Civil Unions Come to Colorado – Are you Ready to Get Married?

Congratulations to Colorado on recently passing same-sex civil unions! Let the ceremonies begin May 1, 2013!! (Ooh, and let us remind you that you’ll want a wedding planner ;).  Colorado is the 15th state to pass recognition of same-sex civil unions granting protection under law to those in a same-sex civil union. This is pretty remarkable since in 1992, Colorado was named the “hate state” due to a ban which passed that year.

Along with this excitement, the Supreme Court is hearing arguments on California’s Proposition 8 as well as DOMA.  The rulings on either of these two cases could give cause for even more celebration for same-sex couples here in Colorado. Here’s a quick reference to educate yourself on what Proposition 8 and DOMA actually are.

DOMA is the Federal Defense of Marriage Act of 1996. DOMA legally defines marriage between one man and one woman, denies federal recognition of same-sex marriages and gives each state the right to refuse recognition of same-sex marriage license from other states. The act was signed in 1996 by President Bill Clinton and since then, the former President and key legislators have changed their views and have advocated for DOMA appeal.  As of now, under the act same-sex marriages are denied federal benefits such as insurance benefits for government employees, immigration, social security survivor benefits and joint tax return filings. In 2011, the Obama Administration has stated the act as unconstitutional and although they will uphold the law, it will not defend the act in court. The United States Supreme Court is hearing an appeal in United States v. Windsor and oral arguments started March 27th.

Proposition 8 is similar to DOMA, but on a State level in California.  Proposition 8, signed in 2008, legally defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman as well. As a result of Proposition 8, the State of California no longer performs same-sex marriages. In 2010, United States District Court Judge Vaughn Walker overturned Proposition 8 in the case Perry v. Schwarzenegger, ruling it violated both Due Process and Equality Protection clause of the US Constitution. February 2012, a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals panel affirmed Judge Walkers decision that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. June 2012, the Ninth Circuit Court denied a rehearing in front of the whole bench and stayed the ruling pending appeal. July 2012 a petition was filed for the United States Supreme Court to review the case. In December 2012 the Court agreed.  March 26th oral arguments started and the Court is expected to issue its ruling by late June 2013.

Hope this was informative! Until next time…. Veronica


The First Dance Demystified!

Being a Denver wedding planner and having been a professional ballroom dancer, many of our wedding couples have many questions regarding their first dance.  We are here to help answer those questions before you step foot on the dance floor.

How long is it going to take to learn a dance?

The answer to this question lies completely on you and your fiance.

Here are a few questions you want to discuss together before going for your first lesson:

1) What style of dance do you want to do?

You don’t have to get too specific with this answer, just have an idea on if you want to dance a ballroom style dance, which is partner dancing (for example a Foxtrot, Rumba, Tango, Country Waltz, Argentine Tango, etc.), or do you want something more freestyle with the two of you doing movement along side each other (typically a jazz, hip-hop, or contemporary style)?

If you already have a song picked out, this will give direction to the style of dance (just ask your instructor).

 

2) How good do you want to be?

Do you want to have basic knowledge of  a couple of movements so you’re not doing the old high school sway? Or do you want a more professional grade dance with lots of movement around the floor?

For most couples learning a new dance style will take a month or more, regardless of whether you are looking to take your dancing a step above the ‘sway’ or if you want your first dance to be a highlight of the evening. Remember, planning a wedding can be stressful, add trying to learn a dance (with someone) in 4 hours right before the big day may not turn out the way you’d like. Give yourselves time to learn and perfect your moment first dance. I would recommend planning at least 3 months before the wedding so that you are prepared and have fun doing it.

How long should the dance be?

Trust me- dancing to the entire song at your wedding will seem like an eternity, so what I suggest is  to keep it anywhere between 1 and 2 minutes.  A few ways to end the dance in the middle of the song is either fade the music out (usually after the chorus), cut the music, or have your DJ/Band invite guests to join you on the dance floor.

How much is it going to cost?

This question depends on how good you want to be as well as  how much time you’re both willing to put in.  If you and your fiance are quick learners and you’ve decided to do this romantic and sensual Rumba routine, you’re going to need more lessons than if you just wanted 3  basic moves.

Typically, prices in the Denver area are widely spread out, you’re looking at about $60 – $125 /hr, depending on the studio. Independently owned studios generally have lower prices than franchise studios.

Learning to perfect a couple of moves will take about 4 lessons or cost a total of $240-$500 (depending on the studio).  I would guesstimate your romantic, sensual Rumba routine would take about 10 – 15 lessons, which can cost anywhere between $600 – $1,875.  Yes, it is an investment

How do I SAVE Money on the First Dance?

1)  Practice outside of the studio.

Practice makes perfect and it helps maximize the value of your money spent on your lessons. You’ll be able to learn more material or spend more time on making your movements look fluid when in a lesson, rather than relearning what you learned the previous lesson.

2) Sign up for Group Lessons.

Group lessons usually cost $10-15 an hour, so find the day and time where there is a group lesson in your style of dance, and go to it.

3) Contact us.

We have two ballroom dancers on staff who would be happy to help you learn your first dance.  And since we are not affiliated with a studio, we charge less per hour.

4) Bonus:  If you purchase one of our wedding planning packages, there is a further discount on the entire dance lesson package.

We hoped this helped. Please let us know if you have any further questions and we would be happy to answer them for you.

 

A special thank you to Selah Photography, JM Photography, and  Jenna Walker Photography for the photos on these pages.  You captured our wedding couples beautifully.


Civil Unions Passed in Colorado, Awaiting House Vote

All over the world today, an ever debated topic is same-sex marriage.  I am very passionate about this topic. My brother, and best friend, is gay. I also have a plethora of close friends and acquaintances who are gay and I strongly support their right to not only marry the one they love, just as I hope to do one day, but also be granted the same legal rights and responsibilities I will be given when I get married. In this blog, and a few coming up, I’m going to blog about topics regarding same-sex civil unions and marriages across the United States, Colorado and the world, recognition of marriages (same-sex and opposite-sex) performed outside of the United States, and how to support marriage equality for everyone.

Is a same-sex marriage legal in Colorado?

Colorado Senate passed the Colorado Civil Union Act in February. YAY!! The Colorado Civil Union Act grants committed same-sex couples with some, not all, legal protections and responsibilities as a marriage. Now, the bill still needs to pass through the full house, which is scheduled to take place March 11, 2013. It is expected to be passed! Woo-hoo!!

What is considered a civil union in our majestic state of Colorado? 

The definition of a civil union varies between states. Some states grant majority of the same rights and responsibilities as a marriage, where other states grant very little in comparison.  The Colorado Civil Union Act gives persons in a civil union the ability to take family leave to care for their spouse, insure a spouse under group benefit plans, make medical and end-of-life decisions for their spouse, the choice to adopt children together, among others.  To read exactly what protections, responsibilities, and legal benefits the bill provides, check it out here (there is a summary before the bill so you won’t need a law degree to cipher the hieroglyphs referred to as legal jargon ;-).  This is a huge step for Colorado LGBT couples in their fight towards equality, and I am super duper excited about it! I can’t wait for there to be full marriage benefits, protections, and responsibilities recognized for any couple, regardless of gender, who love each other and want to make the marriage commitment!

So, what is the difference between a civil union and a marriage?

With focusing on Colorado, there are multiple differences between a civil union and a marriage. The majority of the differences lie in the distinction between federal law and state law. One difference is that in a civil union, once you cross Colorado state lines into another state, it is no longer recognized. Similarly, in regards to states where same-sex marriage is legal, because a heterosexual marriage is recognized nationally and even internationally, a same-sex marriage (as of now) is recognized in the state it is legally performed and a few states that recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages.

Another variance, come tax season, is when filing federal taxes you must file as a single if you are in a civil union, where married couples file jointly.  These are just two of many other differences that are hopefully to be under review soon when DOMA is looked over.

I hope this was a helpful tid-bit of information for you! Again, this is something I am passionate about, and I look forward to the day when everyone can marry the person they love, regardless of gender, and the world will recognize and respect that marriage. Until next time! 🙂  -Veronica