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Champine: Everyone Deserves a Beautiful ‘I Do’

Even in a city as inclusive as Salt Lake City, wedding vendors need to explicitly state their support of the LGBTQ+ community.
%28Courtesy+of+Cecilia+Harvard%29
(Courtesy of Cecilia Harvard)

 

When scrolling through LGBTweddings.com, it’s hard not to notice the lack of queer-friendly wedding vendors in Utah. Historically, Utah has not been a friendly place for the LGBTQ+ community. However, Utah is now ranked 24th in the nation for LGBTQ+ safety. Salt Lake City has a booming queer community. Considering this, it just doesn’t make sense that when “queer wedding Utah” is typed into a search bar, more businesses don’t come up.

Wedding vendors in Utah must declare their support for the queer community.

Inclusion for All

The problem isn’t a lack of support. The problem is that wedding vendors do not openly display their support for queer people. It’s incredibly important to have a section on the vendor website that specifies allyship. If support isn’t specified, queer couples have no way of knowing whether or not the vendor is queer-friendly.

In a red state, queer couples must ensure they are safe rather than sorry, and the process of inquiring can be harrowing. Two Utah wedding vendors, Wilde Heart Weddings and Aubree Della Photography, have statements supporting the LGBTQ+ community front and center on their homepages. Their websites reflect a commitment to supporting the LGBTQ+ community, including asking for pronouns on submission forms. These additions to their websites imbue a sense of safety and belonging. They feel inviting.

An Economic Venture

In 2022, the wedding industry boomed. The New York Times said, “The race to the aisle is payback after a lost year of ceremonies.” Some businesses choose not to support the LGBTQ+ community. They are making an economic mistake. If wedding vendors want to grow their businesses, one of the best ventures to explore is inclusivity.

The Williams Institute School of Law conducted a study on the economic impacts of marriage equality in 2020. They determined that same-sex couples have boosted the economy by $3.8 billion since Obergefell v. Hodges passed, legalizing same-sex marriage. The study also suggested that approximately 45,000 jobs were supported by same-sex couples’ weddings following Obergefell. Wedding vendors gain a new client base and a new source of profit when they support all communities loudly and proudly.

A Local Example

Wilde Heart Weddings exemplifies declarative support. The website is run by Jenn Brook Wilde, an officiant who got her start in the wedding industry by studying to become a Reiki Master. In an email interview, Wilde said in order to become a Reiki Master in Utah she had to be an ordained minister or a massage therapist. She chose to follow the path of ministry. When she saw the lack of spiritual ministers when planning her own wedding, she felt inspired to become an officiant.

Wilde’s motivation for being inclusive comes from her childhood and her personal morals.

“I think having my immediate family be so radically different from my inherent beliefs, and the trauma that came from that is also my motivation to be inclusive,” Wilde said. When a queer couple came to her and asked if she was “willing” to officiate their wedding, she was shocked they felt like they had to ask.

“I want to make it so clear that no one ever has to share their queerness with me or ask if I am ‘willing,’ they know right away I mean love is love,” Wilde said.

Wedding vendors in Utah should take inspiration from Wilde’s clear, concise and proud support. Wilde is passionate about inclusivity and understands the importance of being loud about her passion.

A wedding should be one of the happiest days of a person’s life. Fears of experiencing bigotry put a damper on that happiness. Wedding planning does not need the extra stress of searching for queer-friendly vendors. Trying to crack the code to determine whether a vendor accepts or hates them is something no couple needs to deal with. In a community as diverse as Salt Lake City, these vendors should be easy to find.

Queer people in Utah deserve happiness. They deserve beautiful weddings and incredible wedding vendors. Their options should not be so few. Support is best given with open arms and loud voices. Everyone deserves to beautifully celebrate their love.

As Wilde said, “Marriage is a human right.” No one should be forced to tolerate exclusivity for such an important milestone, least of all in 2023.

 

[email protected]

@MorganChampine

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About the Contributor
Morgan Champine, Assistant Opinion Editor
(they/them) Morgan Champine is pursuing a career in creative writing and majoring in English. Morgan was born and raised in Utah, and when they're not writing, they're attending concerts, exploring the outdoors, and reading.

Comments (2)

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  • J

    Jenn WildeDec 19, 2023 at 2:37 pm

    Morgan, This is absolutely beautiful thank you for addressing this. I am so happy to be able to assist in this article and creating an inclusive space!

    Reply
    • M

      Morgan ChampineJan 4, 2024 at 5:38 pm

      Thanks so much for your interview, Jenn! <3

      Reply