How to be an LGBTQ+ Inclusive Wedding Vendor

May 21, 2020

Two same sex brides share a kiss.
Eden Graham Photography

Hey lovers! I’m Cody (she/her): a stationery designer based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I’m also a proud feminist and LGBTQ+ ally.

I want to acknowledge, though, that this post is written from the perspective of a cishet (cisgendered + hetero) woman, so I can’t claim any authority over the lived experience of the LGBT community. But it’s extremely important to me to use my position in the wedding industry to advocate for all couples who are navigating the wedding planning process.

As a wedding stationery designer, I celebrate your love… period.

It’s super important to me to be clear and open about everything I do to be an equality-minded vendor.

What I’m Currently Doing

Place card with gender neutral name handwritten on handmade paper

Using Gender Neutral Language

If you’ve been reading through my website, you may have noticed an absence of terms like “bride” and “groom”. Or maybe you didn’t, which is the goal! šŸ˜‰ By leaving gendered terms like this off of my website (I also don’t use them in social media posts, nor in my client contracts), I am in no way anti-bride. If you and/or your partner want to celebrate as bride(s), I’m here for it!

I understand that using terms like “bride” and “groom” just don’t represent a huge community of people, including so many of my friends and loved ones. So here’s some words I like to use instead in my social media posts, blog pieces and website copy:

  • lovebirds
  • lovers
  • folks
  • friends
  • nearlyweds
  • pals
  • lovelies
  • clients
  • couples
  • marriers

…and in my contracts, I use either “Client A” and “Client B“, or “Partner A” and “Partner B“!

Listening and Taking Your Cue

Same sex couple wedding invitation

I mentioned my preferred pronouns at the top of this post (as well as on my social media profiles and email signature) to help others feel comfortable with sharing theirs with me. I never want to misgender someone because I didn’t ask or make someone feel welcome.

On my booking questionnaires for custom wedding stationery and virtual calligraphy coaching, I include a space where potential clients can include their preferred pronouns if they’d like. It’s a super easy and small gesture for me, but might make someone else feel welcome.

When we meet by phone or by Zoom call for our consultation, I listen to how you refer to yourselves and to your partner. This is about you and your partner, and I’ll follow your cue!

Making my Portfolio More Inclusive

Modern alternative wedding invitation featuring purple laser cut shapes

On my website and Instagram portfolios, I display a combo of previous client work and new designs that I dream up just for fun: I love to experiment with styles and design trends, and it shows you, the potential client, my flexibility as a designer.

Any stationer, calligrapher or invitation designer has a roster of fake names in their back pocket to create mock ups of new designs. If I don’t have to use specific names (like for a real client project where I’m inserting the couple’s names and details), I’ll always bust out my list of gender neutral names, because it’s important to me that anyone could be represented in my work… and there are so many fun names to write out there!

Continually Educating Myself

For me, it goes beyond being “LGBT-friendly.” I understand that things are always changing. Language is fluid. Terms that were deemed revolutionary years ago, like same-sex marriage and gay-friendly weddings aren’t fully representative of the full spectrum of gender, sexuality and love.

I have, and will make mistakes. But I’ll always do my best to stay informed and make my processes more inclusive and welcoming.

What I Want to Do More Of

Are you a wedding vendor who is LGBTQ+? I’d love to collaborate with you in some way! Or at the very least, have a coffee chat or Zoom call with you. Pop into my inbox and say hey! šŸ‘‹

Learn More

It’s super important to me to keep learning and improving. If there’s something I missed, if I’m off the mark in any of the above, or if you have questions for me, I want to hear from you!

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