Connecticut Voice

Your LGBTQ+ Voice

Marry Me! … A Little

By Brian Scott Lipton


“I wanna a big reception at the Waldorf with champagne and caviar. I wanna wedding like the Vanderbilts have, ev’rything big, not small. If I can’t have that kind of a wedding, I don’t wanna get married at all!”


These words, created by the great Irving Berlin for Ethel Merman to sing (as sharpshooter Annie Oakley) for the 1966 Lincoln Center Theater revival of Annie Get Your Gun may have resonated strongly for brides of that era–as well as for decades to come for the many Bridezillas and Groomzillas we’ve all come to hear about (and maybe experience).

But now, as an increasing number of LGBTQ+ couples are taking their vows–many of their weddings having been postponed due to COVID– industry experts note that many couples are scaling back their receptions, foregoing lavish dinners or elaborate flowers, and, above all, stressing the personal touch.

Says Catherine Poulin, events catering manager at the historic Haley Mansion in Mystic, “We have felt an upswing on both what we call micro weddings, as well as catering to couples who are just stepping back a bit from having a traditional wedding,” she says. “The bottom line is that many couples are most interested in celebrating their love with family and friends and not sticking to all the stuffy traditions.”

Internationally renowned wedding planner Adrienne Johnson of Connecticut-based Redefined Elegance says much of her clientele (which includes many Muslim and Indian couples) are simply reprioritizing how they spend their money while maintaining some sense of tradition. “With the high cost of fresh flowers, which have become increasingly expensive since COVID, they are choosing the ‘cheaper end’ of the floral market, such as spray roses, for things like their nosegays and floral bouquets. And they’ve decided having a traditional wedding cake is not important, since it’s mainly for show, rather than taste.”

“It’s true. People are not having a big wedding cake, instead, they’re going for an elaborate dessert station,” says Chuck Kaval, director of sales at the popular Saybrook Point and Marina in Old Saybrook. “Couples are designing their weddings to be what we call ‘full content.’ Among other things, that means using a lot of soft seating such as couches and lounge-type furniture, so guests are not stuck at their table all night and are almost forced to interact with everyone else. It can feel like being at a nightclub.”

The four-hour sit-down dinner has also gone the way of the dodo, although not necessarily for financial reasons. “It’s more festive to have the food in increments,” he says. “We might start with some passed hors d’oeuvres, then move on to food stations–we may even do two rounds of them–and finish with the dessert station,” he says. “Moreover, it’s really popular to extend the party for an extra hour where couples offer those who stay some fun, nostalgic, and personal food items, including mac and cheese, mini pot pies, or even potato knishes.”



As we party like it’s 2024, gay brides and grooms have a lot more options for what they walk down the aisle in–and dance in afterwards–than ever before. Yes, there are men sporting dresses or skirts, but most people are still veering towards at least semi-traditional attire, albeit with a personal touch, says Matthew Benever, owner of custom clothier Bards.

“With LGBTQ weddings, we see a lot more emphasis on color and color coordination in order to tell a story,” Benever says. “We recently clothed a couple where one groom was in burnt orange and one was in lavender. It was beautiful and really made a statement. For lesbian weddings, it’s more all over the map. Most often, the brides will both wear the same shade of white, but I would say in 60 percent of these weddings, one bride wears a traditional wedding gown and the opposite spouse wears something in the form of a suit. In other cases, both brides are opting to wear colorful separates, which I think is great.”

Benever has noticed a couple of other noticeable trends. “First, there’s a very big push for reception wear for both men and women. Ladies want to change into a cocktail dress, while men want either a second jacket or vest. Either way, they do not want to be sweating in their ‘wedding clothes’ while dancing.”

Secondly, he notes: “Clients are looking for ways to personalize their wedding garment, whether it’s embroidering wedding date into their garment or creating a custom lining with photos of them as a couple, celebrating their life together. A lot of people don’t realize they can do this!”

James Watson of renowned men’s clothing company Jack Victor is also a big advocate for color. “We’re doing a lot of sport jackets this spring in teal, lilac and pink–brighter colors are going through the roof for us. I think coming out of COVID, people are feeling braver and more celebratory. We’re even seeing people wearing dressy but fun sneakers with our clothing, even for weddings.”

Adds Catherine Seaton, VP of Marketing for Connecticut-based retailer Windsor:

“Many women are opting for wedding dresses, both in white and other colors, with special details that set their look apart, specifically through styles with bows, ruffles, and rosettes. For those in the bridal party, brides are leaning into choosing dresses with pops of color to make a bold statement, such as bright red, hot pink and electric blue hues.”

Men are also opting to replace their colorful boutonnieres with something just as beautiful but more permanent, says Andrew Werner, creator of Fleur’d Pins.“As a photographer who has captured many weddings, I’ve witnessed the fleeting beauty of fresh flowers on lapels and corsages, often wilting before the reception begins. Fleur’d, which uses fabric, leather, pearls, and other long-lasting materials, defy the short lifespan of real flowers, and can be customized in almost any color.”



One thing that never changes is that newly wedded couples still want to get away on a honeymoon. Some opt for true R&R, while others are more interested in exploration and excitement.

I am getting more requests for true travel experiences with more exotic and adventurous destinations. I recently planned 10-day honeymoon tours of Vietnam and Argentina/Patagonia,” says Avon-based Brigitte Worgaftik of BW Travel Design, an affiliate of Largay Travel. “And whatever the destination, I am sure to incorporate some intimate, luxurious accommodations, private touring or activities to make it extra-special.”

Josh Scheer, President of White Lotus Travel Design, suggests couples take to the high seas. “Cruises have come a long way from the days of super-traditional stuffiness and are a great way to visit multiple destinations without having to pack/unpack over and over during your honeymoon. And there are plenty of companies now who cater to LGBTQ couples.”

Noted wedding expert Brittny Drye says LGBTQ couples should only consider destinations where they will be welcome. “For good reason, Key West has established itself as a gay mecca, and if you’re into nightlife, this is a fantastic warm-weather option. Puerto Vallarta in Mexico is extremely LGBTQ-friendly, and has plenty of all-inclusive resorts to choose from,” she notes. “And for couples who want adventure, Iceland is also extremely LGBTQ-friendly and has a myriad of activities to do; in fact, this year is going to be particularly great for viewing the Northern Lights!”

We wish every couple getting married (or considering it) a bright future!