Letter from the Publisher
By, Justin Ayars
They say that love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage. Throughout American history, the sacred institution of marriage has been an unattainable dream for America’s LGBTQ community. For countless loving couples, horses were denied carriages.
Marriage equality has only been the law of the land in the United States since June 26, 2015. The significance of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Obergefell v. Hodges decision, which opened the institution of marriage to the LGBTQ community, cannot be overstated. It reversed decades of institutionalized discrimination, inequality and repression. Just as it takes time to adapt one’s muscle memory, it will take time for members of the LGBTQ community to truly realize (and take advantage of) the fact that their love can now be recognized and protected under the law.
As the LGBTQ community emerges from their recent, hard-fought marriage equality victory, members of the LGBTQ community and wedding vendors alike have been wondering how to connect with each other. Same-sex couples are not likely to attend a “Bridal Show” or a traditional “Wedding Expo.” This is largely because those types of events do not speak to the unique needs of the LGBTQ community—a community that, for many years, has been categorically denied the right to marry. Similarly, wedding vendors that have long serviced heterosexual couples are quickly learning that in order to appeal to this new market sector within the wedding industry, they need to learn more about the LGBTQ community and find ways to market themselves as open, inclusive and trustworthy.
On April 17th, Unite Virginia and Richmond Weddings will host Engaged!, Virginia’s First Statewide LGBTQ Wedding Show, at the Greater Richmond Convention Center. This historic event will bring the LGBTQ community and inclusive vendors from across the Commonwealth together in one place the day after Equality Virginia’s Commonwealth Dinner (in the same ballroom, actually). Engaged! will allow the members of the LGBTQ community and inclusive vendors to begin building relationships based on mutual respect, authenticity and trust.
Marriage equality is truly a beautiful thing. It has opened the doors to an institution that for generations has been denied to the LGBTQ community. Now the LGBTQ community can legally marry and be just as happy (or unhappy) as their heterosexual counterparts. Love and marriage now go together like a horse and carriage... equally.
Publisher & Editor-in-Chief