Joel Quiñones and Bradley Brandt met when they worked at the same hair salon in Highland Village.
In May 2013, they opened their own salon, Q [the salon], as well as Brad Brandt Designs, a holiday decor and interior-design business. (Quiñones has been named OutSmart’s Gayest & Greatest Male Hairdresser on several occasions.)
Quiñones, 59, says he knew Brandt was “the one” when he realized he did not like being separated from him for long periods of time. The 47-year-old Brandt, on the other hand, knew after their first date.
“Since we were both older, and knew that we were right for each other, we decided to take our time,” Quiñones says.
He adds that there wasn’t a beach, mountain views, a ring, or someone on one knee when they got engaged. They decided to get married one morning in the kitchen, while getting ready for work. “When you know it’s right, you just know,” Quiñones says.
Their wedding festivities began with an engagement party hosted by friends who brought in an accordion-playing comedian from Los Angeles. When they told a dear friend who has a second home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, that they planned to get married, she insisted that they do so in her garden.
So 36 of their nearest and dearest friends and family trekked to Santa Fe for three days of festivities. They concluded their wedding celebration a few months later with a blowout party for 200 at The Parador in Houston.
They had only one hiccup on their wedding day—their cake, while beautiful, was flavorless. They made up for it at their Houston celebration with the most perfect and delicious nine-tier cake.
The grooms tied the knot on October 25, 2014—the day after the planet Mercury went out of retrograde. Their officiant was Rev. Brendalyn Batchelor, the pastor of Unity Church in Santa Fe. “We were able to work with her to customize every word of our ceremony and truly make it our own,” Brandt says.
“Our wedding day was the most spectacular of days—sunny, 60 degrees, and not a cloud in the sky,” he adds. “We knew the universe was in our corner. And while there are many good memories and specials moments from that day, the best was standing in the garden, surrounded by our loved ones while butterflies danced from flower to flower, and our hosts’ two pugs walked among everyone as we exchanged vows.”
“For me,” Quiñones says, “the most wonderful moment was when Rev. Batchelor pronounced us “husbands forever.”
For their Houston reception on January 11, 2015, they retained the services of Blooming Gallery, Bright Star Productions, Cakes by Gina, Michael Martinez Photography, and LG Entertainment. “While none of them are known as LGBT vendors, they are the best at what they do and are always ready to help any couple make their day special,” Quiñones says.
Their advice to other couples is “to make your wedding what you want it to be, and also to think of your guests at all times when planning. It’s your special day, but you want it to be special and memorable for your guests as well, especially if it is a destination wedding.”
The newlyweds broke with tradition by taking a “weddingmoon” a month before their special day.
“Joel is a music aficionado, and once we heard that Kate Bush was giving a series of concerts in London, there was no doubt we would hop across the pond to attend one of her performances,” Brandt says. “It was the perfect break before all of the wedding festivities.”
This article appears in the August 2018 edition of OutSmart magazine.