I have been working on this post for many weeks and the truth is, I was and am very nervous about publishing it. The wedding industry is an industry I am both deeply thankful for and truly conflicted to be a part of. Yet, how can I expect my clients to be honest and forth coming with me if I shy away from the issues that not only inspire me, but also incite frustration and a call to action to add my voice to the conversation.
Dear Wedding Industry,
You have to stop with the Bride centric, name changing, traditional approach.
I am always scrolling through wedding vendors’ websites from across the world to increase my awareness of awesome authentic vendors; keep up with trends; and learn how to keep my business competitive. And while I truly find this content useful I also find it heart breaking and hard to read through. I considered linking to some sites in this post and I think that is unfair to those businesses – and frankly unnecessary because I have no doubt you’ve seen this firsthand. . Hard working, well-meaning professional people who care a lot about the couples they work with run these businesses. And public defamation isn’t my style.
Running a business who publicly – through social media, website, and advertising – address only brides is unacceptable, and bad for your business. By only providing room for the bride’s name on your contact sheet, or steering your website wording to a bride you are making a variety of assumptions about your prospective client. You are assuming your clients are straight; cisgendered; heterosexual; and that the bride is the primary planner in the couple. This is ignorant and outdated - and I’m exhausted with these antiquated ideals.
A number of years ago, when MB&COMPANY was just starting off, I went to a wedding show with my sister-in-law. Once we bought our tickets she received a confirmation note in the mail, which assumed she was taking my brother’s last name. The wedding show lost my support before I even showed up - regardless of her plan to take his name or not (she did - and all the power to her), I couldn’t let go of the presumption made on their part. A few weeks later I met with a florist with a couple who’s wedding I was planning and the florist told the couple that all that matters is that the bride is happy. This small statement made the groom’s input invalid. It wasn’t funny or cute - it’s disrespectful, and unacceptable.
These two incidents (and countless others) have launched me into a commitment of striving to make my company as inclusive, supportive and open as possible. This is an ongoing work in progress, a constant education that is driven forward with every new client I connect with. I challenge my colleagues – both planners and other vendors – to remember that not every couple fits the mold that the wedding industry is built on. Let’s break the mold, let’s support couples of all kinds, and let’s replace outdated traditional expectation with an appreciation for true modern love.
With love & constant confliction, XO!
Maggie Barton Baird