Banner photographs courtesy of J & J Photography (left) and Emily G Photography.
Celebrating gay and lesbian marriage.
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Personalizing you gay wedding

Unique tweaks

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Michele Arrieta and Aisling Curran didn’t use a florist for their April 2013 in Pine Island, New York. The women planted tulip bulbs together the autumn before and the flowers bloomed right before their big day (
New Yorkers, Debra Eppolito and Nilsa Betancourt, used a vintage taxicab for transportation to express their love for the Big Apple.
Are you and your partner laidback board gamers? Try beers and Cards Against Humanity at a picnic instead of sending you guests to a lounge for hors d’oeuvres and champagne while you take wedding portraits.
Emily Rotella and Sheila Hicks paid homage to Sheila’s African-American background at their wedding by embracing the tradition of jumping the broom.“The broom is like a home and hearth thing, and during slavery, slaves were not able to enter into any legal contract, including marriage. So jumping the broom became important,” says Sheila, alluding to a tradition that can also serve as a metaphor for marriage equality (
Instead of party favors, Charlotte and Valerie Garafolo, donated that money to charities that were important to their guests — Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the Wounded Warrior Project, Policeman Windows Fund, and Fireman’s Widows Fund. “We then placed cards [that illustrated their donation] at each table accordingly — for those suffering or affected by cancer, or police officers and firefighters in attendance. It really was touching when people sat and realized what was in front of their seat,” says Charlotte.
Antonio and Kirven Douthit-Boyd personalized their wedding by having Kirven’s mother and grandmother cater their reception with homemade soul food (
A couple that met at a book club decided to have a literary-themed wedding. This is one of their centerpieces.
Michael and Tom D’Angora produce theater for a living, so they combined the painting “Wedding Invitation,” by Michael’s favorite artist, Keith Haring on a “Gaybill” — a play on a theater Playbill — for their wedding programs in Feb 2012 (
Do you and your sweetie have a sweet tooth? Who better to cater dessert for your same-sex wedding than Big Gay Ice Cream Truck?
How did Texas couple Martin Sigler and Timothy T. Thomas customize their wedding? Easy. They had create toppers of their likeliness and put them on their tuxedo cake.
Did you meet on a romantic rainy day? Use umbrellas as a decorative accent.
Alvin Ailey dancers, Antonio and Kirven Douthit-Boyd, rented a floor of the Alvin Ailey Center for the reception. (
Marty Mariano personalized his wedding to Tom Tucker with his World’s Fair cufflinks. “My father took me to The Worlds Fair in July of 1965,” he says. “I was sick with fever and he carried me the whole day. I wanted something to remember that by” (
Marty Mariano and Tom Tucker wanted a fresh-cut, garden vibe for their Aug 2013 wedding. “The sight of the two of us with little nosegays — it’s just not us,” says Tom of their royal blue irises, which happen to be his favorite flower (
Michele Arrieta and Aisling Curran had their wedding at Aisling’s family home, not far away from this onion field where Michele popped the question (
Rebecca’s lifelong dream was to be Jennifer Grey in the final scene of “Dirty Dancing.” So, her and wife, Julie, re-enacted the scene for their commitment ceremony (

Many wedding conventions need to be customized when planning a same-sex wedding. Gender-specific roles such as the proposal, walking down the aisle, and throwing — even carrying — a bouquet need to be considered and altered to reflect the personalities and beliefs of every gay and lesbian couple. And though many may find the concept of a same-sex wedding pretty extraordinary within itself — especially those who live in states where it is not yet legal — you know that your sexuality does not define who you are as a couple. You and yours-to-be share many interests, hobbies, passions, philosophies, and traditions that make the two of you as unique as any other engaged, crazy-in-love couple in the history of engaged, crazy-in-love couples. So why shouldn’t your wedding reflect that in its food, guestbook, vows, entertainment, decor, transportation, and music?

Leave your fingerprint on your guests’ wedding psyche by looking to something truly rare for inspiration — your love.

Need a little extra help? Click though our above slide show to read how real couples in New York personalized their big days.

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