Results of a poll conducted by Wedding Planners International help to explain why a comment made by the owner of a small Indiana pizzeria sparked a storm of controversy, leading for calls to boycott her business, a flood of negative reviews on Yelp, and even death threats.
Earlier this week, Crystal O’Connor, co-owner of Memories Pizza in Walkerton, Indiana, told a local reporter that if asked, she would not cater a gay wedding. Within hours, infuriated activists bombarded the pizzeria with so much negative publicity that the business was effectively forced to shutter its doors. Many observers were stumped, noting that pizza is not a suitable item for any wedding, gay or straight.
However, the WPI poll shows that pizza is actually considered a “must-have” at gay weddings, with 93 percent of LGBT respondents saying that pizza-themed receptions are currently “very popular.”
“Organizing a wedding is difficult for any couple because there are so many factors to consider, and the dizzying number of food choices causes the most headaches,” said wedding planner Diedra Gibbons, owner of Perfect Day, which caters to LGBT clients. “That’s why most of our clients ask that pizza be served, since everybody loves a good pizza, and a pizza-themed wedding makes it easy to settle on other accompaniments.”
Gibbons says that the most common side items at LGBT weddings are garlic-butter breadsticks with marinara dipping sauce and Italian-spiced buffalo wings. Classic pepperoni pizza wedding cakes are also in vogue.
“This obsession with wedding pizzas can be easily explained: pizza reminds us of mafia movies, and mafia movies make people think of Italy, and Italy conjures images of archetypical passionate lovers locked in an eternal embrace and willing to die for each other.”
The poll also shows that gay men generally prefer traditional thin Italian-style pizza for weddings, while most lesbians getting married prefer Chicago-style deep-dish pizza. Neither group expressed a preference for New York-style pizza, describing it as “too greasy” and generally “blah.”
Pizza-themed receptions are so popular in the LGBT community, Gibbons says, that she predicts that in 10 to 15 years we will begin to see them at straight weddings, as heterosexuals are generally uncool and oblivious to new fashions.