All APW Vendor Directory Members agree that:
… A wedding is an awesome party, but it’s the marriage that really matters.
… However you decide to tie the knot, we’re on your team.
… It takes two people to get married. It’s not all about the bride (and sometimes there isn’t a bride, to begin with).
… We will not discriminate based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, disability, marital, family, pregnancy status, sexual orientation, body size, gender identity, gender expression, veteran, or citizenship status.
… We support LGBTQ+ couples’ right to marry, and we are delighted to work with them.
… We strive to make our language and marketing inclusive of the above. (E.g. not directed at “The Bride” or “Bride and Groom” or “His and Hers”.)
… We will be upfront and fair about our pricing. We won’t surprise you with a secret fee because you want frosting on the cake, not just the cake.
… We agree to conduct our business in a way that upholds the best business practices of our profession.
The History of APW’s Inclusivity Pledge
While it has been refined and renamed over the years, the spirit (and most of the words) of APW’s pledge for wedding vendors has not changed since its creation during the launch of APW’s Vendor Directory in 2010.
At the time of APW’s founding, the US (and a large part of the world) was entering a frightening recession that affected most people at a deeply personal level. But yet the mainstream wedding industry was somehow oblivious, continuing to insist that everyone empty out their savings (or even go into debt) for one “Special Day.”
We were simultaneously in the thick of the fight for marriage equality, and not only was gay marriage still illegal in every state but Massachusetts, but almost no wedding publications or blogs would feature LGBTQ+ couples.
In the midst of this, APW founder Meg Keene set out to create a corner of the internet that would be welcoming to both folks who didn’t want to deplete their savings or go into debt over their wedding, and folks who didn’t feel represented by the solely cis-white-hetero-Ken-and-Barbie couples being shown by the vast majority of wedding media.
The pledge was—and is—about vendors promising to treat clients as people and not walking dollar signs, and it’s about vendors respecting your wedding for exactly what it is, not what anyone else thinks it should be. It is also about being happy to work with LGBTQ+ couples, and refraining from making gendered assumptions in communications and marketing materials. (If your website or intake forms say “Bride and Groom,” we won’t take your advertising dollars till you change it… and that’s been unchanged for the past decade.)
Every wedding vendor who has advertised with APW since—in our vendor directory, in a sponsored post, on social media, or in a banner ad—must agree to it before we agree to work with them. But we have also learned from our time in the trenches with vendors doing this work, that being inclusive and a true ally for your couples is about far more than just checking a box on an application on a directory. It means real inclusion. Real action. Not just words with no ally-ship. This has resulted in both encouraging conversations with well-meaning but uneducated vendors, and parting ways with talented people whose values didn’t align with ours.
Wedding media, the wedding industry, and the world have made a ton of progress in the last decade. It is no longer taboo to publish LGBTQ+ couples (in fact, it’s trendy), and other vendor directories now have similar inclusivity policies, and quite frankly, we’re thrilled that this is the direction the industry is taking.
And speaking of that revolution, a huge shoutout to the thousands of APW vendors past and present who have supported our mission of standing up for the egalitarian, fair, kind treatment of all couples—whether LGBTQ, straight, transgender, cisgender, POC, white, or any other identity—both in their wedding planning journey and in their representation in wedding media over the last decade.
In short, APW readers and sponsors have never backed away from living their values, and maybe that’s why the wedding magic they make together is so darn, well, magical.