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  • Writer's pictureLizzie, In Your Own Words

My queer journey as a wedding industry professional

Updated: Mar 29

All sorts of people get married. Contrary to what representation in the industry would often have you believe.

I discovered I'm queer in my mid-thirties. So at the time of writing, this is still fresh for me! It’s been full of surprises, and a bit more emotional that I expected it to be. Realising how heteronormative our social systems are has been very impactful, and made me re-evaluate how I used to behave. We see as we’re told to, and what we see are straight couples (and white and cis and non-disabled...) getting married.

I split my time between London, Bristol and Chicago, and I’m really happy to say that in all these places, I feel safe and welcomed as a queer (white) woman. Aside from a few incidents where strangers have felt the need to out-loud assume my girlfriend is my friend, my experiences have been unremarkable.

But perspective-wise, it’s been quite a privilege to transition from the straight world into the queer world. As a straight woman I thought I was an ally to LGBTQ+ people, but I see now that was in name only. I did not have a visceral sense, as I do now, of how little space the world gives queer people to love, thrive and exist. I also didn’t understand the threats (existential or otherwise) they face to their dignity and freedom, or the consequent importance of celebrating their relationships and community.

It’s been really interesting to revisit poems I wrote in the past. I stand by each personalised poem – after all, they were written for specific couples and so rightly speak of them and their (usually heterosexual) love. But in 2017 I wrote a couple of poems intended as more general affordable alternatives: To The Bride and To The Groom. They are packed full of stereotypes, like implying the man has been less involved in wedding planning or only mentioning pushchairs in the woman’s poem. I do stand by them too: in their way they are good poems, which speak to many couples (stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason!). But now I see the lack of inclusion for same sex or non-het couples, and I’m thrilled to be working on some new material.

Guess what…I wrote this post last week, to upload today; this morning, while conducting market research for another product, a fellow wedding industry professional pointed out that I was referring to “brides” when the product could just as easily be for grooms! Madre mia! A timely reminder of how ingrained my perspective still is.

Wedding professionals market to the clients they want, and I have a responsibility to show all sorts of couples they are equally seen and welcomed. I feel really lucky to be part of the queer community, and happy to have the opportunity to learn to include more effectively.

The downloadable poems I referred to will be on sale soon. Meantime, if you want a personalised poem that truly speaks of you and your partner, say hello here.

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