DEARBORN — Since marriage equality became the law of the land in 2015, LGBTQ people have been seeking equality-minded vendors who want to do business with them. Backlash from a minority of companies has put the national spotlight on this issue, driving it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, where arguments now rage on the legality of discrimination in providing services like baking cakes and photography.
The 9th Annual LGBTQ Wedding, Home and Life Expo will provide the perfect opportunity for LGBTQ couples and families to meet, talk and shop with local businesses. Over 80 vendors, including wedding specialists such as wedding gowns and tuxedos, caterers, venues, florists and more – will join a cadre of home service suppliers and professionals to create a showcase network of equality-minded businesses who are ready, willing and able to serve the LGBTQ community.
This year, The Expo introduces some new features:
1.) a new location at The Henry – an Autograph Collection in Dearborn. Its ballroom and entrance foyer will be filled with booths, entertainment, displays, demonstrations and lots of food.
2.) The Henry is providing a complimentary, continental pre-event brunch from 11 a.m. to noon.
3.) the scope of Expo is expanded to include home improvement companies and professional service providers such as legal, accounting and adoption specialists who are ready to help couples build and structure their relationships.
Many favorites from previous Expo’s will return, including Jason Bowen as emcee, a fashion show, the Bluewater Kings Band and, of course, lots of cake!
Jan Stevenson and Susan Horowitz are the co-producers of the event and co-publishers of Between The Lines, which is in its 26th year.
Since the beginning, the Expo has been a popular event for the LGBTQ community, drawing more and more attendees and vendors each year. Stevenson said they quickly learned that vendors appreciated their expo’s fun approach.
“A lot of vendors found traditional bridal shows to be a little stuffy — and it’s almost always the bride and other women, where our expo is a mixture of men and women,” she said.
She added that attendees consistently give the expo high marks, complimenting it for being well-organized and neatly presented.
“Attendees and vendors tell us they felt they really connected with each other — and that it’s a warm, approachable fun event,” Stevenson said. “In the LGBT community, that can be kind of a foreign thing, so attendees really appreciate talking with vendors who are excited to work with them.”
All are welcome to the expo, whether or not they identify as LGBTQ. The expo will continue to be Detroit’s only LGBTQ-specific destination for couples planning their wedding to meet with inclusive vendors. But it will also be a place where couples and families that care about equality can meet with LGBTQ-friendly vendors that can help them celebrate all the special occasions in their lives: anniversaries, vow renewals, graduations, bar and bat mitzvahs, adoptions, baby showers and more.
TAGLINE The Ultimate LGBT Wedding, Home & Life Expo is Sunday, Oct. 13 from noon to 4 p.m. at The Henry in Dearborn. Tickets are $10 at the door or $5 in advance. Group rates for families is available by calling 734-293-7200 ext. 101. Learn more or order tickets online at MiLGBTWedding.com. For updates, follow facebook.com/UltimateLGBTExpo on Facebook, @BTLexpo on Twitter and @BTLEXPO on Instagram.