Finding the perfect LGBT-Friendly wedding vendors shouldn’t be as challenging as it is. Planning your big day is stressful all on its own, but same-sex couples are also faced with the possibility of discrimination from potential vendors.
In fact, one major study found that 20% of LGBTQ couples deal with it at some point during their planning process. Read on to learn a little more about that study, then check out our guide to finding just the right vendors for your same-sex wedding.
Complete Guide to Finding & Choosing the Perfect LGBT-Friendly Wedding Vendors
“LGBTQ Weddings in 2018: A Survey of Same-Sex and Queer-Identified Couples,” done by Community Marketing & Insights (CMI) and the Equality Institute, showed that 20% of LGBTQ couples faced discrimination during their wedding planning process.
The study was also insightful in that it showcased what LGBTQ couples looked for in a wedding vendor. It turns out that 89% of couples said that inclusiveness was the most important quality they want in a wedding vendor. Also, 87% of couples said responsiveness was important, 82% said fair prices were important and 73% stated that the vendor should have some experienced supporting LGBTQ weddings.
With all that in mind, here are a few things you should know about choosing LGBT-friendly wedding vendors.
Start booking your vendors early on
According to Wedding Wire’s 2020 Newlywed Report, same-sex couples spend an average of $28,500 on their wedding. The costliest vendor on the list is the band with an average price tag of $3,700. If you are considering a DJ instead, then your costliest vendor will be the photographer at an average cost of $2,400.
Wedding Wire provides a handy “Wedding Vendor Timeline Every Engaged Couple Needs.” Booking your vendors early means that you won’t be rushing around to find an alternative vendor if the one you want happens to be booked on your wedding day. Here’s our truncated version of what to book/choose and when.
- ONE YEAR OUT – Wedding planner (if you want one), venue.
- 10 MONTHS OUT – Photographer/videographer, caterer and florist.
- 9 MONTHS- Band or DJ, Ceremony music.
- 8 MONTHS- Officiant, Guest accommodations, your wedding outfits, “Save the Date” cards.
- 7 MONTHS- Cake & baker, wedding party outfits. Also, start planning honeymoon destination.
- 6 MONTHS– Invitations, makeup & hair stylists, rentals (chairs, tables, etc).
- 5 MONTHS- Accessories (veils, shoes, etc), wedding limo (or other transportation).
- 3 MONTHS- Wedding favors, rings.
Obviously, you may not use every one of those vendors. However, this gives you a good overall idea of the timeline for hiring those you do need.
Use an online directory for assistance
One of the best ways to search for local vendors is to use an online directory of LGBT-friendly wedding vendors. These sites allow you to select your geographical location and then select the type of wedding vendor you are searching for, providing you with the most local results.
According to EnGAYged Weddings, “Every wedding vendor on this website has been personally interviewed by the owners of EnGAYged Weddings, and each wedding business is guaranteed to be either LGBT friendly, operated or owned.”
Over at Pridezillas, their wedding vendors “either have friends or family members who are part of the LGBT community and/or are LGBT-owned and operated businesses.”
Lastly, “Launched in September 2000, RainbowWeddingNetwork.com, has been at the forefront in providing unique and vital wedding resources to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer and transgender community.”
Check potential vendor’s website for affiliations
Look at the vendor’s website to see if they are a member of an equality organization. For example, the Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBT advocacy group in the U.S. Even a state-level equality nonprofit organization like Equality New York is a good sign.
Also look for display badges on their website from websites such as EquallyWed.com, LGBTWeddings.com or LoveIncMag.com. Being listed with one of these sites shows the vendor is LGBT-friendly.
Keep an eye out for gender-neutral wording
When a wedding vendor uses gender-neutral wording, it shows that they put in that extra effort to show they are committed to serving LGBT couples. This gender-neutral should be consistent throughout the website, including contact forms.
The words “Bride & Groom” should be replaced with either “Name & Partner’s Name” or “Client 1 & 2”. Also, instead of “Bridal Party,” something like “Wedding Party” should be used instead.
Make sure they are displaying actual photos
Does the wedding vendor feature real photos of LGBT couples that they have worked with in the past? And by real photos, I don’t mean stock photos from sites like Getty Images or Shutterstock. That’s fine for a general wedding website, but definitely not for photographers.
I’m talking about actual photos from weddings they have worked at. If they don’t take the time to post these photos, this probably isn’t a vendor you want to work with.
If you follow these tips- and your gut instincts- choosing LGBT-friendly wedding vendors should be a monumental task. Just remember, this is YOUR day. You do not have to compromise with anyone (except your partner, of course). If you don’t get a good feeling about a particular vendor, move on to the next one on your list.