Sometimes I get incredibly sad. I will think about how blessed we are to be able to be more open about identifying under the LGBTQ+ umbrella, but also think about how far we still need to go. I've been working for a long time on becoming more inclusive in my language. I just want to create a safe space for my friends, family, colleagues, and clients. I would like to share some of that reflection with you to give you a very simplified outline of how to use inclusive language with your clients.
My most recent reflection has been about asking for preferred pronouns. As a wedding planner, my job is to make people feel safe; to feel as little stress as they can. One thing I cannot do is start off such a delicate working relationship without asking about preferred pronouns and their preferred role in the wedding. I often wonder why people don't ask more often. I understand the ease and societal habit to just assume a gender assignment (I will admit that I don't always ask in a very casual conversation), but I do try to use gender-inclusive language in every day conversation. In all of my introductory questionnaires, I start off asking about preferred pronouns and roles.
If you are confused about what to say in a gender-inclusive ways, here are options to help you out.
Bride, Groom > Client(s), Partner(s), Brides, Grooms
Bridal Party > Wedding Party
Bridal Suite > Honeymoon Suite
Who is the bride and who is the groom? > What role would you like to play?
Which person will walk down the aisle? > How would you both like to process for the ceremony?
Who will do the father/daughter//mother/son dance? > Are you planning on doing parent dances? If so, who do you prefer the dance is with?
There are many more but these are the basic ways to use inclusive language as wedding professionals and guests. You don't have to be perfect, but it is never too much to try. Let's make our world a safer, happier, and more diverse place.