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PARIS -- With gay marriage newly legal in France, businesses are scrambling to grab a share of this emerging market. One company is packaging a new offer for same-sex couples.
PARIS -- On April 23, the French government passed a bill allowing homosexual couples the right to marry and adopt, as dress-wearing grooms and rainbow flags descended on the Marais, Paris's historic gay district. Following months of heated protests from both sides, France would become the ninth European country to legalize same-sex marriages.
Just days after, drag queen threads and cocktails were replaced by tuxedos and canapés as the city welcomed the first gay marriage expo, G-Day. Wedding planners, photographers, and consultants were all on hand to help couples navigate the uncharted waters of holding a proper wedding in France. One company, Primeday, is looking to be the first to provide A-Z assistance for newly engaged couples –- and they aren't stopping in France.
Event planning for gay civil unions (called the PACS, in France) has been around since lesbian and gay couples could acknowledge their partnerships with the PACS in 1999. But with marriage now legal, few services are in place to cater to this market that has enormous spending potential.
The wedding expo, held the Saturday after the bill was passed, was oriented primarily toward male couples. Photographers, event planners and clothing retailers were among the 40 vendors that catered to over 400 visitors, according to organizer Claire Jollain. The companies represented a mix of businesses that cater to uniquely gay clientele, but also many that are simply gay-friendly, transposing traditional marriage norms to same-sex ceremonies. Primeday, however, was one of the few to begin rethinking all of the previously unconsidered details for same-sex couples tying the knot.
Primeday's founder and CEO Jean-François Lacrampe spoke to SmartPlanet about the company and its aims. Lacrampe actually quit his job in 2012 when the new president in France was elected on a platform that included legalization of gay marriage. He chose to focus on a new website that would offer these soon-to-be newlyweds planning and advice specific to their needs.
Launched in March 2013, just as the law was passing through the French legislature, Primeday quickly became a reference for gay couples looking to marry. The site offers a team of six wedding planners for the big day, lawyers who can deal with all legal questions, and even partnerships with hotels worldwide to help plan the honeymoon. The site also allows users to create a personalized wedding registry through Facebook and a new online boutique provides any and all accessory or attire that may be needed. "We are the only business in France and Europe to offer an entirely integrated offer to couples of the same sex," Lacrampe said.
Why, though, do gay and lesbian couples need specific attention now that they have the same rights as heterosexual couples in France? Lacrampe explained that certain French wedding traditions, like having a ceremony in a Catholic church, simply won’t fly for many gay couples -- or the churches. With no default location, Primeday's wedding planners will help rethink the backdrop without religion, but that extends beyond the no-frills civil service at the mayor’s office. "Couples need us to help them rethink marriage that is uniquely civil and symbolic," Lacrampe said.
And this new market isn't short on spending power while rethinking the concept of a wedding. Lacrampe, a graduate of the HEC business school in Paris, has crunched some numbers, and based off the spending patterns in places like the Netherlands and Belgium after same-sex marriage was legalized, there is money to be made. Gay couples will tend to spend more, up to 15,000 euros per wedding, as opposed to around 10,000 euros for heterosexual couples.
Clients that have contacted him have requests that have already exceeded 20,000 euros, and he predicts around 6,700 couples will tie the knot annual during the two first years of legality, at which point the surge of "catch-up" weddings will slow, but not stagnate.
Though Lacrampe is starting out in France, he’s looking overseas to continue his fledgling business. He and his team are translating the site into other languages, hoping to enter the North American market. "The business won't be profitable if we focused just in Europe," he said, "and we will be ready the day that California legalizes gay marriage." (After a lengthy legal battle that culminated last week at the Supreme Court, same-sex marriage is legal (again) in California.)
Nearly one month after the bill's passage, and just days after President Hollande signed it into law, the first same-sex couple married in Montpelier on May 29th. Already on June 22, the second LGBT marriage expo took place. France is the 13th country to legalize same-sex marriage, with parts of Mexico and the U.S. also recognizing such unions.
Photo: GSG/Creative Juice
Jul 4, 2013
These mentally derranged individuals, and what they do with each other scares me because in their mentally ill mind they've deviated from what is right to wrong, and because they are proud of their sexual orientation I fear they could do anything beyond what is normal.
Weddings can be very expensive... Expensive weddings are very good for the economy... Denying gay couples the rights to marry and divorce is ridiculously stupid. First, it is total discrimination in the name of pure ignorance and bigotry, and it serves no purpose at all... If two people love each other and want to commit to each other for life and marry, then who cares? It doesn't threaten my marriage or make my marriage any less significant. Gay is not a synonym for pedophile and thinking the two are linked is pure stupidity and ignorance. We are talking about two people who love each other and want to be married and committed to each other. And gay couples adopting kids is what you tools would call a blessing from your fictitious god There are far more kids out there than there are people who want to care for them and raise them in a loving family environment. You say you are against abortion? Then you should be for as many adoptions as possible and making sure that same sex couples can marry and have equal rights means more families to adopt some of the unwanted children out there. Anything we can do to make fewer unwanted child helps reduce abortion and helps make the world a better place. And I will still fight to the death for a woman's right to choose and will always choose the mothers life first. Second, there is no economy in the world that couldn't stand to benefit from more weddings. We are talking about people spending money on gifts, catering, invitations, clothing, flowers, cakes, travel, hotels, food, honeymoons, etc. I can't stand people who complain about the economy but oppose gay marriage. They are the epitome of stupidity. It's nice to see people waking up and getting a little taste of common sense.
Every fetus starts out in the womb the exact same potential to become male or female. As it develops, it eventually settles on a sex (but not necessarily a gender). The sex and the gender do not always match and should not be confused. No child has a choice, it just happens and they are born the way they are, we all are. I am a straight, always have been, always will be, I am attracted to the opposite sex. But if I had been born gay, then I would have always been attracted to the same sex, I would never know a difference and neither would you. There is nothing neither deviant nor deranged about it, they can't help their attraction any more than you or I can. But we all want the same thing... Find love, settle down, grow old together, have a family, take what life gave us, work hard, and try to be happy and content. They are not anymore proud of their sexual orientation than you or I are, they are human beings, and they are not ashamed of who they are and should not be prejudiced against by ignorant bigots like you. Itâs not that kind of pride, itâs standing against oppression from ignorant tools like you. And seriously, what is normal when it comes to sex? That is a vast gray area and there are history books and museums dedicated to the subject. Your fear is based on pure ignorance and some dark insecurity deep inside yourself... You should get help and try to confront that fear. Overcome it and you will be a stronger and better person. Educate yourself, cure your ignorance, the world is not as scary when you are not afraid of what you don't know.
and, while you're blasting away at those who you believe to be bigots because they might oppose gay marriage, you don't even give a second thought about insulting the vast majority of the people around the world who believe in a God Believe it or not, the vast majority of people in the world do believe in a higher being, whatever the religion. To most people who are religious, their beliefs are more important than a government rule that would allow same-sex marriages. I'm the type that says, live and let live, and if people want to marry, let them, and if they wish to believe in a higher power, let them. One does not need to exclude either, in order to live a decent life. The biggest kind of "bigot" in the world right now are the intolerant types, like you. But, you're too much of an idiot to realize it. I am "bigoted" against idiots.
You are such a tool adornoe, if you want to see the biggest kind of "bigot" in the world, go look in a friggin mirror. Religies are the intolerant groups, they are the ones casting stones, and no, I donât give a second thought to insulting them for being bigots and morons. Atheists like me are pissed off at the stupidity of religies that are trying desperately to impose their beliefs and rules upon a nation founded on freedom from religious oppression. I'm happy to be an American where I have the freedom to choose based on my own beliefs, and I will fight to the death to protect that freedom (for everyone). And when some religious bastard tries to impose their beliefs on me, or discriminate against a minority, then I get a little pissed off. Itâs stupid and I will call it like I see it, because I am free to do so. If you want to be an American, then you don't get to impose your beliefs on my medical choices like abortion or birth control coverage, not even if you have an American business. If you want to be an American then you donât get to oppress a minority group that wants their marriage rights recognized by the government. You are such a bunch of ignorant tools. Marriage is a Greek invention brainiac