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VT Company Offers Unique Mementos for the Big Day

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Traditional weddings are filled with, well, traditions. Heterosexual rituals, that is, which don’t necessarily make sense in same-sex ceremonies. Watching some of her gay friends getting civil unions and, now, having weddings, Vermonter C.D. Mattison got to thinking: Forget “something borrowed…” What about creating a unique way to commemorate these events?

“I wanted to create a new tradition, especially for gay people,” says the South Hero resident and creative director for the online company YLighting. The result of her efforts is an online company called Holden Marks and a collection of “wedding coins” — small medallions that “every member of the wedding party could take home with them as a memento of the ceremony,” Mattison says. The pieces, crafted by Vermont’s Danforth Pewterers, can be inscribed with the couple’s names and wedding date, along with a message.

But Mattison didn’t stop there. She has designed pieces for “all the important moments in our lives: graduations, new babies, blended families — they’re all getting married to each other, not just the grownups,” she says. One medallion depicts a broad-branched tree; another made of three conjoined “whooshes” recalls the renewable-energy symbol; another looks like a Celtic knot. A square piece patterned after kinte cloth is “for African American weddings,” Mattison notes.

Holden Marks has also partnered with White Knot for Equality, a national nonprofit devoted to marriage equality. The California-based organization’s apt slogan is “Everyone should have the right to tie the knot.” Holden Marks creates knot-like pins — à la the ribbons associated with other grassroots campaigns — jewelry and key chains that are sold on the White Knot website as well as its own.

Mattison approached Danforth to manufacture her products because, she says simply, “I love Danforth and I love Vermont — it was important to me to make our products here.” When she visited the company’s factory, “It just all came together,” Mattison remembers. “They have a legacy going back to the 18th century. I knew it would be a quality heirloom.”

Mattison is planning to send wedding coins to a gay male couple featured in the Winter 2010 issue of Martha Stewart Weddings. From individuals who have actually purchased Holden Marks mementos, the response has been “really positive,” she says. “One woman bought a White Knot ornament for Christmas; she’s straight, and she said she was going to buy the coins for her wedding in the spring. I’m happy it’s not just a gay thing.”

Some hetero women are buying the keepsakes for their husbands, Mattison notes. “The wedding date is on it,” she points out, “so you can never forget your anniversary.”

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