Attracting LGBTQ+ Clients WITHOUT a Model Call 🏳️‍🌈

Tori Lumen is on Chelsie Lumen's back with her fist raised in front of a Strong Women Life Each Other Up mural

If you’re here, then I can only assume you’ve heard me speak on Clubhouse so, welcome 👋🏻 !! I’m so glad you’re here! I’m not being cute, I actually mean that. Thank you for hearing what I have to say, and thank you for valuing it enough to actually come and take a look at the resources I have built. This subject is so important to me because this subject is well… me. It’s my life, my community, my joy.

Being gay literally saved my life.

It gave me happiness, hope, joy, love, peace, friendship, and so much more.

Let’s Take a Look at Some Numbers:

Of course, there is a ton of pressure in the industry to have an inclusive portfolio. And I totally get where that pressure comes from. I, too, think that is super important – so do most Queer people.

With that, let’s look at some numbers…

In a 2018 study by the Gay Wedding Institute, 83% of LGBTQ+ couples want to see images of Queer people on your website.

And, 88% find it very important that a vendor serves and supports the LGBTQ+ community.

Additionally, 79% look for inclusive language on your website!

So, let’s unpack these numbers just a little bit. 83% of couples want to actually see Queer people on your website. Okay, we all know that is an important step in helping the LGBTQ+ community feel more comfortable hiring you for services. But this just feels like a “must have experience to be hired” and yet, no one will hire you so you can get experience!

On Getting Yourself Hired


➡️ There it is! That’s the big question!

If you know me at all, then you know I love ideas, and I absolutely LOVE actionables. I am not one to preach at you about how you should be – I am also going to give you ideas on how to get there.

I whole-heartedly believe that simply featuring an LGBTQ+ couple in your portfolio is not enough to be able to consistently appeal to, and book, LGBTQ+ clients.

So let’s focus on the 88% that find it very important that a vendors serves and supports the LGBTQ+ community, and the 79% that look for inclusive language on your website.

two queer women share their first dance at their wedding

Building an Inclusive Portfolio

I believe there are two sides to this. Okay, well, three sides if you include actually photographing/filming/including Queer people in your portfolio… but that is not the focus with this post.

Part 1:

Inclusive Language

Undoubtedly, a lot of people get very nervous when I start to talk about alternative solutions to words like: bride, groom, fiancé(e), bridal party, groom room, and so on. I personally think this is silly because when we stop leaning on traditionally gendered language, we really get to start to have some fun, and tailor language to perfectly fit our brand!

FIANCÉ is male-gendered language
FIANCEÉ is female-gendered language!
putting “you + your fiance’s [name]” is not LGBTQ+ inclusive!!

Clearly, inclusive language is vital, but what are some alternative suggestions, you ask?? Don’t worry, I gotchu…

For the Couple:

  • Nearlyweds (my personal fave!)
  • Couple
  • Partner
  • Other Half
  • Boo
  • Pair
  • Team
  • Twosome
  • Significant Other
  • Duo
  • Newlyweds
  • League
  • Sidekick
  • Hunny
  • Sweetie
  • Passenger
  • Ride-or-Die

For the Wedding Party:

  • Wedding Party
  • Team ___________________
  • The Party
  • Wedding Crew
  • The Crew
  • Wedding Posse
  • Wedding Team
  • Entourage

Pro Tip: I honestly like to keep this one simple and just stick with Wedding Party. Occasionally, if it’s a really good time, I like to call them “The Party” because well, it sounds more epic. Of course that’s situational, and ultimately up to you whether that works for your brand, or not.

gay men holding hands at wedding styled shoot

Inclusive Timelines

Along with language, another common question I get relates to crafting an inclusive timeline. How should you say “bride’s family” or “groom’s family” but in a way that is inclusive? Should you say Partner 1 and Partner 2?

My question is this: how do you determine who is Partner 1 and who is Partner 2? Are we going to fall back on the trope that the “bride” or the more “feminine one” is Partner 1? Are these not the very ideas we are currently working to deconstruct?

I actually think the answer to this question is super simple: just use their names.

Don’t overcomplicate it.

Part 2:

Being an Affirming Ally

As I have written this information over several different posts so I won’t necessarily be going into extreme detail, here. However, I will link other posts if you would like to read, in more detail, about how to be an affirming ally, such as this one: How to be a Better Ally to the LGBTQ+ Community.

Or you can go here to learn more about what affirming means, and what tokenizing the Queer community looks like.

I also want to take a moment and direct you to a great resource by Tia Nash: The Wedding Industry is Homophobic. Tia has been an incredible source of learning for me, and offers some really wonderful insight into being a more Affirming Ally!

Additionally, check out Liv Lyszyk’s The Inclusivity Workshop.

Finally, there is an LGBTQ+ Inclusive Certification Course by Equally Wed that is a great option to check out, as well!

Allies in Action (because Ally is a verb!)

OKAY! That being said, here is a long list of ways to be an affirming ally to the LGBTQ+ community:

  1. Have mini sessions during Pride Month (that’s all of June btw) and donate all the proceeds to an LGBTQ+ organization.
  2. Offer to donate your skills to the Pride celebrations in your area.
  3. Offer to do free headshots for a local LGBTQ+ charity.
    • this is extremely helpful to charity’s, especially for their website, and grant-writing needs.
  4. Celebrate us on your social media platforms, your website, and any other open communication you have with the world.
  5. Call other vendors out on their shit. Don’t continue to let people get away with sharing the false notion that marriage only belongs to cis-gender men and women.
  6. Proudly share your support of the community, and work to educate others about the LGBTQ+ community.
  7. Support the work that those in the queer community are doing to make the wedding industry a kinder, more inclusive space for couples.
  8. Regularly ask for pronouns in your daily interactions – help us normalize this!
  9. Demonstrate your understanding of LGBTQ+ issues by including your pronouns on your website and instagram bio (and any other social media presence you have)
  10. Stop working with vendors that are unsupportive of the LGBTQ+ community.
  11. Create a preferred vendors list of CONFIRMED LGBTQ+ welcoming vendors.
  12. Reassess your website/social media/marketing, etc. to ensure it is all gender inclusive (see above for language suggestions!)
  13. Create articles and blog posts that feature gifts and decor created specifically for the Queer community.
  14. Feature queer weddings on your Instagram stories.
  15. Create articles and blog posts featuring/celebrating Queer vendors, and LGBTQ+ celebrating vendors
  16. Craft a statement of inclusivity to include on your website
    • for example, ours is: ALL ARE WELCOME! We are proud to call The Lumen Studios a safe space for celebration of all people from every race, religion, non-religion, sexual orientation, and gender. We have an absolute zero-tolerance policy for discrimination in any regard.
  17. Donate a portion of your profits from every session to a Queer organization.
  18. Educate yourself on Queer issues and demonstrate that knowledge by making changes to your website, social media, language, lifestyle, and way of thinking.
  19. Always use inclusive language when not referring to a specific person.
  20. Steer clear of gender-specific language (see above for examples!).
  21. Proudly share your support of the queer community and work to educate others about the LGBTQ+ community.
  22. Speak the ever-living eff up when you hear or see other vendors f*cking up.
  23. Defend us. Especially when we are not in the room.

If you found this blog helpful please support my efforts by donating.

VENMO: @chelsielumen

For me, the goal is to be SO affirming, that no one ever has to ask if we are “LGBTQ+ Friendly.”

This list can also be found here: Representation Without Tokenism: A Wedding Vendor Guide

This list is continuously growing! So if you have any extra suggestions please feel free to leave a comment below!

That’s it my friends! So happy you’re here! 🙂

The Lumens

Education, Queer Weddings



Attracting LGBTQ+ Clients WITHOUT a Model Call 🏳️‍🌈

  1. Thanks for writing this! It’s been excellent to use as we re-work our website!

  2. […] Without Tokenism: A Wedding Vendor Guide Attracting LGBTQ+ Clients Without a Model Call LGBTQ+ Inclusivity: A How-To Guide for […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.