While legal uncertainty means that many same-sex wedding ceremonies are staying simple for now, wedding-oriented businesses are hoping for a windfall if unions are recognized for the long-term.
Weddings make up half of Nicole Campbell’s business as a florist based in Green Bay. Campbell said the prospect of large-scale same-sex weddings opens up a whole new demographic.
“Working in this industry, we have so many friends that are in same-sex relationships,” said Campbell. “We're hoping they all call us and that we have a really good time working on their flowers too!”
Like straight weddings, same-sex weddings can be large affairs. Michael Vinson, from the village of Allouez, and his now legally recognized husband were near the front of the line at the Brown County Clerk's Office on Monday. The two had a commitment ceremony in 2012, with “a cake, the DJ, the hall – the whole works.”
The ceremony wasn’t cheap: “We spent between $15,000 and $20,000 on our wedding,” said Vinson.
Beyond the formal wear, presents, cake, and flowers, weddings also draw in out-of-town guests. Jason Rae, the executive director for Wisconsin's LGBT Chamber of Commerce, said other sectors also stand to benefit.
“We actually have one of our chamber members that specializes in divorces,” said Rae. “This marriage decision doesn't just help those in the wedding industry but those in financial planning and the legal community and those setting up wills and trusts, things like that.”
Rae said gay marriages are estimated to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in neighboring states. He said now some of that money can stay in Wisconsin.