I'm Tori, a portrait and wedding photographer based in central New Jersey. Thank you for visiting my little corner of the internet; I'm so happy you're here. Come check out the full galleries from recent weddings and portrait sessions, behind the scenes, personal posts, helpful tips and more. Please feel free to take a look, and let me know if there is anything special you'd love to see in a future post. I hope to hear from you soon!
If you’re looking to open your business up to all types of couples, you may want to consider fine-tuning the copy on your website, in your emails, on your social media, and in your contracts and questionnaires! Language is so important and can really make or break an interaction you have with a couple! There are many simple changes you can make to use more language that is inclusive to the LGBTQ+ community and show that you are aware and considerate of all types of relationships!
You’re immediately cutting out so many people by using “brides” as a blanket term to talk about all couples, like grooms and other anyone who doesn’t identify as either a bride or groom. I try to use the term ‘couple’ or ‘fiancé’ instead of bride wherever I can to include anyone looking into my work! If your website is ONLY focused on speaking to brides, you’re potentially missing out on a lot of other wonderful people!
Oftentimes, vendors will put “Bride’s Name” and “Groom’s Name” on their contact form, which again, excludes anyone who doesn’t fall under either category. This causes discomfort as they’re filling out the form (if they even do – that may be a turn off that causes them NOT to reach out). Shift the language to partner, fiancé, or spouse. You can change it to:
“Your Name” and “Your Partner’s Name”
“Partner 1” and “Partner 2”
“Your Name” and “Fiancé’s Name”
“Client 1’s Name” and “Client 2’s Name”
Keep in mind that these changes can be made in more places than just your contact form. Your contract will include your couple’s contact information, and even any questionnaires that you send them will likely ask for their names again, so always make sure that you’re referring to these inclusive terms there, as well!
Again, by labeling your couple’s friends as bridal party members, especially in the case that there is no bride or your couple doesn’t identify as a bride, you’re perpetuating the stigma that weddings are solely for a bride. Shift to ‘wedding party’ instead for an easy and inclusive fix!
When I’m creating my timelines for my couples, there are a few places where bride and groom can be interchanged, like where I would typically put “Bride’s getting ready location” and “Groom’s getting ready location” I would switch to “Lucy’s getting ready location” and “Jackie’s getting ready location.”
I also separate out the wedding parties on my timeline so I know everyone’s names, so I will write John’s Wedding Party Members and Nate’s Wedding Party Members instead of “Bridesmaids” and “Groomsmen!” Plus, I’ve had wedding parties with mixed genders on each side, so to call them all bridesmaids or all groomsmen just wouldn’t make sense!
If you’re unsure or just want to be as inclusive as possible, you can use the term “parent dances” or “special dances” in your timeline or questionnaire copy where it may come up. This is especially helpful, as it can encourage couples who maybe want to have a dance with both of their parents or another non-parent relative, regardless of if they identify as LGBTQ+!
You may assume that your couple is same-sex, but without asking, you may not know that one partner may not identify with the same sex as the other, so same-sex could end up being offensive, as well. Consider using LGTBQ+ wedding in your copy instead.
I’ve found that the best thing I can do is to be open and honest when I’m unsure of how someone would like to be referred to. The last thing I would want is to make any of my couples uncomfortable by assuming their gender or identification. If you’re unsure whether they want to be called a bride, groom, partner, fiancé or another term, just message them with an open, thoughtful, and candid statement letting them know that you respect them and want to make sure you are referring to them in a way that makes them most comfortable! I’m sure anyone in the LGBTQ+ community would not be offended but rather be appreciative and grateful for the consideration!
At the end of the day, make sure you are looking over your website copy, contracts, questionnaires, emails, and your social media posts. You may not get it right every time and you may miss some changes, but simply being aware of your language makes such a huge difference to your LGBTQ+ couples going through the wedding planning process. They’re faced with an industry that still sometimes practices outdated, offensive, and non-inclusive methods, so to be ONE more vendor who opens their arms to the community will be greatly appreciated!
Curious about my stand on inclusivity in my business? Check it out here!