19 LGBTQ+ inclusive Texas wedding vendors save the day for two grooms rejected by bigoted venue
When Aaron Lucero and Jeffrey Cannon began planning their wedding in early 2019, they knew they wanted to get married later this year in November. They envisioned a country wedding with a Texas vibe. But when they scheduled a tour at the Venue at Waterstone in Celina, a wedding venue in Celina, Texas, they were turned away. The venue refuses to host same-sex weddings, citing the owner’s religious beliefs.
Lucero and Cannon, who got engaged in 2018, were shocked. “It was like a punch in the gut,” Jeff Cannon tells Equally Wed, especially since the couple researched every venue before booking tours. “We are aware that not everyone agrees with gay marriage and we didn’t want to patronize a place where we were not welcome.” While there were no photos of same-sex couples on the venue’s website, there was also no indication that the owners didn’t allow same-sex weddings.
After the rejection, the pair contacted all the other venues they had set up tours with to make sure they were inclusive. One venue responded that they would host Lucero and Cannon’s wedding but that there were probably other venues “more equipped” to host the event. “It made us feel that even if we found a venue that would host our wedding, they would prefer not to,” Cannon says.
Lucero and Cannon were almost discouraged from having a Texas country wedding, even though they’d been dreaming about it since they got engaged. Lucero was born in Mexico but raised in Dallas, and Cannon has lived in Texas for a decade. “Prior to this experience, we had not felt discriminated against here in Texas, which is why we were so shocked that this happened,” he explains.
After news of the discrimination spread, the wedding industry reacted. The Knot dropped The Venue at Waterstone from its directory of wedding vendors.
When Lynn Jackson, owner of the wedding planning business Fit & Fab Weddings in Frisco, Texas, heard about what happened while attending the Dallas Bridal Show in January, she decided to take action. A few weeks earlier, she’d coordinated a wedding at the Venue at Waterstone for a couple, not knowing the venue’s anti-LGBTQ+ policy.
“I wanted to help make things right,” explains Jackson. She’s deeply committed to inclusive weddings and ending discrimination in the wedding industry. “I started my wedding planning business motivated by this and wanting to be able to assist anyone in love with celebrating marriage.” She reached out to Lucero and Cannon through Facebook Messenger and offered to donate her wedding coordination services to the couple free of charge, helping them find the right venue and vendors for their wedding.
RELATED: THE KNOT CUTS TIES WITH ANTI-LGBTQ VIDEOGRAPHER AFTER HE REFUSED TO FILM AN LGBTQ+ WEDDING
Around the same time, Whispering Oaks, a local wedding venue, reached out to Lucero and Cannon to offer to host their wedding for free. The photographer Jackson had worked with at the Venue at Waterstone also offered his photography services for free. “Things just sort of took off from there,” says Jackson. More vendors continued to call her or the couple with offers to donate their services. Jackson also reached out to vendors in her network and asked them if they’d be interested in taking part.
Nineteen wedding vendors have now signed on to donate their services and help throw a dream wedding for Lucero and Cannon on November 17, 2019. Generation Tux is donating tuxedos for both Lucero and Cannon and for their wedding party. “We, at Generation Tux, have the privilege to wake up each morning, come to the office and work in the business of love. That means something to us,” says Nathan Bellah, director of marketing, about why the company wanted to get involved. “We believe it. And we try and live it to the best of our abilities each day.”
Jackson is overjoyed by the response from wedding vendors who are willing to donate their services for Lucero and Cannon’s wedding. “I have been so pleasantly surprised by the outpouring of love and support by local vendors who are bothered by discrimination, who support the LGBTQ+ community, and who want to assist in creating a fabulous wedding celebration for this couple because that is what everyone deserves.”
Lucero and Cannon’s wedding will be rustic with Mexican and Texan influences, including a fall color scheme, Texas BBQ, country dancing and mariachis. Cannon and Lucero are extremely grateful for the community that has rallied around both of them, especially to their friends and family for helping spread the news that discrimination is not okay.
“We are now planning a wedding that we never dreamed possible and it is due to the fact that so many of our fellow Texans have chosen to reject discrimination and take a stand,” he says. “This is the Texas that we know and love, and why we wanted to get married here.”
PARTICIPATING VENDORS AND SERVICE PROVIDERS DONATING TO LUCERO AND CANNON’S WEDDING
Venue: Whispering Oaks (donating venue for ceremony and reception)
Baker: Posh Cakes by Shane (donating wedding cake)
Bartender: Tilt Cocktail Events (donating bartending services)
Catering: Five Star Event Services (donating catering of appetizers, dinner, non-alcoholic drinks, china, glassware and flatware)
DJ: Toast Entertainment (donating DJ and emcee services)
Favors: Yelibelly (donating favors for guests)
Floral Designer: Joche W. Events (donating creative design, florals and decor)
Hair and Makeup: The Dallas Makeup Team (donating hair and makeup for the couple and their wedding party)
Limo: Prime Limo (donating limo service for the couple at sendoff)
Linens: AM Linen Rentals (donating linens and napkins)
Musicians: Serenata Strings (donating musicians for ceremony)
Rentals: One Fine Day LLC (donating decor rentals, design installations and partnering with Fit & Fab Weddings on planning services)
Photo Booth: The Snap Pack (donating a photo booth)
Photographer: Michael Bush (donating full wedding day photography)
Planner: Fit & Fab Weddings (donating full-service wedding planning)
Printer: The UPS Store (donating printing of all stationery)
Servers: Premium Event Staffing (donating serving staff services)
Stationery: Quixotic Chimera (donating design of all stationery)
Tuxedos: Generation Tux (donating tuxedos for the couple and wedding party)
Videographer: Rar Farmer (donating full wedding day photography and personal story documentary)
Alaina Leary Lavoie
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