How to Handle Vendors Who Refuse to Participate In Your Same-Sex Wedding

Planning Tips
Gay Wedding Vendors

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With so much joy surrounding your big day, it's almost unimaginable that a professional would decline you service just because you share the gender of your bride or groom. "Same-sex weddings are public declarations of love within a community, and to be rejected for such a declaration is akin to that ridiculous moment in a rom-com when a wedding guest chooses not to hold his peace," says Mark O'Connell, a New York City-based psychotherapist and author of Modern Brides and Modern Grooms. "You should not tolerate such behavior among your inner circle let alone from a vendor."

If a vendor refuses you service, it's OK to be hurt. But don't "spend too much time or energy responding to a negative response when you should be focused on the joyous occasion you're planning," says Erica Taylor, co-founding partner of New York City-based Tinsel & Twine. With what little energy you do dedicate toward an unhelpful vendor, it's a good idea to pen "a well-written letter expressing your disappointment and hurt," Taylor suggests. "This letter should go not only to the business, but also be posted to online forums so that other brides and grooms can see how the vendor chooses to run their business."

See More: 5 Sweet Ceremony Readings For Same-Sex Weddings

For vendors who were particularly rude or spiteful, you might want to take it a step further. "Your wedding is not only about you, but also all of the people like you who are met with hatred and discrimination simply for expressing who they are and whom they love," says O'Connell. "So consider contacting a human rights advocacy group, like the ACLU, to challenge the discrimination you have experienced and publicly remind everyone that marriage is marriage and we all have a right to it."

Then focus on the good news: "For every one vendor who might refuse a same-sex couple, there will be a multitude of other vendors who will be happy to act as advocates and vocal cheerleaders for them," says Taylor. Even for niche services, "there are always a few vendor options available," says Taylor. "I would never recommend a couple negotiate their values just to have a vendor as part of their wedding day."

Reach out to your married friends and family, as well as the larger same-sex community you are a part of, to get vendor recommendations. Says O'Connell, "All you need to do is search — perhaps outside of the box." For example, he suggests, turn to talented friends and family members who will be eager to assist with your big day. "Many people, gay and straight alike, find this to be a very meaningful alternative to hiring professional bakers, designers, or musicians whom they've never met."

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