As we celebrate nearly seven years with full marriage equality in the United States on June 26, 2022, more wedding pros are opening their hearts and business doors to the LGBTQ+ community. As this welcoming happens, it’s important to take note of the level at which businesses are saying yes to equality. Read on to hear more from Kirsten Palladino.
While running Equally Wed, the world’s leading LGBTQ+ wedding magazine, for the past 12 years, I’ve found that inclusivity and acceptance is happening on multiple levels, from “willing to take money from gay people” all the way to celebrating and affirming the full spectrum of the LGBTQ+ community. Being LGBTQ+ inclusive doesn’t just mean being kind to everyone. It requires more work on your part to intentionally be welcoming with your words and actions, which is why we created Equally Wed Pro, an educational platform that offers powerful industry-leading resources to help wedding pros authentically serve and market to the LGBTQ+ community by showing up with their values in an educated, affirming and meaningful way.
One of the offerings at Equally Wed Pro is our signature LGBTQ+ Inclusive Certification Course. My wife, Maria, and I built this course with 12 years of research, data gathering and interviews with LGBTQ+ couples around the globe, as well as the research I did for my book, Equally Wed: The Ultimate Guide to Planning Your LGBTQ+ Wedding (Seal Press, May 2017, available wherever books are sold).
Many of our wedding-industry consulting clients are fearful of being judged for what they’ve done in the past or just for not knowing how to talk about (and with) the LGBTQ+ community properly. And I want to allay those fears. We’re not about shaming and blaming at Equally Wed Pro. We are all at different stages of our lives and our learning but we’re here for one common goal: to make the wedding industry more inclusive. And that starts with us. But you’re not here to get scolded on what you’re currently doing or not doing, just what you can do better in the future. And that’s why we’re here for you, to work together. Everyone is welcome at Equally Wed Pro.
My goals with the Equally Wed Pro LGBTQ+ Inclusive Certification Course as well as the consulting and training I do with companies are two-fold: First, I want to help event professionals learn how to improve their interactions with the LGBTQ+ community, whether that’s clients, their clients’ loved ones who are LGBTQ+ and/or their colleague and employees who identify as LGBTQ+, and second, I really want to make the world a safer, more welcoming place for my LGBTQ+ community. My wife and I experienced cruel discrimination and rejection when planning our LGBTQ+ wedding in 2008 and 2009, and sadly, I’m still hearing similar stories from our LGBTQ+ couples who are submitting their weddings and engagements to Equally Wed in 2022. We have so much work to do!
LGBTQ+ people from around the world agree: We enjoy working with professionals who show us respect, acceptance and empathy. You probably think you're doing enough but we promise you. There's much more to being an equality enthusiast than just being open to working with us. Let Equally Wed Pro teach you everything you need to know to make your wedding business more LGBTQ+ inclusive. Enroll now for our comprehensive digital course at equallywedpro.com to become Certified LGBTQ+ Inclusive™.