We know our Catalyst readers are some of the most progressive couples out there, and the struggle to “stay woke” while navigating this super traditional wedding industry is REAL.
Thankfully, one of the easiest ways to have a woke wedding is to book inclusive vendors.
But how do you get started? We’ve outlined some steps that can help:
1. Choose Vendors of Color or Who Are Part of Marginalized Communities
Choosing vendors who are of color or a part of marginalized communities is one of biggest political statements you can make at your wedding. Including people of varied backgrounds and experiences to celebrate your love and be visible in your celebration makes a huge impact, not just on your day or your guests, but especially for the vendors. Put your money where your heart is. You won’t regret it.
2. Finding Woke Wedding Professionals is Easier Than You Think
Googling “woke wedding vendors” in your area probably won’t yield the best results but thankfully we’ve taken care of that for you. One of the first resources you can check out is our amazing vendor directory. It’s chock full of vendors across the country (even in the South y’all!) who are committed to social justice, equity, and dedicating their talents to make your day phenomenal. Consider it your compass in planning.
3. Look at Their Portfolio
Once you have an idea of who you’d like to hire for services, head to their website and check out their portfolio. You especially want to do this if you’re looking at photographers, videographers, and makeup artists. Do they have an inclusive portfolio? Do they have experience styling and photographing a variety of skin tones. If you can’t get a sense of this from their portfolio, there’s one other way to check...
4. Talk to Them!
You can learn a lot about vendors based on how they respond to you. In a state like Texas, you might not want to put yourself out there to hear people tell you they don’t “do” your wedding. Having a proxy like a friend or planner could be totally helpful for this (even though it’s frustrating AF because it’s 2018).
5. Go With Your Gut
I launched my wedding planning business, All the Days Event Co., in September 2016 and I definitely didn’t have the portfolio I wanted. But my clients knew after a consultation that I wasn’t using buzzwords for money. I truly cared about and wanted to serve an inclusive community of couples in love. Use the questions below to help you during phone-calls or in-person meetings to get a sense of where vendors stand on inclusivity.
Here are some questions you can ask vendors:
Do you use people of color as models in your shoots?
What are your views on same-sex marriage?
Have you ever served differently-abled clients before?
What are your considerations when looking for models?
Already married? How have inclusive vendors helped make your wedding a dream come true? Tell us in the comments below!
This article is part of Jordan Maney's monthly column Tulle & Fury, where she looks at the intersections of weddings, identity, politics, and mental health.
Jordan A. Maney is an Assistant Editor at Catalyst Wedding Co. and is a San Antonio-based wedding planner. She she started her company as a planning haven for all the couples the industry chooses to ignore. Instead of just making a brand, she's building a community. Find more of her sass, humor, and Southern hospitality at allthedaysweddings.com.