Over the last 12 months, the wedding industry has been thrown curve ball after curve ball as they’ve worked tirelessly to overcome the unforeseen events caused by a global pandemic. But having to cancel, postpone and put countless weddings on hold was only a piece of the pie—the other was having to deal with the unrelenting unrest in society, which has been surmounting to this point. It’s safe to say that 2020, and now into 2021, was a year of immense change and stark recognition for who we are and where we are as a nation.
What Is a Socially Conscious Wedding Vendor?
The concept of being a socially conscious wedding vendor means to openly and actively display that you are not only thinking about yourself and others like you but supporting the community at large through representation and action.
Like many industry leaders, those in the wedding sphere felt a call to action—to stand up for what is right and to do their part in society. “Now more than ever, couples who seek our services are looking to support local rather than larger corporations where they do not truly see where their dollar is going vs being able to help make an immediate impact to a small business owner, especially businesses that happen to be Black-owned, woman-owned, LGBTQIA-owned and more, including companies that may be operated by or employ those that are differently-abled,” shares Oniki Hardtman of Oh Niki Occasions in Boynton Beach, Florida. In her opinion, the concept of being a socially conscious wedding vendor means to openly and actively display that you are not only thinking about yourself and others like you but supporting the community at large through representation and action.
These days, there really can't be a separation between what you as an individual stand for and what your business stands for. It's all related and it's honestly all the same.
Leah Weinberg of Color Pop Events in Long Island City, New York, agrees, adding “To be a socially conscious wedding vendor means that you care about diversity, inclusivity, politics, intersectional feminism, things like climate change and the environment, etc., and that you speak out loudly (and publicly) about these things and are taking action behind the scenes (or even in front of the camera) to back up what you're saying.” In other words, simply taking a stance on a matter isn’t enough—action is required to truly stand upon your beliefs. “For those of us wedding professionals who own our own businesses, who we are as human beings is reflected in what our companies and brands stand for,” adds Weinberg. “These days, there really can't be a separation between what you as an individual stand for and what your business stands for. It's all related and it's honestly all the same.”
To hammer home the point that hate and discrimination have no place in the business of love, Jove Meyer, owner, and creative director at Jove Meyer Events, even went as far as creating an Ally Pledge. “By intentionally hiring socially conscious wedding vendors you are using your resources to empower and uplift those who have previously been ignored, bothered, or denied,” he tells Brides. “Who you hire matters. How they do business matters. Your wedding matters and can impact the lives of others in a powerful way if you allow it to!”
Who you hire matters. How they do business matters. Your wedding matters and can impact the lives of others in a powerful way if you allow it to!
As an engaged couple, you can do your part in being socially conscious by carefully choosing a team of wedding vendors that adequately reflects society as a whole—not merely in the narrow frame in which you belong or live.
Consider What “Socially Conscious” Means to You
First, Weinberg recommends taking the time to come to a conclusion over what the concept of being"socially conscious" means to you and your partner. Ask yourselves: What specific qualities do you want in your wedding vendors? “If you don't have a grasp on what you're looking for and what's important to you in a vendor, then you won't be able to decide whether someone fits those requirements or not,” she adds.
Do Your Research
These days, most companies offer up more than a basic website to showcase their offerings. And this usually includes their team, certain social views, and some unique branding. Hardtman recommends doing your part to scroll through the social media pages of the vendors you’re considering hiring to see how diverse their employees are, especially those in decision making positions. “We love seeing women at the top, and often do in the wedding industry, but how many of those women are people of color?” Hardtman points out. “Look for venues and vendors that have clients and/or employees from many different backgrounds and orientations.” Can’t get enough of a vibe from their social media and website alone? Don’t hesitate to inquire. “The best way to know for sure is on your initial phone call,” says Meyer. “if it matters to them they will lead with it or mention it, if they do not then you know where they stand.”
Ask What Communities They Support and/or Are Part Of
One key sign that a wedding vendor is socially conscious, according to Weinberg, is that they are part of a community of like-minded people. In other words, considering the other vendors they are connected to can be a tactic for how to vet your vendors. “A couple can get a sense based on who a vendor is recommended by, what preferred vendor lists they are on, and what colleagues are always engaged with their social media posts as to what larger community they are part of,” she says. “In most cases, a socially conscious vendor isn't going to interact a lot or recommend someone who isn't also like-minded.”
Pay Attention to How They Respond to Your Requests
A wedding vendor who is not socially conscious might act indifferent towards a request of yours that's not congruent with the mainstream, explains Ivy Summer of Voulez Events in San Francisco, California. “For example, if you ask about adding pronouns to your escort cards and your wedding vendor is either indifferent toward or displeased with your request for that, wave the red flag,” she says. “Whenever a vendor is visibly turned off with or disinterested in inclusive requests, consider a different vendor who is mindful about accommodating you."