This week’s topic is all about inclusion. Welcoming everyone, from all walks of life, no matter who you are, to The Authentic Celebrant. Every week I start my live sessions (you can find them all on the Facebook page) by saying ‘hello’ and ‘welcome’…and I do genuinely mean it. It’s my honour to welcome you along, however you might be interacting with The Authentic Celebrant (reading, watching, listening, purchasing, but above all celebrating!). It’s part of, not just my business, but also my personal values to strive towards and committed to being inclusive. I openly welcome everyone – no matter what you look like, what your beliefs are…none of that matters. What does matter is that we are all human. We all deserve to be treated with respect and we all deserve to be able to celebrate the important events in our lives in an authentic way.
So today, I’m sharing with you just a few of things I’m currently doing to ensure that we are getting to a point where we are genuinely inclusive of everybody.
Striving to get it right
Firstly, I’m really proud to be able to use the Equality Weddings Logo. Their guidance document is particularly aimed at businesses in the wedding industry. Now, just because I’m reading one particular document, does that mean I’m a complete expert in equality and inclusion, and does it mean that I’m always going to get everything right 100% of the time?…No, it doesn’t. I am human, like we all are, and as such, we are all fallible. Will there be times when maybe I don’t get it quite right or make a mistake? Quite possibly (even though it pains me to say it, not least because I’m a bit of a perfectionist(!) but also because I would never intentionally want to cause offense – anyone who knows me well can testify to that!). But, by having this guide and being very conscious and aware of who we approach, what we say in our communications (emails/social media/when we’re talking to you) and how we treat you, our clients when you’ve booked us, striving and committing to being inclusive is really, really important.
Checking any special requirements
…now, this goes for both you, as the client, and your guests. As your celebrant I always check if you have any special requirements – for example, if you’re getting married, and you’re a wheelchair user, you may have a strong view on whether you wish to come down the aisle (if indeed you’re having an aisle!) with or without your chair. I will also always check if any of your guests have any special requirements – for example, if one of your nearest and dearest is hearing imparied, you may not want them to sit in the back row if that means they won’t be able to hear what’s going on and feel less involved with your event. It might be that they do sit in the back row, but we ensure that a hearing induction loop is available, or they are given their own copy of the ceremony wording, so they can follow along without missing anything. Whatever the situation, we will be able to find a way to accommodate it and incorporate it into the ceremony. It may be that we take a very traditional part of a ceremony (like going down the aisle) and we completely mix it up – because hey, The Authentic Celebrant is all about ‘creating your own tradition’, after all! There are absolutely no rules about not being able to stuff – we can always find a way.
We don’t all identify in the same way -but rather than make assumptions because of how you look or sound, where appropriate, I will check with you how you prefer to be known. Name and pronouns.
This also applies to other ways in which you may identify yourself. For example – a wheelchair user may identify as being a Disabled person. Other wheelchair users may feel that term is unhelpful and not how they wish to be known. I will always have a conversation with you to understand your preferences.
The website is currently under review in terms of the language it uses – checking for any terms that may not be quite right. We would never seek to intentionally exclude a particular group of people, so I am making a conscious effort to remove any language that may make people feel excluded.
A lot of things in life come down to trust. Another of the values of The Authentic Celebrant is trust and building trusting relationships. As your Celebrant, I would certainly be looking to build a trusting relationship with you so that we can both have an open conversation, talk freely and honestly about what your expectations are about your ceremony and how we can take that and make it happen.
Your ceremony is YOURS……it should be completely authentic and absolutely perfect for YOU. So anything that I can do to help with that authentically perfect ceremony, I do my best to create.
So, if you want to take a look at how we can work together, pop over to the Services page of the website www.theauthenticcelebrant.co.uk/services . You can sign up to the newsletter for ceremony tips, advice and ideas at www.theauthenticcelebrant.co.uk . Or just get in touch for a free, no-obligation chat to find out what the possibilities could be and how we can create traditions that truly reflect your personality and style – let’s do this!
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