One subject amidst the bridal industry that I really feel people tiptoe around is that of lack of inclusion in wedding blogs and web/print publications. Maybe this isn’t something I am supposed to talk about but…here I am- and I’m not sorry.
It’s not to say there aren’t diverse publications that cater to multi-cultural audiences, it’s great but why separate publications? I grew up in a community where I was, for many years, the only bi-racial kid around and believe me when I tell you- it was hell. Different skin color, different body type, different hair, different facial features, plus a family of limited means. From public school, throughout high school it was just me and then I moved to Ottawa for university. It was then that I experienced being around people who looked like me, people I could relate too. I can’t describe to you the utter joy I felt living in a city where I didn’t feel like the literal “black sheep”.
When I first joined the wedding industry I made a point to get familiar with certain wedding publications and while I was enthralled (to say the least) with all the work that was showcased, yet I was shocked.
The stark reality is that there are publications that are for separate demographics and it can work…sort of. Of course, when you become a planner you must decide your niche market and how best to target them. But in doing so, it seems to create a distinct barrier.
I do realize I may be stirring the pot but here is the reality- I’ve had clients come up to me and tell me that have purchased certain magazines for inspiration but didn’t see themselves as any of the brides or models. They weren’t able to identify with what they were seeing and for them it was frustrating but that was their experience. So, I ask “Why don’t publications, magazines and blogs make a point to include a certain number of multi-ethnic shoots as features, editorials or submissions?”
But far beyond race, size and sexual orientation, recently the popular online blog Style Me Pretty pledged their dedication towards creating a space that focused on inclusion on their Instagram. While this was a huge step for them, some of the comments on their Instagram post even went to the point of highlighting other aspects of inclusion being overlooked still:
- Special needs couples
- Brides with natural hair/Afros
- Budget friendly (pretty doesn’t have to be pricey)
- Hiring people on their staff who understand diversity
Simply some food for thought. In a society as liberal as ours it would be nice to see more inclusion in the larger magazines and blogs. If brides cannot see themselves in the dresses, with the flowers then it’s a huge missed opportunity and the message these real brides take away is this: the world’s beauty standard women have fought so hard against hasn’t changed in the bridal industry. On the bright side, it is my sincere hope to start seeing a wider range of inclusion much sooner rather than later!
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