California Alt-Paper Springs for Nuptials

By: Mark Fitzgerald

When East Bay Express Marketing Director Terry Furry hit on the idea of celebrating California’s legalization of gay marriage by hosting the weddings of gay and lesbian couples, the Emeryville-based alternative weekly had low-key affairs in mind.

“We thought they’d come to the Express office, and we’d give them a big wedding announcement, and a little party, and send them off on a modest honeymoon package,” says Publisher Jody Colley. “It was not the most attractive package in the world. In fact, some of the gay blogs said, ‘Oh, how romantic! Getting married in front of a bunch of journalists.'”

But for the six couples picked to get hitched on the Express’ “Wedding Wednesdays” on June 25 and July 2, a once-in-a-lifetime experience awaited. The paper’s salespeople lined up sponsors for limousines, bridal gowns, receptions at an East Bay winery, music, photographers, and a honeymoon at a five-star gay-owned resort on the Mendocino Coast.

One of the newlyweds the Express selected was Robby Robbins, director of new media for the Santa Barbara Independent. Publisher Colley, a self-described “non-emotional” person, says she was continually touched listening to the love stories of the couples who responded to “Wedding Wednesdays”: “I’ve had to add a tissue box to my desk.”

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