Friday, July 11, 2014

Say I Do! DC 2014 Best in Show Award Winners

We had a fab time at Say I Do! DC 2014.  Once again, we gave attendees a chance to vote for vendors who "wowed" them in several categories. Those vendors who received the majority vote for each category get the bragging rights of being "Best in Show".

So without further delay, here are the Best in Show Award Winners for Say I Do! DC 2014!

Most Creative
eKate Photography

Best Booth Design
Chrysis Entertainment

Most Informative
Edible Incredibles Desserts

Most Fun
Charm City Cakes

Most Likely To Keep My Wedding Running Smoothly
Orchid Florist

Most Likely To Cry at My Wedding
Orchid Florist

Most Likely To Vogue at My Wedding
Charm City Cakes

Most Likely To Do The Thriller Dance At My Wedding
Chrysis Entertainment

Overall Favorite
Crystal City Wine Shop

Congrats to all the winners! 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Winners of the Say I Do! and 10,000 Couples Spring Cutest Couples are...

Paul and Bryan of Columbia, MD!!!


This lovely couple takes top honor as the winner of our
Spring Cutest Couples contest with almost 170 votes when polling closed on Friday, May 23rd!

They win a feature in 10,000 Couples Magazine along with a gift card for the 10,000 couples store!

In addition, they'll be getting a photoshoot courtesy of 

We want to thank all of our couples who entered, it was a tough competition and truly everyone is a winner!

Thank you!!!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Love Story: Bryan and Paul of Columbia, MD


Paul and Bryan 
of Columbia, MD

Paul and Byran were married October 5, 2013 in Baltimore, MD, they were wed on the 17th year anniversary of their first interaction! Amazing!

Bryan and Paul met through a mutual friend on October 5, 1996.  Paul a junior attending Bloomsburg University, Pennsylvania and Bryan working for a non-profit organization in New Jersey shared a long-distance relationship for 1.5 years.  Our initial meeting was over the phone on a long distance phone call. We sent pictures of ourselves, through the mail, to see what eachother looked like.  As the months progressed, we had our official first date in November.  We went to see Evita at the movie theater on Route 11 near Bloomsburg University.  From October 5, 1996 to present, Bryan and Paul have not let a day go by without speaking to one another.  After graduating from college, Paul moved to New Jersey to start a new life with Bryan.  Our path has led us to Maryland, Paul, a teacher in HCPSS and Bryan, Genreal Manager for Charm City Cakes.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Love Story: Laura and AJ of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


Laura (27) and Alexandra Jean (26)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

My name is Alexandra, but people call me Aj. My fiancé is Laura. Here is our story...

Laura and I met in biology class when I was 15 and she was 16. At the time, I hadn't even considered that I might be gay or bi. Laura started talking to me on instant messenger under an alias as a male. I very quickly fell in love with this imaginary person. When she came forward and told me the truth, I was devastated at first. I felt like I lost somebody. Eventually I realized that the person I fell for was Laura and I probably wouldn't have even given her a chance as a female.

Over that summer break, Laura and I fell in love. Unfortunately for us, my mother was having nothing of the sort. I was raised catholic, so me being gay was out of the question. We fought to be together, we snuck around to see each other. It was both painful and beautiful. Eventually, we gave up the fight. It wasn't easy for either of us, but we just couldn't do it anymore.

Over the next ten years, we never forgot each other. We would talk for periods of time but lose touch. I always wanted her, and she the same, but we would never tell each other that. There would always be a reason why it just couldn't be.

In September of 2012, I moved back home after ending a serious relationship. Laura found out that I was back in the area, and she also was single at the time. She came to my house and insisted that i go have a drink with her. I reluctantly went with her, fearing the worst. I knew that if I spent time with her that I would fall in love again. I was very afraid to have my heart broken, because I knew exactly how it felt to lose her.

Laura was persistent, she just would not go away. I had no choice but to give in and love her back. She proposed by January. To most people, this seemed too fast. I thought the same thing at first. When I thought about it, I realized that I have wanted this for 10 years. She has been that one that I've compared every person to with out even thinking about it. She is without any doubt the love of my life and the missing piece of my heart.

Laura and I plan to get married in November of next year. If it is not legal in Pennsylvania next year, we plan to just have the ceremony and then legalize it at the courthouse whenever it is legalized. My mother, over the years, has come to accept that I am truly bisexual and not just looking for attention. Laura's family loves me, and mine loves her. Our life is beautiful, and love is love. 

Click here to vote for Laura and Alexandra Jean in the Say I Do! and 10,000 Couples Cutest Couple Contest

Love Story: Kaitlyn and Melissa of Baltimore, Maryland

Kaitlyn (24) and Melissa (26)
Baltimore, Maryland

Marriage Plans...

We are planning on getting married! We just got engaged on May 11, 2014 at a vineyard in central Virginia, and we are excitedly starting the wedding planning process. Our goal is to get married in August 2015, although we have a lot of details to sort out before picking our set date.

First Meeting...

Tell us briefly how you meet (your love story) and how long you've been together. -- We met online in late summer of 2013, so we've been together almost a year now. When we first started talking, we were emailing back and forth novels that took hours to write. For our first Skype date, I put on perfume and she ate a mint (we still laugh about the fact that we were both this nervous that we didn't think that these things didn't make sense for only a video date). We rearranged our schedules to meet in-person as soon as we could. We joke that we had the worst first date in history because we were both so nervous and not ourselves at all, but we had clicked so well talking that, thankfully, we went on a second date that was much better! We moved in together shortly after we began officially dating due to circumstances causing us both to need to move at the exact same time. She was living in New York, I was living in Virginia, and we ended up with an apartment in Maryland. We quickly adopted two dogs to grow our little family, and we just got engaged!

And, they attended Say I Do! Virginia!

Before we were engaged, I dragged her to the event in Northern Virginia. She was not in her zone at all, while I was having a blast decorating my own cupcake and chatting with vendors. We played up our differences, as we always do, and got some laughs from vendors who were amused by how unamused she was and how overly-enthusiastic I was. We actually ended up finding our photographer who we're now using through the event AND we won a gift card from one of the vendors, so I would say it was definitely worth it!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Giveaway: Vinyl Wall Design Courtesy of Simply Said by Susan

Thanks to Simply Said by Susan, we are giving away this lovely vinyl wall design which reads
"A True Love Story Never Ends"

What a perfect adornment to any room in the house.  All are welcomed to enter, we will select one winner. Winner must confirm within 48 hours of being notified of winning.


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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Giveaway: All-Access Pass to the GayCharlotte Film Festival (Admits 2)!

                       Winner gets an all access pass to the 
                               GayCharlotte Film Festival!!
               Follow the instructions below to enter to win! 

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Monday, April 7, 2014

Spotted Award Winner: Crystal Beng of Cherry Blossom Weddings

What are the Spotted Awards?
The Say I Do! Spotted Awards is our way of recognizing and bringing attention to those businesses that stand on the side of equality and love. We feel that all too often those businesses who refuse service to gays and lesbians receive more attention (though negative) than those businesses that have always stood in alliance with the LGBT community. We want to change that by highlighting businesses who stand for love and equality.   It also serves to provide examples to other businesses on how they can be more diverse and inclusive.

We are super excited to announce our final Spotted Award winner of the Spring Spotted Awards, Crystal Beng of Cherry Blossom Weddings! 

Read about Crystal of Cherry Blossom Weddings Below...

Cherry Blossom Weddings specializes in day-of coordination, partial planning, and LGBT weddings across Hampton Roads. While we know there isn’t a difference between a gay wedding and a straight wedding, until the rest of the world catches on, we still have some hurdles to jump.  We’re active in the community and rub elbows with Hampton Roads Pride, HRBOR, and Equality Virginia.  Cherry Blossom Weddings is passionate about marriage equality, because after all, “marriage by any other name is not equal.”

Crystal Beng
Head Wedding Ninja
Cherry Blossom Weddings, LLC
757-228-5494 (call/ text)

Photo credits: Liz Maryann Photography; the group shot was done by Fresh Look Photography

Friday, April 4, 2014

Say I Do! Anniversary Giveaway with Good Day Greetings!

We are so excited to have another great giveaway in honor of our 5th Anniversary! We've partnered with Good Day Greetings to bring an awesome opportunity to win a $30 shopping spree in their shop plus a t-shirt and pen!

Don't wait, enter today! And be sure to support LGBT owned and LGBT-affirming business!

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Monday, March 31, 2014

Spotted Award Winner: Bethel Nathan of Ceremonies by Bethel

What are the Spotted Awards?

The Say I Do! Spotted Awards is our way of recognizing and bringing attention to those businesses that stand on the side of equality and love. We feel that all too often those businesses who refuse service to gays and lesbians receive more attention (though negative) than those businesses that have always stood in alliance with the LGBT community. We want to change that by highlighting businesses who stand for love and equality.   It also serves to provide examples to other businesses on how they can be more diverse and inclusive.

We are so excited to announce our second of 3 Spotted Award winners, Bethel Nathan of Cermonies by Bethel of San Diego, CA!

From the very beginning, Bethel has been a supporter of, and advocate for, marriage equality.  Until Prop 8 was removed, she regularly celebrated couples in commitment ceremonies, and always promised that when the day returned, she would happily legally marry them.  Once marriage equality returned to California, nothing made her happier than not having to distinguish between any of her couples or their commitments.  Now she gets to enjoy celebrating couples coming in from all over the country to get married in San Diego, in celebrations big and small!

As Bethel puts it, "I want to be part of your special day. As a celebrant unaffiliated with any specific religion or organization, I will design, create, and perform a unique ceremony just for you, as it will be about you. Your ceremony can be simple, traditional, contemporary, or as elaborate and eclectic as you desire. Regardless of the style, it will be perfect for you. I believe your ceremony should be a personal reflection of your current relationship and of your future years together.  Ultimately, it should celebrate your union, touch your hearts, and inspire your loved ones with a ceremony that is special and meaningful to you, whatever that may be!

Website –
Blog –
Facebook –
Twitter –

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Custom Wire Hanger Giveaway with Jenn Leece Designs

Winner will receive a wire hanger creation from Jenn Leece Designs! Winner can choose either Mr and Mr and Mrs and Mrs wire hanger designs!
Follow the instructions below to enter to win! Winner is responsible for shipping costs of prize ($15 CAD).

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Spotted Award Winner: Shaun Cox of A DIY Affair Weddings and Events

What are the Spotted Awards?

The Say I Do! Spotted Awards is our way of recognizing and bringing attention to those businesses that stand on the side of equality and love. We feel that all too often those businesses who refuse service to gays and lesbians receive more attention (though negative) than those businesses that have always stood in alliance with the LGBT community. We want to change that by highlighting businesses who stand for love and equality.   It also serves to provide examples to other businesses on how they can be more diverse and inclusive.

We are so excited to announce our first 3 Spotted Award winners starting with a D.I.Y. Affair Weddings and Events based out of Cleveland, TN!

About a D.I.Y. Affair

We are a wedding coordination boutique based out of Cleveland Tennessee serving the entire  Chattanooga Tennessee area. We provide full-service coordination services for couples that have the planning process covered but need a trusted source to manage the important details of the big day. We were founded on a philosophy that encompases embracing people, no matter the race of a couple, no matter the sexual orientation, no matter the religious practices we just want to serve all people with the most high level of service possible and make their wedding day the best day of their lives. Being a lesbian owned business it important to me that not only do I carry out this philosophy but that the people I hire adopt this philosophy and the vendors I work with support and apply this same philosophy so that the wedding experience is equatable the same from start to finish. We don't parade that were lesbian owned nor do we market ourselves to be the gay/lesbian wedding coordinators in town because we are so much more than that, but you can always count on us to use inclusive language and just make people feel like people without regards to their differences. It's just about the little things and being open to learn those things your not quite sure of.


Monday, March 24, 2014

Say I Do! Wedding & Anniversary Expo!

We are so super excited to hold our 5th Say I Do! LGBT Wedding Expo! We figured since we are celebrating the anniversary of our 5th annual event, that many of our couples who attending since 2010 were celebrating anniversaries as well. So in the honor of all of our beautiful couples, we've updated the event to Say I Do! LGBT Wedding and Anniversary Expo. We are celebrating love, marriage and equality in a grand style! All engaged and married couples are welcome to this grand celebration of pride and LOVE! 
for ticket details!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Instructions: The Say I Do! First Look Giveaway

Enter to win 2 tickets to Say I Do! DC 2014!  We are giving you a first look at our 2014 event by revealing our 5 of our exhibitors. The good news is the 5 exhibitors we are revealing are returning exhibitors from our 2013, which should making guessing a little bit easier.

Correctly guess the vendor name and you will be entered to win tickets, it is that simple!

How to win:
1. We will post a clue that describes a Say I Do! 2014 vendor
2. We will link to our image gallery on Facebook where the vendor logo is located
3. Correctly guess the vendor using the clue and post it under status that provides the clue. Follow directions, clue may be posted on FB, Twitter or our blog. By correctly guessing the vendor you will be entered to win. Incorrect guesses are not eligible. Only one guess per person per day
4. We will announce one clue each day through Friday
5. The ticket winner will be announced by Thursday, March 20th

Visit us on Facebook for the first clue coming up on Monday, March 9th at 3pm EST.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Why Being "LGBT-Friendly" Is No Longer Enough

For years, I've been asking the question of what it means to be "LGBT-friendly". Sure, we say our Say I Do! event features LGBT-friendly vendors but there was always the nagging question in my mind, “Is being  ‘LGBT-friendly’  enough?” I wasn't sure what enough would be or how to go the extra step.
And like a sack of bricks, it hits me. Being LGBT-friendly isn't enough. As a matter of fact, if current events and events I've personally witnessed are any indicator - and they are-  being "friendly" to the LGBT community really means nothing at all.
I am a big fan of RuPaul's Drag Race. This show delivers everything to keep me entertained and I usually come away with a new phrase or word. I swear, its pure gold! But, I digress. Anyone who has watched this show knows that while some of the contestants may act friendly towards each other (at times) they are all not friends, not at all! The many ways in which these queens “throw shade” is astounding. It's damn near brilliant. It makes for great TV but in real life, who needs someone who is just "friendly" to you?  Smile in your face, talk about you behind your back- I'll pass!
For the past five years, we have been producing the Say I Do! LGBT Wedding Expo. Part of my job is to find vendors and businesses who want to work with the same-gender loving community and who are as excited about helping us plan our weddings as they would be with any couple. I wish I could say it's been all roses; I wish I could say that every person, every business has jumped for joy to work with our couples.  That has not been the case. I have had people step away from me;  I mean, literally take a couple of steps back when I told them that I produce wedding shows for the LGBT community. The same people who were in my face and excited to meet and talk to me were no longer interested in networking when they found out what it was I do. It was as if being gay was contagious or standing next to me somehow transposed my "sin" onto them. I even had a venue manager tell me that while they will do gay weddings, the wedding can be held in the back pavilion; and that no, they would never put a gay or lesbian couple on their marketing materials because they are "family-friendly". These things I cannot make up! Though,  I do wish it was fiction.
The cornucopia of what I like to call "luke-warm" businesses is dizzying. These are businesses that will take your money but will talk about you behind your back.  They really don't like you because you're gay but will put up with you for the check.  Ask yourself- If someone is just putting up with you, do you think they're going to give you the best service or the best product? Of course not! Funny though, these businesses call themselves "LGBT-friendly"! If the standard of "friendly" they use is the same standard that Christians who proclaim “love the sinner, hate the sin” when they refer to gays, or are like the "friendly" we see on RuPaul's Drag Race or on a Real Housewives episode- that is a friend that the LGBT community does not need!  Ask any of the politicians who passed the Arizona bill to discriminate against gays, I'm sure they'll tell you they are "gay-friendly" as well!
If you judge me by anything other than my character, I don't need your services or products nor do you deserve my money.  No tea, no shade- just real talk!
Part of my job is to fend off these types of businesses so that the couples that attend Say I Do! Events- or look to us to recommend businesses to help them plan their big day- don't have to deal with them. I wish there was more we could do to let people know that while certain business will take your money, they are fundamentally opposed to who you are on the basis of who you love.
It may be impossible to ensure that every time money leaves your hands it is given to a person, business or entity that believes in the right for two consenting adults to love each other regardless of gender but we can make sure that larger planned out efforts, such as a wedding, are only conducted with businesses who affirm us not just tolerate us. The decision has been made to move from saying "LGBT-friendly" to "LGBT-affirming" when describing the businesses that participate at Say I Do! events.  Affirming means:  I accept you for who you are, regardless of who you love and I won't treat you any differently because of it. Affirming is all or nothing. You can't fake it. You can't affirm someone and then not like or agree with what it is you are supposedly affirming. Maybe you can, but it would be really hard to fake. When you affirm someone, you don't tell them that you can work with them but they have to hold their "gay wedding" at the back of the venue. Recently, I fell head over heels for a unique and fun game for weddings.  I noticed that none of the sample images showed same-sex couples or indicated any same-sex partnerships. I talked to the company and suggested that they make mock-up samples featuring same-sex couples. Two weeks later, I received an email saying they would not do it. Over twenty images of straight couples but they could not accommodate one image of a same-sex couple. But once again, they'd be happy to take my order! I'm invisible and so are others like me but you want my very tangible money? No, thank you! We need businesses that affirm us without hesitation. I cannot settle for anything less than affirming for the couples who attend our events and trust us for advice. And whether you decide to attend a Say I Do! event or not, you shouldn't settle for anything less either!
Say I Do! is in the process of creating a badge for businesses to display and let others know that they are affirming of the LGBT community. The badge will signify to our community that you can shop here, we will treat you with dignity and respect, and we will not deny your right to be served at this establishment because of who you love. Further, it means that if another patron has an issue with your presence because you are gay, we will stand for your right to be who you are regardless of what others may think, feel or publicize. That's a big statement.  It’s on the side of equality and justice and it is simply the only way to counter discrimination and to let people know that bigotry, by any means, will not be tolerated.  There is no room for intolerance or hate in love.
It is my hope that the words "LGBT-affirming" speaks volumes and indicates the seriousness of our cause and how committed we are to our couples.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Steven and Stacey's Engagement

Steven and Stacey were gracious enough to share some pictures from their engagement. Absolutely heart melting!  The couple resides in Virginia Beach, VA and plane to tie the knot in the fall of 2015!