Karen and Nelda :: 57 Years in the Making

Karen and Nelda, one of the very first same-sex couples to obtain a marriage certificate in Arizona, celebrate their union with a wedding event produced by local MRSter vendors.

Karen Bailey and Nelda Majors

The couple met 57 years ago while attending Sam Houston University in Huntsville Texas and they have been together ever since. After making a life together and running a successful business in Texas, the couple moved to Arizona where they raised two daughters. Karen and Nelda were one of the couples to file a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court arguing that Arizona’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples violated the Equal Protection Clause and the Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Their case, among others, led to the overturning of Arizona’s gay marriage ban on October 17, 2014.

Karen Nelda Rehearsal Kiss

Karen and Nelda at their wedding rehearsal in the moment they realize that their wedding kiss will be their first public kiss.

A wedding ceremony will be held for Karen and Nelda at The Orpheum Theatre in Downtown Phoenix at 2:00pm on Sunday, November 23, 2014. The ceremony is open to the supportive public, and tickets are mandatory. While their ceremony is free of charge to witness, Karen and Nelda are asking guests to donate to One Community Foundation in lieu of giving gifts. For tickets and more information, visit www.karenandnelda.com

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

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

A Unique Twist on the Traditional Wedding Speech

I can only imagine how nerve wracking it must be to write a wedding speech. How do you incorporate humor, sentiment, and relevance, while also holding the attention of the attendees?

Why not get creative and do something totally different to the norm? Tom Fletcher set a great example of this…

If you aren’t familiar with Tom Fletcher, he is the lead singer of McFly; a popular band from the UK. He put his own spin on the traditional thank you message, by incorporating two of the bands most popular songs and creating his speech in the tune to them.

His wedding speech was SO unique and SO awesome that it has had over 12 million views (and counting) on YouTube!

Give it a watch and see what you think, but I warn you, grab some tissues before you do!

Did you love it?! How was that for inspiration?

I think expectations of how a wedding speech should be done were raised through the roof after this video went viral! And rightly so, what an epic twist to a wedding speech. I love that he dedicated a line or two of the song to the most vital members of the wedding party. What a memorable wedding speech for all involved.

I know we don’t all sound like Beyonce (try as we might), but I think a song or a poem creates a quirky alternative to the traditional wedding speech.

Kudos Tom Fletcher, you nailed it.

How to Address Invitations to Gay Couples

Many couples planning weddings today have gay couples on their roster of invitees.  We all know how to address envelopes to hetero couples, but how do you properly address an invitation to a gay couple?  {Hint :: There’s really no difference}

Drew Andy

Photo Courtesy Sergio Photographer // www.sergiophotographer.com

There are some differing opinions, but I suggest the following guidelines ::

If the couple is not married, list them on two separate lines on the outer envelope. 

Mr. Andrew Erickson
Mr. Drew Coleman

If the couple is married (legally recognized or not) and do not share their last name, list them on the same line and use “and” in between their names.

Mr. Andrew Erickson and Mr. Drew Coleman

If they are married and have the same last name, list them on the same line but only use the last name once.

Mr. and Mr. Andrew and Drew Coleman

The inner envelope should be addressed in the same format as the outer envelope, but without the first names. It is also okay to list both names on same line.

Mr. Erickson and Mr. Coleman
Mr. and Mr. Coleman

Note :: Always list the names in alphabetical order by the first name. Also, do not use “Misters” or “Messrs” to address a gay male couple as that is used for a group of two or more brothers.

 

 

 

Real Wedding :: James + Michael

James and Michael live in Chicago, but they wanted to celebrate their union in Arizona’s perfect February weather. They chose Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale to host their destination wedding.

James and Michael hired the following vendor team to create their wedding day ::

Venue + Catering :: MRSter ApprovedHotel Valley Ho
Floral :: Avant Garde Studios
Photography :: Kimberly Jarman Photography
Event Planner :: MRSter Approved – Life Design Event Planning
Wedding Cake :: La Dolce Pesca
Band :: The Hamptons

Alternatives to the Traditional Bouquet and Garter Toss

 

Some people love tradition, however, wedding planners are regularly hearing “we don’t want to do the whole traditional bouquet/garter toss”, with many couples in today’s society opting out of these traditions altogether and instead, replacing them with quirky alternatives.

In fact, wedding planner Sarah Pease (Huff Post: 2013) stated that less than a quarter of the couples she works with toss the bouquet, with even fewer participating in the garter toss. Furthermore, less that fifteen percent of same-sex couples are said to incorporate wedding traditions such as a garter/bouquet toss (Bernadette Coveney Smith: Huff Post: 2013); which is totally unsurprising considering that the bouquet and garter toss is characteristically hetero-normative. I mean come on, how many gay guys would want to toss a bouquet or remove a garter? These traditions just don’t quite work for them.

However, for couples who feel that they still need an aspect of tradition incorporated into their ceremony, there are now many alternatives out there, with many being inclusive of same-sex couples, ranging from cute to laugh-out-loud funny.

Image provided by Kelsie Pinkerton of Pinkerton Photography

Image provided by Kelsie Pinkerton of Pinkerton Photography

 

Here are a few of my favorites to get you thinking…

::  The Little Black Book :: Some spouses have tossed a little black book; it doesn’t have to have numbers in it, it could have jokes or lottery tickets inside for example, but just be symbolic of their single life being over and throwing their little black book away now that they have a spouse.

:: Throw Something Else :: If you still want to toss something into your crowd of guests but want to step away from the bouquet and garter toss, you could just toss something else. It could be almost anything! Some people have thrown cuddly toys, for example. Do whatever works for you!

:: The Anniversary Dance :: Have all the married couples come to the dance floor and play a couple of slow songs, slowly removing the couples by when they were married (youngest to oldest). The newlyweds then present the bouquet (and garter sometimes) to the longest married couple. Some get the last couple standing to say how long they have been married and for a piece of advice to a long and happy marriage.

:: Cake Pull :: Several ribbons are placed underneath the cake, one of the ribbons is tied to a charm of some sort (usually a fake ring). All the single attendants pull out the ribbons, and the one who gets the charm is the next to get married! Alternatively, instead of just the one charm, all of the ribbons could have different charms on them, each standing for something different and as a prediction of each attendant’s future. For example, a horseshoe for good luck, a ring for next to be married, a four leaf clover for a year of good luck, etc.

 

Pretty cool, huh? The wonderful thing is that traditions are now changing, whereby what was classically seen as a tradition is now thrown out of the window and replaced with a quirky alternative. There are no set rules on what both heterosexual and same-sex couples need to incorporate into their wedding ceremonies, giving couples the freedom to be nontraditional and instead form their own traditions.

Ultimately, your wedding should be unique to you and your partner, and for this reason, you could take inspiration from what alternatives others are using, HOWEVER, you should be sure to choose something that works for you as a couple!

 

With all that Life has to offer,

Sian (pronounced Shawn)

Sian Pill // Apprentice Planner AKA The Intern // Life Design Event Planning // Phoenix + Minneapolis

Same-Sex Couples Using "Mrs."

Last week at work, I was asked by a teacher how I prefer to be addressed, “Is it Ms. Shannon or Mrs.??” This was the first time I actually thought about being a “Mrs” and wished I had said, “It’s Mrs.”…but I didn’t.

 My wife and I celebrated our year anniversary on 2/20/11 and changing our titles has not been discussed. Now I’m thinking, “Why wouldn’t someone address me us Mrs.?” I am married!

I decided to research the appropriate usage of Mrs. in hopes to find a definate answer regarding same-sex couples using the title after marriage. Not much help there…

Wikipedia provided the history and background of Mrs. but no concrete direction. I enlisted the help of a few couples; same sex and opposite. With their feedback, I determined “Mrs.” is a choice. There are no rules, no laws, and most of them decided to stick with Miss or Ms.

I would love to hear feedback from Mrster readers including your decision to use Mrs. or not. I’m listening…

Wedding Traditions Meet Modern Union

Guest Blogger :: Drew

When we think about weddings, we think about traditions. Some practices are more popular than others and most couples pick and choose the ones that mean the most to them. Andy and I have been thinking about the many wedding customs and what they will mean to our wedding. What better place than Mrster to share our thoughts on some of the most common wedding traditions.

Not Seeing Each Other Until the Wedding:

We like this one! Shortly after our rehearsal dinner, we will spend the evening separate from each other.  Neither of us will see the other groom until the ceremony begins.  We agree that this will make the highly anticipated moment that much more special.

Walking Down the Aisle:

We really had to think about this one.  Since neither one wanted to be “the bride,” we agreed that we would walk down the aisle at the same time with our moms.  This will work because we will have two aisles that meet in the middle where the moms will give us away.

 Photo Courtesy Rhonda Patton Weddings

Rings:

When we decided to get engaged, we shopped for rings to wear as engagement rings. This has led to the occasional, “So, when did you get married?”, at which time I explain that it’s an engagement ring leaving the inquisitor a little bewildered.  However, we like the symbolism of the rings. We decided that we will wear them until the night before the wedding. Then we will give them to our best men to hold onto until we say our “I do’s.”

First Dance:

Well, neither one of us really like the idea of slow dancing together. It’s not really our style. Instead, we are thinking of having a choreographed dance including the entire wedding party.  Not like the “Baby Got Back” first dance, but an actual dance routine put together by a choreographer.  Check back with us on this one–it’s still a work in progress.

Bouquet and Garter Toss:

This will prove difficult with neither a bouquet nor a garter. Plus, the idea of singling out the singles and forcing them to take part in such nonsense is a bit nauseating.  Instead, we want to take this time to present our mothers and grandmothers with floral bouquets, then give a tribute to our wonderful families to show them how important they are to us and our union.

Wedding Party:

We went back and forth for a while before we settled on a co-ed wedding party.  We each have one brother and we both chose our bros to be the best man.  The rest of the wedding party on both sides is a mix of our favorite guys and gals.  We are giving them very general color guidelines and letting them pick their own outfits.

 

Learn more about Drew and his wedding plans to marry Andy here. Drew is also a FabUlist vendor so learn more about how he can help with your event here