June of 2017 was one of the best months of any wedding season I’ve ever had. All thanks to Dillon and Trent’s Denver PRIDE Parade LGBTQ+ wedding. It’s taken me a long time to write about it here, possibly because there was so much press coverage elsewhere at the time on social media, on the news, and on other blogs. This wedding was a one-of-a-kind LGBTQ+ wedding and I’ll remember it forever.
The story starts with a wedding planner friend, Mariah from Details Details, and I brainstorming a styled shoot. In wedding industry lingo, styled shoots are essentially mock weddings. A team of wedding vendors gets together and plans a mock wedding with a unique theme to it, you get some models, set everything up and photograph all the pretty things.
I’ve got to be honest with you when it comes to styled shoots though. I’ve done my fair share of them, and while they are wonderful opportunities to take pretty photos and work with vendors, they present a false example of what weddings truly are. They are the photos you see in wedding magazines and online blogs. Everything looks perfect. They are too perfect, because all the vendors had the time to get everything exactly the way they want. Real weddings don’t typically look like that. Vendors are rushing behind the scenes, clients aren’t as relaxed trying to greet everyone and stick to a schedule, little things happen here and there. People are grouchy. You don’t have the most beautiful and ideal light to photograph in…you get the idea. I think these styled shoots where we create a mock wedding have given some people the idea that you can have this perfectly decorated wedding or at least given people the desire to do so. Real weddings are about love and relationships. They’re about celebration.
So, long story short and my opinions aside, Mariah and I were thinking about doing some big fancy rainbow styled shoot. We’re all about the rainbows, unicorns and things like that. The more we thought about doing a rainbow thing, the more we were thinking about PRIDE. Then once we got to PRIDE, we thought why not have a pop-up wedding during the festival? Then that morphed into doing a float in the actual parade with a real couple. After all, if all these vendors are going to donate the time, supplies and effort to create a mock wedding for people who aren’t really getting married and might not even really be dating – why not put in all that effort for a real couple? Maybe a couple who wouldn’t be able to make this happen without our help. So we pooled together with our favorite fellow vendors, and everyone donated their time and services to make this real wedding for Dillon and Trent happen. We were lucky in our search for a real life couple to find these two, who were as down for our rainbow, parade and crazy ideas as we were.
The day of the wedding came, and I don’t know what I expected. All weddings are a bit emotional for me. When you get to see two people who are genuinely in love, make a big committment to each other, it’s just special to be a part of it. I almost always tear up during wedding ceremonies. This one got me though. Thankfully we had some press before the wedding, so many people in the audience of the parade knew what was coming. As our float would approach and passby parade goers, they shouted out encouragement, clapped, whooped, and just created this intense vibe of energy that I’ll never forget. I was bawling the entire time behind my lens, still hoping to get good photos, energized by the crowd of strangers who were so supportive of this. This is what it’s all about too. During a time when minority communities are so shut down, they need every bit of love, encouragement, and celebration they can find. This wedding just reminded me what it’s all about and why LGBTQ+ weddings are important.
I hope Dillon and Trent know that even a year and a half later, this was such a special day for our entire team. I wish you didn’t have to put “LGBTQ+” in front of the word wedding to find equality online, or vendors that will be thrilled to work with any client that comes their way. That said, if you need LGBTQ+ wedding vendors near Denver, I cannot recommend the team for this parade more. Take the time to click, check them out, and follow them on social media at the very least! I do keep a list of my favorite vendors around Colorado and note which ones have specifically said they love their LGBTQ+ clients. I hope that list continues to help connect the LGBTQ+ community to the wedding industry here!
Officiant: Married by Maree
Video: Bliss Bridal Boutiques
Planner: Details Details
Caterer: Culinary Wave
Florist: Fairytale Floral
Desserts: Samm Sherman
DJ: Dancin’ Shoes DJ and Lighting
Reception decor and details: The Wright Details