Maybe you haven’t noticed yet, but we — your Wedding Collective team — take our jobs here very, very seriously. It’s an honor and a privilege to be perched here, in between engaged couples and wedding pros, collecting and sharing the love stories from our community.
And yes, just because it’s a whole lot of fun to do, too, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not serious, too! Seriously.
Enough with the tongue twisters, though — what follows is a guest post written by two phenomenal wedding professionals from New Mexico’s community of magic makers: Lexa of Lexa Rose Photography and Jamila of Mila’s Mesa.
The serious part is that both of these creative, wedding-obsessed artists are seriously talented at what they do, and they’re doing us all a favor by breaking down an important topic — diversity and inclusion — in a fun and digestible way. (Thank you for that, Lexa + Jamila!)
The other serious part is that what you’re about to read was originally given as a speech at one of our favorite community events — WedTalks. But don’t worry if you missed the boat for that in-person, super fun, catered learning opportunity! You can keep scrolling for the text format of this speech, and we have another super cool event around the corner almost always.
So, without further ado —
Wedding Vendors: Questions to ask yourself to see if you’re celebrating diversity and inclusion.
We all have the need to feel seen and heard, it is a natural part of the human experience.
As humans, we need to know we are not the only ones who are experiencing something. That is why we seek out groups of people we identify with in our private lives, like clubs, chat groups, churches, and communities that welcome us.
Weddings are a kind of a representation of our personal community. As wedding professionals, we are trusted with participating in this intimate and private life-event for our couples. When hired, we are asked, in a sense, to contribute in creating spaces/experiences where our clients and their guests feel seen, heard, represented, welcomed, and accepted.
It’s important to be mindful and inclusive, as wedding professionals, because it benefits everyone by building bridges of kindness towards others, and THAT’S how a community is formed!
Terms like “inclusive” and “diverse” have become stigmatized over time, but let’s break them down.
Inclusivity is providing an equal opportunity to your service regardless of and not exclusive of people with different races, ethnicities, ages, genders, religions, sexual orientations, gender identities, gender expressions, disabilities, and more.
Diversity simply involves having a range of people with various ethnic, racial, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds, while also expressing various lifestyles, experiences, and interests. This means having a variety of individuals and points of view represented through your work. More easily put, diversity is a group of people who are different, in the same place.
As vendors, we know that a lot of wedding professionals are inclusive and accepting, but how do you make that known to your couples?
Do you have a website/social media presence that you use to communicate and advertise? Do you have contracts that you send to your couples?
Take a closer look at all the materials that you provide and market to your audience, and ask yourself these important questions:
- Are you celebrating diversity and inclusion when it comes to representing different sexualities, genders, races, religions?
- Think about what tags you use, what photos you post, what models you are choosing, and which audience those are geared towards — is it homogeneous or do you pertain to a wide spectrum of different walks of life?
- What traditions are you reinforcing? What belief is the tradition rooted in?
- What traditional language and imagery are you utilizing where perhaps another term, phrase or image could be adopted? What gendered/binary language could you replace?
- What are you selling beyond a product, service or skill?
- When I get an inquiry, am I making assumptions about gender/sexual orientation/race/religion?
We all know that the wedding industry has predominantly catered to a homogenous group of couples, which means that the language and traditions have been built around that standard. In doing so, we have seem to have unintentionally excluded a group of folx who don’t identify within those same bounds.
We can’t forget that each couple is different and has little nuances that make them special. And we LOVE a unique wedding, don’t we?
We’re, after all, in the business of celebrating all kinds of love.