Planning a gay wedding

According to Cindy Sproul, co-owner of Asheville-based company Rainbow Wedding Network, “Gay and lesbian weddings are no different” than straight weddings. Depending on the style and taste of the couple, they could be planning a simple ceremony with a few close friends or a full-blown destination wedding in Hawaii.

“Couples still want to have a traditional ceremony on the beach, in the mountains or in a place of worship,” Sproul continues. “They want the same type of services [that straight couples use], like a florist, caterer, photographer, etc.” Rainbow Wedding Network—the premier company actively providing services to gay couples—is well-known nationally for informative tips and directories arranged by region. Need to find a florist in Phoenix? The Web site ( has got you covered.

While Sproul’s company doesn’t cater or bake cakes, they do play an important role in wedding planning: “Our service provides a place where couples can find vendors who have been pre-screened by us to be gay-friendly,” Sproul reports. “So our service takes out the awkwardness when locating these types of vendors.”

Here are some more of Sproul’s tips:

• Some Asheville-based businesses recognized by Rainbow Wedding Network include: Artichoke Jewelry, Susan Marie Designs, Jammin Parties, Savoy Cucina, La Paz Restaurant, True Confections, Get Vocal Entertainment, Beauty Parade salon, Mitchell’s Tuxedos, and the Owl’s Nest Inn. Visit for more info.

• “There is a growing trend towards nontraditional cake tops, and thankfully there is a market growing to meet that trend,” explains a passage on the Web site. While the two-grooms or two-brides cake topper is the unofficial symbol of gay weddings, Sproul points out that “it is just a small detail.” The Web site suggests using fresh flowers, a photo or cake jewelry to get around the plastic figurines, but Sproul also explains that “most couples wish that their families would join them in celebrating their union and accept them and their partner as a married couple.” Acceptance means more than what’s on top of the cake.

• Tip your officiant. “Officiants probably charge the least of all the wedding vendors, and most pour their hearts and souls into the ceremony,” says Justice of the Peace Marie Tyler Wiley on the Web site. “We do not just do it as a job; it is a calling and an experience.”

• The Web site quotes Celebrant Charlotte Eulette as saying, “In addition to your own personal vows, ask your guests to pledge their support too, by promising their love and support for your union together.” She also suggests the signing of a commitment certificate as part of the ceremony.

• Sproul reminds couples to relax and enjoy their special day. On a practical note, she reminds them: “Once [you] get back from the honeymoon, please visit [your] local attorney to have wills, power of attorney and other paperwork updated … it. Having these documents in order is the only way gay and lesbian couples can protect themselves since we live in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriage.”

About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts section editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. Alli is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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