In the spirit of loving friends, famliy, fun & self-deprecating humor, we are pleased to introduce a new series to our Gay Wedding Fodder readers: It’s My Wedding And I Can Cry If I Want To. Several couples have expressed an interest in sharing the stories of their wedding journies with Gay Wedding Fodder and we are pleased to share this space with them. Each is in a different place in the wedding planning process but all love to weave a good yarn and all are happy to share with us their trials & tribulations, inspirations & tips, and tears of joy and tears of disappointment or dismay. Perhaps you’ll recognize a bit of your relationship in these intallments?
What you have heard is true – coming out of the closet is a never ending process. Especially when you are planning a wedding.
Carey: As soon as we started to plan our wedding, I went online and tried to find gay friendly vendors. Naively, I expected to find websites of florists and caterers, emblazoned with large rainbow print, proudly stating: “We Cater to Gay and Lesbian Couples!” What I found instead was that very few wedding vendors had ever worked with a gay or lesbian couple, let alone advertised to them. I knew then that we were in for an interesting few months.
Michele: Our first experience coming out of the closet was when we were searching for a florist. We set up a meeting to draw out a plan for our arrangements. She introduced herself to Carey and then to me. While shaking my hand, she said, “How nice of you to come with your friend to help her choose her wedding flowers!” Carey and I looked at each other, and there was a brief moment of panic.
C: I quickly said, “No, this is Michele, my partner. We are the ones getting married.” I could tell the florist was a little shocked and for the remainder of our meeting with her she was cordial, but visibly uncomfortable. We ended the meeting with her committing to doing our flowers and saying she’d follow up with a written bid within 2 weeks. About 8 weeks later, after many unreturned phone calls, we got a brief note in the mail stating that she was “too busy” and would not be doing our flowers.
M: We knew that it was not that the florist was “too busy” but rather “too freaked out by a lesbian wedding.” We learned at that point that we’d have to come out of the closet to each vendor up front, before setting up any meetings.
C: From that point on, we started every conversation with each potential vendor with, “We are a lesbian couple planning our commitment ceremony. We want to make sure you know this up front and that you do not have a problem with it.” At first I was irritated that we would even have to do this. It felt like we were making a disclaimer about ourselves (“WARNING: Lesbians Getting Married!”). But the fact is that the wedding industry has not yet caught up with gay and lesbian weddings and coming out to every vendor is a necessary step. Otherwise, we run the risk of wasting our time or being disappointed by responses like the one we got from the florist.
M: On the flip side, we’ve been welcomed by the majority of our vendors. We found a new florist who is thrilled to be working with us and one of our vendors even came out to us – by telling us that her father is gay.
C: I would say we have definitely experienced more positive responses than negative once we started coming out to everyone up front.
M: So, while you think you may have already come out of the closet once and for all, if you are planning a wedding, be prepared to come out A LOT in the coming months.
C: And remember, the money you are spending on your wedding is just as green as any straight couple’s, so don’t waste your time with vendors that aren’t 110% comfortable working with you. If they have any hesitation at all, hang up and call the next vendor. Don’t forget to ask your friends and family for referrals and use your local gay and lesbian newspaper, community center or business directory as a resource. There are lots of great vendors out there – you’re just going to have to open the closet door (again and again) to find them.
Are you looking for gay-friendly vendors? Consider the gay-friendly vendor directory of GayWeddings.com!
Editor’s Note: Would you and your partner like to participate in our Blog Serial, It’s My Wedding & I Can Cry If I Want To? Learn more about the series and contact Kathryn.