Image: The Oberports from Julie & Emory’s H Street NE Engagement Session
When I started this blog, one of the things I was adamant about was showcasing ALL of the different couples that get married in Washington, DC. We are lucky to have such a rich mix of couples in this city and I couldn’t imagine having a website about DC weddings that didn’t mirror that mix. I saw DC-focused magazines and blogs that seemed to show mostly white couples & their weddings and it just felt so off to me.
A few weeks ago I was trolling Instagram on the couch and an image of the upcoming speakers at a local-ish wedding conference showed mostly white, female faces smiling back at me. I showed my husband the image, made some smart-ass comment about the extreme lack of diversity on the screen and thought about writing a post about it.
But I got scared. I knew some of the speakers at the conference and I didn’t want to “rock the boat” too bad, so I moved on and continued blogging about other things. Then my girl Katie at the Plannery shared this blog post over on the Catalyst Wedding Co blog and I instantly felt so many things. I felt ashamed that I didn’t have the cojones to write it myself. I felt angered about the responses the conference creators posted in response to the backlash. I felt gratitude that Catalyst used their platform to post not only about the whole exchange/event that occurred, but about diversity in the wedding space in general.
Images: Imani Fine Art Images from Grace & Ben’s Richmond Virginia Engagement Session
I loved the point they made that we NEED to talk about this. Go to Pinterest right now and search on Weddings – I scrolled for 5 minutes before I found a picture of a non-white person in an image. This is ridiculous to me – do only white people get married? No? Ok then why the hell does the wedding industry seem to only feature white couples?!
I don’t really know the answer to this – but I will say that 8/10 submissions that I get are of white couples. As a blogger that is committed to showcasing all different types of couples, I admittedly turn down weddings with white couples that I love if I’ve already got a slate of white couples on my editorial calendar, and sometimes publish weddings/features I don’t 100% find a fit for Capitol Romance but accept because the couple is non-white.
Image: Lissa Ryan Photography from Obi & Amber’s Busboys & Poets Engagement Session
But as the Editor at Catalyst again points out, my attempt at including couples of varying races here on the blog just isn’t enough. “Inclusion requires first valuing diversity (or feeling enough pressure from your audience to rehab your image), and second, action…. because when varying voices, perspectives, talent, and images harmonize to tell a collective story about what it means to live and love in this moment in time, the result is something wholly unique and challenging and real. It’s a little less “perfect,” a lot less pink, and the scariest part is it has the power to shake you to your core. I hope more people in weddings learn to value diversity and inclusion not because it’s expected (which it is and should be) but because it really makes us a better industry and a better, more just world.”
Which brings me to my next article on this topic – one my mom shared with me a few weeks ago: The Culture of the Smug White Liberal. My mom shared it with me moreso on the topic of education/diversity in schools, as someday soon I will need to start thinking about where we are sending Evie to school and DC’s Public School & Public Charter School’s have their own set of diversity issues. (Maybe that blog post another day).
But I couldn’t help to read that article and pull the parallels back into the wedding industry diversity discussion. Mostly because it bluntly forces you to ask yourself some hard questions, similar to what Catalyst focused on above: what are you DOING about diversity. Though I might say “yay! diversity is awesome and needed” what am I doing in my own life (and my business) to really commit to and facilitate diversity?
While striving to feature couples of many races might look good on paper – I’ll admit it’s too easy. I could do more – I could commit to networking with more vendors across different races or I could strive to find more clients of different races. I love the fact that my coordination team brings varying backgrounds the business, but I’ll admit that I did not actively pursue that – Alesha & Kara (thank freakin-god) fell into my lap!
So let’s have this conversation, shall we? Let’s ask ourselves what are we doing to make the wedding space more diverse or to be more inclusive? How can you reach out and DO instead of sitting back and expecting it to just materialize? I can’t say I know the answers to these questions but I hope this post at least helps to get some thoughts going. I hope my readers feel compelled to respond, maybe write their own posts, and share them with the group and then take it a step further to see how they can invite more diversity into not only the wedding scene but their every day life.