Gay wedding expo celebrates marriage equality

March 9, 2014 (CHICAGO)

To celebrate the passing of marriage equality in Illinois the Chicago Area Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce hosted, Finally Forever, a groundbreaking gay wedding expo in the 3100 block of N. Clark Street in the heart of Boystown.

Several rooms were filled with wedding planners, florists, restaurants, caterers, travel agents, jewelers and even tailors and dressmakers to help couples plan their special day and honeymoon.

James Evert and Max Freeman are planning to marry in a year.

"I never thought I would see this in my lifetime," Evert said. "It's amazing, an event geared towards gay weddings."

"It is going to help us a lot because we need some ideas," Freeman said.

The selection of table settings and arrangements were spectacular.

"It was important in every ones benefit to make sure that people in the gay and lesbian community know they are just as important as any other bride," said Wendy Walsh, BBJ Linen.

With the passing of the Marriage Equality Act in Illinois, all sorts of existing businesses and new businesses have popped up to help a couple plan their perfect wedding.

"We are a very unique venue with a approachable price point and we are flexible in making your dreams come true," said Rickey Spivey, Nacional 27 Restaurant.

The expos was bustling with couples needing information to plan their nuptials.

Jessie and Connie Pare already had their civil ceremony, but now that gay and lesbian marriages are legal in ill they are going to renew their vows.

"Having a marriage vs. a civil union is a lot for us to start a family," Connie Pare said. "This expo is great because it gives everyone options."

"It is great to see what vendors are supporting the LGBT community," said Jessie Pare.

"I have had a lot of interviewers ask me, 'What is so gay about your expos?' and the answer, 'Nothing, it is all about love and being here,'" said Marie Hale Ramos, Chicago Area Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.

Ramos says expect expos because now is the time to leverage the power of pink dollars.

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