This month is a time for celebration – a celebration of those who identify as 2SLGBTQIA+ and a celebration of love for all. But also, more than ever, it’s a cry for action and for change.
We took time to reflect on how we can be a more inclusive space, how we can provide resources to the wedding community and how we can affect change.
We wanted to pass the mic to Queer and allied voices within our own community to join platforms to help provide education and resources to Queer couples during their wedding planning journey.
We know that for Queer couples planning their wedding, the journey can be difficult. Searching for vendors, stores and venues that will not just ‘accept’ you but make you feel safe, seen and celebrated.
We also know that the wedding community as a whole is passionate about celebrating all forms of love and working towards becoming a safer space.
Check out some of the amazing people who contributed their expert knowledge:
5 Industry Tips From A Wedding Planner
Creating a safe and inclusive space for all couples is simple, but it does take a bit of back-end admin work. Follow these tips to ensure everyone who comes across your page feels comfortable and accepted by you and your brand!
- Language: Use inclusive and gender-neutral language in all your docs/copy! Avoid using the term “bride and groom”, and instead use the term “partner” or “couple”. This is the simplest change you could make and, really, no one should be using the term ‘bride and groom’ in 2023 y’know? Here are a few other gender-neutral terms you can use: “bridal suite” = “wedding suite”, “bridesmaids/groomsmen” = wedding party, bridesmates, groomsmates, person of honour, etc. Use ‘Partner 1/Partner 2’ on your docs when collecting info.
- Pronouns Please: Ask your clients what their pronouns are, and what sort of wedding language they prefer to use (ie: they may not want to be called a ‘groom’ at all and prefer to be referred to as ‘spouse’.)
- Rad Recos Only: When recommending other vendors, ensure they’re queer-friendly and active allies. Don’t work with people who don’t align with your values.
- Diversity Matters: Doing a creative shoot? Think outside the box! Just like the symbol of Pride is a rainbow, so are couples getting married…so think about body diversity, working with queer vendors, using trans/non-binary models, age ranges, etc while coming up with the overall vision.
- Allyship Is About Constant Growth: If you don’t know, ask! Not sure how to word something? Unsure of how to approach asking for pronouns? Feel clunky while navigating new wording? Talk it out, and ask a friend! There is no shame in admitting you’re unsure of something. Heck, other day I had to google the best wording for gender-neutral washroom signs! There are no stupid questions when it comes to growth.
By Jenny at Three Lights Events
5 Pieces of Advice
I wish someone told me as a Queer Person planning their wedding
- Some Inclusive Vendors…Aren’t: Instead of looking at years of experience or 5 star reviews, I found myself searching through the websites and social media pages of vendors just looking for a nugget of queer representation. When I finally found it, it was usually 1-2 photos posted sometime in June. If you reach out to a vendor who claims to be inclusive but then hands you a contract that starts with ‘bride’s name’ and ‘groom’s name’, it’s okay to keep looking. You deserve to work with vendors that want to genuinely celebrate your love, not just work around it.
- You Can Choose Your Traditions: There’s a lot of narrative online around ditching tradition and having a ceremony that reflects you and your queerness. There’s less talk about how it’s okay to embrace the elements of tradition that speak to you. Don’t feel like you aren’t entitled to a religious ceremony or taking your partner’s name or having your father give you away if those are things that you want. Take what resonates, leave what doesn’t.
- Wear Whatever You Want: There are no rules around what you ‘should’ wear on your wedding day. This can be especially tough for genderqueer or genderfluid people. I went back and forth about wearing a dress or a tux for months so I went shopping, tried on both, and ultimately decided on two looks!
- Research Your Honeymoon: Although we’ve come a long way, there are still many destinations that are not necessarily safe to travel as a queer couple. Make sure to thoroughly research before booking your honeymoon – you’ll want to be openly loved-up wherever you end up!
- It’s Not Your Job To Make A Statement: Getting married as a queer person feels like such a privilege to me and I spent a lot of my wedding planning process thinking about ways that I could incorporate my appreciation and pride through readings, speeches, etc. Just focus on making the day a reflection of you, your spouse and your love for each other. Your loving marriage is a testament in and of itself.
By Stevie Aubin – Stylist at Sash + Bustle
Choosing your vendors as a Queer Couple can be really challenging, so we’ve put a list together of some of our favourite Queer and Inclusive contacts to help get you started:
- Attia Events
- Confetti & Co
- Ebony x Ivory Events
- Ethan Gill Weddings & Events
- Fiona Lau Events
- Mad Bash Group
- Neisha Pierre Events
- Open Sky Weddings
- Perfectly Designed Events
- Simple Darling Events
- Three Lights Events
- Alix Gould
- Barb Simkova
- Courtney Marie Imaging
- Deanna Way Photography
- Fox Photography
- Frances Rose West
- Hideaway Days
- Honey & Lux
- Inna Yasinksa
- Scarlet O’Neill
- Philosophy Studios
- Rosewood Studios
- Rust & Bark
- Whim and Willow–
- Wind and Willow Studios
Hair and Makeup
- AGO Events
- Belcroft Estate
- Bellamy Loft
- Berkeley Events
- Distillery Events
- Evergreen Brickworks
- Gladstone House
- Junto Studios
- Pearle Weddings
- Steam Whistle
- The Broadview Hotel
- The Globe and Mail Centre
Calls To Action For The Wedding Community
We recognize our privilege and our power as leaders in the wedding world and we would be remiss if we didn’t use that and put out a direct call to action to our designers and partners. We are urging the bridal community to do the following:
- Ditch The Binary: This one is for our fashion-related partners. We get it, we work in a fashion industry that leans heavily into the binary (dresses and suits) – that doesn’t mean that you can’t offer flexible solutions. This really can go for anyone, but especially folks who are genderfluid or genderqueer. Whether you’re a dress boutique or a suiting boutique; become versed in the masc and femme details of your garments. Ultimately, someone choosing their wedding look will be a unique decision to that unique person, but as stylists and owners, we can become adept at how to style someone. Regardless of whether they present/identify as masc, femme, or a mix of both.
- Inclusive Language: It is 2023 y’all. Avoid using ‘Bride’ and ‘Groom’ in all your marketing and copy and instead opt for ‘Partner’ etc. It’s one of the smallest updates you can make to be more inclusive. Also, pronouns please. List yours in your professional correspondence and include it in your booking questionnaire. It’s another small but respectful thing we can do; addressing someone by the pronouns they are most comfortable with.
- Representation Matters: And not just during Pride Month. There’s gotta be nothing worse than as a nearlywed to be planning your wedding and while searching for vendors you only see representation during it’s corresponding celebratory month. Representation matters all year long. Period.
- Be Loud And Proud: Be an active ally. More than rainbow emojis and ‘love is love’ – Pride is a movement. A call for radical change, a push for Queer people to not just exist but to thrive. Make sure your support goes beyond quiet allyship. Push boundaries, call out others in the industry, urge your industry partners to make change, show up, show out, donate, support. Loudly. And all year long. Because after all, the first Pride was a riot.
That your love is safe here.
To always strive to be better allies.
To always champion your love, any love, because it is hella beautiful!
To nurture a platform/business/community that centres around love and celebration.
To work towards being a safe and inclusive space for all members of the Queer Community. We will continue to challenge the norms by representing and celebrating the beauty of diversity.
Representation and inclusion is a journey, not a destination. We welcome the opportunity to recommit ourselves to ensuring everyBODY who discovers Sash + Bustle knows they are welcome.
It has always been our mission to create a safe space that is free from judgement, discrimination and prejudice – both for every guest who enters S+B and every employee that joins our team. We are committed to representing people of different sizes, races and genders.
We are committed now and always to making people feel seen and celebrated at S+B
Happy Pride and remember to celebrate love everyday
-Vanessa, Andrea and the S+B team