Recent Examples of Homophobia & Heterosexism

I need to be honest and let you know that if you're engaged and planning a gay wedding, there's a good chance you're going to encounter some heterosexism and possibly homophobia, even if you're marrying here in Boston.  I want to tell you this because, even as a planner, I've seen some ugly things just in the past month, even with vendors I had pre-screened, and I am livid:

  • I was invited to do a presentation to a group of wedding professionals on how to work with gay couples, and one of the vendors in the audience blatantly told me upon my arrival that she didn't work with them, and instead referred them to a colleague.
  • I took two brides to meet with a florist on Cape Cod with whom I'd previously worked and the florist said when we walked in, "So, which one of you is the bride?"
  • I booked a trolley (a company I'd used before) for my grooms' wedding guests, and the man who helped me with my reservation asked me "Which way do they swing?" when I told him it was a same-sex wedding.
  • At another wedding, the trolley driver told me he couldn't wait to see the bride and groom.  I reminded him there were two grooms.  The driver rolled his eyes and blessed himself.
  • The limo driver who drove my grooms was looking for a restroom while he waited for the ceremony to end.  Someone suggested the basement of a nearby library.  He said, "I know what happens in that basement bathroom and I guess I should watch myself around these guys."
  • The sales manager at the hotel where my guest rooms are blocked sent me an email asking for the name of my groom, even though I had just emailed him a guest information form I completed referring to us as two brides.
I am not telling you these things to freak you out, to deter you from planning a fabulous wedding, or to scare you into hiring me.  Not at all.  But there's a misconception that because gay weddings have been happening in Massachusetts for five years now, that all vendors are on board, accepting and understanding, and it's just not the case.  I wish it were, but I'm honestly glad that my clients didn't have to experience these situations themselves.

As gay marriage continues to be legalized (you go, New Hampshire!), it's important for wedding industry vendors to take a hard look at their marketing materials, retrain their staff, and start using more inclusive language and photos.  And a tip - just because you are a paid advertiser on or doesn't mean that you're off the hook.  I can promise you that those vendors I referred to above will not get my business in the future.  It's a small community and we talk.

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