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How we celebrate love and diversity in the wedding industry

celebrate love diversity wedding industry lgbtq voices Lawrence Michael founders Broughton Media Group
Keilan Scott Photography; DSW Photography

On Valentine's Day, discover the inspiring journey of a Black gay couple as they navigate the challenges of planning their wedding, facing discrimination, and ultimately creating a platform to celebrate and advocate for LGBTQ+ love and inclusivity.

When we got married after 11 years together, we were excited about going through the wedding process to become husband and husband. Like many, we logged onto websites, scoured the blogs, and grabbed every wedding magazine for inspiration and ideas.

The more we looked, the more we realized how few examples of people like us were present. Editorial examples of Black gay couples getting married or love stories of LGBTQ+ people of color, in general, were hard to find. We were significantly underrepresented in the mainstream queer media spaces. This lack of representation for queer people of color in the wedding industry motivated us to want to have a wedding day to remember. We wanted to share our story, hoping that others would follow and begin to change the representation in the wedding industry.

celebrate love diversity wedding industry lgbtq voices Lawrence Michael wedding aisle

We soon began searching for wedding vendors to help us plan our big day, and naively, we thought every vendor would be as excited as we were to have our business. After many disappointing vendor meetings, we realized we needed to pre-qualify vendors with the question, “Are you okay with providing services for same-sex couples?”

The very act of this pre-qualification made us feel like our upcoming nuptials were “less than” that of heterosexual couples in their eyes. When we finally assembled our “Wedding Day Dream Team,” there were still challenges that existed, like misgendering us on paperwork and in comments during meetings or not fully grasping different concepts about gay or black weddings. But we made corrections and kept things moving.

celebrate love diversity wedding industry lgbtq voices Lawrence Michael founders Broughton Media GroupKeilan Scott Photography

On October 14, 2017, we assembled 120 of our closest family and friends for an unforgettable destination wedding in Las Vegas. Everything was as we planned for a perfect day, celebrating our love and lifelong commitment to one another. We woke up on October 15, 2017, knowing that we finally said “We Do” and pulled off the biggest celebration of our lifetimes.

Everyone began to reach out to tell us they had an excellent time and began to share their experiences on social media. Soon, the tagging notifications started coming in, and posts about the wedding and reception shared by our friends started drawing homophobic hatred from others who attacked us. We found ourselves on the defense, defending our right to love, to marry, and to live.

celebrate love diversity wedding industry lgbtq voices Lawrence Michael wedding

When we got the official wedding photos and video back, they were everything we wanted them to be. Soon after, we began sending our story to different outlets; several were excited to share, but a few said it wasn’t a fit for their audience. A well-known Black bridal publication decided to publish our story in both their print magazine and online. “Finally,” we said to ourselves, “people will begin to publish more LGBTQIA+ couples of color.” Naively, again, we thought that representation would lead to acceptance. Nothing could have been further from reality.

The minute we were posted on the bridal magazine’s Instagram account, we were victimized by those who hate who we are and who we love. We found ourselves once again defending our right to marry and to love. Even some of our friends who came to our defense found themselves in ongoing online fights with keyboard bullies.

With all the personal online attacks resulting from trying to share and defend our love story, it would have been easy to put the wedding album away and live a quiet life together, but that’s not in our DNA. We believe that no LGBTQ+ couple should ever have to experience what we did when planning and sharing our wedding.

Internalizing Mahatma Gandhi’s words, we took lemons and made lemonade to be the change we wanted to see and created Black Gay Weddings.

celebrate love diversity wedding industry lgbtq voices queer couplesDSW Photography; MFields Photography; Studio Tran Photography

Since its inception, we’ve highlighted over 2,000 couples across our platform, demonstrating its significance in helping LGBTQIA+ individuals feel seen, valued, and supported. This ripple effect of love and inclusion extends beyond the Black queer community, promoting a more inclusive society for everyone. What emerged from our love has evolved into a passion for showcasing love in all its forms.

So often, stories of LGBTQ+ individuals of color have seldom been heard, and pictures of Black queer love have rarely been seen. Black Gay Weddings is now a beacon of hope, celebration, and inclusivity, dedicated to sharing the love stories of LGBTQ+ people of color and honoring those who support their love.

Lawrence & Michael Broughton are the founders of Broughton Media Group, publisher of BGW Elevate, the premiere wedding magazine for LGBTQ+ people of color. Learn more at, and follow them on social media at @BlackGayWeddings.

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Lawrence & Michael Broughton