Looking at this 2016 Spring Wedding Issue, what came to mind right away is the theme “Modern Love.” That we lost the singer of the song, dear David Bowie, recently only makes it more apropos. His song could be considered to be more of a negative take on weddings and getting to the church on time, or it could be just leaving everything up to interpretation, which is how weddings are usually best executed. How do I interpret the concept of modern love for the purpose of this wedding issue? Modern love includes people, fashion, florals, food, drink, photographers, and events that are now. And now is all about letting us define ourselves and where we fit into the world. It’s a post-marriage equality world, by definition, and we’re still striving to make it fit for each of us, regardless of relationship status, on our terms…for ourselves and for each other.
Spring is always the big time of year for wedding issues. I like to be sure we do a special feature that showcases some of our important new and emerging wedding vendors and venues in this issue, this time in a brand new space called Paikka in St. Paul. Nestled into a space that is adjacent to Lake Monster Brewing, this space is modern in its rustic repurposing. Taking what’s old to be new again is very now. Very appreciated. Very open to interpretation, which is the venue owners’ goal for this space: to leave you to decide how you want to use it for what you envision as your special day.
Given the parameters of spring and summer as the time period within the year of 2016, important and modern concepts must include where the food might be sourced and how the waste is handled. Not sexy concepts, but extremely relevant ones. Common Roots not only comes to mind as a caterer with tasty and attractive food, but also as one that is environmentally conscientious. Then, as the perfect follow-up to a delicious summer meal, I wanted desserts that will cool us down while also being natural and health-conscious. On one of the hottest nights last summer, I found salvation in a Strawberry Balsamic Basil ice lolly by Frio Frio at the Little Mekong Night Market in St. Paul. Around the same time, I had my first ice cream mini by Sweet Science at the Brave New Workshop, which was most definitely a gateway mini and I’m never going back to the way it was before that salted caramel cup of goodness. Both were shoo-ins for what to suggest to this audience as clever alternatives to wedding cake (though I would never kick cake out of my bed for leaving crumbs).
Fashion and florals are the steady components of wedding issues, but how they’re done is always evolving. Luna Vinca is a long-standing florist that gave us a modern take on natural elements, incorporating lichen and geometric shapes into bouquet inspirations. Flutter Boutique is giving us what is now, not what was then. When I asked what the trends are as we were pulling gowns, we passed on some gorgeous dresses that aren’t in the now for ones that showcase beading, lace, and even some higher necklines. Then, for the suits, though Milbern has been around for a very long time, they’re current on what works — and works in a budget — for 2016, which is trending away from suit rentals and toward ownership for both men and women. I trust what they say and want to pass that trust and transparency to the readership as something we value now. Today. And always.
To fill in the cast of characters for the fashion element in the feature, I was drawn to people who define themselves on their own terms in our community every day, night, and weekend. In the past, I’ve used models for these fashion features, who’ve been lovely and wonderful. But, last year, I started incorporating real couples from our community that have real relationships and history with each other, something that I made into my primary goal for this issue. You can see the connections between them, caught in the photography. With that in mind, I immediately thought of Zsuzsi Bork and her fiancée, Cheena Gorzalski, as well as Oliver Sharp and his boyfriend, Bryce Laine. These are beloved people in the community, something that was abundantly clear as I posted snapshots of the photo shoot in my Facebook feed and the likes and loves for the photos kept my phone notifications active for days. Zsuzsi and Cheena are also known as Xavier, drag performer as well as producer of Dragged Out at the Town House, and Nadi A’marena, burlesque performer and member of The Vigilantease Collective. Oliver and Bryce can be found at two of our favorite bars, The Saloon and Tattersall Distilling, respectively, and Oliver also is well-known as Harrie Bradshaw, a bearded drag queen with legs for days and sass to boot. These couples and who they are to us round out what modern love is and can be, progressive and self-defined.
Not as obvious in front of the camera as behind the scenes are Brett Dorrian and Heidi Garrido. Brett of Brett Dorrian Artistry Studios is my go-to when I think of styling as well as someone who knows the community and the aesthetics and issues that affect the ease and comfort of same-sex weddings. She walks into any situation and infuses it with a level of comfort and expertise that is required for modern weddings in this day and age. And then there’s Heidi of HM Photography who photographed this extensive feature in this issue, who’s been here for the community for years and years, fighting for marriage equality, photographing parades, and being the photographer for the wedding tent at Twin Cities Pride. She’s down to earth and here to make your vision appear in her photography.
As for the rest of the issue, there’s more modern to go around. A new book covers What To Do When Your Gay or Lesbian Child Marries. No, it’s not a new trend, marriages and partnerships have been happening throughout all time. But the difference is that this book actually uses data that’s been gathered since marriage equality has been enacted. The results are in. The conclusions are current. The advice is applicable now. And is open to our interpretation.
As for our engagement and wedding stories, the lovers are walking this world with us, going where we go, liking what we like, incorporating our pop culture that is now. Their thoughts and experiences resonate with us. And, the accompanying imagery fits. These are the photographers you want now. Eliesa Johnson of Photogen Inc is hotter than ever in both regional and national magazines and I still show off the 2013 Spring Wedding Issue that she shot for us as a showpiece of what Lavender has done. Melissa Hesse of Rivets & Roses gave us great insight into how to hire a photographer for this community’s somewhat-new and sometimes-sensitive weddings in the 2015 Fall Wedding Issue and not only can she shoot some gorgeous events, she knows what she’s talking about.
Most of all, we want you to know what you’re talking about. We want this to be your resource for ideas and inspiration. Now and in the future.
My heartfelt thanks goes to each person who made this wedding issue what it is and what it stands for as a snapshot of what Modern Love looks like in 2016. We’re still writing history. And I’m proud that you’re a part of it, whether you’re in the pages or reading them.
With you and with thanks,