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Ongoing Challenges... Ongoing Opportunities... The Summer of 2022

It was Albert Einstein who said, “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity."

Well, Albert, we are certainly in the middle of rather tumultuous difficulty!!

Roe v. Wade has been overturned, there have yet again this year been hundreds of newly proposed anti-LGBTQ+ legislative bills all across the USA, minor gun control legislation may pass but at the same time a sweeping open carry law has  been put into effect via a Supreme Court ruling...

...And so many in our community are gravely concerned that LGBTQ+ marriage equality will be next.

Will it be overturned by the Supreme Court next year??  I'm one of the founders of RainbowWeddingNetwork, and for 22 years my partner and I have been witness to and actively involved with the saga of marriage equality throughout the country.  We have seen states and locales extend marriage access, and then rescind.  In June 2015, when the Obergefell v. Hodges decision came down, we were elated and the whole experience for our community changed:  it felt like we went from being a ping-pong-ball minority to something a little bit more accepted; a little bit more validated.

And in my humble opinion, having walked this road for 22 years... that is all about to change once again.

In some ways, we can understand that the founding of our nation was based upon a back-and-forth, push-and-pull momentum, wherein differing viewpoints compete for control and dominance both at the legislative level and the societal level.  In many ways, this is a healthy ideal.

But, it's been overtaken in recent years -for the past few decades perhaps- and has become not a framework for vigorous discourse... but instead has become a battleground.  -Wherein differing viewpoints are not permitted nor idealized, but instead made into matters of utmost suspicion that lead to extreme divisiveness and either hatefulness or the appearance of it, used for politicized purposes. The ideals of our founding fathers and mothers have been weaponized.  For political gain.  For money.  For power.  Capitalism at its low point?  Maybe.  But I suppose that is for polical analysts, sociologists and other academics to decide.

As for our experience, it is a "difficulty" to say the least.  But wherein lies the opportunity??

Well, to put it simply:  that opportunity remains, as it ever has, in our own hands.  As citizens of this "last great experiment" (to quote yet another genius), it is within our own power to enact the change we desire.

The LGBTQ+ community has, throughout the years since Stonewall, remained one of the most politically active minorities in the USA.  We march.  We protest.  We also attend zoning meetings, and planning hearings, town meetings and district gatherings.  We write letters to our political leaders, we call, we speak up on behalf of others in our community and on behalf of our children.  We march further.  We vote.  We encourage others to do so also.  We make our voices known.

But in recent years, many of us have become more complacent.  It's been hard to stay energized, midst the challenges of a worldwide pandemic and before that, midst the onslaught of anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric, legislative proposals and violence that we have experienced since June 2015.  The promise of Obergefell v. Hodges, for many, fell short, simply because a new Presidential administration took hold shortly thereafter, and the wave of chaos that ensued felt overwhelming.

But now the latest difficulty that faces us requires great rigor and renewed commitment.  We have to muster strength and stand up - we must march again, get out the vote again, perhaps run for office ourselves even despite the violence, frustration and heartache.  We must remember that we will not establish a more perfect union, unless we ourselves keep up the discourse in ways that are non-aggressive yet mightily productive.

Every action matters.  Come out.  As LGBTQ+... as a climate activist... as an animal rights advocate... as a fan of the arts...  as a helpful neighbor and friend... as a citizen of a country that requires each of us to be as active as we possibly can be, and to keep hold of the lfesaving belief that, even within the depths of this challenging time, we can still find the very real opportunities to give ourselves a stronghold and rise to meet the moment.

Our minority definitely has an opportunity in this time and in this place.  We can become a beacon of non-violence and productive momentum, for greater equality for all minorities and for all people.  Because we know the truths of what inequity feels like, we can easily commit ourselves to the ideal that equality for all, and in every circumstance, is a cause worth standing up for.  - A cause worth standing for together.

 -Marianne Puechl, co-founder /


On the past 22 years...

Here at, we are certainly proud to note that it's been 22 years since the launch of our website.  We have been witness to so much history these past two decades!

Back in 2000, we began our site because there were no other such resources available for our community.  My partner, Cindy, and I were planning our own commitment ceremony and saw firsthand how limited services were that helped LGBTQ+ couples navigate the process of planning a wedding.  Cindy had the foresight then to realize that there was no registry anywhere in the world that offered the simple header of "Partner & Partner" instead of "Bride & Groom"... so we started one! was officially launched in September 1999, with no budget, no investors...  and only grassroots marketing efforts.  Yet within six months the site attracted over 1 million hits!

Not long after, we survived the dot com crash, a devastating flood, then the recession... all midst the backdrop of various progressions on the political scene regarding LGBTQ+ marriage equality.  We had the opportunity to meet so many amazing and courageous couples and advocates of non-discrimination, as well as wedding vendors and political figures who worked and served on behalf of our community.  When we marketed our new idea back in 1999 at Pride celebrations and other events, most people we talked to did not then agree with us that the issue of marriage equality is a civil rights issue, and even midst the crazy buzz of Y2K deserved our attention.  And so, day after day, year after year, we watched and worked on behalf of this cause and this ideal... and witnessed its evolution from idea to belief.

In 2003, our little company began producing LGBTQ+ Wedding Expos, with our first in Minneapolis that November.  The next year, we produced events in Boston and San Francisco... and today we produce between 22 and 26 events each year and have had the honor to visit 37 different states with our expos.  Amazing!

In 2006, we began publication of the world's first-ever LGBTQ+ Wedding Magazine, Rainbow Wedding Network Magazine, and saw distribution throughout the nation.

Our website continued to grow and change, of course, but our mission always remained the same:  to bridge LGBTQ+ couples with wedding, home and travel professionals who uphold a policy of non-discrimination.  And to continue to hold on to the belief that equality for our minority is a right, and nothing less.

Today, we continue to adapt and grow during the unprecedented times of COVID-19, grateful that our events are once again taking place on various weekends somewhere across the country.  We continue to hold the faith that, despite the ongoing challenges of the pandemic and the chaotic political climate, we will be able to continue effectively assisting couples in finding those wedding, home and travel professionals who wish to serve them with respect and joy. And we strive to continue to serve our friends who own small businesses, such as photographers and DJs, bakers and floral designers... trying our best to offer affordable marketing opportunities both at the expos and also online so that they can efficiently book new clients during this challenging time.

THANK YOU to all those who have supported our company - either twenty years ago or in recent days...  We appreciate each of you for helping Rainbow Wedding Network in its efforts to support LGBTQ+ couples and our allies, as successfully as possible, now and for many years to come.

-Marianne Puechl & Cindy Sproul, founders / / /



27 Simple Wedding Reception Decor Ideas

Planning a wedding isn’t easy, to say the least. Between picking a venue, dealing with the caterer, and trying to impress your guests anything that helps simplify the planning process can make life just a little easier.

While you’ve been frantically searching for ideas and tips, we've put together a life line of sorts. A list of ideas that range from fall weddings to general decor. Compiled below are 27 ideas to help you create an amazing and unique reception. 

During the fall season, it’s hard not to feel those cozy vibes. A rustic atmosphere full of cozy warmth and a laid-back feel pairs so well with fall. Whether you have an upcoming wedding or are just looking for preliminary ideas, in this section you’ll find elegant ways of creating comfortable fall atmosphere.
1.  Roaring Fires
An outdoor wedding in the fall can get quite chilly at night. Light the night sky and warm guests by adding fires to your outdoor rustic wedding during the colder months. Keep reading to see how a fire can add an elegant touch while keeping with the rustic feel.
2.    Illuminate the Sky
If you want to go more upscale for your rustic or fall wedding, there are many options for illumination that pair well. You can hang crystal chandeliers from the ceiling of a barn to make for an elegant ambiance.
While chandeliers can add an elegant touch, not everyone will want to go for something so, well, big (or have your reception in a barn for that matter.) Consider hanging café lights on the ceiling or in trees for a less formal touch.

Hanging lanterns are another lighting option, and these add a particular flair no matter what kind of venue you’ve chosen. While traditional lanterns will add to a rustic vibe, and café lights add more to the industrial or vintage look, paper lanterns are great for creating either a playful, relaxed atmosphere… or, depending on the style of the lanterns, an elegant feel that is artistic and trendy.
3. Warm and Cozy
Whether or not there are roaring fires (but you totally should), consider creating a comfortable and cozy place for guests to sit. The fall weather will inspire them to wish for a casual spot to relax, mingle, chat and feel the warmth from the inside-out.  Use pillows, outdoor furniture and fluffed blankets in case it gets chilly out. This gives guests a place to unwind and relax from the party plus the blankets can double as a great keepsake gift!
4. Wood Ladder
Using tattered wood ladders is a great way to decorate while keeping with your rustic or fall theme. They can be used to display photos, guests’ escort cards, seating cards, small quilts, or simply decorated with flowers.

5. Fall Colors
Especially when fall is upon us, nature can be incredible at guiding the color scheme for a reception. BBJ Linen has some beautiful rustic ideas including using Earth tones from the surrounding landscape combined with a natural wood look for tables and chairs.

From pumpkins and other organic oranges, to hazelnut browns, bronze, deep organic reds and muted sunflower yellow… the range of colors that are available to accent your gathering are varied and rich.  -Including seasonal colors is a simple way to bring a fullness and sense of connection to your celebration.

 Sash & Bow – Shanna Allen Photo

6.  Hayrides and Halloween
There’s nothing more fall than pumpkins, apples, barrels and bales of hay. Large bales of hay make a great addition to any rustic or fall wedding and can double as a place for guests to sit. Barrels provide a fun hi-top table, or a decorative piece on which to set florals or your delightful wedding cake.  Uncarved pumpkins, squash and apples add a great fall vibe too, but don’t use carved pumpkins as it’ll make your reception look like a place to trick-or-treat!
7. Seating
Whether you’re going for a rustic feel or a laid-back fall vibe, long farm-style tables create a more informal feel than round tables. This encourages a more casual atmosphere. If you’re outdoors or at a rustic setting, like a barn, long tables will keep with the overall theme of the reception.  Be sure to chat with your caterer about homestyle options that retain a sense of elegance but keep theme with the rustic as well!
8. Tapestry
Hanging tapestry or quilts will not only add to a cozy atmosphere or rustic vibe, but it can double as a way to display guests’ seating assignments. Check out The Lesser Bear for elegant hand-made tapestries.
9. Glassware
Ditch the formal long-stem wine glasses and opt for something that matches your casual autumn theme. You can be creative as there are many options to choose from. Glassware suggestions include using canning jars, mugs and old jelly jars for serving drinks.  Wrap them with a piece of burlap or quilted fabric – you can then pin nametags or a keepsake to the jar for an added touch.
10. Guest Book
Definitely opt to get creative with your guest book! It’s something you’ll keep forever and the more interactive the process, the more meaningful the messages that your guests will be inspired to write. A large wood framed canvas can add some fun, especially for a rustic wedding. Check out Flutterbye Prints for some framed guest book ideas.
11. Crates
Wooden crates are a great addition to any fall wedding. They can be used as a decoration, filled with florals or with personal items such as blankets, or brimming with apples both for display and for tempting your guests for a snacking option. They also can be used to display escort cards or a creative way to display guests’ wedding favors.
12. Hanging & Displaying Greenery
Whether it’s too cold or you’re not wanting to risk poor weather at an outdoor wedding, you can bring the fall foliage inside. Hang pine, fall leaves and other greenery to create a rustic, fall look for an indoor reception. You can use existing structures at your venue or find creative ways to decorate your space with greenery-such as adding greenery to hanging lights, decorating ladders, barrels or crates (as mentioned above)… or keep things simple by using canning jars as vases at each table, filled with fall foliage and greens.
13. Large Letters
Oversized letters with a wooden finish are a trendy decorative addition. They are great as accent pieces such as displaying fun combinations of you and your partner’s initials or newly chosen last name… or being used to designate certain areas such as the bar or the dance floor.
Tantalizing Tips for any Time of the Year
While fall weddings seem to be gaining popularity, whether it’s due to the wildly colorful foliage or crazes for more casual wear and coffee bars with pumpkin spice, every season has something unique to offer for a wedding. No matter if it’s spring, summer, fall or winter, these next tips can help you create a beautiful reception.
14. Table Runners
Whether with, or in lieu of tablecloths, consider using table runners to add some romantic décor to the table. Depending on the theme, the color you choose can add a nice accent to compliment the reception. Texture is also a trendy part of table décor these days!  …and table runners come in all kinds of different fabrics.  Just by adding these simple accents, you can change the entire ambience of your reception tables, so don’t underestimate this exciting (yet easy!) feature.

15. Display Photos
Guests truly enjoy having the chance to see all the love that has led up to Your Special Day. Explore a variety of creative ways to display photos of you and your partner… and even some of your families and friends – guests also will love to find themselves featured in your special montage!  Digital frames allow for a seemingly endless array of images, or there are a variety of artistic display ideas as well.
16. Upgraded Table Numbers
There are creative ways to display table number or names that blend well with whatever theme you go with. Consider using personalized bottles of craft beer, flags in mason jars, photo markers, tag trees, or almost anything you want! Check out Save on Crafts for some trendy ideas.
17. Photo Booth
Create a backdrop that adds to the décor of your reception, but still makes for festive and unique photos. Companies that rent out photo booths can help you create the perfect backdrop and fun activity for guests.  There are many options these days as far as interactive photo booth experiences go, so be sure to shop around and ask lots of questions!
18. Focus on Flowers
Flowers are a timeless addition to any wedding. A simple and easy way to make your centerpieces stand out is to use tall vases for flower arrangements. Believe it or not, height is one quick way to add to the design scheme of your reception!  Then of course there are the other wonderful elements to consider when it comes to options with florals:  color choices, the style of flowers (wildflowers add that sense of charm, while deep red roses say “Classic Love” at a glance!)…  Accents with regard to how your florals are presented or displayed…  Check out Sweet Blossoms for some great ideas on how to make your flower arrangements pop.  And be sure to take into consideration what will happen with your florals after your party is over:  will you take them all home?  Will you give some away?  Will you donate them?  Planning ahead will save you time in the long run!
19. Balloons
Balloons can add a festive touch without breaking the bank. They can be used to create backdrops, arches, non-floral displays, signage, add a fun flair to formal weddings or help create a laid-back vibe. Consider Shop at Nyeas for balloon related ideas.
20. Sugar Rush
Who doesn’t love dessert? Better yet who doesn’t love candy? Whether with, or in lieu of, a cake, consider a buffet of candy for guests to enjoy. We're Sweet for You can help you create a candy display that also doubles as a party favor. Simply provide some colorful or customized bags for the road… and you’re all set with the keepsakes for your guests!
21. Elegant Drapery
Hanging drapery or fabrics can add an elegant, sweeping or colorful touch to your wedding reception. They can be used to cover up unimpressive walls or add glorious accents to the ceilings. With uplighting, fabric backdrops can shine, sparkle, alternate hues, spotlight monograms or signage and more…  Check out Event Drape Rental for more info!
22. Make Your Wedding Sparkle
If part of your wedding can be outside or your wedding reception is outdoors, using sparklers is not only a fun activity for guests, but can create magical photos that will last a lifetime. Take a look at Grand Wedding Exit to see what fun their sparklers can add to your festivities.
23. Cup Your Cake and Personalize the H&%@ out of it
Many couples are opting for cupcakes instead of a large, single wedding cake. Cupcakes allow you to create beautiful displays and offer up multiple flavors to please every guest. Our CupCakery offers cupcakes in all sorts of sizes, flavors and can account for various dietary restrictions.  And a great keepsake idea?  Cake in a jar, (a personalized jar to commemorate the Special Day!), with a lid and ready to go!  Guests can even pick and choose from various flavors to add to the fun!
24. Flowers from Above
Although we’ve already discussed hanging greenery, you can use the same creative ideas to hang flowers from a ceiling. Enchanting!  You can also decorate existing structures or hang potted centerpieces instead of or in addition to tabletop florals.  The wow factor, exponential!
25. Chalkboards
Chalkboards can be used throughout your reception to create a different look that your guests might not be expecting. Chalkboards can be used to designate a gift table, used as a welcome sign or as a menu at the bar.  Your calligrapher or invitation specialist may be able to help with beautiful lettering and colors to make the most of this fun and versatile idea.
26. Tie a Knot
Ribbons can be a great, low-cost way of adding to your decorations. Ribbons can be used instead of chair covers as well, offering some savings while keeping your reception looking elegant. Believe it or not, the array of styles and textures available in ribbon these days is amazing.  Check out the options online or in your local craft store for inspiration!
27. Bunting
Bunting, long strings of triangular shaped flags, is becoming more popular these days. It’s relatively inexpensive and has a variety of uses. It adds a festive flair to a vintage wedding or adds to the laid-back feel of an outdoor fall wedding.

While a wedding is all about celebrating the love of two people, who have decided to come together and commit to a life-long relationship, of course you also want to enjoy a setting that provides a beautiful backdrop to Your Special Day.  Whether modest or epic, the décor that you choose can add that much more to the uniqueness of your wedding day.  Make the most of the occasion, get creative, and have fun with it!



Fun Decorative Accent for Your Reception

image courtesy SLC Marriott University ParkThere are so many exciting choices for your Wedding & Reception decorative accents!! How do you possibly choose?? Are you sticking with themed accents... or accents by color? Or just going with what strikes your fancy? ...Or deferring to the ideas of your wedding planner or design team?  Whew! Decisions, decisions!!

This string of battery-operated roses caught our eye at the Salt Lake City LGBTQ Wedding Expo on October 13th...  Simple, elegant, and such a nice touch.  The strand at each table can be handed out as gifts to special wedding guests.  Beautiful for the day-of, and a lovely keepsake.  EnJoy finding your own unforgettable accent pieces!

(image courtesy of the #SaltLakeCityMarriottUniversityPark, proud host of RainbowWeddingNetwork's recent LGBTQ Wedding Expo!)