Today i'm interviewing with Pauline, a French wedding planner based in Orléans.
As a wedding photographer in France we often get to work with multiple wedding suppliers and it's very important that we somehow share the same values. LGBTQ+ rights is something that i care for. So i was very interested into talk with Pauline about her vision of wedding planning and specially when it comes to work with the LGBTQ+ audience. Not that's a different audience because i truly believe that in the end, love is love and that's all that matters to me when it comes to photography, but i thought it could be an enriching discussion and a way to learn more. So let me introduce to you Pauline:
Can you introduce yourself, your background?
Of course! I am Pauline and I have been a wedding planner since graduating from the Wedding Business School of Paris in August 2021. I opened Noces de Paillettes agency in 2022. Previously, I was a history and geography teacher. I wanted to see something other than the school benches and the three years of preparations for my wedding (planned for April 2020, covid time ;) confirmed to me that this was a world in which I now wanted to evolve.
What prompted you to turn to the LGBTQ+ community within the wedding industry?
I myself am in a lesbian couple and when we had to meet wedding suppliers, we always had a little anxiety about the idea that they didn't want to work with us or little phrases that could make people feel uncomfortable. If we, when we are white, educated, valid, etc., in short, privileged, we had this fear, I told myself that this must be the case for many couples, LGBTQ+, but not only. The wedding industry is still very standardized (white, able-bodied, cisgender, heterosexual, thin, neurotypical...) and I wanted to help all couples to feel comfortable in their preparations and their big day to come by introducing them to suppliers who would accompany them in kindness and without judgment.
What do you think is holding back this community from turning to a wedding planner or wedding suppliers in general?
There are in my opinion a multitude of reasons. What I'm going to say here is mainly based on articles I've read or feelings about what some Instagram accounts publish, including Sapphosustra. Already through our stories, often complex, I think that some couples do not want to get married because it would force them to be out of touch with their family (or to hide the ceremony from them), or to accept, for example, that a part family is not present. We can also imagine that it can be a problem afterwards at the work level if the colleagues and bosses are not aware.
The LGBTQ+ community also more easily rejects heterosexual "expectations" such as getting married, having children (a house, a labrador, etc.), even the traditional couple as well, with trouples, free loves, etc. When Saphhosura asked to their followers, many shared that they struggled to imagine themselves married or with a child, as if they had "no longer the right to do so". There's work to be done to explain that it's ok to be LGBTQ+ and want a "traditional" pattern with marriage and/or babies.
Finally, there is also the problem of purchasing power. Têtu had published an article (here) explaining that LGBTQ+ people were paid less on average than hetero-cisgender people. Our community is more precarious than average. However, a wedding can be very expensive! Wedding planners are a luxury that not everyone can afford. It is also possible that for couples who are religious, not being able to marry within their religion, as not all of them are open, is an additional obstacle.
According to you, do the LGBTQ+ public have different expectations in terms of services for their wedding? Do they stand on a different type of budget?
Not really, I think that like everyone else, it's an audience that wants a wedding that truly reflects who they are! Queer often calls for creativity, but you can also find couples who want a country wedding, very traditional per se.
What would be your first advice to an LGBTQ+ couple planning to get married?
To not be afraid. The one that my wife and I had, did not materialize: we came across really top service providers who made us feel comfortable. As with all couples, only go to people whose worlds speak to you and if the meeting goes badly, do not follow up. Trust your guts!
Can you share with us a trend for an LGBTQ+ for 2023/24?
This year 2023 should see a maximum of ultra colorful weddings. You will therefore easily find decoration and flowers of all the colors of the rainbow (or any other flag of the community 😉). Afterwards, if you want weddings all in white and nude, treat yourself, it's your wedding!
Can you share with us an original LGBTQ+ ceremony idea for 2023/24?
We often talk about the family we choose. Feel free to give them roles traditionally held by others like walking down the aisle with their best friend or the first dance. If we want to play the queer culture card all the way, we can imagine a ceremony officiated by drag or an entry while sailing!
Josefin & William
“Words cannot describe how happy we were to choose Romain for our wedding photography and the job he did was absolutely incredible! The photos were absolutely stunning but above all we were so happy with his presence and direction on the day, ensuring everyone knew what to do and that we got fantastic photos of everyone. He does stunning shots without staging or posing and we love his style of including many spontaneous shots and capturing little moments. I recommend him from the bottom of my heart, you will”