ROCHESTER, MN — Same-sex couples in Minnesota still have to wait a little over two months to legally marry in the state, but the planning stages are well underway for many couples and the wedding industry in starting to see the effects.
Some in the wedding industry near the Twin Cities say they are seeing a ten to 20 percent increase in business since the marriage equality bill was signed, but in our area, it is taking a little longer to see that impact.
“We haven’t seen much of an influx yet, we know it’s probably going to be coming,” said Chris Hesby, General Manager of Canadian Honker Events at the Ramada.
Hesby and his co-workers host and cater about 300 weddings each year in southeast Minnesota. He said they have done about 20 same-sex ceremonies within the last year as well.
“We definitely see those numbers rising with the marriage equality law being passed,” Hesby said.
It will not take long before they will see that happen since booking a venue is pretty high on a couple’s priority list.
“Typically we’re right up there with the church. We always tell whoever it is that’s looking at doing a ceremony with us, the first thing you need to do is book a church if that’s the route you’re going at. The second thing is a venue, typically we book out anywhere from 12 to 15 months in advance,” Hesby said.
Caterers like the Canadian Honker could be seeing an impact sooner than others in the wedding industry because flowers are a little bit further down the list.
“It’s probably six to eight months down the road before they come in contact with us and then most of them are probably ten to 12 months from doing something, a ceremony,” said Phil Schroeder, owner of Renning’s Flowers.
If they do not go the traditional route and want to get married as soon as August 1 hits, Schroeder and his staff can be ready for that too.
“Certainly if they want something today then we have to use what we have in stock, but if they like to order something special color-wise or flower type-wise, then a week out, ten days out and we’re good to go,” Schroeder said.
He said he would not be surprised to get some couples interested in going that route.
“We’ll probably get some calls end of July, maybe first part of August once they get their plans set, but other than that it’ll be more of the traditional, it’s six months away, it’s eight months away, it’s a year away, that type of thing and yeah, we’ll see what type of increase there might be,” Schroeder said.
He said they are not really sure what to expect this year. He said it could be a big spike right away and level out after some time, comparing it to when a new restaurant or something comes into town. He said either way, they will be ready to handle whatever happens.