New York wedding planners brace for same-sex boom

Mon Aug 1, 2011 11:23am EDT
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By Bernd Debusmann Jr.

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - New York City's event planners are gearing up for a surge in business after the Empire State embraced same-sex marriage and hundreds of couples rush to tie the knot.

In New York City alone, 800 couples were married within hours after New York became the sixth state to make same-sex unions legal on July 24.

"We've been getting a lot of phone calls," said Harriette Rose Katz, a New York City events planner. "I think we're going to get more and more and more out of this. I honestly think it will be a big surge for our business."

Among the New York same-sex wedding events that Katz is planning for the marriage of Bill White, the former president of the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York, and commercial insurance broker Bryan Eure, on September 25 with a roster of high-profile guests including Bill and Hillary Clinton, Barbara Walters, George W. Bush and General David Petraeus.

In another sign of changing times, Katz is also planning the first bar mitzvah of the child of same-sex parents.

Bentley Meeker, a lighting specialist who most recently did the wedding event of New York City mayoral aides John Feinblatt and Jonathan Mintz, which was presided over by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, also said he expects a swell in his business.

"It's too early to quantify ... but I think we're going to see a hump, where a lot of people are going to get handled quickly," he said. "Then it will settle into normalcy, and will become a complete part of the fabric of the wedding industry."

But in the meantime, he expects increased demand for his services.   Continued...

<p>Jonathan Mintz (2nd L), New York City's consumer affairs commissioner, has a wedding ring placed on his finger by John Feinblatt (R), a chief adviser to the mayor, as they stand with daughters Maeve (L) and Georgia during a marriage ceremony presided by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (C) at Gracie Mansion in New York July 24, 2011. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>