Use Instagram to plan your wedding

Here’s how to use Instagram to plan your wedding

Wedding planners, photographers, and just about everyone rejoice, Instagram has (finally) introduced the ability to save Instagram posts for later! We don’t mean the usual screenshot save, we mean the ability to store other users’ Instagram posts to look at later. You read that right. . . you can now save Instagram posts to look at later!

The new Instagram save feature, which has not been given a specific title, allows you to store all the photos and videos you want to revisit in a private folder on your profile. You can now bookmark that floral centerpiece you want to copy for your wedding (or that cute proposal story you read on Equally Wed). The best part is, no one can see that you saved their photo. If you just so happen to land on a picture of your friend’s ex’s new partner’s wedding attire and want to save it for later, there won’t be any trail of you falling down the Instagram stalking rabbit hole. 

Gone are the days of clogging up your phone’s storage with screenshots you most likely never take the time to revisit anyway. All saved photos are stored in one place, meaning you don’t have to scroll vigorously through your phone looking for the screenshot you took of that wedding ring six months before you got engaged. Unfortunately the save feature does not apply to Instagram stories (be warned though, users can see if you screenshot from their story).

The save option follows the latest rollout of new Instagram features modeled after other social medias such as Instagram Live, modeled after Facebook Live and Periscope, as well as Instagram Stories, a very close copy of Snapchat.

Since Insatgram has been taking cues from all other social medias lately, it was about time they took a hint or two from Pinterest. Instagram’s save capability is opening up users to a whole new way of event planning on a platform they are already using. While you can’t store saved photos into different folders (yet), being able to store them somewhere other than in your photo gallery is a huge step in the right direction, a competitive move that Pinterest will need to keep an eye on. 

Not sure how you can benefit from the new Instagram save feature? We’ve rounded up a list of ideas to get you started. 

Loving a good love story

Single, dating, engaged or married, anyone can enjoy a good love story. Instagram is full of adorable photos of couples and stories of how they met and fell in love. Save the posts that make you smile and revisit them when you need a pick-me-up.

lesbian engagement train train tracks outdoors proposal story photography

Planning your wedding

Chances are your “Following” number shot up on Instagram after you got engaged. With so many wedding blogs, event planners and photographers to follow for ideas, it may seem like you could spend all day on Instagram. Save the ideas you really love and revisit them as you begin planning your big day. Another benefit to saving? Being able to show several photos to your partner  at once when you are together instead of blowing up their phone with notifications every time you see something you like. 

DIY-wedding-flowers-hydrangeas-intro

 

Getting ready for an engagement session

Whether you’re a couple about to take photos or a photographer looking for inspiration, there are countless ideas on Instagram. Save pose ideas from photographer, wedding and engaged couples’ accounts that you want to replicate later. 

dev-jason-paris-engagement-photo-session-41

Ring Shopping

If you’re shopping for rings for your partner (or Instagram shopping for the ring you hope to receive) save the your photos so your partner won’t find them.  If you’re looking to drop a hint, “accidentally” leave your saved folder up on your screen when your partner borrows your phone. 

decatur georgia gay wedding rings bands

Proposing

Don’t worry, no one can see what you’re saving. If you’re getting ready to propose, go ahead and save all those cute proposal ideas you’ve been scoping out on social media. Beware though, all the photos appear in one folder on your account so think twice about letting your significant other take your phone when you aren’t looking.

South African Countryside Surprise Gay Proposal

Stroudsmoor Country Inn’s Fall Wedding Sampling will take place on November 13, 2016. This reservation-only event is set within the beautiful Pocono Mountains where you will find Stroudsmoor nestled atop its own 350-acre mountain overlooking the Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge.

stroudsmoor-wedding-woods

This exclusive event allows each guest to experience firsthand the excellence with which Stroudsmoor executes each of its events. Preview the five wedding facilities located on the property to become well acquainted with the ambiance of a Stroudsmoor Wedding, and understand how the Inn is a quintessential element in the planning of an unforgettable celebration.

Stroudsmoor Country Inn’s Fall Wedding Sampling
Couples will taste some of the Inn’s most famous hors d’oeuvres and frequently chosen menu selections as well as 14 of Stroudsmoor’s mouthwatering cake flavors. While visiting they will have the opportunity to meet with some of Stroudsmoor’s elite and highly recommended vendors and view vignettes of wedding themes presented by their very own floral and décor team.

Stroudsmoor Country Inn’s Fall Wedding Sampling
Stroudsmoor’s event planners are well versed in the execution of wedding ceremonies from around the world working with officiates from priests and pundits to rabbis to reverends. Additionally, meeting specific dietary tastes is vital. Stroudsmoor’s team of chefs are trained and certified in the art of preparing international cuisine, including but not limited to classic American, Italian, Latino, Asian and Indian. Accommodating those guests with personal dietary needs such as vegan, vegetarian, Kosher-style, gluten-free and many other restrictions is a pleasure rather than a bother and graciously accommodated at no additional cost.

stroudsmoor wedding
Stroudsmoor is an equality-minded advocate for its couples, striving to ensure all needs are addressed while using their “one-stop shopping” approach allowing you to plan your celebration free of stress and worry, so you can enjoy the excitement of wedding planning and make everlasting memories on your wedding day.

stroudsmoor-wally-jo-2

Stroudsmoor Country Inn’s Fall Wedding Sampling

The Details:
When: November 13, 2016
Noon to 5 p.m.

Where: Stroudsmoor Country Inn
231 Stroudsmoor Road
Stroudsburg, PA 18360

What: See all five event venues prepared for a wedding, taste hors d’oeuvres and many entrée selections, as well as 14 flavors of cake. Meet preferred vendors, tour the facilities, learn about new wedding trends, visit our guest accommodations, stroll through the Bridal Registry for wedding day accoutrements, the Bridal Studio for all things beauty and take away a better understanding of the Stroudsmoor Experience.

Cost: Newly booked and recently toured couples will receive two complimentary tickets. Tickets are $40 each for all additional guests and couples new to the property.

How: Reservations are requested. Click here to sign up. 


 

This is a sponsored post from Stroudsmoor Country Inn. If your business is interested in supporting Equally Wed’s award-winning editorial mission of showcasing gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual, queer and allied couples’ weddings through advertising via sponsored posts, banner ads, other partnerships or you have any other ideas for us, please reach out to advertising@equallywed.com.

In today’s modern wedding world, gender-neutral gifts and party favors are becoming more common. We’ve put together a list of items to give back to everyone in your wedding party.

Being that our wedding culture is ever-evolving in so many ways, it’s no longer strange to have a man in your “bridal party” or a woman who hangs with the guys on the groom’s (or broom’s) side. Heck, even the terms “bride,” “groom” and “broom” are labels that don’t necessarily need to be adhered to! It’s common (and accepted, especially in the same-sex wedding community) to be relaxed with “gender specific” things and just do what you want. This is why we’ve come up with a set of gender-neutral wedding party favors—and “wedding party” doesn’t even have to mean “wedding party” in the traditional sense. “Wedding party” can simply mean “those you care about who will be involved in your wedding.” Simply put, if you want to give back to the friends and family who are involved in your wedding, you shouldn’t have to worry about specific things for the girls and specific things for the guys. Why not curate a collection of gender-neutral gifts that anyone will like?

We’ve scoured Etsy, the source of all that is handmade and vintage, to come up with a list of five gender-neutral gifts that would make any member of your wedding party happy!

etsy-air-plant

An air plant (yep, you heard right—an air plant)

Not everyone has a green thumb. Despite this, plants can really brighten up a space, and an air plant is perfect for anyone with a fear of houseplants! It’s easy to grow an air plant (and keep it alive), and it adds some lovely green to anyone’s home. Also, plants are a great gift because they’re thoughtful! Just think about how you feel when you receive a bouquet of flowers! This air plant on a beautiful quartz rock is the perfect little green accessory for anyone’s home … even a non-green thumb.

etsy-geo-terrarium

A glass terrarium for plants, rocks, you name it

While we’re talking about air plants, why not mention these adorable little geometric glass terrariums? Sure, they can be used to hold plants … but they could also be used to hold colorful stones or even simply used to decorate a windowsill or bookshelf.

etsy-magnets

Colorful magnets

Everyone has a fridge, unless they live on the road in an RV … and even then they have a small fridge. Usually. Well, these fun, geometric magnets would make the perfect party favor, and they’re totally geared towards boys or girls! Also, if anyone in your wedding party has kids, these magnets can also double as a fun fridge puzzle.

etsy-cord-holder

A leather cord and plug organizer

For the technophile in your wedding party, why not show them how much you care with a unique, handmade cord and plug organizer? We all know how annoying it can be to be carting around smartphones and tablets and to have to deal with mysteriously-knotted cords. Ugh. It’s no fun. This gender-neutral gift is useful and nice looking, and let’s be real: anyone who doesn’t get frustrated by those tricky knotted cords is lying! (Or needs to coach a relaxation class!)

etsy-recycled-glass

Custom recycled glassware

Being eco-friendly is always a bonus, and it shows that you really care when you hand-select a custom-made piece of recycled glassware, such as this aqua storage glass. It’s adorable, functional and meant for anyone.

We’d like to thank Offbeat Bride for being the inspiration behind this gift guide. You should head over to their website to get inspired!

 

Emily Gable is the associate editor at Equally Wed, the world’s leading gay and lesbian wedding magazine. For more marriage equality news, follow Equally Wed on Twitter and Facebook.

Photos (from top to bottom): Falcon and Finch, Jechory Glass Designs, snugstudio, Cord & SatchelRail19

 

5 essential wedding planning tasks to do right away

I recently hit send on my manuscript submission to my editor at Seal Press, the awesome publisher who’s publishing my forthcoming wedding book for LGBTQ couples, eponymously titled Equally Wed: The Ultimate Guide for Planning Your LGBTQ+ Wedding. The book hits shelves and online stores in May 2017, and I couldn’t be more excited to share all I’ve learned since launching Equally Wed six years ago, as well as share advice from some of the best experts in the business and the foreword from Lance Bass and his husband Michael Turchin. While the book is in production, here are 5 wedding planning tasks you should add to your checklist right now:

1 | HIRE EQUALITY-MINDED WEDDING PROS 

You want to be surrounded by fantastic people who believe in your right to love and marriage, yes? Don’t just employ vendors and venues who will willingly pocket your cash. Invest in the marriage-equality allies who support you and your marriage.

2 | READ THE ROOM

When you’re taking your tour of ceremony and reception venues (often one and the same for same-sex weddings), take your time getting a feel for it and consider the vibe it gives off. Does the existing decor and structure align with your personalities? Will it be hospitable to all of your guests? Can you party until the break of dawn if you want to? Are there two rooms for you both to get ready in before the ceremony instead of just one lone bridal suite? Make sure it’s a perfect match before signing the dotted line.

3 | BE KIND

I know this seems obvious, but perhaps not. Though you are the nearlywed getting married, your team—whether paid or not—can be their most helpful when you’re appreciative of their work, not overloading them with more than you have contracted them for and also remaining respectful of their contribution. From the person manning your guest book to the valet runners at your venue, everyone’s doing their best for you. Give them your best in return. 

4 | DON’T OVERLOOK YOURSELVES

In this Pinterest-obsessed age of social media, it’s easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing for their weddings. And while the millions of wedding ideas and trends floating around the web can be super helpful, don’t forget that the the real reason you’re gathering your friends and family together is so they can witness the incredible moment when you marry the love of your life. Your wedding should be a reflection of you and your beloved, not an exact replica of some stranger’s inspiration board. (Though if that person is your long-lost twin, I totally get it.)

5 | BE YOURSELF

Continuing with the thread of making your wedding your own, staying true to yourself for your wedding is essential to have the happy day you deserve. This means that if the idea of wearing a dress makes your skin feel itchy and your stomach knot up that you shouldn’t do it on your wedding day, not even if your grandmother, your uncle or your partner thinks you ought to. And if you want to wear a cape, a suit and carry a bouquet, than you have every right to do so—and I think you’ll pull it off famously.

Choosing your wedding ceremony music can be daunting: Do you go traditional or mix it up with modern? Classical wedding music isn’t reserved just for heteros. Gays and queers have history in the classical sense too! Here’s a lovely selection of a couple of traditional and not-so-traditional ceremony tunes for your postlude (the sweet music following the processional after you and your wedding party have exited the ceremony space). Share your favorites in the comments! YouTube video links welcome. 

 

“Water Music: Air” (Handel)

“Exsultate Jubilate: Alleluia” (Mozart)

“Waltz in A Flat” (Brahms)

“All You Need Is Love” (The Beatles)

Pnina Tornai, resident designer of Kleinfeld Bridal in New York City, is a wonderfully creative spirit, and her talents range from designing, acting and cooking. I met her at Kleinfeld on a sunny Wednesday afternoon. We spoke about her daily life. She even shared her inspiration for creating her new budget-friendly collection LOVE (prices range from $2500+) and more. Read our interview with her below the photo gallery.

See more of Tornai and the Kleinfeld crew on Say Yes To The Dress on TLC.

 

Q Hi Pnina! Thank you so much for joining us today. So I know you’re a mom, actress and designer. Could tell us a little bit about what a typical day is like for you..

A I love to wake up back home in Israel, and I have this amazing dog that I love. Her name is actually Mascarpone Patchouli Jasmine. She’s white, a Maltese, and I start the day by holding her close to my heart. I take my time to look around and appreciate life appreciate the fact that I wake up in the morning and see the sky and beauty of the world.

You know, I think that being a creator is a huge gift in life because it doesn’t happen to everyone and the fact that I am makes me cherish this gift. So I start like this. Then I try to work out, but I don’t always do. I hate working out. Hate it! But I always tell myself if I want to keep up with this crazy rhythm of flying around the world, working with brides and being on TV shows and interviews, I have to keep the pace of my heart fast enough because if you don’t you won’t have the strength to deal with all of that. So I try to work out.

I also love cooking. I’m a MasterChef in my country. I won second best in the celebrity version of MasterChef because I love cooking and I always prepare breakfast for my assistant. I don’t drive because my mind is everywhere and I’m always dreaming of the next thing, so I’m distracted [often] and I don’t want to hurt anyone by not driving reckless.

So my assistant comes in to pick me up and she has a special omelette I cook for her and we sit and plan the day. We talk about everything that we have to do and would love to do but I always keep a bit of time for my private life because, if you only do one thing, and you miss doing the other, you’re never going to be happy or completely satisfied so I try to combine everything. And of course I go to work, and with my work I’m hands on everything. I’m the one who designs the dresses, I give the instructions, I do the finishes on the dresses, and I’m really into every little detail and I love doing that. Because that’s the only way I can create and express what I feel. And that’s it!

When I have something to do on television, of course, we clear the day from all the rest. It takes too much energy. People think it’s easy standing in front of cameras. It’s so difficult, because what happens is you’re being yourself but you’re also being the best critic of yourself. Like you’re standing outside of yourself watching yourself and that drains the energy out of you. It’s so difficult.

Yes, I’m sure! Speaking of creative, I heard that you finished this collection in only 1 year.

Yes, it took me a year to come up with these dresses. 32 dresses, 32 different styles. There’s a dress for every bride out there from the classic fitted dress to the tulle ballroom gown.

Do you have experience working with lesbian brides or transgender brides?

Of course, my assistant, [who] is the closest person to me in the whole business is lesbian. I’m surrounded by my assistant and my director of marketing and social media, [who] is gay. It’s my life, it’s my world.

It’s our world too at Equally Wed!

Of course! I think it’s amazing and a huge gift for people to live in this time of the world because when you think of the times when people could not be who they are… I saw The Danish Girl, and it killed me for a whole week. I was going around with this pain in my chest because… what a waste! It’s your life. And just as how we’re not equal with how we look, how we don’t have the same color of eyes or skin, we [also] don’t have the same [sexual orientations]. If a person can’t be who they are, there’s no worse torture. I’m so happy I get to see brides [of] the same-sex committing to each other and wearing a wedding gown. This is the best time for all of us.

If a person can’t be who they are, there’s no worse torture.

And two gowns are better than one!

Exactly. Two brides are better than one!

Do you have any advice for brides who are both wearing dresses? Style advice, I mean?

Well I did have two brides with ballgowns because they both wanted to be princesses. So why not? And then I had a lot of couples [where] the bride wanted to be the princess and the other asked me if I could do a suit a white suit. So that’s a different look, and it’s beautiful and I do do that. It’s an exception because I don’t have suits in my collection, but when two brides from the same sex want to be dressed by me, then I will absolutely do that. I will create a suit, but I’ll create anything as long as it’s for the sake of love.

And that’s your whole inspiration for this collection right? Love?

Absolutely. And if this world could really run on love, we’d be such an amazing place to live in. and as much as i can contribute to that, I will.

Wonderful. So you’ve been at Kleinfeld for 10 years now. How is it different from when you first started?

Oh, completely different. I think I changed the landscape of the bridal world. When I first came [to Kleinfeld], they had nothing like my dresses and they didn’t even want my dresses. They sent me out! They said “No no no no thank you, but we don’t want this. We’re never going to sell these dresses.” I said “you are. You have nothing like this.” They were more daring, more see-through. See-through corsets—no one ever did that before. And I came and said “I’m sorry, you’re wrong. You don’t have that. And your brides are too much of the same look. Too conservative. Why shouldn’t we try?”

And I said you don’t even need to buy them from me. Just put them on the floor and see. A month later, they called me and said these dresses are selling like crazy! They were scared I couldn’t manufacture them in time. I said, “Don’t worry, I’ll conquer the world.” I knew that. You know, the first time they refused, I went back home all the way to Israel, 11 hours away, and I cried on the plane. I was just weeping and said this could not be. So I tried again and sent them the dresses and said, “Don’t buy them from me just expose them on the floor.” I knew I was going to conquer the world with my dresses. I never studied fashion so I knew it was a gift from God. I knew that through being a bridal dress creator, I would be able to change somehow, the face of the world.

I do believe that when a bride wears my dress, she knows that it’s all about love. She feels it. It’s about giving a piece of my heart to each and every bride out there. This is who I am. I’ve always been this different person. I was never a child like other children. I loved being different. I was dreaming all the time and I believed in fairy tales. I loved dressing different everybody looked at me like I was different, but this is the beauty. We’re unique. Each and every one of us. But not only artists. Everyone is not the same and trying to put everyone into one box and one frame is impossible. It’s the way society does to control, but I think it’s completely wrong. So I hope when a bride wears my dress, no matter what is her sexual preference, I just hope she feels like she’s loved.

Do you have any advice for the LGBTQ community?

Just be yourself. Have a feast every day. My new couture collection for 2017 is inspired by that. I’m inspired by everything I see. I walk out the streets and this last year I’ve been seeing ads where they try to play with your mind. It’s like a man and woman, but they both look like a woman. So I can’t recall exactly which ad it was that I saw, but it was amazing. I said that’s the year!

Last year was the transgender year. It’s funny because it’s incredible. I knew it long before it and I called a line Butterfly and I spoke about the change the butterfly goes through. The transformation from being a worm into a beautiful butterfly and that happened to be the transgender year with Caitlin Jenner, and I said oh, my god. I felt it.

Look at, for example, the Stuart Weitzman shoes ad of three women who are naked, but all wearing the same shoes. The message is so powerful. So that’s the year. And I have no doubt. So this year, I’m going to call my couture collection The Feast. It’s about when you decide to have a feast. It’s about what feast you have, and you don’t have to ask permission to have a life filled with happiness and feasts. So that’s what it is.

The photoshoot is amazing. There’s a huge table and amazing chairs and I’m taking this with chandeliers to different landscapes, like to the beach, the rocks and amazing landscapes. The message is you decide to take your feasts wherever you go. It’s not going to be told when you have a feast because you decide. Just like you decide when you want to love, who you want to love… it’s our life. We live only once. So that’s what it is.

Wow! I can’t wait to see The Feast dresses! Thank you so much for taking the time to speak to us and giving us a sneak peak of your new collection!

It’s so much fun. Thank you!

 

Cool your guests off at your summer wedding with one of these ice-cold beers.

 

beers summer wedding

Slide into summer and step off the grid by Goin’ Coastal with SweetWater Brewing Company’s pineapple-laced IPA. The bright aromas of the five citrus hop additions are accentuated by the tropical fruit of the pineapple.

Whether your summer wedding is in a backyard with barbecue and string lights, a beach wedding or at a waterside deck on the 30th floor of a stately hotel, this summer beer will make a splash with your wedding guests and your budget.

 

 

 

beers summer wedding

 

Seriously, the hot pink and aqua blue can alone is a statement piece on your wedding bar.

M.I.A.’s Miami Weiss is a traditional German-Style Hefeweizen is brewed with wheat, barley and sweet orange peel. This unfiltered hefe produces vanilla, banana and bubblegum esters.

 

 

 

 

beers summer wedding

 

Creature Comforts Automatic Pale Ale will make a seasonal return to the Athens, Georgia, brewery’s lineup in mid-June. This year, the brewery will be canning the beer for the first time. (And how fabulous is that design, people?)

Creature Comforts Automatic Pale Ale is a hop-forward pale ale, brewed with Mosaic and Crystal hops.  With its minty, pineapple aroma and clean, melon flavor, this beer is perfectly sessionable. 

 

 

 

beers summer wedding

Coffee or beer? No need to decide. Serve up this combo in a bottle, and your guests might never look at you the same way again.

Green Flash Lustrous Frumento with Coffee is a bourbon barrel-aged “black ale,” featuring coffee from San Diego-based Mostra. The Sumatran and and Brazilian beans complement the oak barrel-aging. 

Beware, it’s hard to find as it’s a limited release! But that’s what makes it all the more special for your summer wedding.

 

 

 

beers summer weddingDrumroll please…

In June 2016, Odell Brewing Co. will release a new beer to its year-round offerings, Drumroll American Pale Ale.

You can expect a tropical and bold, juicy and hop-forward APA that looks and tastes like pineapple, orange, mango and grapefruit.

We see this rolling up at backyard weddings everywhere.

 

 

 

 

AdvertisementA special gift from Bloomingdale’s Wedding Registry: yes, please!

Special Gift from Bloomingdale’s Wedding Registry

Today we’re sharing how obsessed we are with Bloomingdale’s Wedding Registry. If you haven’t started your wedding registry, you may have heard nightmare stories from how challenging and time-consuming it is. Cast away your fears, couples! We’ve found an easier way with Bloomingdale’s Wedding Registry. We’re sure you’re going to have an unforgettable chauffeured experience.

The luxury department store is the premier destination for fabulous finds, including home goods, luggage and all things married couples want for building their new life together. Plus you can get everything else you need for the big day, such as jewelry, travel accessories (hello, honeymoon attire!), and more.

Special Gift from Bloomingdale’s Wedding Registry

The way Bloomingdale’s Wedding Registry truly goes above and beyond is its commitment to excellent customer service. The store offers personal consultants whose goal is solely to ensure you and your guests are always taken care of, whether it’s locating just the right hue of blue for your linens or quantifying the amount of silverware you’ll need for the first holiday you host.

But what we’re really digging are the oh-so-amazing perks that Bloomingdale’s offers! You get special discounts—such as 25 percent off dresses and suits, as well as big savings on intimate apparel and fine jewelry. You will also receive exclusive invites to their in-store events, and serious discounts for completing your registry (a $100 splurge card!). Bloomingdale’s also is partnered with a global LGBTQ-friendly travel company, The Travel Siblings, and you’re automatically on their good side when you’re a Bloomingdale’s wedding registry customer to get the elite travel perks!

This month, the luxe store is offering a special gift from Bloomingdale’s Wedding Registry if you open your registry by May 31. Receive a wine decanter by Schott Zwiesel, the famed German glass manufacturer, when you register for more than $6,500 worth of items by June 7.

Special Gift from Bloomingdale’s Wedding Registry

When you add up all the products you need for decorating and stocking your bedrooms, dining room, bathrooms, outdoor living spaces, and especially the kitchen, you’ll quickly get to $6,500.

REGISTRY TIP: Register for at least three times as many items as wedding guests. This ensures that there’s plenty for them to choose from as well as allows your guests to purchase gifts for your showers and other parties, in addition to your wedding gifts.

So what do you need to do to create your Bloomingdale’s registry? Click here to get started and let them take care of the rest!


This is a sponsored post from Bloomingdale’s Wedding Registry. If your business is interested in supporting Equally Wed’s award-winning editorial mission of showcasing gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual, queer and allied couples’ weddings through advertising via sponsored posts, banner ads, other partnerships or you have any other ideas for us, please reach out to advertising@equallywed.com.

MEANINGFUL WEDDING GIFTS FOR YOUR PARTNER

wedding gifts

Tying the knot is one of the biggest milestones that you and your partner will experience, and one that you will no doubt cherish. In addition to the rings, giving your partner a more personal wedding gift is a great way to mark the occasion and show how much they mean to you. Depending on budget and taste, there are various routes to consider when choosing an unforgettable wedding day gift.

A Keepsake

A timeless gift that your partner can keep makes for the perfect memento of your special day. When choosing jewelry, opt for a piece that reflects their style, be it a unique brooch, a classic pair of cufflinks or a luxury watch such as those found here. If they aren’t into jewelry, choose something alternative like an engraved paperweight or gemstone. It doesn’t have to be expensive, just something they can treasure for years to come.

An Experience

A meaningful gift doesn’t necessarily have to be a material object. Moments and experiences are just as memorable, and make for highly personal wedding day presents. Book something that you and your partner can do together, like a photoshoot or tickets to see their favorite band. Pick an activity that fits their personality and interests, and hand it to them in a note on the day of the wedding. It may only last a day or an evening, but will create one of your very first memories as a married couple.

A Creation

Getting creative is one of the most personal ways to give a gift. Make a scrapbook or photo collage, compile an old-fashioned CD or write a poem; these make for thoughtful mementos that will last forever and, being things that money can’t buy, are that little bit more special.

WEDDING WEBSITES REVISITED: PERFECTING YOUR WED-SITE

same-sex wedding websites

 

Back in 2012 we put together 5 tips for creating your wedding website, which is a great start for couples looking to create an online space for their special day. However, the time is now ripe to revisit the theme with a few more details and help you make the most of your wed-site and give it a personal touch.

A Unique Site

As ever, your first port of call is the building blocks of the website itself. There is now an even wider range of dedicated sites and tools specifically geared towards wed-site creation, and you can’t go too far wrong with the templates they provide. If you want to really display the unique character of your relationship however, and either you or your partner is at least a little tech savvy, starting from scratch is a great option. Domain names are easy to obtain these days, and by starting from a blank slate you can really make your site stand out from the countless other wed-sites that are based on templates. Some providers, such as www.1and1.com, even allow you to choose a custom top-level domain, like .wedding or .wed, as opposed to the standard .com, to add an extra touch of individuality.

Online Guestbook

When you announce your marriage, your nearest and dearest are sure to want to congratulate you. Your wed-site is the perfect platform to consolidate all of these messages into one space, where you can easily keep track of all your well-wishing messages. It’s a great opportunity for your guests to share comments, memories and photos of the wedding itself. You could even go the extra mile and create a wedding hashtag so your guests can also post directly to social media.

Frequently Asked Questions

Having a FAQs page will save you a lot of time repeatedly explaining the more individual aspects of your wedding. The idea behind the information pages is to provide the core organizational details clearly and succinctly to make it as easy for your guests as possible, but there will always be additional questions about more specific details. Therefore it’s really worthwhile to think carefully about the sort of further questions that might arise and adding the answers to your FAQ page.

Image: mock up of Ellen and Portia’s wedding website; Ellen and Portia photo courtesy of Portia’s Twitter account

Wedding rings are the most visible symbol of engagement and marriage. They signify both the early excitement of planning the wedding to the satisfying calmer commitment to happily ever after. Circles have no end, echoing what we hope in marriage, and thus wedding rings are a gorgeous tribute to this belief system.

For same-sex couples, buying rings presents a specialized set of steps. To understand these better, try asking yourself these questions:

  • What type of wedding ring is right for you?
  • Do you want diamonds in your ring?
  • Do you want to design custom rings?
  • Who will be receiving an engagement ring? Both of you or just one?
  • Will you be buying the rings together or one at a time?
  • Do you want to shop together or separately for your engagement rings?
  • What type of wedding ring is right for you?
  • Do you want your wedding rings to match?

 

We teamed up with the jewelry experts at Ritani to take a look at the premium options available for today’s modern couples. Ritani is a high-end jewelry brand modernizing the way people purchase diamond engagement rings and jewelry.

 

PRESENTING THE ENGAGEMENT RING(S)

Your preference for one or two engagement rings and how you’ll present them to each other is highly specialized. Look through our previous LGBTQ couples’ engagement and proposal stories for ideas on how they popped the question.

 

ENGAGEMENT RING DESIGN

There are as many engagement ring designs as there are love sonnets, and Ritani is always working on creating more.

Some diamond shapes and settings to consider:

same-sex wedding rings
eternity rings

same-sex wedding rings
round cut diamonds

same-sex wedding rings
princess cut diamonds


ritani-cushion-center-stone-diamond-halo-ring
cushion-shaped diamonds

same-sex wedding rings

halo

same-sex wedding rings

stacking rings 
 
same-sex wedding rings bezel
bezel

WHERE TO BUY?

Ritani makes buying wedding and engagement rings a seamless process. Ritani allows users to customize their own engagement rings and buy online or preview in store at retail partners across the nation. Plus, you can feel good about your diamonds. All diamonds that Ritani sells are certified and ethically sourced.

SHOULD SAME-SEX COUPLES WEAR MATCHING RINGS?

That’s up to you! No two people are alike, so you and your partner likely have different tastes. There is no reason that wedding or engagement rings have to match. Many couples instead choose two rings that have a common element that tie the pair together, but which suit their individual tastes.

Some ideas include:

  • The same engagement ring setting (for example, a halo engagement ring setting), but different variations of style or center stone shape
  • The same wedding band in two metals like rose gold and yellow gold
  • The same center stone, like a gemstone, but different engagement ring styles
  • For men’s rings, consider styles that share a finish, but with different styling elements such as differing thickness of bands or an inlay diamond pattern on one

same-sex wedding rings for men

On the other hand, matching is a great way to represent your union if you and your partner have similar tastes. Plus, it symbolizes a cohesive partnership. Imagine looking down at your ring, no matter where you are in the world, and knowing your partner is wearing the same ring to honor their commitment to you. A gorgeous testament.

There are endless possibilities here from simple and classic men or women’s matching metal bands, to diamond bands, to matching engagement rings.

 

ETERNITY BANDS

Your love is eternal, so why not show it off with eternity rings? That’s what Jillian Michaels chose for herself and her partner, Heidi Rhoades. Michaels recently proposed to her longtime partner on the season finale of her show. In doing so, she actually presented two rings–one for herself which was a large platinum eternity band made of 17 half-cut emerald diamonds and one for Rhoades, a smaller 18-karat white gold eternity band to match a diamond ring she had previously given her.

 

 

 

DESIGNING EACH OTHER’S ENGAGEMENT RINGS

Now this is a seriously cool idea that incorporates creativity and adds an element of surprise, even for the most strategic of planners who need to control everything. Ritani allows users to design their own engagement rings and then preview them in store for free without risk or obligation. Couples can both partake in designing each of the partner’s engagement rings, or can opt to specially design rings for each other as a surprise.

same-sex wedding rings

men’s wedding bands

LEARN MORE!

Founded in 1999, Ritani marries the online shopping experience and a selection of custom-made diamond engagement rings, loose diamonds, and other fine jewelry with a network of trusted local jewelers in one seamless transaction.


ritani logo

This is a sponsored post from Ritani. If your business is interested in supporting Equally Wed’s award-winning editorial mission of showcasing gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual, queer and allied couples’ weddings through advertising via sponsored posts, banner ads, other partnerships or you have any other ideas for us, please reach out to advertising@equallywed.com.

Bachelorette party planning? Here are 8 ideas we bet you haven’t considered.

bachelorette party ideas on the beach

Boat with your Besties

Rent a boat for the day with “pier-to-pier” boat sharing marketplace, Boatbound (you can even get one with a captain, so you can booze and cruise without any worries).

Play Dress Up

Plan a group appointment at a Rent The Runway store and try on all their fabulous outfits together… then, step out on the town feeling like true VIPs.

bachelorette party idea camping

Go Glamping

Ditch the tents and score a luxury cabin with a view. We love these cabins in the Great Smoky Mountains that come with flat screens, hot tubs, and back decks overlooking the mountains for a Insta-worthy girls happy hour photo opp. Plus, it’s only about 45 minutes to Dollywood….the gay-friendly “Queen of Country” would approve.

bachelorette party ideas concert

Get Your Festival On!

What could be better than great friends and great music with celeb spotting opps. everywhere? Festivals like Coachella or Outside Lands are bucket list items.

bachelorette party ideas mudder

Tough it Out

Nothing tests a friendship like doing a Tough Mudder together! Pick a badass location like Lake Tahoe and let the games begin (plus you can stay in beautiful homes together and relax the rest of the weekend, after all… you’ve earned it)!

bachelorette party ideas hot springs

Experience Natural Hot Springs

Girls spa days are overplayed… why not try out nature’s version of a hot tub and relax in a gorgeous setting like the Oja Caliente Hot Springs in Taos, New Mexico?

bachelorette party ideas beach bicycles

Rent Bicycles at the Beach

Who doesn’t like rolling around on a cruiser with your homegirls? It’s a the best way to get around at the beach…Try exploring America’s “Happiest Seaside Town” Tybee Island on these Fat Tire Bikes complete with a cup holder for a nice, cold roadie.  

bachelorette party idea stand up paddle boarding

Tour a coastline on SUPs

Stand-up paddleboarding is a great way to get sun and exercise, plus it’s super affordable way to have fun and explore the coastline… if that’s not your bag, boats.com has a list of some awesome out-of-the-box water activities you’re sure to love.

We’ve discovered a fab wedding makeup clutch!wedding makeup

Wedding makeup just got so much more manageable! Dollup Beauty’s innovative new makeup clutch is the perfect portable vanity for every bride’s wedding day! Designed to work just like a professional artist’s magnetic palette, Dollup allows brides to customize and store makeup, hairpins, brushes, liners and lipsticks in one stylish clutch. Dollup allows them to “doll up” on the go as if their professional artist had never left. Available in 5 stylish colors, Dollup also makes a great bridesmaid gift. $52 at dollupbeauty.com

wedding makeup

The idea for the Dollup case comes from makeup artist extraordinaire and aesthetician Nikki Hynek.  As a self-described beauty junky, Nikki was sifting through her gads of makeup one morning as she was getting ready for work and couldn’t find what she was looking for.  As always, she did her makeup ‘on the run’ and had to sprint out of the house with a handbag full of makeup, but spending most of her time searching instead of applying! By the end of her commute, she had a full understanding of what the perfect cosmetic case would look like and it was then, right then, that the Dollup Case was born. We love it, Nikki!

 

 

Expert advice on planning an outdoor wedding

lesbian outdoor wedding florida

Planning an outdoor wedding? You’re in for a treat. While it can be one of the most beautiful and simple ways to get married, it can also turn into a disaster. Here’s how to make sure nothing goes wrong.

 

Have a Backup Plan

 

The first thing you should do with an outdoor wedding is have a backup plan. What if things don’t go as planned? For example, if it rains, then what? You don’t want to be stuck out in it during the ceremony.

 

And, where will your guests eat? Can you fit everyone under a tent?

 

These are things to think about when you’re first making wedding plans. Be prepared to rent a tent if your venue does not have indoor accommodations for guests. Also, think about what you want to do for a dance floor if you can’t have it inside and it’s raining during the reception.

 

A tent that can “house” all the guests, plus the vendors, and you will be a big tent.

 

If possible, try to pick a venue with an indoor option, which will save you money if the weather does turn south. And, if it doesn’t, you have extra space.

 

Keep It Simple

 

Simple is in. Yeah, a lot of wedding vendors will bend over backwards to convince you that you need their services. And, for some things, that might be true. But, for others, you can handle them yourself if you’re on a budget or just really hands on.

 

The most important vendors for most people will be the caterers, photographer, and the venue. Everything else is negotiable. If you’re a huge music fan, you might also consider the D.J a necessity. But, then again, if you’re serious about music, you’ll want a live band.

 

Decorations can be simple too. Use picked flowers, for example. They’re cheaper than having them arranged. Shop http://www.weddingsparklersdirect.com/ for wedding sparklers, and save on the bubbles.

 

You don’t technically need a dance floor if you have an indoor/outdoor venue, or if you have a flat space to dance. And, if someone in your family wants to monitor the music, set up an iPad or iPod or music player and just let it play.

 

Just keep in mind that the more you DIY for your wedding, the more work (i.e. “elbow grease”) you’ll have to put in. If you’re willing to do without some of the tradition, you can save money and cut back on the work needed to pull off your wedding.

 

For table centerpieces, you could use the local environment as inspiration. Is there something special about the area where you’re getting married? For example, if your venue is home to unique stones or rocks, you could incorporate those into the centerpiece. If the area is populated with wildflowers, you could bundle some up for each table and use those.

 

Having a wedding on the beach? This is easy. Fill a centerpiece with sand and put a candle in the center.

 

Is it in your backyard? This opens up a whole host of opportunities. You can use anything on the property, from knick knacks to personal memorabilia.

 

Get creative and think outside the box. You don’t have to spend a lot of money or bring in more vendors for the outdoor wedding. In fact, because it’s outdoors, you can use the natural scenery to eliminate the need for a lot of “fluff” and decoration.

 

Have The Site Sprayed

 

Outdoor weddings can attract a lot of bugs, especially in the spring. So, you might want to have the area sprayed the night before. If you’re uncomfortable doing this yourself, and you don’t want to risk burning the grass or somehow ruining the area where the ceremony will be held, have a professional come in and do it.

 

Use Lights

 

One last thing: don’t forget outdoor lighting. It’s easy to forget this one because a lot of people think of indoor venues or venues with outdoor lighting “built” into the landscape. For example, if you have your outdoor wedding in a national park where the state provides lighting, you won’t need to string up any lights yourself.

 

But, if you’re having it in the middle of the woods, or if you’re in an area with no artificial lighting piped in, you’re going to want to make sure that there are in fact electrical outlets or hookups and that you bring lights for your guests.

 

Consider paper lanterns for the tables, and globe lights for dancing. If you need more direct lighting, you could bring in torch lighting or focused spotlights.


 

Mathilda Jameson dreamt up wedding after wedding as a little girl, and was thrilled when she discovered that wedding planner was an actual job description. She never looked back! Today her wedding articles appear on a range of women’s lifestyle and bridal sites.

Photo: Alternative Life Photography and Design

Expert advice for planning a barn wedding

barn wedding

A barn wedding can be one of the most charming, made-for-photo-op ideas. With the warm glow of hundreds of candles in mason jars playing upon old, aged wood, the natural smells and sounds, and pretty lights and lace everywhere, it can be hard to not fall in love with the idea of a pastoral wedding.

barn wedding

First, you need a reality check

 

Without a doubt, barn weddings, farm weddings and other agricultural themes can be touchingly beautiful. Nevertheless, it’s important when you reach for such beauty, to be prepared for the challenges involved. Out on a farm, there is usually very little by way of modern, everyday essentials. Even if what you have in mind is the most basic wedding, you will still need to spend several thousand extra to arrange for amenities that you would take for granted elsewhere. That said, if you’re willing to take up the challenges involved, a farm wedding can be heartwarming. The possibilities are endless.

 

See if you can find a wedding-ready farm

 

Choosing to go with a barn wedding doesn’t mean that you need to walk up to any old farm, and ask to rent their barns. They wouldn’t know what to do with you, and you would have a terrible project on your hands getting the place ready. Instead, you should look for farms that specialize in barn weddings. They are likely to have barns set aside just for such gatherings, and have all kinds of amenities ready. They should also have information on where you might go to find some of the essentials that you need — such as seating, lighting and sanitation.

 

And then, there’s the sound

 

The farm that you pick may be far from civilization, which may make it look like you can make your own rules. Unfortunately, sound does carry very far out on flat, unbuilt land. If you’d like booming dance music well into the middle of the night, you might break a few sound ordinances in the area, and you might get a visit from the police if people in a neighboring farm complain. You need to ask about sound rules in the area, and if they are inconvenient, consider taking the after-party to a nearby town.

 

Make accessibility arrangements

 

Fields and barns are undoubtedly beautiful. That still doesn’t mean that your wedding doesn’t have regular needs. Not only do you need parking, you need the place to be wheelchair-accessible, or at least walker-accessible. If there is a mild drizzle, does the place turn into a sea of mud? How about outdoor visibility at night? Do they have power lines capable of supporting the kind of high-wattage lighting that you will need? How about guests wearing high heels? Will their heels go straight into the ground? You need to look for a location that helps with each one of these concerns.

 

Put everything you can into those bathrooms

 

You may need to rent portable bathrooms. It isn’t enough to simply park a few plastic toilet cubicles out there. You’ll need to think about high-quality wedding decorations all around the toilets, too. It wouldn’t do to disappoint your guests there.

 

Don’t forget about those allergies

 

Hay, pollen, animals, insects — barn weddings have all the makings of a great allergy fest if you aren’t careful. In general, it isn’t a good idea to plan such a wedding around spring when there is likely to be a lot of pollen in the air. There are simply too many people who have allergies today. When you send out those invitations, you want to put in a helpful reminder that tells everyone to come prepared with the right medications. It can also help to buy over-the-counter anti-allergy drugs, and keep ready things like blankets to cover hay bale seats up with.

 

Give everyone what they need

 

If it’s a real working farm (as it should be), you want to arrange for great tours, make it possible for the children to pet all the animals that they want, learn how to milk cows and so on. It wouldn’t do to deny the kids such a great learning experience.


 

Homestead Farm Resort has been in the Konopka family for decades. The current owner, Andrew, is proud to offer his renovated barn for weddings and other events. It’s one of those places that can be dressed up or dressed down. Andrew says that couples rave about the viral wedding photos from The Barn at Homestead Farm Resort. Andrew currently lives in Queens with his wife and children. He goes upstate often to see if his guests and staff are contented.

Photos: Anne Skidmore Photography / April and Claire’s barn wedding

 

Wedding ring insurance provides critical peace of mind

insure jewelry lesbian engagement rings

Lisa and Amy’s engagement rings (read their proposal story) / Photo: Meg and Kate Weddings

Protecting your wedding rings is important business. I love the sparkle in mine, but it’s about more than that. If my diamond engagement and wedding rings were lost or damaged in some way, it would be devastating. My commitment to my wife and her commitment to me, and our love for each other, are all wrapped up in those rings.

insure wedding rings
Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company offers a breath of fresh air by alleviating the anxiety of losing wedding jewelry with its unparalleled comprehensive coverage policies. Which makes sense because Jewelers Mutual® was started by jewelers for jewelers more than 100 years ago in 1913. So they understand what your jewelry means to you. Because Jewelers Mutual is an insurance company that exclusively insures jewelry, they’ve built their policy around the way you live your life—for the person always on the go, to the homebody snuggling at home with their beloved.

No matter what, you can rest assured that your rings are protected because Jewelers Mutual offers worldwide travel coverage, the flexibility to work with your own jeweler, optional $0 deductible, coverage for loss, theft, damage and mysterious disappearance 
(hello, thieving crabs on the beach).

insure wedding rings

When people ask me when they should get their wedding jewelry insured, I always answer, “Yesterday!” And when asked where should they get their wedding rings insured, I don’t hesitate to recommend Jewelers Mutual. The policies, coverage and years in service speak for themselves. And the peace of mind is worth all its weight in gold. Or platinum. You get the picture.

Underwritten by Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company, Neenah, WI. Coverage and pricing are subject to underwriting review and approval, and to policy terms and conditions.


 

This is a sponsored post paid for by Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company, who supports our editorial mission. 

If your business is interested in supporting Equally Wed’s award-winning editorial mission of showcasing gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual, queer and allied couples’ weddings through advertising via sponsored posts, banner ads, other partnerships or you have any other ideas for us, please reach out to advertising@equallywed.com.

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