Estate at Florentine Gardens wedding of Brad & Trevor|Bergen County, New Jersey

Brad & Trevor’s wedding was a relaxed and elegant celebration of the union of two families and equality – just as they envisioned it. Can you tell Brad is a performer?

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How did you meet?

Trevor: We met 14 years ago when we briefly went to the same college. I left after only one semester, but we’d always kept in touch and hung out. We never started dating because whenever it was convenient for one of us, it wasn’t for the other. Either Brad was traveling the country for work, or I was living in Texas.

Who proposed and how?

Trevor: I was the first to propose. I spent many weeks crafting a ring box out of the remains of a tree that my parents had planted 30 years ago and was lost in Hurricane Sandy. My father helped me make it. I used a varnish my grandfather created and lined the box with one of his handkerchiefs. I invited a few friends over to Brad’s apartment one summer evening for a dinner party. They were all aware of what was going to happen. I asked one of them to bring his guitar and on my cue he began playing Brad’s favorite song “Just One Person.” We all sang and at the end I was holding the open box to Brad – who was already planning to propose to me!

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Now that you’ve been through planning a wedding together, what advice would you give to other couples starting the process? Any special advice for same-sex couples?

Trevor: If your mother keeps trying to do it for you… LET HER! Seriously, I don’t know what I was thinking. It would have been so much easier if I didn’t insist that we do it on our own.

For same-sex couples – go with people you know you can trust. When a vendor or venue hands you paperwork to fill out and it lists only Bride & Groom, bring it up to them. It’s not a slight, it’s usually a simple oversight and many were mortified at their error. Lastly, check for lists of businesses that support marriage equality. It’s so important that you utilize someone who has clearly raised their hand as an ally.

Brad: You are not crazy if you lose your mind.  On the contrary, you’re most likely insane if you don’t.  For as much as you want it to go smoothly, there will be hiccups.  And they will interrupt everything, even though you know that everything will come through.  Our pastor had to back out only to be replaced by someone who didn’t make it on time and then had to be replaced by the original pastor in less than five minutes’ notice.  Trust us….it all works out!

For same-sex couples, the frustration and beauty of our situation is that there are no real guidelines when it comes to wedding protocol.  So many times people asked what we are doing about a bridal party, do we have joint bachelor parties, who walks you down the aisle, DO you walk down the aisle, should we come dressed as the Village People, etc.  And our response was always that we don’t fully know.  There is no full model.  So we made it up!

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What was your favorite part of the wedding day?

Trevor: I remember so little , honestly, but my favorite part was clearing out the bridal… erm… groom suite of everyone and having the attendant bring in our pastor, who was there as a guest only. Our officiant was lost, we were about to start and in a pinch she was able to jump in. Probably because it was the only point during the day that I, as a project manager, was able to manage anything! But also because we were able to have the person preside over our wedding that we really wanted.

Brad: My favorite part was meeting everyone in the reception hall.  Old and new family alike, coming together in a celebration that would have been completely unheard of ten or fifteen years ago.  It was joyous and perfectly appropriate.

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How does it feel different being married?

Brad: I don’t know what it is, per se, but I do feel differently after the wedding.  It’s not a huge change, more of a shift.  It feels like this is solidified.  That all of our friends and family have now recognized this union.  And it makes me feel that much closer to Trevor, knowing that both of our families have shared this day together.

Trevor: I wouldn’t say it feels any different, since we were living together for about a year. But it is thrilling that this is a fully, legally recognized marriage and that if something happens to one of us, the other is not going to lose everything we built together.

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Ceremony & reception venue: The Estate at Florentine Gardens – River Vale, New Jersey

Suits: Macy’s

Cake: Palermo’s Bakery – Ridgefield Park & Union City, New Jersey

Flowers: Broderick’s Flowers – Bergenfield, New Jersey

Invitations: The Papery

DJ – Paul Anthony

Bergen County Wedding Photographer – Leslie Barbaro