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Featured Gay Friendly Wedding Vendor: Rev. Will Mercer, New York City, New York

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

Reverend Will Mercer, New York City

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 Friendly New York City Wedding Officiant – Your Wedding Ceremony is the heart of your Wedding and your Officiant is the heart of your Ceremony.

See Reverend Will Mercer’s ‘s Expanded Listing on Purple Unions Here

Gay Friendly Wedding Vendors in New York City

Mississippi, USA: Lesbian Couple Demands Museum Allow Commitment Ceremony

Monday, July 16th, 2012

Mississippi: Lesbian Couple Demands Museum Allow Commitment CeremonyA lesbian who sued her school district in 2010 after she was left out of the high school yearbook for wearing a tuxedo is demanding the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum permit a commitment ceremony for her and her partner.

The Southern Poverty Law Center sent a letter to the museum on Thursday on behalf of Ceara Sturgis, 20, and threatened to sue if the facility doesn’t allow Sturgis and her partner, 19-year-old Emily Key, to hold the ceremony there on Aug. 11.

The letter said Sturgis and her mother, Veronica Rodriguez, are both from Jackson and want the ceremony at the museum’s Masonic Hall so friends and relatives can attend.

Authored By Holbrook Mohr – See the Full Story at the Daily Reporter

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Mississippi.

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Meeting Your Match Online — Just Be Careful Which Rocks You Look Under for Your Future Husband or Wife!

Monday, March 19th, 2012

I’m pretty sure that AT LEAST half of my clients, both gay and not, met their future spouses online. Probably more than half, but not all of them are willing to admit it. I certainly don’t think it’s anything to be ashamed of – in fact, I find it fascinating. More than one couple has been outed during the toast (or shall I say roast) by the BM or MoH at the reception. Let’s face it – zoosk.com, match.com, chemistry.com, jewishsingles.com, etc. have become the new dating scene. To hell with hours of sipping watered down lousy drinks in uncomfortable shoes while potential DTFs appraise you like beef at auction! Why would you put yourself through that when you can wear your favorite sweat pants with your Snuggy, and drink Mexican hot chocolate while you troll the World Wide Web for your future mate? All you need is a good picture from the last time you bothered to get dressed up and put on makeup or shave (or both), right? It’s virtual dating in a virtual world and as long as you’re not dumb enough to accidentally turn on the camera on your laptop, you are all set for a hot night on the Internet.

While I’m willing to support online dating as a great way to meet people (told my mom to try it and she finally listened), I think you have to be selective about which online dating sights you choose to troll. You might not want to go through the extensive vetting of some services, but others are little more than sex-for-hire advertisements. It’s not always about money. There were several gentlemen on one of the sites I researched who were willing to clean my house, do my laundry, cook my dinner and generally be my bitch in exchange for a firm spanking. Hmmm. Alt.com is definitely the place to go for ANYTHING that doesn’t fit in another category.

In my last life, I was a VP of public affairs for a company that owned, among other entities, a certain online dating company named Lavalife. Lavalife.com has 15 million users and the tagline “dating, relationships, and intimate encounters.” Every time I had to call their Canadian headquarters I’d get the heebie jeebies because the ultra sultry voice on the phone tree sounded so naughty when it said “Welcome to Lavalife!” I couldn’t help but picture a silk pajama-clad receptionist serving cosmos to clients waiting in the lobby. It was completely above board and yet after every conference call, I felt a little bit icky. Until I realized that there are entire online dating sites dedicated to helping connect people who are looking for daddy/daughter arrangements, BDSM partnerships, and a whole host of other things that might not generally be found in the mainstream. Turns out that Lavalife is very, very tame. Vanilla even.

The most horrible advertising I’ve seen for any online dating website yet was a television commercial last week for www.ArrangementFinders.com (the inspiration for this blog, truth be told). Thanks to Arrangement Finders, now I know why we no longer see prostitutes walking down 14th Street in my native Washington, DC. Hookers don’t have to streetwalk anymore because of online dating web sites like this one that advertise “intimacy with a twi$t” (oh yes, you did read that with a dollar sign in lieu of an “s” because that’s how they spell it on their advertisements) for “people seeking mutually beneficial arrangements.” Really? REALLY? Heebie jeebies at a factor of 10 with this one. In a world where danger lurks around every corner anyway, would any sane person look for a relationship on a website that advertises financial incentives? I didn’t go too far into the site to explore because I could only imagine the pop ups and viruses that lurked within. That made me laugh, realizing I was as afraid of a computer virus as a real STD, and chances are I could get both on the same website if I wasn’t careful.

How is that not illegal? Maybe it’s like sales tax on the Internet – a giant grey area that nobody knows what to do with. Maybe it’s such a humungous epidemic of a problem that nobody has the first clue how to tackle it, just like child porn on the Internet. Or maybe it’s that law enforcement would rather ignore it because at least it’s channeled and there’s nobody naked shaking ass at cars and clogging up traffic in the nation’s capitol anymore. Just sayin’.

Curious about all of this, and knowing how many of my clients meet each other via laptop, I did some research and found a couple of very useful sites (for singles… not for me. I’m married). If you’re dating online or thinking about dating online, check out www.top10gaydatingsites.com or www.100bestdatingsites.com and see what each different dating site is about before you sign up and give them your information. You don’t have to pay for a lot of the sites, but there are also a lot of pay-to-play dating sites that claim to vet their membership, even running criminal background checks in some cases. Make sure you know what you’re doing before you hand them all your personal info for their background check. Research them extensively and listen to your gut. When in doubt, skip it.

There’s one online dating site I can positively vouch for – my mom met my stepdad on eHarmony (www.eharmony.com), and then I planned their wedding here on Vieques last June. He’s a pretty amazing guy and she lucked out. So did he. But that’s proof that it’s never too late to start searching for the love of your life. Just be selective about where you look for them.

Until next time, happy wedding planning from Weddings in Vieques (www.weddingsinvieques.com) and Weddings in Culebra (www.weddingsinculebra.com)!

Sandy

The Birth of Gay Wediquette

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

Hello there!

There is no Emily Post etiquette guide for gay weddings.

I’ve been a very busy Caribbean destination wedding planner on a little island seven miles off the coast of Puerto Rico for five years, but I’d never really thought about that challenge before my client Patrick brought it to my attention as we were putting the finishing touches on his April commitment ceremony.  He’s absolutely right.  How have I missed that?  His is certainly not the first gay wedding I’ve ever planned.  I plan lots of commitment ceremonies because Vieques Island is very, very gay friendly and has a number of gay-owned businesses and accommodations.

Because there is no real etiquette authority (or rules) about how you do destination weddings (or gay destination weddings), I’ve been making it up as I go along.  No really, I have.  You see, I was raised by an etiquette aficionado.  My cousin and I jokingly refer to my mom and her dad as “Ms.” and “Mr. Post,” respectively.  They’re the only people left in the world that I know who flip over wedding invitations and run their fingers over the back to check and see if it’s real engraving before they ever look to see who is inviting them!  Not saying there’s anything wrong with that.  Just sayin’.

I was raised in a strict household with consistent manners enforcement.  We called our parents “Ma’am” and “Sir.”  Some people seem to find that appalling now, but I think it was a benefit.  We all have lovely manners as a result.  And I’m a lucky wedding planner who was brought up to know which fork is which, where to seat whom for special events (even when there are multiple spouses involved), how to properly address an envelope to anyone (The Honorable, The Reverend, etc.), how to properly set a table, how to write an amazing thank you note, and how to keep a polite smile on my face no matter how horrified I am by what I’m seeing in front of me.  I spent 13 years in a plaid kilt and I was a Girl Scout with all the manners badges.  See – now I’ve established my credentials and they’re probably better than most.  So let’s proceed.

How have I been determining destination wediquette for the past five years?  I’ve been winging it with a little common sense.  This is a fun topic that I’ll probably blog about more than one time (hello, I see a book here!), but for today, let’s start at the beginning and tackle the etiquette questions that come up most frequently with my gay clients.

 1 – How do you address the wedding invitations? 

Believe it or not, that’s just as tricky a question no matter what kind of couple is getting married.  Times have changed.  If you want to involve your parents in the wording of the wedding invitations, you can refer to the old fashioned method of naming the people who are hosting the event.  In this day and age, most couples are contributing significantly to their own wedding budgets so not everybody puts their parents’ names on the wedding invitations anymore.  In fact, having mom and dad on there at all is less and less common.  But if you are using their names, and if you want to do it the proper or traditional way, and if one set of parents are paying for a significant portion of the wedding, that set of parents should have top billing on the invitation.  For example, if Bob’s parents are paying for the entire wedding, the invite would read (allowing for your own phraseology and style):

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Graham Smith cordially invite you

to the marriage of their son

Robert Graham Smith, Junior,

to Edward Thomas Black

If both sets of parents are paying or you want to acknowledge them equally regardless of financial contribution (more popular in this day and age than you can even imagine), you would add the line after the second groom’s name “son of Dr. and Mrs. Leroy Desmond Black.”  Yes, I am making the names up (I knew you were wondering).

2 – Who sits on which side at the wedding? 

Traditionally, the bride’s family goes on the left and the groom’s family sits on the right.  But at a gay wedding where there are two brides or two grooms, it’s less clear.  Joke all you like, but one half of each couple has always planned more of the wedding.  That’s the person we put on the bride’s side if there’s a question about it.  It’s certainly not a hard and fast rule, and you can do whatever you want, but if you need to ask me… I’ll tell you which one of you is the bride. J

3 – How do you seat the parents?  Who gets treated like top dog? 

Usually it’s the bride’s mother, but when you have two MoGs instead of a MoB, what’s the protocol?  Well, if you decided to follow my first suggestion of putting whoever planned the wedding on the left side, you would seat the mother of the person on the right first, and then follow with the MoG who will be seated on the left (the traditional MoB spot).

4 – Should you do the first dance and cut the cake?

You should do whatever you want to do on your wedding day.  If you’ve always wanted to smash your partner’s face with cake, why hold back?  Yet, you don’t have to do anything you’re uncomfortable with.  I have plenty of straight clients who opt out of cake cuttings, first dances and even the bouquet toss.  You should do things that make your day more special.

5 – Who belongs on the “must invite” list?

The same people should be invited to your wedding regardless of your sexual preference.  The only people you should invite should be people who love you and support your decision to get married.  If you have some family members who don’t approve of your decision, you don’t have to invite them.  Nobody negative should be included.  Don’t try to be the bigger or better person.  It’s your wedding day.  The entire day is about the union you’ve chosen to form.  Anybody who doesn’t get that and isn’t completely behind you doesn’t belong there on such an important day.

Etiquette is more than knowing that nobody’s plate should be cleared from the table until everybody at that table is finished eating.  A lot of it is a framework to which you apply common sense.  It gets tricky, however, when the social situation under consideration is a wedding or commitment ceremony because there are such a heightened level of emotions involved.  Sometimes you have to stop, take a breath, and mentally step back from a situation to make the proper wediquette decision.  Ask yourself what would EP (Emily Post) do?

Until next time, happy wedding planning from Weddings in Vieques and Weddings in Culebra?   Have you started planning your Caribbean destination wedding or commitment ceremony yet?

Sandy

www.weddingsinvieques.com

Sandy Malone, a guest blogger with Purple Unions, 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 and her team (including her husband Bill, a retired SWAT team commander) have planned and executed almost 400 weddings and commitment ceremonies 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) and Flowers in Vieques (a full service floral and décor firm).  Visit her at www.weddingsinvieques.com.