Let's put an end to exclusionary language and sexist vendors in the wedding industry

Guestpost by Lindsey Huddleston on Feb. 6th

In response to last week's post, Lindsey of DandyLion EventsThey ♥ OBB; we ♥ them rages against the wedding industry's exclusionary ways, and gives us tips on how YOU can help put an end to sexist vendors.

please dont feed the groom

…or look at the groom, or talk to the groom, or give him any attention at all. (Thanks to allyson_rosen for uploading this to the Pool.

Man, if you want to get my panties in a wad, let's talk about the EXTREME sexism in the the wedding industry. All sorts of vendors make gender stereotypes — brides do these things, grooms roll eyeballs and/or have no opinion. So grooms are slated into either a) thinking the opinions of their partner are stupid/insignificant/overblown, or b) they just don't care at all. AS IF!

Just because one partner is more involved in the planning than the other doesn't mean they don't care or are taking it lightly. Even that isn't true — you both have priorities as individuals, and as a couple, for your wedding day. So many times, vendors fall into the "this is how all brides/grooms act, this is what the plan and the packages always are…" Why do people do this? And then label it EXPERIENCE? Infuriating.

My general thoughts and feelings are, and always will be, that any language that is exclusionary should be shunned. Wedding vendors should refer to clients as a unit without gender identification. Two main reasons as I see it:

  1. Two people are getting married, one person isn't marrying themselves.
  2. Not all couples are composed of one male and one female.

Why can't we wedding professionals refer to our clients as clients, our couples, our newlyweds, partners, betrothed, whatever? Both partners will participate on some level — usually one more than the other — but that doesn't discount their partnership in making decisions and participation in the creation of their marriage.

So, here are some suggestions for ways to talk to vendors:

Begin early. Include your partner in all communications as much as possible: in person, via email, conference calls, Skype together, whatever it takes. You are planning a wedding together; you are marrying each other.

Have a way for vendors to reach both of you. Email, cell phone, texting privileges, etc. If they only have one person to communicate with, then that's what will happen.

Talk early and often about your priorities as individuals and as a couple. Obviously your level of care and attention will wane or grow with what you care about the most. (Duh, just like everything else in life. I'm thinking of Biology class in particular here.) Know what your partner wants to help with, what is most important, and where you have free rein. Make compromises. Stand your ground on your Most Important Priorities together.

This will help you work as a unit, even if you have to work independently of one another. Say you can't go to a site visit but your partner can — your partner will have full knowledge and be able to speak for both of you, united. This is not the same as one person doing all the work, because communicating on this level in advance is a TON of work.

Don't work with people who don't acknowledge your future spouse. It's that easy. General rule of thumb, in life and in your wedding planning: give your money to people you like. Duh.

Introduce all parties. It's simple, but this helps your vendors so much! Who are these people here with you? Is it your mom, best friend's mom, maternal grandmother? We want to know who they are and how they're important to you. Don't work with people who assume. Their assumptions only worsen over time, and they may assume they know what's best for you without consulting you. This = BAD!

There are inclusive resources and a growing number of groom-only resources available. Just like everything else you find here on Offbeat Bride — find your group and stick with them.

So couples planning weddings are already working against so many other things, like familial expectations and budget concerns. Planning in general is fucking stressful. Do not let sexist vendors be one of your issues.

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About Lindsey Huddleston

Lindsey Huddleston is a proud contributor to Offbeat Bride