Colorado may have recently elected its first openly-gay governor, but the Centennial State’s wedding industry has been making strides toward inclusivity for awhile now. During the past two years, for example, History Colorado’s Grant-Humphreys Mansion has worked to become the wedding venue for every couple, no matter their sexual orientation. As a result, Unique Venues named the Capitol Hill abode its “Best Venue for an LGBTQ-Friendly Event” late last year.
Since becoming the director of the the Grant-Humphreys Mansion in 2015, Rita Rollman has focused on making the Grant-Humphreys Mansion an inclusive, judgment-free environment. She not only helps couples plan their weddings, but also serves as an advocate for same-sex marriage in Denver.
“I had a lot of people call me, and their first question was ‘Am I allowed to have my wedding there?’ I found that question absolutely horrible,” Rollman says. “Why do you have to ask me if you’re allowed to have your wedding? First of all, it’s the law of the land…and secondly, you should have the same rights as anyone else.”
To ensure inclusiveness at the Grant-Humphreys Mansion, Rollman altered the language on the paperwork and contracts to be gender-neutral. She also works with LGBTQ-friendly vendors and displays the #OpenCO symbol on the Grant-Humphreys website to make the message as clear as possible: All are welcome.
If there’s a way to make the venue more welcoming, Rollman will do it. “Anytime there’s a workshop or training, I’m all about it,” she says.
These seemingly small changes made a difference to Greg and Logan Holman-Taylor, who were married at the Grant-Humphreys Mansion last September (pictured above). “When people are utilizing specific terminology, it can definitely resonate with the audience you’re targeting,” Logan says. During their search for a wedding venue, Logan recalls seeing online forms asking for the names of the bride and groom and thought, “Well, they are missing a whole demographic here,” he says. “I noticed the small nuances, the verbiage that people use and printed materials, and it definitely speaks volumes.”
It was important to the Holman-Taylors to feel like their wedding would be unique, without receiving special treatment because of their sexual-orientation. “Love is love, marriage is marriage,” Logan says. “It’s not gay or straight; it is what it is.”
The first time Greg and Logan visited Grant-Humphreys was during the venue’s inaugural wedding show for engaged and engaged-curious LGBTQ+ couples. The event, now called Pride and Unprejudice, returns this June.
Co-hosted with The Day-Of, Pride and Unprejudice will feature vendors—from purveyors of flowers to cakes—that have all been carefully vetted by Rollman. She asked each merchant if they were comfortable working with this community. “Most people were excited,” she says. “But one guy didn’t make the cut because he wasn’t sure if his clients would be happy with him servicing that community.”
Not only did vendors have to be comfortable with a LGBTQ wedding, but Rollman ensured they were advocates, too. “We wanted people who wanted to celebrate this community and creating a safe space for them,” Rollman says.
No other event specifically focuses on the the LGBTQ community like Pride and Unprejudice, Rollman says. She’s hoping it could be the unofficial kick-off for Denver’s Pride Weekend, which runs June 15 to 17.
If You Go: Pride and Unprejudice will take place on June 13, from 6 to 9 p.m., at the Grant-Humphreys Mansion. The wedding show is free, but registration is required. 770 Pennsylvania St.