The Last Five Years in LGBTQ Wedding Planning

Photo: Megan Melia

To celebrate Pride Month in the US, Kate Schaefer, founder and editor of the fantastic LGBTQ wedding planning resource, H&H Weddings, is here to discuss how she’s seen LGBTQ planning change over her past five years in the industry.

The year was 2012. I was a 20-something-year-old intern, sitting at my desk in Brooklyn, essentially rolling my eyes at the Huffington Post piece I was reading. This bride-to-be was venting about how she, as a lesbian, had no resources for planning her wedding. “This is nuts”, I thought. And then I started doing some research because, let’s be honest, I wasn’t actually doing anything else.

As it turns out, the only part about the situation that was nuts was the fact that the bride-to-be was 100% right. The only same-sex/LGBTQ+ wedding resources looked like they had been designed in 1992. I decided to change that.

At the time, my knowledge of weddings was based off of the three or so episodes of Say Yes To The Dress that I had seen. I didn’t know what I was doing, but I was determined to get something going. LGBTQ+ folks deserved a beautiful, useful blog where they could go to see themselves, not just a straight wedding blog that occasionally featured a Ken & Ken/Barbie & Barbie-like couple.

Since 2012, I’ve seen many changes in the LGBTQ+ wedding space. People (on all parts of the spectrum) are choosing to make their ceremonies more and more personal. Five years ago, it often felt like a couple was just taking the hetero wedding mold and plugging themselves into the equation, which meant that, frequently, one member of the couple ended up being labelled the ‘bride’ and the other the ‘groom’ despite the fact that that (obviously) wasn’t the case.

The ceremony

We’ve featured hundreds of weddings on H&H Weddings and we’ve seen couples walk with each other down aisles, we’ve seen circular ceremony set ups, we’ve seen couples walk down aisles, simultaneously, towards each other. One of my favourite ever ceremonies we shared was Zoe & Lil’s outdoor ceremony. They set up a circle around them so that, while they said their vows, they were surrounded by friends and family!

 We’ve seen people dance and cry and laugh while walking down the aisle. We’ve seen people write their own vows and even sing their vows. The long and the short of it? Do whatever the fuck you want. It’s your wedding. No one knows your love like you, why not express it how it feels best?

The wedding party

We have also seen big changes in wedding party set ups. We’ve shared weddings with huge wedding parties and no wedding parties. We have seen wedding parties made up of all gender identities (straight couples, take note on this one! Why would a bride’s brother stand on her husband’s side of the wedding party?!)

The outfits

One of my favourite ways that couples get creative these days is attire! I used to feel like I saw a lot of uncomfortable brides in dresses because that’s what they felt like they were supposed to do. It was as if you had to options as a bride: 1. Wear a dress or 2. Wear an ill-fitting Men’s Warehouse suit that was frumpy.

Now, there are a ton of suiting companies that cater to people of all gender identities and expressions such as Bindle & Keep, Kipper Clothiers, Duchess Clothiers and Sharpe Suiting (just to name a few!). Another favourite of ours is House of Ollichon. They do wedding attire without a single dress in sight! Such a breath of fresh air! As well, couples are wearing a plethora of colours, jumpsuits, rompers, suiting combinations, shorts, dresses, skirts, really, whatever makes them feel their best, which is exactly what we like to see.

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A Ceremony in Iceland & A Grand Budapest Hotel Inspired Reception: Part Two

If you missed part one of this wedding, their incredible ceremony in Iceland, be sure to check it out over here.

After their ceremony in Iceland, they hosted their reception at the wedding venue that they own, Takk House in Troy, New York. Their decor and theme was inspired by the Wes Anderson film The Grand Budapest Hotel.

The couple did a lot of DIY projects of their wedding day. “My absolutely favourite project was the giant bright pink key mailbox that our friend Eric helped us make”, Heidi said. “It held cards that told our guests where to sit. We also built walls out of huge pieces of cardboard and vintage wallpaper. Frank and I re-purposed an old check-in looking desk we found in the basement. We had a lot of fun with the details!”

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A Ceremony in Iceland & A Grand Budapest Hotel Inspired Reception: Part One

Today’s real wedding is super special. So much so that we’re sharing it in two parts! The reason being that Heidi and Frank had two wedding days and both were completely different in style. The first was an intimate ceremony in Iceland with only close family and friends present.

“Neither of us wanted a big ceremony, we just wanted to keep it intimate and special,” explained Heidi. “Frank’s Mother was born and raised in Iceland and moved to the US in 1978, but all of that side of the family still live in Iceland. We knew we wanted to have a celebration with our Icelandic family too! In order to share the ceremony with everyone in the states we made a really special video. At our reception back in New York we played the ceremony on the big screen. When it ended we got introduced and went into our first dance. We really loved the way everything came together. We were able to have the best of both worlds and still include everyone!”

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Relaxed Destination Wedding in Italy with the Bride in Black

Adrienne and David decided to have a destination wedding in Italy, and wanted it to be intimate with a unique relaxed holiday vibe. They didn’t want to follow any traditions, so decided to not have a first dance, cake cutting, religion in the ceremony, big crowds, long speeches or for the bride to wear a white dress!

“We didn’t actually go and visit any venues,” began Adrienne. “All we knew is we wanted to get married in Italy! We picked our location from photos provided to us by Chic Weddings, our wedding planner. We wanted as many people as possible to stay at the venue with us for the week leading up to the wedding so we wanted a really special house that would be able to cater for the wedding as well as be a great place to stay for the week. From all of the options we had, Masseria AlChimia clearly ticked all the boxes; it was a stunning house (divided into individual apartments), surrounded by a private olive grove, a big terrace and lots of cacti! Winner!”

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Ten Alternative Buttonhole Ideas

Buttonhole: Bloomologie

Why should girls have all the fun? Today Kate Beavis of Magpie Wedding is here to share some unique, alternative buttonhole ideas that your boys will actually really want to wear.

Often when planning the flowers for your wedding day, it can be easy to focus on the bridal bouquet and table decorations. Don’t forget about the boys’ buttonholes though! There are so many great ideas, and they can really add personality to their wedding day attire. Why not go for something brighter and bolder than a simple rose?

Here are some of my favourite designs to inspire you.

1. Buttons

Buttonhole: Charlotte Laurie Designs

How about using buttons to create a flower shape? The best part is you can choose the key colours from your overall wedding theme and incorporate them easily. You could even take it on step further and use the same colours in their accessories like the tie and braces. Layering different colours together will give a 3D effect, which you’d expect from a real flower, and patterned designs will create something really playful.

2. Paper

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Fiesta del Amor: A Mexican Festival of Love Themed Wedding in Ireland

Jess and Pete love festivals, travelling and they were engaged in Mexico, so these things were what influenced their Irish wedding. They were married in October with an ‎€8000 budget and lots of colourful ideas.

“We wanted a quirky Mexican fiesta weekend and called it Fiesta del Amor (festival of love),” said the bride. “We were inspired by all the places we have travelled and the festivals we have been to. We got engaged in Mexico at a music festival while in a hammock so that’s where the main inspiration came from. When you go to a festival there is always little quirky things to find everywhere like a treasure hunt and we wanted to bring this feeling into our day.”

Their ceremony was held outside and the way they walked down the aisle was really unique. “I decided that I didn’t want to walk down the aisle in front of everyone, we wanted it to always be about both of us”, she continued. “So instead, we did a ‘first look’ and then my dad walked me down while it was only Peter there. When we were both at the front together all our guest entered and we had a roaming band leading them so we could both could greet them. This was my favourite moment of the day because we kept it a surprise from our guests. No-one had a clue what was going on or that we were there waiting down there already.”

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