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Get Married by Noon and Fired by 5

Did you know that in 29 states you can be fired for being gay/LGBT? If your answer was no, then you probably didn’t know that in the same 29 states an LGBT couple could be refused services for all aspects of their wedding planning. Here enters chaos and confusion. Some cities, towns and counties in the aforementioned 29 states have their own laws which actually protect LGBT people against discrimination. For example, in the state of Florida it is technically against the law to fire someone for being gay, but not so in Fort Lauderdale and Jacksonville. The map below shows which counties have this protection:  More

Ritz-Carlton in Naples Brings the Gay Wedding Institute in for Training

Shortly after marriage equality came to Florida, in January we had the honor of being invited down to Naples, Florida by the Ritz-Carlton for a private full-day certification course for their staff. What a beautiful property! We had an amazing, relaxing weekend enjoying the hotel, beach, spa and the restaurants on the property before we led the training on Monday.

The Ritz-Carlton staff is such an enthusiastic supporter of marriage equality and we're really thrilled they're going be even better advocates for their LGBT clients since they completed the training. Lydia Redmond who is Director of Weddings for the Ritz-Carlton sent us a message after the training, "I wanted to thank you for your time in Naples. The leads are starting to come in for same-sex weddings and our couples feedback are all so positive that we are ahead of the curve. We couldn't have done it without you!"

Thank you so much for inviting us to the Ritz-Carlton. We have now trained more Marriott and Ritz-Carlton employees than any other hotel chain. We love working with you and your properties!  More

Marriage Equality Comes to Alabama

As of one week ago, same-sex couples throughout the state of Alabama can finally get legally married. Alabama became the 37th state in the country to offer marriage equality for same-sex couples.  More

ARIA Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas Completes the Gay Wedding Institute Certification Course

In December, ARIA Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas brought us in for a full day certification course for their entire sales and wedding team. The beautiful hotel and gorgeous wedding chapel has been serving wedding couples for years, and now that marriage equality is legal in Nevada they wanted to improve their readiness for same-sex weddings.

Throughout the day, we talked about all kinds of things including LGBT language and terminology, data, trends, traditions, marketing and more. We did a bunch of activities and role-plays designed to replicate real-life scenarios they could face. They even planned some mock weddings for fictional same-sex couples.

Now as a Gay Wedding Institute certified company, they receive all sorts of benefits including rewriting all of their marketing materials (which I've already done), ongoing certification for new hires, a technical assistance helpline, and much more.

We are proud to welcome ARIA Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas into the Gay Wedding Institute certified family. I know this team is going to do a really great job supporting same-sex couples who choose to marry there.  More

NACE Chapters Support Marriage Equality

Lately I've been making a tour of the assorted NACE chapters (National Association of Catering and Events) throughout the country. In January, I visited Tampa Bay NACE, which held their beautiful event at the Marriott Waterside Hotel in downtown Tampa. What a great enthusiastic group who are shocked to believe that Florida is one of the states where same-sex couple can be legally discriminated against while planning their wedding.   More

Marriage Equality is Sweeping the Nation

If you missed the news this week, marriage equality is sweeping across the U.S. In short, every remaining state in the U.S. has bans on same-sex marriages, bans that have been challenged in court. Those bans have largely been overturned but then appealed up to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Supreme Court decided to keep their hands out of it, leaving the lower court rulings to stand.   More

Immediate Same-Sex Marriages in Chicago

There was a court case challenging the delayed start of same-sex marriages in Cook County, IL (home of Chicago). The vote passed in 2013 yet the marriages weren't to begin until June 1, 2014. That's a longer than usual wait.  More

Same-Sex Marriage in Utah

You may have noticed that for a few weeks recently, same-sex marriage was legal in Utah.  On December 20, a federal judge ruled that the state's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. Same-sex couples immediately began marrying, and over 1000 were married before the U.S. Supreme Court intervened on January 6 and halted the issuance of licenses More

Same-Sex Marriage is Now Legal in New Mexico

Capping off a year which has seen more LGBT rights victories than any other, New Mexico yesterday became the 17th state in the USA to have marriage equality.  Same-sex couples can now legally marry in the state, with the law coming as a result of a ruling by the state's highest court.  New Mexico has about 5800 same-sex couples and the wedding industry is projected to benefit by $20 million in the first three years.    More

Same-Sex Marriage Legal in Hawaii

As of December 2, same-sex marriage will be legal in Hawaii.  The bill recently passed the legislature and was signed yesterday by the Governor. Hawaii is the 16th state with marriage equality. By the numbers:  More