In the wake of the June 26 2013 Supreme Court ruling, which declared the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional, the $51 billion wedding industry is gearing up for a big boost in business. The wedding industry, according to research firm IBISWorld, also employs almost 800,000 people.
According to another study conducted in 2009 by the Williams Institute, UCLA’s LGBT researcher, if the state of New Jersey legalized gay marriage it would generate $15.1 million in new revenues. Also in 2009, the New York City comptroller’s office put the figure at a $200 million gain in revenue over a three-year span. Since November, when Washington State legalized gay marriage, Seattle chain Cupcake Royale owner Jody Hall has seen her weddingrelated business double.
Founder of 14 Stories, Bernadette Coveney Smith, speculates that states with legal gay marriage will soon see an increase in elopement. 14 Stories specializes in same-sex wedding planning and is the first company in the United States to do so. Smith predicts that couples from states such as Georgia and Texas, where same-sex marriage is outlawed, will travel to New York and Massachusetts to tie the knot. These states will see “a big increase in hotel room bookings and officiants and wedding planners” employed, she envisions.
Ten years ago, when Smith first started her business, her vendors and business associates were guarded of featuring same-sex couples on their websites. They were afraid of alienating straight clientele, she says, but this is no longer the case.
In 2012, Knot’s yearly wedding study surveyed 17,500 wedding couples from across the country, both gay and heterosexual. By comparison, the survey revealed that same-sex couples generally have higher household income than heterosexual couples do. They also spend more money per guest and more money on the event overall.
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