As members of the LGBTI community we now have the power to choose those wedding professionals who support us, but how do we define support, and how do we pick the right wedding professionals to avoid an uncomfortable misunderstanding or embarrassing situation?
I know everyone is probably celebrating the fact that marriage equality is FINALLY here. We have waited far too long for it. FACT. We have marched, protested and vocalised our cause until our voices broke like a drag queen singing on Saturday night at the Imperial Hotel! Now, we have a duty to select vendors and venues who have stood for marriage equality and marched alongside us in our protests.
Whilst there are literally tens of thousands of wedding professionals out there
the number who wish work with LGBTI couples is greatly reduced.
It’s now time to select those wedding professionals who have over time, with actions and through visual representation, have ‘truly, madly, deeply’ supported us.
When it comes to planning YOUR wedding, here are our tips and questions to include when picking your wedding professionals. These can help you avoid an uncomfortable situation popping up in front of you or, even worse, your family and friends.
There’s the physical support where actions take place, people get involved in the community and/or events and a common fight is fought. Examples are ‘Did the vendor march in marriage equality rallies? Have they attended any LGBTI fundraisers? Have they volunteered at any LGBTI support services? Have they donated to a LGBTI cause? Have they assisted the community in any way? If so, how?Do you feel comfortable that they understand how you, as a same-sex couple, would want to celebrate a wedding? Is there an assumption by the wedding professional about your relationship and how it works? (e.g. who wears the pants) Or do they let you, unassumingly, tell your story? Ultimately, do you feel 100% comfortable that your chosen vendor will be able to understand you, your partner, your family and your friends on your wedding day?
2. Tolerance vs Champion.
You want to work with people who really want to make your big day special, not someone who tolerates you just for extra cash in their pocket. Select vendors who champion marriage equality through their conversations, through their actions, through support and through publicly declaring that support. Check out their webpage and social media channels.
3. Ask and Listen … carefully.
There’s a good chance many of your wedding vendors have been working in the industry for some time and they could be considered experts in their field. When you ask questions, listen. It’s their turn to provide you with information, their chance to make you feel comfortable and advise on how they would be there to work with you on your wedding day. Listen to the language they use, the terminology and if they seem to feel uncomfortable talking about you or your partner, it might be time to move on.
4. Are you being led up the garden path?
There are a bunch of tactics that anti-gay venues & vendors use to avoid serving same-sex couples. They can be harsh and up-front in the form of a straight out “No, we don’t serve same-sex couples”. Then there’s the more subtle approach where they cannot confirm a date or even a booking because they already have a booking that day, and then the same with the next date you suggest and the next date. Finally, there’s the price hike where instead of the venue costing $5000 as per the norm, it now costs $10,000. I have even heard of one venue that agreed with marriage equality but the catering staff did not, which left them in a bit of a quandary.
If you are becoming disparaged, move on and hire a more supportive venue/vendor because it’s unlikely that a non-supportive venue/vendor who hikes the price will be there to really support you on your wedding day.
5. Direct advertising
Not all venues or vendors advertise directly to the same-sex community and it shouldn’t put you off a venue/vendor but it will take more questions to really identify if they have the understanding to appropriately ensure your wedding day needs could be met. However, if they are directly marketing to same-sex couples that means they have you in mind. They have thought about how a same-sex wedding is different, they have most likely talked about language, they understand terminology and are welcoming and inclusive. Check out our directory to find the perfect wedding professional for your day.
There are a growing number of businesses that want to work with you on your wedding but have never worked with a same-sex couple. There’s now a ground-breaking series of Masterclasses from The Equality Network
that assist those businesses in understanding the LGBTI community and how to appropriately serve you on your wedding day.The Equality Network is a partnership between two people who live and breathe same-sex weddings, so it’s important to know that the people delivering the training are very much a part of the LGBTI community and not just jumping on the bandwagon. Ask your wedding vendor/venue if they have been trained by The Equality Network or look out for this partner badge on their website.