“True love has no boundaries” was the theme of the LGBTQ Wedding Extravaganza hosted at Hilton Garden Inn Detroit Downtown on September 13. The event, which was organized by Falana Smart, a sales manager at the hotel, was designed to show the local LGBTQ community that Hilton is a proud supporter of same-sex marriage. The Extravaganza brought together local businesses and speakers who shared Smart and the rest of the Hilton team’s passion for equality.

We had the pleasure of chatting with Falana Smart to get an inside look behind the scene of the event.

How did you come up with the idea for the LGBTQ Wedding Extravaganza?

One day my colleagues in the sales department and I were having a conversation about the law that was recently passed for same-sex marriage. We also discussed how same-sex couples are often uncomfortable with sharing information when they call the hotel regarding wedding blocks. Marisa Pryor, the corporate sales manager for the hotel, came up with the idea as a way to show the LGBTQ community that we support them and their right to marry.

Its great to hear this was a real team effort. How does this event align with Hiltons values regarding the LGBTQ community and equality as a whole?

Hilton is dedicated to making sure all guests and team members feel valued and has created a platform for the LGBTQ community to be engaged and supported [with the Stay Hilton. Go Out. website and package], and we wanted to do our part to ensure that the brands’ values are being shared in the Detroit area.

What types of vendors attended the event?

Some of the vendors that participated in the event were local bakery Dessert Diva, 1,2 Step Entertainment, and T Miller Poetry, a popular Detroit spoken word artist and filmmaker. A total of 12 vendors participated in this event.

LGBTQ Wedding Show11

What was your hope for this event and did it meet your expectations?

My hope for this event was to provide additional resources to same-sex couples who are getting married. There is only one other LGBT wedding show in the Metro Detroit area, out of the hundreds of wedding shows that take place each year. I faced several challenges putting the show together. Some vendors were not receptive to the idea at all. However, I was determined to show the public that we support everyone in our community, not just a select few. I expected to have a larger turn out; however, we were able to gain exposure with the LGBQT community and I am happy with that.

Is there another event in the works?

We do not have another event in the works just yet!

Well, we can’t wait for the next one when it happens! Why do you personally feel invested in this effort?

I feel invested in this effort, because I believe that everyone should be treated equally and everyone should be able to walk into an establishment and be comfortable. No one should have to hide who they are or be judged for being unique. The reality is that we’re all different, and we have something unique about us that makes us special.