Reporting Derek Valcourt
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — As wedding bliss continues for some of Maryland same-sex couples, many more are making their plans to tie the knot in a big celebration.
Derek Valcourt explains Maryland businesses are ready to cash in on the excitement.
Any bride who’s planned a big wedding knows how fast the price tag can add up. Add gay and lesbian couples to the mix, and it could me millions for Maryland.
For some couples, it was the sooner the better. It was a wedding first chance on New Year’s Day.
For others voters, approval of same-sex marriages means it’s time to plan a big party with friends and family.
That means cakes, food and drinks, even invitations like the kind printed at Glyph Art and Design in Havre de Grace, where owners expect to feel the economic impact.
“It already has. We’re gotten our first order coming through from a same-sex couple,” said an employee.
The same is true for businesses like downtown Baltimore’s Hotel Monaco, where several gay couples have already been checking the place out.
“For space for weddings, for wedding blocks, I think at the end of the day it’s going to pump more dollars into the building and into the city,” said Joe Pagone, Hotel Monaco general manager.
In fact, the California-based Williams Institute estimates that if only half of Maryland’s 12,000 plus same-sex couples get married in the next three years, it would generate some $62.6 million in wedding spending in Maryland.
And that doesn’t even count couples like Shehan Welihindha and Ryan Wilson who came all the way from South Carolina to get married in Maryland.
“This being Ryan’s home state we wanted to make sure that we did it in some place that had significance to us,” Welihindha said.
Advocates say it’s difficult to predict how many couples may come from neighboring states to tie the knot in Maryland.
Same-sex marriage is such big business. The LGBT community now has its own wedding expo taking place Sunday, Jan. 27 at Baltimore’s Tremont Hotel. For more information, click here.
Four members of the infamous Westboro Baptist Church decided to protest same-sex marriage in Maryland on Wednesday morning in Annapolis and in Baltimore County. They were greeted by dozens and dozens of counter- protesters holding signs of tolerance and love.