Tag: couples

7 ways for LGBTQ+ couples to incorporate their chosen family into their weddings

7 ways for LGBTQ+ couples to incorporate their chosen family

You’re probably well-aware of the Western wedding traditions that involve your family of origin, like father-daughter dances and being walked down the aisle. But chosen families are just as important, if not more important, to many of us in the LGBTQ+ community, and we deserve to honor them at our weddings.

When my wife and I were planning our beach wedding, we knew that there were some wedding traditions we wanted to keep: my dad walked me down the aisle and my wife’s mom walked her down the aisle, in a twist on that tradition. But we also wanted to honor our chosen family and include them in our traditions. You can choose to dream up entirely new traditions for your chosen family, or reimagine existing wedding traditions with your chosen family in those roles.

Timeless rainbow wedding in Asheville, North Carolina. Marszalik Photography featured on Equally Wed, the leading LGBTQ+ wedding magazine and vendor directory.
Marszalik Photography


Walking down the aisle doesn’t have to be something you do with a parent or family member, it can also be someone in your chosen family who walks you down the aisle. One of your best friends might be a good choice, or your person of honor/best person if you’ve chosen to have one. You can even have two people walk you down the aisle, with one on each arm.

High school sweethearts marry after 10 years in colorful beach ceremony LGBTQ+ weddings beach summer wedding Provincetown two brides lesbian wedding rainbow nontraditional whimsical creative book literary library vows
Melissa van Ruiten Photography


My wife and I asked one of our oldest friends to officiate our wedding, and it’s one of the best decisions we could have made. This is a role usually reserved for professional officiants and religious leaders, but sometimes it goes to family members. In our case, it went to someone in our chosen family who knows us both deeply and was excited to respect our wishes for our wedding day.


First dances are traditionally reserved for parents and are often dependent on your gender, but it doesn’t have to be that way! If you want to have a first dance but don’t want to share it with a parent or family member, it can be someone special in your chosen family who gets this honor instead. You two can collaborate to pick a meaningful song to dance to, and depending on your relationship, you can make it slow or turn the dance into a really high-energy, choreographed part of the night.


You might decide to forgo this wedding tradition altogether, but if it’s something you want to do, ask someone in your chosen family to give you away. Think of this not with its original intentions, but as a way of showing someone you love that you want their support on your wedding day.


While my wife and I didn’t have a traditional ring bearer, we asked my maid of honor to carry the book with our rings in it during our ceremony. She’s one of our best friends and has been with us throughout our relationship, and we thought it would be a meaningful way for her to be involved during the ceremony, since maids of honor don’t really get the spotlight until they give a toast (if they choose to).

bridesmaids give wedding toast at LGBTQ+ wedding
Chrissy Gilmartin Photography


Speaking of toasts, you can ask people in your chosen family to give toasts during the wedding and/or wedding rehearsal. This can be a wonderful way to include them and honor your relationship, especially since most toasts touch on how long you’ve known each other and the person’s support for your marriage. My wife and I asked both of our maids of honor to give traditional toasts and my dad gave one as well, but we also had one of my longtime friends who came from out of town give a toast.

Beautifully gothic Texas wedding with creative details, photo by Leah Thomason Photography, featured on Equally Wed, the LGBTQ+ wedding magazine barn outdoor wedding reception rainbow
Leah Thomason Photography


Many people include friends in their wedding party, and in our case, our wedding party was entirely composed of our chosen family. My wife and I decided not to have separate wedding parties and instead had one big wedding party with ten of our closest friends, including our officiant, who served as a bridesmaid too (with a very efficient outfit change). We invited our wedding party and their dates to join us the night before for a rehearsal dinner too.

Featured photo by Create It Photography

Vintage gay couples & the new “boys cake check challenge” / Queerty

Vintage gay couples & the new “boys cake check challenge”

If you’re not spending this Valentine’s Day with a lover (or trying to cruise one), try cozying up with your favorite app! And once you’re finished with Grindr, you should probably check out TikTok – here’s some fresh content to get you started:

The “boys cake check challenge” became a thing.

@bluejj09i’m so sorry ab this🤦🏾‍♂️ (get the chain or program i use from the link in my bio) #powerlifting #bodybuilding #fitness #fyp #foryou

♬ Buss It – Erica Banks

A pile of vintage gay photos found daylight.

@paullampkin1970Vintage gay photos Vol 11 @sooozeesooze #vintagegay #lbgt🌈 #viralvintage #gayvintage #loveislove #lifetime_memories #gayphotos #lgbt🏳️‍🌈 #gaylove

♬ Goodbye Yellow Brick Road – Remastered 2014 – Elton John

Kalen Allen introduced his dog.

@thekalenallenWho knew I’d have a child at this age… ##fyp ##clingydog

♬ original sound – Scott Tavlin

Our future Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona showed his true colors.

@joshhelfgottOur next Secretary of Education 🏳️‍🌈

♬ original sound – Josh Helfgott

TiTi dropped a hot new track.

@blameitonkwayTraffic Jam 🎶🎶 w/ @spence

♬ original sound – Blameitonkway

Stephen Bauer shared with Wendy Williams.

@stepbauer🗽 ##wendywilliams ##wendywilliamsshow ##junglejuice ##gaystuff ##gay

♬ Oh No – Kreepa

Andrew Christian went backstage.

@theandrewchristianBackstage flashback with Jon & Arad 🏆 ##gay ##backstage ##abs ##showuswhatyougot

♬ Up – Cardi B

A German police officer served the public.

@__cem___Polizist war nicht begeistert ##deichbrand##fyp##justdancemoves

♬ Originalton – Cem Korkmaz

Todrick Hall broke it down with Brandy.

@todrickBibbity Boppity at the Ball with Brandy something different tho @brandy

♬ original sound – SamariaMartinStudios

And a guy named Austin came out to his dad.

@leeswinkyFound this on my old phone. Glad I pressed record that day. #gay #comeout #dad #comingout #family #loveislove

♬ The Wisp Sings – Winter Aid

These two are one of my favorite TV couples : actuallesbians

These two are one of my favorite TV couples :

A place for discussions for and by cis and trans lesbians, bisexual girls, chicks who like chicks, bi-curious folks, dykes, butches, femmes, girls who kiss girls, birls, bois, aces, LGBT allies, and anyone else interested! Our subreddit is named r/actuallesbians because r/lesbians is not really for or by lesbians–it was meant to be a joke. We’re not a militant or exclusive group, so feel free to join up!

Hungary Bans Same-Sex Couples and Most Single People from Adopting

Hungary Bans Same-Sex Couples and Most Single People from Adopting

In the latest of a series of anti-LGBTQ moves, Hungary’s parliament has changed its constitution to ban same-sex couples and most single people from adopting children.

Hungarian Parliament Building - Budapest

Hungarian Parliament Building – Budapest. Photo credit: Jorge Franganillo. Used under CC BY 2.0

The change on Tuesday, championed by Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his right-wing Fidesz party, will allow adoption only by married couples and single people “granted special permission by the government,” reports the Washington Post. Same-sex couples cannot marry in Hungary, although they may get civil unions. Same-sex couples had previously been able to adopt by having only one partner apply to be the legal parent, “but the new law puts an end to this practice,” the Post says.

Justice Minister Judit Varga posted part of the text of the new legislation on her Facebook page:

Hungary protects the institution of marriage as a cohabitation between a man and a woman, based on voluntary decision, and the family as the basis for the survival of the nation. The basis of the family relationship is the marriage and the parent-child relationship. The mother is a woman, the father is a man.

The Háttér Society, the largest and oldest non-governmental LGBTQI organization in Hungary, tweeted that this legislation, however, will “stigmatize same-sex couples raising children and transgender people, make LGBTQI school education programs impossible and complicate single-parent adoption.” They add, in a series of tweets:

These provisions are very problematic on their own, as they go against international human rights norms and especially the rights of children. LGBTQI children exist, forcing them to live according to conservative ideals might make them invisible, but will not make them disappear.

Restricting the number of potential adoptive parents means that more children will remain in state care or be adopted abroad where they can’t maintain their language or cultural identity. There are already hundreds of children being adopted outside of Hungary.

Adopting such highly problematic laws at the peak of the COVID pandemic is even more appaling [sic]: it is part of a political strategy to divert attention away from the government’s inability to control the health and economic crisis.

The adoption legislation is not the only anti-LGBTQ move made by Orban’s government, however. In May, it banned transgender people from changing their gender identity on identification documents. These are shameful moves by the government. I hope that both national and international pressure comes to bear to reverse these harmful and short-sighted policies.

Also coincidentally released on Tuesday was the “State-Sponsored Homophobia 2020: Global Legislation Overview Update ” from the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, a worldwide federation of more than 1,600 organizations from over 150 countries and territories. Among other findings, it notes that “69 UN member States still criminalise consensual same-sex sexual acts between adults,” with six member States prescribing the death penalty.

On the positive side, 11 UN member States have constitutional provisions that specify sexual orientation in their anti-discrimination protections; 57 offer broad protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation; 81 protect against workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation; 48 impose enhanced criminal penalties for offences motivated by hate towards the victim’s sexual orientation; and 4 have nationwide bans against “conversion therapies.” Twenty-eight recognize marriage for same-sex couples (plus one non-UN jurisdiction, Taiwan); 34 provide for some partnership recognition; and 28 have joint adoption laws, with 32 allowing for same-sex second parent adoption. (Yet the data alone can be deceiving: “In Ecuador, constitutional protection co-exists with a constitutional ban on adoption of children by same-sex couples,” the report notes.) This report shows the progress that has been made over the past decades—but also, as this latest move from Hungary emphasizes, how far we have yet to go. Onward….

LGBTQ+ couples share fond memories and kind words about their Stroudsmoor wedding

LGBTQ+ couples share fond memories and kind words about their

Stroudsmoor Country Inn is nestled in the serene Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. In addition to being host to stunning overlooks and magical scenery, Stroudsmoor Country Inn has six venues for your wedding and reception, as well as a turn-of-the-century boutique hotel to host the couple, wedding party and out-of-town guests. Each venue at Stroudsmoor is dedicated to one couple on their wedding day, featuring its own ceremony site, reception area, execution staff, and services to ensure the utmost privacy.

When asked about the Stroudsmoor experience, Linda Forte, director of event operations at Stroudsmoor Country Inn, says, ““Many things come to mind. Our matriarch, Mrs. “P”irone’s recipes and culinary expertise bring guests from far and wide. The 350-acre mountain property is meticulously manicured by a team of committed nature lovers. Our charming accommodations, our six dedicated event venues, our rejuvenating spa, host to all types of celebrations. Most importantly, the Stroudsmoor team of professionals love to help you make memories. This means providing quality, ensuring value, and supporting the well-being of each and every guest of the Inn. We are honored to read these heartfelt accolades and recommendations offered by our guests. Glimpse the Stroudsmoor experience through their eyes.”

Stroudsmoor Country Inn has hosted many weddings over the years. This article includes reviews written by some of their LGBTQ+ couples. Read on to learn more about their experiences and memories expressed in their own words.

Jacqueline + Mary’s September wedding at Woodsgate

Jacqueline + Mary’s September wedding at Woodsgate

“There are no words to express just how perfect our wedding weekend was at the Stroudsmoor Country Inn! We had been planning our wedding for well over a year and it all was beyond our expectations! I am an extremely particular person and I also am a creative person who had some unique visions for our event. Never once did anyone tell us ‘no.’ They got creative and worked with us to make every detail perfect! They also tended to us and our guests like royalty every second of the weekend.

Every staff member was top notch and friendly! Our Stroudsmoor wedding planner was incredible! The floral/decor team was phenomenal (even when I think I was torturing them a little while working on getting it “just right A”)! In the end it was truly just right!!! The coordinator for the rehearsal BBQ (which we made into a 6-hour party in the pavilion… AMAZING!!) was wonderful. The day of our actual wedding, our floor supervisors were dynamos! They checked in regularly to make sure we didn’t need anything and our personal attendant was magical with her tool belt! She facilitated our wardrobe changes (I had three, my wife had two!), re-did my hair when it was coming out, touched up our makeup, fixed my wife’s shoes, kept a drink in our hands always, etc., etc., etc.!!!!!

There are other staffers that were working behind the scenes who I know I’m forgetting to mention by name, but know that every detail mattered and we thank you!! The food was delicious, the venues (Woodsgate and the pavilion) were beautiful, and our room was comfy. This weekend was nothing short of PERFECT! We are filled with so much love for each other and our family and friends, and we got to celebrate that love without any distractions! I am already scheming to plan a weekend-long five-year anniversary party there! (I just need to get it passed by the budget committee: my wife.)”

Jeffrey + Jason’s summer wedding at Woodsgate

Jeffrey + Jason’s summer wedding at Woodsgate

“The day of the wedding came and it was a whirlwind! There was never a glitch or if there was we didn’t know about it because of the Stroudsmoor Team. The grooms-women went to the spa to have their hair and makeup done and they looked beautiful! The weather was gorgeous and the beautiful autumn day was exactly as we hoped! We had a great wedding manager who really made sure that our day was perfect. Anything we needed he took care of professionally. I wanted him to come and manage our day to day life! The reception was such a blast! The food was fantastic and the cake was a thing of beauty. We highly recommend Stroudsmoor Country Inn to anyone thinking of getting married! We were never treated any differently for being a same-sex couple; they treated us just as they treat everyone . . . like family.”

We highly recommend Stroudsmoor Country Inn to anyone thinking of getting married!

Shanna + Melissa’s fall wedding at Woodsgate

Shanna + Melissa’s fall wedding at Woodsgate

“We could never thank Stroudsmoor enough for all the hours of work put into making our big day exactly what we imagined it would be. We waited so long to be able to get married, then find the perfect place and all the anticipation was well worth it. The Stroudsmoor team of professionals were all so welcoming and willing to do anything to make our day perfect! Every trip up there always felt like visiting family. Thank you for all your hard work putting everything together for us, from favors and food to decorations and details, it was all amazing. We had an extraordinary day that we will always remember. Thank you for making all our dreams come true, (outdoor ceremony and all!) it was all breathtakingly beautiful! With all of our gratitude.”

We had an extraordinary day that we will always remember.

Jessica + Joanna’s fall wedding at Lawnhaven

Jessica + Joanna’s fall wedding at Lawnhaven

“We picked Stroudsmoor because it made us feel like we were fully accepted into everyone’s life like family. Everyone was sweet and caring and made sure our special day was exactly what we dreamed of. We will never forget how beautiful our special day was. From the flowers to the venue. Even the small things like having our family who couldn’t join us in pictures on the mantles. We love how beautiful the Stroudsmoor team made us feel, and how wonderful our day turned out to be. We appreciate everyone who helped us make our day so special. It is definitely a day we won’t forget.”

Katie + Julie’s summer wedding at Lawnhaven

Katie + Julie’s summer wedding at Lawnhaven

“We both wanted to thank you and the Stroudsmoor team so, so much from the bottom of our hearts. You all played a huge role in our wedding day and you honestly made it a dream come true. Julie and I cannot thank everyone enough. You truly do have the kindest of hearts and all made us both feel so welcomed. We hope that we will visit Stroudsmoor again in the near future. Thank you for making everything perfect and for treating us like family!”

You truly do have the kindest of hearts and all made us both feel so welcomed.

Sheila + Lynn’s spring wedding at Auradell

Sheila + Lynn’s spring wedding at Auradell

“Our wedding was so much more than we could have imagined. The Stroudsmoor Team did such an awesome job. Our colleagues who attended the wedding are still talking about how beautiful the Stroudsmoor Inn is and how wonderful the food was at the reception. We could not have been happier. We intend to return for future romantic dinners and a romantic weekend or two. Thank you for everything, Lynne says to stay BUFFED, PUFFED AND POLISHED! It was definitely a GOOOOOD TIME!”

Allyson + Rebecca’s summer wedding at Terraview

Allyson + Rebecca’s summer wedding at Terraview

“The Stroudsmoor team has been such a pleasure to work with. Very helpful, again and again! Thank you so much! We can’t wait to celebrate back at Stroudsmoor!”

Michael + Sean’s summer wedding at Terraview | Stroudsmoor weddings

Michael + Sean’s summer wedding at Terraview

“Sean and I are getting ready to leave for Italy this afternoon, but we wanted to take a moment and thank you again for all of your help making our day so special for us and our guests! Our guests really enjoyed the food, accommodations, and service! I could not have imagined a more perfect day and it was truly the best day of our lives for us. We can’t thank you enough . . . The Stroudsmoor team was so kind and helpful. Words cannot express how happy Sean and I are with how everything played out and we are so grateful that we worked with the team over a year to make all of this happen. Thank you again for everything!”

Victoria + Deirdre’s July wedding at Lawnhaven | Stroudsmoor weddings

Victoria + Deirdre’s July wedding at Lawnhaven

“It was lovely meeting the Stroudsmoor team. You helped us narrow down where we should be with our theme. From start to finish, our vision of ‘Christmas in July’ came through without being cliché. Thank you again for helping us through planning during the pandemic.”

COVID-19 changes

During the 2020 wedding season, Stroudsmoor has worked hard to serve its couples. “This year unlike others was filled with many challenges and changes for our couples,” says Forte. “Throughout the COVID-19 restrictions, we maintained the Stroudsmoor mantra to never cancel a wedding. We continue to see many wonderful couples say their vows in 2020. While their original wedding vision was altered drastically by the pandemic, a new vision on a beautiful day emerged and they were married safely. We are proud to have played a small role in ensuring their happiness.”

Choosing a wedding venue at Stroudsmoor

The six wedding venues at Stroudsmoor are Ridgecrest, Auradell, Woodsgate, Lawnhaven, Terraview and the SCI Pavilion. Ridgecrest is seated at the highest point of the Stroudsmoor Mountain. With breathtaking views for miles, souls can soar to the clouds, and hearts will fill with the magic created by the union of two kindred spirits in marriage. Dedicated to Life, Love and Happily Ever After.

Intimate celebrations are key these days, but while small in size, intimacy plays a key role in every aspect of an Auradell wedding. Its Gallery and Hearthside Suite are filled with the warmth and charm of a century-old Inn, while dancing in its Solarium makes for a GOOD TIME! With five lovely suites on its upper levels, the Auradell couple become the innkeepers on their wedding day.

Woodsgate is the first of our private event venues. More than 200-years-old, this restored barn has seen celebrations that run a gamut of themes, from zombies in the woods, to visions of Arwen and Aragorn in the reunited kingdoms of Arnor and Gondor.

Lawnhaven’s walls of glass look out onto verdant gardens, a water lily–filled pond, and green lawns where couples play cornhole and quoits. Formal and fun come together wonderfully at Lawnhaven. The venue has the added attraction of converting from a closed environment filled with natural light, to an open-air forum providing fresh air and safety.

With two ceremony locations, the Cherry Valley Overlook and Terra Gardens, Terraview is the castle atop the Stroudsmoor Mountain. Couple’s find the breathtaking views and dramatic waterfalls inspirational and calming.

At SCI Pavilion, couples and their guests will enjoy a wedding ceremony under towering black walnut trees, surrounded by the woods and fields of wild flowers. Rustic chic vibes abound in this country setting.

Stroudsmoor invites you and your partner to tour their venues and meet their planners. Call (570) 421-6431 or visit stroudsmoorweddings.com.

This is a sponsored post written on behalf of 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.

Photo credits from top down: Jessica Manna; Stroudsmoor Photography Studio – John Blancato; Stroudsmoor Photography Studio – John Blancato; Stroudsmoor Photography Studio – Kyle Ohocinski; Stroudsmoor Photography Studio – David Coulter; Stroudsmoor Photography Studio – Josh Miller; Stroudsmoor Photography Studio – Kyle Ohocinski; Stroudsmoor Photography Studio – Susie Forrester; Stroudsmoor Photography Studio – Kyle Ohocinski

Queer couples marry before Amy Coney Barrett takes Supreme Court seat

queer couples marry before Amy Coney Barrett confirmation

16 queer couples got married at St Louis City Hall before Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court confirmation. (FOX2now)

Queer couples in America are racing to get married before before far-right nominee Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed to the US Supreme Court, fearing she could roll back marriage equality.

Anti-LGBT+ Catholic judge Amy Coney Barrett is expected to be confirmed to the Supreme Court on Monday (October 26), with the Republican controlled Senate rushing through the appointment of the Trump nominee just one week before the presidential election on November 3.

Barrett’s anti-LGBT+ record, including her membership of the Catholic group People of Praise which kicks members out for having gay sex and her ties to listed anti-LGBT+ hate group Alliance Defending Freedom, has sparked fears that she could roll back marriage equality when she is appointed to the Supreme Court.

In response, Tori Jameson, a non-binary, queer, sex-positive pastor who serves the LGBT+ community in St Louis, Missouri, decided to do something while there was still time.

They said: “She has made statements against Roe, against immigration. I worry about our rights being rolled back if she gets in. But I don’t have a lot of political power. I’m just a community pastor.”

According to them., Jameson offered “pop-up elopements” to the local queer community at St Louis City Hall, allowing couples to tie the knot “while [they] still have the chance”.

The four days of free wedding ceremonies saw 16 queer couples get married, while florists, bakers, photographers and other vendors offered their services for free.

Jameson added: “We are going to take care of our own. You can be hateful, but there is an opportunity here to celebrate love and be joyful.”

Fears are mounting among the queer community that the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett could undo marriage equality.

On October 4, a week after Donald Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett, two conservative Supreme Court justices launched a chilling attack on the 2015 equal marriage ruling.

Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito wrote in a statement that Obergefell v. Hodges, the case that legalised same-sex marriage in all 50 states, had “ruinous consequences for religious liberty”.

“Due to Obergefell, those with sincerely held religious beliefs concerning marriage will find it increasingly difficult to participate in society without running afoul of Obergefell and its effect on other anti-discrimination laws,” the pair wrote.

“It would be one thing if recognition for same-sex marriage had been debated and adopted through the democratic process, with the people deciding not to provide statutory protections for religious liberty under state law.

“But it is quite another when the court forces that choice upon society through its creation of atextual constitutional rights and its ungenerous interpretation of the free exercise clause, leaving those with religious objections in the lurch.”

Chase Strangio of the ACLU explained that the statement suggests the justices “are eager to overturn Obergefell already — even though it is only five years old”.

He added: “The brazenness of the rightward direction of the court is a threat to even the most basic expectation of legal protection. What we can expect is the continued erosion of legal protections gained over the past century.”

Pope Francis endorses civil unions for same-sex couples

Pope Francis endorses civil unions for same-sex couples

Pope Francis endorses civil unions for same-sex couples

Sapphic couples be like : actuallesbians

Sapphic couples be like : actuallesbians

A place for discussions for and by cis and trans lesbians, bisexual girls, chicks who like chicks, bi-curious folks, dykes, butches, femmes, girls who kiss girls, birls, bois, aces, LGBT allies, and anyone else interested! Our subreddit is named r/actuallesbians because r/lesbians is not really for or by lesbians–it was meant to be a joke. We’re not a militant or exclusive group, so feel free to join up!

Same-sex couples share their pandemic-era weddings / Queerty Ever After

Same-sex couples share their pandemic-era weddings / Queerty Ever After

Same-sex wedding during COVID pandemic
Michael and Josh ordered customized ‘Just Married’ face masks for their wedding (Photo: Chrystal Stringer Photography)

Almost every country has implemented social distancing measures because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The measures have thrown many large-scale family gatherings into disarray – especially weddings.

Queerty caught up with four same-sex couples who all wed in the last few weeks to find out how the virus had made them change their plans.

Michael and Josh

Michael and Josh on their micro-wedding day
Michael and Josh on their wedding day (Photo: Chrystal Stringer Photography)

Michael McPhee, 32, and Josh Stock, 30, live in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. They met via a dating app in 2012 and got engaged in 2017.

Their original plan was to hold their wedding over two days, with a ceremony for 30-40 people on July 11, followed by a community hall reception the following day for 100 people. The ceremony would take place on Edmonton’s historic High Level Bridge streetcar, followed by a gathering at a nearby restaurant.

“We started getting nervous about what would happen to the wedding halfway through March,” says Josh. “The province of Alberta started to shut down on March 17, 2020.”

The men paused their wedding planning until May, to review the situation.

“We gave some thought to postponing the date to later in 2020, but I had zero confidence that gathering restrictions would be lifted to the degree we needed them to go ahead with our plans. The streetcar service notified us they were likely to not operate and offered us a refund. We accepted.”

“I was reading local news when I saw a story about physically distanced mini-weddings for up to 15 persons (the largest number of persons allowed to gather at the time under Alberta’s restrictions) at Edmonton’s historic Fairmont Hotel Macdonald. The hotel was offering a space for a ceremony and a reception if needed. I called to reserve immediately,” says Josh.

“Fifteen persons meant 15 persons: this included us, photographers, and wedding officiant. This meant we were allowed just nine guests. We decided to have two sets of friends for our wedding party and immediate family only (e.g. no spouses). This was extremely difficult to do, and it wasn’t possible to eliminate hurt feelings.”

The men purchased CA$500 of customized face masks for the wedding party (“We decided we might as well have fun with this and it would make the event even more memorable”), along with hand sanitizer.

Josh got permission from his work to set up a Zoom call using his workplace account to capture the ceremony for those unable to attend. He also sync-ed the speakers to his Apple Watch so he could control the music (e.g. going down the aisle, etc).

Besides some nerves and ensuring all the Zoom and other tech was working, the ceremony itself went without a hitch. In the end, they were also able to increase the guest list to 20 as restrictions were eased slightly just days before the ceremony.

Afterward, Josh says they, “Went home and went back to work after just a couple of days off. We wanted to go on a honeymoon, but it’s obviously not the right time to travel. We will revisit this in the years to come, perhaps as an anniversary idea in the coming years.”

Jordan and Javontre

Jordan and Javontre
L-R: Jordan and Javontre (Photo: @peytonsmithphotos)

Jordan, 26, and Javontre Booker-Medley, 23, like in Winston Salem, North Carolina. They met in High School

“I was working on a musical and needed some extra stagehands and our mutual friend introduced us,” remembers Jordan. “We started working on the show and texting all the time about girl problems, etc, etc. Like most middle/high school boys our age that haven’t yet admitted that they dream about rainbows and unicorns!

“We eventually started going out a lot, with friends and then alone. Those hangouts evolved into dates and eventually into us dating on and off for the last six years. We even went to the same college for dance!

“Everyone knew we were gonna be married one day and I couldn’t be happier to have found my soulmate.”

They got engaged on July 1st, 2019, and planned to marry July 25th, 2020.

“When the pandemic hit we initially canceled the whole event!” says Jordan. “It wasn’t until restrictions on gathering started to ease up in June that we decided to put the event back on! We reduced our guest list from 160 to 31 people. We also had to change our venue which was originally in uptown Charlotte, NC. We ended up doing a small backyard wedding in Winston Salem NC, where we currently live.

Two men get married during the pandemic
(Photos: @peytonsmithphotos)

“We did everything ourselves instead of hiring a planner. The only vendor we needed was for the cake and the food. We literally designed everything ourselves from the centerpieces, table arrangements, floral arrangements, down to the napkins on the tables.

“We had to significantly change our plans but it turned out amazing and we cried so much on the day! The love that surrounded us was more than anything we could have asked for!”

Jay and Ames

Ames and Jay on their wedding day during the pandemic
L-R: Ames and Jay (Photo: Jackie Hubschman)

Ames, 36 previously lived in New York City. Jay, 49, lives in Atlanta, GA. They met in June 2019.

“Jay was visiting NYC for World Pride and we met through a mutual friend that thought we would get along well and I could give him a nice tour of the city,” recalls Ames.

“When the pandemic hit, Jay flew to NYC to pick me up and drove me back to Atlanta with my dog and two cats,” he continues. “We have been inseparable since.

“We knew we wanted to get married in the near future, but we had so many hoops to jump through just to live in the same state! We didn’t have a formal engagement. We pulled into a parking lot and I had no idea where we were going, and Jay said, ‘time to look at rings!’ It has been really important to us to support small business during the pandemic, so we purchased our rings at Worthmore Jewelers, which is very LGBTQ-friendly!”

They got married on July 31.

(Photo: Jackie Hubschman)

“The date is important to me because it’s exactly five years from the day that I took my first shot of Testosterone to begin my medical transition!” says Ames.

“The ceremony was on our front porch. Our close friend Ben officiated, Luke was the witness, and Jackie photographed. We did not pre-write vows, just spoke from the heart.”

L-R: Jay and Ames – husband and husband (Photo: Jackie Hubschman)

“Before the pandemic, we talked about what we would want our wedding day to be like. We wanted it to be an intimate celebration with our friends and family,” says Ames.

However, the pandemic made them reconsider.

“We were too worried that if we announced our plan to get married in advance that family and friends would travel, and we didn’t want to put anyone at risk or to feel guilty. Maybe we will have a celebration later, but we are very content with everything. The pandemic brought us together under one roof and we can start our life together.”

Keith and Chris

Same-sex gay couple wedding photos
Keith and Chris (Photo: jpandco.ca)

Keith, 34, and Chris, 33, live in Langley, British Columbia, Canada. They met online just over four years ago.

“We got engaged last summer at our favorite camping spot: Sombrio Beach on Vancouver Island,” says Chris.

“The pandemic put a fairly large wrench in our plans. We had to cut the guest list down from 105 to 45. We also had to organize our own food and rentals because our caterer couldn’t promise us they could fulfill their contract. We ended up cooking our own food for all the guests.

“We both have fairly large immediate families so even at 45 guests, we weren’t mixing too many groups of people who don’t already see each other.”

The men had always planned to marry outdoors. The location was the backyard of Keith’s parents in Aldergrove, BC. The men’s dog, Gus, acted as ring bearer for their July, 4th, wedding.

Two male grooms on their wedding day
Keith and Chris and ringbearer, Gus! (Photo: jpandco.ca)

Were they disappointed at having to downscale?

“Initially, we thought we may not even be able to have a wedding… then British Columbia went into phase 2 COVID restrictions which meant gatherings of 50 or less were OK as long as you could keep your distance,” says Chris.

“I think the hardest part for both of us was taking an already-small, planned wedding of 105 and trimming it down even more. We had to tell a lot of people we love that they couldn’t come anymore. This is after the invites went out. There were a lot of tough phone calls, but in the end, everyone understood. We had done so much planning and ultimately decided to just move forward with a smaller group. We have a super hands-on family and everyone was a huge help!”