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At Long Last

Marriage equality has come to New York, presenting gay couples with a whole new challenge: throwing a dream wedding. To help, we matched seasoned event planners with three newly engaged couples.


COUPLE NO. 1
Jon Paul Buchmeyer, 42, and Juan Pablo Chavez, 41

WEDDING WISHES: Eleven years into their relationship, Buchmeyer (in glasses), a writer, and Chavez, a Mexico City–born chef, want a big-time-epicurean June wedding with a vegan twist. Otherwise, their M.O. is “quirky and unusual”: show tunes, perhaps a mariachi band, and most important, some way to include their eight-year-old bichon frise, Frida.

BUDGET: $30,000
GUESTS: 100

THE PLANNER: Lauren Sozmen, founder of Loli Events (914-659-1294)
HER VISION: Sozmen sees the couple’s ceremony taking place in the morning in Madison Square Park ($25 permit fee), with an art gallery on hold should bad weather arise. A flamenco guitarist would provide the soundtrack—songs from some of their favorite musicals—as a family friend accompanies a ring-bearing Frida down the aisle toward her dads, who would be wearing Paul Smith suits and bow ties. Afterward, guests would walk to raw-food restaurant Pure Food and Wine (212-477-1010; from $8,000), where they would be greeted with Mexican beer, watermelon-juice-and-Champagne cocktails, and Latin jazz band Arturo O’Farrill Quintet (212-353-0855; from $2,500).The tables would be dressed in crisp linens and centerpieces by Poppies & Posies (347-709-0762; from $250). Frida, meanwhile, would head to nearby dog spa Wiggly Pups. After lunch, there’d be dancing by the jukebox and cake from Per Se, where Chavez once interned.

THE COUPLE’S VERDICT: They appreciated Sozmen’s effort but worried she was trying too hard. “The acoustic flamenco, Latin jazz band, and Mexican beer almost borders on cliché,” says Buchmeyer. The Paul Smith suits, however, are perfect (minus the bow ties), as was Sozmen’s idea to send Frida to a doggy spa.

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