21: The I Do Company | Your One-Stop Shop for LGBTQ-Friendly Chicago Weddings

We’re talking with Dee McCord of The I Do Company about drag queens at your reception, non-binary bathroom signs and honorifics, and what straight wedding vendors need to do before they even think about taking on queer clients. Plus, some Greek etymology, the wine bra, and random word association.

What’s New With the Super Gay Wedding Hosts?

Cindy is still planning weddings. (Hire her here.) Amanda is still photographing them. (Hire her here.)

Cindy’s just begun her second season with CHARIS, the St. Louis Women’s Chorus. Which means we now must discuss and google to find out what the fuck the word “charis” even means. (It’s a Greek word that means grace, kindness, and life, if you’re wondering.)

Amanda’s building a new website and enjoying a midwinter break… which naturally means she’s been sick because, yeah, that’s a thing. When you work a lot and then finally, finally take some time off – your body betrays you and demands that you stay in bed.

If you don’t use it, you lose it.

We’ve lost our respective art and music skills because we haven’t been doing much of it. So: it’s back to practice, practice, practice.

Check Out Amanda’s 5×5 Project

It’s 5 minutes every day drawing on a 5″ x 5″ piece of paper or other media. Head over to @inkwhiskyandwax on Instagram to follow along. If you ask nicely, she might even sell you one for a dollar.

A Totally Random Aside

…for which Cindy is just a bit too young. And on which Amanda had her first sighting of k.d. lang.

Anyway, Roy Clark was one of the most accomplished guitarist to ever live, but nobody knew it because he was famous for hosting Hee Haw.

Sorry, y’all – though I distinctly remember seeing a video of Lady Gaga playing something very classical, it does not seem to be on the internet anymore. It’s real, though, I swear!!

Meet Dee McCord and The I Do Company

Your one-stop-shop for all things wedding in the Chicago area! Dee is the owner and founder of The I Do Company. Its branches include The Shapiro Ballroom, a wedding venue in the Wicker Park/Noble Square/West Town neighborhood of Chicago; I Do Dance Studio; and I Do Events, which provides wedding coordination and event staffing services headed by Dee. And, she tells us, the majority of employees are members of the LGBTQ+ community.

How does she manage all of those things? Dee has a great staff and a work wife and drinks plenty of wine.

Speaking of wine, somehow we talked about the wine bra.

Amanda would like to know what kind of websites I’ve been surfing that this is on my radar.

Facebook has finally figured out that LGBTQ+ people exist.

And they’re using it to sell us rainbow shit!

Dee is a fucking expert.

With over 700 weddings under her belt and dozens of magazine features as a wedding expert, she knows what the fuck she is doing.

She’s known as the “budget queen” – she can make almost anything happen at any budget and she doesn’t believe you should spend your life savings on a single day.

Dee specializes in wedding coordination, specifically for queer folks and non-traditional couples.

You can’t use the word lesbian on the internet.

Go ahead, try it. We’ll wait.

Yeah, so anyway, you can’t google “lesbian wedding” and expect to be served up inspiration and planning tips for your upcoming nuptials.

What The I Do Company does to serve the needs of LGBTQ+ couples

When Dee works with queer couples, she finds that they are more open to creating a wedding day that truly fits them.

And to help serve their needs, she steers them towards queer vendors and those who have received training on working with LGBTQ+ folks. There are little things, like binary bathroom signs, that you might not notice as a cisgender, heterosexual person – but Dee sees them. And she’s there to make sure her couples don’t run into that stuff on their wedding days.

For their upcoming wedding, Dee and her fiancee will be using the honorific Mx., a gender-neutral alternative to Mr., Mrs., and Ms. Because this isn’t used widely yet, they’ll be putting the definition on their menus in order to educate their guests.

As she works with couples, gay and straight, she asks a lot of questions! What are your pronouns? Are you changing your names? What titles will you use (spouse, husband, wife)? And on and on.

At the Shapiro Ballroom, they have three different kinds of bathroom signs: non-binary, the typical men’s/women’s, and one that’s a top hat and a shoe because they’re a dance studio. The non-binary signs are pictograph style – just symbols of what’s inside each facility.

This makes lots of folks happy, but some people just can’t figure out which bathroom to use. To them, she says, “just pick one and have fun!”

And we wonder if these same people are somehow unaware that they already have and use their very own gender-neutral bathrooms every day — at home.

Dee’s Favorite LGBTQ+ Wedding Moment

“We had a same-sex wedding here at the ballroom a couple months ago,” she says, “and it was a super affirming queer space. They had me hire drag queens. So halfway through the reception, we had everybody sit down and put on an entire set of a drag show.”

“We took uplighting and made a rainbow behind them. Wigs were flying and clothing was flying and the guests were just going crazy, asking each other for singles, and they didn’t want it to end! It was amazing.”

Another memorable wedding involved two very fashionable grooms and a multitude of clothing changes.

As someone who works weddings, she feels that queer weddings have an extra element of pride and freedom of expression – and that really changes the energy of the event.

Straight weddings, by comparison, feel kind of stale.

(We’re hoping they’ll start taking some ideas from us gays.)

To the straight men who think queer women just haven’t met the right man yet: STOP IT.

That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works.

It’s never gonna work that way. Please go away and leave us alone.

p.s. Has this strategy ever worked for you in the past? Seriously – stop it.

Dee’s Advice for Planning LGBTQ+ Weddings

Educate yourself. Don’t take a queer client if you have not done the work to educate yourself. The worst thing you can do is put them in a situation where they can get hurt because of your ignorance.

Learn about pronouns, terminology, prefixes, and queer culture before you even think about taking on LGBTQ+ clients.

About the word “gay”

Dee has a complicated relationship with this word. Many of us do. Let’s talk about it. And a few other things.

Where to find and hire Dee and The I Do Company

The I Do Company (which will also link you to every branch)

The Shapiro Ballroom – West Town / Ukrainian Village Chiacgo wedding venue

I Do Dance Studio – Ballroom dance lessons for your wedding or just for fun!

I Do Events – Wedding Coordination and Event Staffing

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