Grooms Chris and Robbie’s Gulf Coast wedding in Destin, Florida, took place against the picturesque backdrop of Henderson State Park and the Gulf of Mexico.

Blue watercolor invitation for LGBTQ+ wedding of two men flat lay with a boutonniere and two gold wedding rings

navy suit jackets hanging on golden wallpaper wall with ocean painting between them. brown shoes are on the floor

After a 17-month engagement, the men traveled from their home in Houston, Texas, to Destin for their oceanside wedding. Their engagement took place in Las Vegas. “The first trip Robbie and I ever took together as a couple was to Las Vegas on Memorial Day weekend in 2014,” says Chris. “Fast forward to 2022; we ended up going on the same trip (destination and weekend) with my brother and his girlfriend, so I decided this would be a good time to finally propose. I bought an engagement ring, and I tried to find the perfect moment throughout the weekend to pop the question, but no moment ever felt quite right. Finally, with time running out, I just decided to propose in our hotel room on Memorial Day right before we left to go to the airport. I nervously gave a short speech, got down on one knee, and asked him to marry me. And he said yes!”


Black and white photo of two grooms getting ready together for their wedding. One groom is white, and the other groom is Black and wearing glasses.

“The couple wanted to create a loving, warm, fun experience for their guests, while still honoring their loved ones who have passed,” says Kelly Rhodes, owner of Southern Frills Weddings and Events. “We personalized this wedding with a custom monogram that was used throughout all the stationary and high focal points such as the bar. For their invitations, they wanted it to accurately reflect the beauty that is contained in the Gulf Coast and its sugar sands and stunning sunsets. When guests arrived at the ceremony location, they were greeted with fruit-infused water and glasses of champagne, sounds of the greatest love songs, soft breezes and scents of the ocean.

framed bar menu with beer, wine and spirits listed next to white vase of roses and natural plants, an open coconut, blue candle votive and clear candle votives

“Chris and Robbie also chose their favorite drinks which are based on inside jokes among their friends. ‘Robbie’s Pink Drink’ which was a strawberry margarita with a champagne topper, and Chris chose one of his mother’s favorites and named it ‘Chris’ Nightcap,’ which was an amaretto whiskey sour. The couple’s wedding favors were paper hearts that contained dried seeds, that, once planted, bloom into beautiful flowers.”


two-grooms-hold-hands-outdoor-coastal-gay-interacial-wedding. The Black groom is wearing glasses, a navy suit and a coral bow tie and pocket square. The white groom is wearing a navy suit, slate blue bow tie and pocket square.

The processional began with their officiant, followed by the wedding party paired up, a person from Robbie’s side and a person from Chris’ side. The gay grooms gave their wedding attendants fitting titles: groomsmen, groomswomen, groomspeople, best man, best woman. Robbie walked down the aisle escorted by his mother, and was followed by Chris, who was escorted by his father.

Chris and Robbie chose their wedding colors to honor their late parents. Chris chose his late mother’s favorite color, coral. Robbie chose his later father’s favorite color, slate blue. Additional colors used were creams and ivories and natural coastal elements.

Robbie’s long-time friend, ordained through the Universal Life Church, officiated the ceremony, which commenced with a heartfelt tribute to cherished departed loved ones. Chris and Robbie, in front of their nearest and dearest, exchanged self-penned vows, sealing their commitment with a unity ceremony involving coral and blue sand poured into a keepsake vase, followed by the exchange of rings and a tender kiss.

white and wood shelving with seating chart in frames at wedding reception

Following the ceremony, guests enjoyed a convivial cocktail hour overlooking the resort. Later, they were ushered to the elegant grand lawn, sheltered beneath a splendid sailcloth tent, where they were treated to a breathtaking sunset. Chris and Robbie, accompanied by their wedding party, were introduced by the emcee and shared their first dance to Monica’s “For You I Will.” This was followed by a poignant moment as Chris danced with his aunt in honor of his late mother, and Robbie shared a sweet dance with his own mother. The couple expressed their gratitude to their guests for their enduring love and support over the years.

beach wedding table decor with slate blue table cloth and coral napkins

Dinner featured a delectable dual entree offering of pan seared Atlantic salmon with risotto and butter seared filet mignon with whipped potato, followed by touching toasts and the traditional cake cutting ceremony. The cake, reflecting the couple’s personalities, boasted unique and unexpected flavors in the various layers, such as pink champagne, berry, chocolate and salted caramel.

silver initials R and C on top of four-layer wedding cake with white and aqua blue frosting and white roses

Few flowers adorned the venue, yet those chosen exuded an organic, natural charm. The groomswomen carried xerographic air plants and delicate hanging amaranth. Reception centerpieces embraced coastal aesthetics, blending coral, coconuts, dried stems and pampas grasses, accented by textured shells. Blue candles and vases, along with floating candles, added a serene ambiance to each area. Tables were meticulously styled to offer a playful, distinctive atmosphere, incorporating diverse textures for a memorable, tactile experience.

coastal wedding decor ideas with coconut on table

As the night progressed, the dance floor filled with enthusiastic guests eager to showcase their moves. Chris, Robbie and their loved ones danced the night away, engaging in friendly dance battles and creating lasting memories. The evening culminated in a whimsical tribute to the couple’s childhood with the release of thousands of bubbles, as they joyously made their way through the cheering crowd, smiles and kisses abundant, brimming with elation.

palm tree and wedding tent for evening outdoor wedding reception


Equally Wed: What advice do you have for vendors and venues working with LGBTQ+ couples and marriers?

Robbie and Chris: Working with us is the same as working with any other couples, lol. Like some of the straight couples vendors have dealt with, some of us may have difficult personalities; some of us may have crazy demands, but we’re all just people. If we had to give any advice, we would say when meeting with LGBTQ+ couples, bear in mind that many of us are a little apprehensive entering into a business relationship where our sexual orientation is spotlighted, especially if we’ve been mostly private about it in the past. Make sure that the people you work with (LGBTQ+ or otherwise) always feel safe, respected and accepted. A great way to do this is for vendors to highlight some of the diverse couples they’ve worked with on their websites and social media profiles.

What challenges did you face as an LGBTQ+ couple or LGBTQ+ marriers planning your wedding?

As far as outward challenges go, we can honestly say we were fortunate to have had very few. Our wedding planner, venue and vendors were all an absolute joy to work with. Never once were we made to feel like an “odd couple.” I’d say the only challenges were internal. We had some concerns about how our decision to go public with our union would be accepted by family and associates. For me, some of my more extended family didn’t know I was gay, but I knew they would be upset if I got married and didn’t invite them, so I just had to surprise them with the invitation.

Interracial gay male couple smiling face to face with their arms around each other. The ocean is in the background. It is their wedding day.

Did you encounter any pleasant surprises as an LGBTQ+ couple or marriers planning your wedding?

With all the political news we’ve heard out of Florida recently regarding LGBTQ+ rights, we were surprised and delighted by how warm, welcoming and pleasant everyone was to work with. Everyone we worked with was genuinely happy for us and excited to be a part of our wedding story.

What advice would you give to engaged LGBTQ+ couples or marriers?

This is YOUR love story, no one else’s. Make your engagement and wedding what you’ve always wanted them to be, not what you think the people in your life will be comfortable with. Be who you are, and don’t let the perceptions of others get in the way of your happiness and your love for each other. The Equally Wed heart is a trademark of Palladino Publishing, LLC.

Search the Equally Wed directory of LGBTQ+ inclusive wedding vendors.


Photographer: Chelsi Barber of Aislinn Kate Weddings
Venue and catering: Henderson Beach Resort
Florist: Forget Me Knot
Planner and invitation designer: Southern Frills Weddings & Events
DJ: Al Lao of South Bay Event Group
Grooms attire: Men’s Warehouse
Jewelry: Jared
Attendant dresses: Azazie
Attendant suits: Men’s Warehouse
Videographer: Jonathan Klempa of Aislinn Kate Weddings
Cake: Sweetly Sisters
Favors: A Day to Remember Studio
Photobooth: Coastal Reflections