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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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Think outside the box: advice from Samantha and Leah's dazzling winter wedding

After an epic flash mob proposal, Samantha and Leah’s winter wedding took place on the historic riverfront of Wilmington, North Carolina. The couple, who had already been together for ten years, wrote that they “were going for a laid-back yet elegant vibe with a mix of the old with the new, including first look photos on a rooftop bar but a ceremony in an old warehouse.” Their advice to vendors working with LGBTQ+ couples: “Be open, accepting and willing to think outside of the box. It is 100 percent OK to ask what you are unsure of (like pronouns, future names, who wants to walk down the aisle first, etc.) but make sure to listen to what the couple is asking. Also, just think before you speak!

"Nothing frustrated us more than when someone would ask 'so who’s the groom' in your wedding … There is no groom. We are both brides!?” 

One of the most fun parts about working with LGBTQ+ couples is the opportunity to shirk tradition...

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Ask questions: insights from Megan and Allyson's groovy and eclectic Indianapolis wedding

Megan and Allyson wanted a wedding filled with fun and color with a groove and eclectic vibe. The couple married at the The Nest Event Center in Indianapolis, with Megan's aunt officiating.

Their advice to wedding vendors serving LGBTQ+ weddings and couples: Ask questions.

“If you’re unsure of something, then ask the question,” they say. “Be open with LGBTQ+ couples. It makes us feel like you care about getting it right.”

Many wedding and event pros mistakenly feel that asking questions means showing signs of ignorance. However, when, if asked in the right way, doing so can often be a sign of respect.

Asking questions means you are not making assumptions about how members of a couple identify or what wedding traditions they would like to follow. It means admitting when you don’t understand something about their identity or community and being open to learning about it. That way, you can be the best possible collaborator you can be. Some...

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