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Philadelphia Gay News www.epgn.com Aug. 8-14, 2014 PGN 18 WEDDING ISSUE

Summer Wedding Issue

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After PA's legalization of same-sex marriage, PGN revisits wedding planning and legal issues with special Summer Wedding coverage.

Text of Summer Wedding Issue

  • Philadelphia Gay News www.epgn.com Aug. 8-14, 2014 PGN18 WEDDING ISSUE

  • Philadelphia Gay News www.epgn.com Aug. 8-14, 2014PGN 19WEDDING ISSUE

  • Philadelphia Gay News www.epgn.com Aug. 8-14, 2014 PGN20

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    By Angela [email protected]

    Knock Restaurant and Bar co-owner and Woodys founder Bill Wood married partner Lee Mallon last month after almost four decades together.

    Wood, 67, and Mallon, 58, married July 11 at their Philadelphia home.

    Wood has co-owned Knock since 2007 and Mallon is a registered nurse at Bryn Mawr Hospital.

    Wood and Mallon met 39 years ago at The Allegro, a now-defunct LGBT bar that was located on Spruce Street.

    A friend had introduced us and we seemed to hit it off when we first met, Wood said. Things were sim-pler in those days; when you met someone back then, you actually had to speak with them.

    Throughout the years, Wood said, he and Mallon, both Philly natives, have often found themselves on opposite schedules because of their work commitments. But they have found harmony within their relation-ship.

    Compromise has been integral, he noted.

    It isnt always easy but we both have been pretty good as far as com-promising goes, he said. My work habits are different than most people. We had to adjust work hours and usu-ally I am coming home when he is waking up but we still get quality time together.

    They had discussed marriage, and would have tied the knot on a river cruise in France last year, but were stopped by a technicality.

    We pretty much decided together to get married, Wood said. We almost did it last year in France but we couldnt because captains arent allowed to marry you on the river, just at sea.

    But, when a federal judge over-turned Pennsylvanias ban on same-sex marriage this past spring, they abandoned plans to get married else-where.

    We were looking into doing it in New Jersey or Delaware and when things happened in Pennsylvania, we agreed to get married in our home state, he said.

    Wood and Mallon received a marriage license in June from Montgomery County Register of Wills D. Bruce Hanes, who made headlines last year when he issued licenses to same-sex couples.

    We waited and I am glad we did because we could get married at home, Wood said.

    The couple was married in their garden by a longtime friend, sur-rounded by friends and family.

    We had waited 39 years; peo-ple thought it was pretty much time for us to get married, Wood said. Everyone was very happy for us.

    Wood said the marriage still feels new to the couple.

    This week we are buying a home in Florida and now on the papers, we can check married instead of any other labels.

    Wood said he and his now-husband still enjoy one anothers company as much as they did 39 years ago.

    We both make each other laugh after all these years and, as long as we can do that, we are in great shape.

    Bill Wood and Lee MallonBy Jen Colletta

    [email protected]

    For 30 years, Sue Gildeas family has spent a week each summer vacationing in Sea Isle City and this years trip offered much more than leisure time on the beach. Gildea and partner Allison Coia married on the beach July 27, surrounded by about 70 family members and friends. The Delaware County natives and Aston residents met about 25 years ago through the Overbrook Womens Softball League. Gildea, 47, a graduate of St. Josephs University, is a man-ager of customer operations and training, while Coia, 50, a for-mer travel agent, is a personal chef and owner of Cook-A-Doodle-Doo. Gildea said the couples rela-tionship is grounded in the trust they have for one another and in their strong support system of family and friends, which has helped them face obstacles such as Coias diagnosis with MS. Its about having fun and about enjoying life; thats so important, she said about the foundation of their relationship. Sometimes people dont real-ize that, hey, life has bumps, and some big potholes seem insur-mountable and that they cant be fixed, but working together and relying on a support group of friends and family can you get through anything and show you that its really not that bad. And, when conflicts arise, Coia said, they learn to pick their battles by focusing on what really matters. I think its understanding each other, and knowing each other so well that you know sometimes what arguments to get into and what battles you dont want to, she said. The couple had long joked that they would wait to get mar-ried until all same-sex couples could. Sort of l ike Brad and Angelina, laughed Gildea. So when the federal Defense of Marriage Act fell last sum-mer, Gildea began covertly ring shopping, with the help of one of Coias best friends. Both women are members of City of Brotherly Love Softball Leagues Stogie Joes team

    and Gildea, CBLSL secretary, planned the proposal for the leagues 30th-anniversary ban-quet at Citizens Bank Park last summer. I contacted the Phillies and said I wanted to do this pro-posal at the banquet because Citizens Bank Park is kind of a home away from home for the league, she said. I worked with the team and we got a tour of the clubhouse, the locker rooms and the dugout, and we were with our team and our friends, which was great. My daughter, Caitlyn, was there and knew about it. I proposed when we got to the batting circle. Gildea pulled off the surprise. I was shocked, Coia said. We got to the batting circle and somebody said, OK, lets take a picture, so I was looking around trying to make sure the logo was in the background and I turned around and she was on one knee. My mouth dropped. But it was so cool to be able to share that with our friends who were there, and not everyone knew about it. On the video, you can hear people saying, Is this for real? Wedding planning became real quickly, the couple said, as New Jersey legalized same-sex marriage just a few weeks after the proposal. Because of their annual vaca-tion tradition, they decided to pick Sea Isle City as the wed-ding destination. Their guests filled three vaca-tion homes and they said a num-ber of their crafty and creative friends pitched in to help them create the perfect beach wed-ding. The couple stayed in a house on the beach and walked together over the dunes to the ceremony.

    We came over the dunes and saw the people on the beach and it was literally breathtak-ing; it took my breath away, Gildea said. It was such a large group and that just was that first moment of really feeling over-whelmed that goes with becom-ing married. Hearing cheering and clap-ping from vacationers at nearby houses, Coia added, was also heartening. To have the support of all those people, who didnt know us, and to hear them cheering for us, that just emotionally got me. Once friend and fellow Stogie Joes player Sean Joyce pro-nounced the couple married, the guests tossed miniature beach balls, instead of rice, a surprise set up by their good friends, Dan and Dan, who coordinated the wedding planning. The couple and their guests returned to their house for a cele-bration, complete with music by Seamus Kelleher, a former gui-tarist for Irish band Blackthorn who, in the process of booking, Gildea learned has a lesbian sister. She set up the musician as a surprise for Coia and their many Irish relatives, including Gildeas dad, a big Blackthorn fan for whom this years wed-ding trip was especially mean-ingful, as he missed last years vacation after a fall. Coincidentally, Coia had also reached out to Blackthorn to play but hadnt gotten a response. After the wedding celebra-tion, the couple spent the week at the shore for a family honey-moon. The reality of being legally married hadnt yet sunk in. We were on vacation and still with everybody and havent gotten back into the swing of things, Coia said. Right after the shore, we went to a family party and then to Eagles practice and have been running around. So reality might set in today. Theyre planning a large reception for Nov. 1, where theyre looking to follow the laidback, celebratory nature of their beach wedding by encour-aging guests to dress up in Halloween costumes. Its all about having fun, cel-ebrating life and love and I think we truly did that, Gildea said.

    ALLISON COIA (LEFT) AND SUE GILDEA Photo: Daniel

    Campione

    Weddings

    Sue Gildea and Alison Coia

    WEDDING ISSUE

    LEGAL AT LAST: James Macleod, 72, and Henry Chuck Weitz, 82, were finally married May 25 in Rose Tree Park in Media. Officiating was the Rev. Janice Bowker of Imago Dei Metropolitan Community Church. The couple was joined by joy-ous friends and there were many happy tears at the ceremony, which celebrated their 35 years of love together in Delaware County. Cards may be sent to Imago Dei MCC, 1223 Middletown Road, Glen Mills, PA 19342. They will read them ALL.

  • Philadelphia Gay News www.epgn.com Aug. 8-14, 2014 PGN22

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    By Jen [email protected]

    Marriage equality is the new reality in states across the country, including here in Pennsylvania but how does reality coalesce with tradition? Thats the answer that wedding planner Jason Mitchell sought to explore in his new book, Getting Groomed. Mitchell, a New York City-based wedding planner at Shiraz Events, which also has offices in Los Angeles, Miami and London, said the concept for the book grew out of his experience planning his own wedding. I was looking through all these handy books that have calendars and checklists to make sure you dont miss anything and I was getting frustrated that there wasnt any-thing on the market for same-sex couples, Mitchell said. Everything was focused on brides, so thats where this idea was born. Getting Groomed is focused on a dou-ble-groom wedding, but offers tips that could be applicable to lesbian and het-erosexual weddings. Chapters are orga-nized according to different aspects of the wedding-planning process entertainment, fashion, budget, pho-tography, with handy checklists and work-sheets with advice geared toward overcoming the obstacles that come with being a nontraditional cou-ple traversing an industry so steeped in tra-dition. When you start planning as a same-sex couple, up until now, there wasnt much of a guidebook; you had to rely on instinct. The hardest thing for my fianc at the time and me was trying to picture how all of this would come together, Mitchell said. Then families come in with questions and they dont know how they fit into a gay wedding. And its all figuring it out as you go. In the book, and his work with Shiraz, Mitchell advises couples, both same- and opposite-sex, to make their wedding uniquely their own. Thats a mantra to keep in mind when cou-ples are trying to walk the balance between traditional and nontraditional, he said. The joy of creating a wedding is its a custom event that fits the couple, he said. There may be some traditions that come with a wedding, religious or cultural, that a couple feels a connection to and wants to observe but, if not, they have to think about what they would modify, what they would create instead. Thats what makes the wed-ding really special and personal, but you have to make incredibly conscious deci-sions throughout the process. Adding individualized touches like a spe-cialty signature cocktail is another way to customize the event. Everyone loves cocktail hour and serv-

    ing specialty cocktails is one thing thats really popular right now, Mitchell said. St-Germain is a really great option to be used in serving at weddings; you can have a great cocktail with the sparkling wine, club soda and the French liqueur thats refresh-ing, not too much alcohol and looks beauti-ful in the glass. Its a real crowed-pleaser. Those great little details are really impor-tant. The topics covered in Getting Groomed arent solely for couples tying the knot in states where its legal. Mitchell said hes been planning events

    for same-sex couples long before the recent spate of marriage-equal-ity victories.

    The whole idea of having a wedding is dif-ferent than a legal mar-riage. If youre at the time in your life where you want to celebrate your love with your cho-

    sen partner and declare that love in front of your friends and family, I dont think you have to wait for your state to legalize it. It can be a wedding even if its not legally rec-ognized by the state, he said. Im hoping everyone can be married soon but if you live in one of those states where you cant, you can still have a wedding now and get a mar-riage certificate later on. Some people feel differently but for me, Ive been working on weddings before they were legal, when people felt they were at the time in their life where they needed to celebrate. Mitchell and his now-husband got engaged shortly before New York legalized same-sex marriage, and booked their venue just hours after the law was passed. As state after state now joins the mar-riage-equality list, Mitchell noted that its important for couples to research wedding vendors to ensure theyre working with pro-fessionals who are truly LGBT-friendly. Its best to get resources from people whove worked with them before. Word of mouth is the most powerful tool. Regardless of the size or scope, legal-ity or non-legality of your event, Mitchell said his number-one wedding-planning tip is that couples should always keep in mind the reason behind their big day. The whole idea of putting on a wedding should be on your terms. There are often too many other opinions in the way and its very easy to get distracted and overwhelmed. So it should be a constant conversation between the two people who are getting married about creating a day that is about the two of you, and staying present through that pro-cess. You want to lay the groundwork, set the budget, make smart decisions but at the same time, you should enjoy the process. Its wonderful to be engaged and to plan your wedding but you cant ever lose sight of what the point was of getting engaged to begin with. For more information, visit www.getting-groomed.com.

    Out wedding planner pens guide for gay groomsWEDDING ISSUE

  • Philadelphia Gay News www.epgn.com Aug. 8-14, 2014 PGN24

    AMY F. STEERMANAttorney at Law

    Concentrating in Planning for Lesbian and Gay Couples

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    By Matty BennettPGN Contributor

    With more than 75 active lawsuits involv-ing the freedom to marry currently at the state and federal levels, exploring the state of marriage equality in the United States can quickly become a confusing, headache-inducing endeavor. Here are the answers to some questions you might have about what we can expect next in the marriage-equal-ity movement. Why all the court cases?

    Currently, 19 states and the District of Columbia allow same-sex marriage. In the past year, there has been an explosion of court cases dealing with marriage equality in states all throughout the country, yet the majority of the jurisdictions where its legal garnered the freedom to marry through state legislation or popular vote, not litiga-tion. In 28 out of the remaining 31 states that do not have marriage equality, there are constitutional amendments in place that exclude same-sex couples from getting

    married, so state legislatures cannot sim-ply change marriage law. In the remaining three states Wyoming, Indiana and West Virginia it is highly unlikely that their state legislatures would pass a bill allow-ing marriage equality. Thus, there has been an enormous boom of marriage-equality lawsuits all throughout the country, mainly because its the only way to legalize same-sex marriage in their respective states, or legislation and ballot initiatives are not via-ble options due to the political climate.

    What court cases are up next?

    Aug. 6: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held oral arguments for six different marriage-equality cases. The court has jurisdiction over Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee. In each of these states, federal judges have ruled in favor of mar-riage for same-sex couples. One or more of these cases could ultimately go before the United States Supreme Court.

    Aug. 26: Oral arguments for two separate cases from Indiana and Wisconsin will be heard by the Seventh Circuit Court of

    Appeals, which covers those two states and Illinois.

    Sept. 8: Oral arguments will be heard by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. The two specific cases Sevcik v. Sandoval and Latta v. Otter come from Nevada and Idaho, respectively. A ruling in favor of marriage equality out of one of the states would be binding to each of the states within the circuit.

    When might a U.S. Supreme Court case happen?

    James Esseks, director of the LGBT Project at the American Civil Liberties Union, told PGN hes optimistic about the U.S. Supreme Court hearing a marriage-equality case by June. He said the nations top court could hear one of the cases from Utah, Oklahoma or Virginia. These particular cases all say that there is a fundamental right to marry, which includes same-sex couples, Esseks said. The next step for those three cases is that

    the losers are going to ask the Supreme Court to review the ruling I would guess very soon. I think the chances that the U.S. Supreme Court takes that decision poten-tially by next June is very high because this is an issue of serious importance for the country. Asked why a case hasnt been taken to the Supreme Court yet, Esseks said SCOTUS waits for more cases from the lower courts, which is why marriage-equality wins at the various circuit courts of appeals are so important. The Supreme Court is typically cautious and wants there to be a rough consensus among the lower courts before hearing any cases, Esseks said. The Supreme Court may wait a little bit to see what other deci-sions come out; theyre going to have a menu of at least three cases, maybe even up to six, to choose from, and then it will at least choose [whether or not] to grant review. We may know that early in the fall, or we may know that in December or January.

    How was the PA decision different?

    In Pennsylvania, Republican Gov. Tom

    On the brink of marriage equalityWEDDING ISSUE

  • Philadelphia Gay News www.epgn.com Aug. 8-14, 2014PGN 25

    Wedding Services Directory

    Corbett decided not to appeal the U.S. District Court decision in favor of mar-riage equality, saving the state from an appeal and potential delay of the rulings implementation. Esseks hopes to see the same from other Republican governors in the future. It was an incredible act of leadership on Corbetts part to say, Im not going to waste any time on this any more, Esseks said. I hope that other Republican gov-ernors will follow his lead by looking around and saying, Look, we can see where this issue is going with the courts, with the people at large and this is an issue we shouldnt be fighting over.

    WEDDING ISSUE

    TOAST OF THE TOWN: Local couples showed off their best wedding smiles for photographer Jose A. Guzman Colon at a fundraiser for Freedom to Marry Aug. 2 at Woodys. The event was staged by Skyy Vodkas Toast to Marriage initiative, which has held similar events at cities throughout the country this summer. In addition to raising money for the national mar-riage-equality organization, the effort seeks to raise awareness about mar-riage equality by capturing photos of supporters. For more information, visit www.toasttomarriage.com or search social media for #toasttomarriage. Photo: Scott A. Drake

  • Philadelphia Gay News www.epgn.com Aug. 8-14, 2014 PGN26

    Locations in Pennsylvania outside of Philadelphia

    IS YOUR BUSINESS OR ORGANIZATION ON THIS LIST? Contact Don at [email protected] or 215-451-6182 ext. 200 to arrange for delivery of complimentary copies.

    Allentown Allentown Brew Works, 812 Hamilton St. Candida, 247 N. 12th St. Stonewall, 28-30 N. 10th St. Annville Lebanon Valley College, Sheridan Ave. Ardmore Ardmore Station, Anderson Ave. near Coulter Ave. Bethlehem LGBTQ Services Lehigh U, 25 Trembley Dr. Bloomsberg

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    WEDDING ISSUE

    By Gary M. KramerPGN Contributor

    The moment the federal court decision allowed same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania, Michael, my partner of 17 years, proposed. We had talked about eloping in Elkton, Md., in the past, but decided to be wed only when the state where we lived would rec-ognize our marriage. As such, on May 20, 2014, we were engaged. Mike and I then looked at the calendar and decided to get married on June 14. We wanted to make it legal at first opportunity, and that date was best for our family mem-bers, the rabbi who would officiate and our guests 30 people in all. Planning a wedding in three weeks requires some quick decisions, which also means some sacrifices and flexibility. Because we kept our plans modest, we had few critical decisions to make. Our wedding was not going to be a big, lavish black-tie affair at a fancy hotel. We were not planning a reception with an open bar, seven-piece band and seating for 200. We love to attend weddings like those, but were much more low-key when it comes to celebrating our love. For the dress code, Mike and I decided to get married in suits, not tuxedos. This was not a $10,000 wedding that required black tie, but a casually elegant affair that required

    a suit for the grooms and appropriate attire for the guests. We bought new matching French cuff shirts, and our close friend Dan, in the United Kingdom, sent us penguin and goat cufflinks for the shirts as wedding gifts. (He was with us in spirit, if not in per-son,) On my mothers sage advice, I bought a snazzy bowtie to have a special look on a special day. We did not need music and dancing; the only music we played was k.d. langs Simple to signal the start of the ceremony. We opted not to walk down an aisle, as we had no need to have a traditional proces-sion. And this is what is so great about same-sex weddings: You can tailor them to suit your needs. Queering the traditional ceremony and rituals is not disrespectful. Rather, we planned to do what felt right for us and what would make our guests com-fortable. For most of them, this would be their first same-sex wedding. We didnt have time for engagement cards or engraved invitations. But thanks to www.postmark.com, it cost us $12 for 50 evites. Because we wanted an intimate cer-emony, we chose not to book a rental hall, hotel or synagogue, but held the wedding in our apartment. The small space also allowed us to incorporate our guests easily, and hav-ing them take part in the ceremony was

    important to us. We asked two friends who were photographers to take photos of the ceremony and the guests. We did not need to hire a photographer or videographer; we preferred candid photos that captured the moment. While I do subscribe to the advice that it is unwise to ask friends or family members for favors to save money, the exception to the rule is that if your friends or relatives actually are photographers, caterers or cal-ligraphers who would be happy to help, you do not necessarily have to hire profes-sionals. Yes, there is the risk of damaging a relationship, but given the small scale of our ceremony, asking and incorporating these talented individuals to provide their services made our day special. Although we considered serving a catered buffet, we opted to have a price-fix, three-course dinner with wine after the ceremony in a private room at a favorite nearby res-taurant. My sister-in-law, who does callig-raphy, agreed to make name cards for the tables. We decided against having a wedding cake, because it was unnecessary for us. Dare I suggest, in a moment of romantic sappiness, that getting married made our life sweet enough? Because our dinner was in a private, can-dlelit room at a restaurant, we did not need to get centerpieces or have flowers on every

    table. We did not need to hire a florist, but we did splurge on getting boutonnires with irises, our favorite flower, for us grooms, as well as my twin, who was my best man, and our friend Jennifer, who was Mikes best person. We ordered an additional bouquet of irises for a vase at our ceremony to provide a splash of color, and a guest of ours unex-pectedly sent a celebratory arrangement of flowers, which brightened up the room. These personal touches made our wed-ding all the more meaningful to us. It was a fabulous celebration, with a champagne toast in lieu of a cocktail hour. With a little thought and some careful planning, you can pull together a quick and reasonably priced wedding. Our efforts allowed us to truly enjoy the day with our friends and family. We are still smiling.

    A small wedding with a big meaning

    GARY KRAMER (LEFT) AND MIKE MILLER Photo: Bob Pisani

  • Philadelphia Gay News www.epgn.com Aug. 8-14, 2014PGN 27WEDDING ISSUE

    gible and can apply for this award, he said. Some chambers have been around for more than 30 years and have a membership of more than 1,100 people, so to go up against those chambers that have been around for a while is an honor. IBA was founded in 2006 and has more than 200 members. Cavanaugh said it is the members who have made the IBA award-winning. We are overjoyed because ultimately it is because of our members and because of their engagement and what they bring to the chamber that makes us a great team, he said. A lot of people have worked hard to bring us to this point. The NGLCC acknowledged the IBAs successful monthly networking events, its ConnX and Women in Business programs, as well as corporate partnerships, noting IBA can be a model for other LGBT cham-bers of commerce across the country. Cavanaugh said he is proud of IBAs ability to be inclusive while providing real networking opportunities for its members. The Philadelphia Business Journal this year named IBA one of the top-25 chambers in the region and last year one of the top-25 networking organizations. A lot of people who join IBA and are a part of other organizations or chambers very often say that we are very engaged with our board and members, he said. Our mem-bers often say how other chambers can be cliquey. Our board is very engaged with the membership and they go up to people and ask them who they need to meet or talk to help them with their business. Well make those connections for them on a personal level. If you come to our events, well open doors for you. Cavanaugh said that, during the confer-ence, IBA members attended several ses-sions about best practices and shared what has worked well for the IBA. He noted IBA is particularly proud of the four new corporate partners they have brought on: Flaster/Greenburg, Comcast NBC Universal, Elsevier and AstraZeneca. To be able to put our corporate partners logos on our website and have them rec-ognized as our corporate partners gives us leverage, he said. However, our members really make IBA what it is today. Our mem-bership has grown so much since last year. They are the reason why we are here. IBA will combine the ConnX and Women In Business events for a celebration 5:30-7:30 p.m. Aug. 19 at Tavern on Camac, 243 S. Camac St. For more information, visit www.independencebusinessalliance.com.

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    By Angela [email protected]

    For the first time, the Rainbow Wedding Network will host two LGBT wedding expos in Pennsylvania in one year. The organization, spearheaded by partners Cindy Sproul and Marianne Puechl, will present the Gay & Lesbian Wedding Expo 12:30-3:30 p.m. Aug. 10 at the Sheraton Bucks County, 400 N. Oxford Valley Road in Langhorne. Sproul and Puechl, who staged an expo at the location in March, decided to bring it back for a sec-ond time this year largely because of the May ruling that allowed same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania. The show in March was well-received with over 300-350 in attendance, so once marriage equality was passed, so many couples contacted us to see if we were coming back, Sproul said. Sproul said the Sheraton Bucks County was gra-cious and excited to host the return event. So far, 25 vendors have signed up, and the pair is expecting about 35; exhibitor space is still avail-able for interested vendors. Out attorney Angela Giampolo will present at the exhibition and Sproul said she is also looking to get Equality Pennsylvania and William Way LGBT Community Center on board for presentations. We are expecting a really nice crowd and a lot of couples are really excited that they can now seri-ously plan to get married in Pennsylvania, Sproul said. And some already have their dates set so it is the perfect opportunity for businesses to reach out. Sproul said Rainbow Wedding Network is also planning a second expo in Oregon, which legalized marriage equality the day before Pennsylvania and right after the pair hosted an exhibit there. While Sproul noted all of their events are high-energy, regardless of the laws of the respective states, this expo will be especially celebratory. Marriage equality is now a reality for LGBT couples in Pennsylvania. It is really important if couples are planning a wedding [to attend] because we wont be back in the state for a while and we will have all these wonderful LGBT-friendly wed-ding and travel professionals that can assist them in planning their special day. Despite the marriage-equality win, not all ven-dors, or other wedding expos, are LGBT-friendly, Sproul said. The thing we do so well is that couples even in wonderful areas like Philadelphia are still ner-vous going to straight bridal fairs, she said. They walk in and if it is two women, sometimes vendors assume or ask which one is the bride, she said. Ten years from now we will still be a necessity, even in progressive areas. We want to give that sense of walking into a room filled with businesses that are excited for them. RSVPs are requested. For more information, visit www.SameLoveSameRights.com or www.RainbowWeddingNetwork.com.

    Wedding expo makes return engagement

    WEDDING ISSUE

  • Philadelphia Gay News www.epgn.com Aug. 8-14, 2014PGN 31

    By Jen [email protected]

    Our search for the right wedding photog-raphers came to a quick end as soon as we met with BG Productions. The BG team consisting of husband/wife duo Al Green and Cathie Berrey-Green (the latter of whom is a former employee of The Attic Youth Center) pride themselves on producing work that truly embodies the individual spirit of each of their subjects, while producing meaningful relationships with those clients to further that aim. The couple married in 2007 and three months later joined their talents to form BG, incorporating in 2009. Cathie is usually behind the camera lens while Al takes the video, and their business runs the gamut from weddings to life-style events, such as fam-ily shoots or pet portraits, as well as corporate photo and video. My partner and I hap-pened upon them through a list of local LGBT-friendly wedding photographers and were immediately taken by their values, stated plainly in their online com-pany bio: We strongly believe in being as green and socially responsible as possible and take steps daily to continue that pro-cess. We also do not discriminate against any couple wishing to be married; this is a right all folks should have. Love is a basic human right! Their support isnt just in word only: The couple declines to work with any business or individual that discriminates against LGBT people, regularly blogs about marriage-equality developments, have photographed a wealth of same-sex unions, were on hand to celebrate Pennsylvanias marriage-equal-ity ruling at Philadelphia City Hall and sup-port local LGBT groups like The Attic. While we were initially hooked by BGs

    genuine LGBT-friendliness, their work, which they describe as having a photo-journalistic style, really caught our atten-tion. Their body of wedding work isnt just posed photo after posed photo; while the duo takes the requisite formal family shots, they try to catch the couple and their guests as candidly and creatively as possible, and that sometimes means one of them is stand-ing on a chair or laying on the floor to get the perfect moment from the perfect angle. (At our engagement shoot, they traversed the rocky riverside and sprawled across a gravel bridge to catch the best shots.) When it came to picking products, BG offers custom-built packages. We were ini-

    tially a bit overwhelmed by the number of choices that can go into creating a wedding photo package, but Cathie and Al worked with us to explain all the pros and cons of each decision and to help us make choices based solely on our own tastes. What really solidified our choice, however, was the fact that the BG own-ers develop more than just a professional relation-ship with their clients. For our initial meeting, they

    hosted us in their home and got to know us as a couple, not just as potential clients. When we signed on as clients, they sent us a beautifully crafted (and very green) wel-come package. They host an annual open-house client-appreciation party for all their clients, and keep up with former clients throughout their life events. Taking the added step to get to truly know their clients helps their couples feel at ease when the cameras on and allows BG to get the most natural shots. With a wedding day being so hectic, were looking forward to working with a duo whose talents we know we can trust. For more information, visit www.bgproonline.com.

    Spotlight on: BG ProductionsWEDDING ISSUE

    Photo: BG Productions

    Before the Bells Jen Colletta

    After the vows have been said, the rings exchanged, the toasts made and the unruly relative escorted off the dance floor, what will always last from a wedding are the photos. Figuring out how to best preserve the memories from your big day is one of the most important decisions in the wed-ding-planning process; with all the time, energy and often money that couples put into their wedding, they should be able to revisit those special moments for years to come. Before embarking on your photo-plan-ning journey, you should know about how much you want to spend on photos; going into meetings with photographers and being overwhelmed by the price tag is another added stress you dont need. Photography and videography are typically in the top-tier of most expensive wedding aspects, but where they fall in the list of expenses is up to the couples pri-orities. Like with most steps in the planning process, independent research should come first: Rely on personal referrals and lists of LGBT-friendly photographers to pull together names of vendors you might want to meet with. Make sure to check out their work online before setting up an in-person; wedding photography style really can run the gamut some focus on the formal and traditional, while others tend towards the candid and alternative so its important to know a bit about your photographer before you meet. Almost as important as the quality of the work is your connection with the pho-tographer. Having someone behind the lens who is impersonal or with whom you dont click could pose a problem; theyll likely be there throughout the duration of your wedding day, so having someone with whom you have a good rapport is essential. Along that vein, some couples may want to ask a friend or family member who has some photographic experience to document the day; while that might appeal to your wallet, enlisting loved ones as ven-dors can bring its own boatload of head-aches. Google if you want to hear some horror stories ... When you do decide on your photog-rapher, like most other aspects, dont be afraid to ask if theyre willing to custom-ize a package if youre trying to cut some costs; because of the wealth of options that usually go into wedding photography packages (really, there are a lot), many wedding photogs seem willing to be flex-ible with taking away certain aspects or adding others, depending on the taste and preference of the couple.

    Speaking of the options ... One of the first questions will be whether you want video along with your photos. Some com-panies offer the two together, while other photographers work alone and can recom-mend good videographers. The choice always comes down to personal prefer-ence, but the wealth of online testimonials from brides and grooms lamenting their decision to not have a videographer was enough to convince this couple! If you do choose to have video, theres then the question of which style documentary versus cinematic versus a fusion as well as the extent of editing and the final video products offered. On the photo side, couples may have to consider questions such as the number of photogs they want present (having an assistant to the main photographer means they can catch a number of perspectives) and the number of hours theyll work, as most offer a set number of hours in varying packages with an additional fee per hour. Theres also the question of the number of edited and raw photos couples want, as well as preferences of print ver-sus digital. Many companies offer sam-plings of both; while nearly everything is trending towards online, having profes-sionally printed wedding photographs is a time-honored tradition that many are not yet willing to set aside. Photo prod-ucts prints, frames, canvases, parent albums are commonly included in wed-ding packages. While some couples may forego ordering these products from their photographer and opt instead to make their own utilizing online photo sites, the quality of the finished product should be a consideration. Some companies offer engagement ses-sions as part of a package or as an add-on. While such an option may seem superflu-ous for longtime couples now legally tying the knot, it could be helpful to have a practice session with your photographers, to get used to their style behind the cam-era and to become more comfortable in front of the camera. Plus, professional pre-wedding shots are great to incorporate into save-the-dates and invites (not to mention birthday and Christmas gifts). While anyone with an iPhone nowadays seems to style him or herself an amateur photographer, top-quality wedding pho-tography cant be delivered by just anyone who can point and click. To find the right team, educate yourself about the industry and come up with what you think may be a longer-than-necessary list of ques-tions. The more you learn about your photographers vision and offerings, the better equipped youll be to pick the right person.

    Choosing who and how tocapture your wedding

    AL GREEN, CATHIE BERREY-GREEN AND DOG, BELLA