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Why Hiring LGBTQ+ Inclusive Employees is Essential in the Wedding Industry (and How to Do It!)

dei hr Sep 18, 2023

Weddings are about people coming together, celebrating their love and committing to a lifetime of partnership. However, planning a wedding and all the details that go into it can be quite overwhelming, especially for LGBTQ+ couples and marriers. The wedding industry has made strides in becoming more inclusive since we launched in 2010, but there is always room for improvement. As a wedding professional, it is important to create a safe and welcoming atmosphere for all couples and marriers, regardless of their gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation. One way to ensure LGBTQ+ inclusivity is by hiring employees who are knowledgeable and understanding of the unique needs of this community.

5 Reasons Hiring LGBTQ+ Inclusive Employees is Essential in the Wedding Industry

Reflects Your Values

When you hire a team of LGBTQ+ inclusive employees, you are communicating to your clients that you value diversity and inclusivity. Wedding planning is a personal and emotional...

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LGBTQ+ weddings and cishet weddings: learn the key differences

inclusivity insights Mar 10, 2023

One of the most common misconceptions I hear from people of all identities and orientations is that there is no difference between LGBTQ+ weddings and cishet weddings. (More accurately, some people claim that straight weddings and same-sex weddings aren't different, but I don't use that language anymore.) And while that statement is true enough for the purpose of fighting for marriage equality because we all deserve the right to have our marriages recognized by our government, it’s not true when you peel back the layers of what it takes to execute an LGBTQ+ wedding. There are many ways LGBTQ+ weddings and cishet weddings are different, but here are some standouts.

How LGBTQ+ and cishet weddings differ

  • LGBTQ+ weddings are challenged socially in a way that cishet weddings never are.
  • LGBTQ+ people must consider where they and their guests will feel safe during the ceremony and their reception.
  • LGBTQ+ people carefully cull their guest lists for people who haven’t...
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Do you speak LGBTQ+?

education Feb 23, 2023

Ciao, love champions! I just returned from a trip to Venice, Italy, where I was honored to take the stage twice in two days as the keynote speaker at the first-of-its-kind LGBTQ+ Wedding Congress. As Mo and I were preparing for the family trip (when one goes to Venice, one packs up the entire household!), they pulled out an old Italian dictionary we’d bought during our first year together: 2004. “You think this is still accurate?,” they asked me while holding it up in the air. “I guess language doesn’t really change that much.” I glanced up from my own lengthy to-do list and said, “Yep, pack it.” But that line my spouse said about language not really changing stuck in my brain.

Aside from new phrases that come along in any culture, such as google as a verb for searching the web, another word that definitely did not mean an invisible link between electronic communication devices that could connect the globe for instant conversations,...

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Why you need inclusive marketing in your business

marketing Feb 09, 2023

We all need inclusive marketing for our businesses. Inclusive simply means to include everyone, and inclusive marketing, in its simplest explanation, is to include everyone in your marketing.

In today's world, inclusive marketing is more important than ever no matter what industry you’re in. With the rise of social media and the globalization of business, companies need to ensure their products and services are accessible to everyone—regardless of race, size, gender identity, sexual orientation, gender expression, age, religion or ability. This means more than just avoiding offensive language or imagery; inclusive marketing is about creating a positive experience for all customers.

Another reason inclusive marketing is important is that the younger generations aren't just appreciative of diversity in messaging—they're demanding of it—even when they don't identify with any marginalized communities or the ones being excluded from businesses.

At its core,...

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Best acronyms for referring to the queer community

Talking about the LGBTQ+ community can feel like a tongue twister with all our letters, and if you’re anything like many of my students, it can feel like we keep adding letters just to mess with people. But it’s not that at all, of course. We're not trying to confuse anyone! We currently don’t have all our identities represented in the acronyms we use, but we’re trying to get better as a community to include more of the less-represented identities. That’s where the new letters come from.

But where does that leave you when you’re discussing the LGBTQ+ community, whether that’s in conversation, your website, social media or in your marketing efforts? Should you use LGBT, LGBT+, LGBTQ+, LGBTQIAA+, 2SLGBTQ+, 2SLGBTQIAA+ or something else?

First, if you haven’t taken my course, you might not yet know what all the letters mean, so let’s break down the letters above so you have that foundation.
L — Lesbian
G — Gay

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What to say after mistaking someone’s gender identity or sexual orientation

advice Jan 12, 2023

You've messed up, and maybe you're thinking something like: Will everyone hate me? Am I going to be canceled? Is it really a big deal or can I recover from this? And what should be first but is often the last thought: Have I hurt someone's feelings? What should I do?

The ol’ foot-in-mouth moment. We’ve all been there. Maybe you’ve asked someone when they’re due, and it turns out they’re not pregnant. You’ve asked someone about their Christmas plans, and they’re Jewish. Perhaps you’ve asked someone with an unfamiliar name where they are from, and as it turns out, they grew up in your home state. In the wedding industry, some common mishaps that happen with the LGBTQ+ community are asking a woman about her husband-to-be, such as “How did he propose?” or, if you do know they’re LGBTQ+, posing a question about what their family thinks, implying they might not be getting the support they deserve.

In 2020, when...

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The art of unlearning: an essential practice for authentic inclusivity

inclusivity insights Jan 03, 2023

For inclusivity in the wedding industry, hospitality, or in any facet of personal or professional matters, we need to approach it with the understanding that we’re going to need to unlearn some things. This could be because what you’ve learned might be untrue or that things have changed. Flexibility is key here.

When I teach LGBTQ+ inclusivity in my courses, workshops and team training, I try to come to the subject and my students with an open mind. Having that open mind helps me stay curious. Even though I teach from research and data acquired over the course of nearly 13 years of professional work, I know that there’s never an end to learning about other people. People are vibrant and ever-evolving beings, so how could we know all there is to know about them, their experiences, their concepts about themselves?

Notice that I used the word “try.” It’s human nature to fail, but it is something else entirely to try again after you’ve...

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How to be authentically LGBTQ+ inclusive and affirming in your wedding business

affirming how to inclusive Aug 17, 2022

More wedding and event pros are opening their hearts and business doors to the LGBTQ+ community. As this welcoming happens, it’s important to take note of the level at which businesses are saying yes to equality.

While running our LGBTQ+ wedding magazine, Equally Wed, for the past 12 years, we’ve found that inclusivity and acceptance is happening on multiple levels, from “willing to take money from gay people” all the way to celebrating the full spectrum of the LGBTQ+ community. Being LGBTQ+ inclusive doesn’t just mean being kind to everyone. It requires more work on your part to be intentionally and consistently welcoming and affirming with your thoughts, words and actions.

For a wedding business to be authentically LGBTQ+ inclusive and affirming means that you continually take the following measures to embrace all couples and marriers:

1. Use gender-neutral language throughout your website and social media posts, i.e., couples or marriers instead...

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Wedding titles for LGBTQ+ couples

By Kirsten Palladino

Historically, people who are getting married have had to choose between two wedding titles: bride or groom. However, not everyone feels comfortable with those options. As an LGBTQ+ inclusive and affirming wedding professional, it's important to educate your clients on all the options as well as not limit their choices to just bride or groom. 

Below is a nonexhaustive list of wedding title choices for anyone getting married, whether they're gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, heterosexual, male, female, nonbinary or any other identity. Incorporate the option to select all of these in your contracts, information contact boxes on your website, client onboarding processes or other info-gathering procedures, in addition to asking them their pronouns. Knowing how your clients want to be addressed throughout the wedding-planning process will equip you with the knowledge to treat them with the respect they deserve and showcase your LGBTQ+ inclusive and...

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Creative LGBTQ+ wedding ideas for your clients

pronouns Oct 14, 2021

One of the reasons working with LGBTQ+ couples is so much fun is because it often calls for tons of creativity. Couples must morph heteronormative traditions into ones that work for them, and as such, LGBTQ+ couples don’t often feel tied to doing things in any specific way. There are so many creative ways LGBTQ+ people can get married. Here are a few suggestions you can give to couples who are looking to get both creative and inclusive. 

A Double Aisle

If a couple doesn’t want to walk down the aisle together but is having trouble deciding who will walk first, a double aisle is an increasingly popular choice for LGBTQ+ marriers. That way, they can walk at the same time, but still separately. Typically, the aisles begin in opposite corners of the room and angle toward one another, but of course, it is up to each couple how they want to design the room. 

Pronoun Pins

Offering pronoun pins to guests is a fantastic way to throw an inclusive...

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