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
Spend money efficiently
The average spend on a same-sex wedding has increased 88% from 2013, in large part because same-sex couples are now much less likely to have small “city hall” weddings. The landscape for same-sex weddings is a growing market, and it’s time that it receives the same consideration as the opposite-sex wedding market.
Vendor inclusivity and experience serving same-sex couples are two very important components to selecting wedding vendors among the LGBTQ community. While spending more on advertising may help reach more same-sex couples, it’s important to take a step back and assess if you’re spending your money efficiently. Look at your paid efforts on search, social media, and other advertising sites to see if your messaging targets all couples or just opposite-sex couples. Take the time to drill down on your target audience, keywords, images, and language so that you’re making the most of your advertising and talking to all couples in the way they’d want to be spoken to.
Or, if you don’t have the time or budget to separate your audiences into separate ad groups, consider more neutral language that avoids those “bridal” terms and imagery that focuses on details rather than a bride or groom combination.
Learn how to reach same-sex couples planning their wedding by opting into GayWeddings.com, the largest LGBTQ-friendly database of wedding professionals.