Phoenix, ARIZONA :: Happy Anniversary to Karen & Nelda - Arizona's First Same Sex Couple To Marry // Flashback Friday // Real LGBT Wedding

:: Happy Anniversary to Karen & Nelda ::

Photographed by :: Largo Photography

On November 23rd, 2014, the most historical wedding in the history of Arizona took place. The wedding of Karen and Nelda. Today, we hope you will join us in wishing them a very happy anniversary, and enjoy the incredible images from their day.

Though just over a year has passed since the wedding of these wonderful ladies, the whole day still stands out vividly in my mind. Karen and Nelda were one of the very first same-sex couples to obtain a marriage certificate in Arizona, and it was incredible to celebrate their union with a wedding event produced by local MRSter vendors.

The day started at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Phoenix; the perfect venue for Karen and Nelda’s wedding ceremony. What a stage! The team did an incredible job with ensuring the lighting was perfect, and Butterfly Petals {MRSter Approved} blew everyone away with the floral wall that they designed and executed for the big day. It. Is. Rad!

After the moving ceremony, the guests made their way to the reception venue – The Farm at South Mountain {MRSter Approved}. The whole evening was full of love, laughter, and plenty of dancing! It was so wonderful to see such a huge number of guests there to celebrate the love that Karen and Nelda share. Later in the evening, Serendipity Cinematography {MRSter Approved} surprised Karen and Nelda with a same day edit, and I can assure you that there was not a dry eye in the house!

Thank you to all of those involved for making this the most epic wedding. After almost a 57 year engagement, Karen and Nelda needed a wedding with a wow factor… Something I think you can all agree was achieved thanks to all of the incredibly talented vendors involved. Thank you for being a part of Karen and Nelda’s journey.

You can find out more about Karen and Nelda’s love story here.

DISTINCTIONS

Making History. A Day To Remember. 57 Years In The Making.

THE PROFESSIONALS

Many thanks to the following (many of them FABuLIST) vendors who came together to support Karen and Nelda ::

Ceremony Venue :: Orpheum Theatre Phoenix
Evening Reception Venue ::  {MRSter Approved} – The Farm at South Mountain
Catering :: {MRSter Approved} – Santa Barbara Catering Company
Catering :: Aventura Catering
Floral :: {MRSter Approved} – Butterfly Petals
Event Planner :: {MRSter Approved} – Life Design Event Planning
Rentals :: {MRSter Approved} – Kool. Party Rentals
Rentals :: {MRSter Approved} – Cre8tive Event Rentals
Photography :: {MRSter Approved} – Cyndi Hardy Photography
Photography :: Keith Pitts Photography
Photography ::  Largo Photography
Photography :: Randy’s Vision Photography
Cinematography :: {MRSter Approved} – Serendipity Cinematography
Photo Booth :: {MRSter Approved} – The Traveling Photo Booth
Photo Booth :: Funbooth
Event Production :: Living Energy
DJ :: {MRSter Approved} – Got You Covered!
Hot Beverages :: {MRSter Approved} – Cappuccino Subito
Beverages :: Hensley
Beverages :: Alliance Beverages
Decor :: Creative Occasions
PR // Social Media :: Sherry L Butler Communications
Floral Preservation :: {MRSter Approved} – Floral Keepsakes
Transportation :: Carey Limousine
Transportation :: United Parking Systems
Wedding Cake :: Let Them Eat Cake

LOCATION

Phoenix, Arizona.

COLORS

Scottsdale, ARIZONA :: Oscar & Gary :: Modern Desert // Styled Shoot

:: Modern Desert ::

Photographed by :: Chadwick of Mod Wed

We had an amazing day being part of this ‘Modern Desert’ styled shoot together with some awesome MRSter Approved vendors!! As always, Oscar and Gary were wonderful to work with, and Chadwick of Mod Wed captured some amazing images of the day…

MRSter :: Almost a year after your wedding in California, what was it like to walk into another ceremony space made for you both?
O + G :: It is hard to describe, since it is really a feeling that lives independent of the design, décor and flowers and beautiful creations. And that is not meant to diminish every amazing design and production on that day – which truly surprised us at every turn – but based on our three ‘wedding’ events now, we have seen firsthand that any space created for an event built exclusively on the foundation of love is simply elevated to a new level of wonderful. The creations are the groundwork and the love at the event takes it to a different level. It was beautiful.

MRSter :: What do you think of what The Four Seasons is doing reaching our to gain exposure within the LGBT market?
O + G :: Well, in all candor, our first reaction was guarded. The gay community is fiercely loyal, yet somewhat cautious of seemingly opportunistic companies. The community builds a relationship with a brand, looking for brands that truly support the community and are not just making a quick ploy for some easy sales. But as we worked with MRSter and The Four Seasons, it was clear that they were doing this out of commitment to the LGBT community and their stance for equality, while also allowing us to see their genuine pledge to the human experience. As one of the premier resorts in the world, to be one of the first to reach out directly to the LGBT market shows strong and principled leadership. Taking a stand in an often rigid and closed world is a risk for any business, and for that, they have our respect and gratitude.

MRSter :: How was your experience working with the vendors involved with the styled shoot?
O + G :: We were meeting our generous and talented team for the first time, but it felt like we had known them for years. Their ‘almost-psychic’ understanding of our personal style, the way they connected every aspect of the design for the shoot – not to mention, their smiles – made us feel right at home and we naturally settled into their surroundings. In true MRSter style, every person involved was perfectly in tune, and the resulting experience with the team was music.

MRSter :: Why did you both decide to model for this shoot?
O + G :: The story of our wedding had an affect on so many people, which we had never expected or planned. We simply told our story. It started with the unfortunate happening at our original wedding, and suddenly, the story reached and touched so many people, and it all culminated in the outpouring of support and love from Coronado and all over. Given that a story of love and support – not gay marriage, but just marriage – reached so many hearts, we wanted to provide something in return. If doing the shoot could share our story and help any other couples looking to make their marriage commitment to find a welcoming and supportive group of people like those at The Four Seasons and MRSter, then we were in.

MRSter :: Tell us about why it was important to include Hugo in the shoot…
O + G :: How could you not want to photograph that mug? He is a ham. Hugo is part of our family! We believe that in life you choose your family. Family is not only relatives, but also those people (and pugs) that are there with you through anything. They are the people that you know you can truly rely on – not due to blood-ties, but due to love-ties. Our wedding embodied this belief, and included those people in our lives that we consider to be our family. The definition of family does not fall within a narrow definition from outside groups – it is ours. And yes, that includes a pug.

MRSter :: Do you have any suggestions for other venues that would like to set up a same sex styled shoot?
O + G :: Our experience has been that many venues tend to get hung up on standard bride/groom traditions, and get flustered when dealing with a same-sex marriage. With marriage equality now law of the land, those traditions and what are often considered hard-and- fast rules in weddings may or may not apply. A planner cannot just replace the bride or groom with a groom or bride. Bride side and groom side? Tossing the bouquet? Best man toast? Giving away the bride? Both genders may want them all. We don’t suggest that venues or planners throw out the standards and anticipated rules for weddings, but simply eliminate the gender category from their list of rituals. Open up any and all traditions for any gender or party to consider. A photo shoot taking new standards, or no standards into account should get plenty of attention of those same-sex couples or any couples who are not keen on the long-time customs of marriage.

MRSter :: What was your favorite part of the experience?
O + G :: Our favorite moment was seeing each other in our tuxes and recalling that moment when we first faced each other at our first wedding. There was an undeniable glow in our faces as we both relived at the same time how that specific act of commitment in marriage changed our perspective on life – and was something neither of expected.

MRSter :: Any last thoughts?
O + G :: A same sex wedding, as any wedding, requires time in preparation and as we experienced, the best first step of any couple to just do it. Set a date (conscious of weather), a time, and a location. Those three factors will help you to unravel the rest of the story.  It does not matter if your ceremony/ritual is one that is formal or informal, the recollection of that day should be one to remember your entire adulthood life, and you should be prepared for it. That day should be one full of joy and happiness. After all, you are requesting from the universe, a “wedding bliss”.

DISTINCTIONS

Styled Shoot. Modern Desert. Photogenic Pug.

THE PROFESSIONALS

Floral + Design :: Butterfly Petals
Paper Products + Details :: Life Design Event Planning
Photography :: Mod Wed

Venue :: The Four Seasons, Scottsdale at Troon North

Models :: Mr. Oscar De las salas and Mr. Gary Jackson

LOCATION

Scottsdale, Arizona.

COLORS

Chandler, ARIZONA :: Scott & Daryl :: Love & Laughter // Real LGBT Wedding

:: Love & Laughter ::

Submitted and Photographed by :: Derek Chad Photography

First of all, Daryl and Scott are a blast and I now consider them two of my newest friends. I live in San Diego and they live in Phoenix so we weren’t able to meet in person until the wedding day, but I knew from our conversations over the phone that I was going to be a good fit for them after hearing their story and plans for the big day. Congratulations you guys!!! I am so honored to have been your photographer on your big day!

Funny story… Daryl, Scott and I were just hanging out taking photos against a really building/wall. All of a sudden, a bird decides to poo right above Daryl and catches him on the sleeve of his shirt! You maybe had to be there to know how absolutely hilarious it was that along this GIANT wall, there was only one tiny bird that managed to pull it off. I was fortunate to capture the moment, check it out above! HAHA! It was pretty funny!

I had so much fun documenting this wedding and I hope you all enjoy the video/photos too! Thank you again for choosing Derek Chad Photography!

Distinctions

Perfect Match. Love & Laughter. Photo Booth Fun.

The Professionals

Photographer :: Derek Chad Photography
Venue :: MRSter Approved Soho63 // SoHo63
Catering :: Atlasta Catering and Events 
DJ :: Apollo Productions

Location

Chandler, Arizona.

Colors

Coming to Phoenix :: Gay Wedding Institute Certificate Program by 14 Stories // This Is Not To Be Missed!

Advisory board member of MRSter and founder of the Gay Wedding Institute, Bernadette Smith, is coming to Phoenix to certify!

14 Stories Gay Wedding Institute certificate program is coming to Phoenix on Wednesday, August 26th! The workshop will be taking place from 9.30AM until 4.00PM at MRSter Approved venue the Hotel Palomar in downtown Phoenix!

14 stories

The U.S. became the 21st country to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of same-sex marriage nationwide back in June! Fantastic news for us all, as not only are LGBT weddings good for society, but they are also very good for business! Despite the marriage equality ruling, however, wedding planning can be a very daunting experience for many same-sex couples. With unfortunate stories of businesses being shown to discriminate against same-sex couples being commonplace in the media, it is difficult for LGBT couples to know which vendors they can turn to and trust.

“Same-sex couples are a lucrative, emerging market that can help grow your wedding business. To reach this powerful market, you must be ready.  You don’t want to lose business or risk offending potential clients!” [14 Stories].

14stories2Kate McElwee Photography via 14 Stories

Would you like to become more open and knowledgeable about working with LGBT couples when planning their wedding day? We want all wedding professionals to be knowledgeable, confident and excited about this newer market, and now is the perfect opportunity!

“Earn the trust of the loyal LGBT wedding market by learning from the experts at the Gay Wedding Institute” [14 Stories].

:: What Is The Gay Wedding Institute Certificate Program? ::

The Gay Wedding Institute Certificate Program is “the world’s only wedding certificate program that focuses on the LGBT market” [14 Stories]. The course will inspire you, energize you and put you in a position to attract loyal customers. It will allow you to “master the skills and strategies to reach the loyal same-sex wedding market” [14 Stories]. Since the Gay Wedding Institute launched in 2009, “over 700 people have completed this program, representing 14 countries around the world”. [14 Stories]. The Gay Wedding Institute continues to be “a national thought leader, researcher and educator on gay and lesbian weddings” [14 Stories].

14stories3Kelly Prizel Photography via 14 Stories

:: What Will You Learn? ::

This course covers a variety of topics, including;

  • The financial impact of the gay and lesbian wedding market
  • Differences between straight and gay weddings
  • Language and terminology
  • Marketing to engaged same-sex couples
  • Law and policies affecting same-sex couples
  • Same-sex wedding traditions
  • LGBT wedding data and trends

And much, much more…

“This intensive and interactive workshop will [also] include lunch, a packet of materials and tons of great ideas to reach this powerful market” [14 Stories].

14stories4Photography by Antonio del Valle Studio via 14 Stories

:: What Is The Benefit Of Doing The Course? ::

“Besides a projected increase in business, participants who attend this all day session will receive a 14 Stories Gay Wedding Institute certificate badge you can proudly display on your website, a copy of the book The Business of Gay Weddings, a certificate of completion and resource materials. Graduates will also be listed on the Gay Wedding Institute website” [14 Stories]! Not only this, but you will also receive a FREE FABuLIST listing on MRSter for one year!!

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:: Who Are 14 Stories? ::

14 Stories is a MRSter Approved boutique wedding planning firm based in Massachusetts! Their vision is for “a wedding industry fully inclusive of all couples, including LGBTQ couples” [14 Stories]. This is something that they have been working on since they opened their doors in 2004; making them the first firm in the country to specialize in planning legal same-sex weddings!

14 stories

Find out all about this rad company by heading to our Wedding Vendor Wednesday highlight blog all about 14 Stories here!

You can check out their website here, and of course, don’t forget to check out their FABuLIST listing here!

:: Interested In Signing Up? ::

If you are a wedding professional looking to become more open, knowledgeable and confident about working with the LGBT market, then you seriously do not want to miss this!

14stories1Photography by Kevin Day Photography via 14 Stories

Date :: Wednesday, August 26

Time :: 9:30 AM- 4:00 PM

Location :: (MRSter Approved) Hotel Palomar in Phoenix

To register for the workshop, simply head to this link to complete the application form!

Early bird registration cost $309, and expires on August 12th, so hurry to take advantage of this great deal! After August 12th, the price goes up to $349!

Will we see you there?!

Sian Clark // Social Media Manager

Wedding Vendor Wednesday :: Hotel Valley Ho // 10 Reasons to Get Married at Hotel Valley Ho

:: 10 Reasons to Get Married at Hotel Valley Ho ::

If you’re looking for a unique and stylish wedding venue, MRSter Approved vendor Hotel Valley Ho could be the perfect place for your special day! Check out the 10 reasons why you should get married at this beautiful venue, below…

1 :: Hello, Style!

This hotel oozes cool. It was originally built in 1956 and underwent a full restoration to its original mid-century modern architecture. If you’re looking for a blend of vintage and modern, this is the perfect setting for your big day.

Entrance

2 :: Fabulous Venues

Hotel Valley Ho has one-of-a-kind spaces like the lush Palm Court lawn, SoHo Ballroom (with glass that can slide open to an adjoining courtyard), Sands (a private, indoor-outdoor space like nothing you’ve seen before), and the panoramic Sky Line Rooftop set atop the seven-story Tower (with amazing views of Camelback Mountain and Downtown Scottsdale). Whether your wedding is indoors or under the stars, with 10 guests or 250, you’ve got options that are far from ordinary.

Sky Line Rooftop

3 :: Downtown Scottsdale Digs

Your out-of-town guests will love this hotel. It’s a short drive from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport to Downtown Scottsdale, and the hotel is walking distance from the area’s fantastic restaurants, shopping, and art galleries. And while it’s centrally located, it’s set on eight verdant acres, so it feels like a boutique hideaway.

Mark Boisclair Photography, Inc.

4 :: Amazing F&B

No boring food here! Renowned Chef Charles Wiley serves up dishes that will wow your guests, whether it’s a plated dinner or a buffet like “California Fresh” or “The New Yorker”. Finish with something sweet like a retro candy station, gourmet ice cream cart, or old-fashioned float station.

Wedding FoodKimberly Jarman Photography

5 :: De-Stress at VH Spa

Take a break from planning, for a day of beauty and rest at VH Spa for Vitality + Health. Ideal treatments include the HydroPeptide Anti-Stress Facial, LomiLomi Relaxation Massage, and Hi/Lo Deluxe Nail Service.

Female Massage

6 :: Gorgeous Backdrops

Photographers love Hotel Valley Ho, with its unique architecture, modern furnishings, abundant natural light, and lush grounds. Lights, camera, action.

View More: http://stacykokesphotography.pass.us/cuthriell-weddingStacy Kokes Photography

7 :: Pup-Friendly

Pets stay free at this hip spot! Your dog is welcome to be part of the ceremony and will receive a special pet amenity kit in the room.

Sky the Pomeranian

8 :: Sweet Suites

After the festivities, unwind in one of the hotel’s hip rooms, which all feature floor-to-ceiling glass and private patios or balconies. The Tower has the most luxe suites around, featuring full kitchens, walk-in closets, and washer dryers. You may never want to leave.

Loft Suite East Bedroom

9 :: Day-After Brunch at ZuZu

Enjoy an intimate gathering after the big day, with a day-after brunch at ZuZu. Dine inside or on the shaded courtyard patio and choose from favorites like the Red Velvet Waffle and California Eggs Benedict. It’s a fun way to end your memorable wedding weekend with family and close friends.

ZuZu

10 :: Swell Service

Hotel Valley Ho consistently ranks in the top 10 hotels in Scottsdale on TripAdvisor, and is a AAA Four-Diamond ranked property. You’ll feel welcome from the minute you arrive.

Original Staff

If this seems like the perfect venue for your wedding, click here to view their website for more information.

Don’t forget to check out their FABuLIST listing by clicking here!

 

 

Wedding Vendor Wednesday :: Vendor Highlight // Your Event Florist

:: Vendor Highlight // Your Event Florist ::

“Your event deserves Your Event Florist” [Your Event Florist].

If you’re looking for a talented wedding or event florist in Arizona, check out MRSter Approved vendor Your Event Florist!

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Your Event Florist is a design studio that specializes in providing distinctive custom floral designs and décor for weddings & events! Founder, Kevin Reed, is a second generation floral designer/artist, who brings over 20 years of artistic experience and knowledge to the table! Kevin took his passion for the floral industry and leapt into creating a successful business; Your Event Florist.

©hagerty photography

Now, having been in business for over 10 years, you can trust that this talented team are able to “execute any vision, from Arizona Southwestern, to Classic Elegance, to Modern Contemporary” [Your Event Florist].

From the initial consultation, through to the final details, the Your Event Florist team will work side-by-side with you to design and create breathtaking floral arrangements that reflect the personal style of you and your partner.

5243_DammenBergWedding-September2014-SassiScottsdale-312

Your Event Florist “never book multiple weddings per date”, therefore, you will receive an unsurpassed and one of a kind experience throughout the whole process!

This company is “able to fulfil all of your floral and small décor needs” [Your Event Florist], so if you are looking for a personalized experience with a difference, be sure to check out Your Event Florist… They aim to make your wedding (or event) a dream come true!

©hagerty photography

For more information, click here to view their website.

Don’t forget to check out their FABuLIST listing by clicking here!

Sian Clark // Social Media Manager

:: How Two Gay Men Announce They Are Having a Baby ::

:: How Two Gay Men Announce They Are Having a Baby :: 

MRSter Approved wedding planners Life Design Event Planning {MRSter Approved} had the opportunity to help pull the details together for Matt and Rich’s wedding at the Desert Botanical Gardens {MRSter Approved} in Phoenix, Arizona. It was a day that was like most weddings…full of love LOTS of love and the wedding planners had tears streaming down their faces at the end because how amazing these families were/are.

Feel free to watch their wedding video (produced by Victor Vongspoth) so you can get a little taste of how sweet it was. If you don’t end up watching the charming wedding film take a look at a few of these pictures taken by Bumble and Bloom.

Gay Wedding Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden Matt and Rich with Wedding Party and BridesmaidsGay Wedding Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden Matt and Rich Gay Wedding Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden Matt and RichGay Wedding Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden Matt and Rich First Dance

So when we Matt reached out to us to let us know that they had an announcement the first thing we asked (after screaming at the top of our lungs) was can we share it with other couples unsure of how to announce that they are having a baby on MRSter because we thought it was done so well and with so much personality.

Matt and Rich Gay Pregnancy Announcement MRSterI mean….seriously…how cute is that?!

Then Matt also shared on he and Rich’s blog about the news was announced at a dance studio to a bunch of tween girls. You have to check out the girl in the yellow top…she needed to process things a bit. (Matt is a professional dancer)

We encourage you to follow their blog and their journey to parenthood here.

Are you a involved in a relationship where you might have some challenges conceiving and/having a baby? We have heard lots of stories from you all about the struggles of parenthood and taking the steps to be a parent. Whether it is adoption, foster care, carrying or surrogacy we all have a story to tell and we are listening. Share with us how you have announced to the world that you are expecting / adopting / becoming parents!

Wedding Vendor Wednesday :: Vendor Highlight // The Croft Downtown

:: Vendor Highlight // The Croft Downtown ::

If you’re looking for a unique and stylish wedding or event venue, MRSter Approved vendor The Croft Downtown could be the perfect place for you!

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This special events venue is nestled in the lively downtown Phoenix area, making it an exceptionally convenient location for you and your guests to “explore and discover the hottest new restaurants, nightlife and attractions in the area” [The Croft Downtown].

No matter what time of the day you host your event, “The Croft is the perfect spot for enjoying the stunning panoramic views of Downtown Phoenix” [The Croft Downtown]. During the day, you will be surrounded by clear skies, desert and beautiful Arizona sunsets! By night, this gorgeous space transforms into a romantic and magical hideaway!

croft4

This stunning venue boasts over 10,000 square feet of event space, including two dedicated ceremony and reception areas, each perfect for hosting your special day for up to 300 guests per room. Not only this, but The Croft Downtown is also equipped with a rustic ceremony area and a lofty reception space that is perfect for “dinner, dancing and entertainment” [The Croft Downtown].

croft2

Furthermore, this venue offers the perfect set up for your wedding day, with “sumptuous catering, entertainment planning and state-of-the-art audio-visual services” [The Croft Downtown]. As well as custom floral and decor design and services, AND even valet parking! You can trust that you will be in excellent hands for your special event, with flawless service and dedicated support that is supplied by The Croft’s on-site expert staff and professional designers.

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All of this makes The Croft Downtown unlike any other venue in the Phoenix area. So, whether you are “celebrating a monumental event, or a more intimate gathering, the designers and expert planners at The Croft can accommodate your guests with sophistication and style” [The Croft Downtown].

For more information, click here to view their website.

Don’t forget to check out their FABuLIST listing by clicking here!

Sian Clark // Social Media Manager

Sedona, ARIZONA :: Vanessa & Desi :: Nature & Nostalgia // Real LGBT Engagement

:: Nature & Nostalgia ::

Submitted and Photographed by :: Cristina of MRSter Approved – DePoy Studios

The couples wanted to recreate the first time they said I love you.

They left a party in their little black dresses and took a nice drive with just the two of them.

Distinctions

Nostalgia. LBD’s. Nature.

The Professionals

Photographer :: MRSter Approved – DePoyStudios

Location

Sedona, Arizona.