Posts Tagged “Gay weddings”

TSE 2013: The Emerging Gay & Lesbian Wedding Industry

Guest Blogger: Sabrina Mesa

Marriage is a big deal to many people, and the day is different for every couple. Whether you are for or against gay marriage, we cannot deny that same sex marriage is big business. By the end of this year, Minnesota will join Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, Maryland, Washington, Rhode Island and Delaware in legalizing same sex marriages. What does that mean for florists in those states or florists who do destination events? It means that the wedding game has changed and assumptions need to be thrown out the window.

 

 

Bernadette Smith from 14 Stories Gay Wedding Institute held a session at The Special Event 2013. She is the nation’s leading gay wedding expert. One of the most impressive facts that Bernadette displayed during her session was that “in June 2006 Forbes estimated that gay marriages can potentially boost the overall wedding industry by $9.5 billion per year.”

If that does not make you say, “Wow. Really?!” not sure what will. That is big money and with states being added to the list, that number could only be rising. This means that the days of “Who is the groom?”, “What will be bride be wearing?” are going by the wayside at least in the states where same-sex marriages will soon the norm. I personally had never heard the term heterosexist. The term according to gayweddinginstitute.com refers to;

“Actions, attitudes and institutions that reflect the assumption that all people are heterosexual. Often functions through omission and language. For instance, forms that use “husband” and “wife” instead of “spouse”or “partner” – or the common exclamation about a charming young child, “Oh, she is going to break some boy’s heart!”

Bernadette gives very simple ways to avoid being inadvertently heterosexist when filling out the necessary information for wedding contracts. Instead of the traditional Bride and Groom info planners/coordinators/florist could use the clients names. For contracts and forms Bernadette suggest using the following options

· Client Name, Client Name

· Client A, Client B

· Partner A, Partner B

· Bride/Groom, Bride/Groom

· Name, Name

These options will allow for all of the information to stay separated accordingly but does not alienate couples due to gender preference.

 

 

The Top Ten Mistakes Made by Wedding Vendors

10. Make Assumptions about genders and terms used to describe the wedding party: assuming there is a wedding party.

· Many same-sex weddings do not include attendants in their ceremony.

9. Make assumptions about gay couples based on perceived gender roles (ie that more feminine man may want to dress in drag)

· Not all straight brides dress in white billowing wedding gowns right? The same assumptions happen in same-sex weddings. There are no rules to what a man or woman can wear. Ask about the attire and use that to help navigate the rest of the conversation.

8. Be easily put off by subcultures of the gay community like leather bears, butch/femme etc.- or by the idea that a gay groom may want to carry a bouquet, for example.

7. Ask inappropriate and overly sexual questions.

· You are a professional. Act like one.

6. Be absurdly gay-positive and overeager to the other extreme (ie “I went to college with a lot of gay people,” or “ I love Ellen!”). No rainbows on your website. Gay clients hate being tokenized.

5. Use highly traditional heterosexual wedding photos and the terms bride and groom and husband and wife in your contract, marketing materials and conversations.

4. Inflexibility about adapting to gay wedding traditions or making reference that the “wedding” may not be valid (ie that’s not what happens at a real wedding.)

· Same-sex weddings are not traditionally very cookie cutter.

3. Hiring staff and referring couples to vendors and venues without verifying first their commitment to LGBT-inclusivity.

· Recently a florist in Washington is being sued for refusing to design a wedding for a long time customer because he was marrying his longtime partner.

2. Assume that the couple has the support of their family. Or assume that the couple does not have the support of their family.

And the top mistake made by wedding vendors…

1. Assuming, rather than, asking. A gay wedding will not be a typical wedding and you will need to think outside the traditional box.

These mistakes can be avoided by informing yourself more and letting go of stereotypes that just are not true. Bernadette and her company have many resources for vendors who wish to begin the evolution. If you would like more info, please check out this great resource page. You can also follow Bernadette on her twitter page.

 

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