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Same Sex Marriage Equality Expo

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Today I attended the Same Sex Marriage Equality Expo in NJ, put together by American Bridal Shows. It was the first time that a same sex wedding expo has been in the state since same sex marriage in New Jersey became legal.

V was supposed to come with me, but she had a bit of a set back in her recovery from surgery and needed to rest up at home so I was flying solo. I was a bit worried about flying solo, as I’m usually judged in predominantly gay settings because I “look like a straight girl.” I struggled with whether or not I should dress a bit more casual than girly during the expo, and in the end I ended up wearing my usual girly gear. I noticed that a lot of vendors gave me more attention than couples walking around, and that couples were sort of giving me the is-she-straight and why-is-she-here looks. Eh. It is what it is.

Overall, the Expo was a bit overwhelming. V had said we should go in with a game plan, but when I realized she was staying home my game plan became “walk around aimlessly and hope for the best.” I met a lot of interesting vendors today, and I even found a few that might be a good match up for our wedding! There were some fun things going on, like a dance party and entertainment demo, and a wedding fashion show. I wish the fashion show had been more diverse in offering a wider variety of options of clothing, but I also realize there were only 60 vendors at the Expo.

I’m getting a little tired so I’ll list my top favorite things and my top suggestions.

3 Favorites Things:

  1. I really liked how friendly all of the vendors were. Even if they seemed a little unsure of how to approach same sex couples, they were all excited about being there.
  2. The expo was small and intimate. It was definitely possible to see all of the vendors, although I didn’t. There was a wide variety of vendors, from venues and catering to realtors and financial planners. The expo wasn’t just about planning a wedding– it was about planning a life. That was really nice.
  3. It was free! This sounds kind of cheap, but the expo being free was a definite plus, especially since nobody knew what they were getting into this first year. That definitely drew more people in.

3 Suggestions:

  1. Please have a hashtag next year! This sounds a little silly, and maybe it’s the blogger in me coming out, but the consistency of a hashtag is much appreciated in the social media age. It also connects vendors and expo attendees a lot easier.
  2. I wish that more of the vendors had catered to the same sex couples at the expo. Even though everyone was all “YAY CONGRATS!!”, a large number of the vendors showed off their skills with pictures and videos of all of the happy heterosexual couples they’ve worked with. There were also a lot of forms that only said “Bride and Groom.” It would have felt a lot more welcoming if the forms said “Bride or Groom” and “Bride or Groom,” with the option to circle what was applicable.
  3. Have more vendors and a bigger area! The Expo center was being shared with a pet expo, and the same sex wedding crowd only got 3 rooms, probably the equivalent of a high school gym in total length. It was a little crowded, and more space would’ve been wonderful… It also would have been great if the vendors were clumped together a little more logistically. At first it seemed like they were clumped by category, but I think that was just coincidence.

All in all, I had a really nice time at the Same Sex Marriage Equality Expo (dang that’s a mouthful!). This 2015 bride looks forward to returning next year and seeing it grow into something bigger and even better.

Note: This post was NOT sponsored. I just felt like blogging about this one-of-a-kind event!

 

Even a snowstorm couldn’t bring us down!

V & I were researching wedding venues last weekend, and by researching I mean flipping through a “Venues of NJ” type of magazine, watching the NJ episodes of “Four Weddings,” and Googling “wedding venues” like there was no tomorrow.

Then, we found THE Place.

THE Place is gorgeous, elegant, and exactly what we’re looking for for a reasonable price. It also really helped that they even have a “Same-Sex Weddings” tab on their website, which gave us a peace of mind.

So, we filled out the information form and requested an appointment, not really expecting much.

We heard back from one of the managers the next day, and we had our appointment a week later.

As luck would have it, at THE EXACT SAME TIME as our appointment, an icy, snowy, chaotic mess of a snowstorm was scheduled to hit exactly the area we were heading… on a mountain… with lots of curvy, winding roads and long ways to fall.

We did the logical-if-you-have-wedding-fever thing and still went to our appointment, which was literally located in the middle of a nature reserve and looked like this when we arrived AS THE STORM BARELY BEGUN.

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We entered, and I (we) fell even more in love.

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Now that is what I call a grand entrance!

 

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Even the mirror and lighting in the bathroom was elegant.

 

Although I suspect V knew I didn’t really want to look at any other venues before we went to The Place, we barely had to talk about it when we got back into the car.

This is our place.

This is THE place.

This is where we’re getting married.

All we have to do is make a deposit!

So, we have a venue. We have a date. All that’s left are finding flowers, a dj, an officiant, a dress, a tux, invitations…

WE’RE GETTING MARRIED!!!!

 

 

 

Dear Cory: An Open Letter Explaining My Man-Crush on the Mayor of Newark

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Dear Cory,

First, I think I should be upfront with you. I’m a lesbian. My luscious locks of ginger hair and your piercing steel eyes have no chance of being together. Yet, I have an inexplicable Man-Crush on you. Your Chuck Norris of NJ Politics tendencies and fine taste in suits have left me wondering…will you be my hero?

Bonnie Tyler sings,
“I need a hero. I’m holding out for a hero ’til the end of the night.
He’s gotta be strong
And he’s gotta be fast

And he’s gotta be fresh from the fight.
I need a hero. I’m holding out for a hero ’til the morning light.
He’s gotta be sure
And it’s gotta be soon

And he’s gotta be larger than life.”

Cory— may I call you Cory?– I think you can be all of those things.

I’m a teacher.

I’m a recent grad school graduate.

I’m working hard to pay back my debts, and to be eternally grateful for all that my family has given me.

I’m a Jersey girl, born and raised.

I’m a lesbian whose own state won’t even recognize my most basic human rights.

You…

you save women from burning buildings.

You rescue dogs from being treated inhumanely.

You accept Twitter challenges and try to survive on foodstamps for a week.

You are a hero.

Cory Booker: the Chuck Norris of my generation

Cory Booker: the Chuck Norris of my generation

Be my hero, Cory. There’s a reason you starting following my blog on Twitter after I called you the Chuck Norris of my generation. You’re going to be the change my generation remembers. You’re going to be the catalyst in starting a revolution for what is just in the world. You’re going to be the man that makes New Jersey a better place to live.

You’re going to be the man that makes me– a 23 year old with big dreams of changing the world through education and my writing– human again.

So, Cory, I thank you for being unafraid, for being brave, for not fearing being human, and for standing up for what you believe in. Thank you for being a force to be reckoned with, and thank you for giving me hope that, even if Chris Christie hates me, you have my back, and that, with you elected to Senate, someone in New Jersey will know what the Hell they’re doing to make the world a better place.

Thank you for being my man-crush, and for giving me some hope of a better tomorrow.

All my love, support, and best wishes,
Kailynn
aka your Twitter friend, @THEGingerSass