MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A new study from UCLA School of Law shows almost 5,000 same-sex couples are expected to get married in Minnesota over the next three years. That’s expected to bring $42 million into the state and local economies.

Though that’s still a fraction of the wedding business in Minnesota, already couples, venues, florists, caterers and more are looking forward to the new business when same sex marriage becomes legal in Minnesota on Aug. 1.

When Melissa Houghtaling and Laura Andrews got engaged in February, they never expected their September Minikahda Club wedding would be legally recognized.

“It’s surreal that the timing worked out as it did,” Andrews said.

They are one of the hundreds of same-sex couples expected to get married this summer. Minneapolis’ Hell’s Kitchen will be among the first to host a ceremony.

They are offering their venue for free along with food and music to one lucky couple who applies with a letter. Already they’ve received 150 heartfelt submissions. People can submit by sending an email to Weddings@HellsKitcheninc.com by midnight, May 28.

“We try to stay out of politics, but we saw this as less of a political issue and more of a human rights issues, an issue that impacts us directly with customers and staff,” said General Manager Tony Perella.

Reid Bordsen and Paul Nolle are planning an early Aug. 1 wedding. It’ll be held one minute after midnight at the sunken garden at the Como Conservatory.

“We plan to get married the first second we can,” Bordsen said.

On Wednesday, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, surrounded by local businesses, announced incentives for couples to get married in his city. Como Conservatory and Irvine Park will have expanded hours and free permits on Aug. 1. Rice Park and Mears Park will also have special photo areas at no cost.

“It is a part of who we are in this city and we want to celebrate all couples,” said Mayor Coleman.

The city of St. Paul has set up a website www.idostpaul.com for couples interested in getting married in the Capitol city.


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