Lesbian Wedding

weddings for everyone

The National Gay Wedding Association is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that offers professional and educational resources for Professional Wedding Creatives that are invested in implementing inclusive practices for LGBTQ+ couples. In the wedding industry we must learn appropriate language to talk about queer couples, understand innovative and new wedding traditions, and reimagine the institution of marriage as it has existed for millennia. As advocates, we must continue to pursue equitable standards of existing for queer people across cultures, and acquire new resources to support and uphold those standards.

For LGBTQ+ Couples, we provide a network of established inclusive minded Professional Wedding Creatives and LGBTQ+ advocates who provide invaluable experience to engaged couples. Seeking inclusive experienced wedding professionals begins with NGWA. Visit our portfolio of vendors. 

Consider these statistics compiled from a recent survey that we conducted in conversation about LGBTQ+ couples:


Prefer the word “marriage” to be used when planning their wedding, instead of “gay-wedding.”


Live together an average of seven to nine years before getting married.


Pay for the wedding themselves, and have a higher combined income than straight couples.


Want to know BEFORE THEY SPEAK WITH YOU that you are inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community.


Use a friend or family member to marry them.


Keep their attire a surprise until their wedding day (lesbian woman).

Interested in learning more?

Attend Our Inclusive Awareness Conference (2022)

Our Story

Born out of the personal experience of our Founding Director Ric Simmons, the National Gay Wedding Association began as a resource for LGBTQ+ couples navigating the wedding planning process as queer people. After the landmark victory of Obergfell v. Hodges in 2015, same-sex couples were guaranteed their constitutional right to marry in all 50 of the United States. Of course, this decision was followed by a series of challenges from local government and private business owners, making wedding planning difficult for queer couples who were still denied services around the country.

In response, we started “My Texas Gay Wedding” and eventually expanded to a national platform with “My Gay Wedding.” We soon realized that despite the excitement from vendors who wanted to implement inclusive business practices, there were few resources available to make that possible within the wedding industry. National Gay Wedding Association answered the call to become the go-to source for wedding vendors and professionals in search of LGBTQ-specific resources and tips on implementing inclusive business practices.

Our Mission

NGWA is a 501(c)3 non-profit professional association committed to creating inclusive awareness for wedding professionals through supporting partnerships, continuing education, and being an active advocate for LGBTQ+ couples.

Board of Directors

Cathy O'Connell - President

Cathy O'Connell


As co-founder and CEO of COJ Events and Gay Wedding Planning, Cathy’s true calling is celebrating a couple’s unique connection. Based in Southern California, her companies are leading voices for inclusiveness in the wedding industry and support for LGBTQ+ couples. . As a speaker, trainer, and writer Cathy has traveled many miles to promote inclusive practices for LGBTQ+ couples worldwide.

Chanda Daniels - Vice President

Chanda Daniels

Vice President

Chanda Monique Daniels is the founder and creative director of A Monique Affair and Chanda Daniels Planning and Design. Recognized as one of Harper's Bazaar's Top 2020 wedding planners, Best Wedding Planners and Event Designers by Martha Stewart Wedding and Best Wedding and Event Planners in America by BRIDES Magazine, Chanda has been a leader in LGBTQ+ wedding since 1999. A huge advocate for inclusion and diversity, Chanda often speaks on the topic within the industry.

Todd Danforth

Vice President of Communications

With a background in documentary film portraiture, Todd melds his technical training with a photojournalistic style to capture the raw authenticity of love. His work can be found in renowned wedding publications such as Martha Stewart Weddings, California Wedding Day, Equally Wed, and Dancing With Her, among others.

Ric Simmons

Director and Founder

Ric is a romantic at heart and cries at every love story or sappy song. From firsthand experience, Ric knows bigotry does not feel good when planning a wedding. Ric experienced confusion, hurt, and sadness when planning his wedding to his husband. Ric teaches that bigotry is usually rooted in fear, and fear comes from a lack of knowledge. He founded the National Gay Wedding Association in the spirit of love. His mission is supporting and creating advocates in the wedding industry on behalf of LGBTQ+ couples.

Ricardo Tomás

Director of Chapter Development

Ricardo is the co-founder of Lorraine Tomás Weddings. He combines his extensive background in design and firsthand knowledge of current colors, fabrics, textiles and fashion. He has been featured as The Wedding Architect with The Knot, WeddingWire, Dallas Voice, Dallas Style and Design and Martha Stewart Weddings. Ricardo founded the Society of Wedding Professionals in 2012 and has served on the board of directors for the past 8 years as President, 1st Vice President, Director of Education and Treasurer.

Frank Burgess

Director of Membership Services

Frank has been in the customer service and hospitality industry for over 15 years, working for companies such as Darden Restaurants, Radisson Hotels, The Walt Disney Company, and The Irvine Company. Frank received his B.A. from Arizona State University and his M.A. from Chapman University. He has a passion for leadership and professional learning and development. Frank currently resides in Orange County, California, with his fiance Connor.

Andrew Winegar

Legal Counsel

Andrew is a Chicago-based attorney registered to the Illinois Bar, specializing in Intellectual Property and Business Formation issues. Since graduating from Chicago-Kent College of Law in 2019, he has helped young entrepreneurs in the Chicago area navigate the hurdles that accompany setting up a small business. Utilizing a forward-thinking approach, he has helped clients entering a variety of emerging areas such as legal cannabis, social media marketing, digital brand consulting, and more

Become a Member

Partners & Member Benefits

Party Slate

Style Me Pretty

National Gay Wedding Association Members

National Society of Black Wedding & Event Professionals

Equally Wed Pro

Hashtag Files


Interested in learning more?

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