I thought I'd introduce myself and how I got to launch and be running Pink Wedding Venues - The UK's Only LGBTQ+ Focused Wedding Venue Directory.
I'm Elaine and my partner/wife Shani and I have been together, we say married but in the eyes of the law we're not, for 24 years.
The world was a very different place when we met and Shani popped the question "Will you Marry Me" - Absolutely YES but how are we going to make that happen when, at the time, even Civil Partnerships hadn't been legalised. We wanted a ceremony but how?
Back in the dark ages (!!) we didn't have Google or Wedding Venue directories, we counted on the good old Yellow Pages. We spent time calling around and asking if any venue would be happy to let us hold our "blessing" ceremony with them. A resounding no (some times not quite so bluntly!) was the common reply.
Eventually we found a beautiful chapel in the heart of Brighton. A LGBTQ friendly vicar conducted our service and our friends and family were with us to celebrate our day with a reception afterwards. It, in our mind, was our perfect wedding day.
Couple of years later I worked for Reed Business Information for their industrial/commercial directories. I loved directories, they are an "open playing field" for businesses who don't have the budget or resources for individual SEO. Instead, we had "Fred in his Shed" competing with the big players and Fred came out winning!
Remembering the struggles Shani and I had to find a venue I came up with the idea for Pink Wedding Venues. At this time civil partnerships became legalised and a few friends were to become civil partnered but, again, they were nervous about which venues to call. How great would it be to have a directory of venues who are waving their rainbow flag and saying "come and get married with us" that couples can sit and look freely through knowing they're going to be gay-friendly venues and have taken the consideration to promote their venue to them. I bought the domain name pinkweddingvenues.co.uk and started to plan the site.
After 13 years or working in publishing and eventually becoming National Sales Manager for one of our divisions, we were to be made redundant as the business was sold and moved to London by the new company.
PINK WEDDING VENUES! Now was my chance to launch the site I wanted..... and the rest, as they might say, is history!
I'm always so shocked and saddened by the few venues we still hear about who won't even consider marketing to same-sex couples but it drives me forward in making those that do look beautiful and highlight them infront of our couples.
I am proud that Pink Wedding Venues provides a resource for couples to confidently approach venues knowing they'll be met with positivity. It's also so nice for couples to see a site which is focused on THEM rather than just the famous "bride" we hear about with the wedding industry's traditional marketing and promotions.
I've been, and still am, so happy running Pink Wedding Venues for the last few years. I LOVE looking at the most beautiful venues all day long, helping and advising venues, reaching out to couples and watching the site grow and grow!
We now have our dog, Alfie who's with me working and is a fantastic member of the Pink Wedding Venues team!
People have asked if we will "legally" get married. Whilst of course I absolutely and fundamentally believe in marriage, to us, our day was "our wedding day". It was so special. It really was perfect and the struggle we had to make it happen makes it even more perfect.