“Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.” - Mark Twain
by Lisa Strube-Kilgore
- For The Capitol Hill Times -
You’re in love – congratulations! You’re tying the knot – mazel tov! Maybe you searched diligently for your conflict-free wedding jewelry. Maybe you made sure that the designers who created your wedding apparel don’t use sweatshop labor. But what about your local wedding vendors? Do they share your values?
With Referendum 74 on track for statewide approval, marriage equality is finally as high in the consciousness of the rest of the city as it is here on the Hill. Right on cue, this Saturday at the Renaissance Seattle Hotel, between noon and 5 p.m., New Chapter Weddings and Events, in association with the Greater Seattle Business Association, will host the One Love Wedding Show, an event that will welcome all couples planning their weddings. The event is also supported by Washington United for Marriage.
“One Love welcomes all couples who believe in equal rights for all human being, specifically marriage equality,” said One Love organizer Jenny Harding, owner of New Chapter Weddings and Events.
If you’re part of a commitment-minded same-sex couple, the event’s appeal is obvious. But if hetero couples need further incentive to attend, there are a couple of points to keep in mind. For one thing, this won’t be any hellish warehouse extravaganza of the sort that are less “Sex and the City” and more John Waters. The idea is for guests to enjoy an experience that is top-shelf all the way, from the signature cocktail on arrival to the A-list vendors in attendance.
“Vendors were invited to be here based on their professionalism, quality of service or product, and involvement and support in the LGBT community,” Harding said. One Love will provide one-stop shopping for brides and grooms of every inclination, with more than 80 vendors scheduled to attend, including some that you might not expect.
Tim Kuniholm, director of public affairs, marketing and events for the Seattle Aquarium, said, “We support everybody finding love and hopefully they’ll celebrate with us. There’s lots of fish in the sea, and hopefully folks can find their fish. That’s really what it’s all about.”
The show has been divided into what organizers are referring to as “life categories,” ranging from pastry chefs to … legal assistance? Yep. At this show, the goal is not just to hawk boutonnieres or photo albums, but to help same-sex couples maneuver the complex process of making it legal. Harding said that the decision to include “life-merging” vendors in fields like legal support, mortgages, real estate, and banking was to help make sure that “couples can be best prepared to merge their lives together once the wedding day has passed.”
That sense of support was the driving force behind Harding’s vision for the event. “I developed the One Love Wedding Showcase with a passion for those couples who have waited way too long to be recognized as married,” he said. “I’ve talked with many same-sex couples who said they just feel like having a wedding would be “fake” or “incomplete” without having the same rights as most others do.”
Harding was also mindful of the horror stories she’d heard of same-sex couples who had bad experiences with vendors who either didn’t take their commitments or relationships seriously or, worse, treated them with outright disrespect. “One Love showcases gay-owned and ally wedding vendors, businesses who have endorsed Washington United for Marriage and who have been involved and supportive in the LGBT community for many years,” Harding said.
In the early planning stages of the event, Harding reached out to B.J. Duft, owner and founder of Herban Feast, a popular Seattle catering company, to ask if he would have his company participate. “I said HELL YES!” Duft said. “As a gay man and business owner in the hospitality industry, this is a very meaningful move forward for all of us, gay and straight.”
For Duft, this event is personal as much as professional. “With many friends who have been in long-term committed relationships and have kiddos, the legalization of marriage goes beyond the ceremony and reception and far into the future with respect to equal human rights for everyone.”
Of course, it’s not just about progressive ideals and civil rights – weddings are big business, and these vendors are excited to expand their base. “We have provided our catering services for many same sex couples and their “commitment ceremonies” over the years,” Duft said, “and now we can plan for the real deal, legally recognized by the state of Washington!”
Finally, if you need any more motivation to check it out, raffle tickets will be available for purchase and New Chapter Weddings will make a donation to Washington United for Marriage using all raffle proceeds.
Marking stuff off your “to do” list and supporting a great cause – who wouldn’t love that?
For more information, visit www.oneloveseattle.com
- This is an updated version of an article that ran under the same headline in the October 25, 2012 print edition of The Capitol Hill Times. -