Today I attended the Same Sex Marriage Equality Expo in NJ, put together by American Bridal Shows. It was the first time that a same sex wedding expo has been in the state since same sex marriage in New Jersey became legal.
V was supposed to come with me, but she had a bit of a set back in her recovery from surgery and needed to rest up at home so I was flying solo. I was a bit worried about flying solo, as I’m usually judged in predominantly gay settings because I “look like a straight girl.” I struggled with whether or not I should dress a bit more casual than girly during the expo, and in the end I ended up wearing my usual girly gear. I noticed that a lot of vendors gave me more attention than couples walking around, and that couples were sort of giving me the is-she-straight and why-is-she-here looks. Eh. It is what it is.
Overall, the Expo was a bit overwhelming. V had said we should go in with a game plan, but when I realized she was staying home my game plan became “walk around aimlessly and hope for the best.” I met a lot of interesting vendors today, and I even found a few that might be a good match up for our wedding! There were some fun things going on, like a dance party and entertainment demo, and a wedding fashion show. I wish the fashion show had been more diverse in offering a wider variety of options of clothing, but I also realize there were only 60 vendors at the Expo.
I’m getting a little tired so I’ll list my top favorite things and my top suggestions.
3 Favorites Things:
- I really liked how friendly all of the vendors were. Even if they seemed a little unsure of how to approach same sex couples, they were all excited about being there.
- The expo was small and intimate. It was definitely possible to see all of the vendors, although I didn’t. There was a wide variety of vendors, from venues and catering to realtors and financial planners. The expo wasn’t just about planning a wedding– it was about planning a life. That was really nice.
- It was free! This sounds kind of cheap, but the expo being free was a definite plus, especially since nobody knew what they were getting into this first year. That definitely drew more people in.
- Please have a hashtag next year! This sounds a little silly, and maybe it’s the blogger in me coming out, but the consistency of a hashtag is much appreciated in the social media age. It also connects vendors and expo attendees a lot easier.
- I wish that more of the vendors had catered to the same sex couples at the expo. Even though everyone was all “YAY CONGRATS!!”, a large number of the vendors showed off their skills with pictures and videos of all of the happy heterosexual couples they’ve worked with. There were also a lot of forms that only said “Bride and Groom.” It would have felt a lot more welcoming if the forms said “Bride or Groom” and “Bride or Groom,” with the option to circle what was applicable.
- Have more vendors and a bigger area! The Expo center was being shared with a pet expo, and the same sex wedding crowd only got 3 rooms, probably the equivalent of a high school gym in total length. It was a little crowded, and more space would’ve been wonderful… It also would have been great if the vendors were clumped together a little more logistically. At first it seemed like they were clumped by category, but I think that was just coincidence.
All in all, I had a really nice time at the Same Sex Marriage Equality Expo (dang that’s a mouthful!). This 2015 bride looks forward to returning next year and seeing it grow into something bigger and even better.
Note: This post was NOT sponsored. I just felt like blogging about this one-of-a-kind event!