*Disclaimer: this is not a complete list. In light of the outrage of George Floyd’s murder and the protests the past week I have become more aware that “not being racist” just isn’t enough, I can do more. I am committed to being actively anti-racist. These are some way that I plan to practice anti-racism in my business and I hope at least one idea inspires you to do the same.

I also want to be very clear that I have always tried to show diversity and be a welcoming place for all couples regardless of race or sexual orientation. As I have continued to learn the severity of racism in our country I am now making an even greater effort to share wedding inspiration for all couples, especially Black couples and POC because I do believe there is a lack of diversity in wedding images and wedding inspiration. These steps are not at all a way to gain more business but solely to be a welcoming place for all.

Review your Preferred Vendor List

For me this meant taking another look at my preferred vendors list and making sure there is at least 1 person of color in every vendor category. While no vendors will be added based on skin color alone but on the basis of their quality of products and dedication to customer service. In some vendor categories, I realized I didn’t know any vendors that were Black or POC. So I will be reaching out to some new vendors to get to know them and add them to my preferred vendors list.

Austin wedding calligrapher Ivelisse Designs
Preferred Austin Wedding Calligrapher, Stephanie, owner of Ivelisse Designs
Photo by Brittany Jean Photography
Wedding invitation suite by Austin wedding calligrapher, Ivelisse Designs
Wedding invitation suite by Ivelisse Designs
Photo by Lucy Struve, Lucille Photo

Making your business a welcoming place for all

I have asked permission from photographers to share their images of Black couples and POC. This is as simple as sharing the image you want to repost and email or DM the photographer to ask “may I have permission to repost this photo on my Instagram.”

If the photographer asks why you want to use the image you can truthfully say “I want to show diversity in my social media. Unfortunately, I don’t have any black couples in my portfolio to share but I want to make sure I am showing all skin colors and races in my social media to show all are welcome. I won’t share on my website as it is not my work, just Instagram” Feel free to change into your own words but you can use this as a guide.

I do not recommend sharing an image without the photographers approval, you can be sued for copyright infringement. Most people will say yes if you just ask and are honest about your plans to use the photo. Make sure to credit and tag the whole vendor team and do not phrase the caption in a way that makes it seem like this is your own work. I will make sure that every 6 to 9 squares on Instagram I have shared a person or couple of color so it is clear to see that all people are welcome and valued in my business. 

In addition to this, you can add to your website that your business serves couples regardless of race. Here is what I have written on my website. “Our team services couples regardless of their age, race, social status, religious background, or gender. All are welcome here.”

Adding diversity to your portfolio

For future styled shoots I am going to make sure I am equally asking Black and POC couples to participate as I am asking white couples. I will aim to have at least one Black owned business on the vendor team for each styled shoot as well. This will allow me to build an integrated and diverse wedding community but also add Blacks and POC to my portfolio and the images I am able to share.

Photo by Lucy Struve, Lucille Photo

Donate your time and money

Donate to organizations that fight against racial injustice and promote anti-racism. With each package I book, my business donates $100 to an organization. I have a list of organizations I want to support such as cancer and animal organizations and I let the couple pick from the list where they want the donation to go to. I have now added The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. which works towards fighting for racial justice through litigation, advocacy and public education.

Accountability

I will hold my other colleagues, friends and family accountable if a racial comment or joke is made. While I currently don’t have children, when I do, I will share toys and dolls of all skin colors for them to play with. I will read my children books with black characters and share movies with black characters. I will have conversations with them early on about racism and why it is wrong. I will take all the small steps and big steps to build a better world and a safer place for all.

Bianca Nichole Events is an Austin based wedding planner, and will travel to San Antonio, Fredericksburg and the surrounding Texas Hill Country area.

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