today i am sharing with you a unique guestbook for your wedding. the artist, Robin Webster, contacted me because she is a member of the LGBT community and was looking for a way to share her work with others. i thought that it was such a nice idea to have a keepsake that can serve as a daily reminder of those who support and celebrate your wedding.
Robin writes, “I create custom keepsake guestbook alternatives for your wedding or commitment ceremony. Your guests stamp the leaves onto these hand drawn trees, creating a unique work of art, to be displayed in the home you create together. As LGBT couples, having a daily reminder of those who love and support our unions is especially important.
I made my first wedding tree for my brother’s wedding, when his fiance asked me to draw something for the guests to sign instead of a guestbook. The wedding tree received so many compliments that I decided to start a business drawing them.
When I married my wife, I had a hard time finding services that were appropriate for a gay couple. We faced disapproval and discrimination along the way, even from family members. Yet at the wedding, over 100 guests showed up. We were overwhelmed with the outpouring of support. I still tear up remembering the unexpected outpouring of love we received that day. I wish I had had a wedding tree for our wedding, so that I could have a visual reminder of those who shared that special day with us.
My favorite part of what I do is the feedback I receive from happy couples after the weddings. I take pride in my art and am very happy that it is appreciated, but I am also a hopeless romantic. I am so proud to be part of making memories for these families.
It would mean so much to me to be a part of commemorating the love shared at the weddings of other gay couples.”
Ashley and Mary are outward bound instructors and were married at the Outward Bound headquarters in Cedar Rock, NC. I love this wedding. From the rock climbing pre-party, to the handpainted signs, to the heartfelt ceremony, to the fun looking dance party – these ladies look like they had a lot of fun on their wedding day! thanks to the amazing pictures by Whitmeyer Photography, i get to share their awesomeness with you!
two megans, both with a love of boston and the beach, met, fell in love, and got married – city hall style. here’s their awesome, super stylish, and very fun wedding.
ps. i know these girls personally, so i’m even more excited to share their celebration with you all!
from the megans: “Megan V, who currently lives in Newport Beach, CA, spent many a summer during her childhood in Concord, MA visiting her grandparents. Having developed an affinity for Boston, Megan continued to travel back to the city every summer in her adulthood, long after both her grandparents passed. Through friends, Megan met “Scully” (the other Megan), a charming and gregarious Irish woman : ) and the connection was instantaneous.
Thereafter, an aggressive transcontinental relationship unfolded, and for 6 months the Megans flew from coast to coast to see each other for only a few days at a time. Finally, enough was enough. Not only were the airlines being funded soley by the Megans, but the frequent flyers could bear it no longer. They had found their “person” and it was meant to be. It was decided that Scully, along with her 2 yr old English Bulldog, Whiskey Row, would make the big move to California, but not before Megan V put a ring on it!
“It was a week before the big move. Megan had flown to Boston to help Scully pack up and ship out to CA. During a morning walk with our dog through Scully’s favorite park, the Harvard Arboretum in Roslindale, Megan shyly suggested that they climb to the way top of the hill which marks the furthest extension of the park. Overlooking their favorite city and with a perfect view of the city skyline, Megan dropped to one knee, professed her love, and popped the big question. A few choice words flew from Scully’s almost breathless lungs and after steadying her shaking legs, accepted Megan’s proposal!
ummm, a wedding with apples to apples cards used in their centerpieces?! sign me up! i love how rustic/casual, yet ridiculously beautiful this wedding is. plus, their story is lovely as well. enjoy!
how did you meet:
There are so many fun details to how we met, but I’ll stick to the basics. We met in person for the first time at an Indigo Girl’s Concert at Mishawaka Amphitheater outside Fort Collins, CO. When I finally asked Suzanne (who actually goes by Suz) out, it was to see Melissa Etheridge playing live later the same summer. It seems so cliché, huh? First the Indigo Girls, then Melissa Etheridge. After the concert, we headed to the only gay bar in town to dance and once I offered Suz a tequila shot (a favorite of both of ours), we knew we were probably going to see a lot of each other.
A year after we got together, Suz went on an almost month long backpacking trip on the John Muir Trail. She started in Yosemite and ended at Mount Whitney, just outside of Lone Pine, CA. About a week after no communication I decided I wanted her to be around forever. I pictured our whole lives together and decided to drive two days to the end of the trail to surprise her and ask her to marry me. I didn’t think through how I would ask her or what I would say so much as I planned how I would find her. There was a 48-hour period in which she would be exiting the trail and I planned to wait the whole time to meet her. I got there only about an hour before she came off the trail, but I was afraid I was going to miss her entirely because she sent a text from the top of Mount Whitney when I was in Las Vegas, about 5 hours away. I drove the rest of the way with a very heavy right foot and luckily didn’t get caught.
Suz was so surprised, but she thought something was wrong because I was acting strange and she kept bugging me about why I was there. She thought I was there to tell her someone died or something (since she had no communication with the rest of the world for so long). When I finally told her, it came out really fast and not romantic at all and made for a completely awkward few minutes. After about three days together in the Yosemite area, Suz asked me to marry her too. We were under the canopy of Tuolumne Redwood Grove in Yosemite National Park.
We wanted a whole weekend instead of just a couple of hours. We wanted to actually spend time with the guests and we wanted the guests to get to know each other. So, we picked a place where there was enough room and enough lodging for everyone, as well as spectacular views and plenty to do. The ranch itself has 3 cabins and a lot of camping space. There are also a lot of lodging options within 15 minutes.
Our ceremony was amazing. We both wanted to have our closest friends and family there. We wanted the community support and encouragement that comes with the right of passage of a public ceremony. We both thing marriage is a public statement (not all a private matter as some would say.). One of the coolest things about it was the love we felt from our guests while we stood together. Our dog lay right in between us and looked up, stealing the show. It still makes me smile to think about what it felt like to occasionally look out at all the people who were there to support us and see huge smiles and winks.
On Friday night, we had our guests tell stories about us as a couple or as individuals while we all sat around a camp fire. We provided ropes to tie knots into for each story. We each had our own rope and during the ceremony on Saturday, we tied our two ropes together. We literally “tied the knot” to represent the joining of two lives into one relationship. We also asked our guests to bring a rock for us and we collected them at the beginning of the ceremony. We hope to put them all in a fountain (when we get around to it). Directly after the ceremony, we got into a small rowboat to get to the reception on the other side of the lake. While our guest walked around the lake, we enjoyed a moment of peace with each other amongst all the craziness. Once we arrived in the party tent, we served everyone tequila shots and limes in lieu of champagne.
How was your experience with the wedding professionals that you worked with?
The night before we went to see the location, I laid awake in total anxiety. It was early January and the location is located at least 45 minutes from town on a small dirt road. I was so afraid the man who owned the place would be mean about it all and although I was prepared for bigotry, I couldn’t stand the thought of seeing someone treat Suz horribly. She sees the best in everyone and it would never occur to her that someone would not love us for who we are. So I was preparing all kinds of exit strategies and arguments to give this guy in the event he was a total jerk. Once we got to Midnight Ranch though, Steve was absolutely wonderful. We spent a lot of time with him before the wedding and fell in love with him.
We had a great experience with everyone else as well. Our photographer came to Steamboat from Lawrence, KS (and wore a bowtie!) and we loved everything about him. He took pictures from Friday afternoon through Sunday morning, so he documented the whole weekend. Our officiator was a retired pastor with a church in Fort Collins and he had never done a gay ceremony before. He gave us couple’s counseling and the whole bit beforehand and he truly made it the ceremony we wanted.
We had told our caterer and the rental company that we were having a family reunion so they didn’t give us wedding prices (I know, lying is bad…) but when the caterer showed up to set up, we were clearly getting married. She had made a paper menu with the title “Melsen/Hartung Reunion” that was framed on the buffet table. I think someone gave her a Sharpie and she crossed out “Reunion” and replaced it with “Wedding.” We had a good laugh and she and her friend stayed for a while to enjoy the party.
A few words of advice/tips/lessons learned when planning your wedding to share with other couples:
- Know that you might have some hard decisions and you might get mad at each other in the planning process. A lot of emotional stuff came up for me (Lindsay) as well, I think in preparation to be married, and I had to deal with it in order to be ready but it got in the way of some of the fun.
- Don’t’ get too worked up about government stuff. You’re in it for each other, not a tax write-off. Yes, it sucks that we are not granted equal rights, but ask yourself, “Do I really want one of the best days ever to be ruined with anger?”
- Invite the people you want to be surrounded by.
- Do whatever it is that will make you both feel loved, supported, and happy on that day. No more.
From Still Music Photography: This was the first same sex wedding I have shot or attended, and it was such a beautiful day. Two gorgeous brides with two wonderful families celebrated a long awaited union at Villa Ragusa in Campbell, CA. They both looked perfect in their gowns and the whole day had a warm atmosphere and fun people. During the ceremony, their families stood beside them while they followed a sand-pouring tradition. Lindsay had the high-top Converse on lockdown! All the center pieces were labeled with places that held special places in their story and hearts. Shooting their portraits was just heart melting because they’re so adorable together. We are so happy for them both them and their families!
A little about the couple & their wedding: Sarah proposed to Lindsay a few days before they moved into the house they bought. They have been dating since 2007. They met at San Jose State in a masters program and one of their first dates was to a Sharks game. They had a good sized wedding with about 75 guests. The overall theme to their wedding was spring so their colors were ivory, light green, light purple with some blue, yellow and pink thrown in the mix. They made their table centerpieces by choosing locations and activities that meant something to them, printing a picture and writing a little story on the card. They chose not to use flowers and their flower girl threw artificial flower petals. For music, they walked in to the instrumental song from Love Actually, left the event to the Plain White T’s 1-2-3-4 and had their first dance to Last Night on Earth by Green Day.
Any advice for other couples?
Enjoy the process – the day is over too quickly!!
Catering & Venue: Villa Ragusa
Transportation: A friend of the couple drove their get-away car
Dessert: through Villa Ragusa – A Piece of Cake
Music: Lindsay’s brother did the music
Coordinator(s): The couple
Photographer: Still Music Photography
Hair/makeup: Sarah’s Sisters
Jess & Bridgette sent in their urban engagement shoot by Amanda Megan Miller Photography to me. I love the Lego head costumes!
“Jess and I are having our wedding at a vintage restored barn in Northwest IL. We live in Chicago and wanted our engagement photos to reflect a more urban industrial feel we love. Perhaps a compromise to having the wedding at the barn I choose.
“We both love the West Loop, from it’s amazing restaurants to its unique graffiti, it felt like the perfect backdrop for our engagement photos. It was also the perfect opportunity to get to know our very talented wedding photographer Amanda Miller from Amanda Megan Miller Photography. She helped capture exactly what we were looking for! Jess and I huge lovers of all things art from restoring old thrift store finds to knitting and sewing. Jess made these amazing Lego head costumes for us last year for Halloween. She worked long hours on them and they were a hit! We knew we wanted to incorporate them into our photos somehow.
“We love making each other laugh constantly so taking things to serious is not our style. We wanted to have fun and express that through our pictures. We are beyond excited for our wedding next July!”
Cori & Whitney contacted me a little while ago because they are in the process of planning their wedding for next July and came across my blog and saw that I am always looking for reader submissions. Well, it just goes to show you that it’s true, because here are their engagement pictures! I love reader submissions, so I was very excited when Cori emailed me with their sweet story and pictures taken by StudiOlivia Photography.
Cori shares, “We first met our Freshmen year of High School. We became best friends, but didn’t come out to each other until the summer before our senior year, when I told Whitney that I had liked her for a very long time, and wasn’t going to pretend I didn’t anymore. We had a crazy, fun, secret love that just kept growing, and is something we both know is extraordinary. Today, it is still crazy and fun, but not even close to a secret.
I proposed to Whitney first, on December 15, 2011. We had just gotten our Christmas tree setup, but hadn’t put the decorations on it yet. It is a tradition with us that I give her a Christmas bear every year. So this time, I got the bear and tied the ring to one of its arms and propped it in the tree. I waited for her to come home from work. When she walked in the door she was excited to see her bear. She walked over, took it out of the tree and noticed the box. She took the ribbon off, and as she opened it, I said, “I know you have promised me forever before, but will you say yes one more time?” She started crying, wrapped her arms around my neck, and said yes!
Whitney proposed to me in March 2012, after much debate about whether or not she was going to propose, since I had already proposed to her. Her proposal has a little back story though. When we were in High School we weren’t really out to our families or very many friends. So we wrote each other a lot of notes, because that seemed safest. So when she proposed, she wrote me a love note and folded it the same way we always did in HS. After I finished reading it, she opened the ring box and asked me to be her wife. It was very sweet, and reminded me of how much I’ve loved her…since our first notes together, 7 years ago.
We are so excited about our wedding day! It is going to be a little bit on the traditional side, but we are finding a lot of ways to build fun into it, and add our own quirks. It will be outside, next summer, at a country club. We are calling our wedding party the “dresses” and “tuxes” because bridesmaids is fine, but groomsmen won’t work because I am not a groom, and some of our tuxes are women. We are working on some exciting plans, but one thing at the fore front is going to be that everyone has a good time, and no one gets too stressed.
congratulations ladies – thanks for your submission and we can’t wait to see your wedding!
right now i’m sitting out on my back porch on an amazing summer evening and this wedding really fits in with the mood. it is totally up my alley – backyard, wine & mason jars. a wedding put together by the couple and their friends.
Leann Arthur Photography sent along this submission and she wrote: I’m an Eastern Washington state based documentary wedding and portrait photographer. Last month, I was lucky enough to get to photograph Kristy (in blue) and Brianna’s wedding in Spokane, Washington. The wedding was incredible – they had it at their house and in their backyard, and did almost everything themselves or with the help of their many awesome friends. The wedding was laid back, effortless and reflected their personalities as well as their relationship very well. The word to best describe their big day, when I think back to it, would essentially be “real” – their wedding was just so genuine and full of so much love. I had a blast photographing it, and I think other LGBT couples would have as much fun looking through the photos as I did shooting them.