GL: What is the “Say I Do” Wedding Expo?
TF: Say I Do! is an expo for LGBT couples who are looking to tie the knot.
GL: How did you get into this work and why?
TF: My partner and I were planning our wedding and realized how difficult it could be finding LGBT and LGBT-friendly vendors. Most bridal shows assume a man-woman pairing, and while there are great online resources, nothing beats face-to-face interaction. We would get our hopes up about a product or service, but there’s always that question of how we would be received as a lesbian couple. So there was always that unknown and when you’re planning a wedding I believe there are already enough stressors…dealing with homophobia is something couples should just not have to deal with. I knew that we weren’t the only couple out there dealing with these issues and that’s how Say I Do! was born!
GL: Is an LGBT wedding expo necessary?
TF: Absolutely! It levels the playing field. Meaning, that couples don’t have carry the task of coming out each time they meet a vendor for their wedding or wait for the response of approval or disapproval. At Say I Do! we create an environment for LGBT couples to be themselves without the constraints and expectations imposed upon us by society which assumes heterosexuality.
GL: What kinds of vendors can attendants expect to find?
TF: First and foremost, attendees can find gay friendly vendors. Vendors who don’t assume a heterosexual partnership and who celebrate same-gender love. Having said that, our guests will find event planners, stationary designers, attire, travel agents (for that special honeymoon) and more at Say I Do!
GL: As an emerging market, are there many options for LGBT couples planning a wedding?
TF: I think so. We have as many options (if not more) that straight couples. I feel like straight couples often feel obligated by tradition. And since LGBT weddings are not rooted in tradition, we are free to find creative ways to celebrate our nuptials. I don’t feel that we are bound by the same constraints that straight couples may feel they need to adhere to.
GL: Do you have any favorite products?
TF: I like original. I like things that are new and different. I think a wedding is an expression of love but should also be a reflection of the couple. I think couples should share a bit of themselves with their guests…it could be through their favorite food, colors, theme, or whatever. That’s what makes weddings special and unique. So anything that is not “cookie cutter” I am excited about.
GL: What was your favorite part about last year’s expo?
TF: I loved being able to create a space where couples could just be who they are and meet people who are genuinely happy for their upcoming wedding.
GL: What are you most looking forward to this year?
TF: Adding more fun and excitement to the event. For example, we are holding a Drag Almost-Wed Game, similar to the Newlywed game and hosted by a Drag Queen. We have Olivia Travel as an official sponsor of Say I Do! LGBT Wedding Expo and they are giving away some cool prizes. I look forward to providing an awesome space for our couples to meet and greet other couples as well as exhibitors who want to help them plan their big day.
GL: Is there anything else I haven’t asked about that our readers would want to know?
TF: Yes, Say I Do! is a family-friendly event. Children can attend at no additional charge. Also, you don’t have to be planning a wedding to attend Say I Do! You can already be married and looking to plan the honeymoon you’ve never had or your second honeymoon. For couples who are looking to throw a grand anniversary party to singles who are just looking for vendors who support the LGBT community, all are welcome and invited.
DETAILS: Say I Do! LGBT Wedding Expo. June 5, 1-5pm. Adults $7-25, children FREE. The Hotel Palomar, Washington, DC, 20036. SayIDoExpo.com.