Marriage equality a boost for wedding business

The Seattle Times (WA)
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December 6, 2012

From bakeries to hotels, salons to photographers, florists to limousine drivers, many business owners expect a lift in sales from both in-state and out-of-state same-sex couples holding weddings and celebrations here. Washington state began recognizing same-sex marriages Thursday, opening a new era for thousands of same-sex couples who can now plan their nuptials — and possibly spend big bucks. "This is the right thing to do, but beyond that, this becomes an exciting boost to the economy," said Jon Bridge, co-CEO of Ben Bridge Jeweler and a board member at the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, which supported the passage of Referendum 74 legalizing same-sex marriage. How big a boost remains to be seen. In January, an institute at the University of California, Los Angeles estimated the change in Washington's law could pump between $18.5 million and $88.5 million into the state and local economy over three years, with nearly two-thirds of that impact in the first year. Most wedding vendors said they aren't immediately seeing a burst of bookings — though a few are, especially with so many celebrations planned this weekend.