As the founder/owner of New York's only entertainment agency specializing in gay weddings, I'm often asked, "what's the key to a successful gay wedding?"
Let me offer an illustration. I recently called EKO, a sound studio that produces wedding band videos, to schedule a shoot for two of my new bands. They said, "Every band does the same songs, the same schtick, so you'll be doing that too, right?" I said, "Actually, no. We'll have a gorgeous singing drag queen named Peppermint, a crew of back up dancers, and choreographed moves on par with Madonna's Super Bowl show."
My parents are entertainers who owned Mike Regal Music, a successful agency based in New York -- and I attended more weddings and bar mitzvahs before I graduated high school than most people do in a lifetime.
Today, I carry on the tradition with my own agency, Wendy Kidd Entertainment. Whether they're gay or straight, people want to shake their booties and be entertained at their weddings. My mom told me that "people don't talk about how great the food was after a party; they talk about the incredible band, the emcee who knew how to make people feel good, how much fun they had dancing all night."
I love recalling a particular moment from last October. One of my bands, Rhythm Ignition, played the wedding of Sarah Kate Ellis, the vice president of marketing for Real Simple; and Kristen Henderson, founding member of the popular rock band Antigone Rising. When Roy, the singer, broke into "You're the First, the Last, My Everything" with his spot-on Barry White croon, Kristen's sister Cathy (Antigone Rising's singer and guitarist) danced over to Roy and began a spontaneous duet that brought the house down.
They texted me the next day from their honeymoon, head over heels about the band and Cathy's duet, and how that made their wedding a night they will never forget.
Really, the things that make straight weddings successful are the same for gay weddings. But I'd say a major difference is that gay weddings offer an open playing field to reinvent and modernize wedding entertainment. We have the freedom to be more creative in customizing each party. We can avoid the pockets of yawn that tend to occur with a generic wedding formula.
Another important distinction is that gay weddings have a very short history in this country. The pressure-filled routine is nonexistent. This open approach allows gay couples to trade in something old for something new -- and something boring for something entertaining. Instead of snapping a tacky garter belt, why not have The World Famous Pontani Sisters perform their high-end burlesque show? Instead of a bouquet toss that brings the party to a screeching halt, have "here! TV's" Sherry Vine throw it down for your guests with a super-fun drag performance.
Since there are no conventions built into gay weddings, it's easy for gay couples to be dynamic with their entertainment choices. This is New York City, and we just won the right to marry -- so there's no shame in saying, "Hel-lo... we're gay!" It's not about fitting a mold. I tell cool straight couples the same thing. Have fun with your big day!
I'm not looking to totally reinvent the wheel, but I am suggesting a more colorful one. Love is love, no matter who your partner is, but I stand by my credo that not every wedding is created equal.