In the last 6 months I think I have won the trophy for the most "Drama" with regard to non-profits and celebratory events general. Honestly, anytime a nonprofit or profit idea is involved it's not always pretty.
I'm very happy about Dream Team and our decision to keep our clients silent and not shown-off which I respect.
We are truly just a small circle of those who work on special situations that allow for an intimate wedding. I think after a year + and going national with coverage doesn't make sense for us as it's not like our service is in huge demand. I am quite happy that it's not.
Small is good, and is manageable. I started on the east coast with 3 states in 2005 and now we are in 13 states with the ability to assist when we can. BUT again, would rather give quality and not quantity. I don't want people to need this service, I know you are savvy. However, when they do need such a service, they have a variety of orgs that can address just about any issue when speaking about a wedding or special event.
Did you know my goal when moving to the east coast was to join a few non-profits and be the best "stay at home" mom? I did not have this growing up and had always hoped to give what I did not receive. I love what I do and that makes it hard to make a decision, why should I?
This particular blog post is not about any specific organizations; It’s about the “for profit” businesses who want to do great things but have to charge a fee in order to make them happen. There is no such thing as free anymore. And to be honest, free is not always a favorable word. Trust me.
In March of 2011, I was asked to Headline an event. An event that was WAY overdue. I could not be happier knowing that my hometown "Chicago" aka IL was approved for same sex marriages. I have no idea why such a simple ask took this long. Politics and the word "Marriage" is really the obstacle on this one as Chicago itself is quite the conservative market when it comes to events.
The possibility of the magic $$$ being made doing something we love, can technically destroy just about anything, if that is your mind set. That would include the new law that was passed so that we can treat anyone who wants to marry the same way. In my eyes, this law is just words just as I say the license is just a piece of paper. It's how you choose to potray your relationship that matters the most. Love is Love... and you cannot argue on this thought.
How can money and same sex marriages be in the same subject? I'm getting there...It's a hard one to describe.
I was asked by Cheryl Hooten to partake in a “for profit” event for on June 1st 2011. A VERY important date for those in IL as same sex marriages were approved. If you are human, you have good ethics,want to be happy and to be accepted, along with being with the one you love, why does anyone have to wait for that? You are already doing the major items that would call for a really meaningful relationship. One that we can assume will last a long time. This is all good!
It wasn't that long ago where I was chosen to be the celebrity planner for the first same sex marriage shown step by step in New Jersey. Christopher and Keith who are not only hysterical, fun and REAL, but have never forgotten me during each year that passes and holidays even after the show.
I love their special handwritten cards asking how things are. I do not get that from many people. I've saved every card and will always hold a space in my heart for them. Fabulous men and YES still together after all of these years BRAVO to you both!
Cheryl Hooten of Dream Day Weddings in MI corresponded with me the week of March 15th 2011. It was about joining her as a headliner for the weddings at the courthouse/etc...She had such an amazing plan to design a inexpensive celebration for those who wanted a mini party or an intimate one while saying their life long vows in front of guests or alone with their partner.
This was a "for profit" event as with anything that is planned, it takes effort and people should be reimbursed for that. I was offered a fee to cover my time and my travels and yes, to be a part of this idea. A large percentage of my fee was going to be donated to various charities. They need this more than I do and I cannot think of a better way to support many different types of charities. So I donate.
Her business plan made perfect sense. She never had an agenda to make millions, but she did need to charge enough to support the idea at the Bolingbrook CC in Bolingbrook IL. What a fabulous venue by the way!I look forward to the day where I am living in Chicago again. I know that things will be different. I have had a taste of reality in my recent visits. I used to think NYC/NJ was very competitive, I can only imagine what's in store for my return. I do not believe in the word fail and I will ensure that this does work. It can always make the clients experience better.
What I have learned about Cheryl is that she is like an open book. I too share that quality and as you all know, I have been kicked for that quality many times. I have decided not to change that quality as 99% of the time, I do not have issues. I cannot lie that the 1% doesn't sting like a bee, but it's not enough to stop.
She had no hidden agendas and while I love this quality at times, it can be thrown back at anyone, I've been there too. And sadly, she shared her business plan (Honest and on paper) with a website which is the "Portal" of many gay friendly vendors located in FL. I had asked many people about this website and no one could tell me much, they had not heard of them. Not that it matters, but if you were there to witness what I did, between Cheryl and a "Gay Friendly" portal which I will share this week, you will have a questionable response..Just as I did.
This was not about Cheryl.
It was about two individuals that started with a handshake agreement and it turned sour due to money. Money that was never asked for, money that was not in a written contract, money that was an ask only after the other party decided to take that business plan and go after a percentage that was never discussed when this relationship took place.
MONEY MONEY MONEY...This is NOT what is supposed to happen with this fabulous and amazing time for those who have fought to have the same rights.
What happened in between this story...It's disgusting. I am going to share a weeks’ worth of a nightmare with you. I will also be linking Cheryl Hooten and her blog to this blog. We will share information that may be disturbing. I have personally taken a vested interest due to my feelings & anger with what is about to happen. I am being proactive which is part of what makes a successful venture.
Amazing what can happen when you have someone, such as the owner of this portal for "Gay" friendly vendors, who claims that they are in FULL support of same sex marriage. One who boasts about "their" family being 1/2 "gay" which is NOT what you share as you are only labeling your own family.."Gay" is judgment, Gay, is not respectful to those who do not share the same preferences in sexual relationships. It’s a word that should not be used bottom line. If the couple decides to announce it this way, great. It's not our right to judge anyone.
We do not have the right to place such a label esp. with our own family, flesh and blood. It's a word that prevents those from living a "normal" life...LABELING them or anyone is only going to stop this from happening. You may not agree with this, but if you give it some time, you will understand my point.
If one chooses to love one sex both sex what does it matter? It's like me bragging about someone in my family having cancer. Yes, this is just like those who used to whisper the word "Cancer" like it was the plague.
When you support same sex you should include them in our world and not name them as they already have names such as “Paul and Mike” or Susan and Donna”.
They are human not an alien. They like Pizza, fashion, laughing, taking a bath, getting their nails done etc…EVERYTHING that we like to do and more.
How sad it is that couples feel they have to warn the businesses etc that they are "Gay" How sad is it when those same people have to label themselves in fear to save the embarrassment they might have if someone denies them in public.
If you take a step back, it’s very similar to the issue between being segregated with many backgrounds, colors and cultures. While in some states slavery has not ended, why we need to segregate again. Why do you think America is called land of the free?
You can choose not to work with anyone outside what "one" thinks is normal/acceptable. I cannot judge a decision or belief. It is you, whom will have to live or work with this opinion. We all have the right to express this at anytime.
“Normal” is the opposite label for Americans as we are far from normal...FAR. Our industry alone is hard enough and to add this into the equation. So why do it?
There is a lot more to this story, and the only individuals that know of this are Cheryl and the 2 individuals who made threats along with destroying the concept.
The goals of the other participants were clearly made to make this event so awful for her that she pulled out completely.
She was given an option that if she would pay 5% of the (Possible earnings) of each click or referral from their site, they could continue this agreement.
This was not noted on paper or contract, written or even thought of prior to Cheryl showing the business plan with estimates of the profits.
There is more…
The “Estimates” meaning if it were to be a success due to the reality that most business plans don’t work 100%. Cheryl will share this with you. It was an honest, well thought out business plan. Her mistake was showing this to the “couple” who then realized, “hey” I want in on this profit...OR… You will see their response as they will be quoted and this is the only one of many emails that are true and authentic.
Not one bit hearsay and 100% fact.
I was included with this issue about profit, being threatened from the portal that their referrals such as the “Bolingbrook CC” and a judge who would issue waivers would be taken away from Cheryl as they gave them to her. She contacted me as she was beyond upset and did not know what to do.
When the referrals were given, again, no ask of 5% or any fees other than for Cheryl’s officiant company to be listed and that the “portal” would advertise her event at n/c. Once you see the emails, this will become fact.
On March 15th I attempted to write a letter in hopes of buffering this issue and to have some resolution between this couple and Cheryl.
I was shown all emails which became more intense as Cheryl did not respond promptly.. endless emails after mine, at least 20, mentioning how I have no idea what is going on, “I should shorten my emails too much to read” or “ I used to blame you, but now I know you have no idea what you are talking about”. I read my email 4 times trying to figure where I might be threatening.
I explained I did not want this to be public as I have been representing some major companies. I also explained that I have shared such great things with the press and what they were offering Cheryl. My fear that if they did not work out somehow, this would become public as they/media will ask why she/I chose to not work with them. Why wouldn’t they ask especially since my comments of them supporting her on their large site for “Gay Friendly” vendors and not being recognized on paper etc”.
This letter amongst every other will be shown this week beginning on 6-13 along with several others that were not directed at me as I blocked them from harassing me. I wanted to be done. I do not regret this battle. I still support the idea of having an event that could/would allow for any couple to partake including same sex marriage.
There is much more, and I will share more tomorrow in hopes to answer your questions, which most likely would be the “How's and Why”?
And while the “portal” mentions that I have threatened them. There is nothing that was threatening about this letter. I will share this as well. To ensure that what I said was proper w/o threats and nothing that would destroy the integrity of my own brand which I do need to protect I shared this with many.
I asked advice from an attorney who happens be a friend, what is the best way to solve this? The advice was to think of a variety of options (3) to make this event happen between Cheryl and the ones who designed this portal. I would hoped that this would have been a chance to let steam die down, and proceed with the plan as Cheryl Hooten has described on her own blog.
Her website is www.dreamgayweddings.com
I personally am saddened, as I would have loved to marry couples and celebrate with them. Its history and to be a part of that is more than an honor.
Why, is this happening? ALL over money..You will not like what you see..BUT it must be shared the right way. There is NOTHING but fact.Again the ONLY person who really knows what occurred in March was Cheryl. She will share what she needs to in order to put this behind and start a new event which will most likely be better than her first original plan. I will ensure this will be done the right way and will help her acheive this idea w/o any threats from anyone.
More tomorrow and thank you for your support in allowing this story to be shared on your blogs and anywhere else you might see as a fit.
I devote my time to ensuring our clients recieve fab service. There's another "calling" for me. To give back to my peers that aspire to be the next "best" fancy pants somebody! Those who play it safe standing behind me, will fail. I do serve as a warning to others and yes, I'm nutty. It's who I am & it's not going to change, as it works. Feel free to comment & join me on what could be the best road trip EVER!
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