Find out how to plan same sex weddings with ease at the Essex Room – North Shore’s premier wedding and event venue.
Engaging the LGBTQ+ Community
John: Norman, are you seeing a lot more of same sex weddings at The Essex Room than you used to?
Norman: Not necessarily more, but the same. We are trying to reach out to that community and try to encourage the community to consider us, because there’s a very strong gay community in Salem, for example, so the proximity actually could work for us much better.
John: Right. Does the Essex Room do anything to make sure that same sex couples feel welcome?
Norman: It’s an interesting question, because we try to make everyone feel welcome. There are things now, steps we can take to assure that couples feel welcome. We’re in the process of changing our website to be more gender neutral and not so much bride and groom, because that doesn’t necessarily apply. If people go to our website and see bride and groom, they may subconsciously think that grooms and grooms aren’t welcome. But that’s not true.
John: Right. Just calling them couples or making sure that you have even a separate page for same sex weddings or something.
Norman: Yes. It’s a hard concept as far as the terminology. How do you do it, because society’s always been bride and groom? I think a lot of venues are trying to reconcile that but we don’t care. Gay or straight, it doesn’t matter.
John: It’s a party.
Norman: It’s a party. It’s a wedding and that’s what we do and we have fun.
Planning Same Sex Weddings
John: Right. Is planning a same sex wedding any different than planning any other wedding or what are maybe some differences?
Norman: Not for us. Honestly, now that [same sex] marriage is legal in the country it’s a partnership, it’s a marriage. Who cares? The logistics can be a little bit tricky, [with] people wondering where do you sit — is there a bride’s side or groom’s side? In their case, is there a groom’s side and a groom’s side? How they get down the aisle?
It’s not traditional. Let’s put it that way. It’s normal but it is non-traditional because they can make up their own rules, which is fun. The grooms can walk down the aisle together. They can basically really do whatever they want to do. They’ve [got] free reign on how they want their wedding to be.
John: Right. And even heterosexual couples are doing the same thing where they’re coming up with their own rules, changing those old traditions.
Norman: Absolutely. That’s why it’s a hard question to answer because we don’t view a gay wedding or same sex wedding as any different than a heterosexual wedding. We deal with it the same way we would any wedding. A wedding is a wedding, that’s what we feel. Love is love so we’re all about treating. It’s really not that different.
There might be some issues with family or what have you, but other than that . . ..
John: Yes. It depends on how out they are and whether their families are accepting of them fully or that kind of thing. There could be some little logistical issues that you have to deal with. But everybody has family issues sometimes that you have to deal with, right?
Norman: Even in straight weddings, we have mother-in-laws and father-in-laws and stuff.
John: It’s step moms and step dads.
Norman: Oh, God, yes. It’s almost the same. It just happens to be two men or two women.
Tips for Same Sex Weddings
John: Any particular tips for couples on planning a same-sex wedding in Massachusetts?
Norman: It’s not Massachusetts anymore, it’s nationwide. It’s just make it your own and don’t worry about it. The rules don’t necessarily apply to anyone anymore. There are no sides of the wedding; which side you sit on, the first dance, or who gives the bride or groom away, because, again you have the terminology. There are no tips because you just make it your own, which is nice because in the straight wedding, you have rules that are set. Gay marriage is still relatively new.
John: There’s not those traditions, those deep-seated traditions.
Norman: Yes. It’s nice. You have a lot of freedom. You can set new traditions.
John: Great advice, Norman. Thanks again for speaking with me today.
Norman: Thank you for having me.
John: For more information, you can visit The Essex Room website at essexroom.com or call 978-768-7335.