Chelsey and Val, a couple of four years from Georgia, will get married in New York at the Original LGBT Expo on February 28. | ENGAYGEDWEDDINGS.COM
Val and Chelsey are lesbians who both grew up in small-town Georgia. In addition to the typical struggles faced by young couples — they met four years ago — they were also dogged by lack of family support. Chelsey’s family didn’t approve of the couple’s relationship and Val never felt much family acceptance at all in her life.
“Not only are we a lesbian couple, but we are an interracial lesbian couple living in the South,” Val said. “This was difficult for her family and society to accept.”
Struggling to stay together, they even lived out of Val’s car for a short time.
The couple has clearly turned a corner in their lives and today are raising their seven-month old daughter Emerson. But, engaged for two years, they’ve never been able to plan the wedding they feel they deserve.
All that has now changed. After entering a wedding contest held by the same-sex marriage resource website EngaygedWeddings.com, the couple will travel free to New York City on February 26 to claim a wedding package valued at $30,000 — including a deluxe stay at the Intercontinental Hotel in Times Square, car service by Perfect Limo, personalized wedding bands from Brent & Jess, photography by Steven Rosen, and a $5,000 cake from haute so sweet. The wedding on Saturday at the LGBT Expo will feature flowers from NYC Flower Project, music by Capriccio Ensemble, and officiating by the Reverend Will Mercer.
At a date the couple will decide on later, they will enjoy an all-expense paid honeymoon at Los Altos de Eros, an LGBT-friendly luxury destination in Tamarindo, Costa Rica.
The wedding bash is perhaps the splashiest endeavor by EngaygedWeddings.com, but the organization has brought high visibility to marriage equality gains ever since its founding in 2009. With mass weddings in locales from Chicago to Seattle, EngaygedWeddings.com has tried to keep pace with the roll-out of legalization nationwide.
Along the way, the organization has amassed a digital catalog of resources same-sex couples can draw on in planning their weddings and their married lives together. Click on New York on the site’s US map and you’ll be taken to a page that has links for local bakeries, bartenders, caterers, wedding venues, dance lessons, DJs, florists, photographers, honeymoon accommodations, and more — all of them vetted as knowledgeable and eager to serve the gay and lesbian market.
Similar resources are available across the nation and around the world, not only in jurisdictions where same-sex couples can marry, but also in places where couples might choose to celebrate their union even if they had to travel elsewhere to actually tie the knot.
You can find Engaygedwedding.com not only online but also at the center of the LGBT Expo’s wedding pavilion on February 28 and March 1. Oh, and Saturday afternoon might be a chance to witness a very special moment in the lives of two loving moms from Georgia.