Planning Your Gay Wedding from Home
December 18, 2020
Congratulations on your engagement! You have met Mr. or Ms. Right and the two of you have committed to share your lives together! You are ready to start on the fun, daunting, exciting, overwhelming, creative, stressful, joy-filled and amazing adventure of planning your wedding day!
Yet we are in unprecedented times that are having a huge impact on the wedding planning process for couples around the world. Not only have many weddings been rescheduled, those that are in progress are often on pause. It's not possible to meet in person with vendors or venues. And it's really hard to do a virtual catering and cake tasting! The typical ways you would have chosen a venue, selected vendors and created your wedding style are just not possible now and for the foreseeable future.
I know these are challenging and frustrating times. Your world has changed drastically. You may know exactly when you can schedule your wedding for or how many of your friends and family will be able to or want to. You don’t know what the future limits will be on what you can or can’t do at a wedding.
None of us know what the future will bring. But I do know that we are all in this together and there WILL be a time and a place for wedding gatherings in months ahead. I urge you to get started with planning for your special day even if you don’t know exactly when or where it will be!
Please remember that the most important part of planning your wedding is each other! Make it a goal to have fun with the planning process and share fun moments together. Crack open the champagne or reward yourselves with a treat as you accomplish goals!
We’re here to help you navigate your wedding planning journey from afar for the near future, so that once we are able to travel and be together again you will be steps ahead in the planning process!
TIP 1: CHOOSING A VENUE
Once you have narrowed down where in the world you want to get married choosing the venue is the next hardest step. If you have not yet decided where to have your special day read my previous post here.
Ultimately, a site visit in person may be needed to finalize your venue decision, but we have married many couples who choose their destination wedding location based on photo galleries, virtual tours and recommendations! Even if you really want to plan an in person visit - use these tips to narrow down your choices before you plan your trip so that you can be ready to make a decision quickly once you can travel.
Weddings are going to go crazy as soon as this pandemic is in our rear view mirror and many couples will be venue searching at the same time. Choices are already going to be limited due to all of the weddings that moved from 2020 so once you find a venue and date you like you are going to have to make fast decisions!
Once you have narrowed down where in the world you want to plan this fabulous event, finding the perfect venue is the next step.
Instagram: Hashtag your wedding area and see what comes up. Hashtag the city, the city plus weddings - replace your venue area with “destionationx”: #destinationx #destionationxwedding #destinationxweddings (use both) #destinationxweddingplanning
Pinterest: Dive deep on Pinterest! It's not just for decor ideas, it's also a fabulous source of venue photos and information. Hashtags and long tail word searches work great on Pinterest too. (destination x wedding planning ideas)
Google: Google is your friend! Check out websites. Google past weddings at each venue.
Catering Managers: Reach out to catering catering managers at your narrowed down list to venues and ask them to email you full wedding galleries to review.
Other Vendors: Stalk photographers who have worked at venues you like and look at full wedding galleries - not just favorite shots. Search wedding planner posts. The more creative your hashtags the more focused your search and you will find gems hiding on line
Acceptance: Make sure the venues you are looking at are LGBTQ+ friendly. Do they feature gay weddings on ttheir web site? Is their language inclusive on their website and on their correspondence with you? Ask for references!
TIP 2 - PLANNING YOUR WEDDING MENU
Whether you are a foodie or not, feeding and watering your guests is one of the most important parts of your wedding not to mention your biggest ticket item! Tasting your wedding menu & your dessert choices is one thing that you really do have to do in person! Until venues open and travel is more accessible, spend this time working with your catering manager and the chef to develop the perfect menu to taste when you can!
Reception Menu: Your venue may have specific fixed catering menus for you to choose from, but there are still ways that you can ask for changes that will make your wedding menu more unique than a traditional fish and beef dinner. Ask your catering manager if you can hop on the phone with the chef and plan a custom menu? Many head chefs are willing to do that at some of the higher end country clubs and hotels especially during this time when we can’t gather in person. Some venues will also allow you to source specific food items yourself - regional or cultural. You won't get a creative dinner menu without asking for it.
Cocktails: Consult a mixologist and have a custom cocktail curated just for your wedding! Check out your favorite hip bar on line, and have them craft a cocktail for you. Order the fixings and do a virtual cocktail tasting at home!
Desserts: You can usually bring in your own desserts to your wedding venue. If dessert is offered in your package ask if it can be transferred to late night food. Then bring in something fun! Who said your cake has to be boring! Go for SHAG, go for different shapes, go for cool desserts! Spiked popsicles anyone? This is another place where a million ideas are on Instagram and Pinterest. Have FUN with this part of your celebration.
Late Night Food: Late night food is a critical element for parties that go late! Your venue will have fun opticians they can provide or maybe they will let you bring in a food trucks for a fun way to add your personal flair to your wedding. Ask your venue if you can have one at the end of the night for late night snacks or bring one in for your welcome party.
TIP 3 - CHOOSING WEDDING VENDORS
Fortunately, social media has made vendor sourcing easier to do. Once you have finalized your venue and caterer (if you need one), booking your key vendors is the next most important thing to do. I can't emphasize how important it is for you to have a great team for your wedding day! Start with suggestions from your venue and from your wedding planner. They always know the good, the bad and the ugly of their local wedding vendors!
Then do your due diligence. Review vendor instagram feeds and web sites and check out their fan comments and reviews. Sometimes the best thing to do is go old school and hop on the phone with vendors! After all, these people are going to be sharing a very special day with you and you want to make sure you have a personal connection!
Find out if your vendor choices are gay friendly. You can do this by asking them how many gay weddings they have done. Also review their web site for inclusive language. And talk to them in person! You can tell a lot from your interaction with someone over the phone or on zoom!
You want your wedding team to create a unique and fun experience for your guests. Ask vendors what they do that is different or out of the box. Find out what their creative style is like!
Ask a lot of questions about the vendors personal style and how they like to work. Find out if they have worked at your venue (not critical) and if not, how they would make sure they know the drill.
TIP 4 - CHOOSING YOUR FLORAL AND DECOR TEAM
The style and design of your wedding is where your creative expression should shine! They way you and your design team pull together personal elements to create a perfect expression of your relationship as a couple is what will make your wedding feel like YOU! Make it fun and don't be afraid to break a few rules!
Collaborative design is great to do in person, but until we can gather together again, the ability to Zoom calls with your design team can move the process along nicely! Get everyone on a call and brainstorm creative and fun ideas!
If you have already started a Pinterest board, take a look at it right now and see what pops out at you. Do you have a lot of ranch wedding photos? Are there repeated photos of barefoot beach weddings? Do glamorous ballrooms call to you? If you are not already pinning away, talk to each other about your personal style, the type of wedding you envision and the feeling that goes along with your style.
Are you looking for something really unique and special? Or do you want something more classic and elegant? Do you want to pull out all the stops or create something funky and fun?
Some of you reading this know that you want to write your own rules and create a wedding that is completely personal and unique. You might have an exact shatter-the-box idea, or you may just know that you want something different. The great thing about gay weddings is that we start with fewer preconceived rules and expectations than straight couples do! This is a blessing so embrace it!
Start thinking about the type of party you want to have, relaxed and semi-casual, formal and glamorous, funky and fun and then expand your vision to see what places would be a fun expression of your wedding style or a fun counterpoint. Black tie event in an old airplane hanger? Guests all in white at a rustic bar?
Your guests and family members may think you're nuts, but remember, this is YOUR wedding and the more unique your event the more your guests will be talking about your wedding afterwards! Don’t be afraid to break cultural norms either; grandmother will forgive you once she sees you walk down the aisle and get married!
CONGRATULATIONS on this exciting journey you are undertaking! We are all very blessed to be living in a time and place where we can be legally married. Please know that we are here to support you on the way toward your wedding day and after!