The Atlantic Sands Hotel & Conference Center in Rehoboth Beach was the location of the state’s first LGBT Wedding Expo since same-sex marriages were legalized in early July. On July 28, approximately 200 people attended a Wedding Expo in the Atlantic Sands Hotel ballroom to talk to and explore the offerings of more than 20 gay-friendly vendors from Rehoboth and surrounding areas.
Asheville, N.C.-based Rainbow Wedding Network organized the event. The lesbian-owned Rainbow Wedding Network has produced more than 100 "Same Love, Same Rights" expos in 23 different states. Co-founder Cindy Sproul was on hand to greet attendees and vendors and to award raffle prizes to winning couples. Vendors included photographers, wedding planners, DJs, jewellers, financial planners, venues, invitation and announcement providers, caterers and more.
Barbara Brewer, director of sales and marketing at the Atlantic Sands Hotel, said that, while the Atlantic Sands has been selected for many wedding receptions, bridal showers and rehearsal dinners for years, the demand has increased in recent weeks due to the legalization of same-sex marriages in not only Delaware but surrounding states. In fact, the night before the expo, a same-sex couple held their reception in the Sands ballroom.
Sproul and Brewer both thanked the many vendors who attended the expo for making it such a success. The community was well-represented and attendees from many surrounding states indicated a desire to purchase from several of the participants in this LGBT Wedding Expo, citing not only quality product offerings, but support for equal treatment as a key reason. One straight married couple, attending the expo on behalf of their gay daughter, said finding truly gay-friendly vendors was a key factor in their vendor selection process. Sproul said she is interested in working with Brewer to plan a similar Expo again next year.