H-CENTRAL COAST

Jun 27, 2013 9:20 PM by Connie Tran, KSBY News

Same-sex couple marriages could spike the wedding industry economy

Wedding vendors are hoping for an increase in business now that the United States Supreme Court has struck down California's Prop 8, and made way for same-sex couples to get married in the state.

According to the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, over the next three years, 37,000 same-sex couples are likely to get married in California, which could generate $492 million in revenue for businesses in California.

Same-sex couples looking to get married are listening out of the wedding bells, but what is really ringing, are perhaps the cash registers.

"The more weddings the merrier. It's just great to deal with happy couples, you know, that love each other," said Kristen Trevino, a banquet manager at the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo.

She said now that marriages between same-sex couples will be recognized in California, she expects an increase in inquires for weddings.

Trevino said, "Yesterday alone, we had two different sets of guests come in, that you know, one was coming in for her friends, and one was an actual couple, and they were just ecstatic. They just couldn't wait to start planning."

Los Osos couple Meaghan Gilbert and Andrea Wasko got married in 2008, during that short window when those marriages were allowed. But, they said, yesterday's announcement has sparked a new sense of commitment.

Wasko said in joy, "I guess we're gonna be planning another wedding!"

That means, a boom in business not just for wedding locations, but for bridal and tuxedo shops alike.

Imelda Perales, owner of A Heart's Desires bridal boutique in San Luis Obispo, said every year she gets a handful of gay customers, and for sees those numbers to increase.

"When it comes to that time, of them getting proposed or engaged, is when they're excited to come in, and find that dress that they've been looking or waiting for," said Perales.

San Luis Obispo County charges $100 for a wedding license and Santa Barbara County charges $99. The San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder's Office said there has already been a lot of phone calls from same-sex couples asking when they can get their marriage license. The County said the 9th Circuit Court must first issue an order before issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and that could take at least 25 days.

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