Planning

Back in June, we released a pledge. Because Black love matters. It mattered before then, it mattered then and it still matters now. It's important to us that you hold us accountable for our actions, hence the public pledge. We saw plenty of tokenistic attempts all over social media but with very little in the way of public plans to solidify change in the wedding industry when it comes to racial inclusivity and diversity. So, that was four months ago. But where are we now? Here is an update for you on how we did in the first 3 months of our pledge.
Diversity & Inclusivity At Rock My Wedding
The first two points of our pledge were to increase the visibility of BAME and LGBTQ+ love. Between the 10th of June and the end of September, we shared 183 articles with you on our website. That's a lot, right? During the pandemic, we decided that positivity was the only answer. And so most days, we have been sharing two articles; to inspire you and to continue to support suppliers by sharing and tagging all the incredible businesses that make this industry so special. Those two articles a day have also enabled us to share more inclusive and diverse content. Over the course of those three months, 31% of the posts you saw on the website included members of the BAME and LGBTQ community. That number is an improvement on where we were and we're really happy to see it. Part of this is down to having a dedicated team who are constantly looking and trawling Instagram feeds to find these incredible weddings and shoots. And the other half of the coin? Is you lot. Couples who have asked photographers to submit their weddings to us, photographers feeling more comfortable submitting to us and making us the first point of call for their diverse weddings. It's felt like such an organic process. For your support in helping us reach our goals and raise the profile of BAME and LGBTQ love; we are forever grateful. And long may it last.
For those of you who like it broken down a little more, here are some more in-depth stats. We pledged 1 in 5 posts you see on Rock My Wedding to include the BAME couples or individuals (that could be real weddings, styled shoots, contributor posts). That's the equivalent of 36 total posts over the period. We achieved a total of 44 posts featuring either couples or businesses from the BAME community. 15 of those features were Black or Black multiracial weddings. 9 posts were contributed by Black-owned businesses or planning couples. The other 21 posts we're real weddings or inspiration round-ups featuring Asian or other minority ethnicities. Overall we have made a 6% increase in visibility. Our aim with regards to featuring LGBTQ couples was 1 in 10 articles which would equate to 18 posts. We shared 14 posts with you from June to September that featured LGBTQ couples. So we have some work to do to hit our goal for increasing visibility of the LGBTQ community. Each post we share on the website also gets a share on our Instagram feed and stories as well so we've been conscious to utilise this as best we can and share Black love at every opportunity.
More than anything, we hope that you have been able to see this change. That things are improving, that we are actively and consistently sharing more. We hope that this update backs up how you've felt when you've visited Rock My Wedding over the last three months. Our aim is that every bride or groom who claps eyes on our site will see themselves looking back. That you feel solidarity through the voices you hear. That every supplier who wants to join us feels confident that they are welcome. That they are wanted. And that they are needed to make this industry the very best it can be. We still have a lot of work to do.
A Diverse Selection Of Wedding Industry Suppliers
Part three of our pledge was to curate a more diverse collection of recommended suppliers. This is the one area in which we've not achieved. Since COVID-19 hit, we have purposefully not been prospecting to gain new recommended suppliers. Why? Because it felt entirely inappropriate to be asking businesses to part with money when their livelihoods were being stripped away. And so this step remains on our pledge. And it will happen. But we have to be sensitive to the times and right now, we don't feel it's appropriate to be asking business owners to join our existing directory. That said, there are some changes coming soon that we're hoping will make being a recommended member of Rock My Wedding much more accessible, even during a global pandemic. And we hope to see many more Black-owned businesses joining us.
Having A More Diverse Voice Across Our Platforms
5% of the 183 posts shared we’re contributed by BAME or LGBTQ+ business owners or planning couples/individuals. From planners to dress designers and celebrants, we have absolutely loved sharing the wisdom of these fantastic suppliers. We've been honoured to share the stories of planning couples as well which have been so well received by you all. We hope to be able to continue having a varied voice on our platform and encourage readers and suppliers from the BAME or LGBTQ+ community who have something to say to get in touch with us. We'd love for you to recommend any Black wedding suppliers you have worked with too so that we can reach out to them and start building new relationships. Or if you are a Black or LGBTQ+ business owner and you want to contribute to Rock My Wedding, please get in touch with us.
Increasing Anti-Racism Within Our Team
Each member of the team is doing their own anti-racism work outside of the office. The BLM movement touched every single member of the team in one way or another and we are always sharing articles or books and resources that we find useful with each other for us to learn and unlearn on our own time. We’ve also spoken with a couple of diversity consultants and the next steps are for us to take one of these consultants on board to help us make sure that anti-racism is something that runs throughout everything we do as a business and also to help us increase diversity within our teams. We will update you on this in the next diversity and inclusion update which will be in December.
What Happens Next?
Something missing from our pledge is ableism. We are very conscious that we need to be able to share more weddings where the couples or indeed guests have disabilities. To share those planning stories to help other couples in similar circumstances is so important. Both diversity consultants we have spoken with cover ableism and access inclusion and it’s something we need to learn more about in terms of language and well, everything. So please, if you have a disability and are planning a wedding please get in touch so we can talk about your planning journeys and share more. Perhaps you're planning a wedding and are having to make adjustments to be able to better include guests with disabilities - we'd really like to hear your stories so that we can find out how the wedding industry is serving you and what we can do to aid in improving this. We'd also love to know about positive stories where suppliers have been open and adaptable from the get-go. Equally, if you’re a photographer, please start submitting weddings to us where your couples have disabilities. We realise that not all disabilities are visible and so this call is for all those invisible disabilities as well. All of your stories matter and we want to share them. For now, our pledge will stay the same for the remainder of 2020 and we will be striving to surpass it by the end of the year. We will be doing a review and releasing a new pledge early in 2021 which will have more considered goals and also be inclusive of disabilities. In the meantime, we are going to be investing in a diversity consultant and we will continue to share the joy of Black and LGBTQ+ love with you all.
If there is anything else you would like to see on our pages regarding diversity and inclusion please let us know. If we're not getting it quite right, please let us know that too. We're always ready for your feedback. And thank you again, from the bottom of our hearts, for all of your support in helping shape a more racially inclusive and diverse industry.

Written by Becky Sappor

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