Planning Your Lesbian Wedding: Dealing with Straight Vendors
After you and your partner decide to get married, next comes the joy of planning the ceremony. Depending on the kind of wedding you choose to have, you could be dealing with rental halls, caterers, florists, bakeries, photographers, DJ’s or musicians and dress shops. At every one of these businesses, you may be forced to come out and potentially deal with a less than welcoming environment. Finding good vendors can be stressful enough without having to worry about homophobia. How should you proceed?
Your attitude goes a long way. When you go talk to any potential vendor, assume that you will be treated the same as any straight couple. Give them the opportunity to live up to your positive expectations instead of fretting that they’re going to be uncomfortable with you. Remember, this may be the first time some of these people will have been approached by an openly gay couple for business. Be matter-of-fact with them and expect the same in return.
Go to a Bridal Show
When my friends Pam and Vicky were getting married, they went to the local Bridal Show. As they visited the booths, they held hands and were very clear that were a couple and that both of them would be brides. They could tell by the reaction of the people working the booth who was comfortable and who was not. They ended up choosing a photographer who was not only comfortable, but was excited to have a lesbian wedding added to her portfolio. Now, the same-sex brides and grooms who visit the bridal show this year will see Pam and Vicky’s wedding photos on display and they’ll know they’ve found a friendly photographer.
Same Sex Wedding Fairs
In larger cities, fairs for same-sex couples are becoming more common. I visited one recently and found many traditional caterers, florists and wedding halls trying to lure in the gay market. And why not? Business is business, after all. A recent study
found that gay marriage could boost the economy of Iowa by $160 million.
Hire Gay Businesses
You might pull out your local gay business directory and see if you can get your needs met via gay-owned and gay-friendly businesses. After all, why not keep the money in the community?
If you’ve had friends who have gotten married, gay or straight, ask them who they would recommend. Chances are the great DJ your cousin hired is going to be just as happy to spin at your lesbian wedding as she was at the straight one. If your college roommate loved the caterer at her wedding, the food will be just as delicious for your same-sex ceremony.
On Line Directories
A few websites are trying to connect gays and lesbians with queer-friendly wedding planners, clergy and other services. Here are a few to check out:
Dealing with Homophobia
If you do encounter homophobia when you are meet with a venue or bridal shop, try to not take it personally and certainly take your business elsewhere. If the person who treats you badly is an employee, you might consider contacting the owner to let her know why you are taking your business elsewhere.
Countdown to Your Lesbian Wedding