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Motivated by the challenges they faced when planning their own ceremony 12 years ago, Puechl and Cindy Sproul, Puechl's partner and network co founder, decided to solve the problem with the Rainbow Wedding Network in 2000.

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Attendance is free but a $5 donation is encouraged.

"We were one of the very few resources that provided access to couples for gay friendly businesses," Puechl said. "Back then, there were death threats. Nowadays, couples still encounter discrimination, even in areas where gay marriage legislation has been passed."

"Providing a space like our upcoming expos, where couples can walk in, they don't feel like they have to translate themselves to these vendors, and they can just be there with their joy and their giddiness and ask silly questions. It just frees them Michael Kors Wallet Tan

That's why a North Carolina couple and business duo have launched Gay Lesbian Wedding Expos across the country, to allow same sex Michael Kors Purses Dillards love birds to enjoy the buildup the same way every other couple can.

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"We've been in a variety of places all along the spectrum, where that legislation has been and come into play," Puechl said.

Puechl and Sproul pick and choose which states to hold the expos, Puechl said. Many events with the highest turnouts are in states where there is no same sex marriage legislation in place, such as Florida and Texas, she added.

"Even in New Hampshire, some couples don't hold hands in public," she said. "They're maybe not out to their co workers. They can come here and be totally out and totally involve Choose Michael Kors Hamilton

Even in Massachusetts, a state that legalized same sex marriages in 2004, she still hears of businesses that refuse to serve gay or lesbian couples, she said.

Often, couples come with parents or children, who are just as excited to help plan the wedding, Puechl said.

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Couples often will flock well across state borders to attend the wedding expos, Puechl said, typically within a 60 to 75 mile radius of their venues.

up, and it's just beautiful," Puechl said. "A lot of couples are very grateful."

themselves in the wedding planning and the excitement of being engaged, and they don't have to have any second thoughts about that. They can get really helpful information, get help from prospective vendors and get helpful ideas from professionals."

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"They support marriage rights and they definitely are comfortable and excited about working with gay and lesbian couples and want to serve these couples with just as much respect as heterosexual couples," Puechl said of the vendors at their expos. "Many have been providing services before the legislation was in place."

But they have always found New Hampshire to be a "live and let live" state.

They also were in San Francisco when Mayor Michael Kors Crossbody Ebay

´╗┐Gay and lesbian wedding expo coming to Nashua Radisson Hotel in September

"We provide this national resource for gay and lesbian couples as they're planning their lives together," said Marianne Puechl, co founder of the Rainbow Wedding Network.

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Gavin Newsom's marriages were annulled, and couples were told at the time that their unions no longer held weight in California.

The wedding expos are designed to combat some of that intolerance with a relaxed and resourceful escape.

NASHUA The pressure that comes with planning a wedding intensifies when some states, and some businesses, don't support your nuptials.

They held an expo in Massachusetts in 2004, two weeks before the Bay State legalized same sex marriages, and this year, they celebrated with Maryland couples when that state passed its legislation.

Even in an increasingly accepting society, the Rainbow Wedding Network still does get some protesting emails when its expos come to town, she said.

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The tour stopped in the Granite State in Portsmouth in 2007 and has hosted its Gay Lesbian Wedding Expos there three times.

"Some of it is demographics, trying a different area," Puechl said of the change in location.

Next month, the Radisson Hotel will host a slew of local gay friendly wedding vendors, including wedding coordinators, caterers and photographers, disc jockeys, wedding venues, officiants and jewelers.

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Still, the expos remain small, intimate events that allow gay and lesbian couples to come in and have a leisurely afternoon, mingling with each other, and getting the best of the wedding trade show atmosphere most couples are looking for.

Through the "Same Love, Same Rights," tour, Puechl and Sproul have been present for some momentous changes in the history of gay and lesbian marriage legislation, Puechl said.

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And they're coming to a venue near you. On Sept. 16, the Radisson Hotel on Tara Boulevard will host a leg of the Rainbow Wedding Network's "Same Love, Same Rights" tour.

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Those who attend can participate in raffles for wedding giveaways, try free samples and will walk away with a wedding goodie bag of planning materials.

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