UTC Spotlight: An interview with Diversity Wedding Magazine

This week on our Unity Through Community Spotlight we are featuring Diversity Wedding Magazine. Read our interview with Jess, Marissa and Carling below to learn more about their mission to diversify the wedding industry through the DWM platform!

Who are the beautiful faces behind Diversity Wedding Magazine?

Jess (Founder), Marissa (Social Media Coordinator), and Carling (Lead Publisher) launched the site in December of 2019.

What does DWM represent?

Jess: DWM is an inclusive magazine that features couples, models and creatives of different backgrounds.

Tell us a little about your personal backgrounds and why you started DWM?

Jess: I am Dominican & Haitian, Marissa is Flipino & Black, Carling is Chinese.

We started DWM because we were honestly so tired of seeing a lack of diversity and lack of resources in other magazines. We realized the mainstream wedding industry does not represent everyday people like ourselves, like our families and friends. We are pushing hard to showcase a little bit of everything; couples of color, LGBTQ couples, curvy couples etc. We want everyone to find a place in our magazine by being to relate to others that look like them.

Do you believe there is a lack of diversity and inclusion in the wedding industry? Please elaborate.

Carling: Yes, we do believe there is a huge lack of diversity in the wedding industry. That's the reason that Jess had the idea to start this publication and host styled shoots with diverse models and wedding vendors. I think all of us want to see more people that represent us and other people we know in real life in styled shoots, magazines, online publications, etc!

Marissa: It can be frustrating as BIPOCs when you start to plan your own or other’s weddings. When you look at wedding photos at a venue, look at the instagram of a florist, look at wedding dresses in a magazine, etc. you often don't readily see BIPOCs represented. Even browsing online Google, Pinterest, The Knot, WeddingWire, etc. when you type "wedding inspiration" what comes up is majority, if not all, Caucasian couples. We often have to type "Black couple wedding inspiration" or some other specified moniker in order to see ourselves or some type of diversity. It at least, feels othering and isolating and at worst, makes BIPOCs feel like they don't belong because we aren't viewed as "the default". Diversity is all around us and a part of our reality so the industry should reflect that.

What are some of the ways business owners can diversify their wedding businesses?

Carling: I think showing your clients that you are educated, involved, and supportive of inclusivity as well as being actively anti-racist or antihomophobic can definitely attract a more diverse audience. Not just posting about it online or using it as a trend, but actually showing that in your personal life and in your business that you support BIPOC and LGBTQIA+. Share resources, support diverse vendors, showcase diverse couples/weddings, and get involved with your community.

What is your favorite part about what you do?

Carling: Our favorite part is probably hosting styled shoots. It takes a lot of effort to plan and execute our shoots and we love coming together on the day of the shoot, meeting new photographers, seeing our visions come to life, and then being able to share amazing content showcasing diverse models and vendors who contributed!

Given the Black Lives Matter movement happening right now, are there any Black wedding vendors who you'd like to promote with a quick shout out?

Marissa: There are so many amazing Black wedding vendors to recognize but some that we have highlighted during and instagram feature week:

Elizabeth Austin Photography, For Us Photography, Weddings by J Perk Productions, Sacia Matthews Photography, Cakes by Kakes, Jontell Vanessa Photography, and Barbarah Perttula Photography.

In your opinion, how can white owned wedding businesses be better allies? What are some ways they can support the Black community to actively promote change in the wedding industry?

Marissa: There have been a lot of great conversations started around representation and diversity. One of those conversations is taking a look at your portfolios, social media profiles, and websites and doing a diversity review. Does your business showcase diversity and do clients see themselves in your work? Does your business not just promote inclusivity but also feel inclusive? Is there diversity within your social and business circles?

If as a white owned business owner your answer is no to any or all of these, then it is time to start reaching out, including, and having conversations with BIPOCs in your social and business circles. Also if you have multiple positions of leadership within your business, make sure diversity is reflected within it. Invite BIPOC lead voices to the table and that can better help promote diversity and inclusion in the industry. It will be a learning process and not something that happens instantaneously but that's how you can appropriately start the process of promoting diversity and inclusion within your business and collectively the industry.

Anything else you would like our readers to know about you or your business here:

Marissa: Our mission is to change the wedding industry for the better and promote diversity and culture through representation and inclusion and we want to bring in as many people as possible on our journey, so we just want to encourage wedding industry vendors to submit styled shoots and weddings that celebrate and showcase BIPOCs!

Website link:

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Maryssa Souza

Owner | Lead Planner | Event Designer

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