Korbin & David - February 2023
LUXURY WEDDING FEATURE
Korbin & David
Korbin grew up in a small, religious Texas town. It wasn’t until he was 24 that he realized he was actually gay, or bi-sexual as he told his mother. His mother demanded he stands in front of a mirror and tells himself, “I’m not gay” in order to convince himself he was not gay. He wasn’t expecting this reaction from his mother (and sister). It was Korbin’s very masculine, father who said, “I still love you; you're my son. I love you very much.” This is from a man who many called “coach.”
It was around this time that Korbin met David. At the behest of a friend, Korbin was encouraged to find his “gay community” in Dallas. He found the DIVA - Dallas Independent Volleyball Association. Or did DIVA find him?
Korbin wasn’t eager to play volleyball in such an open atmosphere of queerness. Growing up closeted can cause feelings of anxiety and anxiousness. All Korbin needed was for the game to start so he could focus on coaching and find his head space. Hot sweaty guys playing volleyball, what could go wrong - or right?
David was refereeing and Korbin questioned his calls. There were two stories told, so here’s the one we’ll tell: after the game, Korbin and David chatted in David’s parked car, but after an hour David had to leave because his boyfriend was on his way - moving from Oklahoma tand moving to Dallas from Oklahoma.
It was four months later in 1995 that Korbin and David started seeing each regularly and agreeing to be a couple.
With David being a few years ahead of Korbin in age, David was confident Korbin would someday be his husband. After dating for a while, David knew Korbin was the one. It was David’s big announcement upon returning home to find his friends who had been waiting for over an hour. “We just connected. Something about how we connected.” shares David.
In early 1997, they moved into an apartment together in Uptown Dallas. That second year was a struggle as both of them are “A-Type” personalities! They had to learn to compromise, which they credit as the key to their successful, long-term relationship. “Compromise” meant to acknowledge that “David is always right!” chuckled Korbin
On June 26, 2015, moments after the Supreme Court made marriage equality a reality in all 50 states, Korbin and David got engaged while they were in Fire Island, NY. It was an overwhelming victory for them personally, as they committed to waiting to get legally married in their beloved Dallas, Texas. Almost a year after their engagement and longer than 20 years together as partners without any legal status in Texas, they were officially married on June 11, 2016.
Korbin and David were so excited about their wedding that they created a website that chronicled their journey. Their friend and wedding attendant, Shelley Fuld Nasso, authored a historical piece about our wedding venue Union Station Dallas.
UNIQUE - ELEGANT - FUN
They consistently used three adjectives to describe to everyone including vendors their vision for our special day: Unique! Elegant! Fun! They always wanted to have a Black tie wedding, and their friends and family were so excited to attend in formal attire. Because they worked with Ricardo Tomás of Lorraine Tomas Luxury Weddings in Dallas he had already assembled an A+ list of vendors who were very LGBTGIA+-supportive. They never experienced anything but full support from the wedding vendor community. The Dallas County Clerk’s office and staff were also supportive and really made the marriage license application process easy.
Both sets of parents jointly hosted a rehearsal dinner at Korbin and David’s home. The theme was Hot Summer Nights. A casual affair, it was intended to stand in contrast to their formal, Black tie wedding. It was held in their backyard under dozens of strands of both clear and multi-colored lights. Knick knacks of all types (e.g. Mickey Mouse phone, Madonna concert poster, vintage watering cans, potted flowers, and VHS movies) were carefully “scattered” throughout the space to create a “night market” feel. The Butcher’s Son, a food truck specializing in gourmet sliders, set up in our front yard. For dinner, guests were able to order anything off the menu directly from the food truck window. A favorite was “The Dead Elvis,” a slider with Nutella, peanut butter, and bacon on a brioche roll. Tables were thematically decorated, and each guest had his/her own neon-colored “glow-in-the-dark” drinking glass and placemat made from 2003 newspaper comic strips. A local neighborhood paletería provided the dessert which was a selection of Mexican frozen ice cream treats served directly out of a traditional paletería pushcart. The wedding party and guests honored us with 3 hours of toasts!
Of the 201 guests who RSVP’ed yes, 200 attended, a statistic which is quite impressive. Wedding guests consisted of approximately 60% straight and 40% gay.
The wedding colors were Black, Antique Gold, and Vintage Sepia. The theme of their wedding was “Vintage Train Travel,” inspired by our 100-year-old wedding venue Union Station Dallas and their travel adventures together to more than 47 countries on 6 continents. Korbin and David created a fictional train line called the “Kordave Express (Est. 1996)” to commemorate their 20 years together. The wedding day events were structured around the idea of boarding a train leaving Union Station Dallas to one of the 20 countries featured at their wedding reception. Dozens of vintage steamer trunks and suitcases, compasses, magnifying glasses, and antique cameras were displayed in groups throughout Union Station to set the tone of our “Vintage Train Travel” wedding theme.
The “Save the Date” announcement was created in the style of an early 1900s postcard, like something you would find in an old keepsake shoebox in your grandmother’s closet. The “Kordave Express” steam engine train and coal car icon as well as our old-world “David and Korbin” logo (done in Radagund font) were first introduced on this postcard and were incorporated on all of the printed materials and signage produced for our wedding.
Both the Save the Date and the wedding invitation were mailed using stamps with a train theme. The configuration of the stamps as placed on the wedding invitation is shown below along with the value and year issued for each stamp (ranging from 1944 to 1999).
The wedding invitation was created in the style of a first-class, vintage train ticket with “June” and “11” hole-punched like was done in bygone days. A ticket jacket sported randomly-placed “passport stamps” of the 20 countries featured at their wedding reception. Those same 20 “passport stamps” served as the background on all of our printed materials including welcome guest amenity cards, bar menus, sign-in tables, escort card tables, and wedding favor table signage. Included in the ticket jacket was a journey manifest (“To book a sleeper car, reserve optional excursions, and explore Black tie suggestions, kindly visit their wedding website and a reservation confirmation stamped with a custom Kordave Express postage stamp (“Yes, my bags are packed; No, have to miss the train”).
Korbin and David commissioned an artist to create a signpost with each of the 20 countries displayed in the same unique font per country as was used on the table cards and with their distance in miles from Dallas. This signpost was first displayed at the guest sign-in table, and then later in the reception Grand Hall next to the main bar (which originally served as the main ticket counter when Union Station Dallas was an active train station).
The guest sign-in table featured David’s childhood electric toy train set (over 50 years old!) along with our engagement photos taken on the train tracks that overlook the Trinity River in downtown Dallas and that lead into Union Station. An antique globe served as the guest sign-in “book” (“Welcome to Union Station! You mean the world to us … Please sign our Guest Globe.”) Also displayed was an antique camera used in the early 1900s when Union Station was first opened as well as the 6, 11, and 16 volumes of The Book of Knowledge Children’s Encyclopedia (Magic Carpet Edition), printed in 1955 and owned by Korbin’s mother as a child.
Escort cards were small vintage (cardstock) suitcases randomly covered with 20 country travel stickers. Guests’ formal names and assigned country destinations were printed on vintage luggage tags issued by the “Kordave Express.” A sign read: “All Aboard the Kordave Express! Boarding time: 8:00 PM. Your bag is packed. Please check your luggage tag to confirm … Your final destination.” A large world map with a superimposed “Where in the World Are You Going?” sign indicated the country guest table layout inside the Grand Hall.
Each guest table had individual place cards with guests’ formal names and had custom-made table cards indicating the assigned country and the country’s most iconic structure or emblem (e.g. Sydney Opera House for Australia; Eiffel Tower for France; Coliseum for Italy, etc.). Eight-foot tall lamps with enormous black pleated square lampshades trimmed in gold ribbon were featured on 5 of the guest tables (each representing 5 of the six continents explored by us on our travels). The sixth continent was represented at the head table, which sat 27 wedding party members and featured Italy, their favorite country and honeymoon spot. The head table contained three more of the eight-foot-tall lamps, designed to represent the style of lamps affixed to the tables located in the dining car of a luxury train line like the Orient Express.
In the center of the Grand Hall, their cake featured two steam engine locomotives, coal cars, and passenger cars all done in black silhouettes encircling the entire cake. Also, our cake featured two world maps done in gold relief with black pearl “pushpins” inserted at the capitals of all 47 countries Korbin and David visited together.
Presented in a vintage suitcase on top of an old steamer trunk, parting wedding favors for every guest were wooden train Christmas ornaments custom-made with our “David & Korbin” logo and our wedding date. They were finished with a black hanging ribbon and were presented in a gold mesh bag. A sign read: “Bon Voyage!!! Thank you for traveling on the Kordave Express! Your departing gift: a Christmas ornament for every guest to take to commemorate our journey together. With all our love, David and Korbin XOXOXOXO”
The grooms, best men, and fathers wore antique gold vintage steam engine train cufflinks made by Hickok in the 1950s/1960s. Their groomsmen, male usher, lector, soloist, and wedding architect wore antique gold vintage steam engine train cufflinks made by Sarah Coventry in the 1970s. Their mothers wore gold and crystal steam engine train broaches, and we gave them and our matron of honor, bridesmaids, and female ushers porcelain and gold steam engine train Christmas ornaments released in 1994 by Lenox, their wedding china manufacturer.
Floral included hydrangea, ranunculus, tulips, amaryllis, cymbidiums, hyacinths, and roses. The color palette was raspberry, burgundy, purple, and plum.
As a tribute to their love of tulips as evidenced by 11 annual Tulip Parties held at their home each spring, the grooms wore burgundy tulip boutonnieres wrapped in black ribbon. Groomsmen, male ushers, lectors, and fathers wore burgundy ranunculus boutonnieres wrapped in black satin ribbon. Bridesmaids carried small tussies of ranunculus in the floral color palate, and mothers carried a small tussy bouquet of tulips in the floral color palate. Female ushers wore small wristlets in the floral color palate.
A display of vintage luggage placed on the guest sign-in table contained floral clusters inside the open suitcases as if they were spilling out. At the entrance to the custom-designed ceremony space, two black Lucite columns held large black and gold etched mercury urns with beautiful arrangements in the floral color palate. These same arrangements were used on either side of the band stage in the reception Grand Hall. All eight of the eight-foot-tall lamps featured at the reception had a floral cuff in the center of the clear glass lamp base. For those guest tables that did not have a lamp, a clear G vase with a mixed arrangement in our raspberry and plum color palette was situated in the center of the table. The head table featured a collection of clear glass vases filled with mixed floral and placed down the center of the table. This collection of vases (along with gold mercury votives and gold band cylinders holding ivory pillar candles) spanned the entire length of the 24-foot head table that sat 27 people!
Located in the exact center of the Grand Hall and viewable from all 360 degrees, their cake featured two steam engine locomotives, coal cars, and passenger cars all done in black silhouettes encircling the entire 2nd tier. The 4th tier featured two world maps done in gold relief with black pearl “pushpins” inserted at the capitals of all 47 countries we’ve visited together. Every other tier of the 8-tier cake featured swirling gold ribbons to create an “in-motion” effect as if the train were literally traveling around the cake. The “David and Korbin” wedding logo was displayed on both sides of the 6th tier, and a solid gold crinkle was featured as the top tier. Sitting on an antique gold and glass cake stand, the 8-tier cake itself was nearly 5 feet tall (58”)! The colors were white with black and gold accents. The flavors were white and chocolate cake. Some guests enjoyed a Chambord filling with raspberry purée while other guests enjoyed a Kahlua filling with strawberries.
Menu provided by Wolfgang Puck Catering.
Two specialty cocktails were created in our honor: Hudgens Party Train and Kordave Express (served at Welcome Party only). At Union Station for cocktail hour and reception, we were obligated to serve their bar options.
We hired the 12-piece band, The Jam Wows! - THE. Party. Band., to provide our music for our ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception. Our plan was to create an elegant cocktail hour and dinner reception followed by more of a “party/dance club” atmosphere as the evening progressed. We did not play any slow songs once the reception dancing started which proved very successful in keeping the dance floor completely filled. We even had a huge conga line snake throughout the Grand Hall!
Part 1: Grooms’ First Dance – “The Promise” by Tracy Chapman – Released in November 1995 when Korbin and David first began dating, this was the song to which they fell in love. Breaking with tradition, the grooms were the very first to enter the reception Grand Hall which had not been viewed previously by the grooms. They watched all of their guests enter after the grooms and were delighted in seeing the guest’s faces as they viewed the Grand Hall for the first time. Explaining its history and significance, the grooms introduced their First Dance song from the band stage. “The Promise” was performed live.
Part 2 included various “dinner/cocktail music” songs performed live during dinner which progressively introduced more lyrics and a faster tempo as we moved closer to Parts 3 and 4.
Part 3 was special dances performed live:
· David/Mom (Angela Blumenthal) – “If There Hadn’t Been You” by Billy Dean
· Korbin/Mom (Tana King) – “The Perfect Fan” by Backstreet Boys
Part 4 was a blast of sing-along, drink-along, and dance-along music including Dance, Pop, Rock, and R&B favorites performed live. Over sixty lights tightly coordinated to each song – beat by beat. The Jam Wows! really knew how to pull people to their feet and bring smiles to their faces with a fiery live show. Undeniable charisma electrified the crowd and brought the party to life with cutting-edge technology, highly customized medleys/mashups, and energy that never stopped.
During Part 4, the band took two 20-minute breaks. Korbin provided the DJ with a playlist of fan favorites in order to keep the party going including disco (“It’s Raining Men” by The Weather Girls) and pop (“Borderline” by Madonna and “Toxic” by Britney Spears). During the first break, our cake-cutting song was “Cake By The Ocean” by James Major.
When asked what they would have done differently, Korbin and David said they wish they had extended their reception for another hour. It went by way too fast! The grooms wished they had worn suspenders with their tuxes. Due to the heaving microphone equipment attached to their pants and the general “wear and tear” throughout the wedding day, they were having to constantly pull up their tuxedo pants. Their wedding party wore suspenders, but they did not. Big mistake!
We asked how they felt about the dollars spent on such a luxurious wedding. They quickly, ‘We feel good about how we spent our money and would not have changed anything about our budget. Our wedding architect, Ricardo Tomás, really helped us create the wedding of our dreams.”
What was your favorite detail of the wedding was: “Rather than the traditional announcement of the newlywed couple at the reception, we elected to make a surprise entry onto a beautiful balcony that overlooked 200 guests enjoying the cocktail hour held in the Stationmaster’s Lounge. It was from that balcony that we announced that we were the first same-sex couple ever to have been married at Union Station Dallas. Union Station Dallas opened 100 years ago in October 1916 during the State Fair of Texas when marriage equality was unthinkable. We are so proud to have been the first legal same-sex wedding ever held at Union Station Dallas!”
What’s the most unique element of the day: Our ceremony!
Upon learning that we were designing our own ceremony room in a long and rectangular side room at Union Station, one of our friends suggested that, in keeping with our goal to have a “Unique! Elegant! Fun!” wedding, we should hold our ceremony “in the round.” We loved the idea! Our décor vendor custom-built a 12-foot circular gold platform that stood 18 inches off the ground with two steps surrounding the entire structure. It was located in the center of the room which allowed us to have two guest seating sections each facing toward the center platform. That unique configuration then allowed us to create two aisles, one for David and his wedding party to enter and the other for Korbin and his wedding party to enter. The symmetry and equilibrium were perfect for a same-sex wedding ceremony. We made sure to plan pivot points in order to face both sides of our seated guests at various points throughout the ceremony.
Our favorite and most unique element of the ceremony was the Ring Warming. Our officiant, Rev. Beth Dana, suggested the ritual which involved each and every guest holding, blessing, and passing our wedding rings before they made their way to our mothers who delivered them to our best men who then delivered them to Rev. Dana for our Exchange of Rings. While the rings were being passed from guest to guest, Bette Midler’s “One True Friend” filled the room.
Another unique aspect of our ceremony was Korbin’s brother read from a bible that has been in their family since 1879. The Bible was restored especially for our wedding day. The bible rested on an 1800s lectern salvaged from a church in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The lectern was given to David by his Aunt. The selected readings were heard for the first time by the grooms during the ceremony.
Finally, in place of the traditional “lighting the unity candle,” we opted instead to do a “Unity in Glass” ritual. We combined two separate vessels of pre-selected, colored glass crystals into a larger one. Then, a few weeks after our wedding day, artist Lee Ware created a one-of-a-kind Unity sculpture using the glass crystals combined at our ceremony. Several of our guests told us that a train horn sounded outside our ceremony room at the exact moment we had finished combining the glass together!
The most unexpected event on your wedding day was: We had planned for a “flutter fetti” confetti sendoff involving all of our guests during our last dance song which was “Last Dance” by Donna Summer. The band had learned the song specifically for our wedding finale. The plan was for every guest to flick and set off a “roman candle style” confetti stick filled with rectangular-shaped black and white tissue and gold metallic paper while we all danced together on the dance floor. During the initial slow part of the “Last Dance” song, the crowd cleared a space for us to dance as the newlywed couple. As soon as the fast part of the song ensued, everyone shot their confetti stick high into the air while we danced disco-style. Black, white, and gold rained down from 15 feet in the air and created the most wonderful ending to our magnificent reception. After the song ended, we all hugged, enraptured by the moment. But, it wasn’t over there! Playing “When The Saints Go Marching In” a la New Orleans Mardi Gras style, the band’s horn section led us and all of our guests out of the Grand Hall, down the main staircase, and into the tunnel connecting Union Station with the Hyatt Regency Dallas hotel where our official After Wedding Party was held. Long after the horns could no longer be heard back at the tunnel entrance inside Union Station, 150 of our guests continuously sang “When the Saints Go Marching In” a cappella parading all the way to the hotel and into the lobby bar on the second floor. It was a raucous and awesome spectacle that we never expected and will never forget!
How your wedding was different from what you’d always imagined it would be: After having planned and executed so many mechanics of our wedding for nearly a year, we never really considered what an amazing impact our friends and family would have on our actual wedding day. We always knew we wanted to have our cherished friends and family there to witness our marriage. However, we never could have imagined the unbelievable energy and love pouring out from our guests on that magical day. It’s as if the love in that building literally picked us up off our feet and had us floating in the air! It was the most surreal and beautiful experience of our lives.
Your advice for other couples: 1) Take your day-of wedding portraits before the ceremony so that you waste no time between the ceremony and the reception. You will want to spend every single moment after you say “I do” at your reception surrounded by your guests in the beautiful space that you have worked so hard and so long to create. 2) Incorporate family heirlooms and other significant family items into your wedding events as we did (e.g. traditional champagne toasting glasses used by Korbin’s grandparents every year on their wedding anniversary; cake knife from Korbin’s parents’ wedding silver that was used by all five of their children at each of their weddings; bible stand; family bible; electric toy train set; encyclopedia set). 3) Hire a wedding planner who has previously worked with top-notch vendors. Their vendor contacts alone are worth their fee!
Three adjectives that describe the day are Unique! Elegant! Fun!