Hotel Burleson offering wedding packages for same-sex couples

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Lots of couples have been getting married in courtrooms here in Dallas over the last few days, but others might want something a little more formal, but not quite the “church” kind of formal.

As it turns out there are options in a less-than-obvious place.

Magnuson Hotel Burleson, located at 12450 S. Freeway in Burleson, just on the very south edge of Tarrant County and north edge of Burleson, wants same-sex couples to know they are welcome to hold their weddings at the hotel.

It’s not a publicity stunt, said a Hotel Burleson spokeswoman named Cathy, adding that the hotel hadn’t had much luck with local advertising for same-sex wedding services. “We’re not trying to get on the 6 o’clock news. We just want people to know that if they are looking for somewhere to hold their weddings, we’d love to have them here,” she said.

Cathy said that wedding packages at Hotel Burleson start at $100, and “you can go up as much as you want, depending on what you want.”  The website, which as the photo above shows states clearly on its homepage that “same-sex marriages will be performed by our ministers,” says that all-inclusive weddings there cost $2,500, with a banquet room that seats up to 150 people, tables and linens decorated in the chosen colors, other decorations, a photographer, a room or two and more.

If you are interested, check out the website or call 817-447-2000. And yes, I am sure there are tons of other venues out there welcoming same-sex couples, but I thought this one, located as it is in a relatively small town in more conservative Johnson County, deserved a little recognition.

—  Tammye Nash

Want some candy? Here’s the best

Sarabeth Yeli Marshall

Sarabeth Yeli Marshall, artisan chocolatier extraordinaire

OK, so it’s only two days til Valentine’s Day, and there is probably a large number of you frantically trying to find just the right gift for your loved one. Let me make a suggestion: Chocolates.

And no, I don’t mean run down to your neighborhood grocery and grab a heart-shaped box of blah chocolate. Don’t even settle for the “high-end,” more expensive chocolates there. I am talking about “flavor-infused truffles and candies” hand made by an artisan chocolatier, and I can tell you just where to go get exactly that.

Sarahbeth “Yeli” Marshall is a registered dietician by trade who for years made chocolates as a kind of side business or hobby. A year or so ago she decided it was time to follow her dream and make chocolates full time. And now Yelibelly Chocolates shares a storefront with Delicious Cakes at 2634 Northwest Parkway in Southlake. (By the way, the Belly part of the name comes from the fact that Yeli also happens to be one of the best belly dancers in North Texas.)

Yes, I know, for you Dallas folks (and some of you Fort Worth folks), Southlake is WWWWAAAAAAYYYYY too far to drive for some chocolate. But once you have a taste of some Yelibelly goodies, you won’t think that anymore. Trust me on this one. Plus, you can have chocolates delivered (although it is too late for Valentine’s Day delivery by now),and Yelibelly frequently does “pop-stores” and events around the Metroplex. Keep an eye on her Facebook page or the Yelibelly website for details.

And, with full marriage equality expected any day now here in Texas, all you couples planning your weddings need to keep Yeli in mind, too. She can do custom orders with special designs on her delicious chocolates, too. (And it’s not just for weddings, y’all. If you need a special treat for a client or an upcoming event, think Yelibelly.)

Just a note here for “full disclosure,” as we journalists say: Yes, Yeli is a friend of mine. But I’m not just saying all this because of that. I’m telling you about her and her chocolate because it truly is some of the best chocolate I have ever tasted, and I know that if you try it, you won’t be disappointed.


Yelibelly Chocolates not only taste delicious, they look delicious. And if you need something customized — like maybe some chocolate-topped cupcakes for your wedding — Yeli can do that, too.


—  Tammye Nash

Rev. Amy Delong, tried by Methodists for being a lesbian, to preach at Bering Memorial Methodist Church

Rev. Amy DeLong

Paperwork can be the bane of any job. For Rev. Amy Delong a simple annual report catapulted her into the maelstrom of the United Methodist Church’s debate on accepting LGBT people. DeLong visits Houston’s Bering Memorial United Methodist Church (1440 Harold) on Sunday, Feb. 12 to preach at both the 8:30 and 10:50 service.

In 2009 DeLong was approached by two women who wanted to get married. After conducting premarital counseling with the couple Delong agreed to perform the ceremony. As a clergy person, DeLong was required to report on her activities at the end of the year, including any weddings she had performed. She knew that the Methodist Church did not allow same-sex marriage but thought “I don’t know if anybody even reads these.” Boy, was she wrong!

With-in three days she was hauled into the her boss’s (the bishop) office. DeLong’s relationship with her partner Val was well known to her colleagues. “I’ve never had a bishop or a leader in the church or a pastor who didn’t know that I was gay,” says DeLong. “Everyone knows Val.” But the church was determined now to make an example of her, and DeLon’s relationship would now be an issue.

In 2011 DeLong was tried in the church’s court with violating the Methodist “Book of Discipline” by being in a same-sex relationship and by performing a same-sex wedding. During the trial she refused to answer pointed questions about her and her partner’s sex life. “No heterosexual couples are ever asked if they
still engage in genital contact in their marriages,” says DeLong. That refusal left the court with no evidence against her on the first charge.

She was convicted of performing the wedding and suspended from ministry for 20 days. The court also required DeLong to work with a group of ministers to prepare a statement on how to “help resolve issues that harm the clergy covenant, create an advesarial spirit or lead to future trails.” “This sentence is complicated,” says DeLong. “It doesn’t lend itself well to media soundbites. So a lot of folks have been saying to me ‘I can’t tell, is this penalty good?’” DeLong responds with a resounding “Yes!” Saying that she welcomes the opportunity to write, teach and study on a topic dear to her heart.

DeLong recalls that during that initial meeting in the bishop’s office one of the bishop’s assistants referred to her as a “self-avowed practicing homosexual.” To which she responded “Val and I aren’t practicing any more… we are pretty good at it by now.” The assistant laughed. More than anything that is the impression one gets of DeLong: someone with a lot of humor and aplomb who is unwilling to back down from a fight for justice.

After the jump watch a clip of DeLong talking about her experience.

—  admin

‘Sunrise, Sunset’ gets gay lyric

For decades, Fiddler on the Roof was the longest-running show in Broadway history, due in large part to a compelling score with music by the late Jerry Bock and lyrics by Sheldon Harnick. One of the songs, “Sunrise, Sunset,” has even become a staple at weddings …. mostly, marriages between heterosexual couples.

But now gay couples can enjoy it, too — without having to fiddle with the lyrics themselves.

Harnick, the lone surviving member of the Fiddler creative team, was approached last month by the Rev. Joshua Ellis, who performs many same-sex ceremonies in New York, where gay couples can now legally marry. Ellis wondered if Harnick would be amenable to crafting a new lyric so gay men and lesbians could use the song as well. After consulting with a rep from Bock’s estate, Harnick decided it was a good idea.

The new lyric was performed last weekend for the first time. You can watch the performance below, and read the two sets of lyrics for men and women here. Mazel tov!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

The Dallas Morning News’ 1st same-sex wedding announcements have been delayed 1 week

For those eagerly waiting to see the first-ever same-sex wedding announcements in The Dallas Morning News, you’ll have to wait another week.

Mark Reed-Walkup and Dante Walkup, the gay couple that recently convinced The DMN to run their wedding announcement as, well, an actual wedding announcement, reports that publication of the ad has been delayed until Sunday, July 17.

Last week we reported the Walkups’ ad would run Sunday, July 10, but Reed-Walkup said this week’s section had already gone to the printer by the time they booked the ad.

Reed-Walkup said at least one other same-sex couple will also have a wedding announcement in the Sunday, July 17 edition.

Above is a sneak preview (click to enlarge) in the form of the Walkups’ receipt for the ad. As you can see, the “amount due” indicates that “the right thing to do” can also be lucrative, but hey, at least this time the receipt is legitimate.

—  John Wright

Pride Weddings & Celebrations 2011


Click headline to read

Rethinking tradition

Gilding the rainbow

Seasons of LOVE

Letting it REGISTER

Where to wed

—  Michael Stephens

Letting it REGISTER • Pride Weddings & Celebrations 2011

Gift registries can be intimidating. Dean Driver makes them easy

FASHION. PLATE. | Dean Driver knows how to make a tabletop pop — and how to make it easy on you to choose your gifts. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)


Perhaps the one wedding tradition same-sex couples might waffle on is signing up for that beg-a-thon, the gift registry. Forget whether to do so (you should); the real question is, where can you find that particular china pattern you once saw in a magazine?

The answer to that question is probably Dean Driver. With his new company, Consilium Lifestyle Collections, Driver makes what could be a daunting (even intimidating) task for same-sex couples possibly the easiest  job out of all the wedding planning.

“I don’t know if the average gay couple feels comfortable going into stores,” Driver says. “They may, but many retailers just aren’t reaching out to gay couples.”

Teaming up with Consilium Creative Marketing, Driver created what may be the first by-appointment source of its kind in Dallas to provide a wedding gift registry for same-sex couples. While the services are for everyone, Driver believes that this personal touch can bring comfort to any gay newlyweds hesitant about how to sign up for gifts. It also gives them a home field advantage when looking for fine tabletop products and more.

“The way we do business is changing, and this has afforded me the ability to do in-home consultations and also wedding registries,” Driver says. “I come to the client with samples to get an idea of their lifestyle and suggest products and can see what will work with what’s already in the home.”

The affable Driver knows his stuff. After working with tabletop industries for years in large markets like New York, he has access to many luxury brands and even unique home products. The usual china and crystal items are no problem, but items like linens and household accessories are more easily available through him.

Driver’s first piece of advice on getting started with a registry: Don’t be intimidated.

“I demystify all that for you,” he says. “That’s what I’m here for. I’ll make it easier for you. And people shouldn’t think that everything offered in a registry costs so much. We do have some unique options that are moderately priced.”

Consilium has only been around for a few months, but it has burst out of the gate with a selection of up to 50 brands, some exclusive to them. And with Driver’s knowledge and background, he can pretty much get anybody anything they want.

“I’m a sort of an expert in tabletops, and I have my finger on the pulse of the industry,” he says. “I go to Paris, to Milan and see all the new patterns. And if you saw a plate in a magazine and brought it to me,  I could pinpoint what it is. When I say anything, I mean anything — and you may be only person in the country to have it.”

Something his company can guarantee is the death of that most dreaded wedding tradition: The return. Once items are selected for the registry, gift givers don’t have to worry about buying an item that’s already been purchased. Instead, the company does gift cards only, which are beautifully packaged for the giver to present.

“This prevents exchanges or duplicates,” he says. “Plus, clients may change their minds and gift cards give them an opportunity to get something else. And it’s a little more green without all that wrapping paper and shipping to worry about.”

Driver and company seems to have gotten rid of all the excuses couples can make to partake in registering for gifts. Being that a wedding is a life-changing event, Driver mostly wonders why not go all out?

“Couples shouldn’t shy away from getting nice things,” he says. “This is the one time to get the nice stuff, so why not? Anything you want, I can get.”

The only caveat — Driver encourages people to use the nice stuff everyday.

“Yeah, don’t pack it away in a cabinet like our parents did,” he says.

Of course, if there’s one thing gays know how to do it’s merchandise.

For more information, visit

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 6, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Exclusionary faithful still RSVPing ‘No’ for weddings to which they weren’t invited

Oh look, yet another joint letter where faith leaders overlook the fact that LGBT activists and their allies are seeking *CIVIL* MARRIAGE EQUALITY and not forced religious ceremony:


[US Conference of Catholic Bishops]

Good As You

—  admin

SNL Takes On Gay Weddings, Christine O’Donnell

Saturday Night Live jump-started its new season last night and did so by airing an entertaining bit about the proposed mosque at Ground Zero as a gay wedding venue. They also delivered on a skit starring Kristen Wig as anti-masturbation advocate Christine O'Donnell

I only wish that one day we are able to hear the real O'Donnell proudly make the the following declaration: "I masturbate constantly!"

Watch both clips AFTER THE JUMP.

Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright

WATCH: Texas natives wed after 40 years

Jean Eleanor McFaddin and Susan Elaine Falk first met in 1962 at the University of Texas in Austin. McFaddin was from Dallas, and Falk was from Lufkin. They’ve been together for more than 40 years, but were finally legally married in Connecticut last week, according to The New York Times.

“You come to weddings, and they’re about people making promises that they hope to keep in their marriage, and in truth, our marriage is an affirmation of a lifetime of promises that we’ve made and lived,” McFaddin says. “We have fulfilled our commitments.”

“She was the one, is the one and always will be the one,” Falk says.

—  John Wright