This post was written by WeddingWire Education Expert Kathryn Hamm, Publisher of GayWeddings.com, the leading online resource dedicated to serving same-sex couples since 1999. Kathryn is also co-author of the groundbreaking book, The New Art of Capturing Love: The Essential Guide to Lesbian and Gay Wedding Photography. Follow her on Twitter @madebykathryn.
Just as legislatures, governors, courts and popular votes in the US are carving out new jurisdictions friendly to same-sex couples and their families, so too are the political leaders and legislative bodies in other countries. In recent weeks, France, New Zealand and Uruguay have all embraced legal protections for same-sex couples. And these countries join eleven others – the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Argentina, and Denmark – all of which recognize same-sex marriage. (For those counting, the United States remains in the company of Brazil and Mexico, which also have “regional or court-directed provisions enabling same-sex couples to share in the freedom to marry.”)
One way US-based wedding professionals can better serve same-sex couples is to be aware of the current legal landscape and how it might impact the choices a couple makes when tying the knot – legally or otherwise. A wedding planner, for example, might be able to help a couple think through the event options if a couple is staging and out-of-state ceremony and a reception back home. Or, an officiate might help a potential bride or groom who has a legal union in another state with another person understand that a lawyer will need to be involved before a new marriage certificate can be requested. (Yes, it happens.)
But what about couples who want to marry abroad or celebrate a honeymoon beyond the shores of Carolina or California or across the borders of our neighbors to our north or south? A well-educated wedding professional can make a thoughtful recommendation that will go beyond a location which has long been celebrated as a popular destination for the LGBTQ community, and also show an appreciation of spending tourism dollars in a market which embraces marriage equality.
One of our GayWeddings.com writers, Jon Paul Buchmeyer, offered his “Supremely Subjective Top Picks For Destination Weddings” in a Destination: Taste column not long ago. The majority of them are not only great LGBTQ friendly destinations, but they also offer partnership recognition rights for same-sex couples. And, if you are a Wedding Pro who talks with couples about honeymoon planning ideas, I encourage you to learn more about the countries who have legalized same-sex marriage or have otherwise taken concrete steps to support the LGBTQ community.
Having this extra bit of knowledge and a deeper understanding of some of the criteria and questions that same-sex couples employ when planning their destination weddings and honeymoons will not only be appreciated by your prospective clients who identify as LGBTQ, but might also distinguish you as the better choice in our increasingly competitive market.