Dave and Dan say the vibe of their May 2019 wedding in Vancouver, Canada is best described by the dress code written on the back of their invitation: “Semi-formal/garden party, a hint of sparkle is encouraged!”
With one from Canada and the other from Australia, the couple focused the weekend on bringing their loved ones together. They had approximately 90 guests from out of town, and so they had several parties leading up to the big day to maximize their time together.
Dave and Dan decided to walk down the aisle at the same time from opposite sides, meeting in the middle.
“After the ceremony, we then walked down the centre aisle together, holding hands,” they say.
“We really liked the symbolism of this, and how egalitarian it was; guests commented how much that detail impacted them!”
What advice would you give to engaged LGBTQ+ couples?
Take the time to make the day your own celebration. In planning out the details of the day, we found so many wedding customs have very traditional aspects. Instead, we were able to take an extra step back and completely reimagine parts of our day that felt just right for who we are as a couple. We fought really hard to get the ceremony we wanted. Instead of giving in to having a religious ceremony in order to use a space like a church (even if it was affirming!), or having a marriage commissioner we didn’t know run the whole ceremony, we made our own hybrid model.
We wanted the official, legal part of the ceremony to be in front of everyone and not at another time. But, in our province, the only choice is a religious officiant or someone from a select list of civil celebrants. Luckily, we found an accommodating marriage commissioner who worked with our custom arrangement to co-officiate with our friend, Peter Fitch, and the two of them switched back and forth —fairly seamlessly—weaving together a beautiful (& legally binding) ceremony!
What advice do you have for vendors and venues working with LGBTQ+ couples?
Keep in mind that LGBTQ+ couples have a range of ways they can identify, especially when it comes to gender identity; only having “Bride & Groom” on forms is so passé!
What challenges did you face as an LGBTQ+ couple planning your wedding?
Some family members on one side chose not to attend for religious reasons, and that was difficult to come to terms with. When the time came, joy won the day and we were thrilled to be surrounded by more than one hundred of our friends and family who enthusiastically celebrated our marriage with us.
Did you encounter any pleasant surprises as an LGBTQ+ couple planning your wedding?
In a strange way, planning our wedding as an LGBTQ+ couple brought with it a sense of greater significance, given the history of our community and how hard fought our very right to marry was (Australia hadn’t even legalized gay marriage when we got engaged). For the straight world, weddings have become less commonplace, but for us the very act of getting married publicly felt like a triumph as well as a celebration, and this added an emotional resonance to the day that I don’t think we’d quite expected. For a lot of our guests (and even one of us!) it was their first time experiencing a gay wedding, and the idea of chosen family was something that permeated throughout the whole event. We were particularly grateful for the guidance of many of our vendors.
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Photographer: Shannon-May Photography
Ceremony Venue: Rose Garden, at the University of British Columbia.
Reception Venue: Sage Bistro at University of British Columbia
Florist: DIY flowers from Costco ; Boutonnières from Divine Vines
Day of Coordinators: Rosey & Ishita from A Stylish Event
DJ: DJ Josephine from Airwaves Music
Invitations: Self designed through Zazzle
Attire: Custom tailoring by Surmesur
Jewelry: Klepner’s Jewellery, Melbourne
Videographer: Paul Cameron Productions
Cake: Jenny Bakes
Officiants: Peter Fitch (longtime friend) and BC Marriage Commissioner, Kelly Ip