One-Year Anniversary: Meet the Aisle Planner Diversity Committee

Diversity committee
August 17, 2021

Aisle Planner was founded with a mission to build community with love for love. That’s why it’s of the utmost importance to shed light on the ways our industry is lacking diversity and representation. Last year, in the midst of the pandemic and the BLM Movement, we made a commitment to reflect and uncover how we play a part in perpetuating these harmful ideals and make actionable changes to do better. We feel an immense responsibility to dedicate our platform and tools to advocacy and representation. We support, uplift, and celebrate all identities and communities––BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, all cultures, religions, bodies, and mental and physical abilities. We made a commitment to lifelong learning and growing––that’s how our diversity committee was born!

It’s with great honor that we celebrate the 1-year anniversary of Aisle Planner’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. It's made up of extraordinary pros that help keep us accountable in creating a more equal, inclusive, accessible, and sustainable industry. Together we’ve made progressive strides in enhancing our tools and publishing stories from all voices and experiences. Today we highlight them and their amazing contributions! We introduce you to the valued members of the committee, featuring an inside look at their thoughts on the past year, mental health, and optimism for the future.


 

Tara Melvin bio
Photo courtesy of Ana Isabel Photography


What can other wedding and event pros do to be active advocates for social justice in their businesses and partnerships?

The first step is to get involved and not feel that you are just one person that can't make a difference. The fact is that one person can make a difference. Secondly, do not be afraid to be open to listen, learn, teach, and help others find the power within themselves to stand up.

How do you take care of your own mental health and stay motivated amidst challenges?

Since COVID, I have been more intentional about my overall well-being. As a result, I limit my work hours, space out valuable time for myself, and most importantly enjoy and live life. I've been able to check off some long overdue "to-do's." I learned how to swim––one of my greatest moments!
 

Paula Ewers bio
Photo courtesy of Andre Brown Photography


Why did you decide to join the AP diversity committee? Why is it important to you?

To be involved in the change. I am passionate about giving minority communities a voice in spaces we have been excluded and silenced. Aisle Planner has provided a platform to discover, reveal, and welcome diversity and I want to assist in this movement.

What gives you hope that positive change is happening in the industry and in the world?

Seeing more diversity in rooms, vendor lists, comment sections, and events means we're moving in the right direction!
 

Yodit bio
Photo courtesy of Iris Mannings


How do you take care of your own mental health and stay motivated amidst challenges?

I start each day with prayer and meditation to clear my mind before jumping into the day's to-do list. When I start to feel overwhelmed I remind myself to breathe as well as to focus on one task at a time and try to tackle each instead of thinking of the entire list. I also constantly try to live day in gratitude that I am choosing this life and that keeps me motivated when dealing with stress or something not going the way I planned.

Reflecting back, in what ways do you feel like the diversity committee has grown and made a positive difference?

I really love that the committee is highlighting the voices and work of new creatives that I have not heard of and opening the pool of talent to get recognized by others.
 

Ivy Summer bio
Photo courtesy of Kara Cooper Photography


Reflecting back, in what ways do you feel like the diversity committee has grown and made a positive difference?

Aisle Planner's Diversity Committee has made a positive difference by bringing topics to the monthly roundtables that help clue in a big industry influencer [AP] about how DEIB intersects with the wedding industry and how to promote and celebrate DEIB among both colleagues and clients. I hope it inspires other big wedding industry players to follow suit and to commit to some of their own DEIB initiatives.

What can other wedding and event pros do to be active advocates for social justice in their businesses and partnerships?

Make it a point to discuss with other industry professionals your curiosity around and willingness to incorporate DEIB in your business model and daily mindset. Treat it like any other ongoing best practice, and challenge yourself to learn a bit more about DEIB in business every week.
 

Fausto bio
Photo courtesy of Nadra Photography


What gives you hope that positive change is happening in the industry and in the world?

I see change happening with panel discussions, etc. I noticed more minorities represented than ever before at Catersoure this year!

What can other wedding and event pros do to be active advocates for social justice in their businesses and partnerships?

Include the rest of us! Don't just pat us on the back. We aren't a one-month a year thing to think about.
 

Nilou bio
Photo courtesy of Djamel Wedding Photography


How can other pros support and help underrepresented clients and wedding/event pros?

We can support other pros by educating each other, holding our colleagues to the high standards of the industry, sharing resources, tips, and knowledge, and by referring each other when it makes sense to pass the job to someone else. We can support our clients by finding them the best and most fitting vendors who can meet their needs, budget, and preferences.

Reflecting back, in what ways do you feel like the diversity committee has grown and made a positive difference?

As a newly founded entity, the diversity committee has come a long way to bring vendors, from all walks of life, together. The committee educates, inspires, and supports vendors and creates an inclusive, open and inviting atmosphere where we can all improve and grow and serve our clients better.

How do you take care of your own mental health and stay motivated amidst challenges?

Both by going within and by going outside of myself! I take time (even just a few minutes a day) to pause, take deep breaths, stretch, clear my mind and remind myself that I am a soul and connected to all beings at my deepest core. I also take time to connect with family and friends, go for a walk, make a phone or video call, and visit.
 

Terrica bio
Photo courtesy of Tamara Gibson Photography


Why did you decide to join the AP diversity committee? Why is it important to you?

I am a long time lover of AP–both their product and their staff. I loved that they were one of the first companies to approach this head on. With their broad reach, they see and work diligently to ensure that voices are heard, support is given, and they're always willing to address the hard issues and give actionable solutions. My love, loyalty, and esteem have not been misplaced.

How do you take care of your own mental health and stay motivated amidst challenges?

I am totally okay with saying no. No to calls, no to invitations, no to another job if it means it threatens my mental health. If it costs your peace, it's too expensive. I make sure I take time off. Even if I just lay in bed, read, work out––I need time to have a break and decompress. To stay motivated, I stay close to people who are positive, challenging, and engaging. Most importantly, supportive.
 

Kirsten bio
Photo courtesy of Heidi Harris Photography


Why did you decide to join the AP diversity committee? Why is it important to you?

As a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community and a passionate LGBTQ+ inclusivity educator, it's important to me to support the wedding industry with researched data as well as my personal experience. When Aisle Planner asked me to be on the diversity committee, I was immensely honored and appreciative of the chance to assist and connect with other wedding pros who are equally as passionate as I am.

What can other wedding and event pros do to be active advocates for social justice in their businesses and partnerships?

Don't shy away from getting involved in lifting up and better serving underrepresented communities. But first, educate yourselves and listen, listen, listen. Don't just swoop in and try to be a hero. Also, speak up for others when they're not around. Advocate for more diversity and inclusion wherever you go, whether it's choosing speakers at an event, deciding which creative partners are going to be asked to participate or which images you're going to share on social media. Be the change!
 

Alex bio


 

Shawna bio


 

Bron bio


 

Denise bio


 

Elana bio


 

Eliana bio



The learning never stops and that’s the beauty of it all. We can each take steps to reflect on our own biases, love deeply, educate ourselves, take action, and dare to imagine and create a bright and radically different future. We’re forever grateful for our diversity committee. Cheers to our one year!

Share

About the Author

Aisle Planner Editorial Team
Aisle Planner Editorial Team
The Aisle Planner Editorial Team is a collective of creative writers, editors, and former event pros who obsess over weddings and special events—and the businesses behind them! Drawn to the details of their design and extravagant charm of their creativity, our team provides intelligent and straightforward articles with insights, practical tips, and expert guidance in putting Aisle Planner's "Power of One" behind your business. ...