Mike Gill and Coty Heaton got engaged on July 10th and like most other couples, they stayed planning their wedding. They wanted to have the perfect place for their big day and surfed through many places in Nashville, their home city, and finally landed on the one that suited them the most. They decided on Bard in the Bend, a very comfortable and homey place, which was exactly what they had in mind.
“We were searching for a venue that had indoor/outdoor space for our wedding, it had to be in the Nashville area and within our budget,” Mike told in his interview with Bored Panda. “After going through tons of venues, this one hit all the marks and was on our list of places to tour.”
They were hopeful and off to a good start. It seemed like things were going well. Unfortunately, when they got in touch with the owner of the venue, they got a very unpleasant response.
Gill and Heaton were rejected from the wedding venue for being a gay couple.
Mike told Bored Panda about how it went down with Jackie, the owner of Barn in the Bend. When the owner realized that Mike’s finance was a man, she emailed him, telling him that she cannot accept their application. At first, she mistakenly emailed, “We offer same-sex marriage ceremonies only.” When she realized what she did, she corrected herself and emailed again saying, We do not offer same-sex marriage ceremonies.”
When Mike confronted Jackie about the homophobia and told her that they will tell others about this, Jackie firmly responded that her decision was due to her religious beliefs.
Mike and his fiance released screenshots of the email to the public. The public was very angry about the owner’s behavior.
“People’s reactions have been overwhelmingly positive and supportive,” Mike told Bored Panda. “Once things really blew up we stopped reading the comments because there are trolls on the internet you can’t avoid. But so many people we know and don’t know reached out through social media and it’s been incredible.”
And now comes the information we all wanted to hear. The couple found an amazing venue that did not pull cr*p like Jackie. “It’s called The Grove at Williamson Family Farm. Our focus now is to start planning a really great wedding and party for our friends and family to be a part of. This was an unfortunate start to the process but it’s helped us to find so many more options we didn’t know about!”
Some companies help you choose just the right venue for your wedding. They listen to your needs and give you exactly what you need. For example, Lavender Crown Events is a wedding planning company that provides its services in San Jose, Silicon Valley, and nearby areas. Its owner, Michelle Lew told Bored Panda, “When people decide to get married, they usually have a vision of the type of backdrop they want for their ceremony and reception.” “It may be in the forest, overlooking city lights, a luscious garden, a historic estate, or a golf club. Some couples choose venues that are special to their relationship, such as a brewery or winery they frequent or a restaurant they had a significant date in. Using these themes and ideas helps narrow down the options of which venues to tour. The next step is often how inclusive the venue is towards providing services for the couple’s needs whether it may be including rentals and catering/bar service or if it is just the most budget-friendly.”
“Most of all, I’ve seen couples choose venues where they have the best customer service and get to connect with the venue coordinator! The venue is the center of the wedding day, so it is important to click well with the staff on-site to ensure the couple feels supported throughout the entire planning process.”
Barn in the Bend was not having it. They had to defend themselves.
Michelle Lew mentioned how venues usually have a legitimate reason when they refuse to host a couple.
“Commonly, it’s due to capacity or other restrictions. Many properties, for example, do not allow open flames,” she told. “With many traditional Indian weddings, fire is necessary during the ceremony, so venue options are limited. Venues can also have strict catering and bar requirements due to food handling and liquor licenses so some places may turn away couples that are adamant about outside catering. It is not often that a venue may refuse to host a wedding unless something central to the event violates the venue’s rules. However, even when an idea might violate the regulations, the venues (and myself as a planner) always have other suggestions to substitute!”
“Just recently, I had a bride put down a deposit for fireworks without my or the venue’s knowledge. With the venue being in a rustic setting with lots of nearby fields (and also with the wedding happening during fire season in California), the couple was nearly turned away due to the open flames! In the end, the fireworks were transformed into a laser show with cold sparklers,” Lew added.
She thought it was ridiculous to be rejected based on your sexual orientation. “I have never experienced a venue or vendor that would turn away a client due to orientation, race, religion, etc. The only times these may occur are in churches that have very strict religions. However, the couple will most likely not be a part of that church in the beginning!” She said.
Barn in the Bend faced their consequences!
Mike clarified that the reason why they shared their story was not to gain clout. “It was just to let the people in our friend circle and the Nashville area know about this venue and their unfortunate business practices,” he added. “It’s frustrating that just because we are a same-sex couple we don’t have the same options as any other couple.”
The response from the public was very positive.
A marriage is a marriage!
Love is Love!
Sexual orientation should never be the reason you are turned away from a service. I cannot believe in this age people still believe it is okay to hold negative opinions against people based on their romantic preferences. Why would you care who someone decides to love? Two people are coming together and strengthening their bond. They are happy. What harm does that bring to anyone?
I hope everyone lets go of their prejudices against other people and learn to live and let others live in harmony!