When Tim & I were booking our NOLA wedding, it was imperative that all of our vendors were transparent in their inclusivity in dealing with the LGBTQ+ and POC communities. Weddings can be one of the most exciting and confusing times for some couples. Exciting because you’re planning the day you get to display your love and commitment with your family--both born and chosen; Confusing for the modern, socially-conscious couple who want to avoid the pitfalls traditional ceremonies can carry. For your benefit and ours, Amplified Weddings has made a cheat sheet of sorts. Let us preface this list with the assurance this is no way an attempt at being self sanctimonious, these are suggestions and depending on the area of your nuptials, may not all be feasible but by doing one or two of these things, you can go into your special day knowing that your wedding matched your world views. Generally, your only non-negotiable should be social transparency, LGBTQ+ inclusivity and the stand against systematic oppression of Black lives/POCs and indigenous peoples. Here we go!

The Venue

I think we all felt the collective wave of horror and confusion when uninformed butter-bathed-bigot (Celebrity Chef) Paula Deen spoke about her want for a plantation themed event. This feels like it should go without saying but doing light research on any potential venues can help you avoid booking a place with an ugly history. All of This can be avoided prior to any site tours so you don’t get attached with the aesthetic of a location with an ugly past.

Where applicable, especially in more diverse and metropolitan areas, take note of staffing. While some places have a history of family members running things in smaller venues, if a place has the means to hire and train minority staff in-house yet only keeps them in server/busser roles, this could be reflective of some unchecked privilege the venue may need to unpack. This,of course, is not only the case and can be due to population or staff availability and even places with minority executives can hold prejudices but it says alot about a place that has let any implicit biases go.

Being Globally Minded

Breathe. We know this phrase alone may seem daunting while planning a wedding but focusing on one of these areas can lessen any negative impacts that come with more traditional routes. The idea can be taxing for us, but necessary and we can take care of this part for you:

Locally Sourced Food: A spread that is not only fresh and local but is also a visual vacation from the mass array of Chicken Marsalas you’ve suffered at every other event during the year (a classic, but how many mushrooms can one eat?). On top of this, you’re seasonally eating (hello, nutrients) AND supporting the local economy, which is especially important if you’re having a destination wedding.

Eco-Friendly Invitations: For your typical wedding, even before things like menus and placecards, each invitation usually includes save-the-dates, response cards, separators, hotel directions and more. Recycled paper and/or reducing the amount of things you need printed results in a simple way to avoid this impact. A fun alternative can be hand painted items for things like place cards during the reception. Personally, just skipping the RSVP cards and doing that online not only is great for the environment but makes the most sense for wedding management. Also, no one needs directions printed anymore. It’s far from the days of printing out mapquest results. Let Siri handle it.

Fair Trade Fabrics: This simply ensures that your dresses/suits come from the agreement that helps manufacturers in smaller countries have equitable trade with other countries.

Conflict Free Rings: According to The Diamond Pro, a conflict-free diamond is “a diamond that’s mined and shipped without connection to rebel or terror groups” therefore, a diamond that doesn’t have this certification cannot be ruled out as one that has ties to these groups or a “blood-diamond.”

Toss Out Those Gender Roles

This may feel counterintuitive for the staunch traditionalists but inclusivity is key here. In LGBTQ+ and straight weddings alike, it seems more fitting to rid your event of any vernacular that enforces gender conformity like “bridal party” vs. “wedding party.” Ditch the idea of enforcing which side to wear either a dress or suit depending on familial posturing. Male/Female identifying pairs can go too, while we’re at it. If yours is the only wedding at a certain venue that day, you can ask that they make all bathrooms gender neutral with the simple use of signs that have been made prior to the event.

Something as simple as asking the venue to make all bathrooms gender neutral can be done simply with a sign that you create and hand to the venue.

Adjust Financial Expectations

We are still experiencing a global pandemic and are all recalibrating what’s important to us. After being quarantined and sheltered-in-place for so long, simply being able to gather with your loved ones will feel like a luxury. However, even as we financially restabilize the country, try to examine what you’re expecting of your wedding party as far as what costs they will need to cover as part of your special day. Rarely, are the costs only applicable to that day. There are generally showers, pre-wedding parties and gifts at the very least. These things can be a gross financial burden on a regular year, let alone one coming out of an epidemic that compromised the lives of the many people that you'll want at your side. Sure, you may be undertaking a huge cost yourself, but no one wants to choose between saying they can’t be a part of your wedding & going for broke. Plus, people are most likely going to be in more wedding parties than actually getting married themselves--be aware of that, your loved ones will appreciate it.

Again, all of this can all feel like an intimidating task but it’s especially important that we have purpose behind how we continue our futures. Checking a few of these off of your list can contribute to being a global citizen and an ally to others. Also, Amplified Events is here to take the burden off of you and can easily help with one or all of these things, at your request