WRITTEN BY TARA BAKER Founder of DancING WITH HER
FOR WEDDING PROs : A GUIDE TO AN INCLUSIVE WEDDING INDUSTRY
PHOTOGRAPHY BY COVER - AMANDA AFTON pHOTOGRAPHY | WWW.AMANDAAFTONPHOTOGRAPHY.COM.AU OPPOSITE - KELLY BALCH PHOTOGRAPHY | WWW.KELLYBALCH.COM
Â© Tara Baker 2018 All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted by any person or entity (including Google, Amazon or similar organistions, in any form or by any means, electronic or mechancal, including photocopying, recording, scanning or by any information storage and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publisher.
FIND US ONLINE Dancing With Her www.dancingwithher.com www.instagram.com/dancingwithher www.facebook.com/dancingwithher www.pinterest.com/dancingwithher firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
PHOTOGRAPHY BY LOVE HER PHOTOGRAPHY
A WELCOME NOTE
MARRIAGE EQUALITY AROUND THE WORLD
INCLUSIVITY, DIVERSITY AND REPRESENTATION WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
WHAT DISCRIMINATION FEELS LIKE
THE AGE OF SOCIAL MEDIA
BEING ENGAGED WITH US
BEING ENGAGED WITH OUR COMMUNITY
KEEP IN TOUCH
FIND US ONLINE
A WELCOME NOTE
Honestly, we are thrilled that you’re here. As you’re already probably well aware, Dancing With Her is currently run by just the two of us in our home office on the always sunny Gold Coast, Australia. You know how they say when you support a small business a real person does a happy dance? That’s us. We are undoubtedly the ones dancing! And, it’s not just because your support means that we’re able to continue doing what we do and putting out the content that we do to our community. For us, it is just a little more validation that the wedding industry also supports what we do and that’s vital. We want you to get the most return on investment with your partnership with us, and so, we’ve popped together this handy guide to help you. These are things we’ve seen to be effective – the things that have seen the most bookings come from our platform. If there is one thing we’ve learnt over the last two years it is that the way people advertise and market their products is everchanging – more now than ever before [thank you social, and free, media]. Our attention spans are shorter than ever and the number of times that a potential client needs to see your brand before they make an enquiry is on the rise. Consumers want to know who you are, know your values and establish trust.
What we offer you is a dynamic platform that is distributed both in digital and print format, that is trusted. We will continue to update our platform, be relevant to our community and further our reach. We will continue to land partnerships with other brands, some big and some small, and offer you the connection where and when its applicable [for example; we have wedding vendors from our online directory currently working with Refinery 29 on projects, and in the past other vendors we work with have worked with the likes of Netflix]. We will also continue to be a voice for the LGBTQ+ community in an industry that doesnâ€™t always allow us to be seen. Thank you again, so much, for supporting our work and being a part of Dancing With Her. We honestly couldnâ€™t do it without you. Happy reading, Tara
Ally Is typically a heterosexual and/or cisgender person who supports the LGBTQ+ community. Cis-Gender or Cis Someone whose gender identity matches the sex that they were assigned at birth. Gay Wedding A term that needs to find its way to the door and walk itself out. It’s not a ‘gay wedding’, it’s a wedding [unless of course it’s a couple getting married who is throwing their own ‘Big Gay Wedding’ in which case it’s exactly what it states]. Intersex Someone who is born intersex is someone that is born with variations to the binary ‘two sex’ standards – or atypical physical sex characteristics. This might mean that there are variations within the chromosomes, sex hormones or genitalia that make up that person. LGBTQ+ An acronym used to describe the sexuality, body and gender diverse community. Stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer, the + is inclusive of other labels not included. There are variations of this acronym that are used synonymously. Non-Binary Is a term used to describe someone that identifies themselves outside of [or non-conforming to] the gender binary. They don’t generally identify themselves as either male or female rather somewhere along the gender spectrum.
Pan/Pansexual Is a term that is becoming increasingly popular with millennials. It refers to a person who’s romantic, emotional and/or sexual attraction is not limited to sex or gender. Pronouns Is the ‘he’ and ‘she’ terms that we sometimes use to describe a persons identity. It’s becoming increasingly commonplace, particularly within the LGBTQ+ community, to ask people for their pronouns rather than making assumptions. ‘They’ is a common pronoun used by gender diverse people. However, there are others that you might find people identify with. Queer A term that in the past was used to describe LGBTQ+ people negatively, however, is gaining popularity as an umbrella term to define the LGBTQ+ community. It is still considered a slur to some within the community. Transgender/Trans A person who identifies as something other than the sex they were assigned at birth. Transgender Man Is used to describe a person who was assigned female at birth but lives as a man. Transgender Woman Is used to describe a person who was assigned male at birth but lives as a woman.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY Thomas stewart
MARRIAGE EQUALITY AROUND THE WORLD
Unfortunately, it’s not a legal right for all LGBTQ+ to marry everywhere in the world. Here is the [growing] list of countries around the globe that allow same-sex couples to marry. Malta Mexico [parts of] The Netherlands New Zealand Norway Portugal South Africa Spain Sweden The United Kingdom The United States Uruguay
Argentina Australia Belgium Brazil Canada Colombia Denmark Finland France Germany Iceland Ireland Luxembourg
Remember though, just because a country might not be listed doesn’t mean that there aren’t LGBTQ+ couples there choosing to make the commitment of marriage regardless of the legal status. And, with that, just because a country allows same-sex marriage, does not mean that discrimination isn’t present in society [and within the wedding industy] or that other laws do not discriminate [especially for people with diverse gender identities].
PHOTOGRAPHY BY MELISSA BROWN PHOTOGRAPHY
INCLUSIVITY, DIVERSITY AND REPRESENTATION WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
We’ve all heard that diversity is essential, for society and business - but what if we extended that to include the importance of both inclusivity and representation. Without a combination, there isn’t true equality. Diversity It’s the understanding that the needs of an individual are unique. These can be diversities of sexuality, gender, bodies, cultures, socio-economic status (AKA. the wedding budget), abilities and/or beliefs. Inclusivity Inclusivity is feeling included and welcomed. We know that you know that it is just as important as we do, particularly within an industry that is built on love. It’s understanding the unique needs of the individual and respecting them as exactly what they are, individual. Think of it this way; diversity is being invited to the party, inclusivity is being invited to dance. In the wedding space that might look like a few social media posts that promote marriage equality, and the language that you use with clients being gender neutral. The former is great, it means we are represented, and the later helps the community really feel respected. Representation Means that diversity visible. It means that diversity can be found in your imagery and further solidified through the language you use as a business. It means that people of colour, people of different gender identities outside of the binary and people of diverse body shapes grace the covers of the magazines that cover newsstands, are scattered in promotional material and, have a place to be represented within digital media. There’s a difference between representation and tokenism. Representation needs to be authentic, not from a place of filling a void because you need ‘more people of colour’ in your feed, for example.
WHAT DISCRIMINATION FEELs LIKE
There are predominantly two types of discrimination, overt and convert. Overt In your face, you can’t miss it. Overt discrimination is easily identified. In the wedding industry, this might be someone blatantly expressing that professionals will not work with a particular client because they don’t believe in marriage equality [we know it sounds dramatic, but it absolutely happens]. Covert A little harder to spot, and sometimes its mistaken under the guise of misinterpretation. Although covert discrimination isn’t usually so abrupt, it is equally harmful to individuals and the community. Within the wedding industry this might look like emails that go unanswered, lack of diversity within social media feeds and a lack of effort that goes into the outcome of a job. It’s hard to describe just what discrimination feels like, and the experience of each and every person is different. In 2018, in Brisbane, two brides were left heartbroken when a celebrant overtly mentioned that their wedding wasn’t equal to a heterosexual marriage during the ceremony. Similarly, there have been countless couples who have had emails go unanswered, some only after it became evident that the couple marrying were of the same sex.
For some, particularly those who have had a tough time coming out and really expressing their true selves, discrimination can make someone question their self-worth, challenge their beliefs and bring back negative experiences from the past. There are still couples within countries that do have marriage equality that will put off the entire wedding from fear of what might come of it. It might be fears around discrimination from people within the wedding industry, and quite often fears around discrimination from family members. It is absolutely true that discrimination is directly linked to higher suicide rates among LGBTIQ+ people and hurts the mental health of the community. While the examples above all involve same-sex couples, it is important to note that these forms of discrimination can happen across an array of diversities; body, gender, sexuality and culture.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY KRISTA HAWRYLUK| WWW.KRISTAHAWRYLUK.COM
Diversity is so much more than an image of two brides in your Instagram feed.
The wedding industry has something really unique about it; it is one of only a few spaces where coming out is absolutely necessary. Coming out, for LGBTQ+ people is something that doesn’t just happen once in your life; it’s something we do over and over [and over] again. Coming out to your loved ones is usually the biggest hurdle, but the process doesn’t end there. We have to come out in social situations, come out to healthcare professionals and come out in the workplace [and did you know that there are more than 45% of LGBTQ+ people in the workplace are afraid to come out to their fellow employees?]. Coming out continues to happen throughout a lifetime. And coming out doesn’t always look like two people sitting down together and having a conversation. Coming out might be correcting someone’s false assumption stating your partner is of the opposite sex, it might look like someone else saying something about you that you’re not entirely comfortable with and sometimes it’s as simple as showing affection to your loved one in public. Thanks to stereotypes, for some people coming out happens by merely stepping out for the day and expressing their identity through their visual appearance. Everyone in the LGBTQ+ community has a different coming out experience, some incredibly supportive and for others so traumatic it led them to end their life. There are a lot of LGBTQ+ people whose coming out led to fractured relationships with friends and family.
For couples planning a wedding, if you’re a same-sex couple you have to come out to vendors. For some, it can bring up anxieties and negative reminders of experiences in the past, for others it might bring up something unplanned. For some couples planning a wedding means facing family members who aren’t supportive of the relationship. Amanda and Grace* recently married in Australia and although Grace’s family had seemed supportive of her sexuality before, however, when Amanda and Grace began planning their wedding it became evident that some family members would never see their union as a ‘real wedding’. Often there is anxiety around the feeling of discrimination that might follow or fear of rejection. And, it is absolutely true that for some couples, this fear is all consuming and its preventing couples from choosing to marry. For transgender or gender non-conforming couples the issues around marriage law and their gender can be even more complex and there are circumstances around the globe where their transgender status will need to be revealed, particularly to the marriage celebrant or officiant.
*Names have been changed to respect privacy
PHOTOGRAPHY BY NIX CARTEL| WWW.nixcartel.format.com
Sure, there is marriage equality laws currently in 26 countries around the globe, but there are other LGBTQ+ wedding related statistics that we think you might take an interest too. We talked to our LGBTQ+ identifying Dancing With Her community online and asked them a few questions around weddings*. Here’s what we found out: 23% of couples don’t have the support from one or more parents in their wedding planning This tells us there is a lot of heartbreak and fractured relationships when it comes to planning a wedding. 67% of couples are planning a wedding without the financial help of others This tells us that most of the decision making that goes into planning a wedding lands in the hands of the couple who are getting married. 65% of couples plan to spend anywhere between $12K-$35K on their wedding day This tells us that budgets vary greatly and within that, what’s important to each and every couple is different. 5% of couples plan to marry in a place of worship This tells us that religion is a crucial intersection for some people and, for others, incorporating religious traditions or prayer during the ceremony is just as important.
64% of couples plan to have a guest list between 50-150 guests This tells us there’s a real tendency to have smaller weddings, with a further 14% of respondents choosing to celebrate their love with less than 25 guests in attendance. On the other end of the spectrum, 7% plan to have more than 200 guests. 37% of couples don’t plan to have a bridal party This tells us that a whole lot of couples plan to celebrate their day without the need to have someone standing beside them at the ceremony. A celebration of just the two of them and their love. 69% of couples plan to look at LGBTQ+ specific resources This tells us that couples will seek out publications just like Dancing With Her when they’re planning their wedding day. 56% of couples want to work with vendors that have already been involved in an LGBTQ+ wedding This tells us that our community wants to feel supported by their wedding vendors, and working with vendors that have already been involved in an LGBTQ+ wedding gives them some comfort. 82% of couples will look to social media to check whether or not a vendor works inclusively with the LGBTQ+ community This tells us that your feed needs to include diversity in all it’s forms because you have some watchful eyes looking over it.
63% of couples don’t feel comfortable reaching out if they don’t see diversity in your branding This tells us that if your website, promotional material and social media feeds aren’t inclusive of LGBTQ+ couples, but you’re looking to reach out to the community, you’re missing a large chunk of enquiries. That’s a lot of people who won’t be giving you the benefit of the doubt. 56% of couples fear that discrimination will be a part of the wedding process This breaks our hearts. This tells us that beyond the marriage equality laws shifting to allow same-sex couples to marry there is still a whole lot of work that needs to be done to help make the LGBTQ+ community feel welcome in the wedding industry. 45% of couples did experience discrimination while planning a wedding This further breaks our hearts. This tells us that there is still a lot of education around the inclusivity of the LGBTQ+ community that needs to happen within the wedding industry. Remember that all discrimination isn’t overt, but all forms of discrimination are harmful. 98% of couples want to see more diversity within the wedding industry This tells us that while we as an industry are doing so much better than just a few years ago, there is still an opportunity to do better and be better.
* The LGBTQ+ Wedding Survey as conducted by Dancing With Her, August 2018, 1735 respondents.
THE AGE OF SOCIAL MEDIA: FIVE THINGS TO IMPLEMENT RIGHT NOW
They say that social media isn’t everything, but truth be told when it comes to your wedding business, social media is [almost] imperative. Add imagery of diversity It might sound super simple, but it’s something that is often skipped over. Celebrating authentic love through imagery in your social feeds is important. Most couples will seek out your social media before they send through that enquiry, and for LGBTQ+ couples, they’re looking for diversity. Whether it be a recent LGBTQ+ wedding, a styled shoot [please, oh please, only ever use real couples in your styled shoots – using models to act out a same-sex relationship is a sure way to get people talking for all the wrong reasons], a post of inspiration or one that shows your affiliation with a dedicated same-sex wedding resource. Change your language Ever used the terms ‘bride and groom’ in your social copy without thinking twice? We know, it’s a habit that some wedding professionals have just developed over time. But, it is time that it changed. Be a little more creative, use non-gendered terms like ‘lovers’, ‘partners’ or ‘people getting married’ or, if you can, use the names of the couple [just respect privacy]. Ask for permission to share stories – not everyone wants to be a poster child If you want to post one of your recent same-sex weddings or an image of inspiration, it’s best practice to ask for permission. It’s true that some people, particularly in the LGBTQ+ community, don’t want to share their love stories with the world for a multitude of reasons. Be mindful of it, and respect it, always. If you’ve taken the photographs or been involved in a same-sex wedding it doesn’t automatically mean that you have permission to share the images or the story. Always ask.
Use hashtags, but don’t out people or make assumptions We all know that hashtags, particularly on Instagram, can take your reach from 0-100. And using them is a great way to connect with specific, targeted, communities. However, if you’re using generalised LGBTQ+ hashtags be mindful of ‘outing’ people. Using the hashtag #transgender on an image might be sharing information about the specific couple that has been shared with you in private. Using the term #queer can be problematic for some LGBTQ+ couples and assuming that a wedding is indeed a #lesbianwedding might make someone’s identified sexuality of bisexual invisible. Engage with the community Much like hashtags can expand your reach, they also allow you to connect with people that you don’t follow. Engage with the community, through hashtags, through comments on LGBTQ+ specific accounts and engaging with LGBTQ+ issues publicly. Make yourself a visible ally. Send congratulations to new #engayged lovers and best wishes to those who are #twobrides and just married.
BEING ENGAGED WITH US
Keep an eye out for our monthy musings We’ll be sending out an email around the first of every month to keep you in the loop of what’s happening for us, anything exciting that might be coming up and giving you a look into it all behind-the-scenes. Facebook Group We are trialling a Facebook group for inclusive wedding vendors, one where you can connect with one another & be kept up to date with all the happenings in real time. If you haven’t already requested to join, you can here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/246384412700701/ Update your listing, as you need We don’t yet have a function for you to log in and change up your own profile [it is on the wish list!] but we are more than happy for you to reach out whenever you need to update your listing with us. Whether it’s a new image, new copy or you’ve moved and need your contact details updated, send across an email, and we will update it for you as you need. Blog content If you’re a budding writer or have something unique to say, we would love for you to pitch it to us. Being a guest blogger has its perks, we’ll spread the word across social media, it is also some free [in money, not in time] advertising for you and it’s something you can add to your repertoire. We just ask that guest blogs add value to our community and aren’t just a sales pitch.
Offers & Giveaways If you’re running a giveaway or promotion exclusively or working with a team of vendors we’d love to hear from you! In the past, our community has responded really well to giveaways, which means it is an excellent opportunity to connect, engage and grow your brand. Just send us an email with all the details, and we will let you know what we can do. If you’re thinking about a giveaway, but have no idea where to start, get in touch - we might just have a vendor or two in your area who have reached out too & we’d love to connect you all. Collaborations Honestly, no idea is too ridiculous and sometimes the best collaboration ideas come to you at 3am. If you’ve got an idea a little out of the box or have an alternative way to work together we would absolutely love to hear from you. We are always up for a challenge!
PHOTOGRAPHY BY the dREAM CHOICE
All love deserves to be celebrated; equally. All love deserves to be celebrated; equally. -TWENTY-NINE-
There is nothing we love more than opening an inbox to new love stories. I have been known to open these at all times of the day or night, even when we’re out for dinner, just to see the magic inside. We would be thrilled to receive your submissions. More than ‘her’ We know that Dancing With Her is a gendered business name, however, we are open to all submissions from couples who identify with our publication. They can be cisgender, transgender, genderqueer, gender non-conforming or anywhere in between. Diversity Diversity is so important to us. Body, culture, sexuality and gender diversity- we want to see [and publish] representation across it all. The Real Stories The truth is we get a lot of submissions through our inbox, sometimes more than 50+ a week. There is absolutely no way we can publish them all. Some don’t fit into our brand while others might be great but we just don’t have the resources to have them written up and published right now. However, in saying that we prioritise weddings, engagement and love stories that feature vendors that do work with us. The turnaround time is quicker [because we already know the work will have been amazing] and we are much more likely to hit publish on the blog or in print. We take submissions from any vendor – we don’t mind if you were the celebrant or the stationery designer. We will seek out the permission to publish from the photographer and the couple before we can go ahead.
Styled shoots We know how important styled shoots are within the industry and we share them quite often. If you’re putting together a shoot with Dancing With Her in mind, or you’re sending across a shoot that might be a good fit, that’s amazing, we just ask one very important thing; please use a real couple rather than models. The struggles for the LGBTQ+ community are real, and it can be disrespectful to use two heterosexual models in place of real lovers. Plus, real lovers have real chemistry and genuine love stories behind them.
[We should note that we can never guarantee publishing. Curating something unique means we need to find stories that have something different about them, that fit into our aesthetic and branding and fit into our schedule. It doesn’t mean we don’t love it; it just means as a tiny team our time must be prioritised to those that tick all the boxes]
PHOTOGRAPHY BY BRITTANNY TAYLOR
BEING ENGAGED WITH OUR COMMUNITY
When you find Dancing With Her across Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest [or other places we pop up!] you’ll find a community of lovers. On Instagram, tag @dancingwithher and/or use our hashtag #dancingwithher in your relevant photographs. Your post will show up in our tagged feed and under our hashtag [which we know people also scroll]. It also helps us see your latest work and gives us an opportunity to republish it. Talk with our community. Send couples a ‘congratulations’ on a post, let them know something you love about their wedding or love story. It helps you be visible, they’ll get a notification to say you’ve commented and helps other people know that you’re there and you’re supportive. Search Instagram hashtags & start conversations. An LGBTQ+ couple that have recently been engaged might use the hashtag #engayged, go and congratulate them! As a business, if you can, comment on the things that matter to you. There is a lot happening in the media for the LGBTQ+ people, particularly right now - maybe there’s an opportunity to comment on that or be a part of the conversation. Continue learning. Learn about why things matter to LGBTQ+ people, learn about the language that is used within the community and the rich history that makes the community who they are today. And, celebrate the holidays that are specific to the LGBTQ+ community. June marks pride month in the USA and thanks to social media; it has become something that is celebrated around the globe. There are days that mark coming out and International days against homophobia. These are often great times to be involved with the community, share your values and engage.
KEEP IN TOUCH
We’re always up for a chat! Whether you’re after clarification or want to know more, you want to touch base about a collaboration or partnership, or you just want to reach out and say hello we would absolutely love to hear from you. Email is best, but here’s the whole list of ways to get in touch – just in case. Email Tara – firstname.lastname@example.org Arlia – email@example.com Phone +61 419 591 590 [our time zone is the same as Sydney, Australia. AEST or AEDT when observing daylight savings] Skype firstname.lastname@example.org Address PO BOX 609, Coolangatta, Queensland, Australia, 4225
FIND US ONLINE
Instagram instagram.com/dancingwithher Facebook facebook.com/dancingwithher Pinterest pinterest.com/dancingwithher Private Facebook Group for Inclusive Wedding Professionals facebook.com/groups/dwhpartners
Dancing With Her