Browsing Tag

Equally Wed

Equally Wed

Equally Wed: The Ultimate Guide to Planning Your LGBTQ+ Wedding

Equally Wed: The Ultimate Guide to Planning Your LGBTQ+ Wedding by Kirsten Palladino (May 30, 2017, Seal Press)



Buy Equally Wed on Indie BoundBuy Equally Wed on AmazonBuy Equally Wed on iBooksBuy Equally Wed at Barnes & Noble


By and large, most wedding books in the market are still centered around one bride and one groom. And yet, the advent of full marriage equality in the United States has made a new, polished wedding planning book dedicated to guiding LGBTQ couples both timely and essential. Kirsten Palladino will fill that need with this definitive book to inspire couples everywhere who are seeking a meaningful, personal ceremony and a momentous beginning to legally married life.

Equally Wed brings author Palladino’s expertise as the founder and editorial director of the world’s leading online resource for LGBTQ wedding planning to the page. Palladino walks readers through every step of the notoriously costly and arduous planning process with wisdom and accessibility. From how to incorporate hot trends among LGBTQ couples to advice on how to incorporate children into a ceremony to more serious hurdles like dealing with homophobia among family members, Equally Wed has it all. The author importantly includes an accurate picture of wedding budgets for couples from all backgrounds, and shares her invaluable insider tips for making the most of each vendor; she also addresses fashion advice specific for LGBTQ readers, such as suiting up a masculine person or attending fittings as a butch lesbian or a transgender woman. And best of all, she does it with the celebratory, joyful approach that all couples deserve.

With a beautiful 2-color package, a total absence of heteronormative terms and assumptions, and a wealth of advice on every wedding-related topic imaginable, Equally Wed is set to be the go-to LGBTQ wedding guide just as every couple is finally free to wed.


Join us in Atlanta, the headquarter city of Equally Wed, for the launch party of Equally Wed! Get your copy of the book signed by the author, Kirsten Palladino, co-creator and editor of Equally Wed.

WHEN: Thursday, June 1, 2017

WHERE: Phillip Rush Center

RSVP / MORE INFO: Facebook

COST: Free (but bring some cash for our charity fundraising for Georgia Equality!)

TIME: 6-8 p.m.

BOOK SELLER: Charis Books


“No matter what kind of relationship you’re in or what kind of wedding you have your heart set on, one thing is guaranteed: You’re going to need the right guide if you want to get hitched without losing your mind. Luckily, Kirsten Palladino has got you covered. From using social media to get friends and family buzzing about your upcoming nuptials to effortlessly navigating the in’s and out’s of registry etiquette, her beautiful new book, Equally Wed, is all you’ll need to make your dream wedding a reality.”
—Noah Michelson, Editorial Director, Voices at Huffington Post and Executive Editor, Huffington Post Queer Voices 

“We are thrilled to recommend Kirsten’s book to our LGBTQ community! Her expertise and personal experience make this an invaluable resource with a unique perspective.”
—Carley Roney, cofounder, The Knot 

“When I first met Kirsten, she said something that I will never forget. She said, ‘I’ll know I can stop fighting when my job is no longer needed.’ How beautifully stated and how true in its purest form. We have a long way to go before Equally Wed is no longer a resource that this world needs but every day, Kirsten and her lovely wife, Maria, get us closer and closer to that goal. The idea that a wedding is a wedding is a wedding—and love is, indeed, just love—are what we hope our children will know as truth. Without hesitation or doubt. I feel grateful to be a part of this book in some small way and am thrilled for the soon-to-be’s that get to experience it so fully.”
—Abby Larson, founder, Style Me Pretty 

“Equally Wed seeks to simplify the wedding planning process for the LGBTQ+ community in a safe, comfortable and fun space! Take it from me, wedding planning is a laborious task to begin with—add to that the uncertainty surrounding the LGBTQ+ traditions and customs. My favorite feature in this book is the personal stories from real couples that have gone through the wedding planning process from a similar point of view. It’s always important to be reminded that love is the reason behind every wedding, because love is love and love never goes out of style!”
Colin Cowie

“Finally, the wedding guide we’ve been waiting for! Not just for brides and brides, but for everybody on the LGBTQ+ spectrum, Equally Wed is a smart, savvy, and life-saving guide to getting married, your way. Kirsten Palladino, the undisputed authority on wedding planning for our community has you covered. With traditions explained and trendsetting encouraged, Palladino offers a banquet of options, from budget building to bouquet toss. Her firsthand expertise means you don’t have to stress out on your big day.”
—Merryn Johns, editor-in-chief, Curve Magazine

LGBT, News

Georgia Governor to Veto Anti-LGBT Bill



Gov. Nathan Deal said he will veto the “religious liberty” bill that placed the rights of anti-LGBT people above LGBT citizens in Georgia.

The measure “doesn’t reflect the character of our state or the character of its people,” the governor said Monday.

“Their efforts to purge this bill of any possibility that it would allow or encourage discrimination illustrates how difficult it is to legislate something that is best left to the broad protections of the First Amendment,” he said.

Continued on

Equally Wed, Portfolio, writing

Real Wedding: Brooke and Joana

Love-filled seaside nuptials punctuate an aquatic-colored DIY wedding


Joana Rodriguez was waiting for the perfect opportunity to propose to her girlfriend Brooke Rollins. She already had the engagement ring, which featured a square peridot gemstone to match Brooke’s sparkling eyes, and, conveniently, her birthstone.

“It was a Sunday morning and we were in the middle of mountains of homework as always,” recalls Joana, “and the movie ‘Up’ by Pixar was playing in the background. The movie is about a man who loses his soul mate after years and years of marriage, but lives out her dream of adventures. They meet as children and are together for a very long time. The husband is a quiet kinda person, as I am, and the wife is talkative and full of life, as is Brooke. At one point in the movie when they are still children Lilly, the wife, looks at the husband and says that she wants to spend forever with him having adventures, it was then that I pulled out the ring from my pajama pocket and asked Brooke if she would spend forever having adventures with me. As I expected, she was overjoyed and full of excitement and began to cry, so I giggled and asked, ‘So I guess this means yes?’ She then answered with a ‘yes.’”

When planning their beach wedding, Decatur, Ga., residents Brooke Rollins and Joana Rodriguez searched everywhere for an LGBT-friendly venue. The lesbians found it at the Atlanta Pride Festival: The Embassy Suites in Miramar Beach, Fla.

“I am not going lie,” says Joana, whose confident presence was what attracted Brooke to her. “I was afraid that it was going to be difficult to find a place that we could be ourselves and celebrate and relax all at the same time. It was at Pride that we found the Embassy Suits; it was there that I realized that discrimination can be set aside and your love can be celebrated. Go where you are welcome, and you will have the time of your life.”

To honor their commitment, Brooke, who legally took Joana’s last name after the nuptials, devoted a considerable amount of effort to bringing to life their theme of an eclectic mix of modern vintage with personal touches added to reflect their individual personalities, such as Brooke’s handcrafted vintage brooch bouquet and a superhero-themed cake for Joana.

The bride and broom (a term for masculine brides coined by Equally Wed Magazine Publisher and Cofounder Maria Palladino and used by readers, including Joana) wed on May 5, 2012, at a sunset beach ceremony which included gathering words, guest declaration of support and the exchanging of vows and rings. “The focus of our ceremony was the tying of the lover’s knot, which symbolized the intertwining our lives and our families,” says Brooke. “With one strand of natural fiber manila line—a nod to Joana’s service in the Coast Guard—each of us did our part to create the fisherman’s knot, also known as the lover’s knot.”

The bride wore a sweetheart gown with a beaded bodice and layered organza skirt, which was given a funky update with a turquoise crinoline skirt made by Ann Swank at Swank Underpinnings. The look was complete with her turquoise-and-green ballet flats. Brooke carried a bouquet of her own making: She wired 30 vibrantly colored antique and new brooches and assembled them together to make “a small, but surprisingly hefty nosegay,” she says. “The brooches were given to me by my mother, my wife-to-be and my friends, and each brooch held personal meaning. My bouquet took seven months of assembly, four packages of floral wire and two rolls of tape, a box of band-aids and one scare—or maybe two. It was worth every ounce of effort and all of the love that went into it.”

A jovial reception accentuated by turquoise and green included a photo booth complete with props for wacky photos, tables outfitted with handmade centerpieces comprised of silver charges, turquoise French flower pots filled with dried hydrangea and greenery accented by one antique tea cup and saucer from Brooke’s grandmothers collection and three LED pillar candles; the dinner buffet which featured Joana’s mothers Mexican feast for a Cinco de Mayo-themed celebration and a homage to Joana’s heritage; a bar, a candy and cupcake buffet, a cake table and a reception table. Brooke surprised Joana, a devout superhero fan, with a four-layer cake featuring Captain America, Superman, Spiderman and Batman, accompanied with a handmade background of a cityscape equipped with city lights.

Brooke and Joana danced together for the first time as wife and wife to Christina Perri’s “A Thousand Years” sung live by Jamie Heart and accompanied by acoustic guitarist Kato Estill. Heart and Estill, both friends of the couple, sang songs of their own and covers at various points in the evening.

After the wedding reception, the Rodriguezes and their 38 guests oohed and aahed over a display of fireworks on the beach and then let the ocean air carry away biodegradable paper lanterns into the sky, which Brooke says symbolized “our wishes for our healthy, happy future.”

The Rodriguezes, who honeymooned in Sandestin, Fla., welcomed a healthy baby girl on May 14, 2013.

A version of this article was published in Atlanta Gay Weddings, 2012/13.

Photographers: Alisha Sams of Imaginarium Studios, Kory Garner of Faux Toe Images
Venue and Caterer: The Embassy Suites, Miramar Beach, FL
Cake: Melissa Donovan
Cupcakes: Over the Top Cupcakes, Stuart, FL
Vocalists, guitarist: Jamie Heart, Kato Estill
Attire: David’s Bridal (Brooke), Macy’s (Joana)
Hair: Barbie at Avant Garde Salon, Destin (Brooke)
Officiant: Ray Ward
Jewelers: Hon Ngai Jewelry, (Brooke’s engagement ring), Worthmore Jewelers (Joana’s band), The Mobley Company, Villa Rica, GA (Brooke’s band)
Flowers: A Perfect Day, Destin, FL

Articles, Portfolio

Why my wife and I had to create a gay wedding magazine

By Kirsten Ott  for The Huffington Post

I’ve never been ashamed of being a lesbian, no matter what society has attempted to make me feel with its laws set up for my relationships to fail. I was born to love the girl next door, who preferably would have bigger muscles than me, exude a quiet confidence, make me fall to the floor laughing and love traveling, creating, exploring new cultures and gastronomy as much as I do.

Though I’ve certainly not been immune to discrimination for being a lesbian, I was naïve in my understanding of what modern-day society felt about my “kind.” Sure I’m aware (and angry) that we don’t have the 1,138 Federal rights that are naturally afforded to my straight co-citizens, but I didn’t realize just how unequal some of the basic components of life — like having a wedding — are for the LGBT community.

I dreamt of having a romantic lush wedding since I was a little girl. Yep, I’m one of those. And when I realized that it was a woman I wanted standing at the altar waiting for me, I never thought it wasn’t possible. Not once. You see, to me, a wedding is a wedding, whether a government legally recognizes it or not.

I finally met the woman of my dreams in 2003: She easily ticked off all the items on my checklist and then some. Maria and I began dating in 2004, and she proposed one frosty winter day in 2008. I was over the moon with elation, and quickly started the perhaps-tad-excessive planning process.

I settled in with my strong cup of joe and my self-made mountain of wedding-planning insanity in our living room, and I began flipping through the magazines, the glossy pages of beautiful brides and their handsome grooms. I didn’t mind seeing straight couples, of course, but page after page I didn’t recognize myself in these magazines. Where was I? And more importantly, where was my soon-to-be-wife, with her short hair, her masculine figure, her men’s clothing, most notably the wedding suit she’d soon purchase. The lack of information for gays and lesbians bothered me, but I also felt that not being included translated to rejection and what I could only imagine to be homophobia in the wedding industry at large.

It was at that moment that I knew what I was being called on to do. Don’t for a second think I have any delusions of grandeur or celestial inspiration. But I’ve always had an insatiable appetite for helping the underdog, even when that dog is me. So I did what any writer/editor who was about to marry a talented graphic designer would do. We decided to launch our own online magazine for engaged LGBT couples.

I still didn’t even know how much our kind of magazine was needed. When Maria and I started calling vendors to interview for our own wedding in the city that The Advocate named the No. 1 gayest city in America in 2010, I was shocked to have multiple phone calls and emails unreturned when I made clear in my initial message that it was two women getting married. When I spoke to some vendors, I felt rejected and unwanted. At one bridal salon, a saleswoman disappeared on me after I told her my fiancée was a woman.

As a credentialed magazine writer, I even pitched the honeymoon department of a popular bridal magazine known for its more modern presentations of weddings. The now-defunct magazine’s travel editor told me politely that they weren’t ready to run a lesbian’s honeymoon story in their magazine.

Every homophobic wedding vendor or wedding-industry professional Maria and I dealt with when planning our wedding rained on our gay parade. It was a light drizzle compared to the horrific stories I’ve heard from some gays and lesbians. But I was more determined than ever to try to help the members of my family, the LGBT community, be able to plan their weddings — enormously important days when we officially begin our lives as two, not one, with the person we love — without this hate and judgment.

After an intense nine months of research, writing, designing, coding and developing, we launchedEqually Wed, the nation’s premier online same-sex wedding magazine, in March 2010.

At, we showcase a myriad of gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer and transgender weddings to serve as inspiration to those planning their own nuptials. In addition, we also offer Local Resources, a marketplace of gay-friendly wedding vendors across the United States, Mexico, Canada and parts of the Caribbean. We now have a team of editors and writers working at, bringing same-sex couples the latest in fashion, beauty and grooming for every wonderful sector of our diverse community of gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender and genderqueer, from the butchest of butch to the most feminine; honeymoon articles written by gay travel journalists who visit destinations to aptly review them for being gay friendly (who wants to worry about getting arrested or beaten on their honeymoon?); a plethora of wedding-planning inspirations for ideas and trends for each special moment on the Big Day and everything surrounding it. Because politics and marriage do mix when you’re gay, we cover the latest news in marriage equality, as well. We produce new posts daily, and later this month, we’re taking our quarterly magazine to monthly issues. Also later this month, we’ll debut our own wedding tools to further help our readers enjoy planning their weddings in an accepting and inspiring environment.

As we continue to grow our company and attract investors, we’ll be able to do more, but I’ve gotta say, I feel pretty good already. Not a week goes by that I don’t get a note of thanks in my email inbox from someone planning their own wedding, a relative of theirs (usually a parent) or a wedding vendor who just wants to say what we’re doing has helped them in some way.

Follow Equally Wed on Twitter:

Published in The Huffington Post: Jan. 25, 2012

Photos: Our Labor of Love