SoFla Wedding Market
1:51 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

Gay Nuptials Expo In Wilton Manors

This summer, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties declared Florida’s gay-marriage ban unconstitutional.

Those back-to-back court rulings sparked a Gay Nuptials Expo this past weekend in Broward County.

At the Hagen Park Community Center in Wilton Manors, a red carpet led guests of the Gay Nuptials Expo to a Cher impersonator and a glass of mimosa.

Bobby Kyser, a South Florida event planner, says gay marriage in Florida is "coming." To prepare for it, he gathered 40 "gay-friendly" wedding vendors in Wilton Manors.
Bobby Kyser, a South Florida event planner, says gay marriage in Florida is "coming." To prepare for it, he gathered 40 "gay-friendly" wedding vendors in Wilton Manors.
Credit Jessica Meszaros / WLRN

Among the crowd in the purple-lit room was Bobby Kyser, an event planner in South Florida who assembled about 40 local wedding vendors for this showcase.

"One of the things that I found when I went to a straight wedding showcase is I had to come out to every single vendor," says Kyser. "I didn't want to do that. We already had to do that once in our life."

He says vendors would always ask about his girlfriend. But Kyser's vendors won’t. They’re gay-friendly, although not exclusive to gay weddings.

"These are people that I knew had a really special consciousness," he says. "We wanted people who are gonna be open and heartwarming."

Some of the Gay Nuptials Expo local vendors included DoubleTree by Hilton in Sunrise, Stork's Bakery in Wilton Manors, Daoud's Jewelry store in Fort Lauderdale and Holy Angels Catholic Community in Wilton Manors.

"We're here to show our support for marriage equality and to perform same-sex weddings," says Father Richard Vitale, a Catholic priest at Holy Angels.

Deborah Marrero of Miami Lakes says there is a difference in planning her wedding at this exposition.

"Most of the people have a very traditional way of seeing things, and here they understand that we are not traditional -- that we are coming from a different place," says Marrero.

Marrero and her partner, Jeannette Cruz, are tying the knot in Washington DC this September. They’re only planning their wedding reception locally because gay marriage still isn’t legal in Florida.

But Bobby Kyser predicts it will be legal soon.