» Tailoring Your Message to be Inclusive of Same-Sex Couples

This post was written by WeddingWire Education Expert Kathryn Hamm, Publisher of GayWeddings.com, 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.

Our company founder—my straight mom—has long said: “Marriage equality isn’t a matter of if. It’s a matter of when.” And, it turns out, she was right.

What neither of us could have predicted when she founded the company back in 1999 is how quickly the legal landscape would change – moving the quiet trend of same-sex couples having commitment ceremonies to a full blown movement for marriage equality, embraced by a majority of Americans.

This fall, the legal landscape for same-sex couples stands to shift again, with California’s Prop 8 case (formerly known as Brown v Perry), challenges to federal recognition via DOMA knocking at the door of the Supreme Court, and with three ballot measures to approve same-sex marriage waiting for voters on Election Day 2012 in Maryland, Washington, and Maine.

With these advancements occurring and with partnership recognition available for same-sex couples in so many states, it is increasingly important for Wedding Pros to make conscious decisions about their marketing strategy, gain more knowledge about serving same-sex couples, and take advantage of the opportunity to serve same-sex couples, if you so chose.

We are excited to announce new account updates for WeddingWire Pros on GayWeddings.com! If you are amongst the 40,000 plus Wedding Pros currently listed in the GayWeddings.com directory (powered by WeddingWire), please consider strengthening your gay-friendly message by making the following updates to your listing:

Update Your Profile Image: Though vendors can still choose a gay-inclusive main image to run across the WeddingWire Network (including GayWeddings.com, WeddingWire, Martha Stewart Weddings, WeddingBee, and Brides), Pros can now create a same-sex profile image to show only in the GayWeddings.com directory. So, if you have an image which features a same-sex couple, you can now configure your settings to run the image as your profile image only the GayWeddings.com site!

Photo credit: Stacey Kane Photography

Review Your Description: Are you only talking about “brides” in your business description? Think about the other potential customers you are leaving out! There may be straight grooms making decisions about booking, just as there may be gay grooms or lesbian brides searching for their perfect Wedding Pro. We highly recommend that you use neutral language when you are speaking generally and specific language when you need to be specific. Our recommendation: refer to your prospective clients as “engaged couples” or “brides and grooms.”  You may find that those inclusive cues bring you more inquiries.

Ask For Reviews: One of the great features of a WeddingWire account is the opportunity to request reviews. If you’ve served a same-sex couple, make sure that you ask them for a review. And, if your settings allow you to do so, feature that review to more easily grab the attention of same-sex couples who are looking for Pros who have worked with same-sex couples in the past.

Update Your Storefront: Do you have images or a video from a gay wedding you’ve worked? Ask the couple and photographer for permission to use those photos and post them in your Storefront. Do you have a blog? Write a post that addresses your thoughts on working with a same-sex couple or trends in gay weddings.

If you are listed in the GayWeddings.com directory, you already have the advantage of being found by the thousands of same-sex couples seeking talented and open-minded Wedding Pros. If you are not listed, and would like to be, learn how to update your setting today.