Gay Wedding DOs and DON'Ts

Gay Wedding DOs and DON'Ts

With the passage of same sex marriage in New York, it's time for gay couples to emerge from the sidelines and begin planning the wedding they've been dreaming of FOREVER. "Re-inventing" the traditional event, Buddakan and Stephen STARR Events offer full-service catering for weddings of all sizes. Creating a one-of-a kind sensory experience unlike any other, attendees will be impressed by your exceptional choice of venue and caterer whether it's the engagement party, shower, rehearsal dinner, reception or post-wedding brunch.

Buddakan accommodates parties from 15-800 guests in its dynamic space. Your guests will be mesmerized by the breathtaking Christian Liaigre design of such rooms as the Library, Chinese Lounge, or perhaps the Buddha Wall. Ladies (and queens alike) can break out the Manolos and share a celebratory kiss at the Communal Table where 'Sex and the City' characters Carrie and Big held their own famed rehearsal dinner.

Stephen STARR Events is now the exclusive caterer for the newly remodeled New-York Historical Society, opening this November. Where 'making history matters', what better place to celebrate than amongst New York's most treasured pieces at the oldest museum in the city? Stephen STARR Events also caters affairs in private residences and at other off-premise locations throughout Manhattan.

Scott's Tips, Tricks & Trade Secrets
Nix the favors. They usually get thrown away the morning after the event. Do make a donation to charity with those funds instead; your guests will admire your philanthropic spirit on your special day. One organization we like is, which connects prospective parent(s) with adoption funds regardless of sexual orientation, race marital status or gender.

Ditch the etiquette books
Antiquated ideas of what proper behavior is does not quite match the modern wedding. Do set your own rules with your spouse. Your wedding should be a celebration of the two of you and a totally unique experience. Don't be afraid to think outside the box.

Rent a tuxedo? Are you sure you're gay?
Rental formal wear stores do not deliver high fashion nor the latest styles and trends. That suit cannot be tailored to your specific body type and fit properly (why are you sweating your butt off in the gym to be hard bodied?).

Do buy yourself an investment suit that you will wear again
For ladies, do try renting a dress for the event. offers designer styles at 10% of retail pricing. Don't go matchy-matchy with your spouse. You each have your own unique style and that can be reflected in your wedding day wardrobe selection.

Do think creatively to avoid a cookie-cutter reception location
Pick a venue that reflects your personalities, whether it is your favorite restaurant (like Buddakan) or an iconic Big Apple institution like the newly renovated New-York Historical Society overlooking Central Park.

Don't leave your out-of-town guests wondering what to do all weekend in the city
Organize a day out to see a Broadway show, hit the museums and visit the Empire State Building complete with dining experiences that scream N-Y-C. Make Aunt Helen's first trip to the city magical and filled with rainbows. Create a personalized map of significant events in your relationship, along with a weekend itinerary ' think first date, first kiss, first matching tattoo, favorite caf', favorite trinket shop, or where your significant other popped the question. Your family and friends will appreciate New York through your eyes much more so than any ordinary tourist's map. Send welcome baskets to out-of-town guests, complete with a subway map, MetroCard and favorite New York treats.

Formal sit-down dinner, round tables of eight, seating assignments . . . is this a debutante ball or the most fabulous affair of the year, if not the decade?!
Have passed food paired with interactive stations. Your guests will be able to mix, mingle and eat throughout the evening. And more importantly, you will get more one-on-one time with your loved ones and guests as well.

Stocking the bar with just the typical spirits like vodka, gin and whiskey is so pass'
Shake up some custom cocktails inspired by your wedding day or have a bar featuring a specialty liquor like Absinthe, Pimms or St. Germaine. Mixologists can be hired for the Big Day to stir in some sophistication at the bar as well.

The Wedding Singer vs. Studio 54
Don't hire the tired wedding band that only knows the classics. Do have a DJ that is versatile enough to entertain grandma AND your friend who hits the clubs four times a week. The music should evolve as the evening progresses. After all, who doesn't love a remix or mash-up?

Floral centerpieces and votive candles on every table?
Think trendsetting table-scapes, couture centerpieces and unique decor make the day, well, FABULOUS. Color, variety and size is all up to you. Flowers are the perfect way to customize your Big Day. Prudence Designs & Events can create the magical d'cor that represents your taste and personality as a couple.

Re-think the classic wedding cake
We've all seen the off-white tiered fondant covered monstrosity. Have desserts that you both actually enjoy eating. Hire your favorite ice cream or dessert shop to add personal flair to the event or pass petit fours and bite sized dessert 'tapas' on the dance floor. We love working with City Cakes NY for ceremonial, yet chic, wedding cakes.

The days of thermography and monochromatic invitations are long gone
Be clever and have some fun with your printed materials. Personalize your engagement announcements, save the dates, invitations and day-of materials to set the tone for the Big Day. Remain consistent, yet versatile (think letterpress in similar color palettes but with unique designs) and carry this through to the thank you notes.

Family portrait or society page shots?
The traditional wedding photographer can tend to boss you around trying to get their shot. Those wedding line photos are not only outdated, but take you away from your cocktail time. Hire a photographer with an artistic approach or photo-journalism background to capture those instant, magical moments that will be admired for years to come. Black and white photographs as well as sepia toned images are far more chic and match any home or office d'cor. You will be proud to have them on display when you're raising a glass and toasting your 20th anniversary.

Signature STARR menu'.
Passed Dim Sum
Edamame Dumplings, shallot-sauternes broth
Cantonese Spring Rolls, shrimp, chicken
Crispy Rock Shrimp, toasted ginger
Beef Lettuce Cups, puffed rice, pickled tomato salad
Tuna Tartare Spring Roll, crispy shallot, ponzu
Pork Potstickers, soy vinegar, chili

Peking Duck Salad, frisee, sherry vinaigrette
Broken Chili Chicken, chinese pepper, thai basil
Sweet & Crispy Jumbo Shrimp, citrus salad, radish
Mongolian Lamb Chops, crystallized ginger crust
Charred Filet of Beef, mustard sauce
Lobster Fried Rice, crispy scallops, chinese celery
Spiced Tofu & Cashews, eggplant, oven dried pineapple

Dessert Tapas
Creamsicle Popsicle, orange and sesame semifreddo push-pop
Mini Red Velvet Cakes, cream cheese frosting
Milk Chocolate Panna Cotta, kaffir lime sauce

Scott Barnes is the Special Events & Marketing Manager for Stephen STARR Events