Back in May, I wrote a post on why gender-neutral language in a wedding business’ marketing materials is so important. I explained why being inclusive of all your prospective clients — gay and straight — is essential on a business level (for me personally, it’s even more important on an ethical/moral level, but I think I’ve covered that pretty thoroughly by now).
Today, I received a marketing brochure from a producer of large wedding shows, and everything in the brochure was “brides” this and “brides” that. It got me thinking about gender neutrality in a different sort of way: why are so many wedding businesses ignoring grooms altogether?
For one thing, the idea of brides as sole decision-maker is incredibly outdated. I’ve personally seen way more grooms be involved in wedding planning in recent years, and not just “guy” things like the formalwear and the music. They’re helping to develop the wedding theme/concept, collaborating on the menu and cake, and participating in all of the vendor interviews. So why are they being ignored in so many business’ marketing materials?
Another problem is this: even in those marketing pieces that seem to depict the bride as being “in charge,” it’s not like the bride is being portrayed as some smart, savvy planner. Much more often, the marketing is falling back on the old “bride-as-spoiled-princess” cliche. It’s gross, and it’s not relevant in today’s wedding market, when couples are working together on many aspects of the planning.
Finally, bride-centric marketing seems to become kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more wedding businesses present wedding planning as inherently a “woman thing,” the more grooms will choose to bow out. And that’s harmful to wedding businesses. Take, for example, a wedding show: when it’s marketed solely to brides, fewer grooms will want to attend. I know that, as a wedding DJ company owner, I’d love to see more grooms at these wedding shows — I’m tired of brides walking past our booth, muttering about how their husband-to-be is “supposed” to be handling the music.
No other industry that serves couples would survive if it was focused on only one party. Imagine if a financial planning company or a mortgage broker targeted only the men. They’d be considered sexist, ignorant and behind-the-times. In the wedding business, one that’s supposed to be about bringing together two families, and making two individuals’ vision into reality, it makes no sense to ignore 50% of the equation.