Following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the wedding industry, especially our colleagues of color, pushed the boundaries of visibility, diversity, and inclusion in the wedding industry. Intense conversations took place all across the country—in person and in virtual chat rooms. White professionals were called on to educate themselves, amplify Black voices, and see and showcase talented Black professionals' work.
One way to be an ally to people of color is to diversify our industry. Are you working with talented BIPOC wedding pros in your area? Do the wedding venues you work with have a diverse list of approved professionals? If not, how do we, as allies, change that? Keep reading to learn more!
Start With Yourself
Starting with yourself is as easy as diversification of your website and online presence. Are you showing couples of color? Couples who see themselves reflected on your website are more likely to take the next step and contact you.
If you're not currently working with many professionals of color, take the first step by researching and reaching out to some of the professionals in your area. Chances are there've been talented people of color attending your local networking events. If they're in the minority at the event, they may've felt uncomfortable and faded into the background, or possibly stopped attending. Step up, introduce yourself, and take a minute to introduce them to others in your professional circle.
Collaborate with your colleagues of color to showcase their work. Not only will you get to know their work better, but you'll also broaden your circle with additional wedding professionals. A styled shoot is the perfect collaboration! You can showcase a diverse couple and a widely diverse pool of talented professionals. These shoots will enhance the visibility of all of your businesses!
Building Relationships With Venues
Anyone who's been in the wedding industry for more than a minute knows what it's like to get on the preferred list of wedding venues. It's an ugly, vicious circle. You can't just pop by and introduce yourself, show them your work, and build that relationship. Being part of the team of professionals on an event can get things started. In many cases, getting that one couple who's hired you and is already booked at that venue can be the golden ticket to showcasing your work. Be sure that you include a diverse team if you're on some of those coveted lists or get that one wedding.
However, beyond that, connecting with the managers from that venue can be an excellent first step. You've probably seen them at a thousand networking events, said hello, and unfortunately taken your relationship for granted. Sometimes, the introduction and connection can take longer for owners of minority-owned businesses because many companies are nearly invisible. So be sure to make those introductions.
Additionally, asking the venue to host a styled shoot allows you and a diverse team to showcase its work and invest in time while onsite to start those critical relationships. Not everyone is searching out a diverse vendor list. Making professional connections and showcasing the work of a diverse team makes everyone visible in our industry.
Hero photo courtesy: Darian Shantay