Category Archives: United States

Engagement: Holly & Becky

From Becky: Holly and I met in the fall of 2005 when both of us were students studying music at Santa Barbara City College. We’re both singers, so we sang together in a couple of choirs at school, and eventually joined a few more choirs around Santa Barbara. I was in a relationship at the time, but I always felt something different when I was around Holly. We saw each other most days of the week and shared a lot of mutual friends, so as the years went by, we grew closer together. By early 2016, the timing was right and it was painfully obvious we liked each other. One night after hanging out with friends, she brought up the elephant in the room and we admitted feelings for each other. The rest, as they say, is history.

We got engaged in March 2017 in Santa Barbara, where we live. We’d been talking about getting engaged for a while, and even picked out rings together. I thought she might propose during a choir trip to Ireland over St. Patrick’s Day, but the trip came and went without a proposal. Then, the following weekend, we went hiking, which is a favorite pastime of ours (Santa Barbara has some of the best hiking trails in the world). The mountains around town are especially beautiful right now because of all the recent rain we’ve had after years of drought, so everything was covered in flowers, the nearby Lake Cachuma actually had water in it, and every square inch of ground was a vivid green.

We drove through the mountains to a trail that leads to Knapp’s Castle, an old ruin of a house that had been built there decades before but had since been abandoned. The views from it span both the Santa Barbara back country and the Santa Ynez mountains. When we got to Knapp’s Castle, I pulled out Holly’s phone to take a pano shot of our surroundings. She told me to take another one, and when I got to her about halfway through the pano, she was down on one knee! Well, obviously I ditched the phone and gladly agreed to marry her! We exchanged engagement rings on the top of a mountain, just the two of us, which is exactly what we both wanted.

We’re well on our way with planning our fall wedding, which will be here in Santa Barbara. In keeping with our passion for singing, the ceremony will include a choir of 50 or so of our closest singer friends.

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Event Credits

Location: Santa Barbara, CA
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Engagement: Sam & Shalanda

From Sam & Shalanda: Our engagement session was in Detroit, Michigan, Shalanda’s hometown. We wanted to highlight some of the hidden gems in Detroit. We took our photos at the Fisher Building where Shalanda’s grandmother once worked, outside the Detroit Institute of Art, and in front of The Illuminated Mural.

Photos courtesy of Ryan Southen.

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Event Credits

Photography: Ryan Southen
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Sponsored Post: Sweet Delilah Farm

As spring arrives for those us here in the Northern Hemisphere, we’re thinking about flowers—and so, we’re thrilled to feature Sweet Delilah Farm, an amazing queer-woman-owned business in Portland, Oregon. Chelsea Willis, the owner/farmer offers flowers and floral design for weddings, events, and area businesses, as well teaching classes and running a CSA-style flower subscription. She’s passionate about gorgeous flowers and lovely weddings as well as LGBTQ couples, sustainability, and social service—and we’re excited to share her story with all of you today!

If you live in Portland, contact Chelsea for all your flower-related needs, and let her know you found her through A Bicycle Built for Two—we’re so grateful for her support of our community.

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Tell us your story! How did Sweet Delilah get started?

Sweet Delilah Farm was a dream I didn’t entirely realize I had. Growing up, I always knew I wanted land, but I didn’t ever foresee how it would manifest itself. After I met my wife and began spending more time on her farm, I realized that working on the land feeds me, and as luck would have it, a piece of property in the same neighborhood came available. I didn’t even think twice—I signed a lease and began the trial-by-error process of learning how to farm. I love what I do and I love finding ways to give back to the community. The flower design came as a natural partnership. My favorite thing to do is have couples come out to the farm a few weeks before their wedding so they can see what’s growing. They get to see the plants that their flowers will be cut from. It’s a true farm-to-bouquet experience.

What is your favorite part of your job?

Such a hard question! I have so many. Right now my favorite part is watching all the seeds I’ve spent hours and hours planting begin to grow. It’s such a cool experience and some much needed color after the intense winter we’ve had here in Portland. I also absolutely love teaching classes and watching people get excited about getting dirty, playing with the flowers, and creating something they didn’t know they could.

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Tell us about the classes you teach!

I love making learning accessible to everyone. I do everything from floral crowns and Ikebana [the Japanese art of flower arrangement] to flower essence and herbalism classes. One of my favorite recent projects was an Ikebana arrangement for a luncheon for some Japanese tourists. I took Ikebana courses while I was in school and fell in love with the form.

My all-time favorite kind of event is probably our bridal luncheons. We invite the bridal party out to learn how to make whatever kind of flower arrangements they want, and then they get to experience a farm-to-table lunch right there at the farm.

What is your favorite flower for a bridal bouquet?

My favorite flower right now is either ranunculus or sweet peas. They both bring very different shapes into a bouquet. Ranunculus are round, but they come in the most amazing colors and textures, and the sweet peas are long and tall and airy. They can bring a dynamic to a bouquet that no other flower can achieve—plus, they smell outrageously good!

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What are three questions couples should ask about flowers? What’s something you wish more people knew about flowers or floral design?

  • Ask where your flowers are sourced from, I don’t think a lot of people realize that most of the flowers their choosing are not in season and are flown in from other countries. Sourcing locally, while it can be a bit pricier, uses less resources. And there is something really beautiful about the authenticity of honoring the climate you’re getting married in.
  • Ask your florist to do a site walk-through with you. Most florists will do this—and it is really important to get in the space together.
  • Ask your florist what’s in season. There could be things growing in your backyard that could be exactly what you’re looking for. Don’t be afraid to step out of the box.

Sweet Delilah provides flowers for couples wanting to take the DIY approach—what advice would you give to couples who want to do their own flowers?

First, I would ask them if they are really sure. I love the DIY idea, and my mom and close friend did the flowers for my wedding; however, it’s A LOT of work. Flowers can be finicky and have lots of different needs. If you decide you do want to go the DIY route, my best advice would be to take a couple floral design classes (a great idea for a date night!) beforehand to get an idea of just how much work it will be. Another option is to do some DIY and get some things from a florist, i.e. have your bouquet, corsages, boutonnieres, and big pieces done by a florist, but make your small centerpieces. It’s important to have time to relax and connect with your friends, family, and partner before the big day, and doing any big DIY projects can interfere with your downtime before the wedding.

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Tell us about your proposal/partner/wedding day! What were your favorite moments?

My now-wife and I met just about a year ago, when I walked up the driveway to her farm to volunteer. It was love a love-at-first-sight situation. She followed me around asking questions while I weeded and 6 months later we got on a plane to Denver (where I’m from) and got married with 10 of our closest friends and family.

My favorite moment of my wedding day was the moment I got all the way down the aisle and we grabbed each other’s hands. It was such a surreal moment filled with emotion. I’ll never forget it. I didn’t think about it then but I guess you could say we eloped. This year on the same the date we’re having the big wedding in Portland for all our friends and family. It’s been a wild year but also a magical one.

Since you’re in the midst of wedding planning yourself… what are your tips?

Take moments away from wedding planning to breathe and reconnect with your partner. It can be a lot of work, and it can get overwhelming. Find the humor in all of it and keep laughing with each other.

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What’s your favorite song to dance to at a wedding?

“At Last” by Etta James. I’m a sucker for a good slow dance.

Why do you love working with LBTQ couples?

The obvious answer would be because I’m queer, and the truth is that I think it’s important to feel like you can connect with your vendors. A wedding is an intimate experience whether it’s big or small. It’s a huge life experience and you want to feel completely comfortable with the people who are making your big day happen. I want my couples to feel like I really “get it.” LGBTQ couples have had to fight harder for the right to have their marriages legally recognized, and that’s a fight you can only understand if you’ve gone through it yourself. It makes something about getting married even more special.

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What else would you like readers to know about you?

The flower farm is just the beginning of my dream. My ultimate goal is to have a bigger piece of land where I can facilitate retreats and have programs for youth who have aged out of the system but have nowhere to go. My background is in psychology and social services, specifically with youth, and my life’s work won’t feel complete until I am serving that demographic.

Besides working on the farm, how do you like to spend your time?

I teach yoga, hang out with my 2 mini dachshunds and drink tea. Lots of tea.

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We’d like to thank Chelsea of Sweet Delilah Farm for sharing her story and her images—and for her sponsorship of A Bicycle Built for Two. We love her, and we know you will too!

If you’re a photographer, planner, or other wedding vendor interested in being featured in a sponsored post, drop us a line! We’d love to talk to you.

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Wedding: Bonnie & Ali

From Jay, Bonnie & Ali’s photographer: I was honored to photograph this lovely intimate wedding in Nashville, TN for these 2 amazing ladies! They came to me Thanksgiving week looking to bump their wedding up to New Year’s Eve 2016, being unsure about the Trump administration. Our wonderful Nashville mayor, Megan Barry, agreed to officiate the wedding at relatively short notice at her home—she’s been a great ally for the LGBT community. Ali hired a car through Matchless Transportation, a 1961 Jaguar to transport them to the mayor’s house from their first look spot… then the guest ceremony and reception took place at their friend’s larger home in East Nashville. The day was full of people, laughs, and nice intimate feel. They hired a personal chef crew and had me lurk in the shadows to document the event.

Photos courtesy of Jay Farrell Photography.

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Event Credits

Date: 12/31/2016Location: East NashvilleOfficiant: Nashville Mayor Megan BarryPhotography: Jay Farrell Photography// www.jayfarrellphotography.com
Also posted in Attire, Cakes and Dessert, Caterer, Credits, Lesbian Real Wedding, Lesbian Wedding, Officiant, Pants + Dress, Photography, Real Wedding Inspiration, Region, suit, Tennessee | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Response

Engagement: Kelli & Heather

We love Kelli & Heather’s idea of including friends in their engagement shoot—what a beautiful way of documenting our communities along with our love!

From Kelli: Heather and I met playing roller derby for the North Star Roller Girls, in Minneapolis, MN. Roller derby tends to become more of a lifestyle than a hobby, so we spent a lot of time together at practices, traveling to away bouts, attending PR functions, and just hanging out with our mutual friends on 8 wheels.

Eventually our friendship turned to more, and after a few years of dating, we decided we would spend our life together. I proposed to Heather in August of 2016, by hanging one yellow streamer in our bedroom for each day that we had been together and a blue streamer for each day since I knew I wanted to marry her. It was a lot of streamers and I think I nearly gave myself carpal tunnel syndrome cutting them all. However, it was definitely worth it for the look on Heather’s face when she came home from work, opened the door and walked into a sea of blue and yellow.

We went into our engagement photos knowing that we wanted them to be an honest reflection of us and who we are. We took our photos in two sessions. We first did pictures outside our home in Minneapolis, the city that we love. We included some shots in our roller skates and derby attire, since that played such a vital role in the early days of our relationship.

In October we did a second session at Afton State Park, just a short drive outside of Minneapolis. As surely any true blue Minnesotans must be, we are avid campers and hikers so being outdoors in this location felt very natural (pun intended). We have a little “inner circle” of close mutual friends from our roller derby team that agreed to come along and take part in some of the photos. They are often our companions on hiking and camping trips, so it was really fun to be able to show that connection in our pictures.

We were so happy with how the pictures turned out and feel like they really capture an authentic version of us our life together so far. Our photographer, Tamika Garscia, is also a dear friend and does amazing work. We are looking forward to our wedding in January of 2018, which will also be held in Minneapolis.

Photos courtesy of Tamika Garscia.

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Event Credits

Location: Minneapolis, MNPhotography: Tamika Garscia
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Engagment: Mackie & Kala

From Mackie: Kala and I met at a burlesque show in Indianapolis. She and I were both dating other people, so we shook hands and went on our way. A few months later we reconnected through Tinder (yes, it’s good for something!) and realized that we had been neighbors for a full YEAR and never knew it! Needless to say, we were inseparable after that.

There is a bridge in my hometown where high schoolers hang signs like “Sarah, will you go to prom with me?” or “Go Vikings!” I never had a sign up there for me. One evening after visiting my parents, we took a walk and I look up: “Mackenzie S., will you marry me?” She got down on one knee and I couldn’t stop smiling.

We live together with a house full of pets and a whole lot of love. We wanted to capture a few moments together before we start planning our June 2, 2018 wedding. I couldn’t be happier.

Photos courtesy of Rogue Images Photography.

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Event Credits

Location: Indianapolis, IndianaPhotography: Rogue Images Photography
Also posted in Credits, Indiana, Lesbian Engagement Shoot, Photography, Real Wedding Inspiration, Region | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Wedding: Laura & Louise

Over the years, we’ve featured plenty of Central Park weddings and engagement shoots, so we were thrilled when Claire got in touch with us to share Laura and Louise’s story. After her planning her own Central Park wedding, Claire started a whole business devoted to helping couples who want to tie the knot in the park. Here, she fills us in on English couple Laura and Louise’s big day.

From Claire, Laura & Louise’s wedding planner: Laura and Louise are from Sheffield in the North of England.  They met around fourteen years ago.  They were in the same hockey club and knew each other only a little at first, then they ended up playing on the same team and they got to know each other better.  This friendship became a romance, although love is often never as smooth as it should be: they spent some time apart as their lives took different courses for a while, but there was never a day when they would not be in touch in some way.

They got engaged in the middle of a fireworks display.  Louise asked Laura, with the aid of a ring Louise and Laura’s brother had made for the occasion.  Then they went together to get a proper one made specially.  They knew that they did not want a conventional wedding, so they looked in to several options of unique and unusual places to get married in England, such as a woodland center and an old factory.  Then they started to consider going abroad, and Laura casually suggested getting married in Central Park after she had remembered seeing it in a film.  After thinking it through more seriously, and comparing prices of venues at home to the cost of a destination wedding with built-in vacation, it seemed like no contest!  They contacted me, and we started to discuss their options.

We always get an event permit from the Central Park Conservancy for a wedding to ensure that there are no other wedding parties at the time and place where we want to hold a ceremony.  They chose the Ladies’ Pavilion, a lovely spot by the Lake on the West side of Central Park. The closest entrance to the Ladies’ Pavilion is the one right by John Lennon’s old home, the Dakota, at Central Park West and 72nd Street.

It is a very popular wedding location. There are seats inside and it has charming art deco cast-iron details.  It really matched their 1920s style outfits.  The Ladies’ Pavilion was originally built in the 1870s and used as a shelter for trolley passengers and was at Central Park’s 8th Avenue and 59th Street entrance, but it has been relocated to its current location. During the Winter the Ladies would change into their ice skates here, before skating on the lake, hence the name.  Laura and Louise had a lovely an iconic backdrop to the wedding, with the lake and the Manhattan skyline in the background.

There were seven guests in attendance at the wedding.  They had Laura’s Mum, Dad, brother and cousin, maid of honour and her boyfriend, and one friend from university who happened to be in America at the time.  We wrote a ceremony especially for the couple, and they wrote their own personal vows to read out to each other during the ceremony.  Laura’s brother, Adam, was their photographer.  After the ceremony they all travelled in the pedicabs to Bow Bridge and then on to Bethesda Terrace and Fountain, and had more pictures taken there.  

Laura wore a Joy by Jenny Packham dress with Irregular Choice shoes.  Laura’s saw the dress on an episode of Don’t Tell the Bride.  She contacted the shop in the show, and found out the name and designer of the dress and stockists in her home town. She never even looked at or tried on another dress!  Louise wore a Vivienne Westwood shirt and tailored trousers. There were no flowers, although the boys in the group all wore waistcoats with some fab boutonnieres made from buttons.  Laura did her own makeup and hair after tutorials back home in England, Louise’s hair was styled by Laura, and their make-up was done by one of their guests.

The wedding ceremony took place at 1pm so the morning was spent enjoying a hearty breakfast and then getting ready.  After the ceremony, the party spent some time in Central Park taking photos, stopping off for a quick hot dog and snow cone from a vendor.  They then walked back through Central Park to their nearby hotel.  They were congratulated as they walked.  In the evening they all went for a celebratory meal to Sarabeth’s on Central Park South, which they tell me was amazing food with great service.  They had been notified that it was a wedding breakfast and they made a huge effort to make it special.  They finished off the day by changing into their pajamas and drinking champagne on the rooftop terrace of their hotel. The next morning Laura and Louise enjoyed a helicopter tour of the city, which had paid for by some of their family as a wedding gift.

Laura told me that one of the most amazing things about the day was how amazing the people were who happened to stumble upon their ceremony, and then afterwards as they took a stroll back through Central Park to their hotel.  They said that people were very friendly and complimentary, with so many people saying “Congratulations”, making nice comments on their outfits, and people stopping to talk to them about the ceremony and their plans for the rest of the day. They said that it made them feel really special.

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Also posted in Attire, Attire, Credits, Lesbian Elopement, Lesbian Real Wedding, Lesbian Wedding, Minimalist, New York, New York City, Pants + Dress, Planner and Event Design, Real Wedding Inspiration, Region, Style, Urban, Venue | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
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