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How to Handle Invitations to your Same-Sex Wedding for Unsupportive Family Members – Sandy Malone’s Blog in BRIDES

Friday, September 11th, 2015

Do you have to invite people who don’t support your gay or lesbian marriage to the biggest day of your life so far? We’re in murky waters here for some brides and grooms planning their weddings.

Click here to check out my blog in BRIDES with tips on how to handle the gay wediquette on this one!

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

Sandy

Sandy Malone is the owner of Sandy Malone Weddings & Events, a full-service traditional home and destination wedding planning company, and Do-It-Yourself wedding planning consulting service for DIY brides and grooms. Sandy is the star of TLC’s reality show “Wedding Island,” about her destination wedding planning company Weddings in Vieques. She is an internationally syndicated wedding blogger for The Huffington Post and BRIDES, as well as a reality-TV blogger for Monsters and Critics.

Sandy’s book “How to Plan Your Own Destination Wedding: Do-It-Yourself Tips from an Experienced Professional,” will be released on March 1st, but is available online for pre-orders now where books are sold.

Sandy and her team (including her husband Bill, a retired SWAT team commander) have planned and executed almost 500 weddings in the United States and the Caribbean. 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. She is considered the “Queen of Gay Wediquette” and has been rated “Five Rainbows” by her happy gay clients!

Logistics of Planning a Same-Sex Wedding Ceremony – Sandy Malone’s Blog in BRIDES

Friday, September 11th, 2015
Mr. and Mr. David and Garrett Egland-Rock's recessional. Love this pic - it made "Best Real Wedding" pics in The Huffington Post!

Mr. and Mr. David and Garrett Egland-Rock’s recessional. Love this pic – it made “Best Real Wedding” pics in The Huffington Post!

Are you planning your own same-sex wedding? There’s no absolute rule book so your best bet is to trust your gut or look for advice like you’ll find in my blog today in BRIDES about how to actually set up and execute a gay or lesbian wedding ceremony. Where does everybody sit and how do you enter? Don’t struggle until you’ve read all my suggestions and ideas!

Click here to check out my blog!

Until next time, happy wedding planning from Sandy Malone Weddings & Events!

Sandy

Sandy Malone is the owner of Sandy Malone Weddings & Events, a full-service traditional home and destination wedding planning company, and Do-It-Yourself wedding planning consulting service for DIY brides and grooms. Sandy is the star of TLC’s reality show “Wedding Island,” about her destination wedding planning company Weddings in Vieques. She is an internationally syndicated wedding blogger for The Huffington Post and BRIDES, as well as a reality-TV blogger for Monsters and Critics.

Sandy’s book “How to Plan Your Own Destination Wedding: Do-It-Yourself Tips from an Experienced Professional,” will be released on March 1st, but is available online for pre-orders now where books are sold.

Sandy and her team (including her husband Bill, a retired SWAT team commander) have planned and executed almost 500 weddings in the United States and the Caribbean. 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. She is considered the “Queen of Gay Wediquette” and has been rated “Five Rainbows” by her happy gay clients!

Who Pays for What at a Gay Wedding? Tips from the Queen of Gay Wediquette

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Hi there brides and grooms!

I always try to write about real topics and issues that affect my clients, and this something that has definitely caused stress for some of my gay couples in the past two years.  Check out my blog in Pridezillas today about the new etiquette of who pays for what and who receives the credit, and get some answers to your questions!

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

Sandy

Sandy Malone, "Queen of Gay Wediquette" and professional destination wedding planner

Sandy Malone, “Queen of Gay Wediquette” and professional destination wedding planner

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.

 

 

Why Do Gay Couples Have to Struggle with How to Handle Tradition — Tips from the “Queen of Gay Wediquette”

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

It’s stressful enough planning a wedding if you’re straight, but gay couples face all sorts of unusual dilemmas about how to handle what’s considered normal or traditional at most weddings.  Today’s blog on Pridezillas.com offers some tips to gay and lesbian couples planning their weddings on how to navigate those roadblocks without too much drama! Check it out here to see what the self-appointed “Queen of Gay Wediquette” advises you to do!

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

Sandy

Sandy Malone, Queen of Gay Wediquette, Owner of Weddings in Vieques

Sandy Malone, Queen of Gay Wediquette, Owner of Weddings in Vieques

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!

Pridezillas Hails Purple Unions Blogger as “Queen of Gay Wediquette” – Tips for Gay Wedding Showers

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

Hey there Gay Marriage Watch Readers!

I first established myself as the self-appointed “Queen of Gay Wediquette” on Purple Unions ages ago… but now Pridezillas.com acknowledges my title too.  Very exciting!   Check out my guest blog on Pridezillas about gay wediquette for bridal showers and pre-wedding events here!

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

Sandy

Sandy Malone, Wedding in Vieques and star of TLC's "Wedding Island"

Sandy Malone, Wedding in Vieques and star of TLC’s “Wedding Island”

 

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!

Tips for Tracking Down MIA RSVPs from Tacky Wedding Guests

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

Are Americans just becoming ruder every day, or is it my imagination?  The number one thing that stresses out my wedding clients is something that I don’t think should even be an issue – wedding guests who don’t respond to formal wedding invitations, causing lots of wasted time tracking down responses and worrying about an uncertain budget.  So rude it’s unbelievable!  And gay weddings have just as bad an RSVP track record as straight ones, so don’t be pointing fingers.

The art of the RSVP is becoming a lost one.  I don’t even mean in the strictest sense of etiquette – I mean that wedding guests have become some of the laziest, tackiest people in the world if reports from my brides and grooms are accurate. Almost one hundred percent of wedding invitations today have an easy way to respond to the invitation – in fact, most have a pre-stamped envelope to insert the fill-in-the-blank response card.  So easy that “even a caveman could do it.”  And yet, my couples are reporting as many as fifty percent of their guests have to be called, or sent an email, in order to find out whether they’re attending the commitment ceremony or not.  Surprisingly – a lack of response doesn’t necessarily indicate they’re not coming.  Only that they don’t have enough respect for the brides or grooms to send back a prompt response.

Let’s back up and educate the general public who may be confused.  RSVP stands for “répondez, s’il vous plaît,” which literally means “please reply” in French.  In the strictest form of etiquette back in the day, the invitee was actually supposed to hand-write a response to the hosts (usually the bride’s parents), but that nicety has given way to the pre-printed card they can send back.  I’m sure that was invented by some desperate bride in modern times (note to self – look that up).

What is horrifying to those who fight changes in wediquette (gay or otherwise) is the birth of the online RSVP – but even that hasn’t solved the lack of response problem.  Whether it’s an Evite or some fancy wedding website with responses you can click (and even choose your meal), advocates of formal wedding traditions will tell you it’s a bad idea to forego the traditional paper invitation and response card.  Let’s just face it folks – not everybody opens Evites or even special links to wedding websites sent personally by the bride and groom.  Even members of the bridal party have confessed to never having opened the web pages the brides and grooms so carefully and lovingly designed to share with their invited guests.  Swear to God, the track record on RSVPs done on digital invites is actually WORSE than the old fashioned paper kind.

So what can brides and grooms do to make life easier?  Here are a few tips that my clients have found to be helpful… sometimes.

–       If you’re having a destination wedding, send out your travel info packet and wedding invitation as soon as possible – but give them the traditional 6-8 weeks to reply.  You will know how many guests you have months ahead of time.  But you’ll also have time to track down all those MIA.

–       Assuming you’ve sent out a nice paper invite and response card, a follow up email the day after the RSVP deadline to guests whom you haven’t yet heard from is not inappropriate.  Some guests will remember to put it in the mail, others will email you back a response.  Whatever it takes, you just need the info.

–       The bride or groom who invited the tacky non-responsive guest (sorry, long day, I might be a little crabby on behalf of my clients) should call that particular guest to follow up if it gets to that point.  Don’t make your future husband or wife call your college friends who’ve been unresponsive.  That’s not fair.  You invited them, you hunt them down.  And definitely do not expect your fiancé to call your long-long relatives.

–       When all else fails, involve a third party.  And I mean after you have each called and emailed your respective invitees.  The third party can be your mother or your wedding planner – doesn’t matter which – trust me when I say that even the tackiest guest in the world will not ignore that phone call or email.  You’ll have shamed them into responding.  It’s not pretty, but when it needs to be done, it’s the best way to do it.

Expect to see brides and grooms (gay and straight) struggling with the RSVP issue and so many more etiquette and basic manners challenges on our new reality TV show, “Wedding Island,” premiering on TLC on Wednesday, July 17th at 10 pm Eastern/Pacific.  The show features me and my husband Bill and our fantastic island crew as we struggle to survive daily life while executing dream weddings and commitment ceremonies on an island where everything has to take two boats or two planes to get here.  Season One does feature a gay wedding – but that’s all I’m going to tell you so that you make sure to set your DVR and remember to watch!  For the official skinny, check out the official TLC press release http://press.discovery.com/us/tlc/press-releases/2013/tlc-commits-wedding-island-thursday-nights-25-2544/.

Dwayne and Rodney with cameras

Until next time, happy wedding planning from Weddings in Vieques and Weddings in Culebra!  And good luck hunting down those RSVPs.

Sandy

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 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!

Five Tips to Make Planning a Gay Wedding Ceremony Less of a Mystery

Friday, August 17th, 2012

I think all of my gay clients have struggled a little bit with ceremony planning. Big news – it’s just a wedding ceremony with slightly different main characters. Really, it’s no different than a traditional wedding in most ways. But it’s how YOU decide to interpret the concept of “traditional” that impacts the way you’ll either enjoy (or not) planning your actual wedding ceremony.

Hopefully, the following five tips, explanations and suggestions will be helpful to those of you who are doing your own planning:

Dante Pestano and Patrick Ricci wore matching suits for their wedding ceremony on the north shore of Vieques Island.

1) What will each of you wear to your wedding? I’ve yet to have a gay groom in a slip dress, but plenty of lesbian brides prefer a pants ensemble to a wedding gown and there’s nothing wrong with that. It can be gorgeous. If one of you is military, will you get married in uniform now that you can? Or will you dress in a manner that reflects your own personal taste and style? One set of my clients dressed in identical tailored suits, while another got married in Indian attire and changed into bow ties for the reception. I’ve also had several clients who got married in civilian clothing but changed into dress uniform for their first dance or toasts, and then changed back to party in a more comfortable outfit. It’s all about how you are going to feel most comfortable (and look sharp in pics).

2) How are you getting down the aisle? Do both brides get escorted? Will the grooms walk in together? This can be done pretty much any way you want to do it, and most people have pretty clear ideas in their heads. It’s beautiful to watch dads give away their daughters, but there’s also a lot to be said for watching the couple enter the ceremony together. Unfortunately, there’s sometimes a shortage of parental support at same-sex marriages and this can cause a conundrum because the couple wants to honor the parents who ARE there without highlighting the fact that others are not. My suggestions for this? Face it, everybody can tell who isn’t there so don’t waste time pussyfooting around it. Let those who have come have the full honors that should be extended – special seating, escorting you down the aisle, whatever. In one case, I saw a mother escort both her son and the new-son-in-law-to-be down the aisle because she saw herself as a mother to them both and wanted to reaffirm her support. You should do what works best for you, but remember to consider the feelings of the family members who ARE there over trying to pretend somebody else isn’t missing.

3) Are you going to use traditional vows? Will your parents actually give you away? My Episcopalian priest godmother who married me absolutely refuses to let fathers “give away” their daughters in her wedding ceremonies. That said, you should do whatever you want to do and if you have somebody there to support you, you can involve them in the ceremony. You can even ask the entire audience “Do you support Bob and Joe in this lifelong commitment and will you help them to grow together in their marriage?” or something like that. Everybody would respond “we do.” Oh yeah, I’m quite the wordsmith so if you want to include something special in your ceremony that isn’t transitioning right for you, just send it to me. I gotcha covered.

4) What are you going to do about your names? If you’re gay, the world is your oyster. You can be “Susan and Sharon Smith Jones” or “Susan and Sharon Jones Smith,” or you can each keep your own last name, or one of you can drop your name entirely. It is entirely up to you, but you should make the decision ahead of your weddings so you can announce it at the end of the ceremony. The officiant will introduce you as the new Misters Luke and John Skywalker, or Mrs. and Mrs. Rosanne and Shania Weatherby-Smithson, or Mr. and Mrs. Kris and Kim Humphries-Kardashian (that was how they were going to do it, right?). LOL Snarkiness aside, this is your chance to make the big announcement if you’re going to make a change. It’s a happy change and a happy announcement and you should celebrate it.

Larry Stuckey and Fernando Raldiris let their own personal styles show through in their clothing selection.

Alright, this next one is my bombshell for this blog – so I hope you read this far. I’m gonna get some flaming emails but it’s worth it and totally and completely true.My apologies to the lovely nuns at the Catholic girls’ school who are probably the reason I can write.

5) Should God be a part of your wedding ceremony? I was surprised to be asked this by a gay couple, but I understood their concern. My answer is that to whatever extent you are religious or spiritual, you should include your own personal traditions in the wedding ceremony. What do I mean by this? I mean that if you are Catholic and were raised Catholic and you want a Catholic ceremony, I’ll give you one. Nope, can’t get the priest to do it yet (have you considered becoming Episcopalian?), but I can have a non-denominational, non-judgmental wedding officiant marry you using the exact same readings, words, vows and promises that you would make in the Catholic Church. It will be just as meaningful and probably even more beautiful because you can get married ANYWHERE, you’re not restricted to actual church building like you would be if you were going through the whole process with a priest. Someday, down the road, when the Catholic Church wises up, you can make the decision to have the church bless your union if you want them to. God is going be at your wedding with or without the Pope’s permission, rest assured. It’s just up to you to write him into your ceremony plan!

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

Sandy