Same-sex marriage ruling could serve as financial boon for wedding industry

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- If you have a wedding, Jason Fajkus wants to be your DJ, set up your photo booth, and design your lighting. DJU Productions, the company he works for, has been in the wedding business for decades, and Fajkus hopes the same-sex marriage ruling will be a major economic boost for his bottom line.

"I think it will be huge for the industry," says Fajkus. "I'm excited to see the bridal shows coming up and how many more people we have in attendance."

In fact, the country's largest bridal show is opening in just two weeks. Laurette Veres of Bridal Extravaganza says the show has always been open to everyone who wants to plan a wedding.

"We did not do specific marketing for that market, but (have made) some subtle changes," says Veres, whose show will be at the George R. Brown convention center. "We used to say 'brides to be,' and now we say 'engaged couples.'"

Veres says everyone from planners, florists, photographers, and bakers could see a business bump.

"If you are a person who makes cakes, if you don't care who you make the cake to, there's just now more people to make cakes for," says Veres. "So if you're a business owner, it just makes sense."

Before the wedding though, there must first be a marriage license. Even though same-sex marriage license have been issued in Harris County since last Friday, it's taking several surrounding counties a bit longer to catch up with the Supreme Court ruling.

Fort Bend County issued its first same-sex marriage license at 1:40pm Monday afternoon. County Clerk Laura Richard says she was delayed because she was waiting to receive a changed application form from state officials.

"It currently says Applicant 1 and Applicant 2, instead of male and female," said Richard. She also says the form is now available on the state website, and any county clerk can download the forms.

Even so, not every county is granting licenses. As of Monday evening, officials in Chambers, San Jacinto, Waller, Wharton and Washington Counties say they are still waiting for state forms.

One Houston lawyer says that's just a delay tactic.

"They can issue the license and use existing forms. Numerous counties have done that, so really this is just denying the inevitable of having to issue licenses to same-sex couples," said attorney John LaRou, who was himself married on Friday to his partner.

LaRou says county clerks that ignore the Supreme Court ruling could face lawsuits, though that does not apply to religious officials who perform weddings.

"Pastors, religious officials, they are still able to not perform any marriages they don't want to. They don't have to perform heterosexual marriages if they don't want to," said LaRou.

Back at DJU Productions, the focus isn't on politics, just parties. It's unclear just how big a financial impact the gay marriages will make in Texas. For Fajkus, he hopes it's a big one.

"Everyone's money is the same," he says it with a chuckle. "It all spends the same."
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