» Two Gay Wedding Experts, One Lively Conversation

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.

The last few years have been a whirlwind for those of us specializing in same-sex weddings and LGBTQ market trends. In the past 20 years, our once closeted community has quickly become one that is recognized, not only with full marriage equality, but also with feature motion picture releases (like Milk, Stonewall, and Freeheld) and nationally celebrated brand campaigns like Marriott’s #LoveTravels, Honeymaid’s “This Is Wholesome,” and Oreo’s Pride rainbow-themed cookie.

WeddingWire Education Expert Kathryn Hamm chats with Bernadette Smith of 14Stories and the Gay Weddings InstituteNow, more than ever, we are your boring next door neighbor. So, as the majority of our community assimilates into mainstream culture and the wedding industry moves to serves “brides and grooms” rather than just “brides,” what should we expect next?

My like-minded colleague, Bernadette Smith of 14Stories and the Gay Wedding Institute, recently hosted a virtual summit, Over The Rainbow: How To Truly Understand The LGBT Wedding Market. I had the pleasure of helping her to kick off the first installment in the five-part series, which included other professionals like long-time LGBT community market expert, David Paisley of Community Marketing, Inc. and top-rated WeddingWire officiant, Bethel Nathan.

Our segment, which was the most popular interview of the series, can be enjoyed in its entirety below.

In many respects, this conversation is an extension of one that Bernadette and I started ten years ago. Bernadette had placed an order of cake tops with TwoBrides.com, one of the groundbreaking online boutiques my mom had started in 1999 and, in the process of my fulfilling that order for her, we decided to meet for coffee when I was in Boston, where she was based at the time. That conversation led to our joint effort to lead gay wedding planning seminars in Boston, Chicago and Washington, DC, and I worked with her to develop several destination wedding packages that we featured in the GayWeddings.com boutique.

As I think back, it seems absolutely amazing that so much has happened in the past decade. We’ve built successful businesses serving same-sex couples; Bernadette has established herself as the top LGBT wedding planner in the country; between us, we’ve spoken at every major wedding industry conference; we’ve written four books between us (although Bernadette gets big props for writing three of those four!); and each of us has been interviewed as same-sex wedding experts by the major national media outlets. It’s been quite a ride!

As you might imagine, then, our recent conversation is one offering a perspective that can be gleaned from few others. We talk a bit about our respective walks in the world of weddings, the question of segmenting the LGBT market niche vs considering a more inclusive approach, and, of course, what the rainbow symbol means today and how its use in your marketing materials can work for or against you.

Here’s hoping you enjoy this conversation and the conversations about the modern market that will surely follow at WeddingWire World in Washington, DC on February 9-11, 2015. I hope to see you there!