Ontario, CANADA :: Tama Lynn & Amanda :: Spark Of My Heart // Real LGBTQ Engagement

:: Spark Of My Heart::

Photographed & Submitted by :: {MRSter Approved} Oren & Jones Photography

Local to Niagara Falls, Ontario Canada, these two lovely ladies met online and fell in love in 2007. There was an instant spark, and they’ve have been absolutely inseparable ever since.

With a love for family, friends, and baseball, there’s never a dull moment.

In May of 2015, Tama Lynn, in front of family and friends, played a short video she had put together about their relationship. Chronicling their first date, family vacations, their dog Lacey and cat Sebastian. She then got down on one knee and presented Amanda with a ring. A ring she had specially made out of Ammonite; a rare Canadian gem which radiates a brilliant rainbow.

She was thrilled when she heard Amanda say ‘yes!’

DISTINCTIONS

Same Sex Engagement. Fireworks. Niagara Falls.

THE PROFESSIONALS

Photography :: {MRSter ApprovedOren & Jones Photography

LOCATION

Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

Portland, OREGON :: David & Spencer :: It's All In The Details // Real LGBTQ Wedding

:: It’s All In The Details ::

Photography :: Steele Photography

You always hear other couples say their wedding was ‘the best day ever”, but our wedding really was the BEST day ever! Everything was perfectly masculine with touches of glam throughout… What more could two grooms ask for? From custom furniture, lighting, napkins and matchbooks to signature cocktails, photobooth and a live band – no detail went unnoticed.

We each had our must have list during the planning process. Delegation and teamwork is a must! David was all about the food (oh the food!) and booze. Spencer was all about the ambiance. Really take the time to make your wedding specific to you as a couple. Don’t be scared to ask for things out of the norm! And don’t feel like you have to do something because it “is normal”. After all, you only get this day once!

We wouldn’t have been able to make our wedding day dreams come to life without the expertise of our planner and coordination team who worked closely with our long list of rock star vendors. Choose these people wisely – you will spend a lot of time with them.

We’ll never forget the feeling of walking into our venue the day of seeing everything come to life and taking a moment to truly appreciate each and every detail. No one ever tells you how fast wedding day goes. Be careful to not blink or it might be over 😉 Don’t stress about the small stuff (small stuff will happen that no one will ever even notice) and take every second of amazingness in.

DISTINCTIONS

Two Grooms. Masculine Glam. Best Day Ever.

THE PROFESSIONALS

Photography :: Steele Photography
Venue :: West End Ballroom
Styling & Design :: Luxe Event Productions
Videography :: Watt Films
Catering :: To Dine For
Liquid Catering :: My Bartender
Dessert :: Rosycakes
Rentals :: Classic Vintage
Rentals :: LaTavola Linen
Rentals :: Barclay
Lighting :: Greenlight Creative
Drape :: West Coast Drape
Floral :: Spencer’s Sister

LOCATION

Portland, Oregon, USA.

COLORS

    

Chandler, ARIZONA :: Jamy & Marvin :: Cultural Traditions // Real LGBTQ Wedding

:: Cultural Traditions ::

Photographed & Submitted by :: {MRSter Approved} Elizabeth Douglas Photography

East met West in this AMAZING wedding that took place in June 2015 at NOAH’s in Chandler! This was all about fun, food, wine, and the coming together of Marvin’s Chinese family and Jamy’s Midwest Family. These families had just met for the first time the evening before at the rehearsal dinner, and I was taken with the love and joy that oozed throughout the evening! Jamy and Marvin truly wanted their wedding day to be something that folks “oohed” and “aahed” over, as well as talked about for months to come! With careful planning, they did just that…

No one, and I mean not ONE guest was allowed into the ballroom until it was time to be seated for the ceremony. Beforehand, guests were treated by the soothing sounds of the Allegro Quartet, as they sipped on libations provided by A Couple of Bartenders. {MRSter Approved} Elizabeth Douglas Photography provided a “portrait booth” (not a photo booth!) where couples and families could get photos taken and printed out to take home as a remembrance of the day. Straight to the Plate Catering provided white gloved, butler passed appetizers that were most scrumptious!

When the time came, folks were escorted to the main ballroom where their senses were blown away by the breathtaking aroma of the flowers, the exquisite display of lighting, floral design, and high end table settings, as the Allegro Quartet continued with their melodic music. Everyone sat down at their tables, yes, tables, not just seats, as this was going to be a wedding like no other, that flowed like one of Jamy and Marvin’s dinner parties.

The ceremony was conducted by a dear friend, and fellow wine club member, Jacqueline Diaz. She captivated everyone with her “storytelling ways” that brought both families together, as well as a number of tears to people’s eyes. Following the ceremony, we were all brought back to reality by the thunderous drums that preceded the traditional Chinese wedding dragon who followed close behind. This in itself was a cultural blast with everyone’s eyes riveted on the dragon and cell phones capturing every moment of the display. This ended with the traditional presentation of a scroll to Jamy and Marvin, and applause by all.

Jamy and Marvin love a good party. Even though this was their wedding day, they wanted it to be about everyone who had come to celebrate, so they planned everything accordingly and everything flowed perfectly.

As soon as everyone was re-seated, a dinner prayer was said, and Straight to the Plate Catering got the buffet line going. Jamy and Marvin managed to grab a few bites before sneaking out to sign their marriage license, as their guests enjoyed the fare. Following dinner, toasts were given, thanks were said, and Scott Faver of the Party Favers queued the music for the first dance, which was a stage production in itself. Jamy and Marvin “danced in the clouds” for their first dance as a married couple, and it was beyond magical. After their first dance, Jamy and Marvin made their way to the three tiered wedding cake by Sue Jacobs cakes that sat upon a bed of flowers created by Eternal Event Designs. The cake was cut, and the party got started!

The newlyweds remember all too well all the fun weddings they’d gone to, and how the photos just seemed to be repetitious, and sometimes a bit blackmail worthy, so this is where the photography ended….well, until a group “shot” was done to toast the lovebirds.

You may recognize these two handsome grooms from their engagement session feature! Check it out here.

DISTINCTIONS

Cultural Traditions. Family. Perfect Planning.

THE PROFESSIONALS

Photography :: {MRSter Approved} Elizabeth Douglas Photography
Venue :: NOAH’s Event Venue
Event Planner :: {MRSter Approved} De Atley Events
Design {Floral, Draping, Lighting} :: {MRSter ApprovedEternal Event Design
Officiant :: Jacqueline Diaz
Apparel :: Celebrity Tux & Tails
Catering :: Straight to the Plate Catering
Cake :: Sue Jacobs Cakes
Bar Service :: Couple of Bartenders
Rentals :: YKnot Party Rentals
Musicians :: Allegro Quartet
DJ :: The Party Favers
Lion Dancers :: Arizona Martial Arts Lion Dance Association
Invitations :: Magrith Tsen Keck
Menu & Place Cards :: Pixels & Posies Prints & Printables

LOCATION

Chandler, Arizona, USA

COLORS

    

St. John, USVI :: Mark & Mike :: Sunset Ceremony // Real LGBTQ Wedding

:: Sunset Ceremony ::

Submitted by :: Mary Bartolucci of Island Style Weddings
Photographed by :: STJ Creative Photography

Mike and Mark wanted a simple tropical ceremony and they had the beach all to themselves as they exchanged touching vows at sunset. Trunk Bay beach was the perfect backdrop for this memorable ceremony. They were the first lucky couple to legally marry on St. John… Which was a huge honor for Mary Bartolucci who officiated the ceremony. With such breathtaking views, there really was no need for anything other than themselves and simple white boutonnieres.

After their ceremony, the couple and their guests enjoyed a delicious dinner at Asolare, an intimate restaurant overlooking the beautiful Caribbean sea.

DISTINCTIONS

Sunset Ceremony. Making History. Ocean Views.

THE PROFESSIONALS

Photography :: STJ Creative Photography
Event Planning :: Island Style Weddings
Officiant :: Mary Bartolucci of Island Style Weddings
Reception :: Asolare
Floral :: Roses Too Flowers

LOCATION

St. John, United States Virgin Islands

COLORS

 

Happy 4th! :: Thoughts on Independence

:: Happy 4th! // Thoughts on Independence ::

As our readers know, MRSter is all about marriage equality. We work really hard to not lump people in to categories like “straight”, “lesbian”, “gay”, “bisexual”, “queer” or “questioning.” Come to think of it, we can also separate people by labeling them disabled, ie; a “disabled wedding”. Or elderly, as in, an “old folks wedding” or an “interracial wedding”. It happens. Come to think of it, we can say a “Jewish Wedding” or a “Mexican Wedding” or an “African American Wedding” or an Interfaith Wedding”, et cetera and so forth.

Gay Wedding

Photography :: {MRSter Approved} Mod Wed

While these labels may be true, and while some of these labels may be perceived as offensive while others are not, the fact of the matter is that the human race has more similarities than differences. We just have subtle nuances that make us unique; little differences in shade and tone that make us who we are. The world would be a boring place if we were all the same.

I understand the need for labels when we are expressing an idea, so that others can get what we are trying to express. If I told you I recently went to a Jewish wedding, it may bring to mind the smashing of glasses, or a canopy, or men wearing yamakas, but what do you think of when I tell you I attended a gay wedding? Was everyone there super happy? I mean really, what does that mean? And how does the freedom to marry the one you love enter into an independent life? 

With Independence Day just around the corner, it got me thinking about freedom. I thought about the fight of African Americans to be able to vote. I thought about the fight of people with disabilities for the right to enter a building in a wheelchair. I thought about the fight of Native Americans to get back that which was stolen, and I thought about the words of Nelson Mandela:

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”

Independence Day

Photography via Sian Clark

Really, the freedom to marry the person you love is, or should be, an elementary right in every state of the nation. I’ve heard all the arguments for and against, and agree that everyone has the right to their opinion. However, no one has the right to belittle, deny or otherwise cause harm to other individuals because they don’t approve of a certain lifestyle (or race of people, or religion).

We are a nation of diversity. Unfortunately however, unless we ever achieve a perfect society, there will always be bigoted, ugly, hateful people in the world. So, and focusing on the area of equality in marriage, MRSter celebrates diversity and tries to bring our equality to the community of humans. Viva la difference!

Love Is Love

We wish you a safe and joyful Independence Day. May our nation continue to be a place where freedom is embraced and celebrated! How will you be celebrating this Holiday weekend?!

Minneapolis, MINNESOTA :: Erin & Liberty :: Rock Solid // Real LGBTQ Wedding

:: Rock Solid ::

Submitted by :: {MRSter Approved} Life Design Events
Photographed by :: Bethany Meister

What can I say about these two? I can’t begin to explain to you the enormous amount of love between them.

The celebration, the joy and the excitement of them finally joining their love legally in front of an incredibly supportive group of people that adored them deeply was contagious. I immediately felt like a part of their group and soon became one of the many ‘sisters’ within the extended family of friends.

After 10 years dedicated to each other and alongside their daughter Ivy, Erin and Liberty tied the knot and grasped tightly to the right of marriage. As outspoken Minnesota LBGTQ activists and grand supporters of MRSter, they really understood and desired to invest in their wedding day. The trust they gave us as their wedding planners and event designers opened the door for so many amazing touches to their special day. With details of floral, gifts, food, booze, the right DJ, humor and love, they created an evening like no other.

The love between Liberty and Erin is a love you can only aspire to attain after gallons of jet fuel, after hours of hard work, after many measures of music, and after years of gazing deeply into each others eyes. This wedding was not just a celebration of their decade to each other, but a huge embrace of their love and their family.

Thank you, Liberty and Erin. You both are such giving, deep, loving and genuine spirits and your wedding day was that as well.

PSSTT :: If you missed their ‘Rainy Day Romance’ engagement session, click here to take a peek!

DISTINCTIONS

Decade of Love. LGBTQ Activists. Beautiful Love.

THE PROFESSIONALS

Photography :: Bethany Meister
Event Planning & Event Design :: {MRSter ApprovedLife Design Events 
Venue :: Columbia Manor
Hotel :: The Grand Hotel
Ceremony Trio :: Witherspoon String Trio
Catering :: Chow Girls Killer Catering
DJ :: Michael Gray
Florist :: Ashley Fox Designs
Officiant :: Marie Alexander
Rentals :: Apres Party
Photo Booth :: The Photo Booth Group
Transportation :: Eclipse Cars
Vocalist :: Noelle

LOCATION

Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.

COLORS

   

Chandler, ARIZONA :: Cody & Sian :: Long Distance Love // Real Wedding

:: Long Distance Love ::

Submitted by :: The Bride
Photographed by :: Poppy Seed Photography

Cody and I have a love story like no other.

The both of us actually met when we were toddlers; I was two years old and Cody was three years old. His dad was in the American Air Force and they were stationed in Oxfordshire in the UK (where I am originally from). Our siblings went to school together, and our families became friends because of this. After a while, Cody and his family moved back to the USA, and after that, our families unfortunately lost touch.

We had never forgotten about the Clark family, and in fact, my sister spent hours tirelessly searching the internet years later, trying to find them… Unfortunately not having any luck!

Almost twenty years later, totally out of the blue, Cody’s dad John, found my mum on Facebook… Pretty crazy! From there, Cody and I reconnected, and over time, both felt an undeniable connection that neither of us had experienced before. After almost a couple of years of doing the (extremely) long distance thing, travelling back and forth between Arizona and England to see each other (that’s over 5,000 miles away!), Cody proposed to me on Thousand Steps Beach in California on the 15th of March 2014.

I relocated to Arizona at the end of August 2014, so Cody and I could begin our life together. We then got married on the 26th of October that year! We chose to get married in an air hangar, and to have a vintage 1940’s theme; both symbolising our long distance love journey, and how we originally met by his dad being in the American Air Force. The smaller details were a fusion of British and American culture.

We had a very intimate ceremony with just our close family in attendance; some who had travelled from the UK to be there. We were also able to Skype in some of my other close family members from home who were unable to make it! The wonders of technology! Some of Cody’s closest friends joined us for the evening reception, which was nice and laid back; drinks flowing and a taco truck serving some delicious food!

It was a perfect day for the both of us, and a huge step in our crazy journey of life together!

“It might take a year, it might take a day, but what’s meant to be will always find its way.” Unknown Author

PSSTT :: If you missed their engagement session, click here to take a peek!

DISTINCTIONS

Long Distance Love. American & British. Journey of Life.

THE PROFESSIONALS

Photography :: Poppy Seed Photography
Venue {Ceremony & Reception} :: Chandler Air Service
Apparel {Bride} :: Beau Belles
Apparel {Groom} :: Rose Tuxedo
Apparel {Bridesmaids} :: JCPenney
Hair :: Hair By Rubi King {HRK}
Rentals {Tea Crockery} :: Tea Crockery
Rentals {Vintage Car} :: Roscoe & Louie
Floral :: {MRSter Approved} Butterfly Petals

LOCATION

Chandler, Arizona, USA.

COLORS

  

Wedding Wisdom Wednesday :: Why the Wedding Industry & Engaged Couples Need MRSter

:: Why the Wedding Industry & Engaged Couples Need MRSter ::

We hate to brag (not really), but MRSter serves a valuable purpose to both the wedding industry and ALL engaged couples. We believe that all engaged couples should be treated equally. We recently interviewed MRSter co-founder Cicely Rocha Miller and MRSter Approved Photographer, Justin McCallum of Justin McCallum Photography on the subject of why the wedding industry and engaged couples need MRSter. We thought it was a good idea to present these questions from our point of view and that of a candid vendor, and hope you agree.

MRSter :: What is it that makes MRSter unique?

Cicely :: We vet all of the wedding vendors that want to list with us through an application process; researching them and confirm their marketing materials are inclusive. We also aren’t just about gay weddings, we are about ALL weddings, as we welcome and celebrate straight couples as well.

Justin :: I was thankful to come across MRSter not only as a wedding vendor myself, but as a member of the LGBTQ community. With rhetoric dividing the conversation surrounding same-sex weddings between exclusion or normalization, it is inspiring to see an online resource that presents couples as they are, without judgement or emphasis on the ‘wedding-industrial-complex.’ MRSter is a space for couples to seek out inspirational and aspirational wedding planning resources with real examples and vendors who are actually reflective of them.

MRSter :: What is the most common error(s) vendors make specific to LGBT engaged couples?

Cicely :: Constantly referring in print, social media and on their websites, to their clients as “Brides”.

Justin :: Having mistakenly landed on the receiving end of many a wedding vendor e-blast, nothing makes me hit “SPAM” faster than immediately calling a wedding planner the “bride” and mentioning a “hubby-to-be” later on. To make such assumptions in today’s day and age is so short-sighted, that it immediately makes me call into question whether they can understand the nuances unique to any relationship, let alone a LGBTQ partnership. In a similar vein, however, couples shouldn’t look exclusively for LGBTQ vendors. Just being queer doesn’t guarantee they’ll vibe with you or your boo, so make sure you meet with vendors before you hire them, since they have to be a good fit for every nook and cranny of you.

MRSter :: How can we best assist vendors?

Cicely :: We offer education, tips and ideas on how to attract the new demographic through an email marketing series that will help them BUILD MORE WEDDING BUSINESS. Click here to sign up!

Justin :: Although I think MRSter has a burgeoning social media presence, I have never seen any marketing or other efforts to grow the network. I think it may be a great website for couples to Pin photos or look at the occasional wedding, but it is lacking a bit of the authority necessary to make couples outright book vendors based on being featured or seeing a profile. That could also be improved with sharper web design.

Cicely :: (in response to Justin). We are aware, and that is something we greatly desire to change. We are working with designers currently to try and work out an easier way for our MRSter Approved vendors to be booked. Thank you for your insight, Justin! We are always open and grateful to hear feedback as to how we can make this resource as user-friendly as possible!

MRSter :: How can we best assist engaged couples?

Cicely :: We offer an amazing list of vendor partners through the FABuLIST. These MRSter Approved vendors are those that celebrate your engagement and love; not merely tolerate it. We offer stories of other wedding days and tips on planning as well.

MRSter :: What still needs to be done to engage greater acceptance of LGBT couples?

Cicely :: Practicing what you are preaching. It’s not about adding a rainbow to your website and assuming that will take care of being inclusive in your business. It’s about you, as a professional wedding vendor, being among the first to practice and implement the tips and suggestions we offer to attract more wedding business.

Justin: MRSter is on the right to track to hasten acceptance of LGBTQ couples by presenting their unique love stories and avoiding stereotypes. Similarly, presenting same-sex couples alongside straight counterparts without division legitimates their love as ordinary, and removes the stigma of being “other.” Continued, honest representation of LGBTQ couples is the clearest path to greater acceptance.

MRSter offers heartfelt thanks to Justin McCallum for his forthright and honest responses. If any of our readers have something to add, we’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Chandler, ARIZONA :: Stephanie & Jessica :: A Love Story // Real LGBTQ Wedding

:: A Love Story  ::

Photographed & Submitted by :: {MRSter Approved} Mi Amore Photography

Stephanie & Jessica shared their wedding vows in February, amongst their closest family and friends. The venue they chose for their big day was Noahs Event Venue in Chandler, Arizona. They decorated the event center with their favorite books, and guests were given coloring book marks to doodle on! The dessert table was filled with delicious cupcakes and their cheescake wedding cake that had the cutest little toppers!

Their love for each other is truly special.

DISTINCTIONS

Bookworms. Desert Landscape. Cute Cupcakes.

THE PROFESSIONALS

Photography :: {MRSter ApprovedMi Amore Photography
Venue ::NOAH’S Event Venue

LOCATION

Chandler, Arizona, USA.

COLORS