National Gay Wedding Association offers professional and educational resources for wedding vendors that are invested in implementing inclusive practices for LGBTQ+ couples. As advocates continue to pursue equitable standards of existing for queer people across cultures, we must acquire new resources to support and uphold those standards. In the wedding industry, that means learning the appropriate language to talk about queer couples, innovating new and creative wedding traditions, enforcing a universal standard of empathy and customer service, and reimagining the institution of marriage as it has existed for millennia.
We provide a framework for making change possible with our network of wedding professionals and LGBTQ+ advocates who provide invaluable resources to the professional wedding community. And with a certification from our Partner Associates, vendors will not only attract the attention of LGBTQ+ couples, they will also acquire a competitive and necessary edge in an industry that is changing for the better. NGWA intends to create a world in which LGBTQ+ couples feel welcome in the tradition of marriage while also creating new, creative, and inclusive traditions.
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 (2021)
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, proving challenges 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.” But we 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. And so, 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.
NGWA is a 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.
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 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.
Vice President Finance
Tim grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana and has always been passionate about landscape design and beauty. Tim is also the owner of Tim Turner Landscape & Design in Palm Springs. In 2015, Palms Springs, California beckoned Tim and his husband to move and get married in Palm Springs. After three years of living part-time in the Coachella Valley, Tim and his husband call Palm Springs home.
Experiencing the stories so many LGBTQ+ couples experience, Tim was hands on deck to jump in and build our association.
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.
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
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.