Websites and services that list vendors for gay weddings have been around as long as the Internet. These sites paved the way as resources for thousands of gay and lesbian couples in a world years before same-sex weddings were legal anywhere in the U.S. We've all heard recent stories about gay couples being turned away by wedding vendors. Five or 10 years ago this kind of discriminatory behavior was much more prevalent. 15 or 20 years ago it was nearly impossible outside of Key West, New York, Provincetown, and San Francisco to find many wedding vendors who advertised that they openly wanted to work with same-sex couples for their ceremonies and unions.
Ten years ago, I was on a forum for wedding photographers where the topic of gay weddings came up. There was a lot of discussion about whether or not a same-sex wedding was something these photographers would shoot or not. The responses were split 50-50 in a mostly respectable discussion, until one well-known photography duo wrote: "If it ever becomes expected for wedding photographers to shoot gay weddings, we will hang up our cameras and leave the industry." When I read that, I cried. Now I am waiting for them to retire.
My, how things have changed since then. Same-sex marriage is legally recognized in 25% of the U.S., DOMA was declared unconstitutional this year, and more doors are opening for equality every single day for many reasons, but partly because of many of the groundbreaking gay wedding vendor websites that came before Equalove.
As great as these websites are, many of them lack a standard of quality vendor listings. The mainstream wedding world has always had photographers, videographers, florists, designers, planners, and other wedding professionals who held themselves and each other to the highest level of quality, which shows in their work. Unfortunately, and without much reason, this isn't always the case with many vendors who offer their services to same-sex weddings. It's time for these two worlds to come together.
Equalove was started in order to connect established top-quality wedding professionals with LGBT couples searching for well-respected wedding vendors who want to work with them to make their wedding day as beautiful and memorable as possible. In order to maintain our own high level of quality, we are:
- starting small: a maximum of only two vendors per category
- growing slowly: only adding vendors when the time is right
- beginning locally: starting with Orlando and Tampa vendors
- choosing wisely: vendors have to be referred by members and cannot buy their way onto our website
- partnering smartly: the Gay Wedding Institute, TIGLFF, and a stellar advisory panel
By doing these things, we can hope make a small positive impact in the world of gay weddings in Orlando and Tampa and we are so glad you're here to help us raise the bar :)