Our Story: From 1999 to Today
Gretchen Hamm wanted only to contribute to her lesbian daughter’s wedding in 1999 with the same standard as she had planned on contributing to her heterosexual son’s wedding. But, she was surprised to find that the items she had expected to find at her local gay bookstore in Dallas, TX (like wedding photo albums for a same sex couples) didn’t, at the time, exist.
When she lamented this fact to a friend of her daughter’s at her daughter’s bridal shower and expressed her frustration, the friend replied, “Why don’t you just start TwoBrides.com?” Without missing a beat, Gretchen replied, “I will!” and shortly thereafter founded her vanguard business, TwoBrides.com & TwoGrooms.com, “mother-approved shopping sites for same sex weddings,” which opened for business in 2000.
In January of 2005, Gretchen’s daughter, Kathryn joined her in the business and took on the day-to-day responsibilities of running the company, thus allowing Gretchen to focus on her passion: acting as a “SpokesMom” for GLBT couples.
Later that fall, GayWeddings.com (founded by K.C. David in 1999) joined the TwoBrides.com & TwoGrooms.com network of gay-friendly wedding web sites. In keeping with the founder’s original goal of developing a site, which was geared to inform gay & lesbian couples of the best ways to help protect their relationships, GayWeddings.com was re-launched as a galvanizing and comprehensive content-oriented, community resource.
Transforming The Mainstream
Since 2005, same sex couples have enjoyed as many steps forward as steps backwards. By the end of 2010, five states and the District of Columbia had legalized same-sex marriage, with several states enacting propositions or passing legislation to prohibit gay and lesbian unions.
Even so, more Americans than ever have come to accept same sex unions, and the mainstream wedding market has followed suit, embracing gay and lesbian weddings, commitment ceremonies, and civil unions as a viable “new” market.
As hearts and minds opened further, GayWeddings.com began exploring new ways to shape the mainstream marketplace and to continue to serve all couples, regardless of sexual orientation. The result was a new partnership, formed with technology leader, WeddingWire, the only online wedding planning resource designed to empower all engaged couples — gay and straight alike — and wedding professionals.
The collaboration, announced in January 2011, enabled GayWeddings.com to combine its LGBT-friendly vendor directory with WeddingWire’s local vendor directory and deliver to its engaged couples the most comprehensive directory of LGBT-friendly wedding professionals, featuring over 20,000 vendors upon launch. By 2013, the directory had grown to more than 60,000 wedding professionals who self-identified as ready, willing and able to serve same-sex couples and Kathryn began consulting with WeddingWire as an Education Expert in a formal capacity.
In 2013, with the help of photographer Thea Dodds, Kathryn co-authored a groundbreaking book called Capturing Love: The Art of Lesbian & Gay Wedding Photography. Not long after its release, the Crown Publishing Group (an imprint of Penguin Random House) acquired it and Thea and Kathryn re-wrote and expanded their first book into The New Art of Capturing Love: The Essential Guide of Lesbian & Gay Wedding Photography (Amphoto, 2014).
More on the history of GayWeddings.com
In 1999, K.C. David launched GayWeddings.com with the goal of informing gay and lesbian couples of the best ways to help protect their relationships. The inspiration occurred when K.C. David heard the unsettling story of a friend whose partner had passed away and, within days following the death, learned that his deceased partner’s family had taken everything from him. They claimed his house, business and two dogs, and refused to allow him to attend his partner’s funeral – all of which the family was able to do because, in their 14 years together, the couple had never completed their legal paperwork nor had any public recognition of their relationship.
Not long after establishing itself as an online resource where gay and lesbian couples could learn more about the legal issues facing same-sex partnerships, GayWeddings.com became an outlet for gay couples who wanted more information about actual wedding ceremonies (and not just the legal status of getting married).
The passage of landmark Civil Union law in Vermont increased the site’s popularity among journalists, business-owners, and hopeful couples, all of whom were looking for a way to become a part of this new, expanding market of gay weddings. Shortly thereafter, GayWeddings.com became one of the most comprehensive and fastest growing web sites surrounding the issue of gay marriage, joining TwoBrides.com & TwoGrooms.com in offering a range of information and services, including complete wedding packages, wedding products, an easily accessible gay-friendly vendor directory, and up-to-date news and contests.
With the June 2005 release of his informative book, The Complete Guide to Gay and Lesbian Weddings, K.C. David established himself as a pioneer and expert in gay weddings, all the while affirming the fact that, though a struggle for gay marriage equality still ensues, no laws (or lack thereof) should hinder or cease the celebration of love.
In October 2005, KC David invited like-minded pioneers, Kathryn & Gretchen Hamm, co-owners of TwoBrides.com & TwoGrooms.com, to acquire GayWeddings.com and build on the growth it enjoyed under KC David’s direction.