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Gay weddings expected to generate big bucks for Washington businesses

There will be plenty of parties and ceremonies starting next Sunday when same-sex couples can start legally marrying in the state. Many Washington businesses are hoping plenty of money flows along with the champagne.

A number of hotels and other businesses are trying to attract same-sex couples with special promotions. Seattle’s Edgewater Hotel is offering a “Plunge with Pride” package featuring overnight accommodations, champagne, an event room for their wedding and professional photography package. Other hotels are offering similar packages.

A report issued earlier this year by the UCLA-based Williams Institute estimates spending on same-sex weddings will generate about $88 million for the state and local economy over the next three years, with a $57 million boost in the first year alone.

The report predicts approximately 9,500 in-state same-sex couples will choose to get married in Washington State over the next three years. Many more are expected to travel to the state from elsewhere to tie the knot, further boosting wedding and tourism spending.

A number of businesses have stepped up their advertising, targeting potential customers on specialized websites like the Purple Unions Gay and Lesbian Wedding Directory, offering everything from catering to music.

With so many people planning to get married, questions are inevitable. The Seattle-based Pride Foundation says about 2,000 same-sex couples are expected to apply for marriage licenses when they first become available on Dec. 6, with weddings starting in earnest on Dec. 9.

The organization is planning a meeting Monday night at Town Hall in Seattle to help clear up confusion about the new law.

“We want to make sure couples everywhere, whether they’re in Ephrata or Bellingham or Forks have the chance to learn what their rights and their impending responsibilities,” Lisa Stone, Executive Director of Legal Voice, tells KING 5.

You can expect plenty of businesses there to offer their services as well.

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