Sponsor Introduction: Moodeous Photography & Colorodo LGBTQ Photography Giveaway

So. I don’t think I’ve ever done this, in the history of the site, but we’re doing it today – I’m letting Kristy, of Moodeous Photography in Denver, talk to you guys in her own words. Normally, before I write a sponsored post, I have new wedding elves write a little something for me about why they do what they do, and why they want to work with APW brides. And then I get writing. But when I asked Kristy to do this, she sent me something so lovely and so thoughtful, that it deserved to stand totally on it’s own.

Things you should know about Kristy (that’s Kristy up there!) She’s in Colorado, but she travels for the cost of transportation and accommodations. She’s been reading APW a long long time, and finally, really shyly, emailed me to say that she loved APW so much, she wanted to get brave and be a sponsor. Since then she and I have had many an email chat, and she rocks. Oh, and she’s affordable. BUT! It actually gets better. Kristy, because she’s generous and awesome, wants to offer an APW LQBTQ couple free wedding photography. The details, and her heartfelt reasons for doing so, are at the bottom of this post. Oh, ANNNNDDDDD, she wants you guys to pick the recipient, via your “exactly” buttons, in the same way you’ve started doing with dress giveaways. So, interested parties, please leave a comment, and everyone else, go read and get weepy and hit exactly again and again, yes? For those of you who don’t remember, here is the last Team Practical couple that got a LGBTQ wedding photography giveaway, during those brief happy days when same sex marriage was legal in California. And now, Kristy:

I shot my first wedding at 17. It was terrifying and I knew I would never ever do it again… until 2005, when a friend asked me to shoot her wedding and I found myself smiling as I looked through the camera. The whole day I grinned ear to ear. Now, at every wedding, I’m be grinning like a fool behind that lens. I can’t help myself. It’s so much goodness all around me, I just get soaked it in. The look in Mom’s eyes as rings are placed and vows are taken. When a couple gazes into one another’s eyes during toasts or a quiet moment. The joy that overwhelms and shows itself in happy tears. A chorus of voices agreeing to support this union for years to come. And somehow I’m invited to share in these moments, capture these precious things for everyone to hold on to for a lifetime. I tear up at most weddings, not always during the ceremony. Sometimes it’s during the first dance, or toasts or the father daughter dance, or the first time a bride puts on her dress. Life has somehow graced me with the good fortune of capturing it’s most emotive bits.

As I’ve started to build my business I’ve been lucky to mostly pair with couples who I can consider friends. Couples who just get it. They’ve chosen to make a deep and abiding commitment to one another. The marriage is what’s important to them and the people who will be there to help them along the way. Many of my clients are in graduate school, on a tight budget and generally focused on a simple celebration with their family and friends. My clients include: brides that have borrowed their dresses from friends, made their invitations by hand, purchased their flowers at the local grocery store, asked friends to make their favors, are gardening the hell out of their yard so their reception can be held there, asked friends to serve as vendors, had their wedding in a lodge at the YMCA…. and generally have the sensibility and smarts I see prevail on APW.

But the wedding industry scares me. As I’ve slowly begun to build my own business I’ve done a lot of “second” shooting with other photographers. At these weddings I’ve seen the bride and groom’s initials intertwined as a logo, projected in beams of light onto the dance floor, swirling around and changing colors. I’ve seen ice sculptures surrounded by raw bars. Vera Wang and Monique Lhuillier dresses with those shoes that I can’t remember the brand name of, but you know. These are the weddings that so many photographers aspire to photograph. Because they’re “pretty”. Because the high cost of silk table linens, uplighting, chandeliers and gilded chairs make “better” photos. The kind one could get printed in a magazine.
I’ve been told that if I raise my prices I’ll get “prettier” weddings. I’ve been told that if I get “prettier” weddings I’ll get more publicity and therefore more (higher paying) clients. Ick. F*ck that Sh*t.

In short (finally), I don’t want to photograph weddings for that reason. I choose to photograph weddings, because of the relationship I establish with my clients. Because of the importance of the day and the individual approach of each couple I meet. Because ultimately grocery store flowers and target shoes are beutiful, when they’re being worn by a glowing bride and groom who know this wedding is about LOVE, COMMITMENT, LIFE, FAMILY, and BIG CHOICES.

So go browse, yes?

And now, the details of the giveaway:

Two of my earliest and most influential family members weren’t blood relatives. But they were still my “Uncles”, Chris and Derek. Both have since passed losing the battle to HIV and then AIDS. At a very early age they taught me you can have love and a life together without marriage. Unfortunately for them it wasn’t a choice. It was their reality. This is one of the many reasons photographing a gay wedding is important to me. I’d love to hear from anyone having a gay wedding in Colorado, so I can offer my services free of charge to one deserving couple. I’m happy to have the APW community do the choosing, as they have dutifully weighed in on the dress giving in the past. I will post details of what I’m offering on my site. Essentially it’s up to 8 hours of coverage, hi res photos on disc and travel up to 100 miles.

***Note: The “style” of the images in this post are really varied. This is because every photo I take is a reflection of THAT specific couple. The moment, the color, the light–it’s because of them. I believe my job is in part a collaborator. Meaning my images are as unique as the people I’m capturing***

Staff Picks

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  • MinnaBrynn

    I don’t fit the qualifications but I just wanted to say how excited I am to see a sponsor in my area. We’ve got a photographer already (and at two weeks out, I’d hope that’s settled!), but I’ll be adding Kristy’s name to my mental list of people to suggest to friends. Love the photos.

    • Ooooh Minnabrynn where are you getting married!? Congrats on your very sooooon wedding. Hope to see your graduate post here!

      • MinnaBrynn

        Awww, thanks for the warm wishes Kristy and Lindsay. I’m getting married in my parents’ backyard, which just barely qualifies as part of Loveland. Despite my best attempts at both, I’m not sure we’re practical or sane, and I’m certainly not as wise as the wedding graduates, so I’m not sure I’ll find the moxy to try for a post. While I love and stalk APW, I think we fit better under a banner of [insomniac control-freak + ADHD artist = creative/picnic/random/community/no officiant/wedding]. I shudder to think what this shindig might have turned out like if I didn’t have the APW community to keep me a little saner!

        • meg

          Oh what nonsense. “The moxie to try for a post.” How do you think I get to *meet* you guys anyway. And less people submit their weddings than you’d think.

        • Sounds like a perfect submission for APW to me!

        • K

          I for one am finding the most comfort and inspiration in all the normal weddings posted here on APW. I’d love to hear about yours.

    • I couldn’t agree more – so exciting to see Denver anywhere! Hope you have a beautiful day for your wedding Minnabrynn!

      • Sarah

        This is actually my first APW comment…haha.

        I just wanted to chime in that I’m also excited to see a vendor (and especially a photographer!) in my area. I’m in the very early stage of planning a wedding, and I was hoping this website would help me find some like-minded people to work with on it. Yay!

        • Sarah, glad to see another Colorado girl here! Best of luck with your planning, if you need help finding like-minded vendors in the Denver area let me know. I can recommend some great people to work with!

  • Moz

    As someone who also works in the industry, I completely, totally agree. I get told the same thing and it’s like, but why? I love the brides and grooms I do my work for!

    This is fantastic, one of the my fave posts on the site, even if it is a sponsored one.

    • MOZ thanks so much :) I’d love to see your work and chat some time! It’s soooo nice to find like minded photogs out there!

      • Or not photogs :P realized you didn’t explicitly say you’re a photographer!

        • Moz

          HAHA! No, not photographer. Musician. But thanks! And this is such a great thing you’re doing, I hope it comes back to you in good ways. I’m sure it will!

    • I’m in the wedding industry too & I agree with both of you! My shoppe is conveniently located around the corner from a stationery store that routinely tells couples they must spend $5K or more on wedding invitations. I welcome the Brides & Grooms with open arms that don’t want to or can’t spend that much on wedding invitations. I’ve been lucky to work with some amazing couples!

      Kristy, keep up the good work! The couple that wins this generous offer is lucky, lucky!!

      • I’m a long time APW fan/reader, newlywed and in the industry too (photographer, starting on my own) and it bothers me to find vendors that are in it exclusively for the money. I’m in it for the “high” I get being around people in love. When else do you get to attempt to make a living being creative and being immersed in the pure joy and love radiating from a couple making a huge public commitment to one another. I was at a wedding, and I actually cried during the couple’s “first look”. One of the vendors came over to me and said “Don’t worry that’ll pass, I’ve done so many weddings I’m kind of jaded now”. WHAT? But anyway, just wanted to say Bravo! and I wish you the best Kristy!

        • Thank YOU Vanessa and best of luck to you as well! I’ve been shooting with other photographers since 2005 and have logged a LOT of weddings. I still cry at most of them. I think being emotionally tied to your photography and clients is really important!

  • Michelle

    Kristy shot my wedding! She is beyond talented and I would recommend her a thousand times over. She is filled with positive energy, great ideas, and a true love for what she does. I’m also lucky to count her as an amazing friend and am very proud to see her stick to her guns and build her business on what she believes is important.

    • MOODXOXOXOXOXOX{michelle}OXOXOXOXOXEOUS <—- this is me enveloping you in loves and hugs!

  • Wow. Can’t believe you first did it at 17. great for you… Hope for more great gigs for you since I think your work is awesome.

    • Thank you Bride to be :) The 17 thing was a total fluke and it scared the pee outta me! It took a lot of confidence and support to bring me round to trying again once I was more mature and capable of comprehending what a wedding really meant. I appreciate your support and kind words so much. Thank you – Kristy

  • I’m already married…and not in Colorado, but I just want to say “Bravo!” I had a tough time finding vendors that would be comfortable and happy to work with us (a lesbian couple) so I really want to commend Kristy for going out of her way to let same-sex couples know that she’s into the opportunity. And “Bravo!” to Meg too, for attracting such awesome wedding elves.

    • Two Chicks Nest,

      I’m so sorry to hear that you ladies had trouble finding vendors. Love is love right?

      Strangely its been tough for me to find LGBTQ clients here in CO. From what I’ve been told the prevailing conservative beliefs in a lot of areas of this state have some couples afraid to be public with their relationship (wtf is this Orwell’s 1984???). One lesbian couple told me they moved from Grand Junction to Denver so they could raise a family without the continual threat of prejudice and discrimination.

      I lived in Boston and grew up in a fabulously and prevalently gay area of PA (my Dad just photographed his first lesbian wedding!) before moving here so that concept was totally foreign to me. It breaks my heart that anyone has to hide their sexuality, much less their love for one another. So hopefully my offer will connect me to willing and deserving couples here in CO who may have struggled with similar BS.

      enough blabbing & many thanks :)

      • For me, once I had some uncomfortable vendor encounters, it made me frustrated and I was hesitant to approach new vendors for fear of more crappy experiences. I think once you can add one same-sex wedding to your portfolio, you’ll likely become THE photographer in CO that same-sex couples flock to.

        As a slight aside, I read this article this morning, which really reinforces the impacts of homophobia
        http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2010/05/27/more-than-half-of-gay-men-surveyed-are-uncomfortable-displaying-public-affection/ I think it demonstrates how how important it can be for vendors to say “Hey, I love your love and I’d love to document it for you because I think it’s beautiful.”

        Good luck! And thank you for offering such a lovely gift in honor of your uncles :)

        • Just read the article. And I just want to gag all over the oppressive aholes in the world. John McCain included this week. We’re sending all the wrong messages all over the place in this world. (sorry SUPER aside!)

          One statistic that surprised me in the article was the small margin of change when it came to a specifically gay-friendly environment. I wonder how the stats compare with lesbians. Is it partially a male/female issue? Is it more okay in society for lesbian PDAs because of misogynistic tendencies, male stereotypical fantasies, etc?

          It makes sense you would be put off by bad experiences. Is there any sort of gay-friendly wedding vendor network/resource you found anywhere when you were planning? Maybe we need to start one? I’d happily be THE photographer for same-sex couples. Bring it on!

          • I suspect that gay men are at great risk of physical violence (for the very reasons that you stated), though hate crimes targetting lesbians also occur. I’m super excited when I see any kind of same-sex PDA and I live in Vancouver, BC where same-sex marriage is legal!

            There was no up-to-date gay friendly wedding resource back when I was planning a couple of years ago, but there is one now. Check out http://www.soyoureengayged.com/

  • Emi

    What an awesome vendor post and giveaway! Whatever couple wins is going to have some gorgeous badass photos!

    • i love this place. you guys make me want to do a little dance :)

  • lani

    Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!! and oh, so generous! What a lucky couple (whoever they will be). I can only hope for such gorgeous photos on our wedding day.

    • Many, so many, thanks. i always wonder if its possible to NOT love your wedding photos, because its YOU on this marvelous incomparable day. I hope you love your photos Lani :)

  • Kate

    So… I’m not exactly sure that we qualify for consideration, given that we don’t live in Colorado nor are we planning to get married there. But we’d love to be considered for the contest with the caveat that we would pay for Kristy’s transportation if she’d agree to travel to Cape Cod for our wedding next May.

    I am lucky enough to be marrying a fantastic lady next May (with God, weather, and budget permitting). Cydney and I met when a mutual friend got tired of listening to us (separately) complain about the lack of good dating material out there. She was sly enough to simply plant a seed in each of our minds, mentioning Cydney to me and vice versa. Apparently, we’re incredibly easy to manipulate and within days, I’d asked Cydney to be my friend on Facebook. (Yes, I’m incredibly suave.) I followed up with a personal message and a flurry of electronic communications went back and forth (and a mutual love of bullet points was discovered as we tried to keep up with all the various topics we covered).

    The problem? Cydney lived in DC and I lived in Philly. Sure is hard to plan a casual first date and just “see what happens” when you have a three hour bus ride on either side. But we muddled through and we’ve been inseparable ever since. Well, almost inseparable. We’ve logged somewhere in the vicinity of 15,000 miles traveling to see each other – and we have another year to go as Cyd finishes up law school in DC next year (although we do get to spend this whole summer together!)

    I proposed at the beginning of this month and we have begun planning the most kick-ass backyard wedding ever to hit Cape Cod – including kegs of beer, a mojito happy hour, iPod playlists (I keep threatening to make Cydney dance with her dad to “Butterfly Kisses” by Bob Carlisle because it’s cheese-tastic), and a slew of family from Kansas to the UK.

    And that’s why we hope you pick us. We are working on a budget (isn’t everyone?). We are also both lawyer types and we believe in (and work for) marriage equality for LGBTQ people. Hence why we’re heading to Massachusetts to make it legal – we want to be counted.

    But here’s the thing: We are that rarest of gay couples – a couple who is supported in their relationship by both sets of parents, by grandparents (in Kansas and Texas, no less), and family of all ages in the United Kingdom. What we would love is for a photographer to document our wedding – including all of the love, support, and family that we are anticipating – and then to use those photos (and to let our photographer use those photos … And APW and whomever else wants ’em) as examples of what it should be like for ALL queer couples who get hitched. To show that our weddings are just like everyone else’s weddings. Full of mistakes and hiccups and tears and giggles and matching suits (oh yes, my brother has to wear a suit that matches mine).

    Cydney and I intend to have the day that we BOTH have dreamed about since we were little girls. And we would be honored if Kristy was there to share it with us.

    • Kate, I’m so glad you’re posting and I can’t wait for the APW community to weigh in. Your and Cydney’s story makes me all teary eyed. It’s so wonderfully real and genuine. The long distance, the facebook suaveness, the making fun of Butterfly Kisses. (I’m sorry but I hear “I saw her first” during the father daughter dance at every gosh darn wedding and it’s starting to make me insane. Can someone be original? Or at least ironically clever?) Plus loving supportive families and mojitos, sheesh that’s a lot of good mojo which will make for a killer wedding day!

      I have no intention of influencing votes, but I would LOVE to meet you ladies the next time I’m back East. I’ll be in Boston area and Philly around Thanksgiving for a wedding (in Worcester MA) and to visit my family. Congrats on your engagement and I hope your kick ass Cape Cod wedding plans all come to fruition.

      • Kate

        Hi Kristy! Thanks for your reply! We are excited to be a part of this contest and REALLY excited at the chance to meet you and maybe (fingers crossed!) work with you! I will get in touch directly to send you our contact information and hopefully an autumn meet ‘n greet will come to pass. Maybe you can give me some other suggestions for great (because they’re so awful) songs to play for Cyd’s big Daddy-Daughter dance. And you can also be a taster as we search for the perfect mojito recipe.

        Thank you again – and thanks to everyone in the APW community who has voted so far!

        We love this website and more than a few recent dinner parties have been extended recently as we discuss some of the harder topics. The name change one was especially interesting to us. For gay couples, changing your name can be way more subversive then it is the “traditional” thing to do – it’s a way of obtaining societal recognition of your relationship even from people that might not give it if they knew better. When a couple has the same last name, they get far fewer hard looks or questions about their relationship as they (for example) come through Customs or try to visit each other in the hospital. Which makes the idea of changing your name(s) so that they match something important to think about, political, and just plain kinda fun (because who doesn’t like sticking it to The Man?) when you think about it.

        • Chelsea

          Kate – my dad and I are pretty unsentimental, so we’re dancing to Jimmy Buffet’s “We Learned to be Cool From You.” Jimmy Buffet isn’t everyone’s thing, but my dad loves him (my whole family goes to the concerts together) and the song doesn’t contain the words angel, princess, or daddy. Just thought I’d it along, since it took me forever to find something that didn’t make me gag!

    • Moz

      Kate, whether you win or not, congrats! I hope you both will be very happy x

    • It’s so great that you’re willing to share your pictures with the entire world as an example of what same-sex weddings should be. Thank you in advance!

  • Cat

    I’m already married AND live in Australia so definitely don’t qualify but just had to say that this post gives me warm fuzzies for so many reasons.

    We also had couple of awkward vendor run ins during our time planning, of the ‘clearly not thrilled but we’ll take your money anyway’ variety. Needless to say, they didn’t get our business and the vendors we ended up with were all amazing. I completely agree, once queer couples know about you, you’re definitely going to be seeing a lot of thrilled prospective clients!

    Australia is years behind on gay rights and it’s easy to get disheartened here at the moment. To see vendors actively seeking queer weddings is brilliant. This post has definitely got my day started on the right note!

    Cheers to all involved, I’m excited for love stories (though I’m such a push over, I can see myself struggling not to vote for everyone)

    • Cat, you and me can be push overs together. I’m weepy and thrilled by all the love on APW. You are all fabulous amazing people and I’m lucky to have YOUR support. I plan to be in Sydney over Christmas and through mid-late January 2011. Tickets are not yet purchased, but I’d love to meet you and your spouse if you’re in the area! I relish the opportunity to meet like-minded individuals and would be stoked to do a shoot while I’m out there. (hint hint free anniversary portraits?)

      • Cat

        Oh, as fantastic as that sounds, we’re in Adelaide and probably not at all likely to be in Sydney that time of year. If you make it to South Australia though, we’d more than happily give you a tour of some amazing food and wine regions! Sydney is an amazing city, you’ll love it :)

        It was tough, but I managed not to vote for everyone. Good luck choosing, its going to be so tough!

  • Jen

    This is my first APW comment– I’m so very moved by Kristy’s generosity and warm-fuzziness. :) I’m neither gay (though allied) nor in CO, but I just think this post is wonderful. Whoever wins this is blessed indeed!

  • I think this is such an amazing and generous offer. I love the APW community precisely because of things like this. You rock, Kristy!

    Also, as an aside: as I read this, I saw a commercial for a wedding show, and the couple had a logo of their initials. In lights. On the dance floor. This happens?!

    • This really, really happens and I really, really don’t get it. One wedding sticks out in my mind. Over 500 guests, that logo projected on the floor AND in an ice sculpture surrounded by raw oysters and shrimp. It was excessive and mind blowing. It might have even been pretty by some accounts. :P

  • K

    Kristy, it’s a lovely gift you’re giving (especially since the photographs are going to be beautiful).

    More generally, I agree the logo and lights are tacky – but as a bride to be who is having a hard time getting my (incredibly generous) mother to cut back, please be forgiving when you see such over-the-topness. It may not be a reflection of the couple’s values to have a raw bar/top shelf open bar/Jimmy Choos/etc, but rather a reflection of their considered calculation that sometimes you compromise to allow each side of the family to reflect their mores. My mother is horrified by charity registries, pot luck weddings, invitations that come from both parents or – heaven forbid – the couple, parasols, etc — and it’s easier to allow her to impose parts of her vision of than to fight it. Going with that flow and picking the important fights (caterer who uses locally-sourced vegetables and grass-fed meat) is easier than trying to have the pared down wedding we originally hoped for – and we believe will give us the room to allow us to assert our values in the future. The wedding is a reflection, as LPC notes, of parental choices and mores too. Just a word if there are other lurking brides who sometimes feel like having a wedding that could appear in a magazine is to be automatically denigrated. I believe that choice is just as valid as a picnic as long as it’s thought out.


    • K,

      So glad to have you weigh in and share your experience! I think this too is an important facet of APW. Because every wedding is an individual expression, created by not just the couple, but everyone that shares in the event. Your opinion and experience do shed light on the issue of compromise and I would love to see your wedding graduate post here!

      My brother got married last year. He and his wife are low key, sustainable/green kinda people who wanted nothing more than to get married on a mountain top with a few special souls to bear witness. But as the plans evolved and her generous, wealthy and somewhat conservative parents weighed in it was clear something altogether different would take place. And their wedding was beautiful. As a guest, I had a wonderful time. I gulped down more designer appetizers and custom mango-insert-special-name-here-tinis than I care to admit and danced my butt off to the live 12 piece band. But the thing I remember most was the ceremony. I still get choked up thinking about it. Of all the events of the day, it was the most beautiful and the one that most truly reflected who they are as a couple.

      Ultimately I agree with you. And this statement goes both ways – a wedding is more than the sum of it’s budget. Thank YOU for making sure we remember that :) And thanks for stepping up to say something.

  • JoAnna

    Also not sure if we will qualify… Jenny and I will be getting married in Kansas City but would be glad to pick up transportation & lodging costs to have such a wonderful photographer document our wedding in July 2012.

    Jenny and I met online, a first for me and I am so glad that I stepped out of my comfort zone that one time because on that Super Bowl Sunday I met the love of my life. We cautiously dated for all of a week. And in the first year of our relationship Jenny met my parents, I travelled to Kansas City to meet hers, we moved in together, her parents flew to California and drove 5 hours north behind the Redwood Curtain to have Thanksgiving with my family, and I spent my first Christmas away from my family with her family. Jenny supported me through applying for and entering Grad School while working full time (aka I have not always been the most present or pleasant) and through loss of loved ones, and I have supported Jenny through job changes. We have been able to face financial challenges and have worked diligently to prepare for our financial future together.

    We knew pretty early on that we were a great match and in short order our families decided the same. Jenny proposed to me while hiking in Yosemite, of course my answer was yes. We had some work to do before making anything official. Asking for a blessing from each other’s parents and paying off our credit card debt, tradition and romance I know… We love and respect our families and work very hard to include them in our lives. We paid off our credit cards and asked for blessings, we both received a resounding YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The hardest decision was where to get married… We live in California, and sadly met after our right to marry had been removed in California. Once upon a time my ancestors left a legacy in Kansas City before heading out West. Jenny’s family is still in Kansas City and we want to share our lives with them whenever possible. In any case we could think of at least half of the guest list would be travelling. Kansas City holds history for both of our families and gives us the opportunity to legally wed in Iowa (a short drive away). We chose 2012 for many reasons, primarily finances and we have hope that the US Supreme Court will have weighed in on Prop 8 and with luck same-sex marriage will be an option no matter what state we are married in.

    We are very blessed with our families and their support, they all want to talk about details and cannot wait to affirm our love and embrace our marriage. For both of us our parents have made major strides in making peace that we would never have husbands. Jenny’s family is undeniably conservative, and mine while liberal is very traditional. They have gone from suggesting therapy and setting up blind dates with their friends’ sons to truly loving us for who we are and who we love.

    We are an example that anything is possible through love. Our families love for us and our love for each other was able to transform a once touchy topic into a cause for great celebration. We hope Kristy can document our love and union so that our celebration and commitment can be shared with hope. We are glad to share our union with as many communities as possible so that others can see the reverence we pay to the “institution of marriage”, the irreverence we pay to our own self-importance, and the joy that a love like ours can bring to all political, social, and religious leanings.

    • Joanna, First I just want to say I’m sorry I didn’t respond sooner. You ladies have said such beautiful, revealing things about yourselves and your relationships, it’s truly taking me a while to digest it all. I’m touched by your story, your choice to hold the wedding in Kansas and your family support. Thank goodness for Iowa (who would have thought) supporting EVERYONE’s rights. I’m so glad you’re willing to share your photos publicly and dig the way you stated it. Reverence vs. Irreverence = nice insight into your personalities.

      Best of luck!

      PS. Congrats on paying off those credit cards!! :) I know that battle well. It’s a great feeling and a wonderful way to enter into your new life together, DEBT FREE!

  • LauraJean

    A good friend who got engaged to her sweetsweetsweet fiancé just a few months after we got engaged just e-mailed me. Subject: You MUST submit for this! What’s a queer wannabe wedding blogger to do but sit down and get to typing? Here’s our story.

    My partner Laurie and I got engaged on Valentine’s Day this year. I was the “asker,” but it didn’t happen the way I had planned. We’re planning a June 2011 mid-sized wedding, which is a compromise between my desire to throw a 500 person blow out extravaganza potluck and Laurie’s need for an intimate, meaningful celebration with close friends and family. We’re going for a simple, budget-friendly, religious-but-maybe-not-in-a-church wedding in Colorado (Kristy, we’re neighbors! Even if we don’t win your free shoot, we already love your work!). The wedding will be a week or two after Laurie graduates with her PhD in social work, and I’m hoping to be ordained as a pastor in the gay-friendly United Church of Christ by then. (People have said I could marry us myself, at least from the religious end, but where’s the fun in that?) That’s about as far as we’ve gotten on the planning so far. For right now, we just need to start keeping notes on the brainstorms and advice that have come our way and to pick a venue.

    This August we’ll celebrate three years together. We share our adorable100 year old house in Denver with our kitty, two bunnies, lots of books and file cabinets, and a freshly planted garden (out back).

    We met through a mutual friend from grad school. Laurie was his campus minister first, but then she came out, left that community and our friend Kit became her matchmaker. She’s a planner, so the summer before she started her PhD program she planned to meet someone. That’s “someone” with a capital S. I’m not a planner, had finally recovered from tough breakup and was focused on my work and summer fun with friends. Kit convinced Laurie that the only way to find me sitting still was to meet me at church (yes, there’s a theme here). Our first date started on Sunday morning at my progressive church (where the pastor also happens to be gay and where I’m planning to be ordained). After church, we went out to Indian food for lunch and Laurie and I talked about gentrification, social justice and the challenges of being part of the solution rather than aggravating the problems. It was totally hot—in both of our favorite geeky ways. In the following weeks we went to a David Wilcox concert, spilled wine on each other, camped in Rocky Mountain National Park, and the rest really is history.

    We got engaged on Valentine’s Day this year after I planned a cute engagement request in the menu set-up, which totally fell through. She still said yes, and we were overwhelmed by the nearly 150 “likes” and comments on our Facebook accounts after we changed our statuses to “engaged.” I’ve been threatening to start a ‘my big fat lesbian wedding’-themed blog that chronicles our journey through our gay-girl engagement, wedding planning and family drama (there is just enough to make this whole thing interesting, and a little painful at times).

    Laurie is the sweet sanity in my life. We work hard together, absolutely crack each other up and discover the peace and wonder in the world and each other daily. She’s taught me about MTV, rest (quite a concept), and that I never, ever want a PhD. To her I offer my goofy humor, sensitivity to all things/people/animals ever lost or excluded, vegetarian cooking, love of greens (lettuce, kale, collards, etc), and thoughtful reason, tempered with love and deep faith. We just work. We want to share our commitment to each other with our families, our community, and yes, God. For us as a lesbian couple, this feels unbelievably right and normal, and also sort of revolutionary.

    We really like Kristy’s photography which is intimate and creative, and captures the moments that make each wedding unique. We’re so grateful for the opportunity to share our story on APW and “compete” for Kristy’s talents–although really, it’s just a great chance to hear about some wonderful couples and wish all them the very best in weddings, love and life. Cheers to all!

    • ED

      There is no peace until justice prevails. During over 20 years as pastor in the United Methodist Church the struggle of qualified, energetic and passionately faithful folks to become ordained has been denied because of sexuality. Their love for life, partners and others is enough reason to encourage and sanction LGBTQ persons to marry and to be ordained. The joy of each other’s company, the support for one another and the determination to share all of life together with ups, downs and in-betweens are my reasons for Laura and Laurie to have a compassionate, smiling and talented photographer take pictures of their special day. I have seen them together; tent camped with them and celebrated wonderful times with them. To me they each are wonderful people, always seeking justice for others. Now it’s time for justice for them and the growing peace which follows. I love these women. For you see, Laura is my daughter.

      Always love, and peace to all.

    • meg

      You guys are being totally adorable, and I love it. But, so you know, this is sort of a community generated community moderated giveaway. I can tell we now have friends and family exactly-ing, not just regular readers (I have my ways), and it’s not that kind of a contest. Kristy is going to do her very best to pick someone she loves and the APW community loves. So friends and family, we LOVE that you love the couple, but it voting like this isn’t swaying anything.

      • LauraJean

        Oh Meg! So sorry! didn’t mean to barge in on the party or invite crashers! Seriously, I think we got a little excited about the opportunity and asked all our buddies to help us out. I’ll put out the word to slow down the voting.

        I am however, very interested in continuing to follow you and become a part of your APW community, since the upcoming wedding is certainly a cause for seeking all the supportive web and in-person support we can find.

        I hope that we’ve generated some new interest in Kristy’s photography and your site. Again, I promise to tell our friends to slow down the voting. I’ve never done anything like a posting like this before. Huge apologies.

        All the best-

        • meg

          It’s so ok :) And thank you.

    • Laurajean,

      I’m really glad you found me and APW. It’s such a fabulous community. I’m consistently impressed by the depth and breadth of the people here. They challenge one another and I believe are making the world a better place :) at least certain parts of it. Anyway…

      Thank you for sharing and submitting your story. From the sounds of your plans, you’ll fit right in around here. I’d love to hear more about your experience with religion and the church, as I think it’s a really fascinating topic in it’s own right, but most definitely so when it’s so intrinsically tied to your relationship. So please be in touch, its lovely to know you’re here in Denver and I’d be so very happy to meet you and Laurie in person.

      Good luck with your wedding planning and to Laurie in her PhD studies!

      Sidenote: I love David Wilcox and have missed him on multiple occasions here in Denver and its driving me CRAZY.

    • Kathleen Mathieson


  • Hi, I just wanted to say that these shots are gor-ge-ous! Oh me Oh my! I don’t qualify (we are already having our wedding shot by an APW photographer)… BUT. I wanted to tell you I think you’re energy is capital F- Fantastic. I have come across the mindset of wealthier people = prettier people = better people… ie. in response to “raise your prices and you’ll get prettier weddings” and honestly… it makes me a little sick. What an absurd and materialistic view of life! And it is SO refreshing to find someone behind-the-scenes of wedding making who thinks this is hogwash… and a photographer no less. I am just grateful that people like you exist. Thanks!

  • My bother-in-law, wedding photog extrordonaire is in ATL, and has shot LGBTQ weddings and would love to shoot more. I am trying to get him to be a sponsor on APW… Please moderate to remove if this is inappropriate.

  • oops should read bother-in-law, but bother-in-law is pretty funny!

  • What is with my spelling? I cannot even correct properly.

  • First of all….I think this giveaway is wonderful…..and I already voted! Yay!!!

    Can I make a plea to Meg and to Sponsors to tread lightly when discussing what makes a good wedding that you like to shoot? In an effort to make one group of people feel included I think it’s really important not to blatantly insult and exclude another. I come to APW for the lack of judgement. Big budget and little budget brides of all shapes and sizes are welcomed because this is a place for sane people who want to feel that whatever our choices for our weddings are that they are OK as long as WE chose them. I might just be overly sensitive though because we didn’t DIY our invites, are hiring a florist, are paying for a venue and the song my father wants to use for our father/daughter dance was insulted by the sponsor in the comments.

    (and I’m not a girl with a monogrammed dance floor and ice sculpture….that’s not why I’m saying this)

    • Violet

      I think you make a good point and for my post, I did not mean to insult anyone! Who can say no to a party about love?!

    • Jess, you’re point is definitely well made. See K’s comment above (May 30, 2010 8:54 am) too.

      I think you’re right when you ask for a little less judgement on my part (and possibly others). My clients really are a range of budgets and I think every one of their weddings is beautiful. But for me it’s more the relationship/emotional value of the day that prevails as the focus. I know I’m often a pay to get it done kinda person. I’m always calculating costs in life. And often saving time is well worth the money. So I hear ya!

      That said I think your request should be considered and hopefully I didn’t offend in any way! Thanks for your honesty!

  • Violet

    Kristy and Meg, thank you both so much for being vocal allies of our LGBTQ community! And for everyone getting married, you are dead on with the simple and homemade vs over the top Wedding with a capitol W that takes over everyone’s life.
    My fiancee and I are getting married here in Seattle in August so we are out of the contest but we are doing nearly everything ourselves – both because our budget is basically nil but also because we don’t need all the trappings of the traditional wedding. Her mother and sister are coming out from Georgia and they are amazingly supportive, as are my liberal South African parents and really that’s all we need. We don’t have an officiant, photographer or video; my wife to be is making the food; and I am in charge of our only decorations – fresh flowers from Pike Place market. I’d love to throw a high budget party and splurge on food and wine but it’s not realistic.
    We are already as “legally married” as we can get in this state with a domestic partnership so our wedding is really about having our baby family supported by our loved ones. And that’s what counts. Not the dress. Not the fancy cocktails.
    Cheers to all the APW brides!

  • A

    I think the “exactly” function has its place, but perhaps not as a method of voting for these types of things. It seems to popularity-contest-y to me, like, whose wedding is “worth” vendor X giving up his or her time and money for— who decides that worth? It is, ultimately, up to the sponser to decide, right? Not just who gets the most “exactly” votes?

    • meg

      Don’t worry. There is never going to be any popularity contest winning around here. First of all, it’s not a contest, it’s a giveaway. Second, as you can see above, the people who were using it that way have been spoken to, and have apologized publicly. But no, I’m not going to stop allowing the community to weigh on these things.

    • meg

      And these things are always partially my judgment call as well. That’s how APW *always* works.

  • wow, that was really beautiful. I don’t know why I’m surprised, but I am completely touched.

  • Meg and Kristy, thank you for this giveaway.

    This is especially meaningful to me because I have a handful of LGBTQ family members who have been in long-term committed relationships. Despite much of our family being comprised of practicing Catholics who believe that being gay is wrong, we continue to love one another in the best way we know how. It hasn’t always been easy and we’re far from perfect, but I think we’ve come a long way.

    As for the partners of my loved ones, we are proud to call them family, too. In short, I love anyone who loves the people I love. And that’s all there is to it.

    I “Exactly-ed” my favorite entry and I look forward to seeing the results. (And by results I totally mean the winners AND the fabulous photos that I hope Meg will post!)

  • Thank you Meg and Kristy for this post. I LOVE that Kristy was inspired by her uncles to do this.

    The giveaway is especially meaningful for me because I have a handful of LGBTQ family members who are in long-term committed relationships. We’re a wacky, bossy, pervy, competitive, silly family, but there are 2 things about us that make me proud:

    (1) Despite being a conservative Catholic family with mixed views on homosexuality, we have been able to stick together and be loving (most of the time). We’ve come a long way. And that’s good enough for now. (2) I’m so proud to call the partners of my LGBTQ relatives part of our family. I LOVE ANYONE WHO IS LOVING TO THE PEOPLE I LOVE. And that’s all there is to it.

    I “Exactly-ed” my pick for the giveaway and I’m super excited to see the results. (And by results I mean the winners AND the photos, which I hope you’ll post, Meg!) Thanks again!

  • Oops, I posted twice because I thought the first one didn’t go through. But I got a chance to say thank you twice. YESSSSSSSSS!!! ;)

  • Kind of a lurker (not engaged although my boyfriend and I talk about it, we want to get financial and other issues figured out beforehand bc we figured out that’s our weakest area) but I saw this and just had to comment that one of the loveliest weddings I ever went to was for two women. They were good friends of my sister and her fiance couldn’t go at the last minute so they told her to bring me (I had just moved to the area and needed to make friends). Even though I barely knew the women personally at the time, their love and their families’ love was so apparent I went through more than a few tissues. It was a very traditional wedding in a Unitarian church and just lovely. They now have a 2 year old daughter who is one of the sweetest, smartest little girls I’ve ever met and I’m so grateful to call them friends.