Black Lesbian Love Lab (BL3): So you ladies are six months away from your wedding day! How is your search for vendors going?
Nikki & Amena: Wonderful! We are in the process of signing the contract with our last vender—a caterer.
BL3: Tell us what vendors you selected?
Nikki & Amena: We selected the Billingsley House in Upper Marlboro, Md., for the venue; Edibles Incredible Desserts from Reston, Va., for the cake, Rachel Naft Photography from Arlington, Va., and
Kloby’s Smokehouse in Laurel, Md., for the caterer.
BL3: Were there any vending experiences that stand out so far?
Nikki: The taste of our wedding cake. The way the baker put the ingredients together is mouthwatering. I still crave the cake. I’m going to go back and get some! Lol.
Amena: I thought Nikki was going to mention our photographer. She is awesome. When we went to meet with her she showed us her work and we were taken aback.
BL3: As a lesbian couple what’s the most important thing to you about your vendor?
Nikki: That they are gay friendly. That they are really going to meet our needs without judgment.
Amena: The first thing I ask vendors on the phone is, are they OK with a lesbian couple as clients. I like it better when we can go visit first so I can see the reaction on their face and the way they talk to us.
BL3: Have you had any experiences that have made you NOT select a vendor?
Nikki & Amena: Yes, it has surprised us how many vendors communicate with you and then disappear. Twice we have met with people, had phone conversations and gotten quotes then never heard from them again. They were both caterers and we were interested in their services. We are not going to chase people down so we moved on.
We also met with a photographer who only showed us photos of babies. When we asked her if she had any samples of weddings, she showed us an engagement shoot. Since she could not show us samples of what we were buying, we did not go with her. The photographer and the caterer took the longest to find. Just like in a relationship we went through a lot of duds before we found the one.
BL3: Do you have any preferences for LGBT vendors?
Nikki & Amena: No. As long as the vendor is LGBTQ friendly, we are fine. We are interested in finding vendors that will do the best job.
BL3: Are there a lot of LGBT-friendly vendors in the Washington, D.C., area where you live?
Nikki: Yes, as far as we know we have not run into anyone who has had an issue with our sexual orientation.
Amena: But I do expect it was an issue for one of the caterers that stopped contacting us. They were a husband and wife. Nikki talked to the husband and he sounded very enthusiastic. When I got on the phone with the wife, she seemed surprised to learn we were two women. When I have talked to some of my straight friends about vendors they have said things like, “I would have never thought to ask if a vendor was OK with my wedding for any reason”. It is a shame that is the first question we have to ask is, “Are you LGBTQ friendly?” before getting down to business.
Nikki and Amena, a Maryland couple engaged to be married next fall, have agreed to share with us their journey to the altar.