Boycott NJ’s Here Comes the Bride

Philadephia Wedding Editor Carrie Denny speaks out

Yesterday morning while doing my usual cup-of-coffee scan of, I saw a teaser for an article that made me catch my breath, something along the lines of South Jersey bridal salon refuses service to lesbian.

I had two reactions. First, I had that dread-in-the-gut feeling of knowing I was about to read something that would make me sad, indignant and horrified. The second was related to one of the hats I wear here at Philly Mag, as editor of our twice-yearly bridal publication, Philadelphia Wedding (Please note: Philadelphia magazine also produces G Philly). I wondered: a) Is it possible she saw this bridal salon in our pages, and headed off there, excitement and family in tow to look for her dress, only to be met with hate? And b) How big of a to-do is it going to be when I declare to my staff that we will no longer be covering whatever bridal salon this is?

When I clicked on the article by Ronnie Polaneczky, I found that the bridal salon in question, Here Comes the Bride, was a little bit too far out of our jurisdiction, in Somers Point, to ever have been included in our issues, but that provided little relief. What this bride went through is nothing short of disgusting. And the truth is, it would have given me great satisfaction to have declared a ban.

Some of the comments on the article, not surprisingly, agreed with Ronnie’s take and with her instinct to offer an apology to Alix, the lesbian bride who thought she had found her dream dress, only to be told, once the owner realized she was gay, that she wouldn’t be selling her that dress because of that very reason. (The owner, Donna, even cited that she didn’t want to participate in the “illegal action” Alix and her partner were planning, as if selling her a strapless A-line with embroidered Swarovski crystals was akin to being an accessory to a crime, for the love of Pete.) But some commenters stood with Donna, saying that hey, she’s a shop owner, and she can refuse service to anyone she wants.

That some people think that is part of what makes this story such an extreme tragedy. You’re a business owner and you want to slap a sticker on your door that says No Shoes No Shirt No Service, then knock yourself out, but to refuse service to someone who’s gay is hateful, bigoted discrimination, and in my mind is not a lick different than refusing service to someone who is African American because they’re African American, to someone who is Jewish because they’re Jewish, or to either gender because you think that gender sucks.

And that is why, if yesterday I had met with an article that revealed a hidden bigotry at any of the places we salute in Philadelphia Wedding, I would not have hesitated to cut them off. Our readers come to us to help plan the party and share in the joy, and I would no sooner knowingly send them into a situation like the one Alix encountered than I would send them to a racist florist or a sexist caterer or an anti-Semitic photographer. And I would like to join Ronnie in saying I’m sorry. I am so angry that someone rained on this bride’s parade. Nothing like this should ever be a part of planning a wedding or planning for a marriage or celebrating love, and it does give me great pride to know so many wedding professionals in the Philadelphia market who were equally horrified by this, and who could not be happier to help plan the perfect day for anyone—anyone—who has found someone to spend the rest of their lives with.

So Alix, I hope that you are able to keep happily making check marks on that to-do list, to keep excitedly counting down the days until the Big Day, and to find that dream dress. Because gay or straight, every girl wants to blow her spouse away on that day, and I just know you will be no different. – Carrie Denny