Here at www.RainbowWeddingNetwork.com, we are certainly proud to note that it's been 20 years since the launch of our website. We have been witness to so much history these past two decades!
Back in 2000, we began our site because there were no other such resources available for our community. My partner, Cindy, and I were planning our own commitment ceremony and saw firsthand how limited services were that helped LGBTQ couples navigate the process of planning a wedding. Cindy had the foresight then to realize that there was no registry anywhere in the world that offered the simple header of "Partner & Partner" instead of "Bride & Groom"... so we started one! RainbowWeddingNetwork.com was officially launched in September 1999, with no budget, no investors... and only grassroots marketing efforts. Yet within six months the site attracted over 1 million hits!
Not long after, we survived the dot com crash, a devastating flood, then the recession... all midst the backdrop of various progressions on the political scene regarding LGBTQ marriage equality. We had the opportunity to meet so many amazing and courageous couples and advocates of non-discrimination, as well as wedding vendors and political figures who worked and served on behalf of our community. When we marketed our new idea back in 1999 at Pride celebrations and other events, most people we talked to did not then agree with us that the issue of marriage equality is a civil rights issue, and even midst the crazy buzz of Y2K deserved our attention. And so, day after day, year after year, we watched and worked on behalf of this cause and this ideal... and witnessed its evolution from idea to belief.
In 2003, our little company began producing LGBTQ Wedding Expos, with our first in Minneapolis that November. The next year, we produced events in Boston and San Francisco... and today we produce between 22 and 26 events each year and have had the honor to visit 37 different states with our expos. Amazing!
In 2006, we began publication of the world's first-ever LGBTQ Wedding Magazine, Rainbow Wedding Network Magazine, and saw distribution throughout the nation.
Our website continued to grow and change, of course, but our mission always remained the same: to bridge LGBTQ couples with wedding, home and travel professionals who uphold a policy of non-discrimination. And to continue to hold on to the belief that equality for our minority is a right, and nothing less.
Today, we continue to adapt and grow during the unprecedented times of COVID-19, hoping that our events will once again take place every other weekend somewhere across the country. We continue to hold the faith that we will be able to assist couples in finding those wedding, home and travel professionals who wish to serve them with respect and joy, even if their wedding takes place in the privacy of their own home during these weeks of quarantine (with a fabulous reception to take place at some point in the near future!) And we strive to continue to serve our friends who own small businesses, such as photographers and DJs, bakers and floral designers... trying our best to offer affordable marketing opportunities online so that they can efficiently book new clients during this challenging time.
THANK YOU to all those who have supported our company - either twenty years ago or in recent days... We appreciate each of you for helping Rainbow Wedding Network in its efforts to support LGBTQ couples and our allies, as successfully as possible, now and for many years to come.
-Marianne Puechl & Cindy Sproul, founders