Planning our gay wedding in Arizona gave my fiancé, Nick and I a big dose of nervousness. It is not a shocker or a big surprise that the beautiful, 48th state leans more on the conservative side of politics. Much of our hesitation was focused on how we were going to be treated by wedding venues, bakeries, florists, and other vendors that would help bring our special day to life. Yes, that is something two future gay grooms or two brides-to-be need to think about. During the beginning stages of our wedding planning, we definitely wondered where and if we would feel comfortable. I wish I had screen shot my Google search when figuring out where to get married in Arizona. There are a ton of gorgeous resorts but figuring out which ones were accepting was our biggest question. We should not have to think about these kinds of things, but that is exactly how we felt – especially with where the tone of the country is at the moment. I was also dealing with my own anxiousness because a lot of old emotions started to creep back. Having our wedding in the state where I was picked on for being different and bullied for being gay played a big part in my worries.
The Supreme Court marriage equality ruling certainly made a tremendous mark not too long ago, and we are incredibly grateful for the freedom fighters that helped make that happen. It’s obviously a comforting (and legal) component to us. The ruling, though, is still fresh in my opinion, and it does not completely wash away discrimination or hate. You still hear news stories from across the country about gay couples or people in the LGBT community being discriminated against. So, right from the start, we were not 100% sold with an Arizona wedding. Flying away to San Francisco or Hawaii and just getting eloped was looking like the easier decision.
However, in the past few months, there have been some incredible people that have helped cool down our worries and motivated us to not only have a wedding in Arizona, but also celebrate the message that “love is love.” This meant that Nick and I needed to adjust our mindset, kick down any negative thought about not feeling comfortable, and appreciate the love we have for Arizona. It is indeed a special place, especially for me who was raised here, graduated from Arizona State University, worked at the ABC News affiliate, and has family roots in Phoenix. When I left Arizona many years ago to pursue a career in Los Angeles, I promised myself to do my best to be a good example for the younger LGBT generation back home. When I started to get an even larger writing platform, I made it my duty to inspire more people around the world. Much of the messages in my articles are told through my own personal struggles, but also discuss the impact on the people that are in my life, and the random acts of kindness from others that help me put life into perspective.
For example, I need to share with you how touching it was that both my father and Nick’s father, who happen to carry the same name (and a name that Nick and I share as middle names), truly convinced us to move forward with having an Arizona wedding celebration. Our mothers always had the wedding vote, but hearing both our dads wanting us to bring our families and friends together to watch us say, “I do!” was one of the best feelings in the world. If you are a gay man, you probably appreciate the father connection and the powerful joy behind their acceptance. But, one of the most beautiful moments came last month when we posted our formal engagement photo on my Instagram page. It brought the entire Arizona wedding decision full circle. After seeing our picture and reading my articles online, I was contacted by a Scottsdale, Arizona florist by the name of Julie who owns Juliet Le Fleur. Her family has been in the flower and event planning business since 1883 and has done over 3,000 weddings to date. As I read through my Instagram comments on the engagement photo, she replied with “I want to do your flowers!” That later turned into an even more magical conversation between us.
Julie was inspired by the openness I share in my articles and my mission to provoke more positivity into the world. She was also surprised to hear that Nick and I will be the first gay couple to get married at The Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch in Arizona. It is a true staple in the Scottsdale area that has been around since 1976, so she is excited to be part of a little local history and wanted to donate her flowers! The best part is that Julie wants our upcoming wedding to symbolize her support for marriage equality and let it be known that all couples are welcome in her store.
So, whether you are a gay couple that is looking to tie the knot, or simply a supporter of the LGBT community, I hope you continue to follow our wedding journey through Instinct Magazine and my social outlets. Let us always motivate each other through our own stories, openness, and willingness to live outside of our comfort zone. We need to make our own individual marks, support each other and continue to bring the message that “love is love” to life!
Check out the original story here: Instinct Magazine.
Tags: #BigBankChallenge #BohemianKissChallenge #EqualityActJapan #StopAsianHate 2020 Olympics Aaron Schock Adam Castillejo Adam Rippon addiction ageism Aging AhTave AIDS Aime Wichtendal Alaska Alex Morse Almost Love America's Next Top Model American Medical Association Amy Coney Barrett Annise Parker Antes Que El Mundo Se Acabe Anti-Asian Violence Anti-LGBTQ ANTM anxiety Aptima HIV-1 Arizona Armie Hammer astrology At-home date Atlanta Atlanta Black Pride Atlanta Nightlife Atlanta Pride Atlanta Pride Run Austin Swink Austin Texas Backpacks for the Street Basel Abou Hamrah BFI Flare Bisexual BLACK GAY MEN Black LGBTQ Atlanta Black Lives Matter Black Love Bohemian Rhapsody Boston Boston MA Brian Sims Broadway bully Bullying California Call Me By Your Name Canada Capital Pride Capitalism Cason Crane Celebrity News censorship Chemistry Chemsex Chicago Chicago IL Chris Evans Christian proselytizing Christianity Christmas Christmas movie Christmas Movies Chucky Circus of Books civil unions Cody McCook Colorado Comedy coming out commentary compatibility Confidence Congress conspiracy theory Conversion therapy CoronaVirus COVID COVID-19 Covid-19 vaccine daddy Dallas Dallas Gay Bars Dallas Gayborhood Dallas Texas Danica Roem Daniel Harding Daniel Howell Date night dating Dating Apps dating rut dating tips DC Pride Dead to Me Denver Depression discrimination Disney Documentary Dolf Pasker Dolly Parton Domestic Violence Donald Trump Donna Price Drag Race drag racing Dustin Lance Black election Election 2020 Election Day Elite Employment Entertainment Entertainment news epidemic Fabio Fasoli Family family gatherings Film Finding True Love First Date First Date Etiquette first date ideas first date tips Flirting Tips Flirty Dancing Florida Fort Lauderdale Franklin Graham Freddie Mercury Garrett Clayton gay gay asian gay asian men Gay Atlanta Gay beaches Gay Boston Gay Chicago Gay Couple Gay Couples Gay Culture Gay Dallas Gay Dallas Nightlife gay dating gay dating advice gay dating app gay dating apps Gay Dating Solutions Gay Dating Tips gay discrimination gay film Gay Florida Gay Fort Lauderdale Gay Health Gay Holiday Movie Gay Houston gay kiss Gay Love Advice gay marriage gay marriage proposal gay men Gay Miami gay midlife Gay Mountaineer Gay Movies Gay New York Gay Nurse Gay Panic Gay Pride gay relationship advice gay relationship tips gay relationships Gay Scene gay seniors gay sex gay singles Gay Soldier Gay Travel Gay Twitter Gay Wedding gay weddings Gay Widower Gays Over COVID gaysian Gen Z Generation Z Georgia Gert Kasteel Ghosting GLAAD GOP Gorsuch Guy Vandenberg Gym Gays Haaz Sleiman Hallmark Halloween Hate Crime Health HGVT HIV HIV prevention HIV stigma HIV treatment HIV vaccine HIV/AIDS hobbies Holi-date Holiday Film Holiday Movies Holidays Hollywood Holyoke Homophobia hooking up hookup hookup culture Hot Vax Summer House Hunters Houston Texas Houston TX Hulu Ian Jordan Indya Moore Instagay Instagram intersex Intimacy Iowa Iowa caucus isolation It's A Sin Jake Gyllenhaal James Bushe Japan Jaymes Vaughan Jayson Conner Jeffrey Newman Jennifer Tilly Jewish Jewish persecution Joe Biden Jonathan Bennett Josef Salvat Jussi-Pekka Kajaala Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg JVN Jwan Yosef Karamo Brown Kristine Stolakis Lady Gaga Lesbian lesbian couple Let It Snow LGBT LGBT Travel Guide LGBT-Free Zones LGBTQ LGBTQ Asians LGBTQ Atlanta LGBTQ Boston LGBTQ Chicago LGBTQ Dallas LGBTQ discrimination LGBTQ employees LGBTQ Family LGBTQ Film LGBTQ Film Festival LGBTQ Films LGBTQ flag LGBTQ Fort Lauderdale LGBTQ Health LGBTQ Houston LGBTQ Miami LGBTQ movies LGBTQ New York LGBTQ NYC LGBTQ Pride LGBTQ retirees LGBTQ retirement LGBTQ Rights LGBTQ Seniors LGBTQ Victory Institute LGBTQ Youth Life Lifetime Lifetime TV Network Linda Warren lockdown London LGBTIQ+ Film Festival loneliness Love Victor Luke Evans Male Nurse Malik Brown marriage equality marriage proposal Marsha P Johnson Marvel Marvin Cortes Massachusetts mature gay dating mental health Mexico Miami Miami Beach Miami Beach Pride Miami Florida Michael Cashman Michael Henry Middle-aged gay men midlife Modern Family mormon Mr. Right Muscle gays music video My Gay Match NASCAR National Coming Out Day Nationwide Conversion Therapy Ban Neil Gorsuch Netflix Netflix Special Nevada New Year's Resolution New York New York City Nonbinary North Dakota Northern Ute tribe Nurse Appreciation Week NYC NYC Events NYC Pride NYC Pride 2021 Oak Lawn Obergefell v. Hodges older gay man Omander Omar Ayuso One True Pairing online dating online dating apps online dating tips online gay dating Online trolls Open Relationship Operation Hyacinth OTP Outfest Outfest LA 2021 Outfest Los Angeles Pan-African Pride pandemic Paper Moons Pat Robertson Pennsylvania Perez Hilton personality personality type Pete Buttigieg Pink Capitalism Poland Politics polyamorous polyamorous relationship polyamorous relationships Pope Francis Pose power bottom Pray Away PrEP pride Pride 2021 Pride Afrique Pride Flag Pride Month Prince Harry profile pic Puerto Vallarta quarantine Queer eye Queer Film Queer Films Queer Holiday Movies Queer Lawmakers Queer Love Story Queer Santa Queer Youth racism Rafa Olarra Rainbow Wave Reddit Relationship relationship advice Relationship Tips relationships religion Rep. Andy Biggs Republican retirement Ricky Martin rom-com Romantic Comedy Ryan Murphy Ryan O’Connell Samaritan’s Purse same sex marriage Same Sex Relationships Same Sex Wedding Same-Sex Couples Same-Sex Kiss same-sex marriage ban Schitt’s Creek Score Miami Score Nightclub Scott Evans Scott Wiener Section 28 self isolation self-care Senior Gay Dating Senior Gay Men senior gays Senior Prom Seven Summits sex Sex Education sex life sexual identity sexual preference sexual racism sexuality short film Shy Gay Guys Single All the Way single gay man Single Gay Men Single Gays Single Young Gays social distancing social isolation social media Social Security Somerville sports Stonewall Stonewall Riots straight men Super Bowl ads Super Bowl commercials Super Bowl LIV Supreme Court Switzerland Syfy Syria Tan France Television Tennessee The Boys in the Band The Center on Colfax The Christmas Setup The Eternals The First The Thing About Harry Threesome throuple TikTok Tom Daley toxic masculinity Transgender Travel Travis Shumake Trump administration Turner Free TV series Tweets Twitter Unconditional Love United Methodist Church US economy US Supreme Court Valentine's day viral video Virginia Washington DC Web Series Wedding Workplace workplace discrimination World AIDS Day World Pride young gay men Youth YouTube