7 Days of Pride: A Commitment is a Commitment is a Commitment



Photo description: I have included this photo of one of my absolutely most memorable families and ceremony. These two beautiful souls were denied a venue because they were a same sex couple. They then went on to have, a “big fat gay wedding”, and I was there for every glorious rainbow moment.

Jodi here.

This post comes off the high of walking in London’s 25th Pride Parade, reflecting on gains made, and the changes still to come. Before my social media presence was fully up and running, I’d get weekly requests that went something like: “Do you do same-sex weddings?” I always found this question striking – so telling of the work still to be done. New to the wedding vendor scene, I didn’t quite appreciate how often folx were confronted with situations where wedding vendors weren’t serving, or were outright refusing, the patronage of the LGBTQ2+ community.

See, although queer myself, I’m straight passing which has buffered me from outright exclusion when seeking services. I also opted for a commitment ceremony with my spouse (cisgender man) rather than a wedding. Some may find this odd, but it fits for us, and it does nothing to take away from the sacredness of each ceremony I oversee. It just means I haven’t navigated the wedding industry in the ways my clients have (had to), and that I deeply appreciate that commitment can look like different things to different people, and regardless, all our relationships are deserving of respect. There’s no hierarchy to love, no matter what messages told otherwise.

After a little investigating and talking to trusted and experienced wedding business owners, I came to a better understanding that the local wedding scene was still infused with hetero-centered bias and discriminatory practices. This left many of my clients beginning their wedding planning process from the place of having to ask potential vendors whether or not they would be welcomed customers, celebrated alongside all others, you know #loveislove after all.

As much as I appreciate this hashtag, it sanitizes the long and painful history within LGBTQ2+ communities of trying to secure basic human rights, ignores the numbers of people murdered and maimed for not conforming to prescriptive roles, and makes invisible the ongoing and contentious fight for recognition and respect of all expressions of loving partnerships. Some of my clients express concerns that their wedding won’t be taken as serious because they are not welcomed into the places of worship they were raised in, a tradition that may matter to parents and grandparents. I’ve had more than my share of conversations with clients about how to make their wedding seem “legitimate” in the eyes of their guests.

So here folxs find themselves, excluded from churches, sometimes disenfranchised their from family and friends, and not welcomed by some vendors - what a way to feel marginalized and an outcast in your own life, and during a time where other take for granted their love is not questioned based on the composition of the couple. This can leave clients with no other choice but to look for people who will help them plan and celebrate their “gay wedding” by asking the question: Will you perform our gay/lesbian/queer etc wedding?

Every time I receive this request, my heart hurts.

No one should have to ask the question.