“It’s a funny story, I was in DC two years ago for an internship. I didn’t really know anyone there, but one night I just decided to go to the only under 21 gay club in the city. I saw Javi dancing up on the stage, and I recognized him through a mutual friend!”
Michael and Javi found themselves at a club as complete strangers. However, Michael swore he had seen him on social media before through his friend. “It seemed like everyone was watching him. He was at the front of the stage dancing, and everyone else was around him.” So, before he lost sight of him, Michael got up on stage next to him.
“He tapped me on the shoulder and said he was friends with one of my friends. I wasn’t very nice. I said, ‘If you were friends with my best friend, I would already know who you are.’” And with that, the conversation abruptly ended. Javi didn’t want to be at the club. He protesting not to go, but his friends insisted. “I didn’t want to talk to anyone because I just didn’t want to be there.”
After Michael turned to leave, Javi’s friends immediately started pressing, asking who that was. “We went on a hunt to find him, and then I had a conversation with him. At this point, it was love at first sight. By the end of the night I looked at him and said, ‘You’re mine!’” Michael added, “We closed down the club. They turned on the lights and were kicking people to because they were closed. He started the night kind of mean, and then came back looking for me!” Javi drove Michael home at 6:30 in the morning. “I woke up my mom as soon as I got home from dropping Michael off and told her, ‘I just met my future husband.’”
The very next day, Javi asked Michael to grab ice cream and walk around the rooftop of the MGM Casino in Baltimore. Michael, already playing mini golf at the time, didn’t want to lose the opportunity of seeing Javi, so brought their mutual friend along. “It was a little awkward, because it was like a date between Javi and I, with a third wheel… but, it was obviously still a lot of fun.” They bonded over ice cream, talking about their families, Javi’s upbringing in Puerto Rico, and their soccer and swimming athletic careers.
The day after getting ice cream, Javi asked Michael to go hiking with him. To Michael’s surprise, Javi’s mom joined. “I was like ‘Oh, wow! what do I do? But it ended up being a really great time, and it wasn’t overwhelming whatsoever. His mom has always been super supportive of us.”
“At this point, I knew this was something special.” Javi explained. “After the hike, I told my mom that I wanted to date Michael.” On July 4th, just 4 days after Javi and Michael first met, they sat together at the edge of a rooftop overlooking a firework show over Washington DC. As the sun set, Javi asked Michael to be his boyfriend.
At the end of the summer, Michael went back to Indiana to finish his last year of school and start his soccer season. Javi had to stay in DC to finish his studies and last swimming season. “It was just a very busy time and required a lot of transition from both of us. Going from being in the same area and seeing each other every day, to being so far apart and extremely busy…” Michael would visit Javi as often as possible, but between soccer games almost every weekend, long distance proved very difficult. Javi adding, “Thank God for FaceTime!”
When hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, Javi completely lost communication with his entire family living there. “Michael was my angel who kept me calm. I didn’t know where any of my family was — my nieces, aunts, and uncles. Michael’s mom sent a box full of clothes and things that my sister needed after the hurricane along with a note wishing that everything was okay.” Javi took the compassion of Michael and his family to heart. He knew they were in this together for the long run. Their love for one another, and their families was something very special.
“Once my soccer season ended, things were a lot easier. We had more flexibility with our time. Javi stopped training for swimming as intensely and started coaching around that same time. We both reached a point where we were done with the super intense parts of our athletic careers, so it was much easier to see each other.”
In May of 2018, Michael moved back to DC to live near Javi. “One morning, we woke up, and randomly Michael looked at me and said, ‘let’s go look at rings!’” Once they found the perfect ring, Michael had a plan. “I knew that Javi was really tired, so I took him back to his apartment and he fell asleep. While he was out, I went back to the mall and bought him the ring he fell in love with. To cover my tracks, I bought a container of Häagen-Dazs and came back to Javi’s apartment with it.” Javi woke up, completely unaware of what had just been purchased.
Without any delay, Michael began to plan the surprise proposal. Michael called his friend, Amy, who often does fun photo shoots with them and asked about setting up a shoot in which Michael would propose. Javi, excited for the photoshoot, but completely unaware that there would be a proposal, invited a friend to come along. “I didn’t tell anyone what was happening. I thought it would definitely some how get around to Javi if I did. The shoot was on top of a cliff, so I sent Javi up before me, and then grabbed the ring out of my parka and walked up. We were there for about 10 or 15 minutes. Amy had Javi pose for some shots in front of me. As he was posing, I got down on one knee. He was kind of confused, and then he looked down.” — “And then I cried.” Javi interjected. Michael adding, “It was so funny, because our friend who was there had no idea what was happening, then the photographer yelled at her to take a video!”
Javi said yes and the two exchanged rings, but that wouldn’t be the last of their proposals. Javi had a proposal of his own in mind before Michael had his in the works. “I had a trip to Paris planned. I knew it would be the perfect opportunity to ask Michael to marry me.”
On a Monday in March, on a rainy day in Paris, in front of the Eiffel Tower, Javi surprised Michael by getting down on one knee and reflecting the same question, “Will you marry me?”
“I was so nervous, I was shaking!” Javi exclaimed. “He was so nervous that I could tell something was going on. The week before we left for the trip, he changed us from having casual outfits for the photo shoot to having full tuxedos. He told me that the photographer only photographs people in formal wear. I knew something was up, but I was still pleasantly surprised.” With two picture perfect proposals on two separate continents, Michael and Javi are now right in the midst of planning their wedding.
Set for August 8th, 2020, the two will say their vows in Puerto Rico. In describing the wedding, Javi emphasized, “I really just want our families to be together on an island that we love.” Michael added, “I think too, everything with us is typically an experience. We want to give our guests a great experience with our wedding. Instead of a typical rehearsal dinner, we are going to beach hop and tour around the island. Puerto Rico holds a special place in both of our hearts. It will be a very personal and intimate celebration.”
Now fiancés, they couldn’t be more excited to tie the knot!
Concerning Michael, Javi leaves us with this — “I love that we can be ourselves with each other, fully. I love that his family has adopted me from day one and they have become my family. I love that he cares so much about everything in my life. He pushes me to be a better person every single day. Sometimes, he believes in me more than I believe in myself. There are just so many things… I love him.”
We almost are rolling our eyes at the title of this article. Seriously.
Let’s face it, it is hard to be on trend with an event that usually takes over a year to plan! The speed with which something goes from in to out almost makes it impossible for a wedding to be on trend. Today’s in spot might be on the outs by the time you make your first appearance as Mr. and Mr.. The “hot, hot, hot” cupcake bar and donut wall will have cooled off by the time your dessert plates go down. And, if everyone is raising a glass of Aperol now, no doubt they’ll be spilling it then.
So, let these reception trends serve less as “musts” and more as “prompts.” What about a super colorful reception do you dig? Or not dig? If a mellow band for cocktails isn’t your thing, but it reminds you of that band at the Farmers Market you enjoy so much, then this article has done its job.
But, make sure to read each trend all the way to the end, though. ‘Cuz for every trend we are sharing, we are putting forward an even more exciting “counter trend.” For us at Men’s Vows, the hottest wedding reception trends are… “counter cultural!”
It is all about a riot of color at receptions, these days. Multi-color flower arrangements. Dynamic lighting. Colorful glass and flatware. Boldly-colored linens. All together, these elements make for an incredibly cheery and celebratory vibe at your reception. Our recommendation, however, is kept matters to your top three favorite colors because we do believe there is such a thing as too much color!
Counter-trend: The darker, the better. And sexier! Black and dark grays, with accents of very deep red make for a beautifully dramatic reception.
Swing bands. Soloists accompanied by ukulele. Steel drum ensemble. People are taking the DJ vs. band debate and upping it a notch or two by selecting unusual musical entertainment. Now, whether or not folks can really cut a rug to the ukulele is up for debate, but unexpected cocktail hour and dinner reception music unexpected, is making for really memorable weddings.
Counter-trend: Playlists. We say buy a playlist curated to your specific musical desires or simply have each of your guests provide their favorite songs to dine and dance to.
The days of the multi-tiered, fondant-draped, extravagant cake are back. Pies, donuts and cupcakes are a thing of the past at weddings today. So, get thee to a master baker and serve yourselves up a cake that’ll make royals jealous.
Counter-trend: Smoothies. Yep, smoothies. With folks navigating gluten-intolerance, vegan tendencies and overall avoidance of sugar, smoothies are a great way to give your guests something sweet to end the meal and, with the right supplements, a great way to boost the energy at the dance party.
GRASSES & WILDFLOWERS
Grasses and wildflowers are all the rage. Whether because grasses are more sustainable, or because wildflowers are a little less precious, people are opting for this flora over highly arranged and highly expensive other options.
Counter-trend: Do away with florals all together. Save yourselves a lot of money and do your part in preserving the environment and opt for candles, “memorabilia centerpieces” or even paper flowers. Your tables will be just as dramatic avoiding traditional floral arrangements.
Speaking of smoothies, let’s go for the summer wedding reception trend jugular: frosé. Take your favorite summer drink. Freeze it to its slushiest perfection. And, you’ve got a party. You can do the same with your best cabernet, chardonnay, and, even champagne, too.
Counter-trend: Dry receptions. Yep. Dry. With the range of delicious mocktails and kambouchas, why not give people a superb meal and delicious non-alcoholic beverages, and avoid hangovers and embarrassing moments, altogether.
It is hard to following wedding trends since planning one takes so much time. By the time your big day comes around, what might have been cutting edge, is yesterdays news.
However, when it comes time to donning wedding threads, as a groom or as a guest, being on trend is as easy as slipping on a bespoke suit.
From pink seersucker to light blue, pink and gray suits to casual short suits to sports coats and Panama hats, below are some looks that are “bang on” for the summer. We are loving pairing your suits with sneakers and eschewing the dress shoe altogether. And, of course, during the summer, you can say good-bye-tie and opt for a printed shirt instead.
Counter-trend: While you never want to upstage the grooms, unless you are the grooms, we are loving boldly patterned suits—long OR short pants.
Well, if yours isn’t a hot honeymoon then, we have some bigger matters to talk about! However, what we are really here to talk about is the hot honeymoon destinations this summer.
Travel trends are as ever-changing as fashion trends. One year Paris is all the range, the next it is, too! The intrepid among us discover the magic of a country not-oft-visited (like Portugal 5 years ago), putting it on white hot center of the “where’s hot'“ map. The dogged among us hop on trends early enough (glamping, anyone??) to be considered intrepid. But, ultimately, travel trends are all about you discovering new places and making those adventures part of your story.
This summer, the places we are making part of this story are:
These lush islands off of Portugal are among the most lush in the world and offer you the perfect excuse for taking some time in Lisbon, Porto and even Spain.
There aren’t many places in the world from which to take in the vastness of the universe, than the Elqui Valley in Chile. For the stargazers among you, put this on your itinerary.
Keep it local and get thee to Western Massachusetts. During the summer, every cultural institution and culture-maker finds their way to Tanglewood for the ultimate in summer music festivals. No inappropriate Native American fashion statements required.
For the truly intrepid, and the profound animal lover, Rwanda is the place to visit. Experience everything from bustling urban centers to stalking gorilla in Volcanoes National Forest. You will never commune with nature quite like you will in Rwanda.
Counter-trend: Have your wedding and your honeymoon in the same place. This is a great way for friends and family to get a taste of your first married adventure, not to mention, a possible way of getting a better deal for both your wedding and your honeymoon.
Mike and Ian first met through their local “Beantown” gay softball league in Boston, Massachusetts. Once Ian was recruited to Mike’s team and the two laid eyes on each other, the rest was history.
“I couldn't pay attention to anything else that day — I was totally distracted by the sight of him. It wasn't long before we were spending every day together, traveling around the world, and sharing our lives together.
While on vacation in Key West, we decided to pamper ourselves one afternoon to spa treatments. After a relaxing couple's massage in a private rooftop spa suite, we were enjoying champagne and taking in the breathtaking views. I turned to Mike and asked him if he would like to be my husband and partner for life… and he said yes!”
Mike and Ian got engaged in March of 2016, and began planning their wedding at Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas for July 8th, 2017.
“We decided that a destination wedding was the best for us since we wanted to spend more than just a single day celebrating our wedding. We wanted a fun, summer experience with all of our friends and family. And of course, we had to have a beach wedding!
We love the Caribbean and decided that we would ask 70 of our closest friends and family to join us in the Bahamas, one of our favorite places to visit with the most breathtaking turquoise blue seas. We were the first gay couple to celebrate their wedding ceremony and reception at the Atlantis Resort.
Most of our guests came 2-4 days prior to the wedding which allowed us to spend so much time with everyone prior to the big day. By the time the ceremony came along, we were all sun-kissed and things felt more relaxed for all of us. Even our friends and family had become best friends by then after spending so much time together at pool-side gatherings and cocktail parties.
The morning after our ceremony and reception, we reflected on the event and decided that the destination experience was our favorite part — it wasn't just a wedding "day" but a special memory to see everyone having such a great time together. Our guests will never forget our wedding, and neither will we. We already have plans in the works to return as a large group for our 5 Year Anniversary!”
"No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right. The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reversed. It is so ordered."
There are a few places in the world where you feel so at home and comfortable that you have to wonder if you’ve lived there in some other lifetime, or if it’s a place that’s been calling for you all along. San Miguel de Allende lies in the “heart” of Mexico and in one visit will be nestled in your heart forever.
San Miguel, as it is often referred to, is a vibrant, livable city where you will find school children on their way to class, shop owners who live on the same street, and you will find a congenial, friendly, caring attitude from everyone you meet. This is a community that is as cohesive as it is colorful, where the expats are just as vested and seamlessly woven into the fabric of the town as the locals who were born and raised there. There is a unique sense of pride that manifests through an engaged, warm, and civic-minded lifestyle. People live here with a sense of humility stemming from a quiet confidence in knowing how truly special this town is to residents and visitors alike.
As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this town is protected from many of the challenges that face popular destinations—development, overpopulation, lack of historic conservation—and ensure the character and integrity of the historic downtown will be maintained for future generations. Thanks to this being a protected site, wandering the narrow streets of San Miguel guarantees a picturesque, pristine and magical adventure every day.
Before we wander, let’s take to the sky. Start your visit high off the ground in a hot-air balloon with Globo San Miguel. Gretchen Kimball and her family started the business in the 1970’s in Napa Valley and expanded to San Miguel in the early 1990’s. You won’t find a more professional team to pilot you on this breathtaking view of the city and surrounding mountains. From the air, you can fully appreciate the crystal blue skies, clean air and temperate climate that are signature to this city.
Once you’re back on solid ground, continue your journey in the Jardín in the center of town from where you can venture out along the cobblestone streets. Behind every hand-carved door lies a new discovery.
As an entry point into the creative culture of the community, visit Fábrica La Aurora. This is the flagship of San Miguel’s thriving artistic community. Once the largest employer in the town, this textile factory has been repurposed into a carefully curated mix of galleries, home design stores, jewelers, art studios and makers, allowing visitors a never-ending array of options for browsing, discovery and collecting. While the traditional Mexican handicrafts are plentiful, they certainly don’t represent the depth and variety of art that is unique to this town.
As a compliment to the artistic community, the culinary scene attracts many of the best chefs in the country. They find home in beautifully designed restaurants, outdoor dining terraces with views of the cathedral, and contemporary cafes where enjoying an espresso can last for hours. To get a good lay of the culinary landscape, we suggest a tour with the Taste of San Miguel. They offer one of the best food tours of the city, and make sure you request Vail, who will provide the most colorful and insightful review for foodies, as well as insightful perspectives on local culture, architecture and community life.
Starting your day with pastries is always a good idea, and long-time resident, Paco Cardenas Baez at the El Petit Four, has had a devoted local following for decades. His pastries and coffee are of course amazing, being prepared in the first open kitchen in the city, but this is most certainly the place to go for delicious and artfully decorated wedding cakes. This charming chef also offers cooking classes in his home on Mondays, but make sure to reserve in advance.
When it comes time for a bigger meal, make your way to La Unica, with a menu of fresh spins on traditional favorites, and a romantic bar on the main floor. We also love Atriowith its spectacular views, a charming staff and impressive cocktail list. Make sure you make reservations well in advance. For an elevated interpterion of local ingredients and flavors tryRuta De La Milpajust off the Jardín. Delicate portions and complex pairings make for a sophisticated dining experience at this restaurant.
When it comes to where to stay, San Miguel de Allende has wide variety of options for accommodations in every price range.
L’Otel is glamourous boutique hotel with only 10 rooms in the center of town. Under the direction of the suave and handsome general manager, Carlos Moreno, the hotel feels more like staying in an elegant contemporary mansion than a hotel, with butler service, beautifully appointed suites and dynamic retail and dining options on the first floor in the DOCE 18 Concept House. Don’t’ forget to stop by Deitx & Co. Satorial on the first floor for handsome suits and custom tailoring with the finest fabrics.
The only symbol that comes close to the wedding ring as a signal of your love and commitment is your mortgage. We know a couple who jokingly say that while not yet married, they are “in mortgage” to explain the status of their relationship.
Before gay marriage was legalized, buying property together as a male same-sex couple, was a tricky process. Thankfully, those legal and financial gymnastics are a thing of the past. We can all put ourselves in debt for 30 years, easy breezy!
But, for those gents who aren’t yet Mr. and Mr., but are ready to take the home-owners plunge, there are two steps that both your lawyers and your financial advisers will endorse.
1- Sign a pre-nup
While there is no future planning paradox more confounding than planning for the end of your relationship before even making it official, when it comes to buying a house outside of marriage, a co-owner contract or “house pre-nup” is the way to go.
With the help of a real estate lawyer, ask and answer questions such as: What happens to the property if you split? What if one of you becomes disabled or dies? Who pays utility bills or for major repairs? How will you resolve disagreements like deciding to refinance (or not) or if one of you wants to take a home equity loan?
The more you forecast what challenges you’ll have around owning a home together—and how you will address those challenges—the happier your home will be.
Now, as soon as you tie the knot, your co-ownership contract will be a thing of the past. But, it will never hurt to already be very clear about how you’ll be “in mortgage” and marriage, with each other.
2- Choose the right type of title
There is more than one way to own a house, and taking title to your dream home together the right way is especially important for unmarried couples. Options vary from state to state but generally include:
This is pretty straightforward. The title of your house is in one person’s name, conferring on that person all rights and responsibilities to the house.
You might pursue this option if one of you has bad credit or if you have meaningfully different income levels. And, were you to split up, your “house pre-nup” will spell out how you’d sell the house and/or distribute any equity you’ve built in it.
Tenants in Common:
This arrangement serves couples who aren’t looking to, or aren’t able to, own the house 50/50.
The upside to this arrangement is that you can reflect who is investing what (from down payment to monthly mortgage payments) and clarify how to distribute the upside on the house should you decide to sell. One item to resolve in your co-ownership contract is who owns the house should one in the couple pass away. Tenants in common arrangements do not automatically confer ownership in death to the surviving partner, so make sure this is stated both in your co-ownership contract and in a will.
This is when you own the house equally, 50/50.
Unlike the above, joint tenancy does confer ownership to a surviving partner without any further legal specification. However, where it might get tricky is were you to split up and one doesn’t want, or is unable, to buy the other out.
Again, the moment you say “I do,” all of the above is moot. But, until you do say “I do,” it is always best to know what you will do when it comes to buying and selling a house together.
Now you will feel no rain for each of you will be shelter for the other Now you will feel no cold for each of you will be warmth to the other Now there is no more loneliness Now you are two persons but there is only one life before you Go now to your dwelling to enter into your life together And may your days be good and long upon the earth
While a distant second to finding a dream man, the effort around designing your dream home poses its own unique (and equivalent) challenges! What happens when your dream man lives in your nightmare home? His frat-daddy chic clashes with your Japanese Zen minimalism? Your collection of “do you want this” furniture not quite meshing with his collection of mid-century masterpieces?
Trying to bridge the gap between polar opposite ways of living at home, will be a task. But, it doesn’t have to be a miserable one. Given that home is where the heart is, make sure that you start designing a home together, from the heart; from the love that the two of you have for each other, for the life you are going to live out together and, yes, the love you’ll eventually develop for that thing of his you once absolutely could not imagine living with.
So, with love as your starting point, we offer you a few of our best pointers on how to design a home together.
1- Pick a place that is both of yours
OK, we know that it isn’t always possible to break leases, or buy homes together, especially if one or both of you has a great place, or doesn’t have the finances to do so. But, if it is an option, go for it. Find the place that both of you love and that together from day one, you’ll make your collective own. (Check out our article this month on How to Buy a House Together.)
Take your time, too. Get to know each other’s tastes be looking at a lot of places and make a point of explaining to each other what you do and do not like about a place and what vision you might have for it. Even if you aren’t planning on moving into a new place altogether, scouting real estate will give you some ideas for your current place.
Think, of this as picking a new canvas.
2- “Kondo jointly:’
No matter where you move into, it is important for both of you to purge, and purge deeply! Marie Kondo’s KonMari method for radically tidying up is a great (possibly the only) way to go. Read her book or watch her series on Netflix. Going through the effort of DEEP tidying will, again, shed light on each other’s likes and dislikes, as well as help you both part with stuff you no longer need.
You don’t have to love all of each other’s stuff, but you do want to understand why it matters to your main squeeze. This goes a long way to you both finding a place for your prized items in your joint home.
Think of this as preparing your canvas.
3- Live a little, Pin(terest) a lot
Don’t go on an immediate furniture bender. Live in the place and get a sense of how you use it, what the light is like, how it flows. Where would you want a lamp were you to get it? Does the couch have to go against the wall? Where should the bar go?
And, as you’re “learning” the place, go crazy on Pinterest. Look for furniture, accessories, layouts, color schemes you like. Make sure that you describe in the comments section why you’ve pinned the image. Do this separately from your man and then go through your images together, especially they why’s of a given pin.
At the end of this process, you both will have found ideas, looks and even pieces you’re keen to acquire.
Think of this as what your sketching on your canvas.
4- Shop it up.
This is when the rubber hits the road and the road is long! Finding the perfect items for your home can (and should) take time. And, while it might be tempting to scour all the stores in your home town, including the big chains, we recommend you spend time on sites like Chairish and 1st Dibs. You can set your location, price-range, aesthetic and more. Oh, and you can shop 24/7.
And, go in order when it comes to shopping for your house: go big first. Go couch in the living, bed set in the bedroom, dining table in the dining room first. Anchor each room with a key piece, live with it and then buy the rest: side chairs or tables, shelves, and accessories (trinkets, books, pillows) last. Note that art can either come right at the beginning—as art can be an anchoring piece in a room—or last—as it can bring a whole room together right at the very end.
A note about accessories: these can change the look of a room with just one item. Sometimes simply changing accessories can transform a room.
Think of this phase as filling in the images on your canvas.
While it seems counterintuitive to wait this long to paint, we think paint is often best selected once you have the rest of the room in place. The color and size of the furniture can really influence the tone you select for your wall(s).
And, never be afraid of a bold color. You can always start on one wall, say the one behind the couch or bed. Let it act almost as another piece of furniture. The best thing about paint is that it is cheap and you can put on as many different colors as you want.
Think of this phase as filling in the last details on your canvas.
6- Light it up.
Lighting will make a good room great! Be done with the dimmable halogen standing lamps and go for table lamps and spot lights on your artworks. Buy soft pink lightbulbs and don’t be shy to really dim the overhead lights, if you have them. Let these be the overall tone in the room, and let your “specials” (table lamps, spot lights, lit accessories) create destinations in the room.
Think of this as displaying your painting.
And, never ever shy away from using some of the new online and VR design services. We personally love Havenly for great and affordable interior design advice, and Houzz’s VR tool is perfect for “trying on” furniture in your home.
And, remember, a home that is built on love is going to be beautiful no matter if it is done in “Early Frat House” or “Hollywood Regency.”