Thanks to marriage equality, this could be a big year for Sophie Pyle's company.
The founder of Tweet The Bride -- a service that posts live Instagram and Twitter updates during clients’ weddings -- expects the Supreme Court’s Friday decision legalizing same-sex marriage across the country to be a major boon for business.
“It just makes the wedding industry and the number of people getting married that much bigger,” Pyle told The Huffington Post on Friday morning. “There are that many more customers and weddings. I’m very excited about it.”
Pyle's year-old business is based in Virginia, which was one of 37 states (and Washington, D.C.) that recognized same-sex marriage prior to the Supreme Court's new ruling. Her clients don't always live or marry nearby, and she often travels to attend ceremonies in other places. She has worked only one same-sex wedding -- all the way in Denmark! -- but she expects more in the future.
The #HamiltonDevoss wedding in February, one of the two the couple had, was the first same-sex wedding Pyle worked at.
Aside from the obvious benefits to the wedding industry, marriage equality could have a positive impact on the economy overall.
In the first three years of nationwide marriage equality, spending on same-sex weddings could add $184.7 million in tax revenue and 13,058 jobs to states’ economies, according to a report from the UCLA School of Law’s Williams Institute. The U.S. economy could get a $2.6 billion boost over the next three years.
New York, which legalized same-sex marriage in 2011, has already benefited from same-sex weddings, as data-driven news site Vocativ points out. In the first year after New York passed its Marriage Equality Act, New York City alone received a $259 million economic boost as 8,200 marriage licenses were issued for same-sex weddings and more than 200,000 guests traveled in from out of town to attend the ceremonies.
For those in the industry who have already worked with gay couples, the value of same-sex marriages is apparent.
“Those who embraced it benefited from it,” Chris Jaeger, a wedding industry marketing consultant, told HuffPost. “It’s a real positive thing.”
He recalled struggling to convince one of his a clients, a wedding officiant in California, to preside over same-sex unions. But that was five years ago, when the legality of same-sex weddings in California was complicated.
Times have changed.
“She [has] embraced it,” Jaeger said of the officiant. “Now there are pictures of her doing ceremonies with men marrying men and women marrying women.”
In the 13 states that had not recognized marriage equality before the Supreme Court's new ruling, some business owners are just happy to finally have the opportunity to work with gay couples.
Jackie McGrath, owner of Sweet Treets bakery in Texas -- where, until Friday, gay marriage was banned -- said she was “ecstatic” to hear the news.
“We have a gay wedding this weekend. It wasn’t going to be official, but now it could be,” McGrath said, adding that she and her staff began working on a rainbow wedding cake on Friday, just after the ruling was announced. “We’ll probably give it out to customers to celebrate."
Jenny Che contributed to this report.