An open letter about diversity on English Wedding – and why I need your help
I thought I was anti-racist. Now I know nothing I’ve thought, said or done has ever been enough. I’ve acted irresponsibly as a wedding blogger and publisher, and from today I want to change everything. I sent this blog post as an email to our wedding supplier contacts and I’ve had 10 replies to date… so I’m reaching out to all of our readers because I need your help to make this happen!
I want to create something positive and permanent to support black brides and grooms, and black-owned wedding businesses in the UK. I’ve been reading, listening and learning to some of the amazing voices out there – Chenai at By Chenai, our lovely friend Cynthia at Oui Madam Bridal and Carla Thomas on the Via Airmail podcast, who led me to Nova Reid’s Tedx Talk.
So I’d like to start by saying I’m sorry. I’m sorry for being naive, for thinking my wedding blog wasn’t a part of the problem; for not even considering that it might be. I’m truly sorry.
I looked at my blog home page. I looked at my insta. Right now both are full of thin, white, straight couples. If I was a black bride or groom I’d feel excluded. So that has to change – and for the long term.
English Wedding is supposed to be about inspiring ALL couples planning weddings, it’s about matchmaking brides and grooms with suppliers, and it’s about supporting wedding businesses throughout the UK.
I’ve seen myself only as a curator. The English Wedding Blog is popular enough that I don’t have to seek out weddings to publish. I’m sent just enough to keep the blog busy, and roughly 90% of wedding & shoot submissions get published. The amazing community of wedding photographers I have gotten to know over the last 10 years are kind enough to send weddings and styled photoshoots for me to publish. I choose them for the styling touches and the photographers’ skill.
Because I’ve never sought out weddings of any kind, I’ve never actively sought out diversity in photoshoots or weddings. I’ll feature couples of every colour but only when they arrive in my inbox. Now I realise as a publisher I have a duty to represent diversity. A scattering of Asian weddings and a Black bride or groom every month or so aren’t enough. Accepting what I’ve been given isn’t enough.
I’m looking to change four things.
I’ve already changed the blog navigation to include real weddings by searchable categories including BAME weddings and LGBTQ+ weddings. I’ve updated our submissions page to highlight my approach to diversity, and to ask black, asian and minority ethnic brides and grooms, as well as LGBTQI couples to share their weddings and elopements with us.
I will reach out to wedding photographers on instagram, looking for weddings and photoshoots with black grooms and brides. I’ve asked current blog members to send in submissions, and I’ve scoured Junebug’s brilliant list of 200+ black wedding vendors to follow on insta, and written a little list for myself of all the black-owned UK businesses I can reach out and contact also.
It’s not easy to reach out and connect with business owners I don’t know – I know it’s going to look like tokenism right now. But I want to make a sincere change to the way English Wedding works, and to be proactive in doing that.
I am hoping that this way we can add many more black brides and grooms to our archive of weddings on English-Wedding.com, at the same time helping to promote black owned businesses in the wedding industry.
I’m offering every black owned UK wedding business a 50% discount on any advertising package on English Wedding. This includes new and current advertisers, so if you’re already with us and want to add another year to your membership, or to upgrade your package and save, please email me back for a chat.
I’m also going to change the header of the blog. Our masthead is a big white space with the English Wedding logo on it. I would rather see a beautiful photo of a black bride or groom at the top of the blog. If this is the first thing anyone sees when they visit English Wedding, it will get our message across. Over time this image will change – but it always, always has to support racial or gender inclusivity.
I hope these small steps will begin to show all brides- and grooms-to-be that our intention is for the blog to be inclusive – and proactively, vigorously so!
To do all this, I absolutely need your help!
The weddings I publish are those I’m sent. Your submissions drive the blog. Without you, English-Wedding.com wouldn’t exist. And I need you now…
I’m looking for weddings with black brides or grooms. I would love to feature these weddings – with your couples’ permission and our simple online interview. I’m also looking for photoshoots with black models – and both real weddings or shoots can have been featured on other blogs before. (I don’t ‘do’ exclusivity.)
I also plan to choose one hero image to make a new header for English Wedding. We’ll update the header image a few times a year. I want the FIRST thing new people see when they visit the blog to shout about diversity – so our new header image, which will come from one of the weddings or shoots YOU submit, will change the face of English Wedding to something beautifully diverse and inclusive.
How to get involved
If you have a wedding or shoot which fits what I’m looking for, please send a quick reply and I’ll get back to you as soon as I possibly can.
I’d also appreciate your feedback. Am I getting this right? Can I do more? I’m here, and I’m listening.
Thank you all for your support – I couldn’t do this without you!
Credits for images from the English Wedding archives: Chic & contemporary London wedding style with amazing florals
Photographer – https://www.fionakellyphotography.com/
Planner and Stylist – https://www.avecreations.com/
Venue – https://10-11cht.com/
Dress designer – https://ersaatelier.com/
Bridal boutique – https://morgandaviesbridal.co.uk
Suit designer – https://keyelondon.com/
Florist – https://www.katewrenflowers.com
Stationery – https://dimitriajordan.co.uk/
Cake – https://www.sugaredsaffron.co.uk/
Rings – https://nikkistarkjewellery.co.uk/
Makeup Artist – https://anaospinamakeup.co.uk/
Shoes – https://charlottemills.com/
Models – Raquel Brown & husband!