Gay Weddings = Fabulous Invitations
Now that gay marriage has been legalized in California (which hopefully means that it won't be too long before we have marriage equality nationwide), the number of gay weddings is sure to jump significantly over the next few years. With big names like Ellen DeGeneres and Anderson Cooper announcing plans to tie the knot with their respective same-sex partners (that second person might have just been a dream of mine), and the fact that Hollywood loves nothing if not a good party, I'm guessing the wedding industry is going to be one of the few that actually grows in 2009- especially businesses that are gay-owned and/or offering products and services to same-sex couples.
For California, marriage equality means more taxes raised, and a better economy as a result of more money spent on celebrations, travel, and other wedding-related products and services. California will benefit from both the sheer number of LGBT people in the state as well as the fact that the level of fabulousness (read: ostentatiousness) of everything surrounding the events will be off the chart. (And before you email me telling me that not all gays are Liberace and that many lesbians love nothing more than a simple potluck and therefore won't spend a lot of money on their wedding, let's just go with the easier-to-understand stereotypes and pretend that all weddings will be "Jack McFarland weddings." Because you know for the most part that they will be...)
By now, caterers, photographers, florists, and basically anyone in California who could possibly fit into the wedding industry category by the loosest of definitions has not just dipped a baby toe into the market, they've dived-in head first. I can't tell you how many press releases I've received in the past few weeks (since the decision was handed down) about clients who are "...so excited to help celebrate the recent victory..."
Actually, yes I can tell you: more than 50.
Of course among all of these jumpers-in, there are also a number of well-established companies who didn't simply decide to take advantage of an opportunity to make a buck (not that there's anything wrong with that; this is America after all), but rather who've been in the industry for years, offering products and services for weddings (both same- and opposite-sex), domestic partnerships, civil unions, and whatever other parties and celebrations one might want to throw. A recent discovery of mine, and now one of my favorites (who I intend to use for my own not-yet-planned-but-hopefully-not-too-far-off wedding), is OutVite.com.
Same Sex Celebrations
OutVite recently partnered with Checkerboard, one of the leading stationary design and printing companies, to create a collection of 24 invitation designs that celebrate marriages, commitment ceremonies, and civil unions in the LGBT community. The result? In one word: fabulous.
"We embrace the notion of partnership, in whatever form it takes," says Micah Chase, CEO of Checkerboard Ltd. "That’s why we’ve formed our own union with OutVite, to affirmatively embrace marriage equality by helping make available their unique, exceptionally high-quality offerings to a retail audience."
While invitations for same-sex ceremonies have been available online for some time, styles and quality ran the gamut from decent to horribly crappy, with the latter seeming to be more readily available. In my opinion, this is the first time that beautifully produced and professionally printed invitations and announcement packages of this caliber have been available without having to hire a designer and having them custom printed.
Design options are diverse, and include everything from formal and elegant to whimsical, casual, and fun. The two things that all designs have in common, is a commitment and respect for our partnerships- whatever name we may give them- and extremely high quality production.
And while I’m sure that they could have jacked up the prices for same-sex couples excited to move forward with their wedding plans at any price, a quick look at www.OutVite.com shows that in fact their prices are more than reasonable- and much less than having custom work done by hand. In fact, the most difficult decision will likely be picking which invitations, save the date cards, etc. you want to use. (After about a week I’ve managed to narrow it down to about half a dozen...)
Stylish, sophisticated, sexy
I tend to lean towards the simple, modern and sophisticated styles, of which they have plenty (Simpatico is incredible!). However, I also love how they’ve managed to take traditional themes and make them modern, like the cards that feature an image of two dresses or tuxes next to each other, or silhouettes of two men facing each other. Invites are printed and/or embossed on beautiful cardstock, with incredible finishing touches that include ribbons, bows, and vellum; accents that are done in modern ways that are sophisticated rather than chintzy or overly "cute."
The collaboration between Checkerboard and OutVite works because they manage to perfectly blend classic designs with contemporary style, bringing a sense of modern tradition to any celebration.
Aside from wedding invitations, OutVite also offers invites and cards for birthdays, Pride, and any other celebration you could think of. For more information and to start designing your invites, go to www.OutVite.com
Jason Salzenstein is a writer and editor; design, image, and marketing consultant; and professional shopper. His work has appeared in numerous national and international publications and he has clients around the world. For more information :: www.JasonSalzenstein.com