Think of being young. Did you see yourself in movies? In magazines? In highly sought after professions? Did you see yourself in wedding advertisements? These are only a few of the many things that many underrepresented and oppressed groups of people never got to see and still continue to lack in. The wedding industry and mainstream wedding media is by majority white, western, Christian, heterosexual, and thin. Why are we so stuck in this outdated wedding narrative? The truth of the matter is that typically wealthy white women have access to creating the content and narrative of the wedding industry.
Now more than ever, it’s important to consider what you value and what part you want your business to play in history. You have the power to enact positive change in the wedding industry by thinking critically and reflecting on your business brand. What do your couples typically look like? What background and experiences do they have? Do you see similarities? It’s not about inviting people of diverse identities into your space like guests, it's about creating a space for everyone to feel at home.
Social justice is not a trend. You shouldn’t feel forced to check off boxes, instead consider how we as a community can best support and celebrate couples from all races, cultures, religions, abilities, sexualities, gender identities, and bodies by upholding diversity and representation. We as a community have a long way to go but now's the time to start.
Thinking and acknowledging our privilege and part in this can feel very uncomfortable. Start there. Dig deep. As a company, Aisle Planner has also had to go through this same process and take a hard look in the mirror. It’s okay to be wrong. It’s okay to learn. Educating yourself is the second step. It’s okay to not know everything as long as you're actively trying to do better. Unlearning systemic racism and colonized conceptions that impact weddings is a responsibility we must take on. It's not the job of clients to teach us or to make our brands more diverse. Begin by writing down your values and goals and stand firmly behind them as you move forward.
Why Representation Matters
Lack of representation is a big part of inequality and inequity. It's the reflection that shows us who society deems valuable. Every single person, of all backgrounds, should be able to see themselves in every aspect of society. In weddings, we want all couples to feel like their love is worth celebrating and that their dream wedding can be realized. All bodies and abilities being shown. Inter-racial and multicultural weddings being highlighted. Black weddings. Gay Jewish weddings. Traditional Japanese weddings. Hindu and Mexican weddings. Diversity is beautiful so let’s give it the spotlight it deserves.
You’re not alone. Connect to others who are trying to achieve the same goals as you. Building community and relationships with diverse vendors is the best way to provide a home for all clients. At the end of the day, inclusion means that you get to celebrate more couples and that you have a wider audience and reach. This is a great thing for everyone.
Business Practices to Implement:
- Amplify and collaborate with vendors and other wedding professionals who are BIPOC (Black, Indegenous, People of Color)
- Invite activists and educators to business trainings
- Hire diverse people for your team
- Expand your network
- Follow diverse accounts so you can see your feed fill up with all types of weddings and inspiration
- Attend conferences centered around social activism and change
Website & Social Media
If you don’t get inquiries from marginalized groups, consider why? Your website brand and social media aesthetic sends a message to future clients about who your services are catered towards.
Try out these marketing tips to make your brand more diverse.
- Use inclusive language
- Put pronouns next to your team’s names
- Share your values and stances on social issues
- Hire models of all races, genders, sizes, abilities, etc. for wedding shoots (continuously, not just once in a while)
- Actively post representative real wedding photos
- Display your diverse partnerships with vendors
Transforming your brand is not a one and done kind of deal. It’s a lifelong practice that will take time and dedication. We believe that together we can change the wedding industry and the world.
Hero image courtesy: Heather Liddell