Do Black Brides Really Matter to the Wedding Industry?


The way I see it, I don't think so

by Jagger Blaec

woman and man on their wedding day

If you are as basic as I was before I got married, right now you’re spending a majority of your wedding planning time surfing Pinterest. Being born and raised in Connecticut, the expectation for my nuptials was to have something lavish and decadent. But living as a broke babe on a beer budget in Portland, I was required to make a decision about where we would actually have the wedding. Because of my champagne tastes, I calculated I could get all the frills for half the cost if we planned for an intimate ceremony in the Pacific Northwest.

Pinterest, You’re The One

Like many ladies after they get engaged, I got carried away with visions of all the champagne-colored sequins and repurposed mahogany banquet tables that could potentially adorn my reception. Whether I was searching images of groomsmen’s bow ties made of silk and cashmere or an over-sized custom-fit tiara encrusted in the rarest tanzanite stones, nothing was too much for my “special day.”

However, the one the search that repeatedly came up short? Images of real Black women getting married.

Record Scratch

Here’s the thing: Black women fall in love. Just like every other race of people. Unfortunately, the bridal industry is extremely white, and I felt this especially strongly getting married in Portland, Oregon this past May. Wedding magazines, bridal conventions, local wedding vendors, and wedding blogs are all wrapped tightly in an organza veil of whiteness. Pick up any mainstream bridal magazine and I can guarantee there will be maybe one or two Black brides—if any at all—and one of them will be a model. Either of those brides will likely have pin-straight hair and be thin with a light complexion. Forget about seeing a buxom bride like myself with kinky hair and a fat ass. It is simply not going to happen.

After we got engaged, my excitement was enough to blind me to the harsh realities that were actually involved in planning a wedding. There were a lot of things I didn’t expect to happen prior to setting a date. For example, nobody warned me about the nonstop anxiety. And none of the wedding articles I read could have prepared me for the stubborn and erratic behavior of some of my relatives.

Despite all of these things being stressful and unforeseen, most of them were totally manageable, even though they were out of my control. None of these bumps in the road bothered me in the beginning, since I was too busy being over the moon about planning what people in the industry incessantly referred to as “our special day.”

Close Encounter of the Wedding Kind

But eventually, microaggressions slowly crept in, and the fact that I was a Black bride managed to impact almost every decision I made for the wedding. My wedding planners, who were white, had a list of vendors they worked with. At first, I gave their list a shot. But no matter who it was on the list, every time I arrived for an in-person meeting, that vendor would stare at me as if ET himself had just strolled in looking for Reese’s Pieces.

Maybe it was the idea of a Black woman getting married that seemed stranger than an extraterrestrial when I sat down to meet with some of the vendors on that list. But it was extremely uncomfortable to meet with people who I was ready to pay large amounts of money and find they were too uncomfortable in my presence for me to feel comfortable enough to hire them. None of them seemed culturally competent enough to handle a simple conversation with me, let alone attend my wedding and not handle it like some National Geographic exhibit.

In retrospect, I hired these planners because I was sold on the images they showcased on their business websites, with each bride looking exactly the way I had envisioned myself on my own “special day.” The endless assortments of photos on their Instagram pages were the epitome of happily ever after. Stills of smiling brides posed next to sky-high tiered buttercream cakes, and flawless bridesmaids chasing after giggling flower girls decorated with delicate floral crowns—with each of these scenes happening alongside the Love Of Their Life.

The only difference between my wedding fantasy and theirs was that everyone in their vision was white.

Every. Single. Person.

Bride’s Burden

It should’ve been my first red flag, but I only noticed once I realized that my coordinator seemed irrationally scared of me, and this resulted in her inability to communicate with me openly and honestly in order to get the best end result for the wedding.

The worst part about receiving subpar service from my planners is that “Bridezilla” can’t exist as a Black woman. The assumption is already set up that I will have an attitude and be angry, so I ended up planning everything despite having paid an entire company handsomely to do so. I was rendered helpless because I didn’t want to play into a stereotype that I was certain would be attributed to my race if I didn’t act respectably.

Abandoning Respectability Politics

Finding vendors who I could communicate a full range of emotions to became the defining criteria I used to determine who else to hire to work at our wedding. I vowed to find wedding businesses that strive to work with clients outside the boundaries of the target “Becky” clientele that most local vendors sought out. This task did not prove easy, but it allowed me to grow and understand that their lack of culture shouldn’t make me ashamed of mine or lead me to water myself down.

It was a hard no for one of the DJs I interviewed, who needed clarification on the definition of “trap music.” And I got up and left a meeting with a florist when she said she had never heard of or seen Kim and Kanye’s floral wall before I mentioned it. I started my search for the perfect makeup artist a year in advance. After spending hours scouring dozens of hashtags of local professionals, I’d seen hundreds of images that, once again, didn’t have a trace of any melanin. And many of the local professionals here didn’t have foundation that went past the color “dark tan.”

Say Yes to the Stress

Visiting dress shops was also a nightmare, because none of the sample sizes are designed beyond a size six or eight. I didn’t expect the sizes to fit perfectly, but a lot of women of color can attest to being voluptuous-to-curvy, and this experience was just one more example of how I wasn’t the consumer they had in mind.

In fact, I often found it easier to plan for my white bridesmaids and white fiancé than I did for myself. Whenever I called a salon and explained that I had a variety of hair textures in my wedding party, I very seldom got a call back. But several people responded once I clarified it would only be white men and women getting their hair styled. (That clarification was made by not mentioning hair texture at all, so the default was assumed to be white.)

I can’t say for sure why wedding magazines don’t feature more Black women, but I know from experience exactly how Black women are perceived. We are not seen as delicate. We are not seen as soft. And one can almost draw the conclusion that we are unlovable in accordance with what is represented in the mainstream bridal industry.

Many wedding websites are flooded with white, cis, heterosexual couples getting married in every possible scenario. Literally every style of wedding: classic, nautical, vintage, rustic, romantic, modern, and casual, with everything in between, to show love in all of its various shapes—as long as those shapes are straight, white, and thin. Every now and then, I would get excited about an image of a Black couple, but it was almost always a celebrity or athlete wedding (which is far from the norm for anyone, and a situation that is most likely perceived as “transcending” race).

bride up

Somewhere along the way, I was lucky enough to eventually find the resources that showcased brides who looked like me. Munaluchi Bridal is a site created out of necessity to combat the whiteness of the wedding industry, and the site features brides from all walks of life. It is described as “the leading multicultural wedding publication catering to women of color.” It is a stark contrast to the blizzard of white brides that dominates other wedding websites. I could spend hours surfing through waves of different shades of melanin that encompass Munaluchi’s photo galleries. And it was the first real example I found that showcased dozens of vendors and bridal companies that catered to a variety of different cultural backgrounds without tokenizing or exotifying the non-white brides being featured.

APW, on the other hand, is a site that provides space for socially conscious brides, and boasts that they “don’t believe that all those things people tell you are traditions actually are traditional,” while “normalizing the messy reality of wedding planning.”

Both of these resources were indispensable at a time when I needed support in not feeling like I had imagined all of the microaggressions I encountered during planning. Visiting these sites was crucial in allowing me to feel like I wasn’t being overly emotional, and that the problem was with the wedding industry, not with me.

Sadly, publications like APW and Muna are few and far between.

After a long, treacherous year of planning, I was blessed to find vendors who were incredible and kind. They also happened to be magicians who transformed the empty venue we selected into the most majestic location, with flowers and music that didn’t require me to compromise myself or my culture. They not only treated me like a normal person, but worked to advocate for me when I explained why I wasn’t comfortable getting angry at incompetent vendors. And my pro-Beyoncé wedding photographer was not only there to capture every picture-perfect memory from the day, but she held absolutely no judgment when I requested we recreate the bridal pose from Solange Knowles’s wedding. Right up until our wedding day, these professionals made me feel like I mattered. It wouldn’t kill the rest of the bridal industry to recognize that, too.

In the end, my wedding was flawless. I hope my critique of the wedding industry doesn’t shadow the magnificent feat of marrying the man I love while being surrounded by people I adore, nor do I intend for it to taint the work done by the amazing team of people mentioned above, who were thrilled to witness love in any color. Rather, I hope it sheds some natural light on the desperate need for inclusion in a white-washed industry.

Jagger Blaec

Jagger Blaec is a freelance professional journalist located in Portland, Oregon. She began her career as a writer after college, when her dreams of being a hand model were tragically cut short. She currently writes about wedding stuff, cannabis, body positivity, and intersectional feminism. Blaec is a newlywed with a furbaby named Ralf Garfunkel. You can keep up with her on Twitter by following @basicblaecgirl

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  • KPM

    Thanks for sharing this. It’s a frustration that I as a white lady didn’t feel personally when planning my wedding but working in a field related to styling I have definitely seen that the ‘default’ is white (and a certain size, certain hair, etc) I appreciate that APW runs real wedding images (as in not styled) and works to increase their diversity because when running only submitted styled shots, it is slim pickings.

    And also, there is no excuse for not knowing about Kim and Kayne’s floral wall.

    • Eenie

      I will admit I don’t follow celebrity news at all and had not seen the floral wall. Googled it, and OMG, it is gorgeous.

      • idkmybffjill

        This is a very important article and is NOT about flowers and Solange in its importance, but I would also REALLY REALLY like to see their floral wall and Solange wedding pose please please.

        • erin

          This article was such an absolutely fantastic post, and I echo the desire to see pictures of this wedding if the author is comfortable sharing! Sounds amazing!

      • Sarah

        yeah, I had to google the wall of flowers. I kinda wonder if Portland is so “hipster-y” (at least that’s what this East Coast girl gets from Fred Armisen) that not knowing something Kardashian is the norm?

        • Eenie

          I would expect a florist (especially one that does weddings) to know such a thing, regardless of where they are located. The internet exists after all.

        • Amy March

          That flower wall was huge floral news. I’d expect any florist to know about it, because flowers are their business. This also feels a bit to me like explaining away something the author experienced as problematic.

          • Sarah

            wasn’t my intent so apologies to the author for whatever version of mansplaining I did.

          • Renee

            I think you’re both right. Hipster Portland would probably not be clued into all things Kanye and Kardashian. But I would think any florist should know what a floral wall is! It’s not the first time a floral wall has been used at a wedding.

  • ruth

    I’m so sorry – the wedding industry really sucks this way. As another resource in addition to Munaluchi Bridal and APW, a good friend of mine recently started a company called “Bridal Tribe” to address this very issue, with a magazine, wedding planning services, and online community. Just wanted to share!
    http://bridaltribe.com/.

  • Kyra

    I can definitely relate to a lot of this. Lucky for me (sarcasm) my then fiance, now husband, is white and his presence at certain vendor meetings certainly seemed to go a long way as to how I was treated. As in, as soon as he showed up the whole dynamic changed (I walked away from these vendors). Luckily, through APW I found Emily Alt, who couldn’t shoot my wedding but recommended the Billings (wearethebillings.com). If you’re in Michigan I highly recommend them. Also, Rachel, a former APW writer (www.therewm.com) has done a lot of great work highlighting this exact issue. APW was a godsend but there should definitely be more resources and images to show that yes, as the author said, black women do fall in love and get married.

  • I relate to this piece a lot. I definitely felt the divide between the “traditional wedding industry” and brides of color. I live in Minneapolis – not a place with a ton of diversity. While I didn’t have vendors that were outright hostile, it was extremely important to me to have vendors that would value us as consumers and understand the nuances of a “Black wedding”. And I relied heavily on Munaluchi, Black Bride and APW as there were the only outlets that highlighted more than the standard cookie-cutter thin White brides.

    Sometimes I do wish I’d gotten married in a bigger city with a larger Black population where I could have utilized more vendors of color. But end the end we had a beautiful wedding and we got everything we wanted.

    • Danielle

      It’s really upsetting to me that vendors could be anything from outright hostile to… not understanding of black women. We’re talking about potential customers, people who want to give you money!

      Not only is it bad manners, and racist, but it’s bad for business.

      • Jagger Blaec

        That was the craziest part to me. I paid for everything myself…and the one photographer who corresponded with over email refused my deposit when she discovered I was black after I asked a question about skin tone and natural light. She wanted about $3800 (but was ready to give me a steep discount when she thought I was white) but after a week pretended the date was suddenly booked.

        • Danielle

          Holy sh*t. How is that even legal?!

          It just reminds me of the vendors who won’t serve LGBT people. It’s blatant discriminations.

          I’m sorry you had to put up with that. It’s awful and unfair, especially on what is supposed to be a joyful occasion.

        • Two important issues when looking for a photographer. They must know how to properly light brown skin!

    • Alanna Cartier

      I’ve been wonderfully impressed as a bride in Toronto. I didn’t endeavor vendors of colour, but my venue coordinator and officiant are. And I only have like four vendors.

      • Sally

        I second your love of the diversity Toronto vendors (and weddings!) and would add my recommendation that brides and/or grooms go beyond the google search and ask their friends/neighbours/coworkers/your already-selected-vendors for referrals.

        We are a mixed-race white and latino couple with a diverse wedding party, and so far this approach has helped us find lovely and affordable vendors who have experience working with all kinds of bodies/hair/families/religions/cultures but who may not have the biggest online presence. We also decided we’d rather work with people who wanted to work with us and made us feel comfortable than with some one who could provide us with the most instagram-worthy product. In the end, we’ll remember how we felt and probably just keep 2 photos on the mantle when we are old and forget what box in the basement holds the wedding album anyway.

        • Alanna Cartier

          So true, when you stay away from the “Wedding Bells” side of things, you can find some really amazing vendors. My focus was on having lady vendors, and finding people I trusted to do an awesome job.

    • Renee

      As a white person, I have zero idea what the nuances of a Black wedding would be. We know about jumping the broom, but that’s about it. I’ve only been invited to one Black wedding in my life. It was a long time ago and I didn’t notice anything different. It was fun though.

      No surprise that Portland doesn’t get it. Minneapolis is 17.9% Black whereas Portland is only 5.8%!!!

      • Not to mention, Oregon has a super racist history – it was admitted to the Union with a state constitution that banned Black folks from the state!

        Beyond jumping the broom, there’s subtle nuance. For example, I wanted a makeup artist who was Black, because 6 of the 7 women having their makeup done were Black women. I wanted a DJ that knew Black music and would have a variety of music options for us to choose from without us having to pull up Spotify. I didn’t want to have to explain why we weren’t serving beer at our wedding (the majority of our guests were Black and most Black folks aren’t beer drinkers). And most importantly, I didn’t want any vendors to be uncomfortable with the fact that they were gonna spend hours surrounded by almost 100 Black people, and frankly there are some folks who would have felt uncomfortable being one of the few White people in the room for 6hrs.

        • Lisa

          This is completely fascinating to me. I could have guessed at some of the reasons (there was a fascinating article about the racism behind cameras’ color-calibration), but I didn’t know that Black people typically don’t drink beer! What do you usually drink instead?

          • laddibugg

            I didn’t know black people didn’t drink beer either. I wonder why there’s beer in the coolers at the start of some cookouts I’ve been to, and considerably less at the end. Hm.

          • I mean, it’s not a blanket rule for everyone, of course. But a lot of Black people tend to be liquor drinkers, especially dark liquor, over beer.

          • La’Marisa-Andrea

            Ha!!! So true!!!!!

          • La’Marisa-Andrea

            One of close friends kept a bottle of crown on deck ?

          • A lot of Black people tend to be liquor drinkers, especially dark liquor. At our wedding, my husband’s signature drink was a Crown and coke. We had beer as an option and only a few were drank (drunk?) by our non-Black guests.

          • Lisa

            Interesting! Thanks for sharing.

          • Renee

            Ha ha. I’d be the white person saying “I’ll have what he’s having.” I’d prefer Crown and Coke to a beer. I hate beer. It’s bitter!

        • Renee

          See?!!! Who knew that Black people aren’t beer drinkers? Like Lisa said, now I’m curious about what they prefer to drink.

          I have to say, if I were a makeup artist, I’d love to do makeup for Black women. I come from a family of artists and I can’t help looking at women of all colors and thinking “Hmmmm, what colors would I put on her?” It would be more interesting to have a variety of faces to work with, even if there was a learning curve.

          Also, thank you. I had no idea about Oregon’s history either. I thought is was just because few Black people went West.

          • My makeup concerns were greatly around availability of foundations and being able to match skin tone without making everyone look “ashy” in the photos. I’ve found that makeup artists of color are the only ones who carry a full range of foundations and understand that some products just don’t work for darker skin tones. Like BB creams – most of them end up making darker skin women look ashy because of the titanium oxide or other sunscreen ingredients, and that’s a concern both in person and in photos.

          • Renee

            Yeah, titanium oxide or zinc sunscreen will make anyone look weird in photos. I can see how it would be a disaster. I don’t wear foundations with sunscreen for that reason. Plus titanium oxide makes me break out too.

            I follow a gay guy on YouTube who is a lot of fun and likes to post about fashion. He sometimes wears foundation and recently asked why he always looks weirdly pale in photos even though he looks normal in real life. Everyone chimed in and said it’s the sunscreen in the foundation.

            Makeup artists should know better than to use sunscreen products on anyone who will be photographed.

  • Nu Bride

    Virtual round of applause. This is something I felt as a bride to be which led me to start my own platform to address. inclusion is something I am desperately trying to improve in the mainstream UK wedding industry. We have a long way to go, but conversations like this are important and necessary to make important “inclusive” changes. Thank you for sharing and congratulations on your recent wedding. Nova X

  • Thank you for sharing this.

  • Leah

    Yes! Here’s to inclusion, and raising voices to call for more inclusion and humanity all around! Thank you for this.

  • BTA

    Yes, yes, yes, thank you so much for writing this and getting this message out there! I am a black woman getting married in Portland next July and the amount and degree of microaggressions I’ve encountered during our planning process has added an additional layer of painful complexity to an already stressful process for a bride-to-be whose “wedding planning” muscles have had literally no flex before now.

    Feeling underrepresented and sometimes plain unwanted based on what the wedding industry is parroting back at me in the media and during in-person vendor meetings, coupled with being confused, conflicted and stressed out about planning for “the happiest day of my life” is enough to make anyone want to throw their hands up and forget the whole thing. I mean, Talk. About. Pressure.

    But this article gives me so much hope. Reading about your experience in the same city means that it is possible for me to achieve what I want (what WE want) for this day as a black woman who wants her culture to represented, too. Learning about resources like Muna pushes me forward and provides visual representation for a day that I can dare to dream of. And reading your words brings me so much joy – I’m reminded there are others out there who have done this before me and can say from experience that it’s possible. So thank you for sharing.

    • Jagger Blaec

      Omg your comment means the world to me!!! It is incredibly validating and I waited 3 hours after this went live to share it on social media because I felt like no one would believe me. If you have any questions or need any vendors let me know…Feel free to add me on twitter or FB and lets bitch over drinks sometime. Thanks again for the support???!!xoxxo

  • I completely relate to this as a former southern bride & a mid-atlantic event planner.

    Thank God for Munaluchi & social media, because if you just looked at Style Me Pretty, Martha Stewart, Inside Weddings & their competitors, you would never know black people marry. News flash to the industry: we do!

  • Jessa

    I really appreciated this piece. I can’t say I had the same frustrations, as I am a Southeast Asian woman, but I also had a hard time finding inspiration and photos of an Asian woman who was not a petite size 00 and had porcelain white skin. I tried looking online for makeup inspiration and I found nothing that I could use. All the “almond eye” makeup was still modeled on white women. My hairdresser told me she couldn’t do braids for my bridal party, but I found out after the wedding that she only said she couldn’t do braids because she assumed (1) all my bridal party was of Asian descent and (2) that they all had stereotypically Asian slinky hair. (they’re all white, by the way, and my hair is nothing close to sleek).

    I agree that there needs to be better multicultural representation of non-white women in the wedding industry. Thank you for your insight and drawing attention to this. Can’t wait to check out some of the links mentioned in the article and in the comments!

  • Alanna Cartier

    CATALYST WEDDING MAGAZINE IS AMAZING, FYI

    • Jagger Blaec

      No they are not. I dont want to slander them but if you go to my twitter feed you can see exactly why i feel that way. They are learning but I recently asked the EIC to remove an EXTREMELY problematic article about a woman and her fathers interracial marriage despite viewing him as racist. It was extemely anti-black. Dont mean to rant but it was that bad.

      • Alanna Cartier

        Oh yikes, I’m so sorry, I had no idea. I will check out your twitter feed.

        Edit: Can’t seem to access it? I’m @LannaCartier on Twitter.

  • CP2011

    Looking for input here– I’m white, but I have a friend who’s black who’s getting married in the PNW. I feel like she might enjoy reading this in case it speaks to her experience or she finds good resources in the comments. Would it be insensitive for me to share it with her? Like I’m trying to be the “woke” white friend who assumes this is her experience?

    • Rebekah

      I mean, could you email her the link and say something like, “This post from today brought up a lot of things I have never had to deal with and gave me a lot to think about. Have you experienced any of the things the author talks about, and if so, how can I be more supportive of you and your wedding planning experience?”?
      *Disclaimer: I’m a cis hetero white woman who has not been in your shoes

    • NONA

      Oh man. I’m black and have lots of white friends and please don’t do this. I know you have good intentions but I think just let your friend do their own racial politics research on the internet because this does kind of make it about you. To me, you *would* come off as the ‘woke white friend’.

      Personally, I find the “racial discussion” on the news and in our current popular culture to be really overwhelming at times. I will read articles like this *myself* until the cows come home, but it can be kind of annoying when someone (meaning well, I get it) sends me a HuffPo link on Facebook like, “Oh wow! You should read this! :( :(“

      • NONA

        I only speak for myself, other people may feel totally differently.

    • Speaking for myself, if you are close friends, I would share. If not, I wouldn’t.

      I think many black brides have had similar feelings as the author, so reading this is confirmation of what they already know. However, she may find the resources useful & the idea of not settling out of fear of being seen as an angry black woman.

      I recently had a newlywed close friend confess that she wished she’d used me as her day-of coordinator because the white coordinators were so timid & “uncomfortable” at the wedding that they did not “direct” her the way she thinks she needed to have the day go as planned.

      • Jagger Blaec

        THIS HAPPENED TO ME. I paid over a grand for these fools and they gaslit me the entire time. It was awful. I didnt realize until it was too late. Where are you located?

        • I operate out of DC & lately Baton Rouge due to a family health issue. But, I do events nationwide, mostly in the south & DC MD VA area

    • Jagger Blaec

      If you know she is in a predominantly white city and youre not close just recommend that you came across it. I dont think its offensive because wedding magazines dont really feature black women.

  • Jane

    I really liked your comments about the intersection of the “angry black woman” and “bridezilla” stereotypes. I hadn’t thought of that, but I know the bridezilla thing alone is a lot.

    Also, I hadn’t realized how much white privilege there is in being able to take for granted that vendors know about the wedding trends I’m interested in and/or know how to turn the things I’m interested in into weddings things.

    It’s not a particularly big solution, but I will try to make sure the vendors I book don’t just cater to people who look like me (and are themselves not just a bunch of white people) so that vendors will start to see that it’s good for business to be inclusive (and so that vendors of color can succeed even in really white cities).

    Thanks for sharing.

    • idkmybffjill

      “I really liked your comments about the intersection of the “angry black woman” and “bridezilla” stereotypes. I hadn’t thought of that, but I know the bridezilla thing alone is a lot.”

      This really stuck out to me too…. the double whammy of anxiety about how one will be perceived.

    • Lisa

      I hadn’t realized how much white privilege there is in being able to take for granted that vendors know about the wedding trends I’m interested in and/or know how to turn the things I’m interested in into weddings things.

      This is really insightful and something I wouldn’t have thought about either. Thank you for pointing this out!

  • heyqueen

    Munaluchi has proven to be my favorite bridal site. While representation is important, I much prefer a site that is primarily focused on and concerned about weddings for people of color. Seeing tons and tons and tons of black couples is exactly what I like to see. As much as I loathe social media, I found Instagram to be another very helpful resource. I’m able to tailor my wedding feed to pages that focus on and display only black couples. Having our own spaces is so important.

    Unfortunately, the city in which we’ll be having our wedding is extremely lacking in diversity. My goal is to use vendors of color exclusively (and particularly black vendors), but that is proving to be so challenging. I can’t even find a black officiant -____-.

    • I went through the same struggle of finding a Black officiant, and a friend of ours who is ordained in our state graciously offered to marry us. I’ve been toying with the idea of becoming a wedding officiant specifically to serve that niche market.

      • heyqueen

        I thibk you’d definitely have people looking for your services. Our niche market is an underserved one.

      • Jessica

        I know I would like to see more women as officiants. That was a priority for me, because we were doing pre-marital counseling and I did not want a religious dude hearing about our sex life–but I was much more OK with a female pastor hearing about it for some reason. I can only imagine it would be the same for Black women finding it easier to talk to another Black woman about their lives and feelings heading towards the altar.

        This is not to say that you would be doing pre-marital counseling as an ordained officiant, but rather it’s great to find people you can relate to to be a part of your wedding.

    • Jagger Blaec

      My brother did our officiating! Possibly ask a relative! And it’s not so much inclusion but for your case and mine vendors are influenced by media so when you dont have black representation we get shafted…if that makes sense! Which sure you already know being in kind of the same boat.

  • Kichijen

    RESOURCES

    http://secretweddingblog.com/ is a dedicated blog featuring couples from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds.

    http://nubride.com/ is a British blog run by a black woman who felt frustrated at the lack of diversity in wedding media and is working to combat that

    also

    http://www.blackbride.com/ and there are a few real brides of color here: http://www.lovemydress.net/blog/tag/beautiful-brides-of-colour

  • laddibugg

    I definitely agree and relate to most of this…. Except for the mentions of size and issues finding dresses. That’s something that has nothing to do with color and I say that as a future bride who’s way too big to even try to fit an arm through a sample size dress.

  • Megan

    Just wanted to add that Catalyst Wedding Magazine is a great resource for brides and grooms of color. It’s a mashup of APW’s feminist bent and Muna’s focus on under-represented brides

    • Jagger Blaec

      Author here. Vehemently disagree.

      • Jagger Blaec

        There approach struck me as more exploitive towards a demographic than actually caring about the needs of representation…I can only speak from my own experience with the publication…but a reason I think this void exists for Black brides is because a lot of editors or contibutors either don’t understand or prioritize the needs of black women.

  • Lisa

    This has been really eye-opening for me. I don’t tend to comment a lot on pieces like this because I think it’s important for me to listen to other’s experiences, but I appreciate everyone who shared her story in the original post and the comments.

    • Jagger Blaec

      What part is particularly eye rolly?

  • Ashley Meredith

    Can I ask a question? It is an honest question, so please pardon (and explain) if this is a completely ignorant thing to say. Why does the author capitalize Black but not white?

    • Not the OP but I’ll weigh in. There’s a debate out there about if Black & White should be capitalized when referring to groups of people. I don’t think there’s a unified position on this and the OP may have been using a specific style guide which called it out that way.

    • Ella

      As a White person, not from America, and not clued up on Black American culture(s?)* I’m guessing (!! open to be told otherwise!) the argument is that Black people in America identify as part of a collective ethnic/cultural group, whereas White people are less likely to collectively identify as a singular ethnic/cultural group? If so, I would argue that this is problematic – White people are often seen as culturally neutral and therefore without culture – therefore no need to capitalise “white” if it’s not a cultural or ethnic group. I think there is a “White” culture – it’s just so dominant in America (as evidenced by the writer’s experiences) that people don’t even see it as a thing. Which is not to say that all White people necessary belong to the same ethnic background or hold the same beliefs, in the same way that Aboriginal Australians identify as black (lower case usually), but come from distinctly different ethnic groups to Black Americans.
      *I would always refer to “Aboriginal cultures” (plural) but not sure about appropriate terminology here?

      • Ella

        Perhaps a view for the other side – although Indigenous Australians usually identify as black, I don’t think it’s usually capitalised, and not likely to be an answer to “what’s your cultural heritage?” (The answer more likely being a specific language group or perhaps region, or perhaps Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, or Indigenous.) (These *always* capitalised.) So if Black Americans identify their culture distinctly by this name (it’s a question??) then it may be appropriate to capitalise Black to signify that one is talking specifically about Black American culture or people, as opposed to other groups such as Aboriginal Australians. Just like Indigenous is always capitalised when referring to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, but not referring to first-nations people more generally. In which case white would be put in the same (uncapitalised) category.

        • Ella

          Man, sorry for the ramblings. I’m really interested if anyone can provide insight!

          • Ella

            One last comment and then I’m shushing, I promise… A quote from http://www.diversityinc.com/ask-the-white-guy/why-the-b-in-black-is-capitalized-at-diversityinc/ which I partly agree with and partly disagree with…

            “many Black people describe themselves simply as being “Black,” … I do not believe “white” needs to be capitalized because people in the white majority don’t think of themselves in that way. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this–it’s just how it is.”

            So, I agree with the first bit and it’s good reason to capitalise Black. I disagree with the last bit – I *do* think there’s something wrong with White people not thinking of themselves as White. It’s one of the reasons White privilege is so invisible. And why, for now, (but open to persuasion), I’ll keep capitalising White as well.

            … and now I’m definitely actually done, sorry mod’s and thankyou to anyone actually reading this

    • Jagger Blaec

      It actually wasnt intentionally done by me and may have been an AP style update by the editor. As Jubilee mentioned some writers believe the need to capitalize the word. I have no opinion about it.

  • elliejay23

    I’m late to the commenting party (just like I’m late to everything else in life…lol) but I just wanted to say it felt BEYOND AMAZING to read about the struggles another black bride had and know that I’m not the only one. Like when I was trying (and hardcore FAILING) to find a hairstylist in the rural area of VA where we just got married and I had a bridesmaid call around…and get told hesitantly by only one place that they could do “ethnic hair.” Ummmm….wtf. Or trying and failing to find actual photos of couples that looked like us to Pin. Or feeling like my wedding venue owner never took her eyes off me the whole time I was in the place (and not in a “Oh, you’re so stunning!” way). Micro and macro aggressions indeed.

    The one thing I will disagree with is Munaluchi magazine being a source of inspiration. I checked it out a few times, but I found that most of the couples and weddings featured were these same super lavish, jewels and feathers and ballrooms and big budget events that were nothing like the vision I had for our outdoor mountain wedding and tented reception. They may have diversity of skin color, but they definitely don’t have any diversity of wedding style, as far as I’m concerned.

    Other sites I love for brides of color are Chic Brown Bride (which also has an amazingly supportive and kind Facebook group and online community!) and Natural Hair Bride. It was so amazing to go on these sites and see people with all kinds of events, budgets, and hairstyles, and there’s great posts on both the sites and social media pages.

  • CAY

    Yes.
    Yes Yes Yes.
    I’ve been looking at different wedding sites for hairstyles (shoulder length, 4b/c, coarse/thick hair) and have come up with almost nothing. Like you, I’ve seen the token black girls that look more racially ambiguous than anything. I’m from the city of Chicago, so the blessing is that I have a range of vendors, all different price ranges, to choose from. I stuck close to home on the southside and found black owned vendors that were waaayyyy less expensive, a black owned reception venue and I’ve had the blessing of having close friends be vendors.

    This has made my anxiety WAY easier, because I don’t have to keep explaining my preferences (as far as the why) to multiple vendors, I don’t have to try to stay calm to the point of being a door mat in order to avoid the “angry black woman” stereotype either, so if you can, I advise you to try doing a search of black owned vendors in your area and see what they have. It will take more digging, but if you find a gem, it’s worth it.

  • TiaDDiva

    Thank you. I spent the first 3 months of wedding planning feeling so discouraged. Then I made a conscious decision to only use minority vendors. We are spending our money with people that represent women of Color (Black, Hispanic, Asian, Indian) on their Websites, social media pages, etc. My fiancée is White and agreed with me after I explained how ‘invisible’ I felt. Thank you so much for this article, hopefully more wedding vendors will read this and make an effort to add diversity to their advertising and clientele.