Can we stop using “bride” to describe clients getting married?

Dear the wedding industry,

Let’s chat real quick. I know y’all love to use the word “bride” to describe each and every person potentially getting married. HOWEVER, real talk? That’s one subset, niche of folx getting married — that doesn’t describe billions of people getting married each year.

And here’s the deal, it may be this moment of prioritizing the folx most likely to talk to you about getting married, but it’s not everyone getting married. Let’s break this down.

Using inclusive language really matters. In this industry there are folx who identify differently than man/wife, bride/groom, and being mindful of this is really important.

Inclusivity matters with our potential clients — cis-het grooms, and folx in the LGBTQAI+ community can be turned off by our industry’s constant use of “bride” to describe our clients or folx getting married. It doesn’t describe the cumulative identities of folx getting married.

Even when my work centered cis-het folx (straight, cisgender), I often found that my inclusion of all genders in language and refusal to address all clients as “brides” supported cis-het grooms to feel empowered in the wedding planning process. When we keep reinforcing “brides” often cis-het men feel minimized, and left out of the planning process. All folx getting married deserve to feel prioritized in the wedding planning process.

This isn’t just for our clients though — focusing on and prioritizing inclusive language, and affirming spaces supports our clients communities and our industry vendor friends too!Speaking only to couples can be exclusive of poly-am groups as well, so it’s been something on my mind/thoughts lately and am just going to put that out there too.

Often I talk about green flags, and red flags — using “brides” to describe all clients is a red flag for the 2SLGBTQAI+ community, as well as cis-het grooms that they aren’t welcome/valued in the space someone is speaking in. Using inclusive language to replace “brides” becomes a green flag, and something that shows that all folx are welcome, and valued in a space.

When as an industry vendor, I hear folx using gendered language, in particular “brides” to describe all clients, it’s really hard for me to move past the ouches of that language to deeply hear what they have to say. It makes me as a non-binary person not feel welcome or valued, even though you’re not speaking to me as a client, you’re just speaking about folx in general.

So, you’re on board to replace the word “bride” when talking about clients as a whole, what’s next? Here are some options that I’ve seen, and have loved are:

  • clients
  • nearlyweds / newlyweds
  • wonderful celebrants
  • partners
  • merriers
  • fabbo engaged folx
  • wonderfully engaged people
  • engaged folx
  • engaged people

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