Did you know that it’s been nearly three years since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is legal in every state? Nationwide marriage equality is not only great news for society and equality, but a tremendous opportunity for your business. According to NerdWallet, the projected benefit is upwards of 2.5 billion dollars per year for the wedding and travel industry. But perhaps more exciting, LGBTQ weddings often bring new energy and a fresh perspective to your business.
As you start to reach out to this market, there are some very important things to keep in mind about the differences between the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) world and the straight world. After all, there is a gay culture (and a lesbian culture), just as there’s a Jewish culture, an Indian culture and so on.
Here are 5 marketing and customer service tips to ensure your wedding business is ready for these joyful LGBTQ couples:
- LGBTQ couples want to feel included and represented. Examine your marketing materials, contact form, wedding-planner worksheet/timeline, and contract to see if you reference the phrase “bride and groom.” If so, substitute gender-neutral alternatives throughout.
- Are all of the photos in your portfolio of only brides and grooms paired together? Find photos that are more inclusive or ambiguous (such as the bride by herself or the groom by himself) and use some of those instead. If you don’t have these photos (and aren’t a wedding photographer), consider buying stock photos.
- Review your scripts for wedding inquiries. If a female calls or emails about her wedding plans, do your scripts and email templates assume it’s a straight couple and does your associate ask the name of the groom? If so, update the scripts and email templates with gender-neutral language so you don’t accidentally offend a potential couple!
- Educate yourself on the laws that may affect same-sex couples in your area. For example, in 29 states, LGBT individuals can still be denied service—like those of a wedding photographer or DJ—simply on the basis of their sexuality. You are your clients’ advocate, so make sure you are aware of the challenges they may face while wedding planning.
- Make a list of LGBT-friendly wedding professionals in your service area that you are 100% confident will treat your clients with respect. Consider this your new LGBT-wedding referral list (and hopefully one you’ll use for ALL weddings). Remember, whether your client is straight or gay, you are your client’s advocate! Same-sex couples have to come out over and over again when planning their wedding—both to the vendors they hire and the vendors they don’t—and it’s your job to look out for their best interest.
For even more great advice, check out our social media tip sheet—“5 Things You Can Do Today on Social Media to Attract More LGBT Wedding Clients”—at www.GayWeddingInstitute.com/5