Wedding Wisdom Wednesday :: Why the Wedding Industry & Engaged Couples Need MRSter

:: Why the Wedding Industry & Engaged Couples Need MRSter ::

We hate to brag (not really), but MRSter serves a valuable purpose to both the wedding industry and ALL engaged couples. We believe that all engaged couples should be treated equally. We recently interviewed MRSter co-founder Cicely Rocha Miller and MRSter Approved Photographer, Justin McCallum of Justin McCallum Photography on the subject of why the wedding industry and engaged couples need MRSter. We thought it was a good idea to present these questions from our point of view and that of a candid vendor, and hope you agree.

MRSter :: What is it that makes MRSter unique?

Cicely :: We vet all of the wedding vendors that want to list with us through an application process; researching them and confirm their marketing materials are inclusive. We also aren’t just about gay weddings, we are about ALL weddings, as we welcome and celebrate straight couples as well.

Justin :: I was thankful to come across MRSter not only as a wedding vendor myself, but as a member of the LGBTQ community. With rhetoric dividing the conversation surrounding same-sex weddings between exclusion or normalization, it is inspiring to see an online resource that presents couples as they are, without judgement or emphasis on the ‘wedding-industrial-complex.’ MRSter is a space for couples to seek out inspirational and aspirational wedding planning resources with real examples and vendors who are actually reflective of them.

MRSter :: What is the most common error(s) vendors make specific to LGBT engaged couples?

Cicely :: Constantly referring in print, social media and on their websites, to their clients as “Brides”.

Justin :: Having mistakenly landed on the receiving end of many a wedding vendor e-blast, nothing makes me hit “SPAM” faster than immediately calling a wedding planner the “bride” and mentioning a “hubby-to-be” later on. To make such assumptions in today’s day and age is so short-sighted, that it immediately makes me call into question whether they can understand the nuances unique to any relationship, let alone a LGBTQ partnership. In a similar vein, however, couples shouldn’t look exclusively for LGBTQ vendors. Just being queer doesn’t guarantee they’ll vibe with you or your boo, so make sure you meet with vendors before you hire them, since they have to be a good fit for every nook and cranny of you.

MRSter :: How can we best assist vendors?

Cicely :: We offer education, tips and ideas on how to attract the new demographic through an email marketing series that will help them BUILD MORE WEDDING BUSINESS. Click here to sign up!

Justin :: Although I think MRSter has a burgeoning social media presence, I have never seen any marketing or other efforts to grow the network. I think it may be a great website for couples to Pin photos or look at the occasional wedding, but it is lacking a bit of the authority necessary to make couples outright book vendors based on being featured or seeing a profile. That could also be improved with sharper web design.

Cicely :: (in response to Justin). We are aware, and that is something we greatly desire to change. We are working with designers currently to try and work out an easier way for our MRSter Approved vendors to be booked. Thank you for your insight, Justin! We are always open and grateful to hear feedback as to how we can make this resource as user-friendly as possible!

MRSter :: How can we best assist engaged couples?

Cicely :: We offer an amazing list of vendor partners through the FABuLIST. These MRSter Approved vendors are those that celebrate your engagement and love; not merely tolerate it. We offer stories of other wedding days and tips on planning as well.

MRSter :: What still needs to be done to engage greater acceptance of LGBT couples?

Cicely :: Practicing what you are preaching. It’s not about adding a rainbow to your website and assuming that will take care of being inclusive in your business. It’s about you, as a professional wedding vendor, being among the first to practice and implement the tips and suggestions we offer to attract more wedding business.

Justin: MRSter is on the right to track to hasten acceptance of LGBTQ couples by presenting their unique love stories and avoiding stereotypes. Similarly, presenting same-sex couples alongside straight counterparts without division legitimates their love as ordinary, and removes the stigma of being “other.” Continued, honest representation of LGBTQ couples is the clearest path to greater acceptance.

MRSter offers heartfelt thanks to Justin McCallum for his forthright and honest responses. If any of our readers have something to add, we’d love to hear from you in the comments!

MRSter :: Because Love Is Love!

:: MRSter :: Because Love Is Love ::

MRSter {miss-ter} has been a wedding planning resource for LGBTQ and straight couples for years now, and we recently decided to invest even more time and money into the growth and development of the site. We created MRSter to bring BADASS vendors to the fingertips of modern couples {and your mother, your brother, your sister AND your friends…}!

Our resource provides a place for all engaged couples to get ideas and be inspired while planning their wedding.  We now have marriage equality nationwide {YAY!}, yet couples unfortunately still face a lot of bias today. This is why they need a place like MRSter to go to; somewhere they can be confident knowing they will be treated with respect and never have to ask if it’s okay to do business with any vendor.

We are connecting with amazing vendors nationwide, and are currently running an awesome promotion to spread the love this Valentine’s Day, and grow our MRSter family! Check out this BIG news below…

#LOVEISLOVE

#LOVEISLOVE

Yep, you did read that right… We are giving away 1100 FREE listings!! Be the first of twenty vendors from each state or country, and receive a FREE listing for THREE months on our FABuLIST of ‘MRSter Approved’ vendors. The FABuLIST is a collection of rad industry professionals who have already joined our open arm revolution in celebrating ALL couples.

So, what’s the catch? Simply, if you believe in what we’re doing, all we ask is that you ‘sample’ becoming a part of the MRSter family {for FREE!}. We are confident that you will LOVE what we are about, and continue to grow with us.

Give us an opportunity to connect you with AMAZING couples. Don’t miss out… Click here to fill out an application to become MRSter Approved {for FREE!} TODAY!!

Psssttt :: Please note that you must complete the shopping cart process for your vendor application to be sent to us!!

#LOVEISLOVE

 

Happy Holidays!! Christmas Wishes From MRSter...

:: Happy Holidays ::

Holiday Cheer

It doesn’t seem to matter which holidays you or I celebrate at the end of the year, but most people tend to take some time off during this season. Hopefully you are going to be able to slow down and spend a little time reflecting on the good things and people in your life.

Sometimes, in our busyness we tend to forget the things that are truly import in our lives. I get that way too. But truly now is a great opportunity to be in tune with the time of year, to appreciate those precious people in our lives who give meaning to our existence, and to measure our worth not by our bank account, but by the love we share in our everyday encounters.

MRSter wishes you love, prosperity, joy and health during this holiday season and throughout the year.

“Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.”      – Hamilton Wright  Mabie

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Cicely Speaks :: How To Make Your Wedding Business Truly Inclusive // Podcast

:: How To Make Your Wedding Business Truly Inclusive ::

For some time now, and particularly since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of same-sex marriage nationwide back in June, there has been an increased interest in the fairly ‘new’ and exciting demographic of engaged LGBT couples looking to legally marry.

We have seen a large number of businesses and wedding vendors trying to embrace this demographic and ensure that their business is inclusive to ALL couples, but for many it is a daunting process. Vendors are nervous about what they should say, how they should ask questions, whether they are asking the right questions… worried to say the wrong thing. Then on the other hand, there are businesses who believe that they are fully inclusive and welcoming to LGBT couples, yet in reality, they are unknowingly turning off couples. MRSter are here to help…

How To Make Your Wedding Business Truly Inclusive

Cicely {Co-Founder of MRSter} recently had the opportunity to chatter with Heidi of Evolve Your Wedding Business.Com, for a special podcast about how vendors can avoid this, and ensure that their wedding business is truly inclusive. The podcast episode covers the following ::

:: How to focus on inclusion and not separation.

:: How MRSter benefits from having an advisory board and how you can create your own.

:: How we often overcomplicate the way we approach LGBT couples.

:: The common mistakes wedding pros make when it comes to being inclusive.

:: Why you may not be getting as many LGBT weddings as your expected.

:: How you can showcase that you’re open to working with LGBT couples.

:: The importance of gender neutral language on your website & in your marketing.

:: How 2nd class phrases actually take away from marriage equality.

:: How to take your straight glasses off and view your business from a different perspective.

:: How MRSter is working to connect LGBT couples to amazing wedding vendors like you.

You can check out the podcast here.

We would love to know what you thought, and be sure to let us know if you have any questions!!

Coming to Phoenix :: Gay Wedding Institute Certificate Program by 14 Stories // This Is Not To Be Missed!

Advisory board member of MRSter and founder of the Gay Wedding Institute, Bernadette Smith, is coming to Phoenix to certify!

14 Stories Gay Wedding Institute certificate program is coming to Phoenix on Wednesday, August 26th! The workshop will be taking place from 9.30AM until 4.00PM at MRSter Approved venue the Hotel Palomar in downtown Phoenix!

14 stories

The U.S. became the 21st country to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of same-sex marriage nationwide back in June! Fantastic news for us all, as not only are LGBT weddings good for society, but they are also very good for business! Despite the marriage equality ruling, however, wedding planning can be a very daunting experience for many same-sex couples. With unfortunate stories of businesses being shown to discriminate against same-sex couples being commonplace in the media, it is difficult for LGBT couples to know which vendors they can turn to and trust.

“Same-sex couples are a lucrative, emerging market that can help grow your wedding business. To reach this powerful market, you must be ready.  You don’t want to lose business or risk offending potential clients!” [14 Stories].

14stories2Kate McElwee Photography via 14 Stories

Would you like to become more open and knowledgeable about working with LGBT couples when planning their wedding day? We want all wedding professionals to be knowledgeable, confident and excited about this newer market, and now is the perfect opportunity!

“Earn the trust of the loyal LGBT wedding market by learning from the experts at the Gay Wedding Institute” [14 Stories].

:: What Is The Gay Wedding Institute Certificate Program? ::

The Gay Wedding Institute Certificate Program is “the world’s only wedding certificate program that focuses on the LGBT market” [14 Stories]. The course will inspire you, energize you and put you in a position to attract loyal customers. It will allow you to “master the skills and strategies to reach the loyal same-sex wedding market” [14 Stories]. Since the Gay Wedding Institute launched in 2009, “over 700 people have completed this program, representing 14 countries around the world”. [14 Stories]. The Gay Wedding Institute continues to be “a national thought leader, researcher and educator on gay and lesbian weddings” [14 Stories].

14stories3Kelly Prizel Photography via 14 Stories

:: What Will You Learn? ::

This course covers a variety of topics, including;

  • The financial impact of the gay and lesbian wedding market
  • Differences between straight and gay weddings
  • Language and terminology
  • Marketing to engaged same-sex couples
  • Law and policies affecting same-sex couples
  • Same-sex wedding traditions
  • LGBT wedding data and trends

And much, much more…

“This intensive and interactive workshop will [also] include lunch, a packet of materials and tons of great ideas to reach this powerful market” [14 Stories].

14stories4Photography by Antonio del Valle Studio via 14 Stories

:: What Is The Benefit Of Doing The Course? ::

“Besides a projected increase in business, participants who attend this all day session will receive a 14 Stories Gay Wedding Institute certificate badge you can proudly display on your website, a copy of the book The Business of Gay Weddings, a certificate of completion and resource materials. Graduates will also be listed on the Gay Wedding Institute website” [14 Stories]! Not only this, but you will also receive a FREE FABuLIST listing on MRSter for one year!!

MRSter Icons-10

:: Who Are 14 Stories? ::

14 Stories is a MRSter Approved boutique wedding planning firm based in Massachusetts! Their vision is for “a wedding industry fully inclusive of all couples, including LGBTQ couples” [14 Stories]. This is something that they have been working on since they opened their doors in 2004; making them the first firm in the country to specialize in planning legal same-sex weddings!

14 stories

Find out all about this rad company by heading to our Wedding Vendor Wednesday highlight blog all about 14 Stories here!

You can check out their website here, and of course, don’t forget to check out their FABuLIST listing here!

:: Interested In Signing Up? ::

If you are a wedding professional looking to become more open, knowledgeable and confident about working with the LGBT market, then you seriously do not want to miss this!

14stories1Photography by Kevin Day Photography via 14 Stories

Date :: Wednesday, August 26

Time :: 9:30 AM- 4:00 PM

Location :: (MRSter Approved) Hotel Palomar in Phoenix

To register for the workshop, simply head to this link to complete the application form!

Early bird registration cost $309, and expires on August 12th, so hurry to take advantage of this great deal! After August 12th, the price goes up to $349!

Will we see you there?!

Sian Clark // Social Media Manager

MRSter :: Kickstarter Campaign // Mind Is Blown - Thank You!!

We know that recently we have been posting constantly about our Kickstarter campaign, but we are beyond ecstatic to announce that our campaign ended yesterday… and we surpassed our goal!!

We set ourselves a target of raising $11,400, and we exceeded this by raising a total of $12,025!!

Our. Minds. Are. Blown.

MRSter-Kickstarter-MIND-IS-BLOWN

67 backers, 67 backers!…will help MRSter reach out to couples and vendors in all 50 states and hopefully in Canada, Mexico and other international countries. Hitting our goal was amazing but exceeding the goal was out of this world and simply mindblowing. Thank you so much for all of the support with our Kickstarter campaign. So many of you helped by spreading the word, and of course by donating the much needed funds that we need to take MRSter nationwide!! And the timing for our Kickstarter could not have been any better with SCOTUS’s recent decision on the freedom to marry nationwide!!!

MRSter-Kicked-It!

“MRSter has a big heartfelt goal to be in every state and in every community to help every LGBTQ couple find vendors who celebrate them, and with your help we will be able to do just that”.

This is why the Kickstarter campaign was so important for us, in order to be able to grow MRSter. These funds will help our national growth to couples AND companies that need us.

With the funds that have been raised, our goals are to accomplish the following ::

  • Develop a more comprehensive and easier-to-navigate website for couples when searching for a wedding vendor.
  • Create tools for the wedding industry that educates the professionals working within this new market.
  • Develop online tools for engaged couples that uses language that doesn’t have “bride and groom” as the only option.
  • Fly to a few key cities across the nation promoting MRSter to the LGBTQ community.
  • Connect with more wedding professionals who have the desire to work within the market but are looking for a solid resource that can help.

MRSter-Thank-you-heart

You have our word that with every dollar that has been donated and contributed to this fund, we will make sure it’s allocated properly. We respect that hard amount of money that you’ve worked for, and that you donated because you believe in what we’re doing. This is no joke to us, and it shouldn’t be to anybody else. We promise you with everything we have that we’ll do this, we’ll do it right and we’ll go nationwide!!

THANK YOU again, be sure to keep checking back on our social media platforms for updates on MRSter‘s growth from here…

Sian Clark // Social Media Manager

MRSter :: Kickstarter Campaign :: We Did It // Thank You!

“MRSter has a big heartfelt goal to be in every state and in every community to help every LGBTQ couple find vendors who celebrate them, and with your help we will be able to do just that”.

One month ago, MRSter launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to help us with the above goal. We set a target amount of funds at $1,400, and yesterday… we not only reached, but we SURPASSED THIS GOAL!!

MRSter-Reached-our-goal!

We are totally overwhelmed with gratitude, and just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported our Kickstarter campaign by spreading the word, and donating the much needed funds that we need to take MRSter nationwide!!

With the funds that have been raised, our goals are to accomplish the following ::

  • Develop a more comprehensive and easier-to-navigate website for couples when searching for a wedding vendor.
  • Create tools for the wedding industry thateducates the professionals working within this new market.
  • Develop online tools for engaged couples that uses language that doesn’t have “bride and groom” as the only option.
  • Fly to a few key cities across the nation promoting MRSter to the LGBTQ community.
  • Connect with more wedding professionals who have the desire to work within the market but are looking for a solid resource that can help.

MRSter-Kicked-It!

We have cried SO many happy tears during this campaign, firstly thanks to your generosity and kindness!! Secondly, that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of same-sex marriage NATIONWIDE last week!! This was a phenomenal day, and one where our Kickstarter received a ton of new support!! We hope that our resource reached, and is reaching, many of these couples who are now legally able to wed in ALL states!! As well as straight couples and wedding professionals who embrace and celebrate both straight and same-sex couples!!

With that being said, we do still have 5 days left of our Kickstarter campaign. Though we have already surpassed our target, we still need you to keep sharing and supporting… as the more money we raise, the more we will be able to do!!

MRSter-Thank-you-heart

We cannot thank you all enough!!

Sian Clark // Social Media Manager

Marriage Equality For All :: Love Wins // SCOTUS Decision

:: Marriage Equality For All // Love Wins ::

Today is a freaking GREAT DAY!!!

We are beyond ecstatic that today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of same-sex marriage NATIONWIDE… something that SO many of us have been waiting such a long time for!!

Marriage-Equality---USA (2)

 “The U.S. is now the 21st country to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide, including territories. Married same-sex couples will now enjoy the same legal rights and benefits as married heterosexual couples nationwide and will be recognized on official documents such as birth and death certificates.”

[CNN, 2015]

mrster kickin itWe also want to say a huge thank you to everyone sharing and supporting our Kickstarter campaign, we have seen a huge amount of support today! We have 11 days to go to reach our target, so please check it out here, spread the word, and consider supporting. MRSter has a big heartfelt goal to be in every state and in every community to help every LGBTQ couple find vendors who celebrate them, and with your help we will be able to do just that.

Congratulations to everyone!! It really is SO wonderful to see so much positivity being shared all over social media today, LOVE is most definitely in the air!!

How are you celebrating today’s decision?!

Sian Clark // Social Media Manager

MRSter :: Kickstarter Campaign // Please share & support!

:: MRSter // Kickstarter Campaign ::

Today, MRSter launched a Kickstarter campaign!! Please read below for more information, you can view our Kickstarter campaign here… THEN please share and help us reach our goal! We have 34 days, so SHARE, SHARE, SHARE!!

mrster kickin it

While we’ve come a long way in some communities across the country, the hard fact is that many LGBTQ couples still face a lot of bias and discrimination when planning their wedding. Even with marriage equality laws in place, an estimated 40% of Americans still don’tsupport marriage equality, and some of those people are wedding vendors.

We’ve all heard about the restaurants and the bakeries out there who take a hard stance against equality and that makes LGBTQ couples uncertain and uncomfortable about who they can contact with assurance they will be treated with respect.

MRSter Icons-08

MRSter has a big heartfelt goal to be in every state and in every community to help every LGBTQ couple find vendors who celebrate them, and with your help we will be able to do just that. The laws in our country could change very soon and if wedding vendors want to send the message that they are for marriage equality and all couples, MRSter is a great place for them to announce that.

With the Supreme Court decision coming any day, we could potentially see a number of vendors across the country claim that their freedoms are being trampled on in an effort to trample on the dignity of LGBTQ couples.

Our goals are the following ::

  • Develop a more comprehensive and easier-to-navigate website for couples when searching for a wedding vendor.
  • Create tools for the wedding industry thateducates the professionals working within this new market.
  • Develop online tools for engaged couples that uses language that doesn’t have “bride and groom” as the only option.
  • Fly to a few key cities across the nation promoting MRSter to the LGBTQ community.
  • Connect with more wedding professionals who have the desire to work within the market but are looking for a solid resource that can help.

MRSter Icons-11

Risks and challenges

Risks…yes….challenges….yes. They happen but like we say…or Winston Churchill said, “The number one way to succeed is to never give up.”

We won’t give up.

We coin ourselves as solution architects and both of us are people pleasers.

We promise to communicate throughout this process and be transparent and honest if we fall behind or drop the ball.

We are human but this is much more to us than a business venture but something that is just good for mankind.

Thank you for your incredible support!!

We would also like to say a special thank you to Chadwick of MRSter ApprovedMod Wed Photography for directing our Kickstarter campaign video!

Sian Clark // Social Media Manager