Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's recent Royal Wedding signified an important milestone for our country when it comes breaking away from the outdated traditions and beliefs associated with marriage.
Whilst people of all ethnicities are able to get married and interracial marriages are nothing new, the representation of such marriages within the media is still lagging behind.
I spoke to Book Of Love babe Cherelle Joseph of Perfectly Planned 4 You, a London based Wedding & Event Planning business, about her direct experience of the lack of diversity within the wedding industry and what she does within her business to counteract this.
I'm gonna go straight in and ask, do you think there is lack of diversity in the wedding industry as it stands?
Yes, if you pick up a bridal magazine today you probably wouldn’t see many brides of colour in there. You might see her in the odd advert as a bridesmaid or something like that, but you wouldn't see her wedding represented... I do think online wedding blogs are better at this, as they feature a much more diverse range of weddings.
As a black woman, it’s hard to ignore the lack of resources available to black brides that showcase the wedding traditions and looks that are important to us. London is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the world and I feel extremely lucky to live here. But it still bothers me that people are not able to get easy access to the essential information they need. It’s shocking to hear in 2018, there is still the general lack of understanding about the difference of black hair and makeup, brides are still struggling to find experienced artists to work with.
Have you noticed a change since you started your business?
The situation is improving, but there’s still room for more diversity. Wedding magazines and the big websites are still overwhelmingly white.
I love Nu Bride! Nova prides herself on providing amazing content for everyone, with a splash of diversity. Nova was desperate to see inclusivity, to see positive images, of various types of women and more importantly women who looked like her within the mainstream wedding industry.
Social media has played a big part in moving the wedding industry forward. I know many brides now turn to Instagram to find ideas and inspiration.
Of course, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s wedding did huge things for diversity in the industry. Having Meghan achieve what she achieved and marrying a prince, is extremely important for these young girls and young boys from any community, not just the ethnic minority communities. I was happy to see that there were a few more diverse presenters on the television coverage than we typically see.
What do you do to challenge the stereotypes that we have become so familiar with?
Styled shoots! I believe that the styled shoots I create can be used by all brides looking for inspiration and planning guidance.
One of the first shoots I planned (featured in Bella Naija) featured 3 black women, this shoot was greatly received; Heart Aflutter who provided the dresses still get brides gushing over the pictures, and these were taken almost 3 years ago.
Last summer along with a group of talented wedding suppliers, I created an awesome shoot appropriately titled ‘Hackney SMASHES THE STEREOTYPES’. The shoot featured an interracial couple, in a trendy East London pub with non-traditional décor and a gingerbread piñata instead of a cake. If you haven’t, go check it out, you won’t regret it!
What challenges (if any) have you faced so far?
I am not sure about challenges, but having grown up in Hackney (a very multicultural part of London), I was horrified by the lack of diversity in the wedding industry. It's an unfortunate reality that most black brides face in silence. Occasionally, some express their frustrations in blog posts. Black British brides are still finding it hard to find visual inspiration for their big day and that’s not cool! Why is it that we’re still talking about diversity in 2018, in an industry that celebrates love?
What would you like to see more of?
My hope for the future of the wedding industry is to see more brides of colour on the FRONT cover of wedding magazines. I would like to see more interracial couples featured. I want to read more articles that focus on hair, skin care, nails and makeup for women of all ethnicities.
I think wedding magazine editor’s need to follow the lead of Edward Enninful (new editor of British Vogue) and make a commitment to make the wedding industry more diverse and inclusive. I want to work in an industry who are leaders in racial equality. One day I want to pick up a magazine, and not even notice race.
What do you think other people should be doing to make the industry more inclusive?
At Perfectly Planned 4 you, we love to plan modern weddings where culture and heritage combine, on our website and all over our social media you will see our vibrant and diverse weddings and styled shoots. I think wedding suppliers can also play a part in making the industry more inclusive. Representation matters and suppliers need to be more conscious of this when they are posting on Instagram, creating a new Pinterest board or looking for models for their next styled shoot.
I encourage black couples to share their wedding, encourage their photographer to submit their weddings to blogs and magazines.
We are living in exciting times, ‘Millennials’ are more willing to push back on traditions and express their individuality. Social media has strong growth and huge potential - it's a great tool in helping modern couples to push away old fashioned boundaries, which in turn is forcing, magazines and blogs to catch up.
You can see more from Perfectly Planned 4 You in the Book Of Love directory here! Don't forget to claim 10% OFF any wedding package when you reference THE UN-WEDDING.
I'd love to know more about your thoughts on diversity within the wedding industry and what we can all do to make it more inclusive. Feel free to comment below.