We have always supported same sex marriage in our company. We had the pleasure to design for the Proud FM Big Fat Gay Wedding contest. This incredible wedding took place in the Conservatory at Casa Loma. This truly inspiring location took their wedding design to another level.
Our amazing brides Anaci and Crystal wanted a purple and orange wedding and that is exactly what we designed. We custom covered white chairvari chairs in deep orange fabric. The stunning contrast of purple and fuchsia flowers balanced their incredible dinning table. Clear acrylic chairs paired beautifully at this long table of 25 people. Look for images of their design posted in the next issue of Elegant Wedding.
I like the article posted by the Toronto Star in support of the awesome show. I will be there to support the show next year.
From the Toronto Star, Nancy J. WhiteLiving Reporter...Taylor Read and Michael Gabriel talk about wedding nerves and planning their lives together, ahead of their wedding next year.
Sure there will be the standard booths — multi-tier cakes, lovey-dovey photos, classic white bridal dresses, beautiful country club venues. But there will be flamboyant flourishes, too: a man in a Goth black crinoline wedding dress and a woman wearing a tuxedo with a top-hat fascinator, a hula-hoop contortionist, a belly dancer and a booth where the Brass Vixens pole dancers show their wares.
It’s a true rainbow of possibility.
But best of all for Read and Gabriel, no one is going to chirpily ask, “Where’s the bride?”
That’s what the engaged couple has heard from some wedding vendors, as well as many surprised faces. “It’s not rude, just awkward,” explains Read, 24. It’s like having to come out to every butcher, baker and centrepiece-maker. They once ventured into a regular bridal show and felt extremely out of place.
“I’ve wanted a traditional wedding since I was a little kid,” says Read, a Markham landscaper. “Now I’m able to live that fantasy. To me it’s just a matter of cutting out Barbie and putting in Ken.”
Gay weddings have come a long way since Rev. Brent Hawkes performed the first ceremony 10 years ago wearing a bulletproof vest. The death threats were so concerning that he had 12 bodyguards and 50 police officers in the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto.
In the early days, he remembers, the ceremonies often involved just the couple and a few friends. “Now there is family, grandparents, cousins, co-workers, neighbours bused in,” says Hawkes, senior pastor at the Metropolitan. “In that sense they’ve become more typical.”
But not totally typical.
Joan Brennan, a London caterer, had heard enough homophobic-reaction stories that she started wedding shows featuring gay-friendly vendors in Guelph, Kitchener, London, and now Toronto. Her aim, she says bluntly: “Let’s keep the joy and get rid of the crap.”
Gay media personality Shaun Proulx, who will host the Wedding Show, seconds that motion. Before they were married, he and his fiancé kidded that Proulx was the bride. When they visited a mansion they wanted to rent for the wedding, their planner lightheartedly said to the owners, “This is Shaun. He’s the bride.”
“You could feel the entire energy in the room change. They were very uncomfortable,” says Proulx. “It was just our shtick, gay camp. I’m 6’4,” — no blushing bride.”
Sure enough, the mansion owners called the next day: The place was no longer available.
The couple got married last month at a friend’s stunning lakeside cottage, wearing custom-made suits and watching fireworks. “That was our theatrical thing.”
Toronto had three gay wedding shows starting in 2004, in the heady days following same-sex marriage becoming legal, when Yanks came in droves to tie the knot. But as the Canadian backlog got married and Americans could wed in a handful of states, the shows petered out. Even the once-thriving weddings section of Toronto’s Pink Pages, the gay community business directory, died out.
No one is sure how many gay marriages take place in Toronto. The city no longer tracks the number of same-sex certificates it issues. It was 747 in 2008, compared with 1,034 in 2003.
Antoine Elhashem, publisher of the Pink Pages, suspects that today’s gay wedding probably costs about the same as a straight wedding — an average $23,300, according to Wedding Bells magazine.
So how, beyond the obvious, is a same-sex wedding different?
“They’re more moving, more emotional than a typical straight wedding,” says Erika Hanchar, a partner in Rowell Photography. “At some point in the ceremony people talk about what the gay community has overcome.”
They’re less bound to traditions. Brennan catered a lesbian garden wedding where one woman wore a massive, hooped Louis XIV-era dress and carried a metre-wide bouquet of roses. The other woman wore an Yves St. Laurent Le Smoking female tuxedo with a lei of orchids.
While Read and Gabriel will go for the classy tuxedo look, they’re thinking of dancing down the aisle to some fun, lively song. (Their more immediate problem: Getting their eight bridesmaids to agree on a dress. “It’s hard,” says Gabriel. “Taylor and I don’t know how dresses should look.”)
“The entertainment factor can be over the top at a gay wedding,” says Brennan. “We know how to throw a party.”
Aerial acrobats, contortionists and human Greco pillars — big, ripped guys — are popular at gay as well as straight weddings, according to Eli Chornenki of Zero Gravity Circus.
At a recent Italian-Newfie lesbian wedding, Dallas Noftall, better known as “DJ Dallas,” was a hit with her Newfie Stomp and dance mix of a classic Italian love song.
Just as some wedding receptions must include When Irish Eyes Are Smiling or Hava Nagila, a gay wedding has its anthems, especially I Will Survive.
“It’s huge,” says Brennan. “All the divas sing their hearts out.”
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