A little late to the #pridemonth celebrations, but here we are. A cis-hetero couple working in one of the least inclusive industries adding our voice to the choir. 🙃

We believe that everyone should have the right to love and marry who they want, and we are grateful to live in a country where this has been the law of the land for almost two decades.

But we also recognize that having the RIGHT to marry who you want is not the same as having the ABILITY to marry who you want.

Unfortunately, we still live in a place and time where many LGBTQ+ couples must overcome needless barriers that make getting married or having a wedding even more challenging.

Many have to wrestle with how their identity fits into the institution of marriage to begin with. If every song, movie, TV show, and advertisement you grew up with reinforced weddings as something between heterosexual couples, I can’t imagine the ways that might fuck with the mind and put strain on a relationship considering marriage.

If they can overcome that, then many couples must navigate the entire planning process without the financial or emotional support from family who refuse to celebrate their love.

And if they can still make it work without that, they are left planning a wedding in an industry still obsessed with outdated “bride” culture. Constantly bumping up against terms like Bridal party and Bridal suite, or finding “Mr. and Mrs.” embroidered on pillows on a couch in their venue. At every turn a non-hetero couple will be reminded that wedding culture isn’t for them.

This is why Pride month is so important. It’s a loud and colourful reminder that love and marriage isn’t just between a husband and wife. It’s so obvious, yet the wedding industry will quickly suck us back into exclusionary norms if we let it.

While we can’t fix all the damage inflicted by institutionalized bigotry, the last thing we should do as wedding vendors is make their wedding experience *more* challenging. To put things into practical terms, we’ve outlined 8 things that have been doing or will start doing to make Picture and Poet more inclusive for all people getting married. If you know of any other steps we can take send us a message, and forward this to any other wedding industry folk you know. It’s going to require a group effort before we reach true equality.

Stop using Gendered Terms

In all your forms, PDFs, contracts, website copy, and social media captions, replace gendered terms like bride, groom, and bridal with something more inclusive like couple, partner, and wedding. If you don’t know what terms are the most appropriate, Google it.

Set Contractual Limits on Homophobic Expression

Just because we’re hetero doesn’t mean we should tolerate homophobia in religious ceremonies. Include a clause in your contract that your couple agrees to not have any homophobic remarks expressed in their program. The spirit of the contract should be enough for hetero couples to share your values, but it’s always good to have your contract reviewed by a lawyer.

Donate to Teen Pride Organizations

If you make money in the wedding industry you are profiting from a long-established heteronormative culture. Make regular donations to your local Teen Pride organizations who are creating a better world for the next generation of non-binary and same-sex couples.

Create Non-Gendered Timelines

So much of a traditional wedding day timeline is based on gender norms. Who is supposed to get hair and makeup? Who is supposed to stand waiting at the first look? Who is supposed to walk down the aisle last? Rethinking our language also means rethinking the structure of a wedding day, so offer timeline advice that isn’t gender-based.

Point out Non-Inclusive Decor to Venue Owners

It should not left up to same-sex couples to educate the industry. As vendors who know better, we have a responsibility to inform other vendors. In all things be kind and patient, but it can help to make it personal. This isn’t about being the morality police. This is about making a positive experience for your couples.

Design Inclusive Workflows

As a business owner, creating systems and repetitive tasks is a way to save time and energy. But if those systems are designed with heteronormative assumptions then they won’t help when working with a gay couple. Until you can design a fully inclusive workflow, turn your automations off and give them your full attention.

Celebrate Non-Marital Relationships

Don’t assume that every committed loving relationship needs a wedding or a marriage to be valid. Get curious about the different forms of commitment and celebrate the many shapes of love, even if it won’t require your services.

Listen and Be Receptive to Correction

We won’t always get it right, but the only way to fix our mistakes is if we’re aware we made them. Sometimes we pick up on subtle hints, other times we’re given a harsh wake-up. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how progressive we feel or how bad we mess up, cuz this isn’t about us. It’s about creating a world where love is love is love for everyone.

The Wedding Industry Isn’t Inclusive Enough (Yet!)

July 6, 2022