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Featured Gay Friendly Wedding Vendor: Fleur-tatious Floral Design, Boston, Massachusetts

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

Fleur-tatious Floral Design - BostonPeriodically we’ll feature one of our vendors here to let our readers know about some great people who can help you plan the perfect wedding.

Gay Wedding Flowers in Boston, MA, USA. Fleur-tatious Floral Design is a home-based floral design business located in East Bridgewater, Massachusetts and is owned and operated by Christian Young. We primarily serve the greater Boston area and Southeastern Massachusetts. Christian’s primary mission is to provide customized service with a focus on building long-term, personal relationships with his clients as well as the recipients of the floral pieces he creates for them.

See the Fleur-tatious Floral Design Expanded Listing on Purple Unions Here

Gay Friendly Wedding Vendors in Boston

Featured Gay Friendly Wedding Vendor: Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago, Illinois

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

Lincoln Park Zoo - Chicago

Periodically we’ll feature one of our vendors here to let our readers know about some great people who can help you plan the perfect wedding.

Gay Wedding Event Location in Chicago, IL, USA. Say “I Do” nestled in beautiful gardens and historal landmark buildings in the heart of Chicago. We have 15 spectacular and flexible indoor and outdoor spaces to make your special day truly memorable., Lincoln Park Zoo is the perfect place to say “I Do”. We offer unique venues to fit any couple’s vision. Entertain your friends and family surrounded by our exotic animals, lush gardens and historical landmark buildings right in downtown Chicago!

See the Lincoln Park Zoo Expanded Listing on Purple Unions Here

Gay Friendly Wedding Vendors in Illinois

Featured Gay Friendly Wedding Vendor: Catering from Soup to Nuts, Inc, Wailuku, Maui, Hawaii

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

Periodically we’ll feature one of our vendors here to let our readers know about some great people who can help you plan the perfect wedding.

Catering from Soup to Nuts, Inc. - Maui

Gay Wedding Food & Beverage in Wailuku, Maui, HI, USA. Catering from Soup to Nuts, Inc. has been serving Maui with exceptional pride since 2003. Our extensive catering & restaurant menus begin on Maui, with a wide range of Pacific Rim and world cuisine. Each menu is tailored to our guest’s desires, and our expert chefs and coordinators ensure that every experience is memorable, and without pretension or strife. We believe in eating and entertaining at a new level of comfort.

See the Catering from Soup to Nuts, Inc. Expanded Listing on Purple Unions Here

Gay Friendly Wedding Vendors

Featured Gay Friendly Wedding Vendor: Acorn Farms, Mount Joy, Pennsylvania

Monday, August 18th, 2014

Acorn Farms - Mount Joy, PennsylvaniaPeriodically we’ll feature one of our vendors here to let our readers know about some great people who can help you plan the perfect wedding.

Gay Wedding Event Location in Mount Joy, PA, USA. At Acorn Farms Reception and Conference Center, we help make your event spectacular. As a reception hall and caterer in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, we assist couples in executing all of the little details, while ensuring your special day is perfect. For your convenience, we even allow you to drop off your decorations and favors early in the week and take care of setting up your reception area.

See the Acorn Farms Expanded Listing on Purple Unions Here

Gay Friendly Wedding Vendors in Pennsylvania

Featured Gay Friendly Wedding Vendor: Providence Marriott Downtown, Providence, Rhode Island

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

Providence Marriott Downtown Periodically we’ll feature one of our vendors here to let our readers know about some great people who can help you plan the perfect wedding.

Gay Wedding Event Location in Providence, RI, USA. Providence Marriott Downtown hotel offers over 30 years of event and wedding planning expertise. Your personal event consultant will be available to help you coordinate as much or as little of your, wedding and reception as you desire. Ballrooms have had a full makeover, top to bottom.

See the Providence Marriott Downtown Expanded Listing on Purple Unions Here

Gay Friendly Wedding Vendors in Rhode Island

Featured Gay Friendly Wedding Vendor: Joyful Ceremonies, Kapa’a, Kauai, Hawaii

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

Joyful Ceremonies - Kapa'a, Kauai, HawaiiPeriodically we’ll feature one of our vendors here to let our readers know about some great people who can help you plan the perfect wedding.

Gay Wedding Planners in Kapaa, Kauai, HI, USA. Dale Rosenfeld of Joyful Ceremonies will add extra happiness and peace-of-mind to your special event. Dale incorporates 40 years of experience in her skills of Officiant and Wedding Planner to help create your hearts’ desires.

See the Joyful Ceremonies Expanded Listing on Purple Unions Here

Gay Friendly Wedding Vendors

Featured Gay Friendly Wedding Vendor: Stevi Hanson Wedding Officiant, Sonoma, California

Monday, August 11th, 2014

Stevi Hanson Wedding Officiant Periodically we’ll feature one of our vendors here to let our readers know about some great people who can help you plan the perfect wedding.

Gay Wedding Officiants in Sonoma, CA, USA. Stevi Hanson delights in skillfully performing wedding ceremonies for couples in the most beautiful place in the world: Sonoma County. Stevi will work with you to fulfill your dreams and your beliefs by working together to create a personalized wine-country wedding ceremony that is special, meaningful and uniquely yours. If you’d like a small, quiet (or huge loud) wedding that is intimate & stress free, Stevi insures you get the wedding you dream of.

See Stevi’s Expanded Listing on Purple Unions Here

Gay Friendly Wedding Vendors in the San Francisco Bay Area

Featured Gay Friendly Wedding Vendor: Aloha Maui Dream Weddings, Kihei, Maui, Hawaii

Sunday, August 10th, 2014

Aloha Maui Dream Weddings Periodically we’ll feature one of our vendors here to let our readers know about some great people who can help you plan the perfect wedding.

Gay Wedding Planners in Kihei, Maui, HI, USA. We specialize in beautiful, romantic Lesbian and Gay weddings in Hawaii thanks to the Marriage Equality in Hawaii Bill! We have talented photographers, experienced ministers, florists, well-known musicians, and gorgeous venues for you to choose from. Inquire for individual vendors or for completed, uncomplicated wedding planning.

See the Aloha Maui Dream Weddings Expanded Listing on Purple Unions Here

Gay Friendly Wedding Vendors in Maui, Hawaii

Featured Gay Friendly Wedding Vendor: DiNolfo’s Banquets of Homer Glen

Saturday, August 9th, 2014

DiNolfo's Banquets of Homer Glen

Periodically we’ll feature one of our vendors here to let our readers know about some great people who can help you plan the perfect wedding.

Gay Wedding Event Location in Homer Glen, IL, USA. DiNolfo’s Banquets of Homer Glen is the newest premier venue for weddings and special events. From the 30′ floor to ceiling windows and private outdoor courtyards to the elegant wedding chapels and top-quality service, our Chicago area banquet facility sets the stage for unforgettable celebrations. Imagine your grand entrance on an exquisite winding staircase reminiscent of a classic movie, or portraits enhanced by our enchanting outdoor gazebo.

See the DiNolfo’s Banquets of Homer Glen
Expanded Listing on Purple Unions Here

Gay Friendly Wedding Vendors in Illinois

The “Wedding Bully” – 5 Real Examples and an Expert’s Opinion on Why They Exist

Monday, August 4th, 2014

I’d like to coin a new phrase with this blog – “The Wedding Bully.” What or who is a “wedding bully?” Anyone other than the brides and grooms who comes to a wedding weekend – at home or at a destination – and tries to take over, push people around, threaten consequences, or make the brides and grooms feel badly about the events they’ve planned surrounding their big day.

Any rational person is thinking, “Who would do such a thing?” Let me tell you, having seen it happen time and time again, “wedding bullies” come in all shapes, sizes and genders. And it makes me wonder whether it’s because once you’re a bully, you’re always a bully. Are these people the same ones who tortured their classmates in high school?

Some “wedding bullies” reveal themselves during the planning process – a friend or member of the wedding party who inflicts his or her opinion repeatedly on the brides and grooms trying to make sure they get what they want on the couples’ special day. Sounds weird, but it’s not uncommon. I had one Mother of the Bride who really did call me to enlist my aid in forcing the bride to name a specific girl as “Maid of Honor.” And in that case, the mom had signed my contract and I was in the very awkward position of having to help facilitate her wishes. But that was bullying in my opinion and I didn’t feel good about it at all.

Bridesmaids have been known to gang up on brides about their dresses, the bachelorette party location and who she should be allowing to bring a “plus one” and who should not get that extra invite. Really, it’s all just unsolicited (usually) opinions. But the manner in which the opinion is delivered is what qualifies it (or not) as bullying rather than helping.

I decided to ask an expert on bullying why it seems like such a problem with adults – even maybe as big a problem as with children, and he told me bullying is more commonplace at every age than we’d like to admit. My friends don’t behave that way and seeing it in the wedding business has been educational to say the least.

Tim Hutchinson, the founder and head of The Bully Doctor, says “those who experienced bullying continue to treat others in the manner they’ve been taught, which is oftentimes marked by rude and aggressive behavior.”

Just to give you a clear picture of what I’m trying to explain, let me give you five real-life examples of some “wedding bullies” I’ve met during my career:

1) It’s always hard to shut down a wedding reception when the time has come, but most clients know what they’ve paid for and are ready to move onto the next part of the evening. Unfortunately, there are some inebriated guests who know better and think the party should continue to rage. I’ve had both a mother of the groom and a wedding guest actually throw fistfuls of cash at me when the answer to the question of whether the reception could be extended was “No.” Of course, they didn’t start out asking nicely (the answer would have been the same), they told us that we HAD TO extend the event longer. Mind you, this wasn’t the bride or groom asking in either case (it never is because they know the cost per additional hour and they can’t afford it). These are people who have no authority to tell us to do anything who think they can bully us with words, cash and sometimes threats to get what they want. In one case, the angry guest actually threw a burning three-foot sparkler at me and a staff members during the sparkler tunnel finale to show his displeasure with not getting his way. I bet he was a nightmare child.

2) There are always some bar rules based on the bar package the clients have purchased. In some cases, the bar doesn’t include fancy signature drinks, even if most of the ingredients appear to be there. Many bars do not include shots because there are, sadly, wedding guests who will belly up to the bar and slam down tequila, one shot after another, for literally hours on end. If the brides and grooms want their guests to be able to get THAT drunk, they have to choose a package that permits that. You wouldn’t believe how belligerent drunks can get – the bartender who has been his buddy all night suddenly becomes a target when he won’t sell him a bottle of liquor under the table for later (violates policies and some laws). On more than one occasion, guests have stolen full bottles of booze when the bartender’s back was turned. And once, a liquor thief actually dropped a whole bottle that smashed on the pool deck (amongst hundreds of bare dancing feet) when he was sneaking it away inside his pants.

3) Some guests think it’s fun to harass the staff, sexually or otherwise. We had an incident this winter where some groomsmen wanted me to do shots with them. It started out with the interns, but I got a radio call for help and went to intervene. We have a “no drinking” policy for all of our wedding staff – for obvious reasons. Usually, just telling them it’s the policy will get normal people who just wanted to “buy a drink” for you to back off. But not always. I found myself surrounded by a few very, very big boys – all members of our esteemed U.S. military I might add – who wanted to force me to do shots. It went from a polite refusal on my end, to a firm “no” and policy explanation. But that wasn’t enough for them. The name calling started. I hadn’t done anything except refuse to personally take a shot. Next thing you know, they had me backed up against the DJ booth, threatening me. Security intervened and removed them from the venue. Sometimes, that has to be done.

4) We had to shut down the wedding where the bottles were getting smashed for safety reasons. I didn’t want anyone cut, and they were too drunk already for us to control. The liability issues were escalating. In fact, the bride’s father was a police officer and he tried to help – but left before their antics got him into trouble with his own department. He knew those boys were out of control and, inevitably, police would end up being called. The same group of men who had been harassing the bar staff, stealing alcohol and berating me tried to surround our staff and prevent us from leaving the venue. It was frightening. There were 16 of us and it was still scary because we don’t engage in physical altercations with any wedding guests. That’s what police are for in those situations.

5) Jerks aside, the most upsetting “wedding bullies” to me are the bridesmaids who gang up on the brides about wedding details. I’ve heard girls tell a bride – just as she was about to walk down the aisle – that her flowers were too “yellow” and “not ivory enough.” For real? At her biggest moment, you’ve got to get that dig in? I even had a bridesmaid at my own wedding who refused to follow my request that all the girls wear strappy pink sandals (pick the shade of pink you like). My request was that they not resemble “hooker heels” – and I had to be specific because a few of my girlfriends liked to wear really ridiculous shoes (remember this was 10 years ago and styles have drastically changed). One bridesmaid not only chose the most inappropriate shoes she could find, but she rubbed them in my face on my wedding day (too late to do anything about it at that point) and then made a point to have the photographer take a bunch of pictures of her holding up her dress showing off her shoes. Seriously. While that might be slightly passive-aggressive bullying compared to men screaming and throwing things, it’s just as detrimental to the bride’s state of mind on her wedding day. Mothers of the Bride can be the meanest in the passive/aggressive bully zone – they just drop little snarky remarks about how the bride’s hair would have looked better down (after she spent two hours having an elaborate updo constructed) or that it’s a shame she couldn’t lose those last ten pounds for the dress and she should remember to hold her tummy in. Yep, I’ve heard it over and over again in the bridal suite. And in my mind, that’s bullying.

I’m somewhat fascinated – and completely horrified – by “wedding bullies.” Are they people who haven’t been married or are jealous? I don’t think they’re any worse at gay weddings than at straight ones – I’ve seen them at both in equal proportion. Perhaps I’m a little more protective of my gay clients because, although I’m not gay, I can imagine they’ve all been through bullying in live regarding their sexual preference. It’s just not acceptable for a “wedding bully” to take the slightest bit of happiness away from their special day.

Are “wedding bullies” just regular assholes in everyday life but their friends all tolerate it? It’s one thing to hear that Johnny took some boy’s hat on the bus and wouldn’t give it back – you can address those incidents as teaching opportunities with children. But what happened to these adults who push, threaten and bully other adults, especially at a wedding? Where the hell do they come from? And why haven’t they been smacked down already by somebody bigger and meaner?

Tim Hutchinson of the The Bully Doctor, known for his "Project Bully Proof" Program, is a regular contributor on all the major networks.

Tim Hutchinson of the The Bully Doctor, known for his “Project Bully Proof” Program, is a regular contributor on all the major networks.

Again, I asked the expert, from The Bully Doctor, to explain it to me. He’s credited with creating a “bully proof” system that changes lives. While he can’t help fix arriving wedding guests, he can help me understand what makes them tick.

“I find this behavior can often be traced back to middle or high school where bullied students believe all they have to do is ‘survive’ a place they commonly refer to as ‘hell’ until graduation. While graduating means getting away from those bullies, far too often the effects of bullying continue to impact their lives,” Hutchinson says. “They’re usually the people we encounter who are pushy, aggressive, and at times seem to lack any social skills.”

“Research shows that those who are bullied in school often become the bullies, and the cycle continues. There are solutions, however many organizations and websites are still in the ‘awareness’ phase of bullying – and while it’s helpful to continue to spread the message that bullying hurts, that alone simply does not stop it. We need to move into the ‘correction’ phase (that’s where we fix it) and quickly!” Hutchinson says.

I couldn’t agree more – and the fix can’t come soon enough. Which is exactly why, as a wedding planner, I’m continuously on the lookout for “wedding bullies.” When we see the parent tormenting the bride or groom, we suddenly need the MoB or MoG someplace else to give her approval. No, we don’t care what she thinks, but if she’s picking on us, she’s not bullying the brides or grooms. I’d rather have them bully me.

This is also why we don’t tolerate “wedding bully” guests. Oh sure, we swallow a lot of rude and drunk behavior because we’re party planners. Dealing with wasted wedding guests is, unfortunately, a big part of our job. But our staff – the bartenders, waitresses, interns and musicians, DO NOT have to take that and it’s our job to put a stop to it. You can’t heckle the DJ, threaten the bartender or intimidate an intern into doing shots with you at a wedding I’ve planned. My weddings are a NO BULLYING ZONE.

I don’t mean we interrupt when we hear friends exchanging mean words – that would be outside the scope of my responsibility – but when it comes to the wedding couple or the staff, that IS my domain. And I don’t tolerate any “wedding bullies” in it. You shouldn’t either.

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

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 reality wedding show “Wedding Island,” . 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!  Follow Sandy on Twitter @SandyMalone_ and @WeddingsinVQS and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SandyMaloneWIV.

Sandy Malone is the star of TLC's "Wedding Island" and "Bodas Increibles" on FOX International. She's an expert on taking on "wedding bullies."

Sandy Malone is the star of TLC’s “Wedding Island” and “Bodas Increibles” on FOX International. She’s an expert on taking on “wedding bullies.”