It's been three months since our last diversity pledge update and those first three months of 2021 went quickly. We're pleased to report that they brought us an array of beautifully diverse real weddings, editorial shoots, and developments behind the scenes that have enabled us to progress with our diversity pledge.
As always with our updates, let us remind you of our pledge and look at how we have gotten on between January and March 2021.
1. We are aiming for a minimum of 1 in 5 posts you see on Rock My Wedding to feature Black, Black multiracial or other BAME couples.
2. We are aiming for a minimum of 1 in 10 posts you see on Rock My Wedding to feature couples from the LGBTQ+ community.
Between the 1st January and 31st March 2021 we shared more articles than ever before, a whopping 204. We're really pleased to report that we met our 1 in 5 target for articles that featured Black, Black multiracial or other BAME couples or suppliers. To break that down; we had 57 articles (which is 28% of all articles) that featured BAME couples or suppliers (thats 11 up on the previous quarter). 37 of these featured Black or Black multiracial couples or authors. And 20 featured Asian or other minority ethnic or multiracial couples.
Of those 204 posts, 9 featured LGBTQ+ couples. This was one more than we featured last quarter. And what was so special about some of the LGBTQ+ articles we shared this quarter is that some of them were also in the BAME category. Being able to consider and share multiple underrepresented groups within a wedding has been a joy.
We have still fallen short of our pledge goal for LGBTQ weddings. Although we were able to feature one more LGBTQ wedding this quarter than last, we're still below where we'd like to be in terms of representation. There is obviously a lot of work to be done here and we will continue to actively seek more LGBTQ weddings. If you are a supplier who has worked on any LGBTQ weddings we'd love to hear from you or indeed if you are a supplier who is part of the LGBTQ+ community, we'd love to hear from you and discuss the possibility of contributing to Rock My Wedding. And if you're part of an LGBTQ+ couple reading this, please do consider Rock My Wedding if you want to have your wedding shared.
What has been encouraging and where there has been a noticable increase in diversity is within editorial shoots that are being submitted to us. With many weddings being temporarily paused due the pandemic, suppliers are coming together to create incredible editorial shoots and we can see the shift in the conscious decisions to use models or real life couples from minority or underrepresented groups.
3. Having a more diverse selection of Recommended suppliers on our supplier directory.
Late into this quarter we started active outreach to add to our Recommended supplier list. We have a focus on approaching Black owned businesses so that we can share their work more easily with our community.
We're pleased to announce that we added 6 Black owned wedding businesses to our platform this quarter. We also still strive to collaborate with Black suppliers to bring a new voice to our pages and to bring their expertise to topics that we, as a team, have little to no experience of. A great example of this is the Black hair round up article we shared this quarter, which we collaborated with Aina McCallum on. We were also able to promote her afro hair academy to our suppliers and the wider wedding industry. We have also developed a 'Contributor spotlight' for our Instagram to really highlight these businesses and collaborations.
4. Having a more diverse voice across our features.
As mentioned above we have been working with Aina on specific Black hair articles. You can look forward to an article all about black hair care on the run-up to your wedding coming this quarter. We also had two great articles contributed by Chioma Alade of Studio-Chi Weddings about why the big day is still the big day and maxi-micro weddings.
We have more diverse collaborations coming up this quarter as well.
5. Increasing antiracism within our team.
The team continues to discuss and converse about current matters with regards to anti-racism. Discussing personal journeys and sharing recommendations is part of our day-to-day conversations.
Here's a look at some of the incredible weddings and shoots we've shared this quarter.
Diversity in business course
In our last update, we told you that we were embarking on a Diversity In Business Course. We have now completed this course, committing an hour a week to going through the modules but finding they had a much longer-lasting impact on our days and weeks. The course allowed us to be reflective and encouraged us to discuss where we have perhaps failed in the past or where we have had success and highlighted areas that perhaps we have been ignorant to consider up to this point. It has been so rewarding to see that as a result of the course, the team as a whole is now much more conscious, much more aware, and are asking questions that perhaps we weren't before.
When Rock My Wedding was bought back in 2019 we became part of a much wider group. Our experience of completing this course in the Rock My Wedding team has led to conversations with the wider group about how, as a group, we can invest more time and money into courses that are designed for larger businesses and make it a real focus and commitment going forward. We hope to help the group create a strategy to implement change.
Ableism and disabled people's inclusion
Last month we put a call out to all of our Recommended suppliers to ask for their help to improve our understanding of ableism, how the industry makes itself accessible, and to help us raise the visibility of those weddings where couples or guests have visible, or non-visible disabilities, in order for us to be more representative.
We had a great response from our suppliers but little did we know that one supplier, in particular, Kathryn Palmer-Skillings (or you might know her as Celebrant Kathryn) has been working as an inclusivity consultant for the last 15 years. We are now collaborating with Kathryn on some articles to try and bring her expertise to the forefront and hope to be able to further include her professional work at a deeper level within the business. Our aim going forward is to share a piece of inclusion content every 6 weeks. So this could be on accessible venues, making weddings more accessible in general, real experiences of disabled couples or suppliers, or featuring weddings and shoots with disabled couples or guests.
We still have a ways to go in terms of being wholly inclusive and representative and we know this isn't something we can fix overnight but we're finding that this approach is working. And it's improving representation. We will continue to strive and reach out to suppliers to submit their BAME and LGBTQ+ weddings. We will continue to add more Black-owned businesses to our Recommended supplier list and highlight the voices of Black guests on our platform.
We would really like to improve our LGBTQ+ representation this quarter and work on releasing our diversity filters on the main site. We have also made a change to our submissions acceptance criteria. Photographers now need to hit two out of three criteria and one of those is that the wedding or shoot must be diverse. We are defining diverse as being couples or individuals (or indeed suppliers) featured in the wedding or shoot are from minority or underrepresented communities. This could include those who are racially underrepresented, those whose body types aren't as widely celebrated, or individuals with disabilities, to name a few.
Last quarter we also mentioned that we want to release a diversity filter on our site. So that underrepresented and minority communities can really easily search for themselves. We have also discussed adding a similar filter to our Recommended supplier section too so that couples who wish to can search specifically for the suppliers that they most want to support. Neither of these filters are live on the site yet but this quarter we hope to release the site-wide diversity filter. When we do we will let you know and will be seeking your feedback as always on how you're finding the new function and where we can improve upon it.
If you’re a BAME or LGBTQ+ owned business and would like to be part of our Recommended Supplier community, please head to this page to find out more about how it works. And if you are a Black supplier and you feel you have something you want to contribute to Rock My Wedding, whether that be your experience as a Black business owner in the wedding industry or an article that you can contribute to our Planning section, please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear from you.
You can find some of the diverse weddings and articles we've shared this quarter below. And as always any feedback is always welcome on this report and our pledge.