Carving Out an Inclusive Corner in the Banff Wedding Industry

inclusive weddings

Twenty Twenty Photography

Weddings are often loaded with tradition. But the traditional wedding celebration is quickly becoming associated with “outdated”. That’s because the classic wedding celebration is often pretty exclusionary of people who don’t fit the “traditional” mold. 

Couples come in all different shapes, sizes, creeds, colours, and orientations. Here at the Rocky Mountain Wedding Collective, we are firm advocates of having the wedding celebration that you want without the pressure of tradition and expectation weighing in on your plans. 

We know that with the term “wedding”, there also comes a lot of gender bias and conformity expectations. But who has time for that in 2020? You and your partner deserve to experience the celebration you want with the same love, joy, and well wishes as any other wedding. 

Now that marriage equality is (finally) legal in many parts of the world, LGBTQ+ weddings account for an increasingly large portion of the industry. So every year we’re seeing more and more diverse celebrations and fantastic new ideas for how to make your wedding the fun, joyful celebration of love that you and your partner deserve.

How to turn wedding traditions on their head

It’s great to want a wedding that’s non-traditional, but that doesn’t mean your celebration has to be smaller, more low-key, or have any fewer trimmings and trappings. You deserve to have a wedding day that’s just as special as the cookie-cutter, bridal magazine cover. But it can be tricky to do that while navigating all the heteronormative bias in the wedding industry.

To get you started, here are some ideas for how you can celebrate your wedding however you want! Forget bending the “rules” – why not throw them away completely?

Photo: Tess Lucas Photography

You can still have pre-wedding events

Bachelor and bachelorette parties are fun as hell. There’s no reason that any couple should have to miss out on them if it’s something they want. The good news is that it’s also the easiest part of your wedding celebration to put your own stamp on.

Forget the terms bachelor, bachelorette, hen, or stag. Why not do a joint celebration and refer to it as simply a bach party? Invitations and discussions can refer to the event as the bach party, the bachelorx, or whatever you want! 

Ditch the outdated terminology

It can be a little disheartening and alienating when you’re shopping around for vendors, favours, and cake toppers to see “bride” and “groom” stamped all over the place. But that doesn’t mean you have to settle on “groom and groom” or “bride and bride”, either. These terms are loaded with gendered expectations that don’t fit for many people in this day and age.

So why not just ditch the terminology completely? On your invitations, signage, and vendor contracts, you can opt for any title you want.

Photo: Tess Lucas Photography

Dance like nobody’s watching

Speaking of gender and expectations, traditional dances at the reception can be a source of anxiety for some couples. The whole concept of a bride dancing with her father and the groom with his mother isn’t always so straightforward. And not just for LGBTQ+ couples either.

We say, dance with whoever you want! It’s your wedding and your family. You can choose whoever you want to share that special moment with, whether it’s a parental figure or someone who has been a great support to you in life. 

Some couples are choosing to stick with dancing only with each other, or making the whole “first dance”  portion more of a fun, choreographed number with multiple friends and family members!

Get creative with your invitations

Your invitations are a great opportunity to set expectations early on. If gender identity, orientation, pronouns, or anything else is a source of worry to you and your partner, use your invitation to make your position clear from the outset.

Whether you choose “Mrs. & Mrs.”, “Brooms”, or just your first names, it’s your choice. You can even include pretty polite but direct instructions in that regard as part of your invitation if you like.

It’s also a good idea to leave off any traditional addresses or naming conventions that you would see on a classic wedding invitation. Lots of couples choose to just use first names and non-gendered pronouns on the invites for both themselves and the invitees.

Don’t be afraid to be vocal

If you find yourself sighing over “bride info” and “groom info” on a vendor’s intake form, don’t be afraid to gently point out the exclusionary language and find yourself a vendor who creates quality work and an inclusive experience.

Unfortunately, lots of LGBTQ+ couples also come across plenty of open discrimination when trying to source vendors for their wedding. Don’t hesitate to leave a review online about this experience if it happens to you. Nobody deserves that treatment, but every business deserves to be exposed for doing it. 

Photo: Tess Lucas Photography

Walk down the aisle however you like

Plenty of couples of all orientations and situations are ditching the traditional walk down the aisle. The concept of any person having to be “given away” is pretty last century in general. And while some people may be lucky enough to enjoy this particular convention if they want to, for many it’s a complicated concept.

So, if it’s something that’s on your mind, try one of these options on for size instead:

  • Have both your parents walk you down the aisle
  • Walk with a close friend or another important person in your life
  • Create two aisles around the side of the seats (instead of down the middle) so you and your partner can do a joint entrance and meet at the top to stand in front of the officiant
  • Walk down the aisle with each other rather than a parent or family member
  • Both have the traditional walk down the aisle one after the other

These options mean you don’t have to miss out on a special moment if it’s important to you, but you get to do it any way you like!

inclusive Banff weddings

Twenty Twenty Photography

Visit LGBTQ+ wedding expos

They’re not always so easy to find, but they are a great way to ensure that you’re researching and meeting vendors that are pro-actively providing LGBTQ+-friendly wedding services.

A quick Google of your local area will let you know if there are any close by. If you would have to travel to get to one, why not make it part of your bachelorx celebration? And even if you can’t make it to an LGBTQ+ wedding expo, there are lots of online resources that can help you source vendors so you can contact them directly. Check out Pridezillas or EquallyWed to get you started!

banff wedding

Photo: Tess Lucas Photography

Choose your vendors carefully

The best vendors are those who are ecstatic to be part of your big day and put their all into exceeding your expectations. You deserve so much more than someone who is merely “accepting” of your wedding celebration. 

Make sure you thoroughly vet your potential vendors to find the right ones for you. From your venue, right down to your make up artist and car service, you want to know that all the people around you on the day are genuinely happy to be there.

When checking out vendors, read through their online reviews carefully to see if anyone has had a negative experience in that regard. Then, schedule an initial meeting, even if it’s just over FaceTime, and don’t be afraid to question them about how comfortable they are with what you want for your LGBTQ+ celebration. You know it’ll be obvious pretty quickly if there is hesitation or a lack of authenticity on the other end of the conversation.

LGBTQ+ wedding vendors

Twenty Twenty Photography

The Rocky Mountain Wedding Collective

Our collective was started by Dr. Lindsay Copeland. Lindsay is an award-winning Rocky Mountain photographer and has been based in the area since 2015. She has over 5 years of wedding experience and since moving to the Canadian Rockies, Lindsay has been able to grow her passion, documenting multiple inspiring love stories. After working and living in the Bow Valley, she saw an opportunity to change the wedding industry for the better. She believed in the need for community, collaboration and supporting local businesses to create something special — and so the Rocky Mountain Wedding Collective was born!

LGBTQ+ friendly weddings banff

Twenty Twenty Photography

We’re a group of like-minded wedding vendors and local businesses based in Banff, Canmore, and the surrounding areas of the Rocky Mountains. Every member of the collective is dedicated to helping clients build the wedding experience of their dreams. We go beyond customer service – we get to know our couples and value true connections. Nothing makes us happier than to go above and beyond to help you create your vision! 

Inclusion, respect, and connection are at the heart of everything we do here at the collective. If you want to deal with a person, not a business, our goal is to make it easy for you to find trusted people for your Rocky Mountain wedding. 

Our vendors don’t care where you’re from or how you want to celebrate – they just want to make sure it’s everything you dreamed of, and more.

Check out our carefully curated and vetted collection of inclusive Banff wedding vendors!



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