Welcome! Today’s broad is Bernadette Smith, a pioneer in the LGBT community. She found a niche in the marketplace and created a business that has become the country’s first boutique event firm specializing in legal LGBT weddings. Her company, 14 Stories, launched in 2004 as same-sex marriage first became legal in MA. Her Gay Wedding Institute trains other wedding professionals from all over the world. From her position as America’s #1 Gay Wedding Planner, Bernadette focuses on the advocacy element of her company, providing a great, supportive experience for couples.
Bernadette shares the following about her company, currently based in Chicago:
- Prior to 2004, she planned events for nonprofits. When she first launched 14 Stories, people either thought she was crazy or brilliant.
- She launched initially without a business plan, but built a website, used Google ad words, and received a ton of media attention.
- Bernadette has seen a recent surge in training wedding pros since the Supreme Court ruling. She knows many LGBT weddings are just around the corner!
- One of the major issues in an LGBT wedding is finding a venue and service providers who are supportive.
- One aspect of an LGBT wedding is that traditional gender roles and rules don’t apply, giving total freedom for ANY style of a wedding celebration.
- 14 Stories offers licenses for establishing branch offices in other locations and training licenses for wedding professionals.
- Bernadette has written books, developed apps and even created her own line of LGBT wedding attire to fill the need for missing elements in this industry.
- The name, 14 Stories, came from the significance of 14 in US civil rights.
Bernadette also discusses her motivation and inspiration, the greatest being her 4-1/2-year-old son, Patrick. She also uses a vision board, affirmations, books, and apps to keep her focused and organized for balance in her life. Listen in as she discusses her vision for the future of 14 Stories!
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