Couples Who Trusted the Pros

Real-life brides share their practical tips for painlessly planning your wedding with the help of professional wedding planners and vendors.

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Hide CaptionShow CaptionThe Couple: Tom Reynen and Steve Gryzan, MD; The Location: Penthouse of Le Soleil Hotel, Vancouver BC

All About

Tom and Steve's Story: "We are a gay male couple who have been happily together for 14 years. Three years ago, during the height of the debate about gay marriage, Steve proposed to me at a party surrounded by some of our closest friends. Because we both come from traditional Catholic families, we weren’t satisfied with simply a non-recognized 'commitment ceremony,' so we looked at other options for marrying legally. The best and closest option, because we live in Minnesota, was Canada. And it seemed somewhat fitting as my late father was born in Canada. We had visited Vancouver several times and decided that would be the location."


Their Tips:

Find a talented wedding planner you can trust: "So, we'd picked our wedding destination, but how to plan a wedding 2000 miles away, in not only another city but another country? Searching the internet for a wedding planning service, we found the answer to our dilemma: a wedding planner named Matthew, better known as 'The Wedding Fairy' (sitting between us in the last photo). He was terrific! He took care of everything from securing the perfect location (a penthouse suite at a luxury hotel in downtown Vancouver) to finding the wedding commissioner to perform the ceremony to selecting the cake, the photographer and the flowers, the license, the wedding reception dinner and making plans for our honeymoon in Whistler."

Involve friends in your ceremony and invite them on the honeymoon: "We had planned to fly up to Vancouver with just a close friend or two and have a small ceremony. But as plans developed and our friends heard how much fun it was going to be, they asked if they could come along. Two weeks before the wedding we were up to 26 people for the wedding and 7 people planning to accompany us on the honeymoon!"

Wedding fairy to the rescue: "The restaurant where we planned to hold the wedding dinner canceled on us, saying they couldn’t handle a group of that size. No worries, once again it was 'Matthew to the rescue.' He found a new venue that was even better than the first. Everything went off very smoothly. Everyone we met was so warm and gracious to us and treated us like the married couple that we are, then later that year we bought a condo in Vancouver and now consider it our second home!"