One Enchanted Wedding has a unique history among Utah’s wedding businesses: It has been owned by two lesbian couples.
Current owners Hazel Jensen and her partner Misty Elan recently bought the business — including its van, trailer and collection of wedding backdrops — from the first couple, who were mutual friends.
“They just were done and didn’t want to do it anymore,” said Jensen.
Since then, Jensen has faced the typical struggles of restarting a business, particularly letting happy couples know that One Enchanted Wedding is back and open for business. To help spread the word, and to help out members of the local community, Jensen and Elan contributed several services to QSaltLake’s first wedding contest. They designed the sandbox in which winners Jessica Engel and Amanda Brown stood for their March 13 service at the University of Utah’s Fort Douglas Post Chapel and the striking fishbowl centerpieces, complete with live betta fish, seen on the tables at the reception in the Utah Museum of Fine Arts’ main room.
“I think its cool that it’s becoming more common for gay couples to do ceremonies, so it was a great opportunity when QSaltLake called to put [ourselves] out there for the gay community and say, ‘Hey, you know, we’re owned by a couple of women so you’re not going to feel like you’re having to convince the straight community that your ceremony is as legit as any,” said Jensen. “I think it’s a lot more comfortable for gay couples when they’re doing that [having a commitment or marriage ceremony] to deal with businesses they know are friendly.”
Buying the business was a natural step for the couple not only because they are interested in serving same-sex couples, but because of their artistic backgrounds. Both women have decades of experience in the theatre, in such areas as stage, lighting and sound design and technical direction. Elan is a former props manager at Capitol Theatre and Jensen has served for years as a member of the Utah Arts Festival’s technical staff.
“I’m really comfortable with live events,” said Jensen. “When you do live theatre, an audience is there and you get one shot at it, and weddings are kind of the same.”
“Our background is on a way bigger scale so this is just doing smaller events,” she continued. “I’ve spent 20 years making other people’s designs look good on stage and it’s kind of fun on a smaller scale to be designing for people what they want.”
The designs of which Jensen speaks are typically backdrops for wedding photographs and receptions, which include ivy-twined white pillars, trellises and even Medieval-style arches. Some of these are stock pieces, which Jensen and Elan keep in storage. But the couple prefers it when clients ask them to design backdrops to suit a particular event.
“I really enjoyed Amanda and Jess coming to me and saying we want to do this [the sandbox] and it’s not something you have sitting in your inventory,” she said. “It was fun to make it unique for them.”
To promote their business and showcase their design work, the couple is offering its Grand Entrance Special. If clients give them a digital photograph of the backdrop the couple created for them for use on One Enchanted Wedding’s Web site, they will receive a discount on their order. If they client wants to use a rental, they will receive a 50–70 percent discount on their order, depending on which piece they want to use. And these events don’t have to be weddings. Jensen said that she and Elan will happily create backdrops for any event.
They can also create unique centerpieces, including silk and live floral arrangements, which Jensen has some experience building for television shoots. Of course, they also offer non-floral items, like the fish bowls made for Engle and Brown’s wedding. The special thing about the bowls, Jensen noted, was that wedding guests got to take part of them home as a wedding memento, and as a pet.
“They got to adopt the bettas,” she said. “The guest who took them home were really excited.”
Although One Enchanted Wedding is just starting out again, Jensen hopes to grow the business into several other areas, including, someday, event management. But for now, she and her partner seek to provide stellar set pieces for any wedding—regardless of the couple’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
“I feel like whether it’s a gay or straight event the best thing you can do as a business person is to do the best job and be the most committed to your business and your clients,” she said. “If you do the best you can, I think your work will speak for itself.”
For more information about One Enchanted Wedding and its Grand Entrance Special, visit 1EnchantedWedding.net.