Jess and I decided around 18 months ago to have a small party to celebrate becoming a defacto couple. We began planning our 'small party' and quickly discovered that there were more celebrants, caterers and florists than we had ever imagined, and we had no idea where to start! Panicked, we took ourselves off to a bridal fair.
If you haven't been to a bridal fair, I definitely recommend going to at least one, even if it's just to witness the amazing hoards of girls fighting each other to book the most expensive cake maker and DJ, some even before they'd found a partner. It's amazing to watch these otherwise sensible ladies trample their way through the maze of wedding suppliers to create their perfect, fairytale wedding, no matter the cost, nor the friends and family they alienate in the process. Never being the type who have the urge to spend thousands of dollars on a garish meringue-like frock which we would wear once then put in storage, Jess and I knew immediately we were outside of our comfort zone. Add to that the over the top expression of heterosexuality, and we felt completely out of our league.
Now, I'm not normally an 'in the closet' person. I have no hesitation in telling people that my loved one is a woman. But in the midst of the bridal fair, when the florist asked us 'which of you is the bride?' I was quick to respond 'she is!' and point my finger towards Jess. I was happy to pretend to be Jess' bridesmaid for the day. Unfortunately, Jess wasn't and at the next booth she announced to the sales person that I was looking for a cake for my wedding, and that she was along to make sure hubby-to-be would approve!
We decided to leave after that, and swore never to go back. Unfortunately this didn't help us as we still had a list of caterers as long as an olympic swimming pool to sift through, and our experience at the bridal fair had made us even more cautious. When we had begun planning our celebration we had thought that all of the cake makers and florists would want to work with us. We live in a world largely surrounded by people who are accepting of our lifestyle, and rarely encounter otherwise. Unfortunately there were a few suppliers we talked to at the bridal fair who weren't as embracing of our upcoming commitment. We took a bit of a reality check that day- we'd always wondered who the 40% of people who responded negatively to polls about legalising same-sex marriage were. We'd finally found them, surrounded by lace and chiffon.
Now, not all wedding suppliers were in this category, in fact most weren't. But the negative experience we had with the few who weren't so accepting made us want to forget having the party all together. We lamented about it with some friends later that week, and discussed how awful it felt to want to declare your love for someone only to find that there was no-one that wanted to sell you the frock to do it in. We knew we weren't the only ones in this situation, and after a while someone had the great idea- why don't you start a website of gay friendly wedding suppliers?
A fantastic idea! A wonderful idea! A time consuming idea which would take up all our energy for the next 12 months! As we researched the viability of the website one thing became quite obvious- if we were going to do this, we would have to go back to the bridal fairs, and postpone our party.