This Pride month, I thought I'd do something that I don't normally do, post a blog that's a little more personal. On May 28th, Jackie and I celebrated our 2nd year of marriage, something that wasn't legal all that long ago in the great state of West Virginia.
Last year, we were in the middle of moving into our home and dealing with all the issues that come with being a first time home owner, Jackie had two sprained ankles, and we just didn't get to celebrate our first anniversary the way I wanted. In my eyes, that meant I had to go a little bigger this year to make up for it. What better way than to visit our wedding venue, Rich Farms in Smithfield, PA, for a picnic and some self portraits?
Jackie and I were married two years ago, surrounded by our closest friends and family at Rich Farms. Unlike some LGBTQ+ couples, we didn't have too hard of a time finding vendors that we loved and felt comfortable with. Being in the industry, I had my vendors numbers on speed dial before we even set a date. Some of the vendors I had worked with in the past and some were friends.
I was lucky enough to work with wedding DJ, Stephanie Crooks of Premium Soundz in Pittsburgh, PA, in the past. After working with her just once, I knew she was the right person to keep our party going. One of the things many people don't think about for an LGBTQ+ wedding is just how stressful it can be talking to vendors. One of the most stressful things for me was hitting a contact page on a website or emailing with a vendor and having to be like "uhhh there's no groom's name, there are two brides".
For us, we didn't have any issues. We had a few embarrassed wedding vendors when they asked questions like "does HE even know you're booking this so far in advance?" We actually had a really hilarious meeting with a vendor where my dad tagged along, and they thought HE was the groom out of a process of elimination. It was really fun to explain that yes, I was a bride, yes, Jackie was a bride, YES, I am old enough to be getting married, I know I look 15 but I promise I am not. lol.
If you're a vendor, please take these things into consideration when writing your contact pages, contracts, etc. If you're a bride or a groom, while I know planning your same-sex wedding especially in a rural area of West Virginia can be intimidating, it doesn't have to be. There are PLENTY of vendors out there who will welcome you with open arms and help make your day exactly what you want it to be.
Ok, back to our anniversary date. Rich Farms was kind enough to let me plan our surprise date night on the property so we could share a dessert picnic, dance to our song once again on the same dance floor where we did two years earlier, and sit on the new porch swings where we were married just two years prior.
You may not know this about me, but I'm something of a big date planner. I don't do it often, but I really love going all out. Since it was an anniversary, in addition to Rich's, the picnic, and the song, I bought Jackie a new dress to wear which she was a little confused about until she realized that I had picked outfits for both of us so we could take a few self portraits for our anniversary.
I swear it was just as miserably hot on our anniversary this year as it was on our wedding day, but we were dressed a little bit cooler, at least Jackie was, but we powered through, enjoyed our date, and took some of my favorite photographs to date.