A Love Worth Fighting For: Inside 15 Pride Weddings

We spoke with 15 LGBT+ couples about their enduring fight for and commitment to love.

Photo By: Cait Fletcher Photography

Photo By: Cait Fletcher Photography

Photo By: Jonas Mendes dos Santos

Photo By: Courtney Chavis

Photo By: Cait Fletcher Photography

Photo By: Tim Newborn

Photo By: Christian FareLove

Photo By: Justin Sullivan

Photo By: Abigail Marie: Nonpareil Photography

Photo By: Kena Betancur


Photo By: Kristen Lowe and Stephanie Gibbons

Photo By: The Washington Post

Photo By: Laura Marie Duncan

Photo By: Rick Dean Photography

Photo By: John Kurk

Photo By: Christian FareLove

Symbols of Love

It’s been about five years since same-sex marriage was finally legalized all across the United States. June is Pride Month, so we're highlighting a few of our favorite Pride-themed weddings. From vibrant multicolored affairs and rainbow flags waving in the air to subdued ceremonies with bright bouquets and variegated cakes, check out these triumphant snapshots of equality. Love is love.

Dance to the Beat of Pride

“Eileen and Anne Marie’s whole wedding was a true celebration of love in all forms,” Caitlin Reardon, owner of Cait Fletcher Photography said. “Everyone was able to grab a flag, wave it around, and celebrate the union between two people who were beaming with love.” A particular high-point of the reception, held at the Omni Hotel New Haven at Yale, was when everyone danced to "Come on Eileen" with the rainbow flags flying in the air.

Rainbows Everywhere

“Explicit is what we went for,” Jonas Mendes dos Santos said about his Pride-themed marriage rite with his husband, Adolphus White. “I really wanted rainbow bowties.”

Mendes dos Santos sewed the vibrant neckwear and used excess fabric to adorn the dessert table, which spotlighted a white tiered cake topped with two grooms and vibrant rainbow layers underneath the icing.

A Pride-Filled Sendoff

Courtney and Kristen Chavis gifted their friends and family with Pride flags just in time for their epic sendoff from their gorgeous reception at an 1850 Georgian-style mansion.

“We both wanted something different that was meaningful to us,” Kristen said. “The flags would serve not only as a reminder of our big day but, more importantly, the visibility of LGBT+ men and women and our continuing fight for equality.”

#LoveIsLove, Boho-Style

In anticipation of their upcoming wedding in September 2020, which will be held at Stonehurst at Hampton Valley in Hampton, Connecticut, Britni and Kaila’s event planner, Sarah Brehant of Brehant Creations, put together a styled shoot with a #LoveIsLove theme. The bold, bohemian inspiration showed up particularly well in the colorful Storeybook Cakes creation. “It was so much fun to create something bright and unique for this gorgeous couple whose love for each other was absolutely captivating," said owner Lynn Storey of the shoot.

Celestial Pride

Daniel Velasco and Tim Newborn wed shortly after gay marriage was legalized in the United States and, after enduring many hardships and much discrimination, felt a spiritual clarity that deeply affected their sense of self and legitimacy of who they are as a couple and as individuals.

“The simple the acknowledgment and validation of a love which had already existed for us was transformative,” Newborn said. “Pride is an inherent quality that surrounds our lives.”

Rainbows Over New York City

On June 26, 2015, the day same-sex marriage was legalized, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio married a group of couples in front of City Hall with rainbow flags flying from the building overhead. The newlyweds included science teacher Cindy Jackson and her partner Denise Niewisky; Deputy Director of LGBTQ Policy and Practice at ACS Thomas Kirdahy and his partner, playwright Terrence McNally, and others.

Courthouse Pride

Years before same-sex marriage was legalized across the United States, gay nuptials were recognized in California. On June 17, 2008, Ariel Owens and his spouse Joseph Barham walked arm in arm after they tied the knot at San Francisco City Hall. A few months later, California’s Proposition 8 reinstated a ban on same-sex marriage until it was deemed unconstitutional two years later.

Church Pride

Sanda Judge and Tinashia Wilkins pledged their love and showed spirited pride with a low-key palette of pastels at their traditional church wedding. The couple tied the knot in Charleston, South Carolina’s 1681 Circular Congregational Church.

“Something hit me when I first saw their wedding photos,” Maria Rivers, publisher of South Carolina-based LGBTQA Beau Magazine said. “They’re both so upbeat and kind—and it really shines through in their pictures.”

Garden State Pride

After being pronounced husband and husband by former Newark Mayor and newly elected United States Senator Cory Booker, Joseph Panessidi (right) and Orville Bell kissed at City Hall. The couple was the first to wed in New Jersey on the morning of Monday, October 21, 2013, just a few days after New Jersey’s Supreme Court overturned the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

My Big Gay Wedding

After the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ended California’s ban on same-sex marriage, more than 100 gay unions were legally sealed in West Hollywood on July 1, 2013. The ceremonies were followed by a massive wedding at The Abbey, one of the most famous LGBTQ-bastions in the entire state.

Traditional Pride

Kristen Lowe and Stephanie Gibbons sealed their union outside the Glynn County Courthouse in Brunswick, Georgia.

“In front of a southern courthouse, we proudly declared our love and lifelong commitment to one another,” Stephanie said. “Two brides in white—we hope our visibility empowers other LGBT+ Southerners to live their truth.”

Aisle of Pride

Sherrette Estes and Maribel Garate danced down the aisle, hands raised high, after pledging their vows at the historic Glenview Mansion in Rockville, Maryland, six months after same-sex marriage was legalized in the state. Maine and Maryland were the first two states to approve gay marriage by popular vote.

Early Pride

Broadway actors Bret and Stephen Shuford said “I do” in front of Town Hall in Greenwich Connecticut before gay marriage was legalized federally or in their hometown of New York City, which is where they hosted their celebratory fete.

“The ceremony was performed by an openly gay pastor and all of our wedding vendors were close friends and acquaintances,” Bret said. “It made everything feel personal and filled with love.”

Rainbow Bouquets

For their chic coastal wedding, Heather Ramsay and Hillary Kotlarz carried multicolored bouquets with pops of orange, red and yellow that filled out the colors of the rainbow as they stood next to the blue water. They wed on a dock with the fiery sunset in the background of their elegant waterfront union.

Southern Pride

Nearly two decades after meeting at a bar, on December 19, 2015, Trent Jarvis and Charlie Johnson pledged their lifelong vows in front of friends and family. They made a strong declaration of their love and place in the world six months after same-sex marriage was legalized across the U.S. Their rustic ceremony and modern, colorfully lit party were held at Boone Hall Plantation & Garden in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.

“It was a powerful statement,” Johnson said, “Two gay men getting married on a plantation in the Deep South.”

Patriotic Pride

“We decided to elope with another LGBT+ couple [when] the government repealed the Defense of Marriage Act,” Navy man Christian FareLove said about his lifelong commitment to Michael Brady. “And we did so in D.C. to serve as a metaphor and a symbol that we would never forget.”

Let’s all salute to that!

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