LA Gay Wedding Expo Caters to Same-Sex Couples at Venerable LA Athletic Club

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JD Disalvatore never thought about walking down the aisle for better or for worse. And if she did, she wouldn’t think of doing it in a white gown.

But as an LGBT activist, film producer and event promoter, she’s adamant that gays and lesbians not be denied their day in the dance floor spotlight, if that is their dream.

That’s why she teamed with Frontiers magazine to produce the first Los Angeles Lesbian & Gay Wedding Expo, to be held at the esteemed LA Athletic Club on Sunday, Nov. 10.

“When I was involved in Prop 8,” recalls Disalvatore, “I said we need to do a gay and lesbian wedding expo and keep the money in the community and/or keep the money where the people who support us are.”

Reports abound of wedding professionals refusing to do business with same-sex couples. So Disalvatore, the force behind the Smoking Cocktail industry mixers in West Hollywood clubs, has been rounding up gay-owned and gay-friendly businesses that are eager to do business with same-sex spouses-to-be, and give the betrothed a peek at what fabulous components are available to them at the expo.

“Having a wedding is such a tradition in American culture, just like a bar mitzvah or quinceanera, it is a right of passage, joining a family,” she adds. “Wedding photos are passed down for generation after generation, so now we can legally have that.”



So are there issues that only same-sex couples face?

“There are all these traditions and Miss Manners things regarding a wedding,” Disalvatore says. “Like, do you invite relatives that don’t approve of homosexuality? There’s all sorts of little points of etiquette. At the expo we’re going to have wedding planners and people they can consult with.

“The things that are different for gay weddings that I’m coming across are lesbians who may have a man of honor instead of a maid of honor. The traditional best man and maid of honor sometimes are flipped. Same-sex couples don’t feel the need to have all men on one side and all women on the other side.

“There’ll be a whole section that I’m calling the Lawyers’ Lounge, where you can go talk if you have Green Card issues … or like pre-nuptial things, if you want to talk to an attorney or a financial planner regarding getting married, we have that too.”



Frontiers is publishing a gay wedding guide exclusively by, for and about gay couples contemplating their nuptials. One has to wonder, won’t straight couples want to come to this expo, expecting it to be exceptionally fabulous?

“Stereotypically, gay men like to throw a big party and have a flare for details and little lovely designs,” says Disalvatore. “By the way, straight women have been hiring gay men to plan their weddings since forever.”

The goal of the expo isn’t to make a statement, “it’s meant to be celebratory. We just want to help gays and lesbians plan their wedding, period,” says Disalvatore. “That includes getting our vendors to offer expo-only discounts, having panels for wedding planners, food and wine tastings….”

Raffle items include a penthouse honeymoon package from Maui Sunseeker, and a bachelorette party VIP package from Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend.

“I’m not into weddings, but even me, a single, sarcastic lesbian, I’m excited about this,” says Disalvatore, who protested in the streets for gay marriage in California.  “We’ve fought long and hard for this right, now let’s make it fun.”

Expo hours: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. at LA Athletic Club, 431 W. 7th St., Los Angeles. Admission $10; VIP $25 includes goody bag and hosted bar. For more info: http://lagayweddingguide.tix.com or see frontiersLA.com.

Journalist Laurie Schenden covers the entertainment industry, with many of her notable celebrity interviews appearing in the Los Angeles Times and other national and international publications. As a longtime columnist and feature writer for the LA Times, she also covered events and California destinations for the lifestyle, Outdoors and Travel sections. Laurie Schenden's international pieces include the long-running Where Are They Now celebrity feature for Spotlight Magazine, published in five languages. Laurie has also contributed to numerous documentary films, and produces content via Saving Grace Films.

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