Saugatuck, Michigan is like the P-town of the Midwest. If you’re in need of a super gay getaway, the Kirby Hotel might be just the spot to do it. On this episode, we talk with owner Jay Paul and executive chef Mindy Trafman about this magical little place that’s perfect for LGBTQ+ weddings.
OMG the pre-show banter. We are exceptionally kooky this week.
Do we need more coffee? Have we had too much coffee? We just don’t know.
MCT Oil, Brain Functioning, and Placebo Effects
More weird body science with Cindy and Amanda. In today’s episode, we talk about whether or not Cindy’s brain is functioning better with the addition of MCT Oil to her morning cup of coffee. Answer: debatable. So much so, in fact, that we spend a significant portion of our banter time actually debating it. Please enjoy!
You Should Get Some Sleep
No, seriously. Amanda’s been reading this book, Why We Sleep, and she’s referenced it so much in conversation that you should probably read it. Cindy would like to give a TED Talk about being in ‘the right’ brain space and circadian rhythms, which brings us back to sleep. (You should sleep more!)
Speaking of sleep, a great place to do that is the Kirby Hotel in Saugatuck, Michigan
Saugatuck is like the P-town of the Midwest. If you’re in need of a super gay getaway, the Kirby Hotel might be just the spot to do it. And here to tell us all about this fabulous LGBTQ-friendly wedding venue are owner Jay Paul and chef/manager Mindy Trafman.
What makes LGBTQ+ weddings different?
You go through the same steps as everyone else, but what makes it different is how people are reacting around you. People sometimes feel afraid, uncomfortable, or uncertain about it – and that’s an added stress the couple has to deal with.
Jay had to deal with a sister who didn’t attend his wedding due to her religion, and he says that stuff can damper your mood if you let it – but they decided to let it go and enjoy the day without her. Unfortunately, broken relationships with family members are par for the course for most LGBTQ+ folks.
Favorite LGBTQ+ Wedding Moments
From its inception, the Kirby Hotel has been welcoming to and supportive of the LGBTQ+ community. Mindy recalls that couples couldn’t legally marry in Michigan at the time – coming from larger, more liberal cities, it hadn’t been an issue where she’d worked before. When they first opened, someone said to her, “You know it’s illegal for gays to get married here and it’s not accepted.” Mindy was shocked.
So when it finally became legal across the United States, there was an influx of LGBTQ+ couples from Michigan and surrounding states. At the first same-sex wedding the Kirby Hotel hosted, the officiant declared, “For the first time in Saugatuck-Douglas, we now pronounce you legally married!” – and the entire crowd gave a cheering standing ovation for the better part of 20 minutes!
LGBTQ+ weddings have an extra sense of victory because we’ve worked so hard to even be able to have them.
Jay proposed to his now-husband, Curt, on the day the Obergefell decision came down from the Supreme Court. He’d been on a business trip, heard the news when his flight landed, and stopped at a jewelry store on his way home to buy a ring. He felt so much joy that day because he never thought that, in his lifetime, we’d see gay marriage – that he was compelled to take action immediately.
It’s so fucking hard to say “L-G-B-T-Q” without tripping over your tongue.
I swear. We will be 10 years into this podcast and we will still be fucking it up every. single. time.
What are some of the things you do to address the different needs of LGBTQ+ couples?
The most important thing is to make sure that they are comfortable with us and that they know we are 100% comfortable with them. A lot of times, parents and wedding party members will also stay at the Kirby, so it’s giving them all the extra reassurance that everything will be great. Jay observes that Mindy and her team take such good care of everyone – whether it’s waking up to coffee and biscuits, getting a mimosa or a glass of wine in their hands, or anything else they can do to make the day special. The entire Kirby Hotel team is 100% focused on the wedding and the couple’s needs throughout the event.
How can other wedding venues make their spaces more inclusive to LGBTQ+ couples?
Mindy says what she’s found more important than almost anything is working with the couple’s parents – giving them a great feeling that an LGBTQ+ wedding is a completely normal occurrent and making sure they have everything they need. Then they’re put at ease about the whole thing, which in turn takes pressure off of the couple to be worrying about their parents all day.
Mindy makes a killer gluten-free muffin.
In case, like Amanda, you’re allergic to wheat and you miss biscuits. Cindy, on the other hand, absolutely refuses to even try giving up gluten because bread is way too delicious.
What advice do you have for LGBTQ+ couples who are planning a wedding now?
Jay says: First of all, call the Kirby! No but seriously, listen to each other. One person may want a big wedding and the other a small one. It should be the best day of your lives, so work out a compromise that you’re both happy with.
Secondly, and it’s very important, it’s about LOCATION. You have to find the venue that’s beautiful. Do something where you walk in and you just feel the beauty of that place. Do something that’s special.
Mindy says: Find the venue and the vendors that will make the wedding yours. For example, they had a couple who met on a Caribbean cruise and wanted to plan their wedding menu around Caribbean cuisine. Since we’re a small venue, we’re not stuck with corporate package deals; we’re a venue that can make the wedding about you.
A brief discussion of gay and lesbian stereotypes
…and how Mindy and Jay might or might not fit into them. You’ll just have to listen.
(Once again, Amanda doesn’t cut shit out of the final edit that I specifically request her to cut out.)
…which not surprisingly devolves into politics
Please vote! (Unless you’re going to vote against LGBTQ+ rights and then maybe stay home. Or, like, become a decent human and change your damn mind. People like us exist and deserve to have everything you do.)
More times when Amanda doesn’t cut shit that I ask her to.
Shameless plug: We’re looking for a wedding to work at the Kirby! And if you hire us both, we both give you a discount. And we both travel free. Check out Amanda Summerlin Photography here. And Cindy / Aisle Less Traveled here.