A magical gay Disney wedding with chosen family and a Thai water blessing

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 | Photography by White Rabbit Photo Boutique

Offbeat partners: Phinn & Andres

Date and location: Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa — 05/20/2022

Our gay Disney wedding with a Thai water blessing at a glance:

Our wedding was a celebration of love. We knew we wanted to mix our cultures, interests, and authentic selves throughout the wedding. To be able to do so made for the most cathartic, unforgettable experience that exceeded all our expectations.

Tell us about your gay Disney wedding with a Thai water blessing ceremony :

We began our ceremony with traditional secular western vows. However, Phinn had a big Disney surprise for Andres. Right as Andres walked down the aisle, guests took out their lightsabers and ignited them for Andres and Phinn to walk under. It was an incredible surprise – Andres had no idea!

It was our officiant's idea to mention the situation in the Supreme Court. As a same-sex couple, we don't and can't take our wedding for granted. We've been together for over a decade and it took a lot of emotional work to get our immigrant families (particularly Phinn's parents) to a place where they could fully embrace and support our relationship and wedding. It also took a lot of work for our LGBTQ+ community to get this far, and we acknowledge that there's still plenty of work to do. We had our officiant read the the closing statement from Obergefell v. Hodges, the landmark civil rights case from 2015 in which the Supreme Court ruled the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples.

No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were.
As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right. It is so ordered.

Nearly half of our guests were queer and many of them recently married. Love, community, and joy — these are three things we wish to see more of in the world, three things every LGBTQ+ person in this country deserves to pursue and fulfill for themselves.

After our vows, we held a traditional Thai water blessing. Guests were invited to offer their blessings and well wishes as they poured water over our hands. We wore custom Thai outfits for our entire ceremony and held a traditional Thai water blessing after exchanging our vows. All of our guests were invited to offer their blessings, well wishes, and marriage advice as they poured water over our hands. It was beautiful to have that intimate exchange with all of our guests.

Tell us about your Disney wedding reception:

Our reception followed a pretty standard format. For our entrance we came out to one of our favorite songs, “La Vida es un Carnaval” by Celia Cruz. Our first dance was inspired by the Netflix show Bridgerton. The best thing we did was for our guests. We surprised them with a reserved viewing of World of Color at Disney’s California Adventure after the reception. Disney’s Nighttime Spectacular had just returned and we were ecstatic that we could gift this experience to our guests. It was the perfect nightcap after a celebration full of love and joy, and it was beautiful seeing our friends in relationships get cozy together as their favorite Disney scenes splashed across the water.

What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?

During the planning process we were so concerned about the usual elements that go into wedding planning like decor, outfits, music, etc. But when it's all said and done, the only thing that truly mattered were the people in attendance and the love that we shared with each other and our community.

It was so moving to be in communion with the people we love and who love and support us in return. It felt incredible to publicly declare our love and commitment to one another for all to witness. We have never cried so many tears of joy in our lives. To see our wedding come together so beautifully was the best feeling.

My advice for anyone planning a wedding – focus on surrounding yourselves with love; everything else will just be icing on the cake of your special day.

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