3 Simple Tips: Affirming Client Questionnaires
Many clients embrace gendered terms, such as bride or groom, while others prefer their name or another title. It’s best to use your clients’ words of choice and let them lead the way. Not sure how to find that out while staying in your lane? Make it a natural part of your workflow by adding some simple items to your wedding questionnaire.
Who is being photographed?
This is a simple one. Have your clients fill out their names in a text area with placeholder text saying:
Client (or Partner) 1
Client (or Partner) 2
*Client (or Partner) 3
*Client (or Partner) 4
*Be sure to include <2 lines to be inclusive of polyamorous and/or plural relationships. Love and commitment can look differently to many people, as long as everyone is adult and consenting, I fully support and have photographed celebrating relationships with more than two people.
What are your pronouns?
I want to be able to properly address my clients, as long as they feel safe and comfortable doing so. Offer the option for them to fill in a space with their pronouns in their client intake form or questionnaire. Be sure to offer yours as well if you’re comfortable, making it a safer, more affirming space.
Confused about pronouns? Here are some quick tips.
- Pronouns do not have a gender, they’re just how someone wants to be called.
- A person’s pronouns are no indication of their gender identity.
- They are not preferred, it’s not optional.
- One person can use multiple pronouns.
- Pronouns can change daily, so be sure to check back in as the wedding day approaches to validate and affirm your clients’ pronouns.
- Misgendering someone is an act of violence, intentional or not.
- If you hear another guest or vendor misgender a client, ask your client (in advance) their comfort level on potentially correcting people in public.
- If you misgender someone, don’t make it about you. Say sorry (or better yet, “thank you for correcting me, I will do better”) and keep working.
- Be mindful about asking for pronouns in a group setting.
- Most importantly, pronouns should be visible and present in your own branding.
As an aside, some people may feel validated by sharing their gender identity or sexual orientation, or less alone when there is increased visibility or representation. Never share a client’s sexual orientation on social media (in captions or via hashtags aka #queerwedding) without their approval to do so. You could be outing someone, which can cause an incredible amount of harm and damage.
How would you like to be referred to? (ie: bride, groom, marrier, my name, other):
Client 1: Groom
Client 2: Marrier
“When you offer your clients the opportunity to tell you how they identify and how they’d like to be addressed, you show that you respect them and accept them for who they are.” –Equally Wed