Written By: Kim Wade 10/8/15
While last year’s inaugural LGBT Wedding Expo was a success, this year’s event is expected to be even better. And according to Angie Horne, director of operations for GaySavannah.com, the mass wedding ceremony at the end of the evening will be even sweeter because, “It’s legal this time.”
With the end of the ban on gay marriage, Horne says they expect even more travelers from out of state to attend the expo since they can finally have a legal wedding ceremony in Savannah.
GaySavannah.com’s LGBT Wedding Expo will take place from 3-6:30 p.m. Aug. 16, with the mass wedding ceremony at 7 p.m. and the reception from 7:30-9 p.m. This year’s event takes place at the Hyatt Regency Savannah.
Even though the ceremony is recognized by Georgia law this year, Horne says she expects about the same turnout for the ceremony as last year.
“We had about 14 couples last year and we expect that many again this year,” she says. “I’m excited to see that it’s not everyone rushing out to get their marriage license. I’m excited to see everyone is taking it seriously and I’m especially excited for couples getting married who have been together for many years.”
She adds that last year’s mass ceremony is what made her realize helping to organize this event is something she needs to continue each year.
“What made me realize this is my passion and I always want to be a part of this event was the commitment ceremony. The officiants last year did such an amazing job and the whole thing made me teary-eyed. Some of the couples had been together for so long and … the event was just heartwarming.
“They were able to feel safe and … the way they looked at each other was just prettiest thing I’ve ever seen.”
This year’s officiants are Pastor Candace Hardness of Agape Empowerment Ministries, the Rev. Dale Worley of Unity of Savannah, the Rev. Steve Shulte of St. Luke’s Lutheran Church and Stephen Palmer of Stephen Palmer Weddings.
“We have so many churches that are LGBT friendly and I wanted to showcase that and show that there are places of worship where people are welcoming to you. I want them to feel they can have spirituality in their lives and know what churches are welcoming.”
While the wedding ceremony may be the heartwarming moment of the evening, it’s the expo that draws the majority of the crowd. The expo features a carefully curated selection of LGBT-friendly vendors, and brides and grooms to-be have the opportunity to get one-on-one advice to help plan a memorable ceremony.
Horne adds that the expo is open to everyone and offers free entry, so you don’t have to be getting married to enjoy meeting the vendors. This year’s expo features 50 vendors featuring everything from catering to fashion and beauty as well as wedding venues and entertainment.
“Just because you aren’t getting married doesn’t mean you don’t need to come. We need to support these businesses as much as they support us. Maybe you need vendors for birthday parties or anniversary parties? Or you can just come and have fun.
“There is a cash bar and lots of entertainment. Love wins and we should all be celebrating that. It doesn’t matter if you are single or married.”
IF YOU GO
What: GaySavannah.com’s second annual LGBT Wedding Expo
When: 3-6:30 p.m. Aug. 16; mass wedding at 7 p.m. and reception from 7:30-9 p.m.
Where: Hyatt Regency Savannah, 2 W. Bay St.