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Just did my first Gay Wedding

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  • Just did my first Gay Wedding

    Spent yesterday with two women who are my age (mid forties) and who have been together over 10 years. This couple originally found me on the Internet and said I was the only photographer who made them feel comfortable. I thought that was a nice compliment. Every other studio they called seemed hesitant when they mentioned it was a Commitment Ceremony instead of a wedding. They were actually going to bring in an out-of-state photographer from Vermont as a last resort. Since I live just 5 miles away, they were happy to find me!

    We did the getting ready shots at the first "bride's" house, although she was already dressed when I got there.

    They did not see each other before the ceremony and their outfits were a surprise. Both women wore ivory cocktail dresses, carried bouquets of long-stemmed calla lillies and looked very pretty. Their wedding bands were designed especially for them and were matte white gold with a diamond inset.

    The ceremony was held at an "empty" church that's on the grounds of Allaire State Park in NJ. It's a very busy place and appeals to couples who don't belong to a congregation but want a church wedding. A local Episcopal minister (male) and a second officiant (female) performed the ceremony. Each bride was escorted half-way down the aisle (by brother or father), then they met and walked the rest of the way together. They had 2 readings and 2 solos. It was a very touching and emotional service.

    We did the typical posed family groups outdoors after the ceremony. The honor attendants (best man and best woman) both wore black pantsuits. There were also 2 flower girls and a ring bearer. Then we headed to Asbury Park (a gay-friendly area) for the reception. The weather was beautiful, so we did a few posed pictures of just the two of them on the beach.

    The reception at the Berkely Carteret Hotel was very lively, as it was a partying crowd. The DJ played a good mix of music, starting out with "My Girl" and "RESPECT." Everyone was dancing throughout the night. Not all the guests were gay, but there were lots of gay couples.

    The brides had a first dance together, then the Best Man and Best Woman each gave a toast. After dinner, one bride had a father-daughter dance to "Butterfly Kisses" (the other father was deceased). The cake cutting featured a delicious cheese cake, with each layer being a different flavor. Instead of a bouquet-garter toss, a raffle was held to award gift baskets to a lucky single gal and guy.

    Everything was classy. Aside from the fact that it was 2 women exchanging vows, overall it was a standard ceremony-reception type of day.

    Stanee

  • #2
    WHAT A World WE NOW live in!!!!!

    Kirk
    Redheaded Johnson

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    • #3
      Good for you! I have worked many gigs in the Gay community and always have been treated with respect. As you know we do not always get that in the so called straight community. Love is love or as one photographer put it: I do not judge, I record.
      Richlain

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      • #4
        Seriously folks, do not ignore the Gay community. Lots of nice folks there and many have money to spend especially among the males. Two men often make far more than a man and a woman and I have found most Gay men put a lot of value in photo images. For many years one of my best markets was in New Orleans in the GAy community and again Barb and I were always treated with respect. That is not always true in the world at large.

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        • #5
          Richlain,

          On the wedding day, one thing I was very much aware of was the fact that I was APPRECIATED. I had such a huge portion of Chateau Briand that I couldn't finish it, and they reminded me to have some cake (actually cheesecake) as well. As we were leaving, one bride hugged my husband and said how happy they were to have us there. She even insisted we take a set of favors for ourselves.

          On the drive home that night, my husband said it really turned out nice and he was glad we had such a nice pair as our first gay couple. During the ceremony, I had been at the front of the church while he stayed at the back. I told him how they held hands the entire time, dabbed their eyes during the readings/solos, and got choked up during their vows. These two people really loved each other, and this ceremony meant a lot to them. There was nothing sleazy or sordid about it.

          When I first met these two women, they said the reason they hired me was that I was the only studio they called who didn't hesitate when they mentioned it was a Commitment ceremony, and I was the only one who made them feel comfortable. I felt that was a great compliment! One of my photographer friends, who has photographed a few gay weddings herself, said that many gay people own their own businesses and network extensively. She pointed out that this couple will probably send some nice referrals my way.

          This week, I was telling some of my friends about the wedding. One woman said that with TV shows like "Will & Grace" the gay lifestyle is no longer in the closet like it once was. The BRAVO channel recently had a one-hour program devoted to gay weddings. One male couple had a very lavish and expensive event, first class all the way.

          Things do change over time. Heck, years ago interacial marriages were illegal, but these days they are not uncommon (at least in NJ).

          Stanee

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          • #6
            OK,
            This discussion begs the Question.
            As photographers how do we handle situations that we are uncomfortable with.
            Example
            When asked if I do Boudoir I say that we don't offer that type of photography and I give them a name of a photog who does.

            How do you handle these situations?
            Russell

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            • #7
              I record and do not judge. Of course that assumes what I am asked to do is legal.

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              • #8
                Russell,

                I don't feel any photographer should take an assignment that makes them uncomfortable. Why should you? If you're uncomfortable, you won't do your best work. I live about 10 miles from Asbury Park, NJ, which has been a gay-friendly area for 25+ years, and figured I'd get a request for a gay wedding sooner or later.

                If you don't offer a particular service but know someone who does, give a referral. You could say, "I've never photographed a [fill in the blank], but I can recommend someone who has. Here is their phone number & web site. Tell them I referred you."

                I work strictly on location (from home), so when I get a request for a studio portrait, I refer them to photographers nearby that I know.

                Stanee

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                • #9
                  If you have a job that pays well and you are uncomfortable call Robinson Studio we might take the job. Funny about these post since we got a call today asking if we do nudes. Seldom get a call specifically asking that question, generally they ask for something like Boudour.

                  Seriously my standards have a limit as we want to create beautilful images and we charge a rather high fee to create those images. That generally censors anything I would not want to do.

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                  • #10
                    You did the right thing, you are there to record, not make a judgement. I have many "couples" in the studio with the adopted children. And they are great parents. They take kids no one would want. Newspaper people take photos every day with what they don't agree with. We are lucky we have a choice.

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