Meet Gretchen:The Mom Behind The Gay Wedding Boutiques

GPH-LG.jpgHow times have changed! When I started TwoBrides.com and TwoGrooms.com in 2000, I was surprised to discover that the majority of my same-sex market was not clamoring to walk down the aisle yet! The idea to stand before friends and family to make their love and commitment public was new to many GLBT couples. I am happy to report that now many couples are making a trip down the aisle, whether it is legal or not. Professing love and commitment to one another alters one’s relationship. It certainly is no longer in the closet! It also takes it out of the living room. When others listen to a couple profess their commitment to one another, they listen to it in a public domain and that commitment is now held in their hearts, too. I know when I go to a wedding, I feel a responsibility to support the couple in their future lives.
The more same sex couples are front and center with their loves and lives, the faster change will happen. This is how the cultural landscape will eventually change for same sex couples, enabling them to have legal rights along with their commitment to one another. So down the aisle you go……bringing your parents, grandparents, friends and family right behind you! I am right there with you, throwing lots of rice your way, but only after you have thrown your bouquets or your armbands to the friends who await the sign that they’ll be next in line.
With love,
Gretchen

She Showed Up Early to the Party for Gay Weddings

Back in 1999, everyone thought my mom was crazy when she told them about the business she wanted to start — online boutiques for same sex weddings. A few years later, people still thought she was crazy. Now, 6 years later, TwoBrides.com & TwoGrooms.com are thriving “little engines that could” and my mom (Gretchen) is ready to be a National SpokesMom for marriage equality.
How cool is that?!?
I was thinking back on one of my favorite articles written about my mom. In 2000, a journalist named Karen Dale Wolman of LesbiaNation spent some time talking to my mom and getting to know her. By the end of the interview, she had dubbed her “TwoBrides.Mom.” Clever, don’t you think?!
Here’s what my mom had to say about finding and offering products all the way back in 2000, when the doors to our stores — the first ever of their kind — opened:
But finding good products, often any products at all, quickly became an obstacle. “We either have to create them or be pretty creative,” she notes. “There’s [not much out there] and the things that are there are just not as nice as I want to offer.”
“I had an artist design wedding certificates. They’re just beautiful, and they allow a couple to celebrate the significance of what they’re undertaking. This was my daughter’s idea. We designed one specifically for Vermont civil unions. It was really great to put ‘legally binding’ on it.” TwoBrides.com also offers guest books and wedding albums, many of them handmade.
She also found that cake toppers with two brides, were only offered in very limited selections. “The requests I’ve had is for them to be more personalized. If you have a woman who wants to wear a tuxedo, does she have short hair or long hair? There are different hair colors, different skin colors. My daughters wore formal gowns. I never thought about so much variety and preferences with one community in the traditional wedding deal. There are so many different combinations.”
The self-proclaimed “mother-approved web site for alternative weddings” now offers services and products for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community. Engaged couples and their families can purchase The Essential Guide to Lesbian and Gay weddings, toasting flutes, invitations, party napkins, even a bar of clear soap with two little brides inside it. Visitors can also browse through the TwoBrides Wedding Album, a photo gallery that features a myriad of couples on the day of their nuptials.

Nowadays, we’re watching other stores join us in the market, as more and more vendors are wanting to serve the gay and lesbian community. Imitation is the highest form of flattery, right? Or, perhaps we can think about it like this: “Imitation is the surest sign we’re moving toward equality!”
We’re still proud to be the only source that offers “mother-approved shopping for same sex weddings” and look forward to helping you with your wedding needs.
Want to read more of the story, TwoBrides.Mom? Click here.

Straight Mom Loves GLBT Weddings

I can’t tell you how many gay friends and colleagues I’ve spoken with who talk about their parents’ responses to the announcement that they would be getting married. Very few (if any?) stories sound like mine. Some end with parents not showing up or participating in the wedding. Some end with parents gradually getting on board and then being so glad that they had the chance to witness something so special and moving.
When my mom couldn’t find gay-friendly wedding products for my wedding back in 1999, she was inspired by one of my friends to open an online wedding boutique — TwoBrides.com. My mom, of course, added TwoGrooms.com because, as she said, “I couldn’t leave my boys out!”
Five years later the sites are growing strong. I have just joined her in the business and am having a great time meeting so many brides and grooms, and, of course, their friends and family (gay and straight alike) who come to us looking for gay wedding gifts, products and ideas.
When my friend, Mac, asked me if I’d like to work with him in the Fodder Network and begin a gay wedding blog, my mom and I jumped at the chance.
Our blog is a work in progress so keep checking back as we’ll be adding more of our thoughts, adding some words from other gay wedding experts, and sharing plenty of ideas and stories with you.
SWAK,
Kathryn