Looking Back at One Year of Marriage Equality In Illinois!

A Note from Anthony Navarro:

One of the greatest joys I have had over the past year, is to finally work with same sex couples in Illinois and for the first time, be able to call their union celebrations a wedding.  Now, I have been working with same sex couples for many years, since I started in the wedding and events industry in 2001.  Actually, the first place I worked with did not even know how to work with same sex couples for their commitment ceremonies.  I had to reassure everyone, it was just like any other wedding.

Over the past year, I have been honored with working with so many same sex couples.  This week, I have been looking back and even reconnecting with a few couples who’s weddings were the first in Illinois to be on the books!

First, I was so happy to see Jason and Matt recently.  I looked back at their wedding at Cafe Brauer and remembered how amazing it was during the ceremony, listening to them recite their vows to one another after being together for 10 years, without a dry eye in the audience.

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Then, there was Steve and Scott at The Sofitel Hotel.  Their wedding was a day time event, where they thought they were maybe only going to have 100 people attend.  Well, because so many people wanted to come and support them, they had an overwhelming 180 guests attend.  It was a beautiful wedding and I could have not asked for a more amazing couple to work with that day!

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Then there was Geoff and Sasha who called me 2 months before their wedding.  They lived in Europe but family was here, so they wanted to throw a fun, afternoon wedding and realized they needed help.  Only meeting in person once before the wedding day and with quite a few Skype calls, we made it happen!  Again, back at Cafe Brauer, my home away from home, we were able to pull together this amazing day for them!

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Then of course, there was John and Matt!  Their wedding took place at The Rookery, which not only were they great to work with, but they had such a fun wedding as well!  When this wedding concluded, I received this note from one of their moms which made me remember why I do what I do.

“Anthony, at the Rookery this weekend, the beauty spoke for itself, but the smoothness of the event was silently spectacular!  I believe you are one of those rare individuals that can truly make magic surround others visually, mentally and emotionally. Thank you for sharing your gift with us. Those moments at the Rookery that won’t ever be forgotten were surrounded by a calm, shimmering beauty that you made!  Thank you for making my dreams for Matt and John’s wedding come true in the most beautiful way!”

This meant so much to me!

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And finally, the last leg of this year long journey came with the two events before the 1 year mark.  Those were ‘Love is Love’ and Kat and Lizzy’s wedding.   Love is Love was the celebration event that took place at Cafe Brauer on May 28th, 2015.  With so many people in attendance and all of the sponsors cohesively working together, it was a success!  Most times, at these types of events, the sponsors all want to put their best foot forward and outshine all of the other sponsors, which is completely acceptable and fine at other events.  However, that was not the case at Love is Love.  The four caterers, Wolfgang Puck, Entertaining Company, J&L and Limelight, all came together, met, worked out their individual menus to make sure there was nothing repeated and everything was cohesive.  It was truly remarkable and admirable to see how it all came together!

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To see more photos from Love is Love, click here!

Then, there was Lizzy and Kat’s wedding.  Here’s where I think the entire year came full circle.  I learned over the last year, there are no more bridal parties, they are wedding parities.  There are not bridal suites, there are wedding suites.  No longer does it have to be a Maid of Honor or Best Man, it can be a Best Woman and a Man of Honor.  As the laws have changed, the traditions have changed, and we all have to adapt and change with them.  What was most moving for me at this last wedding was, instead of a wedding party, the siblings were the ones who walked in.  First, a brother and his wife, then another brother and his husband, and then another brother and his boyfriend.  Only to follow both brides to walk in.  One bride with her mom and dad and then the other bride with her mom, dad and her step dad.  When everyone made it to the front, they all hugged and then the parents all sat down and the ceremony began.

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It was then when it hit me… LOVE!  That’s it!  It really is all about LOVE!  Oh course it’s fun to design the flowers, and the food menus, and work through the music play lists, and help write the ceremony scripts, and design the invitations and so on.  But what was so special about the last year at these weddings, and all weddings, we were celebrating love.   One of the most simple, yet most beautiful things in the world.

As I continue this journey as wedding planner, I take that lesson with me.  Reminding myself and my clients that really, when it is all said and done, all you need is love!

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