9: Cassandra Zetta – Cincinnati, Ohio LGBTQ+ Wedding Photographer

This week, LGBTQ+ Wedding Photographer Cassandra Zetta talks us through the Queer Alphabet, we break down sex vs. gender and 3 of the 6 Greek words for love, and we try to define what, exactly, gives LGBTQ+ weddings that special thing that straight weddings just don’t have.


Our pre-show banter is not too bad this week. Highlights:

  • Amanda’s laundry room will never be finished, and other home renovation shenanigans.
  • Check out Catalyst Wedding Co. and Tomayia Colvin Education for all your LGBTQ-inclusive needs.
  • Cindy saw Hamilton; Amanda somehow doubts that it’s amazing?!
  • What does St. Louis have going for it? It’s cheaper. So much cheaper.
  • Fuck. We apparently don’t know anything about our guest today, despite having met her at {un}convention and really liking her a lot.

Self-Employment = Midday Cocktails

Cabernet Sauvignon is the best wine. We all agree. We’re starting a club.

Or you can drink the best gin drink, according to Cindy:

The Best Gin Drink
1 oz Uncle Val’s Botanical Gin
6 oz (ish) DRY Cucumber Soda
1 T lime or lemon juice
2-3 splashes Fee Brothers Black Walnut Bitters
Fresh Thyme

Muddle some thyme leaves in the bottom of a rocks glass. Add remaining ingredients and stir. Garnish with additional thyme.

Meet Cassandra Zetta, LGBTQ+ Photographer

Cassandra is a queer-identified photographer specializing in LGBTQ+ weddings. She is based in Cincinnati, Ohio and travels all over the country for destination weddings and really awesome couples.

This year, she’s heading to Minneapolis, Michigan, Virginia, California, and the east coast.

Cassandra has been in business for six years, which means she’s passed the magical 5-year mark – so we’re all gonna make it!

The Shittiest Thing That Cassandra Has Seen Happen to LGBTQ+ Couples

A venue that didn’t take the time to learn which name went with which partner – so during the wedding day, they were switching it up and calling them by the wrong names! That’s a real lack of care and thoughtfulness.

A DJ who kept referring to the bridal party throughout the reception – for a wedding with two grooms. Words matter.

Cassandra’s Favorite LGBTQ+ Wedding Moment

A pair of grooms who’d been married in a mass wedding during the March on Washington in 1993, and then married by a justice of the peace the fall after marriage equality passed, and then the following spring, they held a vow renewal – which Cassandra photographed. And during that vow renewal, they won the anniversary dance after thirty years together.

LGBTQ+ Weddings have an elevated sense of joy? Victory? We’re not exactly sure what the right word is, but queer weddings have something that straight weddings just… don’t.

We try to figure out what it is that makes LGBTQ+ weddings, especially for couples who have been together a long time, so special.


Alphabet Soup

Cassandra gave an amazing talk at {un}convention about all the different terms in the LGBTQ+ community, so we’ve asked her to run through some definitions for you. Here they are:

Alphabet Soup definitions:

Lesbian: a woman who is attracted to women

Gay: a man who is attracted to men (this term is also used by many women who love women)

Bisexual: a person who is attracted to both men and women

Transgender: a person who does not identify as the sex they were assigned at birth*

Queer: a person who does not identify as straight; also used by folks who don’t identify as either male or female (e.g. genderqueer). This term has been recently reclaimed and is still considered a slur by many LGBTQ+ folks, especially in older generations. For that reason, be careful with this term – don’t use it to label someone unless they’ve already used it to label themselves.

Questioning: The “Q” used to stand for questioning and may still be used by some folks this way. A questioning person is someone who is not currently sure what their sexual orientation and/or gender identity is.

Intersex: a person who was born with both male and female biological features**

Asexual: a person who does not experience sexual attraction/sexual love. Some asexual folks use “Aces” as a casual/slang version of this label.***

Aromantic: a person who does not experience romantic love. Some aromantic folks use “Aros” as a casual/slang version of this label.***

Demisexual: a person who requires a deep romantic connection in order to feel sexual attraction

Non-Binary, Genderqueer, Genderfluid: a person who identifies as both male and female; neither male nor female; or who feels sometimes male and other times female

Agender: a person who does not identify with any gender

Pansexual: a person attracted to all genders (including non-binary, genderqueer, etc.) or for whom gender is not a relevant factor in sexual attraction

*Sex vs. Gender

Sex: a label assigned at birth based on physical characteristics of genitalia, generally limited to the binary of male and female

Gender: how a person feels in their own body on the spectrum of male to female / masculine to feminine

The Genderbread Person will help you understand sex vs. gender identity vs. gender expression vs. sexual orientation.

Even if you know all this already, seriously check it out, because it’s fantastic.

Genderbread Person graphic showing a gingerbread-like person with highlighted areas: brain as gender identity; the heart heart as attraction; genitals as biological sex; and the whole person as gender expression. To the right, sliding scales depict the spectrums of gender identity (woman-ness and man-ness); gender expression (masculine and feminine); biological sex (male-ness and female-ness); sexual and romantic attraction (towards men/male/masculinity and women/female/femininity)Hey, let’s just fucking respect people, their genders, and their pronouns.

It really is that simple.

**Did you know that for basically ever, doctors have made the decision about which gender to assign an intersex child at birth, usually without telling or consulting the parents?

And that many have gone as far as to complete so-called “corrective” surgeries (also without knowledge or consent) on these infants immediately after birth?

As you might expect, this causes massive amounts of trauma.

Read so much more about intersex struggles in the incredible book Galileo’s Middle Finger: Heretics, Activists, and the Search for Justice in Science by Alice Dreger.

***Let’s talk Greek Philosophy and the Different Kinds of Love

Philia: deep friendship
Eros: sexual passion
Pragma: longstanding, giving love

Or as we know them best: platonic, romantic, and sexual love.

The Greeks actually have three more words for even more different kinds of love, but we’re looking specifically at those relating to pair bonding today.

An Ongoing Quest to Convince Amanda to Love Theatre

Bad Jokes by Super Gay Wedding!

LGBTQ+ Wedding Planning Advice from Cassandra:

  • Research and spend time seeking out other LGBTQ-owned or openly LGBTQ-friendly businesses. Take the time to avoid causing yourselves undue pain. If you can’t find them where your wedding is, don’t be afraid to expand your search – LOTS of LGBTQ+ vendors travel.
  • Or, as Amanda says, hire vendors who don’t suck.
  • Or, as Cindy says, hire vendors who are enthusiastically supportive of your wedding.

Random Question: What do you do when you’re not working weddings?

Fine arts! Cassandra went to school for design and has been missing fine arts, so she loves to spend time exploring that. She’s been dabbling in block prints, watercolor, and ink in abstract geometric shapes and forms. Check out her fine art work on instagram @cassandrazettastudio.

She loves to travel, especially road trips with her husband. True story: they did 18 hours of driving in one day with zero fights.

Oh, and she’s obsessed with her two cats and two dogs.

Do you need those amazing lint rollers Amanda mentioned? Get them here.

Wanna hire Cassandra? Here’s where you can find her:

Website: http://www.cassandrazetta.com

Instagram: @cassandrazetta

Cassandra’s Info page for vendor gender: http://www.cassandrazetta.com/photographers-gender-pronoun-guide-lgbtq-weddings/

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