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South Florida tourism promoters courting same-sex wedding business

Tourism boosters around Florida are hearing wedding bells - and seeing dollar signs - now that same-sex marriage is legal in the state.

Already major players in the competitive destination wedding industry, some of state's top tourist draws are promoting their beaches and grand hotels as the perfect spots for gay and lesbian couples to wed.

While tourism bureaus have long courted LGBT visitors, who tend to be affluent and well-traveled, officials say the legalization of weddings will give them new avenues.

For the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, that means the annual wedding-focused "Miami Romance Month" in February will include promotions for same-sex weddings; in Broward, a mass beach wedding in February for straight and gay couples is in the works. And the promotional arm of the Florida Keys was to start running banner ads on hundreds of websites that reach LGBT audiences.

Rolando Aedo, chief marketing officer for Miami-Dade's CVB, said the bureau has already been promoting the Miami area as a destination for commitment ceremonies between same-sex couples as well as a perfect spot for honeymoons.

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"But of course with this, we have a tremendous opportunity to elevate that part of the discussion - and the timing is perfect," he said.

The Miami-Dade bureau planned to start running a social media promotion this month asking gay and lesbian couples for their love stories; the winners will get a weekend stay in Miami Beach.

While a spokeswoman for Visit Florida said the state's official tourism marketing corporation is not planning any immediate marketing or ad blitzes related to LGBT weddings, South Florida tourism offices were rushing to reiterate their history of support for same-sex travelers and their excitement about the court rulings legalizing gay marriage.

"One of the things we really wanted to do is let our friends in the LGBT community around the country know that we have finally gotten the opportunity we have been working for and fighting for, which is to have them legally married in one of their favorite places to vacation," said Nicki Grossman, president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The tourism office recently announced a "Love is Love" initiative that will launch with the mass sunrise beach wedding in Fort Lauderdale.

Grossman said the bureau's wedding point person - called an "Ambassador of Bliss" - will be available to help additional couples plan their events across Broward County. Grossman said she expects to see as many as 100 same-sex weddings a month over the next year.

A report from the Williams Institute, a national think tank at the UCLA School of Law, estimates that 24,248 same-sex couples will marry in Florida during the first three years it is legal. Those weddings, according to the report, would generate $182.2 million to the state and local economy and create between 875 and 2,626 jobs in the tourism and recreation sector.

In Broward, 1.3 million LGBT travelers visited the county in 2013, according to the tourism bureau. Richard Gray, the CVB's managing director for the LGBT market, said he expects the legalization of weddings to drive that figure up even more.

"We can grow the market even more now in my opinion," he said.

The Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables will reintroduce a campaign it ran in 2013 during the Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival featuring photos of three couples - straight, gay and lesbian - getting married on its lavish grounds.

"There's no doubt that this was going to happen, regardless of when it was going to happen," said Natalia Plasencia, the hotel's director of catering. "So I wanted to make sure that our position was clear and not that it was something we were jumping on the bandwagon after the fact."

Plasencia said the hotel has hosted small, intimate commitment ceremonies in the past for same-sex couples, but she expects more locals to plan huge blowout events now.

In the Florida Keys, where cities from Key Largo to Key West already do a booming destination wedding business, promoters will fold same-sex weddings into marketing campaigns. In addition to digital ads that were to start running this month, the Monroe County Tourist Development Council will run print ads in upcoming months.

"The whole destination wedding is a lot of money, not only from all the guests that come down from everywhere and stay in our lodgings and accommodations, but also all the facets around weddings," said Harold Wheeler, director of the council. "That just puts a lot of money within the community."

Bobby Kyser, whose Wilton Manors event planning company Panache Style is responsible for decor at next month's giant beach wedding in Broward, has been anticipating this moment since last year.

In August, he organized a Gay Nuptials expo for same-sex couples preparing to get married. At that point, he said, many were flying to New York to legally exchange vows and then returning home to South Florida for celebrations.

"That's what they did before," Kyser said. "But now it's all going to happen here."

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06:52 Publié dans wedding | Tags : wedding | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)


Wedding show is a one-stop nuptials shop

For soon-to-be brides and grooms, nothing beats the convenience offered by the twice-annual Oregon Wedding Showcase in Eugene — where they can see, touch, hear, smell and taste the different ingredients they will sprinkle into the unique recipe for their most special day.

Timed perfectly for couples planning weddings for spring, summer or even further into the year ahead, the winter show will happen this Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 17-18, at Lane Events Center in Eugene. A lineup of 80 exhibitors — including 25 participating in the event for the first time — will include florists, photographers, bridal shops, caterers, wedding planners, disc jockeys, event destinations, bridal gift registries, entertainers and more.

Show organizer Judy Van Valkenberg says the event provides a window into current wedding trends and, just as importantly, puts couples in touch with the experts who can turn their wedding-day dreams into reality.

“Our bridal show is set up so you can meet many wedding professionals and compare products, services and prices all in one weekend in one place,” she says.

“Weddings are becoming more and more individualized and unique to the couple’s likes, tastes and lifestyle,” she adds. “Oregon Wedding Showcase wants to help you plan your day your way. We have wedding professionals to fit every different style and budget.”

Just a sampling of the things to look for at the show:

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Photo booths: These are “the hot thing” at receptions now, Van Valkenberg says. “We have quite a few companies who do photo booths,” including some that offer just that and others that provide photo booths in addition to wedding photography and other services.

Disc jockeys: They don’t just play music anymore. “They often now are the master of ceremonies and in charge of helping plan and coordinate the whole reception,” Van Valkenberg says. “Many times they also do lighting, photo booths or other things, too.”

Wedding cakes/desserts: In addition to the standard offerings, Van Valkenberg says bakers at the show also offer gluten-free sweets, and specialty cupcakes, cheesecakes, chocolates and French macarons (with many available to sample at booths).

Live music: Performers participating in the show and ready to sign on for wedding-day gigs include Dover String Quartet, Code Red (a rock-country band) and D ’n’ A (a traditional Celtic duo).

Real-deal dresses: Local bridal shops offer extensive selections of gowns, fitting expertise, alteration services and more — plus peace of mind. Van Valkenberg says knock-off wedding dresses sold online have become a “huge problem.” Dresses and other wedding party fashions will be on display in two daily fashion shows at noon and 3 p.m.

Handouts and prizes: Couples who register for the show will receive a free subscription to Brides magazine; a $200 gift card for a customized commemorative gift product; and opportunities to win one of five Las Vegas getaways.

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07:12 Publié dans wedding | Tags : wedding | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)


Shoot Dot Edit Announces Free Guide for Professional Wedding Photographers launches no-cost guide for wedding photographers to grow and enhance their businesses.

Vista, CA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 01/14/2015 -- The popular career website "" recently praised the occupation of Wedding Photographer as a wise choice for the future. "" states the following, "Salaries for wedding photographers averaged approximately $102,000 for the past year. These job postings were 77% higher than the average salary posted for all jobs nationwide. For those wedding photographers who also specialized in event photography, the average yearly salary was reported to be as high as $125,000. This was consistent throughout the United States and in all regions of the country."

Shoot Dot Edit is meeting the needs of professional photographers who would like to build their own wedding photography business. A spokesperson for Shoot Dot Edit explains their mission, "Our company has made it easy for any professional photographer to enter the Wedding Photography Business. Any photographer who is already working in this lucrative field knows that there is a never-ending stream of details that one must be on top of to stay successful. Our company partners with these photographers to set up a system which allows for an easy way to maintain a consistent editing work-flow. We are also proud to assist them wedding photography tips and information, that can help their business to grow in this digital age of photography."

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"We offer a free guide for wedding photographers, just for visiting our website at" The spokesperson for Shoot Dot Edit continues, "We understand that it is a necessity for professional wedding photographers to learn the best way to market and build their business through social media and SEO. Online recognition is of huge importance in advancing their wedding business. These are just a few of the topics that we have chosen to explore in our 'How to Grow Your Wedding Photography Business' guide."

Their spokesperson elaborates, "All of this helpful information has been compiled by experienced wedding photographers as instruction for those just starting out on their own or already working in the field. We offer this e-book for free and with absolutely no obligation on the behalf of the recipient. Our guide has many innovative suggestions so weddings photographers can learn to build a thriving business. It offers them an education in how to brand their photography business, and make sure they are properly marketing their business online."

The Shoot Dot Edit spokesperson says, "Much of this advice has to do with the importance of developing systems, processes, strategies, and even working friendships with the brides you photograph. Especially in the field of wedding photography, families must trust you to be privy to their lives on their special day. It is this trust that will enable you to take better event photos and receive the best recommendations that bring you new clients for the future."

"Once a wedding photographer chooses to partner with us, we can offer them custom color correction and post production solutions." The company spokesperson adds, "We are the number one provider of editing and color correction services for the wedding pro. These are available through affordable monthly plans, so every photographer can partake of the most advanced professional post production services in the industry."

About Shoot Dot Edit

This company partners with professional wedding photographers by providing post processing and color correction in order to free photographers to enjoy their work and life. They are a one-stop shop for professional wedding photographers for post processing. In addition, their website contains useful information and blog posts of direct interest to anyone in the field of wedding photography. Both novice and experienced photo professionals can garner useful tips including: marketing, SEO, posing, pricing, workflow, and Lightroom editing.

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07:03 Publié dans wedding | Tags : wedding | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)