Matt and Doug met when they lived across the street from each other in Chicago, and crossed paths on a street courner.
“It was a beautiful August morning – we were both coming from an indoor cycling class (Flywheel),” remembers Matt. “Doug initiated the conversation. We were both hot and sweaty messes after a vigorous workout. Doug was the aggressor of the conversation and boldly asked me on a date. We agreed to meet later that very same day! Our first date was at Erie Cafe – just a few feet from where we both lived. We sat outside, ordered a couple glasses of wine and enjoyed each other’s company.”
Doug would say that Matt was awkward on the first date. Matt would disagree and thought Doug was boastful. When it came time to pay the bill, Doug (the consummate gentleman) insisted on buying. Matt objected and requested they split the check. Doug presumptuously said “you can buy next time.” Matt wasn’t so sure there would be a next time! Clearly Doug felt an immediate connection that was lost on Matt.
As the relationship progressed, Matt wanted to the the one to propose, but a deal between the couple decided otherwise. Doug would propose and the couple would take Matt’s last name when they married. Both partners held up their end of the deal.
Doug orchestrated a surprise proposal that was thoughtful, personal, and very special. Matt was completely shocked when Doug proposed at the Franklin Room in the exact spot where they had their second date. Immediately after the proposal, we went to the airport and departed for Paris! It was a winning situation for all involved – Doug got to orchestrate his surprise proposal and Matt didn’t have to change (or hyphenate) his name. The proposal was celebrated with lots of champagne and rain in the City of Lights.
“We knew we wanted to have a destination wedding,” the couple admitted. “Our decision was admittedly selfish as 80% of our friends and family all live in Chicago – it’s the city we love to love. We just didn’t want to get married in Chicago. The only logical destination for our wedding was Palm Springs where we went on our first vacation together. It helped that Matt’s family has been escaping Chicago winters in Palm Springs for 30 years. We are very familiar with the desert and had a good idea that our wedding would be at the Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage. In fact, Doug put a hold on the ballroom at the Ritz many weeks before proposing We were expecting 200 people and were limited in our choices as many venues in Palm Springs are smaller and can’t accommodate a large group of 200. The Ritz had everything we desired: casual sophistication, stunning environs, and impeccable service.”
“We wanted an elegant reception with dramatic white flowers and sumptuous copper elements. All decor was designed by Luna at Arrangements Floral and Party Design. Luna is a treasure, she took our vision for a sumptuous yet masculine ambiance and made it a reality. Her custom chuppah with hanging copper orb lights was breathtaking and streamlined enough not to detract from the amazing desert mountain views beyond. She used metallic copper accessories (chargers, hanging lights, candles, risers, etc).”
“We love orange tic tacs and since orange was our accent color, we logo’d the plastic containers with our monogram and had them displayed in the hotel restrooms. We also logo’d flip flops for dancing and drink stirrers and napkins for cocktails. Matt is in the promotions business, so we had some connections in getting customized merchandise.”
Having attended many weddings, Matt and Doug knew that it’s common to arrive to a wedding both hungry and thirsty. Not wanting their guests to feel this way, the couple made sure their guests were greeted with sparkling wine as they arrived at the ceremony, and were provided snacks on their seats. Everyone received a box of gummy bears (Matt and Doug’s favorite candy) with their program for the ceremony and a special poem that read, “Please enjoy our favorite treat/As you take a Seat!/Please remember to smile/As we walk down the aisle./One groom will be nervous/The other will be crying./How well do you know us?/Wagers will be flying.”
With the wedding taking place on April Fools Day, the marriers sent out a save the date with an April 1st pun that had a beautiful sunset image with the words, “Matt and Doug are getting married – Nairobi, Kenya.” The back side of the card read “April Fools” and had the actual information.
“Our invitation liner was a strikingly masculine pattern of charcoal grey and orange bow ties. We loved this pattern and used it consistently throughout the wedding weekend. The bow ties appeared in gobo lights on the dance floor, on the arms of mirror lens sunglasses to keep guests comfortable during the ceremony, on elastic hair ties displayed in the ladies’ restroom, and on the cooling towels we branded for our early wedding morning hike. The bow tie pattern was also featured on items in our extraordinary guest bags. Each guest received a reusable jute beach tote stuffed with all kinds of logo’d swag: Swellinspired water bottles, cosmetic cases, lip balm, sunscreen, sewing kits, trucker caps, homemade cookies, aspirin, fresh tangerines, granola, water, and more!”
On the day of the wedding, Matt and Doug wore matching ESQ watches that were given to them by their respective grandparents for their Bar Mitzvahs many years ago.
“We both picked out the same exact watches when we were thirteen years old – it was meant to be,” they recount.
The wedding party was made up of two best men, two junior groomsmen, three mini-groomsmen, a matron of honor, a maid of honor and one junior bridesmaid.
“Overall, it was important to us that our wedding day had our stamp all over it – we wanted our personalities to be evident in every aspect. Our rabbi got to know us well and made the wedding ceremony and ketubah signing a beautifully emotive and highly personal experience for us and our guests. During the ceremony, we drank wine from Matt’s grandfather’s Kiddush cup and were blessed by our rabbi with Doug’s grandfather’s tallit around our shoulders. One of our favorite cocktails (the famed Aperol Spritz) was our featured drink. The orange drink went perfectly with our color scheme and we dubbed it ‘The Spritz-Carlton.'”
“We did not leave anything to chance (we’re two Type-A individuals). This included the table seating arrangements. Our florist created a stunning display for the escort cards. When guests found their tables, they were delighted to see a name card at each place setting. COJ tied a personalized name card to a kumquat stem which rested on every napkin. The kumquat gave us the fresh pop of orange we desired and having the name cards allowed us to dictate the exact table arrangements and call out certain people by nicknames (many were funny and filthy, but all were highly personal).”
“Both our families are obsessed with Dairy Queen, so we had DQ Blizzards passed out on the dance floor at midnight. The pinnacle of late night dining was the In-n-Out hamburgers which COJ procured and transported in heated delivery bags. The burgers were served with french fries made by the Ritz-Carlton and served in bow tie logo’d paper snack cups.”
Doug and Matt’s words of advice to planning a wedding?
“There is absolutely no rule book for a same-sex wedding – so make it personal, don’t sweat the small stuff, and remember that at the end of all of the wedding festivities, wedded bliss begins – and that, is the best part.”
Photographer: Michael Segal Photography
Videographer: Couture Motion Pictures
Shoes: Christian Louboutin
Bridesmaid Dresses: Amsale
DJ: City Connection Ent
Lighting: The Lighter Side
Equipment Rentals: Signature Party Rentals
Linens and Coverings: Nuage Designs
Floral Designer: Arrangements Floral
Event Venue: Ritz Carlton Rancho Mirage
Event Planner: COJ Events