As the President of WIPA Las Vegas, I have had the opportunity to help plan and host some spectacular events throughout the Las Vegas Valley, and yet none has touched and moved me quite like this one.
On Tuesday, September 1, 2015 our local WIPA Chapter hosted an event called "Weddings are Gay. Or are they?" Initially, there was some concern about the title of the event; some found it offensive. Which was precisely why we needed to host it.
Although I will admit that it was not a topic I wanted to showcase. My own personal beliefs (see Why I Don't Plan Gay Weddings) have been well established and I have shared my experiences and view point quite freely, it became evident that not everyone has had the same experiences that I have had with the LGBTQ Community. There was a lot of discomfort, and a lot of questions that needed to be asked and answered in a safe space free of judgment.
Who better to host such an event than Marek Bute; a newlywed, advocate, lawyer, and - yes - a gay man. He also happens to be one of my former clients, much loved member of the family, and dear friend. Some people were not sure if they could ask questions and not be perceived poorly, which inspired us to host a Q&A that I initially lead, but quickly turned over to the crowd. At times we agreed, at times we disagreed, but in the end we all came away from the meeting with a greater understanding, a lot more love, and a feeling of euphoria, as if we were making the world just a slightly better place by talking to one another.
In all my time, I have never seen a group so engaged, so motivated to learn, and so honestly open hearted as the one that came together to discuss and support the idea of marriage and love. Not gay marriage. Not homosexual love. Just marriage and love. That is all.
Without a doubt, this event could not have taken place without the tireless efforts of our Director of Programs Angelica McDonnell, along with the rest of our Board of Directors and our Creative Partners. Please check out their websites and work via the listings below, and please enjoy these photos from what can only be described as the best damn educational session we have ever had!
Please enjoy these photos! And a special note....Our Moraccan theme was inspired by their personalized hashtag, #MaRocco; the perfect combination of Marek and Rocco's names!
Partners and Acknowledgements
Chapter President and Las Vegas Wedding Planner: Andrea Eppolito
Program Director: Angelica McDonnell
Venue: MEET Las Vegas
Decor: STYLE Lounge, FAB Lab, and Classic Party Rentals
Menu: Divine Events
Bar: Events with a Twist
Photo: Meg Ruth Photography
Video: Sam Welbourn Films