Washington DC will experience its first Gay Life and Wedding Expo on April 4, 2004. Regardless of recent political controversy, gay and lesbian weddings are growing throughout the nation, and DC’s gay and lesbian community is heralding their coming expo while businesses of all kinds are participating in a show of strong support.
Washington, DC (PRWEB) February 16, 2004 –- On April 4, 2004, Washington DC
will experience its first Gay Life and Wedding Expo. This groundbreaking event
comes amidst a Massachusetts’ ruling striking down that state’s ban on gay
marriage, San Francisco issuing gay marriage licenses in an act of civil
disobedience and the President of the Untied States threatening constitutional
action to quell such trends. Regardless of the controversy, gay and lesbian
weddings are growing throughout the US and DC’s gay and lesbian community is
heralding their coming expo while businesses of all kinds are participating in a
show of strong support.
The magnificent 13,000 square foot Galleria at Lafayette Centre (1155 21st Street NW in DC’s west end) is hosting the expo while Parker Communications of Virginia produces the affair. National and local area vendors have paid a premium to participate in the fully booked event which includes a full day of entertainment, an impressive list of exhibitors and some very valuable giveaways. The main highlights of the show are a His&His / Hers&Hers Wedding Fashion Showcase and the chance to win a seven day vacation for two to Copenhagen, Denmark. While the event has exhibitors of all types and sizes, its major sponsors like Icelandair, the Washington Terrace and I. Gorman Jeweler have supported the effort in a much larger way. It turns out that many businesses are viewing the gay and lesbian community as one of the nation’s most affluent affinity markets.
Although some statistics are disputed, it is common knowledge that same-sex couples generally tend to have more discretionary income than heterosexual couples. This is due to another set of data which show that gay men and lesbians are generally higher educated and hold higher management positions when compared to their heterosexual counterparts. Multiply this by two partners while realizing there are typically no kids (although this too is changing), and you have a true power-couple. Aside from statistics, it’s the local “anecdotes” that really speak when industry professionals explain the fabulous hi-end gay weddings they’ve performed. But to really know there’s something to this market, you only need to look at the larger national companies such as Subaru, GE, Anheuser Busch, NBC and many more who not only target the gay dollar, but are pioneers in offering domestic partner benefits for their gay employees.
For those who may believe there’s no real market in local areas, consider the following: according to the 2000 census, there are approximately 300,000 gays and lesbians and 20,000 same-sex couple households in the DC Metro commuting area alone. To many businesses, this means an entirely new market to target with incredible opportunities for growth; this of course only for those positioning themselves in ways like exhibiting at gay and lesbian expos.
When asked what inspired this event, co-producer William Harrison responded “Just like engaged heterosexual couples, this too is a special time in these couple’s lives and they should feel comfortable seeking out professionals without fear of unkind responses. These folks are choosing to express their love in front of family and friends and if during their search a vendor with hateful values unleashes some verbal tirade, it can be really devastating!”
Mr. Harrison cited a recent example that he and his life and business partner experienced (his partner remains anonymous as he serves in our nation’s Armed Forces). Together, they publish a local area traditional bridal publication and when word of the expo reached their print advertisers, many bought space in the show. One, however, contacted them with a very different response. According to Harrison, the advertiser doesn’t “believe in that gay lifestyle” and said she would no longer advertise in their bridal magazine. Mr. Harrison’s point was then very well taken, for had a gay couple called this particular vendor, they would have no doubt been met with unkind remarks. “I wish I could say I was used to this” Harrison’s partner said, “but no matter how old you get, how strong you become, or what station in life and community you hold, this kind of hate always hurts.” Harrison concluded by saying that the advertiser’s behavior reinforced the need and underscored the reasons for producing the expo.
It seems many expo producers and wedding industry professionals all around the country have the same sentiment. While Washington DC’s Gay Life & Wedding Expo impressively holds the market in its region, it was not the first and is not the only in the nation. Los Angeles’ first Gay & Lesbian Wedding Expo was such a success last year, the second takes place this February. Last year also saw Las Vegas’ debut of their Gay Wedding Expo with a second coming soon. New York City has a two-day Gay Life Expo which brings in nearly 20,000 attendees and a separate gay wedding expo as well. And finally, there are signs of several more in production from Boston, New Orleans and Miami, to Minneapolis.
For more show information visit www.dcgayexpo.com
About Parker Communications
Originally incorporated in Virginia in 2001, Parker Publications evolved into Parker Communications in 2003 by adding major events planning to their current business model. As a publishing and events planning company, Parker Communications produces the Washington DC area visitor guide – DC Navigator, the bridal publication – Bride’s Day Maryland and niche events such as Washington DC’s Gay Life & Wedding Expo. In doing so, Parker communications offers a full package of print, web and personal exposure for many local and national businesses and organizations.
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Source : http://www.prweb.com/releases/2004/2/prweb105144.htm