Asheville, NC (WiredPRNews.com) Beginning over ten years ago as a small home-based business, RainbowWeddingNetwork.com has grown to become the nation’s most extensive Gay & Lesbian Wedding Resource, and has produced over fifty Gay & Lesbian Wedding Expos throughout the United States. Most recently celebrating the one-year anniversary of marriage rights in the nation’s capital with a 2nd Annual event in Dupont Circle, the tour of ‘Same Love, Same Rights’® LGBT Wedding Expos continues to add dozens of dates and new cities to its calendar, with thirty additional expos planned for 2012.
Despite the volatile national dialogue regarding marriage rights for the gay & lesbian community, RainbowWeddingNetwork.com continues to find success in bridging couples with gay-friendly wedding, travel, home and family-related companies at targeted events in states all across the country. With recent events in Chicago, where civil unions were enacted on June 1st, and in Washington DC, where the LGBT community applauded the one-year milestone of marriage rights within the nation’s capital, RainbowWeddingNetwork continues to merge aspects of historic merit along with grassroots activism in creating events that are at the same time celebratory for couples and highly productive for exhibiting businesses.
“Our goal is to create a welcoming, elegant environment for couples who are planning their ceremonies; an environment that promotes equality for the LGBT minority,” says RainbowWeddingNetwork co-founder Marianne Puechl. “At the same time, we offer gay-friendly business professionals the opportunity to directly meet new clients. It’s a win-win situation.”
RainbowWeddingNetwork’s first Gay & Lesbian Wedding Expo was held in Minneapolis in 2003; a second event then followed in Cambridge just 2 weeks prior to the enactment of same-gender marriage rights in the state of Massachusetts. “We’ve witnessed a great deal of history unfolding,” continues Puechl, “and the emergence of ‘Gay Weddings’ as a viable industry in our country. We’ve met so many amazing people as we’ve organized these events, and even today couples often attend with tears in their eyes.”
Each RainbowWeddingNetwork ‘Same Love, Same Rights’® LGBT Wedding Expo features app. 30 exhibitors, such as wedding coordinators, florists, deejays, photographers, cake decorators, jewelers as well as travel agents, real estate professionals and adoption agencies. Fashion segments, live music and cake-cutting ceremonies have all been, at times, highlights of the various events. In Chicago, the Holiday Inn Mart Plaza which has hosted the Expo for the past three years, offers a signature martini (with or without alcohol) to attendees, in celebration of the festivities. 300-400 guests currently attend each expo, and targeted cities have included: Atlanta, Seattle, Portsmouth, Hartford, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Austin, Ft. Lauderdale, NYC and Philadelphia, to name a few. With each event RainbowWeddingNetwork reaches out to local LGBT community centers and other gay & lesbian organizations to offer fundraising and speaking opportunities and to add cohesiveness on behalf of the community.
The lesbian-owned RainbowWeddingNetwork.com was initially launched in 2000 and to date has assisted countless couples with their ceremony plans, and nearly 10,000 LGBT-friendly businesses reach out to the gay & lesbian wedding demographic. In 2006 the company also began publication of the nation’s first wedding magazine dedicated to same-gender couples.
“Our ongoing vision is to promote a higher degree of legitimization for the LGBT minority,” says Puechl. “This is a civil rights issue whose time has come.”