Craig SmithCraig Smith is co-founder of Gay Celebrations, an events planning company that produces high-quality and memorable events tailored to the needs of the LGBT community. As a former studio entertainment special events executive, Craig knows how to deliver distinctive and fiscally-responsible events for gay communities nationwide. Since June 17th, the monumental “marriage” date in the State of California, Craig has been busy helping gay and lesbian couples plan their big day. He talks about budgets, the best man and the only good reason to take on wedding debt. Enjoy!

1. Can you name three ways to save money on our big fat gay weddings?
a. Have the Moms cook the food
b. Have Stoli sponsor the liquor
c. Marry someone rich

2. Is “budget” a dirty word in your profession?
Not as dirty as the words “keep it simple”

3. Why should gays hire a wedding planner when we typically are superior at throwing parties and entertaining?
It’s a great three-way… without the guilt!

4. What’s it like being a small business owner after all those years at Sony Pictures Television?
Now I get to chase myself around the desk.

Gay Celebrations5. Is there any good reason for gays to say “I Do” to wedding debt?
Frequent flyer miles

6. If you could buy one thing right now what would it be? How would your life partner, a minister answer the same question?
I would build a new home in Malibu; Mark would build a new home as well… for the poor in Guadalajara.

7. Who spends more on weddings these days: gays or lesbians?
Definitely gay men… the wedding procession alone will look like the catwalk on Project Runway!

8. Have you seen any couples fight about the expense during wedding preparations?
Only when one of them was preparing for the wedding night… with the best man!

9. Where is the best place in California to have a destination wedding?
The Four Seasons Biltmore in Montecito is a gracious, oceanfront setting for “fairy”-tale weddings in the heart of “America’s Riviera.” They have charming cottages for each guest, on-site salon, spa, beauty services and, of course, a first class fitness center. The world renowned Chef and Pastry Chefs will tailor a menu and create a cake designed just for you and your partner. The many options for the rehearsal dinner and post wedding brunch range from the Santa Barbara wineries to some of the best restaurants in California in the downtown area.

And if that isn’t enough, your next door neighbor is Oprah Winfrey!

10. Will you be out of business if Californians pass a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in November?
No… there is no limit to GAY CELEBRATIONS! We will continue to party for the “Best” of our lives!

More about Craig R. Smith
Craig R. Smith brings over 20 years of experience in event production, most recently serving as Vice President of Special Events for Sony Pictures Television. Craig started his own company, Craig Smith Events shortly after leaving Sony, to pursue a career path where he could share his unique and diverse skills to give back to the community that has given him so much encouragement, support and unconditional love throughout the years.

At Sony Pictures Television, Craig produced and oversaw events for television shows such as “Seinfeld,” “Mad about You,” “The King of Queens,” “Married with Children,” “The Shield” and “Rescue Me.” In addition to these events, Craig also produced network launch parties and Upfront Presentations, corporate sales retreats, client premieres and thousands of other events. Craig has been responsible for multi-million dollar annual budgets and is masterful at negotiating with vendors to get the best product for the lowest prices.

Craig spends what little free time he does have on his continuing efforts to raise money for various charities that are close to his heart. For example, in an effort to raise funds and spirits for local AIDS organizations, he founded a non-profit organization, Charity Parody Foundation, producing Broadway caliber musicals updated to modern “gay” West Hollywood. Charity Parody Foundation raised a quarter of a million dollars with productions like WEST HOLLYWOOD STORY, FIDDLER ON THE WEST HOLLYWOOD ROOF, WEST HOLLYWOOD GYPSY and OLIVER TWISTED. With the support of Craig Smith Events, Charity Parody is working on launching another production next year.

Read other Queercents interviews in the Ten Money Questions archive.