Four years ago, a whole new market opened for New York businesses: same-sex weddings. When the state legalized gay marriage in 2011, firms in the wedding industry hoped for a surge in business. But has that hope come to fruition?
Five years and many, many couples later, Avril Kaye, of Avril Kaye Caterers and Event Planning in Rye Brook, says her business has increased by approximately 25 percent since same-sex marriage was legalized. And, though that’s an uptick any company would happily welcome, Kaye hopes this number will continue to increase.
Yoli LaGuerre of YL Event Design, a floral boutique in Rye, has also seen a boost. Early on, she made an effort to welcome the LGBT community with a page on her website congratulating same-sex couples. And it seems to have worked: In 2011 alone, LaGuerre provided flowers for about 10 same-sex weddings, and that number continues to grow. In 2012, she booked an extra 17 same-sex weddings, with 10 to 12 percent more LGBT nuptials every year over the past three years. “Business started to increase not only from these couples, but their families also,” LaGuerre says as the families and friends of LGBT couples recognized LaGuerre’s support, they came to her for business.
But not all businesses got the bump they were hoping for. “I expected more new business,” says Elaine DeZolt of Elaine DeZolt Photography in Valhalla. Aside from getting a few extra weddings per year, she says the change has not been drastic, and it’s been almost non-existent when it comes to booking family photography clients.
But the future for same-sex marriage looks bright—especially with the recent Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage across the country. Says LaGuerre: “I see [the number of same-sex weddings] growing. I look forward to it being accepted wholly.”