By Jerry BartellAndy and Chris Kraus

If you’re planing a wedding, especially a destination event where you and your guests must travel, it may be prudent to engage the services of a knowledgeable wedding planner.

We spoke to one who offerd plenty of advice.

Susan Southerland had been planning weddings for five years when two men engaged the services of her firm, “”.“There wasn’t much deviation from a traditional wedding except there were two grooms,’ says Southerland. “Now we’re seeing more creativity and personality.”Consider the gay wedding she just planned.

“The couple wanted a Joan Rivers drag queen. So we found one and she went around insulting the guests. The couple also wanted an alligator, so we had to hire an alligator handler.”

With 20 years of experience, Southerland offers advice aplenty for couples planning to marry.

First:  engage a planner.

“It’s insurance,” she says. “A planner knows the vendors that match your style and budget. And she knows who’s reputable. You won’t have to worry about who will disappear or disappoint.”

To find a planner comfortable with gay weddings she suggests checking  and a poster with the handle “Gay Weddings” on Twitter. Two other websites, review wedding planners.

Southerland advises couples to select a venue that reflects their personalities.

“The Hard Rock Hotel Orlando is great,” she says, “if you love that rock and roll feel.  Take the whole wedding party on the honeymoon, a cruise or a hiking trip.”

A good planner, she says, will be sure everyone is comfortable from the get-go.

“I’ve had occasions when one or both parents won’t come to the ceremony. I reassure them this is a celebration of a solid relationship and that’s what everyone should be concentrating on, not what other people think of what they’re doing.”

Originally published in

Published by edsalvato

Educator, marketing, communications and travel safety expert; LGBTQ Pavilion at the New York Times Travel Show; public speaker; expert panel organizer and moderator

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