Gay Weddings a Boon to NY Commerce

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The wedding march is on for same-sex couples who will be among the first to say "I do" under New York's new marriage law this Sunday.

An estimated 60,000 gay couples are expected to tie the knot in the state over the next three years, and hospitality and wedding-related services are expected to most benefit from the wedding rush.

When The Wedding Salon held a wedding fair in Manhattan recently, it had to cut off advance reservations due to higher than expected demand. "I would say about 10 percent of the attendees are engaged gay couples," said Tatiana Byron, Wedding Salon president.

The new gay unions are predicted to add about $100 million a year in consumer spending, mostly in New York City. Erik Engquist, associate editor at Crain's New York Business, told NBC New York that two-thirds of the couples will be from out of state."Destination weddings will increase demand for hotel rooms and restaurants," he predicted.

New entrepreneurs are popping up to take advantage of what's believed to be a pent-up demand for services previously only available to straight couples. Event planner Jodi Imburgia said she asked a number of gay couples she knows if they planned to get married. "They all told me yes," she said.

Imbrugia plans to be at the city's marriage bureau on Sunday to hand out cards and promotional items for her start-up planning business for same-sex weddings.  

Not every couple will rush into nuptials, and some have indicated they will wait until the crush is over.

"I think November looks good," said Joe Nacci, Imburgia's first client. The furniture sales representative and his partner of 31 years plan to have a civil ceremony and a brunch or cocktail party.

"About 50 people would be about right," he said.

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