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Real Wedding

New Jersey Garden Estate Wedding: Bradley & Trevor

Leslie Barbaro Photography

Oct. 12, 2014

Trevor and Brad met in spring of 2001. They attended the same university and the same degree program. A mutual friend thought it would be a good idea to introduce them. Trevor says, “It wasn’t love at first sight. It took a full five minutes…plus ten years.”

Trevor left the university after one semester. Over the next ten years, he and Brad were either never single at the same time, or never in the same state (or time zone). Trevor moved to Texas in 2007 and didn’t move back to New Jersey until 2011. Two weeks after returning, and about 10 years after they went on their first date, Trevor realized that things were never falling apart, just falling perfectly into place.

Trevor proposed first but only because he beat Brad to purchasing a ring by one week. Trevor made a box for Brad’s ring out of a felled tree that his parents planted 27 years before. Trevor was honored when his father helped him make it with his own woodworking tools, and again when his mother produced an old, silk handkerchief of her father’s with which to line it. It remains a touching tribute to the ties of family, past and present.
Leslie Barbaro Photography
Leslie Barbaro Photography

Trevor planned his proposal for a July evening at Brad’s family home in Cape May. They invited three friends over for a clambake. One of the friends brought along his guitar, which was not unusual for him to do, and at the right moment Trevor queued him to start playing “Just One Person,” Brad’s favorite song. The five friends sang along and at the conclusion, Trevor pulled out the ring box and opened it. Unfortunately, due to the dim lighting, Brad thought Trevor was asking for a piece of cake, and it took him a minute to realize what was going on.

Leslie Barbaro Photography
Leslie Barbaro Photography
Leslie Barbaro Photography
Leslie Barbaro Photography
Brad was floored. The moment the ring box came out, he had an initial moment of shock, and then turned to their friends to see if they were equally surprised (they weren’t). Everyone was in on it. As it turns out, Trevor had been posting pictures daily with the ring box hidden somewhere in the background for a full week leading up to the proposal.
Leslie Barbaro Photography
Leslie Barbaro Photography
Leslie Barbaro Photography
Eventually, Trevor’s ring arrived. Brad waited to give it to him until the day of their engagement party. They had traveled to France the year prior and loved every moment of it. For an engagement present, Trevor found a surreal black and white painting of a Parisian street scene that he hung up on the wall while Trevor was upstairs. When he came down, he not only saw the painting, but his ring was hanging from the top of the Eiffel Tower.
Leslie Barbaro Photography
Leslie Barbaro Photography

Trevor described the search for a wedding venue, “Part of the trouble with getting married and being two guys is that nearly every venue is designed with a distinctly feminine tone. It took various efforts, on Brad’s part, to find a venue that fit us and was in our budget.” Brad added, “As there was no bride to be found at our wedding, it took a little more searching.  What solidified the decision was the fantastic venue staff. They were by far the most accommodating and professional out of any venue that we researched.  The difference was that this was simply another wedding for them, rather than looking at it as just a ‘gay’ wedding.  They truly listened to our ideas and what we wanted from our wedding day.”

Leslie Barbaro Photography
Leslie Barbaro Photography
Leslie Barbaro Photography
Leslie Barbaro Photography
Leslie Barbaro Photography

The one detail that was most important to both Brad and Trevor was that the wedding had to take place in the fall. Autumn has always been both of their favorite time of the year. Also, in lieu of a traditional bridal party, the couple chose to walk in to the ceremony with each other’s mother (Trevor with Brad’s, Brad’s with Trevor). The band played Cat Steven’s “Don’t Be Shy” as they walked up the aisle.

Leslie Barbaro Photography
Leslie Barbaro Photography

Trevor and Brad shared a lot of advice for other engaged couples. Trevor began, Don’t be afraid of the stress that comes with the planning. You may think you don’t want the big to do, but at the end of the day it’s a fantastic start to your married life. Planning a wedding is a great way to get to know your partner, when you need to ‘tag out’ and when you can ‘tag’ them in. It helps you understand where their strengths are and where yours aren’t.” 

Leslie Barbaro Photography
Leslie Barbaro Photography
Leslie Barbaro Photography
Leslie Barbaro Photography

He added, “Also, speak up when vendors have gender-specific forms and formats! We only had one vendor, our photographer, who was cognizant of this and had made the change before we saw anything. All of the others were just mortified when we kindly pointed it out. Don’t be afraid to speak up when things like that happen, but also be kind – this is new territory and nobody is trying to do a bad job.”

Leslie Barbaro Photography
Brad agreed with Trevor’s sentiments, continuing, “Everyone knows that planning a wedding can and will make you slightly crazy.  Just trust that in hindsight, you will love that crazy.  Because it is worth it.  A good portion of that stress can come from the fact that this is possibly the first major goal that you and your partner may be working on together.  You will begin to get to know them much more intimately.  And that can be slightly terrifying!  But I will absolutely say that it is completely worth it.  What you take from this experience as a couple infinitely outweighs the stress of planning.”

Their LGBTQ-Friendly Vendors

Photographer: Leslie Barbaro Photography // Tuxedo and Mens Attire: Bar III at Macy’s // Floral Designer: Broderick’s Flowers // Shoes:  Cole Haan // Cake Designer: Palermo’s Bakery // DJ: Paul Anthony Entertainment // Reception Venue:  THE ESTATE AT FLORENTINE GARDENS // Invitation Designer:  The Papery

Submitted via Two Bright Lights

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