Wedding Inclusion Marketing

Inclusion marketing is the marketing strategy of including images of diverse people side-by-side. In the case of the LGBT community you might see an ad where a same-sex couple is featured right alongside a straight couple as if that is a completely normal situation (which it is).

This is the future of our society and this is the future of marketing. Good examples of inclusion marketing which you may have seen on TV include this ad for the Amazon Kindle:


Or this ad for Microsoft Outlook: 


An example of how you can use inclusion marketing for print advertisement in a wedding magazine is below. This ad appeals to not only same-sex couples but also opposite sex couples and simply reflects the diversity of the clientele that this planner works with. In short, everyone is included.

This is a very successful marketing strategy for you to consider as you create ads, especially print ads and banner ads for your business. You can also take this approach on your website. Although same-sex couples really are looking for images of other same-sex couples, you don't necessarily have to have a gay section on your website unless you do that section very very well. Including images of straight and gay couples side-by-side is a perfectly respectful and successful approach in reaching all audiences.

Facebook Changes its Gender Policy Again

Gender is an awfully confusing subject. And one thing that's important to remember is that there are not just two genders: male and female. There are many people in the world who might feel male one day and female the next. Or, people who might feel like they are a man trapped in a woman's body or vice-versa. They might not like to check a box that says "male" or "female". 

Essentially what I'm getting at is that gender is fluid for many people.

This means that companies need to start paying attention to such preferences. Facebook is one of the pioneering corporations in understanding that gender is fluid. Last year, you may recall that face that Facebook created a policy whereby users could select custom as a gender and then choose between over 50 different genders beyond just male or female. Example genders on their list included cisgender, transfeminine and more.

Now Facebook has changed their gender policy again. Now when someone selects custom when adjusting their gender on Facebook, they simply get a blank line to write in their own gender. Those 50+ gender examples are gone and now individuals can describe themselves the way they see fit.

Such gender identification is going to be increasingly common especially among millennials and those who are identifying as genderqueer, or otherwise feeling very fluid in their gender identity and expression.

Facebook is paying attention. Are you? Think beyond gender when planning someone's wedding and beyond the preconceived notions of what the role of the male and female is in wedding planning. Consider how gender fluidity could come into effect when you're working with a same-sex couple.

Weddings in a Changing World

On Saturday I had the pleasure of speaking in New Orleans at the Events & Tents sub-conference of The Rental Show, the conference of the American Rental Association. The audience consisted mostly of owners and employees of party and tent rental companies throughout North America.

My topic, Weddings in a Changing World discussed how more couples than ever before (including same-sex couples and many modern couples) are looking for different things in rental products. My presentation covered some of the nuances, language, and terminology that arise with LGBT couples. Also included were different strategies for marketing and advertising, and ways to make sure that all of couples have their needs met. 

I was humbled by the opportunity to be the first person ever to speak on this subject at an event of this magnitude, and grateful to have been graced with the good company of Peyton Manning, who was the Speaker today.

The Business of Gay Weddings Now Available on Kindle

Finally, after the book has been available for more than a year in the paper version, our book "The Business of Gay Weddings" is available on Kindle in the store. For those of you who already have the book purchased at Amazon, the Kindle version is only $2.99. Otherwise the price for the Kindle book on Amazon is $9.99. We're thrilled to offer more ways for wedding professionals to enjoy the only book available for wedding professionals trying best to serve and understand the LGBT wedding market.

This book tells you everything you've always wanted to know about gay weddings (but were afraid to ask!) It covers LGBT language and terminology, laws and policies, trends, marketing and much more. It's a very comprehensive LGBT wedding training primer.

Thanks much for shopping and enjoy the book!

Wedding Planning for LGBT Millennials

On March 9 I'll be speaking at the Catersource and Event Solutions Conference in Las Vegas. This is a must-attend event of the year where the catering and events communities come together to learn new ideas and insights. Join me there as I unveil a new presentation for the first time: Wedding Planning with LGBT Millennials. I'm speaking on March 9 at 9:15 AM. Receive $50 off the price of the conference and tradeshow package using code 15EDU.

I hope to see you there - please be sure to say hello!

Venues Learn Same-Sex Wedding Dos and Don'ts

The Bay Area Reporter and Edge Media Network recently published an article about our Gay Wedding Institute Certification Course. I think this article does a really nice job of explaining the value of the course, and it offers the insight of one particular venue who sent a staff member to the course. The article also shares the perspective from a same-sex couple whose wedding was in that venue (Asilomar). Check out this article to learn more about how our Gay Wedding Institute Certification Course can help your company improve its readiness for LGBT weddings.

Ritz-Carlton in Naples Brings the Gay Wedding Institute in for Training

Shortly after marriage equality came to Florida, in January we had the honor of being invited down to Naples, Florida by the Ritz-Carlton for a private full-day certification course for their staff. What a beautiful property! We had an amazing, relaxing weekend enjoying the hotel, beach, spa and the restaurants on the property before we led the training on Monday.

The Ritz-Carlton staff is such an enthusiastic supporter of marriage equality and we're really thrilled they're going be even better advocates for their LGBT clients since they completed the training. Lydia Redmond who is Director of Weddings for the Ritz-Carlton sent us a message after the training, "I wanted to thank you for your time in Naples. The leads are starting to come in for same-sex weddings and our couples feedback are all so positive that we are ahead of the curve. We couldn't have done it without you!"

Thank you so much for inviting us to the Ritz-Carlton. We have now trained more Marriott and Ritz-Carlton employees than any other hotel chain. We love working with you and your properties!

Marriage Equality Comes to Alabama

As of one week ago, same-sex couples throughout the state of Alabama can finally get legally married. Alabama became the 37th state in the country to offer marriage equality for same-sex couples.

Unfortunately, that's not the end of the story. Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore decided that clerks should not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples so there's quite a bit of controversy and still some same-sex couples throughout the state are not receiving their marriage licenses because of this conflict. Although the US Supreme Court intervened and indicated that clerks should issue this marriage licenses there were still some who refused to. Although this is causing confusion and delay to LGBT couples throughout the state, ultimately it's still forward momentum towards marriage equality nationwide.

Just keep in mind that Alabama, like many other states including Florida, North Carolina and plenty of others doesn't have an anti-discrimination law which includes sexual orientation and gender identity. This means that LGBT people can not only be fired for being gay but could also be refused services while planning their wedding or going about their day-to-day lives. Although same-sex couples can get a marriage license in the morning later that day they could be refused services at a wedding venue, by a wedding planner or anyone else. And that's totally legal in the state.

While marriage equality progress is very important, don't forget we must also be an advocate for our LGBT clients. Just because they have marriage equality does not totally mean that they're equal. There's still much work to do throughout the country for same-sex couples to be fully equal. For more information, sign up for our newsletter, our GWI course, or check out an upcoming GWI seminar in your area.

ARIA Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas Completes the Gay Wedding Institute Certification Course

In December, ARIA Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas brought us in for a full day certification course for their entire sales and wedding team. The beautiful hotel and gorgeous wedding chapel has been serving wedding couples for years, and now that marriage equality is legal in Nevada they wanted to improve their readiness for same-sex weddings.

Throughout the day, we talked about all kinds of things including LGBT language and terminology, data, trends, traditions, marketing and more. We did a bunch of activities and role-plays designed to replicate real-life scenarios they could face. They even planned some mock weddings for fictional same-sex couples.

Now as a Gay Wedding Institute certified company, they receive all sorts of benefits including rewriting all of their marketing materials (which I've already done), ongoing certification for new hires, a technical assistance helpline, and much more.

We are proud to welcome ARIA Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas into the Gay Wedding Institute certified family. I know this team is going to do a really great job supporting same-sex couples who choose to marry there.

NACE Chapters Support Marriage Equality

Lately I've been making a tour of the assorted NACE chapters (National Association of Catering and Events) throughout the country. In January, I visited Tampa Bay NACE, which held their beautiful event at the Marriott Waterside Hotel in downtown Tampa. What a great enthusiastic group who are shocked to believe that Florida is one of the states where same-sex couple can be legally discriminated against while planning their wedding.


Later in the month I visited NACE New England. Remember, 11 years ago Massachusetts was the first state with marriage equality in the country. Massachusetts continues to be a pioneer, yet many same-sex couples are still seeing very heterosexist language in the marketing materials of local wedding businesses. 

Finally, this past Monday, I visited NACE in Asheville, North Carolina. At this beautiful luncheon meeting held at The Venue in downtown Asheville a group of about 50 marriage equality supporters gathered and were eager to hear all my reports on same-sex weddings and are so excited to North Carolina finally has marriage equality.


NACE members who are looking to complete their CPCE certification will find that the GWI certification course provides five course credits towards the completion of the CPCE. NACE is a great supporter of marriage quality and I love visiting their groups.