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When Heather Morgan made the decision to join the Canadian bridal show circuit with her fledgling wedding photography business last spring, she assumed she would meet other vendors, make connections and perhaps gain a few clients. What she received was a reality check on just how harsh the wedding industry can be for LGBT couples, which inspired her to make a life-altering decision.
“During a show in April, one of the other vendors came up to me in a panic, ‘The next couple coming through is gay,’ he told me in a hurry and then ran off to the next vendor. I needed to be warned about a couple's sexual orientation before they came through?” she explains. “I was confused, but shrugged it off. After all, I had this awesome couple to talk to! They were a lesbian couple. They were sweet, smart, funny, and we hit it off right away.”
After chatting with the happy couple (whose wedding she will be photographing next fall), she yet again heard the neighboring vendors gossiping. “One questioned why the hotel had let them into the show in the first place when they found out they were gay. This is when I realized that while we may enjoy the freedom to marry a same-sex partner in Canada, it did not mean it was accepted,” Morgan says. “As someone who was newly out myself, it cut me deeply. I realized that as gay couples we had a hard enough time earning the respect of our peers, but did we really need to dodge hostilities from the vendors we paid to make our wedding day special?”
Seeing firsthand the lack of respect to the couple’s commitment drove Morgan into mission mode. After in-depth research turned up no other gay-only photography businesses, she sought out to create the first and dubbed it 2 Bride Photography. “I wanted to create a safe haven of sorts on my own little corner of the Internet where all queer couples could come and be accepted. Period.”
The company was launched in October 2012 and the website went live just this week, which clearly states her intention of working with gay, lesbian, transgendered and queer couples exclusively.
“Each time I hear the words ‘gay-friendly’ it gets translated to ‘straight-preferred’ in my mind,” she explains of her decision to market only to LGBT couples. “Gay-friendly photographers market to straight couples. They work with straight couples. They make their living off of straight couples and therefore that is their preferred clientele. Are they happy to do a same-sex wedding should the opportunity arise? Sure. And do not get me wrong, some gay-friendly photographers are phenomenal. Some are gay themselves. Some, I have also found, only do it because they will not turn down the money. So unfortunately you do not always know what you are going to get.”
Her decision to focus solely on the LGBT community has enabled her to become an expert source for gay wedding photography, whether it’s being sensitive to any familial drama or knowing the ins-and-outs of traditions, new and old. “I understand that the needs of gay couples are not the same as that of straight couples. Everyone is unique. And when a couple comes to me for their wedding photography I get to know them first—their needs, their story,” she says. “We work together so that at the end of the day they are left with photography that truly captures who they are as a couple.”
Brittny Drye is the senior editor at Equally Wed, the nation's premier online magazine for gay and lesbian weddings and honeymoons. Follow her on Twitter @BrittnyDrye.
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