Guest Blogger: Sabrina Mesa
Marriage is a big deal to many people, and the day is different for every couple. Whether you are for or against gay marriage, we cannot deny that same sex marriage is big business. By the end of this year, Minnesota will join Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, Maryland, Washington, Rhode Island and Delaware in legalizing same sex marriages. What does that mean for florists in those states or florists who do destination events? It means that the wedding game has changed and assumptions need to be thrown out the window.
The Top Ten Mistakes Made by Wedding Vendors
10. Make Assumptions about genders and terms used to describe the wedding party: assuming there is a wedding party.
· Many same-sex weddings do not include attendants in their ceremony.
9. Make assumptions about gay couples based on perceived gender roles (ie that more feminine man may want to dress in drag)
· Not all straight brides dress in white billowing wedding gowns right? The same assumptions happen in same-sex weddings. There are no rules to what a man or woman can wear. Ask about the attire and use that to help navigate the rest of the conversation.
8. Be easily put off by subcultures of the gay community like leather bears, butch/femme etc.- or by the idea that a gay groom may want to carry a bouquet, for example.
7. Ask inappropriate and overly sexual questions.
· You are a professional. Act like one.
6. Be absurdly gay-positive and overeager to the other extreme (ie “I went to college with a lot of gay people,” or “ I love Ellen!”). No rainbows on your website. Gay clients hate being tokenized.
5. Use highly traditional heterosexual wedding photos and the terms bride and groom and husband and wife in your contract, marketing materials and conversations.
4. Inflexibility about adapting to gay wedding traditions or making reference that the “wedding” may not be valid (ie that’s not what happens at a real wedding.)
· Same-sex weddings are not traditionally very cookie cutter.
3. Hiring staff and referring couples to vendors and venues without verifying first their commitment to LGBT-inclusivity.
· Recently a florist in Washington is being sued for refusing to design a wedding for a long time customer because he was marrying his longtime partner.
2. Assume that the couple has the support of their family. Or assume that the couple does not have the support of their family.
And the top mistake made by wedding vendors…
1. Assuming, rather than, asking. A gay wedding will not be a typical wedding and you will need to think outside the traditional box.
These mistakes can be avoided by informing yourself more and letting go of stereotypes that just are not true. Bernadette and her company have many resources for vendors who wish to begin the evolution. If you would like more info, please check out this great resource page. You can also follow Bernadette on her twitter page.