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Friday, 30 December 2016 18:00

Looking Ahead to 2017

2017-logo2016 was a tumultuous year.  It brought us a divisive election, an unthinkable massacre in a Florida nightclub, an absurd bathroom bill in the state of North Carolina, an unfilled seat on the US Supreme Court, and much more.  There are hundreds of pieces of legislation in states all across America, whose sole purpose is to limit LGBT equality:  LGBT parents, spouses, families, employees, youth...  people.
 
It's true:  we're feeling unsettled.  Baffled.  Angry.
 
Yet it's important to remember that, as all years do, 2016 also brought us amazing gifts:  The opportunity to see a woman (one who believes openly in LGBT equality) have a real chance at the White House... the opportunity to hear our attorney general stand before us time and again with inspirational words of support for the LGBT minority... growing visibility for the trans- community in our nation...  the naming of Stonewall Inn, by President Obama, as the first national monument honoring LGBT history... the reality that speaker after speaker at the RNC attempted to mouth the words "LGBT" to begin showing that they, too, are beginning to frame an understanding of inclusion.
 
And it's also important to remember that the extreme divisiveness we witnessed this year inherently brings its own gifts, as long as we are willing to muscle through the effort of searching for them.  Clamoring to point out the differences between people is a sure way to also point out the similarities.  And those similarities can mark paths in the road ahead, toward a stronger and more inclusive sense of equality for everyone.
 
2017 will undoubtedly present rigorous challenges of its own.  Perhaps it will be our job to see through those challenges for the clarity and opportunities they'll bring to light.  Let's look for those, let's quest for them, let's explore them.  And with that clearer vision, claim what it is we want for our future.

_____
 
-Marianne Puechl, co-founder & author / RainbowWeddingNetwork.com
www.MariannePuechl.com

Can you imagine walking into a bridal expo with vendors who will turn you away based on who you choose to marry? Unfortunately, this may be easy to imagine, because it’s not abnormal for vendors to decline services to same-sex couples. Co-owner of Rainbow Wedding Network, Cindy Puechl-Sproul, often says, “LGBT couples can walk down the aisle in  the morning and in many locations still get fired from their jobs that same afternoon for who they’ve married.” In today’s world, we’ve come so far as a nation in regard to equality; however, in many ways we’ve taken steps back. Even though gay and lesbian couples can now legally get marry in all 50 states, since the SCOTUS decision in June 2015 there have been over 200 anti-LGBT pieces of legislation proposed in locales all across our country!

Did you know that many wedding expos actually have an employee walk around with a piece of paper that has an equality sign printed on it? These employees are tasked to ask vendors if they support equality and same-sex couples getting married. If the vendor does support and accept LGBT couples, they will put the equality sign on their booth. If a vendor declines and chooses not to put the sign of equality on their booth, they’re making it known that same-sex couples are not welcome to do business with their company.

Joel Bagnal with Joel Bagnal, Goldsmith experienced this when he participated in a larger bridal expo in the Orlando area. At first, his immediate response was shock that he was even being asked if he would turn same-sex couples away and quickly replied, “Yes, I want the equality sign on my booth! Why would you NOT want to be a part of EVERYONE’S wedding?!” He was so dismayed by the amount of vendors who did not accept same-sex couples, that Joel himself decided to create jewelry to specifically honor the LGBT community.

Joel is an expert goldsmith with an M.Ed. and an M.F.A. in Metalsmithing, he teaches and creates metals programs for Cedar Crest College and Boston University, and he is a National Endowment for the Arts grant recipient. You can find his work in the Smithsonian Institute Collections, the Collections of the Minnesota Museum of Art, and at his current shop located at 11C, Aviles Street, St. Augustine, FL.

Joel has also worked with LGBT couples for many years to create that perfect wedding ring.“For over 40 years, we have offered distinctively handmade designs in gold and silver jewelry. We commemorate marriages, partnerships, and any special occasion or relationship with collaboratively designed objects of adornment. We provide expert advice in diamonds and gemstones. We serve clients,” he emphasizes, “not customers.”

Needless to say, Joel was ecstatic with the recent inspiration to get started on his new equality line. Immediately after the bridal fair, Joel got to work on his fresh ideas. Shortly after, the Heart of Equality line was created. Together, Joel blends a heart symbol with an equal symbol inside to represent love and equality. This uniquely delicate design is a timeless piece that one can wear at any time with any wardrobe.  The Heart of Equality line is offered in studded earrings, beautiful earrings that hang, charm bracelets that can also be worn as an anklet, and as a necklace pendant. This exquisite jewelry line can be worn by all genders in any walk of life - anyone who supports the LGBT community’s right to equaity.

You can find Joel’s Heart of Equality line on his website, https://www.joelbagnalgoldsmith.com/. Also, if you’re looking for unique wedding rings, Joel creates custom wedding bands that are designed specifically for you and made to reflect your personalities as individuals as well as your union as a couple.

Joel Bagnal, Goldsmith

904-614-4706

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

https://www.JoelBagnalGoldsmith.com

Many lesbian brides are somewhat uncertain when it comes to finding undergarments that are ideal for wearing with formal apparel.  As you decide which tailored tux, custom suit, dress or gown to flaunt on Your Special Day, it’s a great idea to consider what you’ll wear underneath as well.  The perfect hosiery and intimate apparel can help you look your very best, and feel that much more confident about it too!
 
commando is a lesbian-friendly intimate apparel, shapewear and hosiery line known for creating the best-in-class products that are beautiful, luxurious and make women look and feel fantastic. With its tagline of “better than nothing,” commando is the industry leader in raw-cut technology and has an innovative elastic free design. Kerry O'Brien, the founder and designer, only uses the finest luxury technical fabrics sourced from Europe and aims to produce products that make women feel confident.

• Sleepwear: Made from a stretch European model, the sleep styles have an ultra-flattering fit, raw-cut edges - commando's signature - and next level softness.

• Hip Hosiery: commando has mastered the art of hosiery and has a style for every occasion - and every outfit. From the patented, raw-cut waistband on commando legwear to the special yarns that prevents snags and perforations from becoming runs, commando is leading the charge in technical hosiery.

• The Forgotten Undergarment aka the Slip: commando slips are known for the patented weighted hems, but this is not your mother's slip! The weighted hem eliminates the creeping and crawling one might find with less ambitious undergarments.
o commando received the first patent on a slip in decades and this is a great example of the Kerry's innovation and ability to transform traditional undergarments into contemporary items.
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To view the commando portfolio, visit:  www.WearCommando.com
Thursday, 04 February 2016 20:09

Tasty, Fresh CreamPunk Cakes

According to pastry chef and owner of Ava’s Cupcakes, Michelle Spell, the fondant cake trend is coming to an end and being replaced with CreamPunk Cakes. Most couples today want to cut into a cake made with only fresh ingredients. Fondant wrapped cakes can be about 7 days old before you actually eat a slice, and they don't always taste as great as you'd hope. CreamPunk Cakes are made fresh, with hand whipped buttercream frosting and feature a retro artistic edge with bold metal colors. The best part, CreamPunk Cakes can also be made gluten-free.
 
Below are three CreamPunk Cakes Michelle created fondant-free. Each cake features gold dusted popcorn, a chocolate ganache glaze, a variety of chocolate candies and the signature mini Ava’s Cupcake on top. These cakes will also fit any theme, from a fairytale inspired wedding, to a destination beach wedding to a rustic country barn and even a traditional wedding theme.
 
Friday, 18 December 2015 17:58

Quick DIY Tip: Chalkboard Labels!

chalk-a-lotPlanning to polish your wedding festivities with a little DIY flair?  Chalkboard labels are an easy way to add a fresh, trendy look in a variety of ways!
 
Favors & Keepsakes - Fill jars with custom candy, as favors and/or colorful centerpieces at your reception tables.  Glass vases with hand-picked wildflowers from your garden are another nostalgic option!  Label one for each family to take away with them as a keepsake, or label with fun sayings that resonate with your wedding theme.
 
Seating Tags - There are endless ways to create an artistic seating chart, for your reception or for any party!  Peel and stick, eraseable labels can be a simple way to make things easy on yourself - always a great idea!
 
Engagement Party?  Labels can be used for all sorts of party games and favors.  Or, if there are friends from both sides of the family who are not yet acquainted, invite everyone to create their own name label to ease the introductions.
 
Gift Giving - Hand-write or draw on all kinds of gift items!  Home made jams can be a sweet gift for wedding guests, or for your favorite couple.  With custom crafted beer or soda, the chalkboard labels are a trendy way to accent that you've made the brew yourself!  Labels can also be added as a bold accent to wrapped gifts too.  Finding a few different color chalk markers, and practicing with fonts easily dresses up your labels and adds even more pizzazz and color!
 
Our favorite chalkboard label kit is Chalk-A-Lot!
#1 RATED VINYL CHALKBOARD LABELS - Made from thick, highly durable, top-quality PVC vinyl, these stickers are built to last; they are eco-friendly, dishwasher-safe, freezer-safe and feature a smooth, matte surface that's specially designed to be written on and erased again and again.  The kit is available with or without one liquid chalk pen.  $14.99 for 60 border-cut blackboard stickers plus the chalk marker!

More info is available at:
http://www.amztk.com/chalkboard-label
 
 
Wednesday, 16 December 2015 20:57

'Lord of the Rings' Themed Wedding!

Lembas bread, hobbit outfits, Gandalf, elves, maps and even the “One Ring” are just some of the fantastical elements that helped create the one-of-a-kind Lord of the Rings themed wedding that couple Christopher Rooney and Dylan Brozich had been dreaming of since they got engaged in 2013.
 
Pittsburgh Marriott North hosted the lavish ceremony and celebration, their staff, wedding specialists and chef joining the enthusiasm to ensure that the grooms' theme was carried through to all elements of the festivities. The hotel’s banquet space was transformed and decorated in lush greenery and a rural backdrop inspired by The Shire in the fictional land of Eriador in Middle Earth, where Lord of the Rings is set. The reception, held in the same room, was transformed into the mystical land of Lothlorien with deep blues and purples and sparkling jewels. Other signature touches from the epic novel pulled together the theme such as symbolic leaf place cards, table assignments named after geographical places in Middle Earth and a tree planting ceremony reminiscent of the White Tree of Gondor.       
 
To add to the authenticity of the themed wedding, the couple’s rings were designed by Jens Hanson, the same designer who created the very rings in the Lord of the Rings films. The wedding party dressed as hobbits and elves to round out the mythical theme. 
 
Enjoy the following Q&A with grooms Dylan & Chris, as they share the story of their engagement, and some of the details of planning such an elaborate and unique themed wedding!
 
__________
 
RWN:  How did the two of you meet?  Was it love at first sight?  What were some of the qualities that attracted you to each other, and made you realize that 'he was the one'?
 
Dylan & Chris: We technically met in high school, but we went to different schools. We had a mutual friend who invited us both to a movie night at his house. Being in high school doesn’t always allow “love at first sight” meetings.  We were 17, and it was a very turbulent time in our lives. We didn't really know who we were, or fully understand our sexuality. After our first meeting however, we couldn't get each other off of our minds’. It wasn’t until a couple of months later, Dylan opened up a Facebook chat, beginning our communication. It was on a whim, and it just grew from there. Neither of us were “out of the closet” at the beginning of our relationship either. We brought out the best in one another, and gave each other the strength to be ourselves. We grew with each other, finding fantasy gaming to be a mutual passion. We often got together with our friends to play Dungeons & Dragons, which we still do. This was something we both loved, and sharing that made us grow closer. When we finally came out, we realized how comfortable we made one another. We knew we were meant to be together.
 
RWN:  What's your engagement story?  How long had you been dating before deciding to get married?
 
Dylan & Chris:  Well, the engagement story is a long one!  When we were getting ready to depart for two different colleges, we wanted to stay together… Chris gave Dylan a promise ring that they would make it through college. A year later, on Lake Erie at dusk, Dylan proposed to Chris with a ring that said, “We shall succeed.” This was a phrase we used before we went to different colleges to remind each other of our commitment. After this distant time in our lives, we would be together forever. It was the same year of the proposal that Dylan transferred to Edinboro University, where we started living together.  We were dating for about two years before we chose to get married; although, we waited for another three years before we actually did, due to college.
 
RWN:  What was the initial ceremony planning like?  Did you both agree on the type of wedding you wanted?  Any particularly amazing planning moments you'd like to share?  Any particular issues with non-accepting wedding vendors?  Any wonderful moments with extremely supportive wedding vendors?
 
Dylan & Chris:  In the beginning it was, “Hey, let’s get married. We will go to New York.” Then when the USA Federal government approved it nationally, it opened up a whole new set of ideas for us. We never thought we would legally be able to marry, but now, we wanted to bring our families into it. So, we decided to have a small wedding with close friends and family at our church, The First Spiritualist Church of Erie. We had big ideas, but not a huge budget. With the distance for guests to travel, and the lack of ideas for a reception, it was just not lining up. That is when the Pittsburgh Marriott North came in. We both worked there for a while, and Rick, The General Manager, asked if we wanted to have our wedding there. We never imagined being able to afford a big lavish wedding, but with his help, we planned something with a reasonable budget. Then it escalated very quickly. It seemed to go from a basic wedding for 50 people to a large, themed wedding for 150 people overnight. Both having theatrical backgrounds, we wanted something striking and amazing. We both have a love for fantasy that inspired us, and Chris’ favorite books and movies are the Lord of the Rings. It all seemed to click! That was our wedding; Lord of the Rings Theme.

The hardest part was finding what to do for the reception instead of a garter toss (we wanted to change it up). We went back and forth with different ideas. We ended up landing on a Newlywed Game (Who knows the Newlyweds the best?) It seemed like fun, and turned out to be a great laugh! The Vendors were fantastic all the way through. Andy, the DJ, was such a great guy, and really supportive of the entire event. We helped him grow as a DJ, and he made the evening so much fun! He really went out of the way to look for our themed music for both the ceremony and the reception. Fantastic all the way through. Through the process, it did bring up a lot of questions. Who is changing their last name, if at all? How do we walk down the aisle? We made it our own. We made the event ‘us.’

RWN:  What were some of the high points of planning such an elaborate theme wedding?  Any advice for other couples?
 
Dylan & Chris: The high point for us was the research! Trying to plan some of the different ideas for the outfits and decor made the whole thing seem surreal. We took the time and made the event really reflect us as a couple. We wanted something elegant and fun. My advice to any couple planning a wedding.. Make it yours.. make it how you feel.. and make it FUN!
 
RWN:  Are your families supportive of your relationship?  Any details you would like to share with our readers?
 
Dylan & Chris:  Both families were very supportive in the relationship and marriage. When we first came out, it was a shock for most of the family. Our parents were not immediately sure how to handle it; however, we are blessed to have families that are supportive enough to learn. Everyone grew to understand, and continue to love us no matter what. Honestly, the biggest issue that we ran into was what we were going to do with our last names. Both families were at first a bit uneasy about their sons losing their last name.  Our advice is to do what you as a couple feel most comfortable doing. Dylan hyphenating his last name was the best option for us. It joined our names together without completely taking out either of our families’.
 
RWN:  How did you feel on your Wedding Day?  What was the range of emotions?  Was it different than you'd expected?
 
Dylan & Chris: Wedding Day emotions were crazy. Words cannot describe the feeling you get when you're getting ready to go into the ceremony. We were jumpy, nervous, excited and even shaky. It was an emotion that we have never felt before. As the doors opened and we walked down together… It felt perfect and right. Once the ceremony was over, the party began, and we just laughed and made incredible memories. It was perfect. It was nothing you could expect… It felt real, and like a fantasy at the same time. It was crazy to even think that we were getting married.

RWN:  Describe some of your Ceremony & Reception Highlights.  We’d love as many details as you care to share!
 
Dylan & Chris: The biggest highlight of the Ceremony was the vows, which we both wrote ourselves. Dylan has a knack for carving rocks and making them really meaningful. For our one year anniversary, Dylan carved a small stone, using Dwarven runes, with a cute message. So, he did it again for the ceremony. He pulled out this huge rock with a detailed inscription of his vows. Interesting to say the least. They say nothing is written in stone… but our vows are! :) The favorite part of the Reception was totally the food and the people. We had Lembas bread, (a movie bread) which was awesome! Our wedding party, as well as a number of our guests were dressed in costume for the event. We had a themed cake and beverages, and several other things in the spirit of Lord of the Rings.
 
RWN:  Any fun details about the Honeymoon you'd like to mention?  Where did you go / are you planning to go?
 
Dylan & Chris:  We really want to see New Zealand some day! We are hoping to plan a trip there in the next couple years, but we will go!
 
RWN:  Why are marriage rights important to you?  What is your advice to other committed couples, as they consider whether or not to have a wedding of their own?
 
Dylan & Chris:  Marriage rights are highly important to both of us. We are all born equal, so we should all have the ability to make the same decisions. To any couple out there, if you want to get married… DO IT!! It’s a lot of fun!  It is amazing in itself just to see the amount of support you have from your friends and family! :) Make the wedding always a reflection of the two of you! If you don't want to get married, that’s fine too! Do what feels the best. You know what makes you happy, so don't let anyone else make the decision for you.
 
RWN:  Favorite Quote from our Happy Couple?
 
Dylan & Chris: “Not all those who wander are lost.” -J.R.R. Tolkien
 
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Additional wedding vendors included: Sara Arvay, wedding designer, Andy Hutelmyer, DJ, Missy Wyzkoski, photographer, GreenSinner, florist, Tammy Rooney (mother of one of the grooms), baker, Men’s Warehouse, for photo tuxes, Jens Hanson, rings and Evelyn Lohse, costumes.
 
Marriott Pittsburgh North was ranked number one in sales service and number three for overall events in North America for Marriott. Marriott Pittsburgh North is located in Cranberry Township off of Route 228. For more information visit www.PittsburghMarriottNorth.com or call (724) 772-3700.
 
_________
 
This article provided in part courtesy of:
Kimberly Windisch
Krol Media Associates LLC
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
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Photographs provided courtesy of: Missy Wyzkoski, photographer with Mason Brandd Photography
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
 
 
 
 
Friday, 20 November 2015 15:15

Keepsake Book Honors 2015 SCOTUS Ruling

Marriage-Eq 150Just in time for holiday gift-giving, Melville House is proud to publish a keepsake edition of The U.S Supreme Court Decision on Marriage Equality (Hardcover; October 2015) as delivered by Justice Anthony Kennedy on June 26, 2015.
 
A milestone in the history of American civil and human rights, Obergefell et al. v. Hodges legalized gay marriage across the United States. It is a powerful testament to the progress of human and civil rights and an essential document of our times.
 
http://www.MHPBooks.com
 
As Slate has reported, Justice Kennedy's words are already being quoted at wedding ceremonies across the country. This exquisitely produced, small-format volume is the perfect gift to present a couple on the occasion of their legal union. It will also be a coveted, meaningful wedding invitation or party favor for marriage festivities across the country.  An ideal gift as well for couples recently engaged or married, and for long-time advocates of equal marriage rights.
 
A beautifully packaged gift edition of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s landmark Supreme Court decision on marriage equality, this lovely publication is destined to be a treasured keepsake for years to come!
 
 
The U.S Supreme Court Decision on Marriage Equality
as delivered by Justice Anthony Kennedy
Published by Melville House
Pub date: October 2015
ISBN 978-1-61219-532-2
U.S. $14.95 (Can. $19.50)
Hardcover /  64 pages / 5” x 7”
718-722-9204
http://www.MHPBooks.com
 
__
 
Also available in paperback!
 
Chris & Michael recently wed on Long Island, NY in a beautiful, elegant and joyful ceremony at Brecknock Hall.  They took a few moments to share a quick Q&A with us here at RainbowWeddingNetwork.com, to share some of the details of their engagement and wedding, and also shared the link to their wedding video.  Enjoy!
 
___________
 
RWN: Tell us the story of how you met... Was it love at first sight?  What were some of the qualities that attracted you to each other, and made you realize that 'he was the one'? 
 
Michael:  Chris and I met July of 2007.  Chris was with a friend, Tommy.  I was writing a story on the “Rosie Cruise” – Last day of the cruise – we “Officially met” and began our journey together!
 
RWN:  How did you propose to each other?  Did one of you surprise the other?
 
Michael:  A few years after meeting – Chris and I set sail on yet another “Rosie Cruise” – and surprised me with a ring!  And I sure did say, YES! 
 
RWN:  How did your family and friends react to the engagement?  Any insights, thoughts or feelings you'd like to share?
 
Michael:  Our families are beyond amazing!  Both of our parents have been married for 56 years.  And embraced not only our love for each other but, of course, our Big Day!  It was amazing!!
 
RWN:  What type of wedding did you have?  Ceremony colors?  Any themes?  Did you include particular rituals or traditions?
 
Michael:  We got married at Brecknock Hall in Greenport.  Our theme was simple but most important “love” – actually 813.  Eight letters in total, One Meaning, Three words. “I love you” – It was noted at every table, through our vows and message all evening long.  The creator of “813” is a dear friend and if you look at a picture of a butterfly – you will see the numbers “813.”
 
Each of the outside vendors we used were perfect!  From The food to the DJ – we were surrounded by love!  We were very blessed to have JEWEL as our caterers.
 
RWN:  How did you feel on your Wedding Day?  What was the range of emotions?  Was it different than you'd expected?
 
Michael:  We both felt excited, nervous and more so blessed.  Nervous because It was actually happening!  Excited because our family and friends were there to celebrate our love and blessed because we had each and every family member there for us, including our parents – It was an exceptional moment.
 
RWN:  Describe some of your Ceremony & Reception Highlights.
 
Michael:  The dance floor that was never empty – We had a comedian at our wedding – and even the RAIN… Didn’t stop a soul from smiling and loving!
 
RWN:  Did you choose to go on a honeymoon?  Where?
 
Michael:  We planned one – didn’t go yet.. Sedona, Arizona!  This Fall.
 
RWN:  Why are marriage rights important to you?  What is your advice to other committed couples, as they consider whether or not to have a wedding of their own?
 
Michael:  Equality.  The body is a shell – the soul is the inner peace.  Doesn’t matter who you are – everyone has a right to unite with a partner and have that blessing and bond.  It’s important to us because it’s an official seal, it’s protection as we grow older to have our “Properties” protected and insured.
 
RWN:  Favorite Quote from our Happy Couple?
 
Michael:  Create a vision, forget the budget.  At the end – love is love!
 
_____________
 

Venue: 
Brecknock Hall
Greenport, NY
http://www.brecknockhall.com/
 
Photography:
Steve Germano, Studio 27
http://studio27photo.com/
 
 
 
The Supreme Court’s landmark gay marriage decision opened up a wealth of wedding opportunities for couples. Officiation company Our Big Day NYC noticed that with these opportunities arose questions from couples regarding how they’ll be affected by the ruling.
 
To answer some of the common questions, they spoke with a group of experts - including experienced officiants, a law professor that specializes in LGBT rights, as well as wedding planners - and put the resulting responses into the slideshow below:
 
 
__________
 
For more information, contact Our Big Day NYC:
 
Matt Dalley
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
 

 

Friday, 30 October 2015 15:02

No Tricks, Just a Halloween Treat!

Free Halloween Coloring PageIt's that time of year again.  All-hallows-eve approaches and soon street corners and doorsteps will be filled with every manner of goblin and ghoul imaginable.  As you set about your halloween projects of putting the finishing touches on decorations and costumes give the kids a fun coloring activity that reflects LGBT families.  Download this fun and free halloween coloring page from your friends here at RainbowWeddingNetwork.com.  We hope you enjoy coloring as much as we enjoyed creating it!

Download

 

...And if you'd like to check out our complete 30 page coloring book, click here for all the details: 

http://www.rainbowweddingnetwork.com/parenting/myfamily-coloringbook?action=orders&task=order&cid=33

 

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