APW publishes Queer weddings a lot. We share them on Instagram. Our vendors always include them in their portfolios. So when I was pulling this round-up of said vendors recent favorite Queer weddings together, I didn’t think it would feel different than any other round-up. But once I opened the draft and scrolled through Queer wedding after Queer wedding, each as completely unique as the humans in them, well, I started tearing up at the sight of so many different Queer identities and voices taking up space.
But since I am not in a Queer partnership, nor am I wedding photographer, I knew I couldn’t do an introduction to them any justice. So I asked our longest-running sponsor, photographer Kelly Prizel (who you may recognize from her classic “Pretty, Witty, and Gay” banner ad over to your right), to talk about why it’s important to give space to Queer weddings and Queer voices:
APW has been seeking out and putting forth voices of all varieties from its start. As a lesbian planning her illegal wedding back in 2008, I found APW and was startled. I had been just hoping for tolerance from the wedding industry and mostly found, well, nothing. Not even tolerance. People like me? We didn’t exist. We didn’t even matter. But there was APW, talking up a storm and building a community around those that didn’t get to see themselves anywhere else.
There is a lot of talk about how “love is love,” and I enjoy and celebrate that sentiment. To break away from the shadows is no small thing, and representation matters. A whole fucking lot. But it’s time for more. “People are different from each other,” as Eve Sedgwick, a wonderful queer theorist once said. And APW and it’s vendors understand that. Each of its readers is part of a whole but also each brilliantly unique with different voices to contribute.
This roundup celebrates both the APW community as a whole but also how each story is representation of a smaller world created and celebrated by people in love who have thrown up their hands and said, “Celebrate with us!” And APW helps them do just that.
Couples that combine and wrestle with tradition are some of my favorite to photograph. Brandon and Anil wanted to celebrate and honor both their cultures, Jewish and Indian, and still make it feel like “them”. So cue the amazing moment when they both went up in chairs for the Hora in their custom Indian outfits; Anil’s face literally bursting with shock and joy. The total and utter amazement made everyone in the room that much more excited. Now everyone was laughing and smiling. I love how energy is infectious like that.
This sweet elopement was so charming and perfect. Their chosen family was there to celebrate with them and it was a perfect reflection of Queer community and the way we all show up for each other.
Don and Ryan have been together 12 years and I just loved how excited they were about their wedding and the emotions that they expressed throughout the day. The sweet moment of laughter as they walked down the aisle together after one of them almost tripped. The pure “ready to party” look as they entered their dance floor. A good friend married them and that added another personal touch. Along with Ryan, an illustrator, hand drew all the place cards with mini portraits of all the guests. Those little touches are what make weddings unique and theirs was just awesome from start to finish!
Kate and Caroline are some of the best humans, and I knew that immediately upon meeting them. Their smiles are infectious, their complete adoration of each other is obvious, and they’re so warm-hearted they make everyone feel immediately welcome. I knew their wedding was a place I wanted to be: a glitter and rainbow celebration of all things love. The day was made up of pieces that spoke to them personally and specifically: from the bright pink ombre cake to the metallic and sparkle shoes to the rainbow attendants.
During the ceremony Darren gave mark a pair of special glasses that allowed Mark to see in “color” for the first time. Darren had been color blind his life and it was so beautiful to see him see the world like this for the first time.
Jo and Jude look at their wedding rings as powerful symbols of a right they’ve waited years to claim. “I’ll be 67 in a few weeks, and it’s my first marriage. Jo is 64, and it’s her first marriage. So this is very emotional for both of us, and getting the rings is part of that,” Jude says. “This is a senior citizen wedding of people who never dreamed that we could be married by a priest in a church. This is a big deal.”
Caty and Heather have a connection unlike any couple I have ever worked with. They are kind, gentle, and so unbelievably tuned into to each other. Their wedding was nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains on a sunny day in front of the most supportive and tight knit friends and family I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. Caty’s father delivered a line during his toast that I will not soon forget: “While it’s overwhelming giving your daughter away, it is also satisfying knowing she is marrying one of the greatest women I’ve ever known.”
Sabrina and Shalita were married on August 8, 2018 in an intimate San Francisco City Hall wedding. Shalita Grant is a Tony Award-nominated actress and a former cast member of NCIS: New Orleans. Sabrina Skau is an accomplished commercial director. Both Sabrina and Shalita were absolutely radiant and bursting with joy on their wedding day. During their ceremony, they were surrounded by the love of their family and friends.
Sabrina and Shalita met on Her, the dating app for lesbians. This had been the first time Shalita used a dating app, and Sabrina was her first and only date. San Francisco City Hall was chosen as a venue in part because it was the location of California’s first legal same-sex marriage. Shalita wore a custom gown with lace pants by Clara Diaz, and Sabrina wore a custom suit from Bindle & Keep. The newlyweds enjoyed an outdoor reception at a private home in Palo Alto.
This was the funnest wedding ever! After their city hall ceremony and portraits, we did a SF tour on a cable car. Everyone got a bit tipsy, and it was a blast. Though it was challenging to photograph on a moving vehicle, I loved every minute of it. We went to the Golden Gate Bridge, Palace of Fine Arts, Giants Stadium, Potrero Hill and I got off in Hayes Valley where everyone went to dinner.
Lauren and Katie love the water, so having their wedding at Mystic Seaport made a lot of sense. It’s right in the middle of the Historic Mystic area, so it’s surrounded by ships and docks. It’s very peaceful, even more so since their wedding day was overcast and rainy. We had umbrellas though so we ventured out and made the best of it! My favorite part of their wedding was when we took a boat ride before their ceremony, right up to when they walked down the aisle. They were so excited, and it was really fun to see all their guests welcoming them at the docks.
Ellen and Delia’s wedding was special because of the joy they and their families clearly felt, which you can see all over everyone’s face! They were so delightful to photograph because of how obviously head over heels in love they’ve been for their whole relationship.
Leigh Ann and Andrea chose a bouquet made from pages of their favorite books from their favorite writers! They prioritized and set aside lots of portrait time so that we could visit all our favorite places and they would be able to look back on themselves and their love first and foremost.
Iritze and Yesenia had an intimate mid-week wedding in the Santa Cruz Mountains with just close friends and family. They chose a beautiful forest spot close to home so no one had to go too far. Their wedding was so awesome because they celebrated in a way that was absolutely personal, meaningful, and best for them.
WHO: SILVIA AND SILVIA | WHERE: CENTRAL PARK, NY | PHOTOGRAPHER: SASHA CHOU PHOTOGRAPHY
Silvia and Silvia traveled all the way from Italy to get married in NYC’s Central Park with a few of their nearest and dearest, and after the ceremony traveled around the city to take photos at the Brooklyn Bridge, Times Square and other iconic spots.
The unbelievable first look between Mollie & Maureen was one of my very favorite parts of the day. And drag performances! Their ceremony was also very special and emotional. Paraphrasing Mollie’s Mother- This magical scene would not have been possible a few short years ago. We remembered and were filled with gratitude for all those who worked so hard for their right to marry. Maureen was one of those people through her work at the Human Rights Campaign as director of social media where she and her colleagues created the iconic hashtag #lovewins.
What I loved most about Sylvia and Katie’s wedding was how they wanted their families and friends to truly be present and enjoy the day, so they made it a phone free event! They hired a vendor that locked everyone’s phones in bags (yes, even their parents’ phones!) so no photos or video could be taken and shared on social media during the ceremony AND reception. It was a blessing and after the shock wore off, people didn’t even notice not being tied to their cellphones!
There were other little touches that made it extra special! They are very family focused and it shows. Katie repurposed and wore Sylvia’s mother’s wedding dress. Katie’s father was their officiant and Sylvia’s grandmother was the ring-bearer.