2015 was a momentous year and a huge win for same-sex marriage equality. As inclusivity continues to increase in 2016, 85% of wedding professionals surveyed said they are ready, willing and able to serve same-sex couples. However, being willing to serve and prepared to serve are two different things!
These tips, backed by data found in Volume 12 of our WedInsights series, can help your wedding business reach more same-sex couples as part of the expanding wedding market.
Go beyond the first glance
Many in the industry (e.g., wedding pros, wedding expos, registry) assume a marrying couple is one male and one female, thus distributing forms/contracts with “bride” and “groom” language, and often using the term “bridal” when referencing their clientele. This bridal bias and heteronormative assumption is important to recognize as you may be alienating current and potential clients.
89% of LGBTQ couples feel positively about a company featuring same-sex imagery on their websites and marketing collateral, and 53% of opposite-sex couples feel the same! Make the change to show your inclusivity by using the word “couples” instead of “brides”, and updating your collateral and/or contracts to be suitable for all types of couples.
Aim to be gay wedding competent
In today’s market it’s not enough to be ‘gay-friendly’ – you must be gay wedding competent. Even those pros who appear or claim to be gay-friendly can still make same-sex couples uncomfortable or unwelcome through small actions. Our data shows that 12% of engaged same-sex couples say they’ve experienced discrimination, while 13% are uncertain (i.e. unreturned phone calls or emails can create suspicion despite the true reasons).
LGBTQ couples now have a greater choice when it comes to their vendor team and it’s no longer just about who responds back. Make it a seamless experience and show your competence by:
- Understanding what LGBTQ couples need (ex. how to enter down the aisle, how to orchestrate child-parent dances, etc.)
- Understanding how LGBTQ experiences and legal options shape their choices
- Using the terms that couples use to identify themselves