Taking one or more of these steps will likely lead to new business not only from LGBTQ-identified couples, but also from younger non-LGBTQ-identified couples who, according to WeddingWire’s 2016 Contemporary Couples Report, are more likely to actively seek wedding professionals who are inclusive.
Building alignment within your business
At WeddingWire World D.C., I met a venue manager from the Midwest who asked how to convince the owner of the venue to begin marketing to same-sex couples. For those of you with larger teams, you too may relate to this important question. How do you integrate the “best practices” you are learning at conferences and help educate decision-makers, owners and colleagues who may otherwise be closed to the idea?
The manager and I had a deeply layered conversation about this topic, but the primary takeaway I’d like to offer is that you must begin by having an open conversation about the opportunity and not begin to market one’s services without making sure that the entire team is truly prepared and on board with serving same-sex couples. Saying ‘yes’ to opting-in to the GayWeddings directory is one thing, but offering all couples the welcome and the services they deserve is another.
It’s also worth noting an inspiring conversation I had a year ago with a wedding pro from Louisiana who had asked me for marketing advice during a small round table discussion. When we saw each other recently at World D.C., she excitedly told me that she had made a few small changes I had recommended for her marketing copy and contracts, and in the past three months alone she had booked a handful of same-sex weddings.
It is certainly meaningful to me to hear that my advice had an impact; but, further, it quickly became clear that another big factor in her success is that her courage to openly serve same-sex couples gave her a competitive advantage just as it gave same-sex couples a safe place upon which to come calling.
No one else in her area, she said, is openly offering to serve same-sex couples.
These are only a few of the stories that I’m hearing from wedding professionals who want to work with same-sex couples, but sometimes feel isolated and surprised by the resistance they encounter in their local networks.
I truly believe that all of us who value love, the Golden Rule, and working in the wedding industry share more in common than we do otherwise. It is in this space that I think we can build a network of local professional resources to make sure that all couples are treated with dignity and respect.
This post was written by WeddingWire Education Expert Kathryn Hamm, Publisher of GayWeddings, the leading online resource dedicated to serving same-sex couples since 1999. Kathryn is also co-author of the groundbreaking book, The New Art of Capturing Love: The Essential Guide to Lesbian and Gay Wedding Photography. Follow her on Twitter @madebykathryn.