Love was not expected that evening in a small bar in Washington, D.C. When Lawrence Broughton and Michael Brown met at the Fireplace Bar in Dupont Circle, the connection was undeniable. Lawrence arrived in Washington, D.C. from Los Angeles, preparing for his commencement ceremony at Howard University. After graduation, he established himself in L.A. and decided not to return to his hometown in Atlanta, GA. During his trip back to D.C., he made plans to spend quality time with friends, which included going to a nice bar and celebrating the success of completing school.
Michael’s date was ending, a date that didn’t go so well, and as he was leaving the bar, he noticed Lawrence. Lawrence stood out in the group, and Michael’s curiosity and attraction got the best of him. His date wasn’t an afterthought. He made eye contact with Lawrence and introduced himself.
“Hi, I’m Michael.” Michael introduced himself after he and his date had said goodbye. Lawrence smiled, noticing that this wasn’t just a friendly introduction. He stuck his hand out.
On October 14, 2017, the couple that met through fate at a bar decided that it was finally time to tie the knot, and they wanted to do it in Grand Style. As a gay couple, it wasn’t enough for them to just have a wedding; they wanted to do it with elegance and style. To Lawrence, that meant planning the intricate details of their special day themselves. A Renaissance man of many talents, Lawrence took the lead on all of the videography and design. At the same time, Michael, who loved the challenge of DIY projects, saw great opportunities to create something magical for the both of them.
Lawrence & Michael
Over 120 of their family and friends gathered in Las Vegas at the luxurious SLS ( now called the Sahara) in a room filled with the wedding colors of Navy, Silver, and shades of pink. Wedding guests seated in rows of chivari chairs adorned with roses and candles that lined the aisle filled the room. A Custom aisle runner that boasted the Broughton Family Crest led the way to the altar where they said “I do” under a beautiful chuppah decorated with flowers and a lovely chandelier. The crest was used to brand their entire wedding. As guests waited, they browsed the wedding program. It was a magazine-styled version of Michael and Lawrence’s eleven-year journey together, a journey filled with magical and memorable moments that led them to this momentous day. Joining the couple on their wedding day were two very important members of their family; Joy and Troy, their fur babies, dressed in a custom couture gown and tux combo made in Poland designed by Barbara Klubek.
Love overflowed the ceremony as Michael and Lawrence stared into each other’s eyes again. This time, it wasn’t from across a bar. They were closer. They were together. They were among those who had seen just how much this love could and would change the world. Smiles plastered on both of their faces, the couple said “I do” and hand-in-hand leaped over the broom and into the next chapter of their story.
Celebration and excitement transferred into the reception as they kicked off with a New Orleans’ Big Easy’ second line parade. Navy uplights cast a beautiful relaxed vibe as music and laughter flowed from the room. Every table was adorned with floating candles with pink roses and numerous candles throughout the ballroom. The Sweet Heart table overlooking the dancefloor was overshadowed by a banner that visually and boldly displayed the Broughton crest.
Everything was perfect, and just as they had dreamed. Knowing that not everyone they loved could be there, Michael and Lawrence set up everything to be live-streamed so that everyone who couldn’t be in attendance could enjoy their wedding day with them online. They wanted to share their love with all who wanted to see. Their posts and stories only proved one thing: social media can be a monster, and people can be cruel. Comments and posts about the happy couple began to show the mean side of those against the love of the two men.
Desperately, Lawrence and Michael sought a place where they could share their wedding day and feel that they could be seen for who they were—two men in love. But their research proved something else: black gay marriages weren’t being represented. Something had to change; to represent gay people of color and to see the negativity when it came to their love be squashed and the celebration be highlighted.
#Loveislove fueled Lawrence and Michael to use their talents and gifts to do what they did for themselves for others who wanted to share their love in a safe space. The birth of their love led to the birth of Black Gay Weddings, the safe space needed, the celebration deserved, and the spark of change that could truly represent LGBTQI+ love.