planning from Weddings in Vieques and Weddings in Culebra!


Sandy Malone is the owner of Weddings in Vieques, a full-service destination wedding planning company based on Vieques Island, seven miles off the coast of Puerto Rico.  She is also the star of TLC’s new reality wedding show “Wedding Island,” premiering July 17, 2013 at 10 pm ET/PT.  Sandy and her team (including her husband Bill, a retired SWAT team commander) have planned and executed almost 400 weddings in the Spanish Virgin Islands.  Sandy is a veteran event planner from Washington, DC, with years of experience planning large and small weddings, press conference, and corporate and political events.  She has planned countless events on Vieques Island, beginning with her own wedding back in 2004.  Since that time, her professional staff has executed large and small weddings of all styles, including elopements, vow renewals and fabulously posh events at multi-million dollar waterfront villas.  She has also planned family reunions, destination baby showers, corporate retreats and a variety of other events for clients from all over the United States and Canada.  Sandy is also the owner of Weddings in Culebra (wedding planning on Vieques’ little sister island), Flowers in Vieques (a full service floral and décor firm), and Boutique in Vieques (a clothing and home décor shop).  Sandy has a regular column on the Huffington Post  and has been rated “Five Rainbows” by her happy gay clients!


Colombia: First Same-Sex Marriage Annulled

Friday, October 4th, 2013

Colombia google maps

from Google Maps

The battle over marriage equality in Columbia’s courts continued this week, as one judge overruled another.

On Top Magazine reports:

The September 20 union of Julio Albeiro Cantor Borbon and William Alberto Castro Franco was declared a marriage by a Bogota civil court judge. A second couple, Elizabeth Castillo and Claudia Zea, joined them last week. Local media reported on Wednesday that Judge Eduardo Diaz annulled the first marriage on Wednesday, saying that there is no constitutional right for gay people to marry. The Husband and Wife Foundation, an anti-gay group run by Javier Suarez, moved to have the marriage canceled.

Marriage equality rights are unclear in Columbia at the moment because the legislature has refused to respond to a court order that it provide rights to same-sex couples. So for now, it’s unclear whether couples should be allowed to marry or enter into some form of civil partnership. The courts have so far refused to clarify the issue.

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Video: Straight Man Speaks Out About Response to Gay Brother’s Wedding

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-10-01 at 6.17.09 AMHere’s your tear-jerker video of the day – a straight man responds to Facebook friends who disapproved of his brother’s wedding.

The Huffington Post reports:

In this emotional video, David Stevens, a straight man, discusses what happened after he posted pictures of his gay brother’s wedding on Facebook. After telling the reader about the beautiful and loving relationship between his brother and his partner, Stevens shares a Facebook message he received following their decision to tie the knot.

Everyone deserves a brother like this. It will make you cry.

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USA, Washington DC: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Officiates at a Second Gay Wedding

Monday, September 30th, 2013

US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgUS Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is at it again.

On Top Magazine reports:

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg officiated at the wedding of a second gay couple last Sunday. According to The New York Times, Ginsburg presided at the marriage of food columnist and cookbook author David Hagedorn and National Weather Service communications director Michael Widomski. On September 1, Ginsburg, 80, officiated the marriage of Kennedy Center President Michael Kaiser and economist John Roberts… In an interview with The Washington Post, Ginsburg said of the first ceremony: “I think it will be one more statement that people who love each other and want to live together should be able to enjoy the blessings and the strife in the marriage relationship.”

Go, Ginsburg, go!

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USA, Pennsylvania: Church “Trial” for Pastor Who Officiated At Gay Son’s Wedding

Monday, September 30th, 2013

Pastor Frank SchaeferA Methodist pastor in Pennsylvania who officiated at the wedding of his gay sn is being put on trial by the church.

Pink News reports:

Frank Schaefer, a pastor of the Zion United Methodist Church, said in an interview on Monday with the Patriot News that he felt he was following Christian principles, when he agreed to help his son and his partner marry, back in 2007. “We just love him so much it was an honour to be asked. Had I said no to him, it would have negated all the affirmations we gave him for all those year…that we believe you are just as worthy and precious in God’s sight as anybody else,” he said. Schaefer may face disciplinary action, or may be defrocked for officiating at the wedding. “To me this is a human rights issue,” he continued. “If being of a certain sexual orientation is who you are as a person, if that is genetic, who are we to say that these persons do not have the same rights as everybody else.”

So much for Christian love. And if this happened in 2007, why is it just coming up now?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Pennsylvania.

USA, New Jersey: Lambertville Mayor Wants to Perform State’s First Same Sex Wedding

Monday, September 30th, 2013

Lambertville, NJ - Apple Maps

from Apple Maps

David DelVecchhio, Mayor of Lambertville, a small town in New Jersey, wants to be the first to perform a same sex wedding in the state. reports:

Last year Lambertville Mayor David DelVecchhio was named New Jersey’s Mayor Of The Year. Today he vowed to perform that state’s first same-sex marriage if Governor Chris Christie’s appeal is unsuccessful. DelVecchio, a Democrat, said he will perform the state’s first legal gay marriage ceremony for Beth Asaro and Joanne Schailey at midnight three weeks from today, as long as a judge doesn’t grant a stay of the Sept. 27 ruling. A handful of couples has already expressed interest in weddings, he said. Lambertville, across the Delaware River from New Hope, Pennsylvania, has a large gay population.

Maybe he can convince the Mayor of New Hope to do one, too?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in New Jersey.

About That Modern Family Wedding

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

Modern Family ProposalThe fifth-season premiere of ABC’s Modern Family featured a marriage proposal that wouldn’t have been possible only months ago. But in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s June decision allowing same-sex marriage in California, producers of the Emmy-winning comedy knew the time was right for its gay couple, Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and Cameron (Eric Stonestreet), to take the plunge. Here, Jeffrey Richman — one of the 20th Television-produced comedy’s two openly gay writer-producers — reveals to The Hollywood Reporter’s Lacey Rose in his own words the emotional process of writing Wednesday night’s landmark episode…

We hadn’t really talked about Mitch and Cam getting married until DOMA and Prop 8 came onto our radar when we got back to work in the middle of May. We don’t usually do California-centric stories — and while we don’t really identify where the characters live, we knew we weren’t going to send them to another state to get married and they weren’t going to have a fake commitment ceremony. We’d avoided that for four seasons. Mitch and Cam have been in a relationship for eight years, they already are a family and they have a daughter, so there needed to be a reason for them to get married. This became the “why now.”

When it actually looked like [same-sex marriage] might become legal, it seemed like we could really make something of that. Then it sort of gathered momentum because it wouldn’t just be a one-off story. It would give us episodes leading up to a wedding, and we’re so hungry for stories. You could see a bachelor party, you could see a party planner, you could see so many things. We spent a lot of time and energy breaking the first story and arcing out potential other stories and then trying to find out, by whatever means we could, how close to being real this was. We were very ahead of ourselves and so enamored by the story arc and the idea that we went way out on a limb.

Authored By Lacey Ross – See the Full Story at the Hollywood Reporter

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South Korea: Gay Couple to Challenge Marriage Equality Ban

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

South Korea - google maps

from Google Maps

A gay couple who held South Korea’s first public same-sex wedding plans to challenge the country’s ban on marriage equality.

On Top Magazine reports:

Film director Kim Jho Gwang-soo and his partner Kim Seung-hwan say they’ll challenge South Korea’s law limiting marriage to heterosexual couples. The couple, together nine years, exchanged vows in Seoul earlier this month in what is considered the nation’s first public same-sex wedding. The lavish two-hour ceremony, announced months in advance, was dubbed “Kim Jho Gwang-soo and Kim Seung-hwan’s Righteous Wedding” and included hundreds of guests. The men told CNN that they plan to apply for a marriage license, and if that is rejected, as expected, they will take their case to the Constitutional Court.

Several Asian countries are now vying to officially recognize same-sex couples – could South Korea be the first?

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Romania: Country Has Its First Televised Same-Sex Marriage

Monday, September 16th, 2013

Romania – Google Maps

From Google Maps

A same-sex couple was married on Romanian television for the first time this week.

Towleroad reports:

On a recent episode of a Romanian reality game show, a gay couple’s wedding not only won the ceremony competition, but also became the very first televised broadcast of a gay wedding in Romania’s history. Daniel and Mihai, who have been together for 14 years, decided to share their Bucharest wedding with viewers as a statement because of Romania’s laws prohibiting gay weddings or civil partnerships for same-sex couples. Billed as a lifestyle reality game show, Four Weddings and a Challenge involves four brides/grooms attending each other’s weddings and rating them on dress, venue, food and overall experience.

Romania doesn’t yet recognize marriage equality, but maybe this will open the door a little.

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