Category Archives: Real Weddings

The “I Do Crew” …for those couples doing things a bit differently… .

Many newly engaged couples, gay and straight, are involving friends and family members in their weddings in more creative and personal ways, redefining traditional gender-based bridesmaids & groomsmen roles.

[And really, why can’t brides and grooms have their BFF’s stand with them at the alter regardless of gender?]

Increasingly, today’s modern couples — whether two brides, two grooms or a bride and groom — are choosing to co-create their wedding ceremony from the ground up, mixing cultural and religious traditions with unique elements, and creating new terminology to fit.

Whatever your reason – here are a few examples of interesting and modern takes on wedding rituals, and some fun alternative names for your wedding party too.

Wedding colors:  Couples are managing the all-to-familiar bridesmaid matching outfit and coordinating groomsmen tradition with a much lighter touch.  Couples are selecting a color (or two) and inviting a close circle of friends and family to wear the color(s). Sometimes instructions include a particular article of clothing (bow tie / socks / shirt or blouse color) and sometimes the request is simply to include that color in whatever outfit is chosen. Not only are couples able to involve more people than they might if the wedding color was limited to the more traditional gang up front, it looks awesome when it comes time for pictures.  David and I went this route, but in hindsight didn’t take the idea far enough.  We now wish we would have had his mom and my dad wear some “poppy orange” too [really – see picture!].

Non-traditional processional – rather than the 2X2, invite your closest friends, and wedding party participants to walk down the aisle at the start of your ceremony with their respective significant others and then sit in reserved rows at the front. This eliminates the need to have everyone pair up nicely…and means you can forget about requiring an equal number of attendants for each “side of the aisle”. Isn’t it more natural and enjoyable if a family with children move as a clump, or if you have a friend who is happily single, stride down your aisle individually?

Combined bridesmaid-groomsmen party – Why not!  Especially if you each already have both men and women as attendants, why not have a co-ed party involving both groups.  Not only do these people then have more of a chance to get to know each other, you can have some fun with your best friends while getting to know your future spouse’s best friends – win/win.

And now, a few alternative terms that are gender neutral and more encompassing too. 

The safe, tried-and-true choice:  “attendants” or “entourage”

Lighthearted:   team [fill in the name of groom(s) or bride(s)];

And these too:  party people, wedding squad, bridal brigade paired with groom squad.

idocrewMy personal favorite is the “I Do Crew” .  It’s catchy, gender neutral, and – for me – a little bit sentimental.

…and it makes a great hashtag.   #idocrew

Seaside Wedding: Michael & Barry

Michael & Barry were married on August 6, 2016 at Gearhart Beach, Oregon.

Who proposed to whom? I Proposed to Barry

How did you get engaged? We went on a 4 day cruise through the San Juan Islands with friends for Barry’s birthday and in the sculpture garden in Roche Harbor, on San Juan Island, the question was popped.

Wedding date? August 6, 2016

Venue? Reception: McMenamins Gearhart Hotel, Wedding: Gearhart Beach, Oregon

Coordinator? Amanda Wolf

Catering? Gearhart Hotel

Cake? Laurie Clarke Cakes

Cake Topper? Sammy’s Flowers

Photographer? Donny Mays Photography

DJ? Spencer Crum

Florist? Sammy’s Flowers (

Hair/Makeup? We are naturally that beautiful (none needed) LOL

Macaroons? Didn’t have any

Wedding Photos and Our Wedding Album – Advice from a Groom



Wedding photos have [finally] arrived!  Now that bills are paid (ugh) and thank-you’s are mostly written (I know, I’m sorry) we must decide on whether and how to create a wedding photo album.

The “whether to” decision is an easy one for us – Yes.

Digitals are great, but digital images are never going to be discovered by your children or grandchildren in the attic.  You will never just happen upon your digital images while sorting through a stack of books left untouched for too long. There is nothing special and almost no intimacy involved in gathering around a device to stare at images that are too small to appreciate.  Wedding photos are best experienced as part of a narrative — a story that unfolds in a deliberate sequence with one image building upon and informing those before, after and around it.

So as David and I review our images, reflect on the day, and decide how we may want to remember the moments, the wedding album creation & production decision looms — influenced by budget, creative energy, available time, and technological know-how.

I’ve summarized our wedding album website alternatives into 3 price brackets.  All of these websites have beautiful wedding album examples to get your creative juices going.  Disappointingly, however, none have a same-sex couple prominently displayed in their gallery. Time for some new images everyone.

$$$$ – Custom design/print/bind service.  We select the basic layout and the cover, upload the images, provide suggestions for any copy we may want to include with particular images or on certain pages and then let someone else create and print.  Cost:  Wide range based on number of pages and cover type, but $600 to $1700 covers most of the options available.  Yikes.

Two companies we are considering: &

Blended Motion is a turnkey provider, whereas Storybook Pages focuses on the design component and then allows you to select the print/bind vendor from a list of companies they work with.  Both of these companies work primarily with wedding photographers, but they have expanded their service to “retail” as well.

$$1/2 – DIY design using templates/print/bind service.  We select from a wide range of pre-formatted designs, most with some customization available, upload the images in the size and position and order we want, then let them produce based on the paper and cover we select. Cost:  $200’ish to $750 covers most options available.

This is a more competitive market space, and there are a number of companies.  Each of these 3 are worth considering – each with “a look” and particular software & production strengths.

  • Milk wedding focused, minimalist look, basic options, not a budget buster, quality product
  • Blurb oriented to commercial / professional productions, wedding albums as a side business, flexible design system with default templates for the novice
  • AdoramapixTemplate based with plenty of design flexibility, widest price range based on paper type, page count and cover material

Note:  We are not considering BrideBox. Why? There was no “bride” in our wedding.  Might be a clever sounding name, but it’s not very welcoming to my husband and me.

$ – DIY design using templates/print/bind service.  The primary difference between this price point and the category preceding is that these two providers are not providing a wedding specific product.  Their design flexibility is more limited and their production options far more limited. Their product, however, is considered high quality with very fast turnaround. Cost:  $100 and under

  • Apple Photo book we are an Apple family.  I was a reluctant convert, but have come to fully embrace (accept) the Apple way of life.  We have used this service before to make albums of family events and the results have been beautiful.
  • Snapfish & Shutterfly excellent for the novice/non-tech user, low cost, high quality, very limited design flexibility, quick turnaround.  You don’t have to own an Apple.

We are going to go-down-the-middle and use Adoramapix.  We will share the end result when we’ve got it to show.  For us, it’s a good balance of cost, time spent and design flexibility.

Whatever you decide:

Don’t overspend/overthink. Better to get your favorite photos printed in a scaled down book than have no book at all.

Do not let too much time pass.  Your wedding album project will get lost in the “to-do’s” forever…and the story you wanted your wedding photos to tell won’t be telling any stories at all.

Olive Garden Proposal – Glory & Bridget

I love these three! We met Glory & Bridget when we were living in Portland, OR. Truly amazing people.

Bridge proposed to me at an Italian restaurant in 2003. Nothing elaborate, I was surprised with a beautiful ring sitting in my cheesecake after our meal. We finally got married on 11/1/14 at the county court house. We went to a yummy Mexican dinner and drinks with our closest friends after. 

Santa Margarita Ranch Wedding: Alexis & Lisa

Alexis and Lisa were married on February 20, 2016 at Santa Margarita Ranch in Santa Margarita, California.

Who proposed to whom? I, Alexis, proposed to Lisa.

How did you get engaged? I had a hotel room, lined the entrance with candles and in the room had 25 balloons with reasons why I love her attached to the bottom of each one. The ring was in a big gift box and when she opened it I took it and proposed.

Wedding date? February 20, 2016

Venue? Santa Margarita Ranch

Coordinator? We coordinated and planned our wedding.

Catering? Dickies BBQ

Cake? Sea breeze cupcakes

Photographer? Nadine Solwick of Cheetah Photography

DJ? DJ Brian Solwick – DJ Cheetah

Florist? Bought and put together our own flowers and centerpieces.

Hair/Makeup? Hair and make up was done by Lisa’s sister Amy Friesen and our friend Ruby Rodriguez.

This was a totally DIY wedding. We loved planning, building, and decorating everything. We would do it all over again if we could! – Alexis

Lovers Point Wedding: Mark & Skip

Mark and Skip were married on April 16th, 2016 at Lover’s Point park in Pacific Grove. The reception was held at the Robert John House built in 1907.

VenueLove’s Point Park

Event PlannerErin Wareham

CakeFreedom Bakery and Confections


Photographer – Family Friend Amy

Strawberry Farms Golf Club Wedding: Samantha & Austin

Samantha and Austin were married on March 26, 2016 at the Strawberry Farms Golf Club in Irvine, California.

Who proposed to whom? Austin proposed to me!

How did you get engaged? Austin proposed on May 2, 2015 at The Montage resort in Laguna Beach. Earlier in the week, Austin’s mom texted me along with Austin and his siblings, inviting us to a surprise cocktail party for Austin’s aunt. This event turned out to be completely fake! Austin and I showed up “early” and decided to walk around the resort. Austin had been to the resort before so he wanted to show me a beautiful spot on the property. When we sat down at a bench with an amazing ocean view at the end of the resort grounds, we chatted for a while about nothing in particular. Austin then told me that he loved me and that I was his best friend. It was sweet but not unusual so our conversation continued. After he said it TWO MORE TIMES, he finally stood up and got on one knee and asked me to marry him. I cried hysterically and said “what?!” over and over before finally saying yes. He surprised me again by revealing that both of our families and closest friends were there to celebrate with us. Shortly after, Austin was then surprised by his twin brother who had planned a much larger surprise engagement party back at their house!!

Wedding date? March 26, 2016

Venue? Strawberry Farms Golf Club

Coordinator? In Focus Events

Catering? Strawberry Farms Golf Club

Cake? Simply Sweet Cakery

Cake Topper? Taylor Street Favors

Photographer? Analisa Joy Photography

DJ? Ovation Entertainment

Florist? The Bloom of Time

Hair/Makeup? Unique and Flawless

Macarons? Piipa Cakes

Joshua Tree Wedding: Jeremy & John

Jeremy Constantine Lucido + John Constantine Lucido were married on May 2nd, 2015 at Sacred Sands in Joshua Tree, California.

First Dance.

Who proposed to whom? I proposed to John.

How did you get engaged? After 9 months of falling in love, new experiences, meeting friends and family, and planning the names of our future children, I asked John to marry me. I took John to Joshua Tree, CA to “take photos” for my magazine. After the photo shoot, I handed John my camera to take a look at the photos and as John scrolled through, he found a photo with the question and ring:

“John, Will you marry me?” -Jeremy

John said yes.

Wedding date? May 2nd, 2015

Venue?Sacred Sands

Catering?Soho Taco

Cake?Bring Me Sugar

Grooms Suits?Topshop

Grooms Shoes? – Stacy Adams

Boutonnieres?EUCCA Floral Studio

Photography? – Gabe Ayala

Stationary?John Constantine Design

Succulents?Haus of Cactus

Kylie & Michele | Destination LGBT Wedding Photographer | Memoire | South Africa

One of my favorite photographers – Lauren Barkume. I love to see what she has been up to. Check out this photograph of the flower wall for a styled wedding photoshoot at Memoire in Johannesburg. Beautiful.

Lauren Barkume Photography

I’m in love with this photo of Michele and Kylie from a same-sex styled lesbian wedding photoshoot at Memoire in Johannesburg. The flower wall is likely a first in South Africa, created with entirely live flowers by Zavion Kotze Events Company.

Michele & Kylie| South Africa | Johannesburg | Destination LGBT Wedding Photography Floral Wall: Zavion Kotze Events Company Hair & make up: Venita Pottas | Anelda Janse Van Rensburg Dresses: Enzoani Styling: Zavion Kotze Venue: MEMOIRE wedding and function venue, Muldersdrift Models: Michele Mulder & Kylie Costopoulous Michele & Kylie| South Africa | Johannesburg | Destination LGBT Wedding Photography
Floral Wall: Zavion Kotze Events Company
Hair & make up: Venita Pottas | Anelda Janse Van Rensburg
Dresses: Enzoani
Styling: Zavion Kotze
Venue: MEMOIRE wedding and function venue, Muldersdrift
Models: Michele Mulder & Kylie Costopoulous

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Riette & Thereza | LGBT Engagement | Magaliesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa

Check out these amazing photos of Riette & Thereza by Lauren Barkume Photography.

Lauren Barkume Photography

I had the pleasure of meeting Riette and Thereza when they contacted me about photographing their wedding.

Riette & Thereza are a happy and down to earth couple. They love the outdoors and their three dogs. Thereza proposed to Riette 2 years ago while they were on holiday at the coast. Thereza hid the ring in the sand for Riette to find as the searched for crabs together on the beach.

Riette lives in Pretoria, South Africa and Thereza is in Iraq, so wedding planning has been a unique challenge. This month has been packed with wedding meetings while Thereza has been home. I had a chance to photograph the two of them recently for a engagement photoshoot.

We planned three looks for this half day photo-shoot, all set in the beautiful bushveld of the Magaliesburg mountains at B’Sorah Luxury Tented Camp outside Johannesburg, South Africa. We started with a champagne picnic under the trees set…

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