Weddings of Our Own: Doug & Tim

Pasadena, January 16, 2016

NAMES Douglas Winnie & Timothy Sullivan.
LIVE IN Bellaire.
OCCUPATIONS Entrepreneurs: they own a business-coaching franchise and invest in rental properties.
HOW THEY MET In Aspen at Gay Ski Week in January 1991—exactly 25 years before their wedding. Doug: “A day of skiing and a cup of hot chocolate sparked a lifetime journey.”
HOW THEY GOT ENGAGED Their engagement unfolded on the center-stage bleachers of the 2015 Houston Pride parade. Marriage equality having passed the previous day, Doug found “Marry Me?” and “Yes” T-shirts at the festival and brought along a ring in his pocket. He organized a crowd and called for Tim to come to an open area across from the main stage where Doug knelt and asked him to marry him. “I dropped my drink and grabbed him and the ‘Yes’ T-shirt,” Tim says.
BACHELOR PARTY The bachelor party was part of the Silver Sycamore Weekend Wedding package and included a limo bus with a full light and sound system. The Silver Sycamore’s Western theme typically dictates that the party take place at a country Western dance hall, but Doug and Tim opted instead to head into Houston to a dance club that would better suit the tastes of their younger friends.
REHEARSAL DINNER They invited their bridal party (nine exchange students they’ve hosted over the years and their parents, who flew in from as far away as Italy, the Netherlands, and Sweden) and out-of-town guests to join them for a country-style barbecue in “Winnie-SullivanVille,” their wedding town for the weekend.
NUMBER OF GUESTS 250
WEDDING COLORS Black and white.
THEME Elegant Western.
FLOWERS Red roses.
DIY HIGHLIGHTS The couple had a sand ceremony in which they mixed an assortment of colored sands in glass jars, creating a lasting symbol of the many family members joining them from around the world. Each groomsman, the ring bearer, the grooms’ parents, and the officiant joined them in pouring a different colored sand into the jar.
THE MENU Starters of caramelized apple with brie, shrimp puffs, tomato-olive bruschetta, and tomato-basil shooters. Dinner featured a citrus-vinaigrette salad with candied pecans and Mandarin oranges, followed by grilled chicken with white wine sauce over a bed of kale risotto with honey-glazed carrots. Tim: “The food was amazing, and we ate it quickly so that we could move on and visit as many tables as possible and thank guests for coming.”
BEVERAGES Texas wines, beer, and cocktails, plus a hot-chocolate station in honor of their first date.
DESSERT A beautiful multitier traditional cake with the added flair of a dripping rainbow and the number “25,” in honor of their anniversary. The cake was rainbow-colored inside with a buttercream frosting.
MUSIC An electric violinist from Austin performed “Here Comes the Sun” (The Beatles) and “Your Song” (Elton John) while guests arrived in the chapel, and “You’re Beautiful” (James Blunt) as the wedding party entered. The couple entered to “A Thousand Years” (Christina Perri), and guests exited to “Sugar” (Maroon 5) and “Marry You” (Bruno Mars).
IF THEY HAD TO DO IT OVER They’d have organized more smaller happenings in the dinner hall before the party moved to the “town center” street dance, cake cutting, and first dance.
FAVORITE DETAILS By booking the Silver Sycamore Weekend Wedding package, the couple (and their guests) enjoyed full access to the entire venue Friday through Sunday. Everyone was able to sleep, dine, and visit with the grooms over all three days. “Sharing that experience with all of our past exchange students was super special and has created a lasting feeling of happiness,” Doug says.
UNIQUE ELEMENTS OF THE DAY Having their own Texas “town” all to themselves; their former exchange students acting as their groomsmen, walking down the aisle before Tim’s niece, Kristi, carried flowers and their rings. Tim: “Then there was the very last dance. We and the exchange students hugged and sang together in a huge circle, and we thanked them for coming from so far to take part in our special day and told them that for “A Thousand Years” they would be forever in our hearts.”
UNEXPECTED EVENT The sun peeking through thunder clouds and shining through the chapel window to highlight Tim’s face as the ceremony started.
HOW THE WEDDING DIFFERED FROM HOW THEY’D IMAGINED IT Tim: “Having our past exchange students from around the world take part as best men, and experiencing the overwhelming support of friends and family from around the world, especially after years of hiding in the comfort of the LGBT community of Houston.”
ADVICE FOR OTHERS “Do it, enjoy it, and don’t freak out about it. Delegate everything to others so that you can completely enjoy your day.”
THE DAY IN THREE WORDS Love, gratitude, joy.

Vendor List

CEREMONY, RECEPTION, AND CATERING
Silver Sycamore, Pasadena

OFFICIANT
Jamie DeFabio

WEDDING PLANNER
Jackie Spigener, Silver Sycamore

PHOTOGRAPHY
j. vince photography, Houston;
Dream Photo & Video, Houston

CAKE
Three Brothers Bakery, Houston

RINGS
Merida Fine Custom Jewelry, Houston

FLOWERS
Lindsey Meador Diegel

GROOMS’ FORMAL WEAR
Men’s Wearhouse

HONEYMOON
Atlantis Events Western Caribbean Cruise (booked with Brad Dennen Cruise Planners, Houston)

INVITATIONS
Steve McHale, Crest Printing

REGISTRY
They asked guests to donate to a favorite charity or the grooms’ favorite, BusinessForGood.com