Milwaukee, WISCONSIN :: Ken & Jay :: Home Is Where The Heart Is // Real LGBTQ Wedding

:: Home Is Where The Heart Is ::

Photographed & Submitted by :: {MRSter ApprovedReminisce Studio by Miranda & Adam

Ken & Jay recently got married in Boston, MA, where the two of them live. Having so much love for their family and friends, they decided to have two wedding receptions, one in each of their home states: Wisconsin and Rhode Island. We were lucky enough to be the photographers for their celebration at the Milwaukee Art Museum, and the day couldn’t have gone any better!

We met up with the two handsome grooms in Café Calatrava, where some finishing touches were being made to their reception decor, and they helped each other with their bow ties- so sweet! Then we made our way around the stunning, modern museum to capture some portraits of the newlyweds. Windhover Hall, as well as all the other inspiring architectural elements, made the perfect backdrop. They were so sweet with each other, and we could tell what a wonderful pair they are.

Soon they joined their family and friends for some pictures before heading to cocktail hour. The details came together perfectly, including a cleverly illustrated menu, Jeopardy game instructions, custom place settings, etc. They also made donations in honor of their guests to Autism Speaks and the National Kidney Foundation.

Everyone enjoyed taking in the views of the Milwaukee cityscape and lakefront before it was time for dinner. Afterward, some really thoughtful, touching speeches and toasts were made. Then guests were treated to an absolutely amazing video montage that told Ken & Jay’s story, beautifully illustrated their relationship and concluded with their ceremony (cue tears of joy filling the room).

Since the two of them love playing games, they presented a game of Jeopardy for everyone to partake! It was so clever, and we loved capturing their guests having so much fun! Afterward, Ken & Jay were welcomed to the dance floor for their First Dance as newlyweds. And throughout the evening, the talented band kept the dance floor packed! Everyone was having a blast watching the band, decorating themselves with glow-sticks and dancing the night away! What a party!


Home State Celebrations. Game Night. Architecture.


Photography :: {MRSter ApprovedReminisce Studio by Miranda & Adam
Venue :: Milwaukee Art Museum
Catering :: Café Calatrava
Band :: Chicago Diamond Trio


Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.




Top Five Friday :: Top 5 Things Same-Sex Couples Need to Know When Selecting a Wedding Vendor

:: Top 5 Things Same-Sex Couples Need to Know When Selecting a Wedding Vendor ::

Let’s face it, planning a wedding is stressful, no doubt about it, and for the same-sex couple, you don’t need the hassle of trying to work with wedding vendors who are not savvy about the modern union. We consulted Drew Coleman, professional wedding planner and MRSter co-founder, on the subject of the top 5 things same-sex couples should know when selecting wedding vendors.

Drew Coleman

Drew Coleman

1 :: Experience. How long has the vendor been working with gay couples? It is a good practice to ask the potential vendor about their direct experience and the question may get them to open up about their view on the subject.

2 :: Paperwork: Does the vendor use gender-neutral paperwork and practice neutral processes? Make sure their contracts, forms, and other documentation are properly worded to include your spouse and yourself so you don’t have to cross out “bride” or “groom”. That would be annoying to say the least and is certainly not in keeping with  modern union practices.

Wedding Documentation

3 :: Team Values. Does the entire team share the owner’s’ values? Will the workers on the wedding day be just as gay-friendly? Ask, “What are you doing in your business to make sure your entire team and everybody we come in contact with from your company shares your same values of inclusiveness?”

4 :: Website. When looking at the vendor’s online presence, does it appear that they celebrate diversity and inclusiveness? Ask, “What are you doing in your marketing and social media to show couples that you are open and inclusive?”


5 :: Reviews and References. Do the vendors have good reviews in general? Are their any references from gay couples the vendor is willing to share?

Your wedding should be all about the two of you. It is your wedding and you get to make it whatever you want it to be.The bottom line is to make sure you are working with people who respect and honor your right to be together as a couple.

Are you planning your wedding and looking for gay-friendly wedding vendors? Check out our amazing FABuLISTers!!

Phoenix, ARIZONA :: Kishia & Jen :: Colorful Farm Wedding // Real LGBTQ Wedding

:: Colorful Farm Wedding ::

Photographed & Submitted by :: {MRSter ApprovedAlyssa Campbell Photography

Kishia and Jen wanted a beautiful outdoor casual morning celebration of their love and {MRSter Approved} The Farm at South Mountain couldn’t have been a better backdrop to their day. They had musician friends playing guitar and singing throughout the day, including a special song sung during the ceremony. Both Kishia and Jen’s daughters were in the ceremony, and two friends married them and did a fabulous job with the ceremony.

I could see Kishia and Jen’s love for their tribe throughout the wedding. I loved the moment right before the kiss where the officiant made the two wait for the big moment, causing hearty laughs from Kishia, Jen and their guests before he finally let them have their kiss to seal the deal!

It was such an honor to document their joy-filled, colorful wedding and Jen and Kishia were so open and warm and joyful.


Colorful. Friends & Family. Beautiful Brides.


Photography :: {MRSter Approved} Alyssa Campbell Photography
Venue :: {MRSter ApprovedThe Farm at South Mountain
Catering :: {MRSter Approved} Santa Barbara Catering
Floral :: Crazy Daisies Flowers


Phoenix, Arizona, USA.



Gilbert, ARIZONA :: Jamy & Marvin :: Wine, Food, Friends... And LOVE! // Real LGBTQ Engagement

:: Wine, Food, Friends… And LOVE! ::

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

Meet Jamy {of MRSter Approved Eternal Event Design} and Marvin, a couple of the best guys you will ever meet. Funloving. Silly (and serious). Lovers of good wine, food, friends, and love.

Fourteen years ago in January, these two met at a bar in Chicago, and let’s just say the rest is history. Life has brought them from where they began in Chicago, out to the valley of the sun, where they’ve continued with their love of all that is good (wine, food, and friends). These two know how to put on a party, let me tell you!

Funny thing is, they’re not much for having their photos taken, so we had to come up with a fun way of capturing them. Thankfully, their engagement session was done as their friend and not their photographer, or we probably wouldn’t have been able to capture some of these shots (those of you who are photographers would understand!). So, we took a “walk” one cloudy day through old town Gilbert, and finished things off, with what else, a glass of wine?

Many thanks to the person who had their ADORABLE bike locked up, as this was our million dollar shot of the session! I might have to invest in one of these for future sessions!

I can’t even begin to tell you how honored I was when they asked me to be their wedding photographer! This was going to be my first Mr. & Mr. event, and I was THRILLED! I am looking forward to showing off their wedding images in a future submission, as they won the “2015 Best Wedding Under $50,000” presented by the International Special Event Society, Arizona Chapter. You’re gonna FLIP when you see what they managed to pull off!


MRSter Approved. LGBTQ Engagement. Time For Wine.


Photography :: {MRSter Approved} Elizabeth Douglas Photography


Gilbert, Arizona, USA.

Saint Paul, MINNESOTA :: Rachel & Laura :: Nerdy Nuptials // Real LGBTQ Wedding

:: Nerdy Nuptials ::

Photographed by :: Melissa of Rivets and Roses

Rachel and Laura had a charming St. Paul, Minnesota wedding that took place in Irvine Park, and the reception followed across the street at the Science Museum of Minnesota.

They incorporated all things they love in to their special day, which included; Star Wars, Jurassic Park, and Harry Potter! All of the details they put into their wedding complimented the locations perfectly, and signified their relationship.

It was a perfect day for the two of them, and it felt as if you had just entered the world that they share together. Beautiful.


Rainbow Converse. Dinosaurs. Two Brides.


Photography :: Melissa of Rivets and Roses
Venue {Ceremony} :: Irvine Park
Venue {Reception} :: Science Museum of Minnesota


Saint Paul, Minnesota.



Wedding Wisdom Wednesday :: How To Tell Your Friends & Family That You Eloped

:: How To Tell Your Friends & Family That You Eloped ::

The marriage ceremony is an important and obviously significant ritual of life. If you and your spouse decided to skip the big fanfare and elope, that is entirely your decision, albeit a sensitive one. Be prepared for some mixed reactions when you let friends and family know…

Start by telling your parents, or whoever the parent figures are in your lives (MRSter understands that sometimes LGBT couples don’t have accepting parents – sad to say). If at all possible, see them in person to share your exciting news and maybe even tell them they are the first to know. Then, tell the rest of your family and your friends. Don’t apologize. You are sharing happy news – don’t forget that! You could offer an explanation as to why you made the decision to elope if you choose. Perhaps the thought of having all that attention at a traditional wedding made you want to run for the hills. Or, maybe your reasoning was financially based. Or maybe you two just didn’t want to wait. Or maybe you feel that no explanation is necessary, other than that you love each other and decided to elope.

You will probably find that some people will be very happy for you, while others will be upset or annoyed that you did not include them in your big day. People may be miffed at you because they may have their own expectations of your wedding or their role in it, but remember their “miffeness” usually comes from a place of love. Hooray for the happy ones and boo to the miffed ones… They’ll get over it, or not, but that’s their problem which hopefully will resolve on its own.

You might consider sending out a marriage announcement built around a cute photo of the two of you. While you’re here on our webpage, please consult our FABuLIST for our FABULOUS MRSter approved photographers that would love to do a couples session with you!  It’s a good idea to wait before posting your news on a social media site. Allow ample time to share your news with the people you are close to before making a general public announcement.

Finally and only if you really, really, want to, have a reception afterward. You can make this a small and intimate affair or a big shindig. Maybe you can tie it in with a holiday that’s already happening, or make it as simple as a family picnic. Maybe some of your friends or family would even like to throw a nice reception for you.

The marriage of two people is a beautiful thing. MRSter wishes you much joy and lasting love.

Phoenix, ARIZONA :: Melanie & Laine :: Key To My Heart // Real LGBTQ Engagement

:: Key To My Heart  ::

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

Life is a journey in so many ways. In lives we lead, in the relationships we have, and sometimes, in the bodies we were born with.

I met Melanie {MRSter Advisory Board Member} and Laine last summer, as they had won an engagement session at the Phoenix Pride Silent Auction in June. Before our face to face meeting, Melanie had sent me a link to their website, I think to “prep” me for what I was going to be experiencing during my time with them. Take some time and enjoy the “journey” with them by taking a look at Melanie’s blog here.

Their engagement session ended up being a combination of an engagement and holiday photo session with Melanie’s four kids, who were just a hoot! They weren’t too keen on an actual photo shoot, but by the end, three of them had become my “helpers” and were asking if I’d ever need any models in the future! It was so wonderful to see how excited they were for their mom and Laine, and made the shoot even more fun with some of their antics (as you can see from the images!).

Laine’s transformation from a woman to a man has been quite incredible. They’ve planned their wedding around the time when Laine’s journey would be complete. Their engagement session took place close to the half way point of this journey, as they wanted the process documented through photos as well.

I’m so grateful to have been a part of this “journey” with them, and am so excited to follow their love story as it continues to unfold.


Engagement. Journey. LGBTQ Transformation. Family Photos.


Photography :: {MRSter Approved} Elizabeth Douglas Photography


Granada Park, Phoenix, Arizona

Wedding Photography Tips :: Part Four // What Wedding Moments Are Overlooked The Most?

Wedding Photography Tips :: Part Four // What Wedding Moments Are Overlooked The Most?

We hope that after your wedding day when you sit down to look at the beautiful photographs, you don’t have regrets over certain significant memories being overlooked. It is a great idea to discuss any of those must-have moments with your photographer ahead of time. 

MRSter :: What kinds of shots are often overlooked during the wedding day?

Parker :: Every photographer has their favorite parts of weddings to capture, and for me it’s the details. I know some wedding photographers aren’t interested in photographing all the beautiful details, and when I view their work I feel they are overlooking so many beautiful shots! Always make sure you hire a photographer who is prepared to capture what is the most important part of your day, to you. That’s just my personal two cents. I am also a huge believer in capturing images of the venue. A lot of photographers automatically grab these shots, but rarely do I hear couples requesting them. If you’re spending money on it and putting time and energy into it, make sure you’re hiring a photographer who is going to capture it! I’m a huge fan of images of parents seeing their child that’s getting married all dressed up for the first time. Basically, a parental first look. There is so much emotion during this time, and setting up a specific part of the day right after getting ready to capture this makes the moment even more special. Other frequently overlooked on the wedding day, are portraits of the couple! During the hustle and bustle of the wedding day, as the couple gets tired and just wants to relax at the reception, the romantic portraits of the two of them can feel less important in the moment. These are the images that you’ll be putting on your wall, the images that you’ll be showing to your children and grandchildren, and are the single most important portraits of the whole day… Don’t overlook them! In addition, a lot of couples will include very special details into their wedding day, (heirloom jewelry, engraved rings or watches, etc.). Always tell your photographer about these items and anything else that is special to you about your wedding so they can capture these items in a way that helps tell the story of why you included it. These are the images you will still treasure in 15 years because they’re all the more meaningful.

MRSter would like to thank Parker of {MRSter Approved} company The PK Photographs for joining us in providing his professional advice to some common questions regarding wedding photography. He is pretty awesome, huh?! Don’t forget, you can check out his {MRSter Approved} photography company here. And, don’t miss part one, part two, and part three of this blog special.

Psssttt :: MRSter is proud of the dynamite team of experts that we have assembled on our ever growing FABuLIST, and are so happy to have offered these professional tips from one of our seasoned professionals. Be sure to check our website regularly for expert advice and inspiration as you plan your wedding, and remember that MRSter is a leader in wedding equality!

Wedding Photography Tips :: Part Two // Timeline Question! When Is The Best Time For Formal Pictures?

Wedding Photography Tips :: Part Two // Timeline Question! When Is The Best Time For Formal Pictures?

MRSter :: What is the best time to have your formal photo shoot?

Parker :: Personally, I love being able to do formal images of the family, bridal party, and couple before the wedding ceremony, (this typically involves the couple doing a first look). As a general rule, you want to be able to take these images in the daylight. Morning and late afternoon are two ideal times, and with the average wedding timeline, late afternoon seems to work best. Not only is this typically a great time for natural light, but everyone is looking their best. Bridesmaids haven’t lost their flowers, groomsmen haven’t accidentally headed off to the reception yet, and people are typically less drunk than they might be later in the evening! There are still a lot of couples who do not want to do a first look, and want to see their spouse for the first time during the wedding ceremony. In these situations, I ask my couples to inform everyone ahead of time who will be needed for these portraits and that they’ll need to hang back at the end of the ceremony, and then also have the officiant reiterate this at the end of the wedding ceremony. This helps everything flow smoothly and we stick to the timeline much better.

MRSter Tip :: You two have enough on your mind on your special day. So, when it comes to memorializing your wedding day, trust your professional photographer to take care of the details… That is what you invested in them for, after all.

Check out Parker’s {MRSter Approved} business The PK Photographs here.

Did you miss part one of Parker’s professional wedding photography advice? You can find it here.