After discreet, exclusive and private ‘civil ceremonies’, the Australian wedding industry is gearing up for a new market of queer-inspired same-sex weddings that buck traditions and generate big bucks.
As of January 9, same-sex couples have been able to legally marry in Australia, and it’s been tipped that a $650 million marriage business will follow, creating 800 extra jobs, according to Business Insider.
Melbourne-based wedding planner Maya Lester told The New Daily she anticipated “big scale” extravagant weddings – a marked change from “discreet and exclusive” civil ceremonies away from public spaces and scrutiny.
“Prior to the last few months, gay couples were often made to not feel comfortable or made a priority because they couldn’t put down a wedding date,” Ms Lester said.
“Now the industry will need to redefine its image and create another market, but we don’t want to segregate same-sex couples from other couples.”
But before you cue a Kylie Minogue playlist or dust off your Mardi Gras get-up, the wedding industry is already defining and supplying everything you need for an equal wedding.
Nivelo Miller started website, Equally Wed, a directory of wedding suppliers who agree with marriage equality and wish to advertise their services and venues to LGBTI couples.
Ms Miller said the directory offered same-sex couples the ability to plan their big day without fear of rejection from traditional wedding suppliers and businesses.
She also runs same-sex wedding shop, Marry Me Gay, which sells everything from gay wedding-cake toppers to rainbow-coloured garters.
Ms Miller told The New Daily that same-sex couples might embrace or flout wedding traditions, such as walking down the aisle, writing their own vows or the practice of changing names.
“There are many changes that a same-sex couple could choose to implement, and wedding professionals need to be aware of these changes,” Ms Miller said.
Marriage celebrant Benny Roff said it was an ironic notion to conduct “non- conventional weddings” because weddings were the most conventional thing you can do.
However, he told The New Daily he had long been offering services that focused on individual couples and their stories, and didn’t imagine he would have to change his officiating.
“I’m not going to refer to people as husband and wife, I’ll have to change that part, but the way I approach ceremonies is not geared to gender identification,” Mr Roff said.
Frank Farrugia, of Same Love Photography, told The New Daily he started offering same-sex wedding, or ‘commitment’ photos and portraits in 2012 in anticipation of marriage equality.
Mr Farrugia said there weren’t many people getting married at the time, but many gay couples felt uncomfortable approaching photography studios offering ‘photos for the bride and groom’.
In the last month, Mr Farrugia said he had booked 15 same-sex weddings.
“You don’t have to be gay [to photograph same-sex couples], but having some sensibility of same-sex relationships helps a couple. They don’t have to explain themselves,” Mr Farrugia said.