On Wedding Vendor Lists

lesbian wedding, Philadelphia

Wedding vendor lists are an often overlooked way for us to turn our apathy into action. As wedding photographers, most of our clients book us early in the process, soon after nailing down a venue and date. That puts a lot of power in our hands to recommend vendors to clients. I can’t tell you how many times my clients have found almost all of their vendors from my list.

Safer, more diverse wedding vendor lists

When was the last time you took a look at the demographics that make up your recommended vendors? Creating a list with safer, more diverse vendors, can make marginalized marriers planning a wedding feel more at ease. Especially when facing challenges around things like trusting a stylist who is familiar with all hair textures or looking for an officiant or DJ who is bilingual. Or having confidence the vendor will affirm things like pronouns, sexual orientation, and gender identity without causing harm throughout the planning process.

I’m dedicated to amplifying vendors who are affirming beyond performative allyship, who I can trust to celebrate and honor my clients for who they are. I’ve created a color-coded key as part of my list, marking which vendors are BIPOC and/or LGBTQIA+ owned, similar to how Google now allows inclusive tags for business listings. Shout out to @jovemeyer who speaks openly about partnering with marginalized vendors and why it’s important.

As a wedding vendor, referral groups can be another way for us to reflect the diversity of our community. To lift each other up and make connections. So many Facebook groups for photographers are predominantly white and cishet because we [speaking to fellow white people here] have pushed out non-white and queer folks by making them feel unsafe. Micro and macroaggressions have always pervaded in these groups, but they were louder than ever during last summer’s protest movement.

How do your values show up?

If you’re unsure of the values of the vendors on your wedding vendor lists, consider how your own values show up on your website, bios, and content. Are they implicit or explicit? If you’re struggling to figure out how to word what matters to you most, head over to the Pause on the Play community via my affiliate link to get curious and join us in conversation.

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