A gay marriage fair has been held in Paris for the first time, just four days after lawmakers voted for marriage equality.
French photographers, caterers, wedding planners, were just some of the businesses represented in a fair dedicated to the special moment when a same-sex couple ties the knot and says ‘I do’.
As an economic slump sees traditional couples spend less on weddings, French entrepreneurs look for gay marriage as an attractive business opportunity.
The fair, which was held yesterday (26 April) under tight security after violent anti-gay marriage protests, attracted nationwide prospective gay and lesbian clients and even from abroad.
According to AFP, Claire Jollain, organizer of the event, ensured police presence ‘for the safety of visitors and exhibitors’, while the fair went on until 11pm in a festive atmosphere animated by a DJ.
27 year-old Tanguy (who preferred to remain anonymous), told AFP: ‘Due to the climate of hatred in recent weeks as I was afraid of incidents today. But I came because my friend and I are getting married next year and I want to get an idea of the required budget.’
‘This month has been very difficult; seeing all this hatred for a law that makes us all equal ... I hope that now we'll move on’.
The event also attracted international attention, Udi Tzvieli from Israel and his partner Hakan Steenberg, from Sweden enjoyed attending the fair.
‘I haven’t seen a fair like this for same-sex couples before, so I think it’s very important.
‘That’s why we wanted to come today and I’ve seen a lot of nice stuff here. Like the invitation cards, like the photographers that display same-sex couples, I think it’s really nice’, said Steenberg to a EuroNews reporter.
‘Not all family unfortunately, not even our parents could agree on such a statement, because it’s still a little different for some people, and sometimes you need a helping hand in order to make things happen’, commented Tzvieli.
Forty exhibitors also attended the fair hoping to find new business opportunities.
‘It’s a brand new market for us. These are customers that we aren’t used to reaching out to. It’s also a way for us to show our work to the gay community, to get people to know us’, said wedding photographer Alexia Gallouin in a video stream of the Daily Telegraph.
‘We expect that the law will come into force in late May, and in the next 12 months, 6,760 same-sex marriages will be celebrated,’ estimated Jean-François Lacrampe who created Primeday, ‘the first complete web based product platform for gay and lesbian marriage’.
Lacrampe said he based his calculation on the number of same-sex couples who were married in Belgium, Holland and Spain.
He added: ‘The average budget for a wedding in France is around 10,000 euros (US$ 13,000). Based on this figure, we are talking about a market that is around 67 million euros (US$ 87 million) per year’.