Finding LGBTQIA Inclusive Wedding Vendors
Why it’s Important and How to Find the Right One
So you’ve bought the rings, got your speech together, and hired your friends to recreate the proposal scene from Martin – now it’s time for you to pop the big question. You propose, they say YES, and after all the excitement and celebration, it’s time to plan The Big Day. Planning and putting on weddings are stressful enough; the last thing you need is someone making the process more difficult because they aren’t LGBTQIA-inclusive. Looking for someone who is explicitly an ally or inclusive may seem like you’re placing limitations on planning the biggest day of your life, but it isn’t. It’s about finding the people who will cultivate an environment and experience of love, comfort, and freedom.
It doesn’t matter if you are straight, queer, gender non-conforming, or trans; finding LGBTQIA-inclusive vendors is about finding people who support love over everything else – love in all shapes, sizes, and expressions. Focusing on these specific vendors guarantees that the hands of the people crafting your wedding are loving and supportive. Additionally, if you’re an ally, it helps the LGBTQIA community with tangible social, moral, and financial support. It shows the world that being inclusive is good for the heart and good for business, but, more importantly, that this community exists, is robust and beautiful, and values love and marriage like the rest of the world.
Regardless of where you’re located, follow these tips; you’ll be able to find LGBTQIA-inclusive wedding vendors and have the best Big Day ever.
Ask a Friend
Word of mouth is always the best. It’s social proof, giving you a real-life experience with a vendor. When it’s time to plan that big day, asking a friend who has experience with LGBTQIA-inclusive vendors is the best way to find great, supportive vendors and someone who’s good and vetted while saving yourself the headache of booking the wrong vendor.
Also, if you have found an inclusive vendor, ask them if they know more like-minded and valued colleagues from previous gigs. The wonderful thing about this approach is that if one vendor is LGBTQIA-inclusive, they probably have an extensive network of inclusive vendors they can refer you to. And you never know, having a “friend” in the industry could have great perks like discounts, extras, or them giving you that personal touch and extra care that comes from referrals.
Check Out Their Online Presence
If you’ve done a Google search for vendors and found a few that seem promising, start researching them further online. First thing, go to their main website. The more supportive vendors will explicitly say they are LGBTQIA-inclusive or use inclusive language. Inversely, watch their language because it could be very telling. Being overly gender-specific or focusing solely on the bride are tell-tell signs that they may not be inclusive. This doesn’t totally discount them, but it’s something to consider when you meet in person or reach out online.
In addition to their website, scroll through their social media pages as well. Search their pictures for LGBTQIA couples or check their Facebook or Twitter feeds for social and politically supportive posts. After that, just like the social proof from word of mouth, check any reviews available. Reading other people’s experiences should give you a good look into their approach, values, and overall experience.
Have the Conversation
Just ask them. It’s understandable to have a slight trepidation about having these conversations. They can be touchy (for some) or just flat-out awkward – it’s like asking, “Do you like queer people?” And although sometimes it seems easier to ask around or dig online, sometimes the best approach is the straightforward one. You’ll find that many times you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
In an ideal world, everyone would be progressive and inclusive, and there would be fewer people and companies like Jack Phillips. Phillips is the baker and owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado. He made news several years ago for refusing to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple and later refusing to make a birthday cake for a trans-woman celebrating their gender transition. Unfortunately, everyone isn’t inclusive, open, and supportive, but you know what? They say it’s best to go where you’re celebrated and not where you’re tolerated, and as much as people should be open to everyone, they aren’t.
But you are not alone.
The beautiful thing is, in creating the Black Gay Weddings platform, we also created a new vetted resource of vendors who are LGBTQIA-Friendly. The LGBTQBizList.com is an extensive network of supporters, allies, and resources comprised of LGBTQIA-inclusive vendors and event spaces. The LGBTQBizList is an online directory filled with top-notch talent and vetted LGBTQIA-friendly vendors and companies who will help you plan your entire day with one website and save you time, energy, and stress, making your “Big Day” one you’ll never forget.