by Radhika Graham, WPICC, DWC, of Rad Occasions
In the last few years that I have been building my wedding business, I have very rarely spoken out against the obvious lack of racial diversity and equality in our industry as I was worried about being seen as the angry Indian woman. I now realize that this was a massive part of the problem – the problem being systemic racism and how it has seeped its way into even as something as happy as the celebrations we all get to be a part of.Radhika Graham
1.Acknowledge White Privilege
The wedding feature accounts that are producing most of the media content we consume are run largely by white women so this plays a large factor in how the narrative is centered around white privilege which then in turns shows up as a racial bias. I have approached a few of these feature accounts and as part of my queries. I have also mentioned a couple of things:
- Suggesting BIPOC experts such as Rachel Cargle and Glennon Doyle
- Recommending publications like WPIC and Love Inc Magazine that celebrate diversity in an equal and fair way
So far the response has been split between wanting to grow and include all people but sadly some responses have been quite defensive where the submission process was blamed but there was no acceptance of what they had done to cultivate the unequal environment we find ourselves in today.
2. Address Barriers and Find Solutions
Have a good look at your website and your social media accounts. Are you attracting the same type of couples reflected in the photos you have chosen to display here? If you aren’t I am not saying you need to rush out and set up a styled shoot with a BIPOC or LGBTQ+ couple right away but there definitely needs to be more awareness when casting couples for these types of shoots in the long run because this is not a trend, this is hundreds of years of oppression that we are all breaking down together.
I also suggest having a good look at your recommended vendor listings as well as any music recommendations as these are two other areas where we can ensure we are bringing diversity and equality to the industry as well as to our couples.
3. Invest in Expert Help
One of the more prolific diversity programs available is through Nova Reid but I understand that comes at a price tag that many can’t stomach right now with the current pandemic. That is why I am so pleased to be taking part in doing the work with Rachel Cargle’s program which is a free 30-day program, but if you can spare a few dollars, there is also a Patreon account because no likes to work for free! I have found Rachel’s program to be so insightful and since it breaks everything down by the day it also gives you some time to process what you have learned and integrate into your day to day as the first of many steps in making your business and the industry more equal and diverse.
4. Yes, this is going to be uncomfortable
I am painfully aware that many people have said nothing at all on their social media or made promises to do better but then continued with exactly what they were doing before but understand that is truly a comfort of their privilege.
I actually finally feel somewhat comfortable to talk openly about racism and calling people in to understand that this is not about them. This is about an environment that has been cultivated, either intentionally or unintentionally, to largely exclude the BIPOC community.
It is time to get uncomfortable, unlearn, learn, and have the conversations. Be open, honest and direct about your intentions to improve diversity.
5. Use Your Voice
White people automatically have the societal privilege, access and influence that is not afforded to members of the BIPOC community, like myself. With this, it is crucial that your voice and actions be used to make a difference. I understand that some of you may have some hesitation because perhaps you don’t feel “qualified”. If you don’t know where to start please check out a list of resources I have compiled here. Being a good ally begins with listening and unlearning followed by solidarity and action.
As Martin Luther King said, “ Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
Radhika (Rad for short) Graham, WPICC, DWC is the Founder, Creative Director & Lead Planner of Rad Occasions.
Radhika began working in the wedding industry in 2012 and founded Rad Occasions in 2015. Originally from Edmonton, she has called Victoria, BC home for 15 years and loves everything about the city. Her focus is on connecting with couples to create a rad wedding day that truly reflects them individually as well as a couple. She can be often found going the extra mile whether it be folding 500+ cranes or saving flowers from a flash rainstorm.
Favourite Things: cake, kitty cuddles, adventures, and wine