A New Commitment
Keith Andes, Jr. and his family envision a fully inclusive event planning service. And by fully inclusive, that doesn’t mean just a one-stop shop. It’s a one-stop shop for all.
Andes’ company, Everything But Your Groom, is one of the first in Richmond to actively market its services to gay and lesbian couples.
With legal marriage in DC just a short road trip away, mainstream gay ceremonies are on the rise and Andes hopes to meet the demand with personal touches that produce pristine events while bringing an awareness for LGBT rights.
“Acceptance and tolerance are a personal mission of mine and now a mission of my company” Andes says.
The Andes are very close. He is the only brother of three sisters. In high school, Keith, Jr. found out his little sister was a lesbian; then, he came out. His family remains close and still resides in Richmond.
Sister Shannon Andes graduated from culinary school and will lend her talents as executive chef. Father Keith, Sr. has had eyes set on starting his own catering company while mom Pamela stepped away from corporate America six years ago and began making jewelry.
With this umbrella of talents, Keith, Jr. says his family will be able to provide the whole package – catering, design, invitations, photography, and finding venues for any event.
“It’s a puzzle that fit together,” Andes says.
Walking through the grounds of St. John’s Church in Andes’ Church Hill neighborhood, he explains how much he wants to give his clients that warm, nurturing experience that’s important on a special day. He knows some gay and lesbian couples are not as fortunate to be close with their families.
With Everything But Your Groom, Andes hopes he can lend his own family to clients for that special day.
“I would like the opportunity to put that out there for people to have at least for a few hours or a few days in the process.”
Andes also wants to give back. With every event, he plans to donate a portion of the money to a selected charity of the bride and/or groom’s choice.
Currently bartending evenings at Brio Tuscan Grill, he hopes to take the wedding biz fulltime. “It’s nice to put your dream out there and get good feedback.”
He has been thrilled that his established counterparts have welcomed him and the concept with open arms since attending a wedding industry networking event. In January, he plans to make his mark on the wedding expo circuit.
“I think this could a catalyst for acceptance,” friend and business colleague Megan Colson says. “Everyone is looking for a love, whether you’re white black, gay or straight.”
“Every wedding is different but it is always focused around love,” Andes says. “I love the challenge to get in [the client’s] mind and design around what they are thinking about. That’s why I’m excited to do this business.”
“This is what Richmond needs.”
Kevin Clay is the editor and publisher of GAYRVA.COM. He is a Richmond native, loves the city and knows it's on the edge of greatness. Don't hold back RVA. You can follow Kevin on GAYRVA's Twitter or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Wednesday, the NBA released its first collection of LGBTQ Pride teeshirts featuring the logos of all 30 pro basketball teams. The line is a collaboration between the basketball league, the Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and TeeSpring and was released in celebration of LGBTQ Pride Month. This is the first time an [...]June 9, 2016
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