We have had the honour of sharing some of the most beautiful weddings this past quarter. A third of the incredible real wedding and editorial shoots we have shared have also been diverse. We feel so privileged to be able to bring you these real weddings, full of love, happiness and incredible style. Sharing these love stories means so much. That we are trusted as a platform to represent minority communities with integrity within an industry where they are largely still underrepresented is incredibly humbling. We know that suppliers are creating shoots with Rock My Wedding in mind. We know that couples are asking their photographers to only share their stories with us. And that is so special. We hope that we continue to do you proud.
Here is a look back at how we measured up against our diversity pledge from the start of July to the end of September.
A change to our content scheduling
Throughout the pandemic, we shared more articles than we ever have before. Sometimes up to 3 times a day on the website and multiple times on our social channels. This level of content wasn't sustainable but it was the best way we knew to support suppliers and keep their businesses visible during what was likely the most challenging time of their careers. We reviewed our content schedule and have reduced the number of articles we now share.
To allow us to still share as many diverse weddings as possible we have opened up new ways of sharing exclusive content. Our report usually talks about features based purely on the website but we now have slots for exclusive social content. This has allowed us to share more diverse content to wider audiences and has been so well received not only by suppliers but also you, our wonderful community of readers.
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 LGBTQI+ community.
Between the 1st of July and the 31st of September 2021, we shared a total of 131 articles on our website. A third of these articles were exclusively weddings or editorial shoots featuring members of the BAME and LGBTQI+ community. 23% of articles exclusively featured BAME couples or models and 9% the LGBTQI+ Community. This means that, based on the number of articles that were exclusively real weddings or editorial shoots we have fallen short of our pledge.
To rectify this we pulled together more roundup articles this quarter where we were able to be really inclusive and share more inspiration from underrepresented communities. We shared a further 12 articles with diverse content to help us further elevate the visibility of BAME and LGBTQI+ communities.
I also mentioned earlier about exclusive social content. Via Reels (some with over 35,000 views) and exclusive IG grid posts, we were able to share an additional 9 weddings and shoots. These were a mix of BAME and LGBTQI+ content. We also further promoted some of our website's diverse weddings and shoots on our Reels too for extra visibility. If you've not visited the Reels section of our Instagram before, you can find it here.
We continue with our pro-active outreach and know we have lots of incredible diverse weddings coming our way once photographers have the space to be able to edit and submit them to us (we're so happy to see everyone so busy after such a rough 18 months). We cant wait to share them with you all.
3. Having a more diverse selection of Recommended suppliers on our supplier directory.
One opportunity for increasing representation across the board is by connecting with more suppliers who are part of these underrepresented groups. That includes Black-owned businesses, businesses run by members of the LGBTQI+ community and disabled people. It's really important to us that we are able to share the work of underrepresented groups and so we have some focus meetings coming up dedicated to getting more suppliers involved and a part of the Rock My Wedding community. If you're one of these suppliers and aren't already Recommended by Rock My Wedding, please get in touch with us as we'd love to speak to you.
We'd like to introduce you to these BAME suppliers that joined our Recommended list this quarter: M+H Cake, Grace & Ivy, Florals of Splendour, And Then Became Us, Memories 4U, Boombox UK and Turai Films.
4. Having a more diverse voice across our features.
We had some great articles this quarter contributed by Recommended supplier Celebrant Kathryn. She talked about how you can choose an inclusive venue and ways to make your ceremony super inclusive. You may have also seen this beautiful shoot that was conceived to elevate autism awareness in weddings.
It can be difficult for us to feature lots of diverse voices as we simply don't have the budget to compensate contributors for their hard work and time. Neither for us to grow our team at this time. We don't ever want any contributor to be feel taken advantage of and therefore we rely on our suppliers to approach us to discuss contributions on their terms. If you are a Recommended supplier of Rock My Wedding and from the BAME, LGBTQI+ or disabled people community and want to contribute to our website and speak to our audience, please let us know at email@example.com.
5. Increasing antiracism within our team.
We hold a regular diversity meeting each month where anti-racism is always a point on the agenda. This past month we have started to read Nova Reids 'The Good Ally'. We were able to complete Nova's Diversity In Business course which we have mentioned in previous round-ups and her book is a great next step to further education to truly become allies to the Black community.
A note on how we plan and share diverse content
This past quarter we have received some questions and comments about the way in which we represent the couples that feature on Rock My Wedding. We thought it might be a good idea to let you know the process we use.
Couples complete questionnaires for us all about their weddings. That's how we're able to get all the juicy goss for you about their days. There is a section in the questionnaire for diversity. We ask couples to let us know how they identify, should they wish to share that with us. And then however they choose to identify is the language we use when putting together their articles and associated social posts. We would never refer to someone with an identifier that they themselves don't use.
We appreciate that some see this language as divisive. The term 'Lesbian wedding', for example. And they question why we might use that and not also 'heterosexual wedding'. The reason for this is simple. You can look at any magazine, any wedding blog or media platform and see a wide plethora of white, heterosexual weddings. You don't have to hunt down hashtags or scroll through pages and pages to find that content. However if you are a Black bride, an Indian bride having a Hindu ceremony, a lesbian couple, maybe a gay couple who would rather identify as same-sex... The task of finding yourself in all of these places is much much harder.
Representation is everything. And so we try and make our diverse content as easy to find as possible. That will include us using these identifiers in page titles, in social captions and in hashtags. We want everyone who comes across Rock My Wedding's multiple platforms to be able to easily find themselves.
Your feedback is always welcomed and we appreciate the open dialogue we're able to have with our incredible community on the topic of diversity and inclusivity. We will continue to strive for underrepresented communities to feel seen and heard in the wedding industry and make it as easy as we can for them to find themselves on our channels.