Gay couples in New York can now legally wed in the state, but many are having difficulty setting wedding dates because of the unavailability of qualified wedding planners.
"Everyone we talk to is either booked up, or is getting married some time in the next six months. There's just no one left in the wedding planning industry to turn to," Steve Windham, who was awaiting a courthouse marriage with his partner Samuel Whitley.
The problem for gay couples in the sixth state in the US to legalize gay marriage, is the marriage planning industry is one with an unusually high percentage of gay professionals.
"They're either getting married and don't want to deal with planning any wedding other than their own, or they are already booked with some other couple," Whitley said. "I've been told it might be a year and a half before you can get a good wedding planner here in New York."
The news has local interior design and wedding specialty are shops in duress as well.
"With the majority of the wedding planners working on their own weddings, the overall number of weddings appears destined for an all-time low over the next six months at least," Gloria Steembrier, owner of Steemy Wedding Dresses in New York City. "Planners who were perpetually booked solid are taking several months off, and planning only their own wedding. We're just hoping to survive the swoon."
Steembrier said the amount spent per wedding will likely increase, but the volume is down to such low levels the shift may not be able to balance out.
Sean Silk has been a wedding planner for the past 15 years, and is excited to finally get the chance to plan his own wedding.
"This is a day I've dreamed of since I was a little boy, and I don't want to let this be anything but spectacular," he said. "Every other planner I know feels the same way. We've waited far too long to not get married at the bash of a lifetime."
Some in line at courthouses around the state, especially in the city, are simply trying to get in before someone shuts the window on gay marriage via injunction or legislative repeal.
Others are simply there after several fruitless, frustrating weeks of trying to find a planner to create their dream event.
"We just gave up on the idea of finding anyone," Windham said. "Even the soccer-mom planners were booked tight through Christmas. I guess straight people have been right all along, marriage really is nothing but a nightmare. I can already see I should have married a wedding planner and not a civil engineer."