Nature and simplicity came together at Aaron and Kaleb’s magical DIY wedding at Elkin Creek Vineyard. Surrounded by trees and nature, Aaron and Kaleb walked down the aisle together. They said their vows under an arch woven together with branches. The wedding party celebrated under the rustic shelter of the winery’s pavilion. From scenery to details, their wedding showcased nature: DIY wreathes were centered on each table. Ethically sourced antler, ironwood, and titanium are preserved in their exquisite wedding bands from Staghead Designs. The party celebrated with wine crafted on-site, in the very vineyards surrounding them.
Although they live in a typically conservative area, the couple said, “We feel extremely lucky. With all of the resources available today, it was very easy to find LGBTQ+ inclusive vendors.” Like many LGBTQ+ couples, however, they struggled with family relationships. They told Equally Wed: “Kaleb’s family was not very accepting, so they were not part of the planning process. It was only at the last minute that they decided to come at all, which was more difficult to deal with emotionally than we expected. We knew from the beginning they weren’t accepting, but planning a wedding without the support of family and knowing they don’t want to be there really hits the hardest.”
Yet their wedding was ultimately an act of pride, empowerment, and love. “There’s happiness in getting married,” they told us. “Being a trans, gay couple getting married really brings a whole new sense of pride that we’ve gotten to where we are now. You don’t expect it until you feel it.”
Kody and Jared infused their timeless ceremony with pride. Their rainbow wedding celebrated love in all the details. Their wedding party dressed in elegant forest green, and, for a classic touch, they rode to the reception in a converted trolley. Under black, Vera Wang attire, both men sported pride socks. The couple cut their elegant white cake to reveal colorful layers. Kody and Jared’s rainbow wedding married a classic style with pride and color. It was “timeless with a touch of rainbow,” they told Equally Wed.
The couple married in Asheville, North Carolina, where Kody proposed to Jared two and a half years ago. They said their vows at First Congregational United Church of Christ. Both men walked down the aisle, Kody with his mother, Jared with his cousins. The couple invited all of their immediate family, but of their four parents, only Kody’s mother accepted the invitation. “Our friends truly became our family and acted as a serious support system for us,” the couple told Equally Wed.
The two grooms advise other LGBTQ+ couples to “keep your wedding simple. Invite those who mean the most to you.”
As we enter into the end of 2020, if you’re someone who celebrates Christmas, you’re probably having some strong emotions about it right now. Maybe you want to forget the whole holiday, because we probably can’t celebrate it the way we usually do. Or maybe you, like me, are filling your Netflix queue with holiday romances and stocking up on eggnog, because we deserve a tiny sliver of hope and happiness this year! If you are looking to dive headfirst into Christmas, Comet’s First Christmas is a great way to kick it off.
This is about Claudia, a reindeer who has just been brought in to act as Comet this Christmas season. Yes, this is about reindeer shifters. And yes, all nine of Santa’s reindeer are lesbians. As you might expect, this is a book overflowing with Christmas cheer. Everything is themed: Claudia drinks candy cane coffee, her assistant is an elf, and her phone comes equipped with a Naughty-Or-Nice app.
This overwhelming festivity reminded me more of a classic kids’ holiday movie, initially: it is an unapologetic celebration of Christmas that can verge on the tooth-achingly sweet, but is perfect for if you want to be completely immersed in the holiday. I’d love to see this series get cartoon covers in the style of Shira Glassman’s Mangoverse series,Clare Lydon’s holiday books, or even Talia Hibbert’s Brown Sisters series, because I think that would better match the mood of the this story.
The conflict is that someone is going around convincing people to not believe anymore. Claudia has to try to stop this nefarious villain before they lose any more Christmas magic! Although it sounds like a kids’ movie, this is a romance novel, which means we see 25-year-old Claudia earnestly asking other adults why they’ve stopped believing in Santa. It was a little jarring, but in this world, adults who believe do get gifts from Santa every year, so it makes sense in this context.
Did I mention that this is a romance? Of course, you’re coming to the Lesbrary not just for generic holiday cheer, so you’ll be happy to know that this includes a very sweet romance. It definitely falls into the instalove category, but it works for this very cute book. Claudia crushes on Jillian hard when they meet. Jillian is technically her assistant, but because the role of Comet changes and Jillian’s job stays the same, it didn’t feel like a power difference to me: they both seemed like equals. They made for an adorable romance, starting with clueless lesbian flirting (she’s obviously hitting on you, Claudia!) and including lots of healthy communication.
Although this is a sweet book with a pretty straightforward plot, there are a lot of details to enjoy as well. I loved seeing Once & Future by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy get a shout-out (I’ve got the sequel on my bedside table right now!), and there’s a Star Trek-loving reindeer who swears in Klingon. Claudia is visiting New York for the first time, and she revels in getting the classic Christmas in New York experience, including going to Macy’s, Times Square, seeing The Nutcracker, and more. Claudia also has anxiety, which is own voices representation. She manages it with breathing exercises and other techniques, which it was nice to see included.
This is the first book in the series, so it’s not surprising that everything isn’t tied up completely, but it did feel a bit anticlimactic in terms of the overarching plot, though Claudia’s story concludes nicely. I feel like I guessed the mystery really early in the book, but I’m not sure yet if I’m right. I look forward to the next book in the series, which seems to be about Prancer–will every reindeer get their own story?
In the afterword, Delilah Night says she wrote this because “after how bruising 2020 has been, can anyone blame us for wanting something a little sweet?” This definitely fits the criteria for sweet, but be prepared: only pick this up if you’re ready for a heavy dose of Christmas cheer!
Ari North’s Always Human first appeared as a serial on WebToon, running from 2015-2017. Yellow Jacket published it as a collection in May 2020 as part of a sponsorship with GLAAD.
This comic series follows two young women, Sunati and Austen, as they navigate a new, romantic relationship. Set in a future world where almost everyone wears body mods, a technology used to enhance appearance or capabilities, the sci-fi scenery is lush and intriguing. But not everyone can wear body mods. Some, like Austen, have Egan’s syndrome, a condition that compromises the immune system, making body mods impossible to wear.
The story is filled with sweetness and angst as Sunati and Austen learn to understand one another, making mistakes, pulling apart and coming back together. Sunati first finds Austen attractive because she thinks she’s so brave for not using body mods. When she finds out it’s because of her Egan’s syndrome, Sunati puts Austen up on a pedestal, making it seem like her life with a chronic illness is an inspiration.
It really speaks to the attitude that exists in the real world about able-bodied language and perspectives. Those with different abilities are often held up to these impossible standards to serve as inspiration and awe for able-bodied people. Austen also frequently deals with others tiptoeing around her, because they think if they use body mods around her she will get upset. She doesn’t want special treatment and she doesn’t want others to look at her as some kind of saint. She just wants to be human.
Throughout the series Sunati and Austen get to know each other in the sweetest scenarios, creating that warm, fuzzy feeling that readers love about romance. The characters are honestly two huge dorks in their own ways, but that’s what makes them so loveable and perfect for each other. But perhaps the best aspect of their relationship is the open and honest communication. They don’t always get things right, but they talk through their problems and come to see the world through one another’s eyes, gaining a better understanding each time. It’s a wonderful example of a healthy, happy relationship.
On a hilltop looking out over the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, our Waynesville bed and breakfast has been an important part of Western North Carolina life for more than a hundred years.
Originally built as a summer home in 1885, The Yellow House is a charming Southern inn which welcomes you to experience the beauty and luxury of this wonderful home. Stay in one of our comfortable rooms or suites and enjoy the perfect, quiet mountain getaway.
Our elegant rooms and suites, gourmet breakfasts, and a restful and secluded atmosphere will make you long to return here again and again.
We are inclusive and welcome everyone to our lush Waynesville country retreat.
See the Yellow House Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here
Waynesville Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals