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.



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

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.


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


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


Phoenix, Arizona.


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!!

MRSter Icons-10

:: 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

:: 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!


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!


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].


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.


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

Wedding Vendor Wednesday :: Vendor Highlight // The R2 Studio // Like A Boss

:: Vendor Highlight // The R2 Studio ::

“The R2 Studio. Photographers with mad skills. Because without us, it’s just a wedding”

[The R2 Studio]

wedThe R2 Studio is a MRSter Approved vendor that you will see time and again on our Brag Mag, and it’s super evident as to why – they freaking rock! They describe themselves as “photographers with mad skills”, and they sure are….


Robin and Renee are the two R’s that make up the R2 Studio. Robin has a creative eye and loves the fashion and editorial elements of the wedding day; something that is reflected through her edgy photography style. On the other hand, Renee’s photo style tends to convey the romantic and sentimental moments of the day.

“So while Robin is rockin’ you out for a magazine spread, Renee is capturing your emotional and candid side!”.

You get the best of both worlds with these two. And being a same sex couple themselves, Robin and Renee are also experts in same sex wedding photography, and of course, fully support marriage equality! Did you know? Renee is also a MRSter advisory board member, find out more about her here!


But they are not the only two members of this rad photography team! There is also Andy and Mykie who are “the two dudes who make up R2’s Team Photography”, and have been selected and trained to work solely for the R2 Studio, so you can be sure that you receive the 100% R2 quality and experience from beginning to end.

andy mykie

And as if that wasn’t enough, they have also created the super cool R2 Video Team, made up of Ashley and Adam; the perfect compliment to your wedding photography! They focus on a documentary style of filming that is “more raw, more real, and 100% more R2 than any other Phoenix wedding videography team out there” [The R2 Studio].

ash adam

As a team, each member of the R2 Studio brings different strengths to the table. And together, they thrive on locations that are urban, architectural and unique, to bring you imagery that is concept driven, full of attitude, “and just plain AWESOME editorial” [The R2 Studio].

So, if you value photography and are looking for seriously rad photographers, and/or videographers, for your wedding, engagement, or other event, you should join “The R2 Family” (“kind of like a cool gang”) today! They are based in Phoenix, Arizona, but are also destination wedding photographers on the side. The R2 Studio love to travel and experience new or familiar places, so if you live outside of Arizona, don’t panic! Let them know where you are, or are off to, and they will put together a custom collection just for you!


“We are not just another PHOTOGRAPHY company. This is The R2 Studio”.

[The R2 Studio]

For more information, click here to view their website.

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

*All photography via The R2 Studio, of course!

Sian Clark // Social Media Manager

Hotel Palomar LGBTQ Wedding Winners :: Gwen and Ronda :: Loving Gratitude // Real LGBT Wedding

:: Loving Gratitude ::

Same Day Edit provided by MRSter ApprovedSerendipity Cinematography

This one is pretty awesome and we couldn’t be more proud to have been a part of it. MRSter partnered with Hotel Palomar Phoenix to produce a luxury free wedding for a same sex couple… Gwen and Ronda were the lucky winners after they received the highest number of votes for the video of their love story! Over 18,000 total collected votes and they were to be the chosen couple! With the help of many awesome vendors we made this day happen for them!

With only 2 months to put this together wedding planner Patrice Klaum of MRSter Approved – Celebrations by Amy Bacon, spilled the beans and gave this awesome summary of the day with all the details…

When MRSter asked me to be the planner for the Wedding Giveaway with Hotel Palomar, I never expected the effect it would have on me but after meeting Gwen and Ronda for the first time (and getting to know each other for 3+ hours over drinks and laughs), I knew this wasn’t going to be just another wedding day.

I remember Gwen and Ronda speaking to how blessed they felt to have won and to get such a gift from not only the vendors who donated their services (list below) but by the people who cared enough to vote for them as well. A plethora of words can be used to describe Gwen and Ronda Bailey’s wedding but one phrase sums them all up perfectly: LOVING GRATITUDE. I can’t recall a single moment in the whole process when everyone involved wasn’t appreciative of the opportunity to be a part of such a special day, myself included.

Even though they were gifted each portion of the day, Gwen and Ronda were still treated like true clients (as they were) by all involved.

Gwen and Ronda lovingly refer to themselves as ‘celesbians’ from all of the attention they have received from the giveaway and they truly had a celesbian wedding for the record books. Hotel Palomar was a flurry of activity all weekend long as the team worked to bring Gwen and Ronda’s modern desert design come to life. As the brides and their wedding party were pampered in a suite with makeup, hair and video interviews, downstairs linens were being thrown and succulents were being placed throughout to tie all of the spaces together.

A picture from the brides’ home served as the color inspiration for the day with shades of Sedona red and forest green that softened Hotel Palomar’s modern edge with some organic flair.

The rooftop Lustre Lounge served as the perfect backdrop for their intimate wedding with 130 family and friends to give their blessing as Gwen and Ronda began their marriage together. Happy tears were shed during their self-written vows and laughs erupted as the group realized the Suns pre-game festivities nearby were blasting “White Wedding.” Coincidence? We think not!

Every so often a wedding will have crashers but when we started catching crashers who not only wanted to join the party but meet the brides they had “been following on Facebook for weeks,” then we knew it was a special night. The ladies even grabbed a picture with a Phoenix Mercury star as they did their romantic photos around downtown Phoenix. Celesbian couple Gwonda’s night was a star-studded affair without even trying.

Normally one of the ultimate rules to a wedding is ‘Don’t stop the party if everyone is dancing’ but I took the liberty of breaking this rule for Gwen and Ronda. Why? Because as I was scanning the room to see how everyone was doing, the TV above the bar caught my eye: the brides were on the 10 o’clock news! During dinner Gwen and Ronda were interviewed by Phoenix Channel 12 News about their experience with this wedding, including the reactions they received when campaigning to win. Gwen responded with, “We spoke with thousands of people nightly. In bars, on the streets, at restaurants, and at work. Not one single person said what we were doing was ‘wrong’ or that they didn’t want to be involved. No one cared about the same sex part or that we are two women getting married. They only cared about the love and about supporting our love.” Love is love, no matter who it is between and the Phoenix wedding market is embracing this with a force that can move mountains.


Loving Gratitude. Celesbians. Modern Desert Design. Love is Love.

The Professionals

Many thanks to the following (all FABuLIST) vendors who came together to support Gwen and Ronda ::

Host Venue & Event Sponsor :: MRSter ApprovedHotel Palomar Phoenix // Amazing Views, Fantastic Food and Stellar Service

Event Sponsor & Vendor Matching :: MRSter // Oh…that’s us! – A resource for planning the modern union for LGBTA and straight engaged couples.

Cinematography (Audition Tapes for all 5 couples + Same Day Edit Wedding Film) :: MRSter ApprovedSerendipity Cinematography

Photography (Wedding and Engagement Pictures) :: MRSter Approved – MRSter Approved – Mod Wed // High energy and wickedly talented Chadwick and his team of rad photographers.

Event Planner & Coordination :: MRSter ApprovedCelebrations by Amy Bacon // Total professionals and designing and executing beautiful events.

Photobooth :: MRSter ApprovedThe Traveling Photobooth // Awesome experience from start to print including the two behind the Phoenix franchise.

Officiant :: Family Friend

Floral (Ceremony, Personal Flowers & Cocktail Hour) :: MRSter ApprovedFiori Floral Design // Long time friend of MRSter and extremely talented visionary of floral artwork!

Floral (Reception) :: MRSter ApprovedButterfly Petals // A “Yes” team that always delivers beauty beyond your wildest.

Linens :: MRSter ApprovedSimply Elegant Event & Wedding Design // Designers that have it all and can pull the wedding of your dreams together.

Cake :: MRSter Approved – Piece of Cake Desserts // As sweet as it takes is as they are!

Paper Products :: MRSter Approved – Posh Invitations // Pretty in print and in person with a heart of gold.

DJ :: MRSter Approved – SKM Entertainment // If you want to dance then they are your choice! Non-stop!!!

Apparel (Gwen’s Dress) :: MRSter Approved – Luv Bridal // Downtown girl with an any girl budget with top-notch experience.

Apparel (Ronda’s Suit) :: MRSter Approved – Suzanne’s Bridal Boutique // Sweetness and deep caring for all their customers.

Hair Styling :: MRSter Approved – The Olive Salon // The beauty beyond words…an artist!

Makeup :: MRSter Approved – Krystal Pro Makeup Artist // She could be painting the Mona Lisa she’s that good!

Event Furnishing (Ceremony Privacy Hedges) :: MRSter Approved – CORT Furniture Rental // Jumped at the opportunity to help!


Phoenix, Arizona.


Wedding Vendor Wednesday :: Vendor Highlight // The Farm at South Mountain

:: Vendor Highlight // The Farm At South Mountain ::

If you are looking for an event space with a difference, we highly recommend checking out MRSter Approved vendor The Farm at South Mountain!

Located just south of Southern and 32nd Street in Phoenix,

“many consider The Farm at South Mountain to be a haven from the traditional hustle and bustle of the city” [The Farm at South Mountain].


Not only does The Farm offer a unique wedding experience, but the ten acre property features multiple event spaces; making it the perfect location for a whole host of events. From baby showers and birthdays, to corporate events and weddings, The Farm can accommodate for any type of occasion!


The Farm at South Mountain have three distinctive event spaces for you to choose from: The Canopy, Stone Grove, and Quiessence.

Stone Grove is the largest event space, which is spacious enough to accommodate 300 or more guests. It is a romantic European-style venue whereby the Farms stonemason handcrafted the organically flowing walls that surround this rustic space, and there is a beautiful wood burning oven built into the wall that creates an unforgettable ‘wow’ factor.

farm 1

The Canopy is a beautiful space among The Farm’s lush pecan trees! This location can host groups of 50 people, to 250 people, and offers a feeling of refined, rustic elegance.

canopyKaren & Nelda held their wedding reception at The Farm! 

Then there is Quiessence; an indoor and award-winning outdoor dining space that is tucked away on The Farm. They source all of their produce from the surrounding fields and local farms, to provide you and your guests with a truly unique “garden to table” experience.


“The Farm is a unique combination of rural tranquility with a beautiful park like setting” [The Farm at South Mountain].

The ambience of  this gorgeous location is sure to transport your guests to another world. And just how perfect does this sound?…

“As the sun sets on this 10-acre property, you and your guests will enjoy dining amongst the trees, dancing under the stars, and creating memories to last a lifetime”. [The Farm at South Mountain].


So whether you are looking for your ideal wedding venue, or perhaps want to organize a family picnic, whatever your event needs, the award-winning team at The Farm at South Mountain will help bring your vision to life!

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