Every couple wants to be sure to find the right vendors that will meet their needs, but LGBTQ+ couples have the added stress of finding vendors that also support their lifestyle. Unfortunate as it is, there are still business owners and wedding industry "professionals" who refuse service to members of the LGBTQ+ community. And others, although they will not deny service, do not make a point of advertising their support. As a proud ally of the LGBTQ+ community, I wanted to share some tips on how to find inclusive and actively supportive wedding vendors.
LGBTQ+ Specific Vendor Resources
Utilize websites like www.equallywed.com to search for LGBTQ+ inclusive vendors in your area. Keep in mind though, just because a vendor isn't listed on the site, doesn't mean they aren't inclusive. Vendors have to pay to be listed on sites like these just like The Knot and WeddingWire.
Prowl Their Social Media
Sift through their social media accounts, especially Instagram, to see if they have any posted pictures of a same-sex wedding or couple. Even if the photos aren't from a wedding they've done themselves and are just reposted or shared from another account, it at least shows their support. For example, if you ask a photographer if they have ever serviced an LGBTQ+ couple and they say yes, but when you go on their social media there are no photos of same-sex or trans couples to be found...that's a red flag. That means that they'll happily take your money, but they don't want to advertise their affiliation.
On image-based social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, search hashtags like "#loveislove," "#mrandmr," "#mrsandmrs," "#lgbtwedding," "#gaywedding," etc. This will help you find posts by vendors specifically of LGBTQ+ weddings. The downside to this is I don't think there is a way to narrow it by region.
Look for "LGBTQ+ Inclusive"
Check out their website, email signature, and social media bio/about page and see if you find the words "LGBTQ+ Inclusive." This is the easiest way to know that they are an ally or a member of the community themselves. Also, forgive those that just put "LGBT" instead of "LGBTQ+." It more than likely isn't intentionally meant to be exclusive (that defeats the whole purpose and mission), some people are just a little behind on the correct terminology.
Pay Attention to Their Verbiage and Terms
I get so frustrated when I see vendor websites or social media posts that have "bride and groom," "mr and mrs," etc. plastered all over them. That immediately tells me they don't service the LGBTQ+ community or they don't actively support it. When you fill out their online contact form or any questionnaire, you'll notice if it says "bride's name" and "groom's name" or "your name" and "partner's name." If everything is gender specific, I would immediately move on in your search. Vendors who want to be inclusive and ensure all their potential couples feel welcome, will make the effort to adjust their labeling and terms. My website for example, does not say the words "bride" or "groom" anywhere and yet that doesn't take away from you knowing that this is a wedding planning business. All my forms and questionnaires use "partner" instead of "bride" or "groom" and "wedding party" instead of "bridesmaids" and "groomsmen." And this has never once bothered or caused any confusion with my "traditional" couples (and I wouldn't want business from the people who it would bother anyway).
Ask for Recommendations
Word of mouth is always the best marketing tool. If you know an LGBTQ+ couple that recently got married, ask them which vendors they used and how they felt about them. Also, if you find a great inclusive photographer, ask what other inclusive vendors they can recommend to you.