Ask Tough Questions
Consider reading online reviews from couples of who have worked with a vendor so that “you can read firsthand what their experience was like working with this person,” Mx. Blattel said. If you’re unable to find reviews, Mx. Blattel said, ask vendors if they can connect you with previous clients. You can also ask vendors if they work with couples who share your and your partner’s identities, and if so, how often.
Many vendors may also be unaware of the nuances of language, or they may not be used to having conversations about inclusivity, Ms. Stallings said. That’s not necessarily a red flag.
A willingness to accept feedback, listen to concerns, answer questions and evolve is important, she said. “That’s actually a really wonderful way to test your vendor — understanding how they navigate challenging conversations early on about inclusivity and identity,” she said.
Be Upfront About Your Needs
Couples should consider being open about their own identities with vendors if they are comfortable doing so, Mx. Blattel said. They can let their vendors know directly that they would like to work only with businesses that are inclusive. “They can say: ‘It’s important for us to work with people who are championing our rights, our equality. So we just want to be certain that you are supportive,’” Mr. Meyer said.
They should also be clear about the type of support they are looking for. For example, if guests need any disability accommodations, couples should communicate those requests to vendors beforehand. Such requests can include notifying caterers about allergies or requiring seats that accommodate people with larger bodies, said Elysia Everett Burns, the founder of Friendly Like Me, an app that helps people find restaurants, venues and other businesses that meet specific access needs.
In the United States, 27 percent of adults have some form of disability, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “People tell us that if they’re not certain that they’re going to be accommodated, if any doubt exists at all, they’re not going,” Ms. Burns said.