A Gold and Wine Lutheran Wedding in Los Altos, CA: Alexis + Tasha

A Gold and Wine Lutheran Wedding in Los Altos, CA: Alexis + Tasha

We got married at the Immanuel Lutheran Church in Los Altos, California. We choose this location because of its beautiful sanctuary and the love we were shown by the day-of coordinator. We both have a strong relationship with God, and know that a lot of Christian churches are not as willing or open to support same-sex marriages, but Immanuel Lutheran opened their doors to us with the upmost respect and love.

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Samantha + English's Puptastic Same-Sex Newlywed Portraits in Columbia, SC

Samantha + English's Puptastic Same-Sex Newlywed Portraits in Columbia, SC

English and Sam decided to bring along their two dogs during their session for photos of all of them together as a family. If you know me, you know that I am always happy when my clients bring along their fur babies. English and Samantha's pups, Kerwin and Zoe, wore a matching bandanna and bowtie set, and rocked out their photos with the couple

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3 Actions to Take in the Wake of the SCOTUS Decision

3 Actions to Take in the Wake of the SCOTUS Decision

Without a doubt this ruling will be used as precedence for even more discriminatory cases. It is a reminder of the work ahead of us. It is a blow to the spirit and well-being of the LGBTQIA+ community. It is a call to action to those of us who call ourselves allies. So here are three actions to take NOW to respond to this decision.

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Being an Inclusive Officiant // The Joy of Saying "Yes!"

Being an Inclusive Officiant // The Joy of Saying "Yes!"

A couple of weeks after September 11, 2001, I got on a plane, flew to D.C., and joined two women in holy and completely illegal matrimony. Same-sex weddings were a crime in the state of Virginia, carrying a two-year prison sentence and a $250,000 fine. I was not concerned about going to prison. I was a tad concerned about terrorism and the war that was breaking out, and a bit worried about my own safety. One of the brides was a Marine, and her father, also a Marine, had threatened to come shoot both brides if he could find them. I did not wish to be shot. I am an avoider of arguments, embarrassing social situations, and conflict of all kinds. I did not wish to be shot or shouted at or even to receive snarky, sarcastic comments. But I also could not stand by, and say no, and refuse to marry this couple of women who loved each other and wanted God’s blessing on their union. So I said yes.

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Real Couples // Versace Elopement: Ethan + Ricky

Real Couples // Versace Elopement: Ethan + Ricky

It was actually really hard to write about our relationship without just saying I LOVE THE SHIT OUT OF HIM like a thousand times. (laughs)

I would love to say that we met in a bookstore on a crisp autumn day, but alas we met online—an anticlimactic beginning to the most fulfilling and deepest love of my life. I got to marry my best friend and the best person I know. He is the calm to my storm, the voice of reason to my extra-ness, and the smartest person I have ever met. We complement each other in so many ways — it’s almost hard to put into words. We just get each other and everything works. Our relationship is easy. 

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Real Couples // Urban Riverside Engagement: Daniel + Cameron

Real Couples // Urban Riverside Engagement: Daniel + Cameron

"I proposed to Cameron at Magic Kingdom via caricature. Plans were for me to propose to him on our cruise we took via karaoke, but they only had karaoke the first night of the cruise, and we were at dinner during that time, so I missed my opportunity. When we arrived at Magic Kingdom after our cruise, I had his ring in my backpack and no clue how I was getting it on his finger!! After lunch we noticed a caricature artist, and Cameron was excited, as we had been wanting to do one! There were no appointments for a while so we walked away, but then I came back and booked the appointment and told them what I was planning: she was to draw me on one knee proposing. When the time arrived I was beyond nervous and fidgety; a crowd was gathering and Cameron asked the artist if crowds were common. She played along and said, 'Oh yes, it happens all the time!' When she was finished and turned the picture around, I was on one knee and asking the big question, while Cameron was confused as to his positioning in the picture...a few (what seemed like minutes) seconds later, he realized what was going on, and with tears in his eyes he said YES!!!"

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Real Families // Surprise Proposal in the Park: Holly + Kandie

Real Families // Surprise Proposal in the Park: Holly + Kandie

Kandie asked me to help plan and photograph a surprise proposal for the love of her life, Holly. We had to keep the secret for weeks — even when Holly was grilling Kandie about why she booked an "anniversary" session for them. Kandie created the sweetest book about how they met and why she loves Holly so much, and she gave it to her in the middle of our session. She, Holly, and Kandie's daughter read the book together, until the last page where it popped the big question: "Will you marry me?" Holly said absolutely yes, and they both cried so many happy tears. With the sun setting in the background and so much love between them, it was an absolutely perfect proposal.

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Real Couples // Remote Forest Mansion Wedding: Chris + Brian

Real Couples // Remote Forest Mansion Wedding: Chris + Brian

They were married on the coast, celebrated under a tent filled with everyone they loved, and only escaped for a moment to hold hands and walk on the sandy beach. Two men in love, married by the water, dancing through the night. 

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6 Ways to Approach the Challenges of Being the Non-Biological Parent in A Two-Mom Family

6 Ways to Approach the Challenges of Being the Non-Biological Parent in A Two-Mom Family

I am typing this while our little dude naps in my arms. I know, I know, there are probably a dozen reasons why that will cause detrimental habits with his sleeping or may cause him not to go to college. But, for now, I am not worried about that. I just picked him up from daycare, and those cheeks burrowed on my chest are exactly what the end of the day calls for. One thing I have learned in eight months as a new parent is that there is an abundance of information, personal opinions, and stories about how things used to be in terms of raising a child that inundate us (and feed our anxiety) every day. However, with the abundance of information available about parenthood, there is a major gap in information and resources available for same-sex parents. I have thought about writing up a bit about our experience and chickened out a few times, but I struggled a lot with becoming a mom (by way of my wife), and I am hoping to give voice to the growing complexity and great diversity in what constitutes a family.

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Woke Wednesday // Meet Cassandra Zetta, an LGBTQ+ Wedding Photographer in Cincinnati

Woke Wednesday // Meet Cassandra Zetta, an LGBTQ+ Wedding Photographer in Cincinnati

Cassandra: June 2012 was momentous for me personally, as I got married and officially started my business in that same month. Planning a same-sex wedding prior to marriage equality, while it was mostly wonderful for us, still stirred up emotions that should never be associated with such an exciting experience. We dealt with anxiety, nervousness, and worry about how vendors would treat us. With every email sent, the question "Are you comfortable working with a same-sex couple?" was included so that there weren't any uncomfortable surprises later. A bit of our joy was stolen from us simple because of who we were. For these reasons, I realized it was imperative to effect change in the wedding industry, and I knew I could make a difference with photography. And so, I overhauled my business in the fall of 2013 to refocus on LGBTQ+ weddings and elopements. The work I am doing now fills my heart and soul in a way I never could have imagined possible. Being able to share my passion and mission, while having life experiences that allow for a true understanding of those in the community, while inviting them to love openly and honestly, is a gift that I am honored and privileged to give.

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Real Couples // A Family Affair: Toni + Amy

Real Couples // A Family Affair: Toni + Amy

These brides wanted to spend a night with their closest humans...despite the fact that some of the most important people in their lives didn't approve or show up at the wedding because of the fact that the couple is gay. Toni, our black bride, was married to a white man, and her family was fine with that. But after she divorced, she later fell in love with Amy, and it has caused a rift in her relationship with her parents. Despite this, the couple stayed true to themselves and celebrated the love that they KNOW is right for them.

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When We Are Different, We Are Also The Same

When We Are Different, We Are Also The Same

“I grew up in love!” That is a statement I hope a majority of us can say with some degree of certainty. Love as a constant and transforming force in our lives. It might have come from our parent(s), or a friend, a trusted teacher, a like-minded grouping of people, or even the love of your life. Whether it came from all these spaces or just one, we know it. It can sometimes be impossible to describe, but it’s something we feel, and we let it guide us toward what makes life grand.

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