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Advice for Planning an LGBT Celebration from FUSE Weddings & Events

Wedding planner Mara Marian has coordinated dozens of same-sex nuptials. Here, she shares her top tips for local LGBT couples.

Local wedding planner and event designer Mara Marian, owner of FUSE Weddings & Events, is no stranger to the pages of our magazine. We regularly feature her smart, savvy advice and her flawlessly executed weddings, including many same-sex celebrations. So what better wedding pro to help kick off the launch of Love Wins Utah? Below, she shares her top tips for local LGBT couples planning their special day.

Photo: Kelli Bramble Photography

“Whether it’s budget constraints, challenging family dynamics, disagreements between you and your significant other, or all of the above, planning your wedding can be difficult,” says Marian. “Factor in the ‘same-sex wedding’ aspect, and it can sometimes add another layer of stress. Lack of family support, confusion about wedding traditions, or apprehension about contacting vendors for services for a same-sex celebration can make any happy couple want to throw in the towel early in the process. Having helped many same-sex couples down the aisle, we’ve got you covered to make the process fun and exciting—as it should be!” 

Photo: Chudleigh Weddings

“While planning any wedding, I encourage clients to remember this day is about you. Start the process by reflecting on what makes you unique as a couple. Find ways to share your story with your guests and infuse your favorite things into your celebration. Bryan Nash and Nathan Judd tied the knot with us in 2013 at the Natural History Museum of Utah. Nathan has a (not so) secret love for 7-11 nachos (he’s going to kill me for sharing this!), so we worked with Culinary Crafts to design a ‘foodie’ version to serve during cocktail hour.

Clients Luke & Ryan incorporated a fun custom bobble head cake topper at their Red Butte Garden Rose House wedding, and Troy and David opted for cheeky cocktail napkins that read ‘What a GAY Wedding!’ at their modern mountain celebration at Snowbird.”

Photo: Kelli Bramble Photography

“Wedding traditions are just that—traditions, not rules. Don’t like cake? Cool, don’t have one. Feel nervous about doing a first dance? You can skip it! Are you a bride who doesn’t want to wear a gown? Then don’t! Fuse brides Bethany & Lauren were married in February at the Salt Lake Hardware Building and Lauren rocked pants. Same goes for brides Reiko and Alison, who also wed at the Salt Lake Hardware Building—Reiko rocked a non-traditional dress, while Alison opted for pants and a blazer.” 

Photo: Britni Willie Photography

“Start by defining a budget. Talk with anyone who will be contributing and determine what you’re comfortable spending in advance. From there, create a guest list and narrow down who will be invited. As you’re securing services, I always recommend starting with the ‘big ticket items’ (i.e. venue, food and beverage, photography, décor, etc.) and work from there.

Think about your priorities and spend accordingly. Are you major foodies but couldn’t care less about flowers? Serve a delicious plated dinner and enjoy lots of gorgeous candles instead of pricey floral centerpieces. Bottom line: This day is about your love, your commitment, and the celebration of both—it’s not about fancy linens.” 

Photo: Chudleigh Weddings

“We’ve waited a long time, and finally #lovewins and #lovewinsutah. I wish that along with the Supreme Court ruling would come unanimous support from everyone, but unfortunately I still sometimes hear stories about couples that have had unfavorable experiences with vendors who were seemingly (or clearly) not interested in providing services for same-sex couples. If you have any apprehension at all, you’re always welcome to contact the FUSE studio and we’re happy to make vendor recommendations free of charge for professionals who would be honored to be a part of your big day.”

Photo: Kelli Bramble Photography

Featured Photo: Brittni Willie Photography