The 10 Conferences & Education Platforms All Wedding Professionals Need to Run Their Inclusive Business

We all need a little help to make our businesses better and more inclusive. The following conferences, workshops, and educational platforms can make all the difference in how you run your wedding business.

Conferences & Workshops

1. The Cookout by Tomayia Colvin Education

Catalyst Wedding Co. is a sponsor of The Cookout Photo Conference.

WHEN: September 16–18, 2018
WHERE: Atlanta, Georgia
WHY YOU SHOULD BE THERE: This is an amazing lineup of all black speakers and workshop leaders organized by Tomayia Colvin, who runs a groundbreaking educational platform focused on photography, business, diversity, and inclusion. This conference caters to photographers, but so much of the advice in these workshops can apply to other creatives. Tim Riddick & Latoya Dixon both spoke at our last {un}convention, and we cannot recommend them highly enough. We're pretty big fans of a number of other speakers on this list, and had a chance to speak at SNAP Photo Festival in 2017 with Jide Alakija, and we can tell you he is the REAL DEAL. You don't want to miss this!!

The 2018 Cookout is SOLD OUT! But tickets for the 2019 Cookout in New Orleans at the Ace Hotel go on sale on September 18th! DO NOT MISS THIS!

Catalyst Wedding Co. is a sponsor of The Radical Wed Retreat

WHEN: October 27–29, 2018
WHERE: Seaside, Oregon
INVESTMENT: $450-650 (includes food and lodging)
WHY YOU SHOULD BE THERE: Okay, shameless plug, y'all...I'm speaking at this retreat and I am pretty pumped about it! This retreat is equal parts wellness and business growth/professional development. The menu alone is making me salivate. Jamie Carle and Justine Broughal are the photographer/planner team organizing this event, and Kelcey Olson will also be speaking. We'll be talking about running a social justice business, cultural appropriation in the wedding industry, LGBTQIA+ inclusivity, and so much more.

Catalyst Wedding Co. is a sponsor of The Midwest Gathering. 

WHEN: November 7–8, 2018
WHERE: Detroit, Michigan
INVESTMENT: $800 ($650 with discount code)
WHY YOU SHOULD BE THERE: Again, this is an amazing lineup of photographers! Bri McDaniel is an absolute gem. She's served on the Catalyst Advisory Board and is a regular contributor to our site. Margaret Jacobsen is also a Catalyst contributor and supporter, and they always have great insights! The rest of the lineup is amazing, and we know the whole conference is going to be unbelievable. 

WHEN: November 6–8, 2018
WHERE: Canmore, Alberta, Canada
WHY YOU SHOULD BE THERE: The Real Life Photography Conference run by Erika Mann and her team is a photography conference for female-identified and non-binary folks. Past speakers include our friend Oriana Koren, and this year's lineup includes our faves Charmi Pena and Cristal Wallin. This conference is extra special, because it looks at issues specifically facing female-identified and non-binary photographers in the industry, while also looking at social justice issues that affect both the US and Canada. It's a must attend!

WHEN: October 19–21, 2018
WHERE: Atlanta, Georgia
WHY YOU SHOULD BE THERE: This conference is focused around black female photographers, and that is pretty amazing. Speakers Tyrenda Pentecost, Joyanne Panton, and several other rock stars are talking Photoshop, video editing, workflows, balance, and more.

WHEN: December 3–6, 2018
WHERE: Bermuda
WHY YOU SHOULD BE THERE: In addition to the fact that you'll be in Bermuda, this conference is run by Munaluchi, so it will be focused on bringing multicultural and black voices to the forefront. Nana Annan, Chip Dizárd, and many, many more will be there to lead workshops and talks throughout this 3-day conference.

Online Educational Platforms

7. Tomayia Colvin Education

Tomayia Colvin Education, the platform behind The Cookout, is an online community and platform full of support and dozens of classes discussing photography, business, marketing, and more. You can buy access to classes individually, or you can get access to all courses for $19/month.

Equally Wed Pro is a subset of content on the Equally Wed site dedicated to bringing inclusive LGBTQIA+ education to wedding pros. With advice and articles from Cassandra Zetta, Kristen Ott Palladino, and the rest of the Equally Wed team, it's an amazing free resource.

Alex Fisher is the leader behind Rad Business Collective. This is a members-only education platform for all types of creative entrepreneurs. While Alex has lots of experience as a wedding planner, this platform is not specific to any one industry. There are courses around diversity, inclusion, accessibility, social media, business planning, and more. Plus the group gets together weekly for online co-working, which is super awesome!

Where Change Started is an anti-racism educational platform run by L Glenise Pike. This platform is less about running your business, and more about looking inward to figure out how to dismantle your own internalized ideas about racism. If we want to make change in the wedding industry, and in the world, the change needs to start with us.

Photo by Tiffany Josephs Photography

Photo by Tiffany Josephs Photography


Jen Siomacco is the CEO and Creative Director of Catalyst Wedding Co. She works to mesh together her love of feminism, love stories, equality and design into the layout and brand of Catalyst while she sits on her couch and snuggles up with her SUPER lazy cats.