Every couple wants to be sure to find the right vendors that will meet their needs, but LGBTQIA+ couples have the added stress of finding vendors that also support their rights and lifestyle. Unfortunate as it is, there are still business owners and wedding industry "professionals" who refuse service to members of the LGBTQIA+ community. And others, although they will not deny service, do not make a point of advertising their support. If you are a proud ally and would like to connect with more LGBTQIA+ couples, here are some tips for you!
Get Listed on LGBTQIA+ Specific Directories
In addition to popular directories like TheKnot or Wedding Wire, there are websites like www.equallywed.com that specifically markets to queer couples. Being listed on site like these immediately show your inclusivity and support. Keep in mind though, just like other directory sites, there is a listing fee.
Audit Your Website and Social Media Accounts
Sift through your social media accounts, especially Instagram, to see if you see any patterns...Are all the couples cishet (cisgender + heterosexual)? Are all the couples white? Are all the ceremonies in churches? How far do you have to scroll to find a queer couple on your portfolio? These couples are looking for diversity. Just like anyone else, they want to feel welcomed and catered to. They don't want to wonder if you've ever done a queer wedding, they want to see that you just did two last month. If you haven't actually had the opportunity to work a queer wedding yet, definitely consider doing a styled shoot. Partner with a photographer, florist, and venue, hire models, rent outfits, and get photos that are relevant to your business. If you're a baker, get photos of them cutting one of your cakes. If you're a florist, get photos of two brides with two beautiful bouquets. Also, on your website and social media, put "LGBTQIA+ Inclusive" so that there is no question!
On image-based social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, use hashtags like "#loveislove," "#mrandmr," "#mrsandmrs," "#lgbtwedding," "#gaywedding," etc. This will help you show up these searches.
Take an Inclusivity Course
Even though you're an ally, there's still things you don't know. Terminology, pronouns , etc. A big part of being an ally is educating yourself to make sure you are doing everything in your power to be truly inclusive and make your clients feel comfortable. Equally Wed offers a certification program for your business and you even get a badge to put on your website!
Use Gender Neutral Language
If your website and social media pages have "bride and groom" plastered everyone, that is immediately telling couples that you only service cishet couples. Do a deep dive into your Instagram captions, your website verbiage, and even your forms. If your contact form says "bride's name" and "groom's name," update it to "your name" and "your partner's name." Even if they put in two feminine sounding names or they both present as feminine, do not immediately start referring to them as the "brides." You can ask for preferred labels on that same contact form or just stay neutral the entire time and refer to them as "marriers." The worst thing you can do is assume.
Be Unapologetically Support
Don't worry about what your conservative social media followers might think. To be a true ally (and a decent human being), you can't just be supportive in private.