The Enthusiasts Guide from “Yes” to “I Do”

Host Leah Longbrake is pulling back the veil to bring you honest advice and creative ideas from those in the wedding industry. From the Engagement to the Honeymoon, get all the details you need from wedding and event experts on how to make it your best day ever!

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#LoveIsLove- The Importance of Inclusivity and Equality-Minded Wedding Pros with Love Inc.'s Brittny Drye

#LoveIsLove- The Importance of Inclusivity and Equality-Minded Wedding Pros with Love Inc.'s Brittny Drye

Brittny Drye, the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Love Inc., shares with us why it was important for her to create a truly inclusive publication, and how her Love Lists help same sex couples find equality-minded vendors.

“...even though we do have marriage equality, there's still a lot of work that needs to be done in the wedding space. Specifically, a lot of wedding pros still discriminate unfortunately. A lot of wedding pros still need education on marketing to LGBTQ+ couples. So, there's definitely still a need for that inclusive angle and that inclusive lens on the wedding content. So I'm still fighting the good fight.” - Brittny Drye

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Email: [email protected]

Purchase the magazine here: Love Inc.

Get to Know Brittny:

Brittny Drye is the Founder and Editor-in-chief of Love Inc., the leading equality-minded wedding blog and print publication. Her inclusive efforts have been celebrated by the New York Times, The Advocate, OUT Magazine, Refinery29, NY Daily News, Cosmopolitan, and more. She is a founding member of the Aisle Society, a member of the 2019-20 North American Advisory Board for the International Academy of Wedding & Events, and a 2020 WeddingPro Educator.



This has been a production of Evergreen Podcasts. A special thank you to Executive Producers David Moss, Gerardo Orlando, Production Director Brigid Coyne and Audio Engineer Eric Koltnow.

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Leah Longbrake:
Brittny, I am so excited to have you on Weddings Unveiled today.

Brittny Drye:
Thank you so much for having me, Leah. I'm very excited to chat.

Leah Longbrake:
So tell us what made you decide to start Love Inc.? Because I have to tell you, I've become such a huge fan of this website and everything you stand for.

Brittny Drye:
Ah, thank you so much. That's so kind of you to say. I started Love Inc. back in 2013. I had always been an editor, editor, writer. I had a few freelance clients back then who are wedding blogs. And when writing for those blogs, I really saw how heteronormative the wedding industry was. Most of the media back then, marketing that wedding pros were doing, everyone was targeting a bride marrying a groom.

Brittny Drye:
So I saw this void in the space also, or the resources out there for LGBTQ+ couples were strictly for LGBTQ+ couples. So no one was being truly inclusive with their content. For me, I felt, "Well, if you separated it, it implies that it's different, which feeds this whole purpose of equality."

Leah Longbrake:
Right.

Brittny Drye:
So I saw this need for a truly inclusive resource. It's not a gay wedding, it's just a wedding. It's equal representation of all identities and orientations. Of course, we still use gender neutral language, and we create content that is targeted to both hetero and LGBTQ+ couples, just really just make it organic, not make it a thing.

Leah Longbrake:
Yeah.

Brittny Drye:
So that's how Love Inc. was born and that was in 2013, so this was before we had marriage equality here in the States on a federal level. And eight years in, when I launched, I was hoping it'd be a moot point by now-

Leah Longbrake:
Yeah.

Brittny Drye:
... just be another wedding pub. But unfortunately, even though we do have marriage equality, there's still a lot of work that needs to be done in the wedding space. Specifically, a lot of wedding pros still discriminate unfortunately, a lot of wedding pros still need education on marketing to LGBTQ+ couples. So, there's definitely still a need for that inclusive angle and that inclusive lens on the wedding content. So I'm still fighting the good fight.

Leah Longbrake:
No, absolutely. And I thank you and commend you on your hard work to try to promote equality and inclusivity. So one of my dear friends, she works for the LGBTQ Center of Greater Cleveland. And when I was launching my show I was talking to her about what I'll doing and how trying to make sure every ... Love is love to me, is that I want to make sure everyone feels included when they're listening to the show.

Leah Longbrake:
And she was telling me that she knows of couples in the LGBTQIA space that, they want to work with equality-minded pro's, but there's not a list available. It's so hard for them to find someone that can do this. And so when I came across your publication, I was like, "The Love List, this is perfect." I mean, this is a great way to help couples find out who they can turn to and trust to plan their big day.

Brittny Drye:
Absolutely. That's one of the biggest issues that LGBTQ+ couples have during the wedding planning process, is that they feel like they have to come out to every single wedding pro they inquire with. If it's not blatantly obvious from their website, it's this awkward conversation at best. "Hey, I'm marrying another woman, are you okay with that?" And at worst they're discriminated against and this ... Planning should be stressful, sure, but it shouldn't be heartbreaking.

Leah Longbrake:
Absolutely.

Brittny Drye:
You should not be discriminated against for who you are and or who you love. And that still just happens way too frequently. So because we do feature hetero weddings on Love Inc., I reach out to every single vendor who is credited in a wedding or styled shoot that we feature before publishing to make sure that they are equality-minded.

Brittny Drye:
So even with the Love List, even beyond that, every single vendor who has ever been featured on Love Inc. has been vouched for by our team. So we do the homework for our readers so that they know, going into it. They see an amazing floral installation, they can look and see who did that and know that that person is eager to work with them.

Leah Longbrake:
So those that are just learning about Love Inc. and the Love Lists, if they are looking for one of these vendors that are specific to their region. I'm from Northeast Ohio, for example, and I want to find one of these pros that are in my area. Can you just go specifically to that region or is it just get an overarching list of pros?

Brittny Drye:
Yeah. So as of right now, it is by region, but we have a shiny new website launching later this summer that goes into state by state. And then even more so if it is a big city, so New York City within New York. So I'm very excited to be rolling that out later this summer. It's been a very long project.

Leah Longbrake:
I bet. But so helpful at the end of the day.

Brittny Drye:
Exactly. Because I know, you want to be able to narrow down that focus and find somebody in your area. It's so key. So I really wanted to bring that to our readers. It's definitely been a tremendous undertaking because we've also done it for all of the real weddings and all of the styled shoots, so that you can really narrow down your inspiration and ideas to your specific location. But yeah, I think it's worth it. It's worth that extra work because that's how people are searching.

Leah Longbrake:
When you first launched Love Inc., were the Love List a part of it, or is that something that evolved because you were seeing couples struggling to find professionals that accepted them?

Brittny Drye:
So the Love List was definitely a part of it from the get-go. It was one of the driving forces of why I started Love Inc., because I wanted to bring a resource of equality-minded pros to the forefront. So it was definitely a huge part of our entire brand from the start.

Leah Longbrake:

Brittny, for professionals that are equality-minded, what's the best way for them to show couples that they are supportive?

Brittny Drye:

Absolutely. This is, it's so important to do also, because statistics is 86% more likely to inquire for a service if they see from the start that you are an equality-minded wedding pro. So that's a huge number. And of course rainbow banners, rainbow badges, everyone knows what the rainbow stands for so that's always a really popular option. I love including it into your About Us bio. So some kind of ally or inclusivity pledge saying, "We work with couples, no matter gender orientation, race, culture." Saying, "Love is love," just being very specific about it and very forthcoming about it.

Brittny Drye:

And if you have worked an LGBTQ+ wedding, make sure to include that imagery in your portfolio. Yeah, and language, language is really important. Don't market to a bride or a bride and groom. Use gender neutral language in all of your marketing messaging, whether it's you trade out bride and groom for a couple or partners. I love the term soonly-weds, I use that a lot in my content.

Leah Longbrake:

Oh, that's cute. Soonly-weds, I love that.

Brittny Drye:

Yeah. So just swapping out those very gender terms that are very ... The wedding industry is full of them, very hetero-driven terminology. So it's just swapping out those gender terms for something more gender neutral is a great first step.

Leah Longbrake:

What's been the feedback you've received from couples that have been involved with Love Inc. Whether their story has been featured or they've used the site or the magazine to help plan theirs, what's been the biggest feedback you've received?

Brittny Drye:

That is honestly my favorite part of the job, is receiving DMs or emails from couples, just ecstatic that they've found a resource that they can see their own love in. Thrilled and so excited to see their love celebrated, if we've featured their wedding. And it tends to usually come from LGBTQ+ readers the most, because it's not as common to see that. It's getting better with other publications-

Leah Longbrake:

Right.

Brittny Drye:

... but it's still not to the level that we do. And it is honestly my favorite, it's what keeps me going, is hearing that feedback from our readers and couples that are just so happy to have stumbled across Love Inc. and found a resource that speaks to them and their love.

Leah Longbrake:

And if a couple wants to have their wedding featured or a professional wants to join your Love List, it's pretty easy to sign up through your website, right?

Brittny Drye:

Yeah. So we use a platform called Submittable for both the applications of our Love List, as well as any real wedding submissions. So for submitting your wedding or event, we also feature engagement shoots, and we also have a family vertical. So if you are expecting, we have expecting shoots and family sessions, all those fun things. You can go to our site and there's a How To Submit link that will take you to our platform, and you can do it or you can have your photographer or planner do it. It's very, very simple.

Brittny Drye:

And then we review each and every single one. And if it's a hetero couple, we do our due diligence and confirm everyone's equality-minded and get any questionnaire responses from the couple. And yeah, and get it up on our site. And then for the Love List, it's a pretty short application. It should take a minute. But we just, again, we want to confirm that you are equality-minded and that you are there for the right reasons.

Brittny Drye:

And a certain level of talent also. We're putting our stamp of approval on every single person that is in our Love List, even more so than the content that we feature. So the person has to be a certain level of professionalism if we're going to recommend them to our readers.

Leah Longbrake:

So what are some trends that you're seeing for fall 2021 going in 2022? What do you think are going to be the big things that couples should be considering?

Brittny Drye:

I mean, COVID definitely made an impact on weddings. Even before COVID, I saw micro weddings starting to rise in popularity and COVID just really brought it home. And we're going to see that even post-COVID, I feel like we really got a sense of what was important. And people are wanting to prioritize the guest experience much more than before. And you can do that so much better with a smaller guest list. Your dollar is going to stretch a lot further with 50 people than it can with 200.

Leah Longbrake:

I was going to say, the savings that you're going to have with a micro wedding.

Brittny Drye:

Yeah. So I see that definitely becoming much more of a trend than it was prior. And then also just, there's these safety measures that I think are going to continue to stay in place. Maybe not six feet apart in 2022-

Leah Longbrake:

Right.

Brittny Drye:

... but the way that food is served and still having sanitizing stations, because there is going to be this level ... Everyone's at varying levels of comfort. And couples are going to want to make sure that their guests are comfortable and they feel safe at their event. So they're going to go the extra mile to ensure that.

Leah Longbrake:

I always say this as someone that was a germaphobe pre-COVID, I'm so happy that some of these safety measures, especially with food, is going to continue because it's so important.

Brittny Drye:

Yeah. Yeah, definitely not all bad things coming out of this.

Leah Longbrake:

So any other advice that you have for couples planning their wedding?

Brittny Drye:

I think it's important to, especially in this day and age, to really look at the vendors you're hiring and make sure that your values align with theirs as well. With Black Lives Matter and all of the horrific events that have happened, I think it's important for businesses to take a stand. Businesses and brands to take a stand on where they are and who they support. And it's so important that you are spending your dollars with brands that match that, and brands that align with your own values.

Brittny Drye:

Because you want to make sure that your vendor team is diverse and is supportive of marginalized communities, and is doing that work on the backend for organizations. Whether it's LGBTQ+ rights or Black Lives Matter, whatever it may be, these things matter. And it's your wedding so it may not be at the top of mind, but you are spending a great deal of money likely, so make sure that those dollars are going to businesses that support those causes.

Leah Longbrake:

Absolutely. Okay. So I had warned you ahead of time that I have two last questions for you. The first one is what is your all time favorite celebrity or Royal wedding dress?

Brittny Drye:

So, Solange Knowles.

Leah Longbrake:

Oh.

Brittny Drye:

I was obsessed with her wedding look.

Leah Longbrake:

That was the really cute pants suit, right?

Brittny Drye:

With the cape.

Leah Longbrake:

Yes.

Brittny Drye:

She had three looks, all of them had capes. And one was a jumpsuit and it ... Oh my gosh, I stared at her wedding portraits for an obscene amount of time. She looked so amazing and hands down, that's been my favorite celebrity wedding look. Grace Kelly, I think, is iconic.

Leah Longbrake:

Absolutely.

Brittny Drye:

An iconic wedding dress, the lace and ... Yeah, I mean, that's just pure classic wedding gorgeousness. Yeah, but those would be my two celebrity slash Royal.

Leah Longbrake:

I love those options. And yeah, the Solange one, that's a great one. And yeah, she did have multi looks, but that jumpsuit and her and her husband on the bikes-

Brittny Drye:

Oh, yes.

Leah Longbrake:

... that was such a fun photo. And Grace Kelly, oh my gosh. Princess Kate, Kate would not have her lace sleeve dress if it wasn't for the Grace Kelly dress-

Brittny Drye:

Right.

Leah Longbrake:

... because that was the influence, right?

Brittny Drye:

Absolutely, absolutely.

Leah Longbrake:

Okay. The second one, what song do you think is the best first dance song?

Brittny Drye:

I mean, I'm a little biased and I'm going to say my own. I actually had a very hard time finding a first dance song. And I wanted something that would speak to us, but not common. So I think you should pick whatever first dance song speaks to you as a couple. For my husband and I, I wanted a good song, but also with an acoustic kind of style to it. So we did Only You by Joshua Radin, and it was originally done by Yaz in the eighties maybe.

Leah Longbrake:

Yeah.

Brittny Drye:

Yeah. So if you remember The Office episode of ... I think it was their wedding, Pam and Jim's wedding episode.

Leah Longbrake:

Oh yeah.

Brittny Drye:

That, the Yaz version, the original version, was being played on it.

Leah Longbrake:

Yes.

Brittny Drye:

But I love that song and ... But this version was more of a updated one.

Leah Longbrake:

Yeah.

Brittny Drye:

So we did that. So it's, for me personally my favorite. Yeah.

Leah Longbrake:

Oh, that's fantastic. I'll have to go listen to that version, because I know the older version but I don't know the updated one.

Brittny Drye:

Yeah, it's good. I mean, it's definitely more low-key. And I wanted something short too, because I honestly didn't want to do a first dance-

Leah Longbrake:

Oh.

Brittny Drye:

... but it was important to my husband, because I just didn't want all the eyes on me. I don't know, I felt weird.

Leah Longbrake:

No, that's understandable.

Brittny Drye:

But my husband, it was important to my husband. So of course we did it and it was short, which was a good compromise. But yeah, it's a good song and I still listen to it every now and then get a little misty-eyed.

Leah Longbrake:

Ah, I love that. Well, there's a song for couples listening to consider, and it's so beautiful. Well, Brittny, how can we get more information on you and Love Inc.?

Brittny Drye:

Yeah. So you can find me at lovincmag.com and @loveincmag across all social media platforms.

Leah Longbrake:

Thanks for being with us, Brittny.

Brittny Drye:

All right. Thanks so much for having me, Leah.

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