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Events planner from Plantation writes ‘Getting Groomed: Ultimate Wedding Planner for Gay Grooms’

BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com

Jason Mitchell, a New York events planner and playwright who grew up in Plantation, says most gay men haven’t been properly groomed to become grooms.

Last year, Mitchell excitedly looked for how-to books as he planned his own big wedding. But wherever he looked, Mitchell found nothing but frustration.

“I wanted to get one of those handy books with checklists,” he said. “I was very disappointed because all of them were for brides.”

Mitchell’s wedding featured no bride, but there were two grooms.

He and his fiancé, interior designer Michael Zahler, had to start from scratch in planning their nuptials on May 27, 2012.

“We had a lovely wedding in New York,” Mitchell said. “We got married in a place called Angel Orensanz Foundation, an ancient synagogue standing in New York since 1849.”

After they wed, Mitchell had an idea: Since no grooms’ guides existed, he’d write his own. He just published Getting Groomed: The Ultimate Wedding Planner for Gay Grooms ($25, Chronicle Books).

“It’s a binder with folders that you can store all the important documents in a wedding,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell describes his gay grooms manual as the “first of its kind.”

He’s probably right, said New York Times columnist Steven Petrow, author of the book Complete Gay & Lesbian Manners.

“On the one hand, there really has not been a book or manual for gay male couples to construct a wedding from soup to nuts. With more gay folks marrying, there may be a big need for this book,” says Petrow, an etiquette expert. “On the other hand, at least now, most of the weddings I know of are shotgun weddings -- it’s legal in your state, and two or four weeks later you're at the alter. These couples are not planning their weddings.”

Mitchell, 33, won a 1998 Silver Knight award for Drama as a senior at Dillard Center For the Arts in Fort Lauderdale.

In 2003, he earned a BSA degree in theater from Miami’s New World School of the Arts. Mitchell moved to New York just after graduation.

Mitchell says most young boys in the United States are not raised to plan their weddings. And until recently, gay men never even gave thought to being legally married.

“They haven’t dreamed of this day the way most brides have,” according to Mitchell.

Among the topics covered in the book:

  • How do you word an invitation?

  • How to have two men in a ceremony?

  • How do you dress two men?

GroomedCover“It’s a definite how-to guide,” said Mitchell, who married Zahler in a traditional Jewish ceremony, complete with chuppah (canopy) and good-luck glass-breaking.

Usually, the groom breaks the glass.

So what happens when there are two grooms?

“We both broke the glass together at the end of the ceremony” Mitchell said.

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