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

Guest post by Lindsey Huddleston
please dont feed the groom

Man, if you want to get my panties in a wad, let's talk about the EXTREME sexism in 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.

Comments on Let’s put an end to exclusionary language and sexist vendors in the wedding industry

  1. Thanks, Lindsey (and Kendall, the author of last week’s post). I have never felt as marginalized as when I got married – from the friends and family who congratulated my fiancee and not me (a few even stepping between us and turning their back to me) to the hall rental manager who only acknowleged me for the credit card and my co-signature on the rental agrement. All the while, I was told over and over again it was the bride’s special day, not mine.

    Some grooms just want to stand up, say their vows, and get to the reception. If that works for the couple, then fine. But I would bet more grooms would have more to contribute if they were treated like a partner rather than just one of the bride’s accessories.

  2. It is totally true that mainstream culture stresses “bride” and dumb gender stereotypes. I personally never had my nails and such done, and my spouse has more shoes than me…. At the same time, I’d like to emphasis the importance of signing e-mails with the names of both partners. Almost half e-mail me and leave out the name of the groom–or the name of Partner B– almost until the point of booking. I think lots of folks like using “fiance” or the like, but it’s not very helpful to vendors.

  3. The truth of the matter is that in mainstream culture (which is definitely a lot more people), the bride is the one who ultimately makes the decisions and vendors will defer to her. I don’t agree with this, which is why I’m on Offbeat Bride. When my husband and I were planning our wedding, I had told him in the very beginning that it would be impossible for me to do it all and I expected him to be involved and “do things”. He handled dealing with our venue/caterer and booking the hotel block all by himself. He said that it did seem like they were initially taken aback that it was the groom who reached out to them but they wound up being wonderful vendors who never ever treated him like he didn’t matter. I guess we lucked out that we dealt with real professionals.

  4. I remember when my cousin got married, she was about ready to tear her hair out in frustration from all the vendors who refused to acknowledge her FH. Luckily, they were able to speak up and get his voice heard, but it shouldn’t be an uphill battle.

    So far, my FH and I haven’t run into this, but we’ve also chosen a “divide and conquer” method when it comes to wedding planning. We chose the venue together, but for the rest… We each have aspects of the wedding that we’re responsible for organizing (one of us is putting together the music playlist, the other is looking into food, etc). Once either of us gets some ideas put together or some contacts/vendor info, we consult the other for input, suggestions, and final approval. It seems to be working well so far, but because of this, most vendors end up meeting only one of us (except perhaps a final meeting with both of us to finalize things). I guess that’s one way to buck the system!

  5. FUCK YES! My partner and I REFUSE to work with anyone who uses sexist language. If you ask me about the “groom,” I will seriously PUT YOU IN YOUR PLACE! If vendors want to cash in on the booming same-sex wedding industry, they need to buck up and used gender neutral pronouns and NOT make assumptions.

  6. Working as a florist in Santa Fe has really brought this home to me. When I first started about a year ago I was appalled by a. the way my coworkers were treating dudes in consultations, and b. the way the women were treating their own men. “Oh, he looks so miserable! What a good boy for showing up! You just be quiet, now, we’ll take care of everything. (LOL GUYS R DUMB.)” I’d probably be looking pretty pained at that point, too. Needless to say, Words were had with coworkers, who were generally astonished to hear that men MIGHT SOMETIMES have a desire to be acknowledged as intelligent human beings.

    Fortunately it’s caught on pretty well, much to the guys'(and my) relief. Turns out, a lot of men have excellent eyes for floral design, and most of them really enjoy it once they have a better understanding of how it works. (How novel, right?)

  7. My FH and I have been lucky in finding vendors that readily accept and acknowledge that we are planning our wedding and making choices as an equal pair.
    However, our main trouble is that while shopping for supplies/attire etc I am usually ignored and not given service while FH is readily offered assistance.
    Though I am almost 30 I could pass for 18 in a second, and though FH is several years younger, his wonderful beard leads people to take him as a serious adult shopper while treating me like a teen out playing pretend. I have been ignored, dismissed and insulted when trying to buy jewelry, shoes, wedding bands and wedding decor because people thought I was a teenager. It’s a messed up world when a bearded man gets more assistance looking at heals then me. I am all for brides and grooms (or same sex couples) being given equal respect but don’t forget also not to judge people on any other preconcieved notions. A customer is a customer, and all should be shown equal respect regardless of all variables.

      • I’m quite revealed that, despite early indications and a bit of googling it doesn’t mean “Familial hypercholesterolaemia”. Apparently it’s “future husband”.

  8. Hi, I’m just loving this webstie, as an almost married person xD I’d like to know if there’s any Groom’s guide/site to indicate to my fiancée, he seems a little shy on taking positions and giving opinios, kind of lost, because in his family there isn’t this “tradition” of asking opinions xD he’s liking to help but I just know he’s lost, so do I. And every site I find, here in Brazil at least, is made for bride’s problems =/
    Thanks for sharing these articles and ideas <3

  9. Our wedding venue sold/gave my information to a bunch of their “preferred vendors.” We weren’t interested in any of their services but this didn’t stop the barrage of calls, emails and junk mail.

    Thinking a call was a potential employer, I picked up when a florist called me. Before I could finish saying hello, I was interrupted with a high pitched, super-duper enthusiastic, “Is this the briiiiiiiiiiiiiiide?”. Her voice reached pitches only a dog could hear by the middle of the word “bride”. I said no and hung up. Not only was my fiance entirely unimportant to her but I was totally encompassed by a noun instead of a name. We didn’t want a florist to begin with, but if we had, it wouldn’t be her.

Read more comments

Comments are closed.