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Creating a Gay-Friendly Wedding Venue

Hear it loud and hear it proud: we are a gay-friendly wedding venue. 365 days of the year, we welcome our LGBTQIA-identifying clients into our venue with purpose and conviction.

When my mom and I launched this business in 2018, we did so with one clear mission: all love is welcome here.

Hi! We're Olio, a modern and industrial event space in a historic building just north of Boston, Massachusetts in a historic building. We built our venue to be warm and welcoming with maximum flexibility. This means that couples who choose our space for their wedding have complete control over the look, feel, flow, schedule, and vibe of their wedding day. An engaged couple's dream!

We did not create a place for just tolerance of diverse backgrounds, but rather for actively welcoming all couples. Why? Because love is love is at the core of what we believe. There is no room for bigotry, discrimination, hatred, or intolerance here.

Because actions speak louder than words, we're going to show you a few ways that we think about how to create a welcoming and inclusive community for our gay clients and all LGBTQ+ people.

Lesbian gay wedding venue inclusive at Olio two brides
Photo by Madeline Barr at Olio

Display Symbols of Inclusion 🏳️‍🌈🏳️‍⚧️

Although being a gay-friendly wedding venue is mostly a great business decision, we know that some folks are not going to love our inclusive environment and may choose to take their business elsewhere.

That's OK and goodbye.

We will stand strong by outwardly displaying symbols of inclusion, such as pride flags. At the entrance of our property, just steps inside our front door, is an emblem indicating to all who enter what we stand for: WE WELCOME ALL.

Use of gender-neutral language

This one is a no-brainer! Gender is a social construct (so said my Sex and Gender Studies professor back in college) and however you identify does not in any way influence our desire to work together and support your plans.

In our marketing materials and website, we have made an active effort to keep our language gender-neutral and inclusive. Our contracts do not reference a Bride or a Groom at all; many of our weddings do not have a Bride or a Groom.

Gay wedding venue inclusive for two grooms
Amanda Macchia Photo at Olio

Representation Is Everything

When prospective clients or visitors check us out on social media or online, we want them to immediately encounter a space that they know they will be welcome and safe. To do that, I try to be thoughtful about the couples that we are displaying in our images and videos. The goal is for visitors to see themselves reflected in our messaging. In doing so, Olio can be seen as a place for all.

Gay lesbian wedding venue inclusive for two brides
Mariel O Photo at Olio

Gender-Neutral Restrooms

Having gender-neutral bathrooms was a must for us but it's actually more complicated than it looks. I have been deep into the building code for plumbing, and let me tell you, it is not pretty.

Every commercial space has a set occupancy limit: the number of people who can safely be in the building. This is determined by a number of factors, including the square footage, the fire suppression system (aka sprinklers), the size and accessibility of the egress (exit) doors, and yes, the bathrooms. For assembly space, which is what we are, plumbing code has a specific gendered requirement for bathroom stalls, which is why some of our bathroom doors say Men and Women on them. The bathrooms are exactly the same - no urinals, all stalls - so we truly do not care which bathroom our visitors use. Enjoy! That said, we also wanted to be actively inclusive, and so we created a single-stall "all gender" bathroom in our foyer that everyone can feel very comfortable using.

Gay lesbian LBTQIA wedding venue nongendered bride groom
Amanda Macchia at Olio

Staff Training

We have a very small operation - mostly just me and my mom - but as we bring in team members, we make sure to provide training on everything that we stand for. It's essential that everyone crossing into our space (guests, visitors, vendors, clients, family members) feel welcome and accommodated to the best of our ability. Our staff goal is always to provide respectful and inclusive service to LGBTQ+ customers.

Gay lesbian wedding venue two brides kissing
Lena Mirisola at Olio

Support for LGBTQ+ Events and Organizations

Bring us all of the Pride events! Seriously... not only is being an LGBTQ+ friendly venue the RIGHT thing to do, but it is also good for business. The more gay pride events that we do, the more folks will know of us, and hopefully the more that come our way! Drag shows, fashion events, weddings, classes, fundraisers, workshops, concerts, and dance parties. Bring it to us!

We do our best every day to make our venue a welcoming and inclusive space for all. Of course, there is always room to grow and learn with the community. If you have suggestions about how to create a more gay-friendly venue for LGTBQIA+ weddings and events, please reach out directly to me by email as I'd love to hear from you.

Ready to plan your event in our inclusive environment? We can't wait to show you around! Contact us today to schedule a tour.

Yours with pride,

Sarah Narcus

Owner, Olio


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