So, here I am, wedding planning my day away when I stop to check in on my friends and family on Facebook, when I see this absolute nonsense:
I would find a letter such as this disrespectful and distasteful had it been sent to anyone in the world. But, you see, this resort made a very grave mistake in that they sent it to my couple. They sent it to my friends. They sent it to my family - The very men that my son refers to as "Uncles Rocco & Marek", that have been featured on this blog, that I spend holidays and weekends and brunches with.
Before I had time to allow my anger to rise to the level of "high alert" I saw that Marek had already responded, with a level of class, dignity, and humor that only someone raised properly could possibly have displayed.
Rocco and Marek have allowed me to share their response here. I hope you read it, and I hope that you are as moved as I was.
With love, always...
I can tell by the tone of your response that you are genuinely disappointed with Barcelo Grand El Faro’s corporate policy against gay weddings, and I appreciate that. Please do not take this against you, though you may be the recipient of this response to your company. Personally, I am not that offended, as the property was not even on my list of preferred venues. In fact, I was about to hit the trash button to delete your message and move on, never paying any further attention to the rejection, but for one remark – “…unfortunately, this is a family resort that can’t have gay weddings.” You may want to rethink including this in your response to other LGBT couples that inquire about your property in the future.
I am a rational person and can accept the fact that some corporations have bigoted policies, which, from a business standpoint, just make no sense – I suppose it has worked for Barcelo, or has it? Wasn’t your property just acquired by another company? Are they aware of this policy? I have managed through that sort of discomfort and bigotry throughout my entire life with great success and, fortunately, am witnessing every day the evolution of our society as more people understand that my love is no different than theirs. But, if that is truly the reasoning behind Barcelo’s corporate policy (protecting the sanctity of a family friendly resort), then I take great offense on behalf of my family.
You see, by denying yourselves the privilege of hosting our celebration (yes, it would be your privilege), you aren’t just rejecting me and my future-husband and thefamily that we are trying to establish – you are denying our family the respect they deserve in celebrating our union. Weddings are never just about the couple. Yes, the couple is the center of attention; but, let’s face it, weddings are for the family.
Did you know that we come from and are part of families, too? Contrary to popular belief, we are not exotic fruit from the Garden of Hedonism picked and raised by packs of mystical unicorns and dropped on this Earth simply to spread glitter, cheer, and general fabulosity. We actually come from families, just like you, whether they are the ones we are born into, adopted by, or those we create on our own through life experiences that bring us together. So, let me tell you a little bit about my family and the family wedding your resort won’t have the pleasure of hosting.
My immediate family is small – my parents and my older brother (in the U.S), 2 aunts, 2 uncles, my 3 cousins, and my grandparents (Canada and Poland). My parents escaped Communist Poland in the early 80s during Martial Law and Solidarity and suffered through 3 years of separation before they were able to reunite our family so that my brother and I could have a better life. The love from my family gave me the strength and foundation to become everything that I was meant to be and has shaped everything that I am today, part of which includes being a proud gay man who has found the love of my life in another man. My family accepts and respects our love whole-heartedly and after experiencing the life that we are creating together, they want nothing more than to celebrate and honor our union at our wedding, the way any parent wants for their child.
My fiancé’s family is a bit larger – between the aunts, uncles, cousins, and their kids, we are talking well over 100+ family members. Originally, they hail from Monterrey, Mexico. His immediate family includes both of his parents, his 2 older brothers, their wives, and their daughters (our 3 fabulous nieces), but the love and support he encountered as a child from his entire family helped him grow to be a strong, confident man, adored by all who meet him and who also happened to find love in another man. Over the last 5+ years, this family has shared in the growth of our relationship and love, not once expressing any hint of distaste or disapproval. In fact, friendly family feuds erupt from fighting over who gets to host us when we visit Chicago. I am honored to be marrying into this family and proud to be extending the family tree with our own unique and equally-loving branch.
Over the years before meeting each other, my fiancé and I each had the great fortune of making lifelong friends that have come into our lives at different times from elementary school, middle school, high school, college, law school, to our professional lives, and everything in between, and have remained with us over the years – the kinds of friends that have shaped us into the individuals that we are today and have become much more than just friends, they too are our family. This family of friends has so much to do with who we are fundamentally and brings so much joy to our lives, that we cannot imagine celebrating our wedding without them. Fortunately, our family likes to travel.
Our family doesn’t see a gay couple when they look at us – all that they see is a couple in love who want nothing more than tor share the rest of their lives with one another.
So, when you reject my fiancé and me on the basis that you are a family resort that can’t have gay weddings, know that you are not just rejecting and disrespecting us, but you are rejecting and disrespecting our [very large] family.
We are blessed to be surrounded by the love of our family and look forward to celebrating our union and the start of another branch of this family at a destination that respects our wedding equally as we do.
Marek and Rocco
“Proud GAY Couple”
P.S. Our family is large and loyal. Though I didn’t take personal offense to your policy, they did. Your company just lost a world of family business.
Las Vegas Wedding Planner Andrea Eppolito is often published, with works featured by the likes of BRIDES, Style Me Pretty, Grace Ormonde Wedding Style, The NY Times, LA Times, Junebug Weddings, and more. With an eye catching style that shares not only the story, but the soul, of a wedding, Andrea's clients praise her for being their wedding planner, event designer, advocate, and friend.
An internationally acclaimed speaker, Andrea appears and speaks at events for the Engage! Luxury Wedding Summit, NACE, The Knot, the Wedding MBA, and more. Named the Best Wedding Planner in Las Vegas (2013, 2015, 2016), Wedding Professional of the Year (2011) and ranked as one of the top 50 wedding planners world-wide, Andrea works with celebrities, athletes, executives, and all people in love!
Based in Las Vegas, and working as a destination wedding planner world wide, you can learn more at www.AndreaEppolitoEvents.com.