As a reader, fan, vendor, writer, and now a staff member of APW, I’ve always been proud of this little corner of the internet. From the beginning, APW has been a place where love is just that… love. All ages, races, genders, and orientations are not only welcome or tolerated or mentioned occasionally… all people and all love is celebrated here. We regularly seek out, create, and publish love that looks different from the rest of the wedding industry (who is, ahem, slow to catch up.) APW is by and for everyone—we’ve shared some incredibly powerful queer wedding planning essays, we have created branded art and marketing that breaks the gender molds, and we consistently have published LGBTQIA+ weddings, since 2008 (seriously, go check them out.) Why? Because love, and because visibility and representation are key for all humans—if we don’t see what our lives and love can look like, then how will we know is what is possible? (This quote, below, from @jpbrammer sums it up perfectly.)
Every time we reach out to the APW Vendor Directory members, we know exactly what we’re doing. We’re connecting with some of the very best wedding professionals in the industry to ask them to share their work with us. As members of our directory, they’ve made commitments to us and to their clients, commitments to be inclusive and caring and to celebrate all the love that comes
their way. So, there’s never a doubt in our minds that we’ll be seeing some pure magic come into our inboxes. Yet, each time we do one of these calls out for images and examples of their work, we find ourselves blown away. This time, we specifically asked for some of their favorite examples of queer love… and y’all, they delivered.
It’s pride month, so here we are with a whole bunch of queer love for you to feast your eyes on. A friendly reminder from your resident queer… the first pride was a riot. If you don’t know about it, go do some research on Stonewall. Then come back and celebrate queer love, because our joy is critical. Queer love is magic. Queer love is vital. Queer love makes the world go ’round. Mostly… queer love is love. Happy PRIDE y’all!
WHO: Abbey & Martha | WHERE: LOS ANGELES, CA | PLANNER: ANYTHING BUT GREY EVENTS | Photographer: Monica Linda Photography
Abbey and Martha’s wedding was THEM from start to finish. It reflected their love for each other, the love they have (and feel) from their family and friends, and the love they both have for their individual cultures. These Lady Wives, as they call themselves, had the ultimate Mexi-Jewish Wedding!
WHO: Hillary & Diana | WHERE: HOBOKEN, NJ | Photographer: STUDIO A IMAGES
Hillary and Diana’s wedding was my first big wedding in 2021. I hadn’t photographed a reception since November 2019. It was unseasonably cold for the end of May and rainy – yet that didn’t stop them from celebrating big. The mask mandate had just been lifted and it was so wonderful to see everyone’s faces as they celebrated with this amazing couple. Their dance floor was packed the moment people entered the reception. It seemed like everyone was excited to be celebrating together again.
WHO: Brian & Leroy | WHERE: SAN FRANCISCO, CA | PLANNER: DREAMS ON A DIME EVENTS
Sometimes things just click. From the very first time I met Brian and Leroy, I knew I was going to love working with them. There was an instant connection that made the planning not only easy but so much fun. The couple and I share a love of drag performances (they had an amazing one at their wedding!) and for months Brian and I would text each other pictures of drag performers or grooms in wedding gown. On the wedding day, Leroy was cool as a cucumber. Brian, on the other hand, had enough nervousness for the both of them. I can’t tell you the emotions I had when Brian asked if I could give him a hug to help calm the nerves. I’m not embarrassed at all to say I cried during their ceremony at Grace Cathedral and I’m thrilled to say that I can now call both friends.
WHO: Kat & Stephanie | WHERE: Folly Beach, SC | Photographer: Atlanta, GA-BASED RAVEN SHUTLEY STUDIOS
Kat and Stephanie are such complete dreamboats that I honestly felt like I was not cool enough to be at their wedding. I am so honored to have been a part of it. Folly Beach, South Carolina serves as a staple of their relationship and a frequented location for the two of them. It’s their home away from home, a place they love being. So it only made sense to have their wedding there, too, back in November 2019! They rented beach houses, one in front of the other, giving them access to the beach directly behind for their beach ceremony. They had a reception in the shared yard between the houses complete with a low-country boil. There were huge rock jetties out on the beach, a cotton candy sunset, and completely gorgeous weather. For their first look, Kat came to the back porch of the house where Stephanie got ready. Kat brought her a single rose like the most romantic human I’ve ever met. We explored the property with them. Then, we drove to the end of the street to explore the beach, the wild plant life, and to find the world’s most elusive lighthouse. Each time I’ve photographed them, I’ve been struck by their connection, how easily they fit together, and how palpable their love is. Their wedding was simple and elegant while their personalities shone out of every moment. It was community-focused day, with everyone supporting them and pulling together because of their care for these women.
WHO: Elisa & Stella | WHERE: SAN FRANCISCO, CA | Photographer: HAZEL PHOTO
Elisa and Stella were giddy with joy on the day of their wedding, in the middle of a pandemic no less. They were playful and ebullient and charismatic. About a million details made their wedding special. The view from the ceremony was spectacular, and there were parasols, and olive trees, and croquet. One of the ways Elisa and Stella fell in love was through playing music together. There was a moment near the end of the reception where they played an impromptu set for their guests who were spread out through the lawn picnicking. The sound of their commingled voices and guitar spreading over the field that sunny July day was unforgettable.
WHO: LISA & DIANA | WHERE: OREGON | JEWELER: LOLiDE
Lisa and Diana wanted to support a woman-owned business when choosing their wedding rings, and I was thrilled to work with them as I am committed to offering my customers jewelry that celebrates all partnerships and gender expressions. For this couple, I created rings out of recycled white and rose gold with lab-created diamonds.
WHO: Diego & Evan | WHERE: NEW YORK, NY | Photographer: L&L STYLE PHOTO
We feel it’s strange to think about weddings pre-COVID, it just looks like it was a different life! So we’d love to share Diego and Evan’s wedding. These two planned perfectly their elopement in the times of COVID to make it safe for everyone involved. They also made it so much about them and their love but opted to zoom their ceremony with their friends and family members. We all chose a quiet and cool street in Tribeca and they ordered an amazing flower arrangement by Fleurotica which definitely gave the place a special touch!
WHO: Michele & Lorena | WHERE: BAY AREA, CA | SEATTLE, WA-BASED DESTINATION Photographer: Jonas Seaman Photography
Now more than ever I am thankful for the small strides our country has taken towards marriage equality. It’s hard to believe that I was photographing queer weddings before they were legal, as we shouldn’t forget, they’ve only been legal now for six years! Michele and Lorena’s wedding was particularly special. It’s a story that took us through two days of celebration in California, beginning with a foggy, rainy, outdoor ceremony at Point Reyes, to a late night club party in San Francisco’s Mission District. It was also there that it was officially announced that Michele was pregnant! My memories of this day are still so vivid, and I’m incredibly honored that I got to be a part of it.
WHO: Courtney & Diana | WHERE: DAVIE, FL | Photographer: Sharma Shari Photography
Courtney and Diana hired me to shoot their Ultimate Pi day wedding (3.14.15) before their union would have been legal in Florida. Their original idea was to have a big commitment ceremony and party and get legally married in their honeymoon. But on January 6th, 2015 (two months before their celebration), Florida signed the law for marriage equality. The moment they got to sign that license was the best!
WHO: Ryan & Adam | WHERE: WASHINGTON, DC | NEW YORK, NY-BASED Photographer: JUSTIN MCCALLuM Photography
You know that old SNL sketch about how queer weddings are just better than others? I think they were talking about Adam and Ryan’s wedding at Washington DC’s Carnegie Institution for Science the whole time. They combined classiness with pops of color, gorgeously designed and executed by The Plannery. While they held an emotional and intimate ceremony in the round that didn’t leave a dry eye in the house, the reception that followed right after got turned up to an 11 with dancing all night and a surprise performance by Beyonce impersonator Riley Knoxx. That’s queer excellence!
WHO: Caleb & Gedalia | WHERE: BALTIMORE, MD | Photographer: DEVON ROWLAND Photography
Caleb and Gedalia had planned a move to the West Coast with a huge, fabulous wedding day. COVID struck and plans changed for so many, these two included. Their LA plans turned into a move to New York City, and their wedding became a celebration mid-2020 that took place on a chuppah in their synagogue’s parking lot. Loved ones attended in their cars–which were decked to the nines–and listened to the ceremony on their radios. It was not the wedding day anyone envisioned, but it was a wonderful example of joy and love in spite of the challenges.
WHO: Bianca & Kierstan | WHERE: Boylston, MA | OFFICIANT: Maureen Cotton Ceremonies | Photographer: Nicole MADAY
This Tuesday morning mini-mony was plan D or E for Bianca and Kierstan. With all the pivoting and uncertainty (thanks to COVID-19) they initially felt uncertain if this gathering—just them, one immediate family attending, and the other on Facetime—was anything more than a legal event. They still dreamed of walking around the fire in a communally-witnessed Hindu wedding someday. As their officiant I asked them about their wish for this wedding, and their wish for marriage. Quickly, I realized they have a long, rich, complex history together. What I love about them is that they were willing to embrace the complexity of their story, including acknowledging some of the painful chapters, in their ceremony. It helped them and their families really understand what an emotional, spiritual, and communal milestone the moment was. We breathed in nourishing air from hundreds of plants in the green house, with the late winter New England winds blowing outside. It was a fitting metaphor for how the beauty of their relationship has grown even in the face of oppressive social forces and crises, from homophobia to the pandemic. They got to declare—and have witnessed—the strength and longevity of their love.
All of these images full of queer wedding magic are from our Vendor Directory members. If you’re looking for the best wedding vendors in the industry, that is the place to look. Go find your team.