Wedding businesses thrive as same-sex law marks one-year anniversary

(Photo: June Dillinger)

Tuesday marks the one-year anniversary since same-sex marriages became legal in Hawaii.

Same-sex couples began marrying in this state on Dec. 2, 2013. Since then, there have been 3,015 registered same-sex marriages here. Thirty-four percent were kamaaina.

The year-old law has not only affected couples, but local businesses as well.

June Dillinger officiates and plans weddings in Hawaii for couples from across the world. Ever since same-sex marriages became legal in Hawaii, she says business has been “fantastic. Really blessed.”

Dillinger has performed 140 ceremonies this year. At least 60 of them have been for same-sex couples.

She says her business has increased 60 percent since last year.

“Once it became law, there were people on the mainland that even though the law had passed in their state, they said, ‘Oh no, we’re going to Hawaii,’ and they saved their whole lives for something like this,” Dillinger said.

She isn’t the only local vendor who has seen a bump in business since Hawaii legalized same-sex marriages exactly one year ago.

“I would say we probably have at least five percent more gay marriages than previously,” said Abigail Langlas, owner of Cake Works, making different types of masterpieces for special occasions.

The business owners I talked to say they’ve changed the way they promote their companies. Advertising in more publications and at different venues to attract more couples.

“Which has been great for weddings, but not only weddings, if they know you’re gay friendly, they come and get other cakes from you as well,” Langlas said.

Not all companies provide services for same-sex weddings, and other vendors who do, are happy to pick up their business.

“I have had couples that call me and they say they called another company and they said they don’t perform same-sex marriages and then we saw your name on the internet or they referred us directly to you,” Dillinger said.

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