Gay Weddings

How to approach venues

Hello soon-to-be newly weds,

So my fiancee and I are starting to look at venues. I've just been booking appointments and we've been showing up and sort of surprising them with the whole two brides thing. This has worked out well sort of because those that were a little rude about it have been taken off the list, those that didn't flinch and have done other "commitment ceremonies" and offered to help find us a officiant have stayed on the list. But I kind of feel bad for spring it on the nice guys who might be surprised, but clearly have no issue with it. I call stating I'm planning a wedding reception b/c I am having a wedding, even if NJ calls it a civil union. My fiancee and I both hate that term and are not fans of "commitment ceremony" either. It's a wedding, we're getting married, she'll be my wife, laws be damned. :)

How did you all approach making appointments to see venues? I live in NJ so for the most part people are pretty cool, but there's always a dinosaur lurking abouts trying to put a damper on our wedding planning.

Any other gay couple planning their big day in NJ??


Re: How to approach venues

  • wishonastar01wishonastar01 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    When my FI and I began approaching venue places and other vendors in general, we were very open. This might be because of an experience we had with one of the first venues we checked out. I emailed to set up an appointment and let them know that we were a same sex couple. We are getting married in Iowa so it is legal and we wanted them to be aware from the beginning. I put in the email that they could call if they had any questions.  Apparently, the guy who did our appointment didn't pay attention to the email. After he referred to the groom's room for the upteenth time, I kindly told him it wasn't really important as this was a same sex wedding. He then proceeded to leave us in a room for 15 minutes while he went to put some resources together. During this time we decided he was clearly not comfortable and made our decision we would not being getting married there.

    From that point forward when we make appointments to go check out potential vendors, we tell them that this is a same sex wedding and are they comfortable with that. It is pretty easy to tell if they are honest or not or just trying to get their business. We tell all potential vendors that if they aren't comfortable we would rather they just tell us now. We are spending too much money to worry that someone doesn't feel comfortable with us.

    Hope that helps. I guess for us, we didn't want to invest time (and money) into vendors that clearly were not ok with the type of wedding we would have. There have been times that the reactions have been hard to swallow, but I would rather know now than in the middle of our special day.

  • 2dBride2dBride member
    5 Love Its First Anniversary Combo Breaker First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Actually, the venue was the one place we didn't mention that we were a same-sex wedding.  However, that was really because we didn't want to mention we were a wedding, as opposed to not wanting to mention that we were same-sex.  We were just doing a luncheon after the ceremony--there was no music, dancing, cake-cutting, etc.  We had heard stories of places raising their prices when the word "wedding" was used.  Since we didn't need any special "wedding" services, we just left that out.

    A few days before the event, they called to ask what we wanted on the personalized menus they did for groups.  At that point, we told them that it was a wedding, and gave them both of our names.  They didn't have an issue with it.  In fact, the staff kept coming in and asking to see NotFroofy's bridal boots.  ;-)
  • edited December 2011

    We are wedding planning in Minnesota, which is out of state for us (we live in New Jersey, so hi!  Nevermind the backwards logic of taking our wedding from a state that at least somewhat respects it to one that legally does not...), so we have had to do our meetings with vendors in bursts during trips there.  We figure that we're busy and don't really want to waste time meeting with vendors who are not friendly, let alone risk any surprises on our wedding day, so we've been very up-front about the fact that we are two women from the first or second e-mail with a vendor.  Typically in an e-mail I'll ask my questions about their services, and then the last question will be something like "This is a same-sex wedding.  Have you worked with a same-sex wedding before, and if not would you be comfortable doing so?"  I don't so much care whether they've actually done one before if they're open, but I feel like I can judge a lot from how they respond to it.

    Also, we call it a wedding, and pretty much everyone else has followed our lead and done the same.  Other than a few miner things we've actually been very pleasantly surprised at how receptive and supportive all of the vendors have been.  I suspect you'll find the same in New Jersey.  Good luck - this process can be a lot of fun or very very stressful!

    TTC with PCOS since July 2011.
    IVF Oct/Nov 2012
    Beta #1 = 77, Beta #2 = 190, Beta #3 = 1044
    Cautiously optimistic.
  • edited December 2011
    Like you, I have intentionally not told venues that it is a same-sex wedding, because I wanted to see how they would react.  I was pleasantly surprised by the reactions at both of the ones we went to see, one of which even included a lesbian couple in their wedding brochure.  Luckily, we were only looking at CT and MA, where it is legal, so it obviously made it more likely we were not the first.  We live in NY but are getting married in MA, where my fiancee is from and where I went to college.  

    I am more nervous about whether the photographer is going to photograph us the way he or she would photograph a hetero wedding.  I will be very upset if we don't have pictures of our first kiss as a married couple, our first dance, etc.  How can you tell if someone who says they're comfortable with it, though they've never photographed one before, really is?  We can't afford an engagement session or anything, as we are already way over budget.

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • edited December 2011
    My fiance and I are also getting in Iowa, my home state, and have had no issues!  Everyone has been wonderful.  I have been very straightforward and asked every venue and vendor right from the start if they have hosted gay weddings and if it was something within their comfort zone.  I don't have time to beat around the bush and I'm not ashamed of it, so I figure we may as well get that akward conversation out of the way!
  • tlnb81tlnb81 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    I am from NY and my fiance is from NJ. We decided to get married in CT where it is legal. When we started looking at venues i was upfront beforehand in letting them know that it was a same-sex wedding. I wanted both myself and fiance as well as the venue to be comfortable. We did not have any problems, everyone we met with were very open, and didnt treat us any different from a hetero couple.

    As far as Photographers and Videographers we also gave them a heads up that we were same sex. We came across a few photogrpahers that were not very used to the whole same sex idea and made us feel uncomfortable so they were crossed right off the list. But in the end we went with someone that has photog same sex before and had absolutely no hesitations with us. 

    kcullen...looks like you are getting married the day after me :-)
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • kristenrmu22kristenrmu22 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    A shame that this topic even has to be broached. I hope you don't let a few snobs and big-gets ruin your day to your love. Happy planning
  • fzweddingfzwedding member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Regarding the concerns about the photographer...I'd recommend that once you have a certain rapport with the photog, and like their style, you specifically talk about the types of photos you want.  I was advised to provide a list to my photographer of the specific shots I wanted to be taken so that the day of we were all clear what photos and poses we'd do.  We reviewed it on the walk through, and while most were pretty standard for a wedding, there were a few that were unique and it ensured that we would be happy with the results.  With wedding planning, being open and stating your preferences from the start ensures that the end result will be everything you expected.

    Good luck with the planning!
  • k@tk@t member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    We haven't run into any trouble here in Connecticut (where we're lucky enough to get married rather than unionized or civilized...) - every vendor we contacted was warm and accepting, and seemed surprised when asked if they or anyone on their staff would be uncomfortable.

    That said, check out for vendor recommendations - they don't have a huge list of resources quite yet, but I've found it a good place to start.

  • edited December 2011
    "this always makes me feel kinda silly but must ask before we get any details of your venue.....are you a gay-friendly venue?"
  • edited December 2011

    I have a list of questions I need answered before I even decide to visit the space anyhow, so my first question is... Are you same-sex wedding venue friendly?

    The ones who reply 'yes' then get a visit whether they fit my other criteria or not. I want to be able to share this find with others who may be looking!
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