Today marks one year since the amazing Love Wins Out event at York Manor. I’ve sat down to write this post SO many times, but I never felt like I could accurately express what this event meant to me, so I always abandoned the effort. Well, today is the day. I’m going to tell the story of how it all happened.
November 10, 2016
Two days after the election, y’all. I could not get out of bed, I was so sad. I know that might sound like I’m being dramatic in hindsight, but let me assure you, this is 100% true. My husband was working in Chicago, so it was just me and the fur babies. And an overwhelming sense of loss.
Do you see how many comments Jessica’s post received? 120. One hundred and twenty comments from other Los Angeles wedding pros who were feeling the same things. I was one of those 120 comments.
And then I texted Jessica and asked “do you need help with logistics? 120 vendors is a LOT to keep track of!” She said yes, and we made a plan to meet at a local coffee shop to start planning. That would be my 1st public outing, post-election. Love Wins Out literally got me out of bed.
What an embarrassment of riches Jessica and I faced! When we sat down to organize everyone who had volunteered, we had WAY more pros than we even thought possible. So many wedding pros are multi-hyphenates, like Planner-Florist, Florist-Stylist, Planner-Officiant, so we used that to our full advantage. And speaking to the character of all the pros who threw their hat in the ring, everyone was game for whatever we asked of them. We had committees for Styling/Florals, Rentals, Officiants, Music, Catering, and just General Help! Our goal was to find 5 – 8 LGBTQ couples who wanted to wed before the new administration took over, and to throw them each an intimate ceremony, and then at night, a rocking reception. It was an ambitious idea, but we had an army of pros, and we were fired up! Honeybook reached out and very generously sponsored our craft services for the day, which was so important to keep all of our volunteer pros going all day!
The York Manor volunteered* to be our host venue, so we set a date, and we were up and running. (*I just want to mention here how AMAZING York Manor was to us. It’s almost impossible to get a venue to DONATE their space, 100% free. We couldn’t have done this without them. For real.)
Getting the Word Out
Fun Fact: This photo was from a styled shoot that Jessica Schilling and I produced in Joshua Tree back in 2016. We didn’t know we were foreshadowing back then.
In short order, we had five couples signed up. 10 human beings who were trusting a group of strangers to throw them a wedding. The gravity of this was not lost on me. This had to be the best day.
No pressure, everyone.
The Big Day
Have you ever walked into a space and instantly felt All the Good Vibes? I hope you’ve had that experience in your life. If you haven’t, please seek it out. It will change you.
That’s the best way I can describe the feeling in the air at The York Manor on Wednesday, January 11, 2017. It was raining out, which usually creates chaos in Los Angeles. But there was no chaos at York Manor. Only love and community. I know that’s hard to believe with a team of 40 Wedding Pros, all who are entrepreneurs, and used to being The Boss. You might wonder if there was a clash of wills…there was not. Not once, all day.
We hustled to get everything set up and ready to go for our couples, and before we knew it, it was “showtime”!
Here’s how it went down: Each couple had their own officiant, florist, specialty cake baked just for them, two photographers, and a first dance. So, we started with a short ceremony, then we popped sparkling wine (generously donated by One Hope), toasted to the newlyweds with their loved ones, cut and served their cake, and then they did their First Dance as a married couple. Afterwards, their photographers did a portrait session with them. All of this was accomplished in one hour.
We did this every hour for five hours.
It was amazing to watch everyone do their part to accomplish this. From Holly & Mindy greeting family & friends at the door to Tina re-setting the cake and champagne after every couple to Liz making sure all the licenses were signed and legal…just to name a few specifics. The entire team worked like a well-oiled machine. To look at us, you would have sworn we had done this before!
And you want to see a real MVP? This gal right here, DJ Keelez, pictured with DJ Kara.
DJ Keelez did five weddings, basically back to back – including a First Dance after each one. Then, she regrouped after those five hours and DJ’d the evening reception for another three hours. HERO status, you guys.
The five lovely couples that we celebrated at Love Wins Out are so special to me. I know we weren’t in each other lives for very long, but their impact remains.
Since this event, I have often been asked how we chose our couples. The truth of the matter is, they chose US. All we wanted was to put some love out into an uncertain world, so our only criteria was Love. That’s it. That’s as big and as small as it was.
I wish I could share all the photos from this amazing day, but I also want to respect everyone’s privacy. So, here are my favorites.
Hopefully, these highlights gave you a sense of the joy, the love, the community, and the heart that made up Love Wins Out.
I know that my words can’t do this day justice, so you’ll have to just believe me when I say: It was magic.
Big squishy thanks and love to the entire vendor team, listed below. They are all top-notch pros with hearts as big as their talent. I couldn’t love them all more.
And to these ladies here, Jessica Carrillo of Art & Soul Events (and the founder of LA Wedding Vendors and Creatives) and Jessica Schilling, mastermind of Love Wins Out:
I don’t think I will ever be more proud of an event in my entire career. Thanks for being excellent partners, excellent humans, and excellent friends.
Check out this video by Wandering Study too, I love it so…
Organizers: Jessica Schilling Photography, Renée Dalo of Moxie Bright Events, Jessica Carrillo of Art & Soul Events
Venue: The York Manor in Highland Park
Vendor Sponsor: Honeybook
Designer: Winston & Main
Ceremony decor & guest lounge: Thrifted Sister Vintage
Portrait lounge, bar, & cake table: Circa Vintage Rentals
Planners & Coordinators: In the Clouds Events, Falon B Weddings, Fandom Affairs, Katie’s Kreations Events, LoveSpell Collective
Officiants: Dearly Beloved Celebrations, Silver Charm Events, By Jason Lloyd, Susann Edmonds, Deva Berg
Music and emcee: DJ Keelez
Videographer: Wandering Study
Photographers: Amanda Vanvels, Stanley Wu, Daybreak & Dusk, Jade Elora, J Wiley Photography, Michelle Terris, Evangeline Lane, Casey Brodley, Loie Photography, Julie Shuford, Amy Haberland
Photo booth: Julia Klima of Queen Skittles Photography
Hair & Makeup: Karen Bates-Ashley, Picture Perfect Brides, Beauty by Autumn, Mimi the Hairstylist, Hair by Tiphanie, Tawnny Rey Hair
Florists: Winston & Main, Barnes Botanicals, Burlap & Rose, Holiday Celebrate, Kate Gilbert, Ravayna Coe
Calligraphy & Signage: Calligraphy Nerd, The Duo Studio
Cakes: Mwokaji Cakery
Desserts & Favors: Sweet Art Bake Shop, Nicole Bakes Cakes, Teebsie popsicles, Sugar Bouffant Cotton Candy
Catering: Amy’s Culinary Adventures
Beverages: OneHope Wine donated via Jes Landau and Lindley Carlin
Special Thanks: Anything But Gray Events, Mindy Joy Social, Black Tie Kids, Auntie Em’s Kitchen