Just so you know, I have worked with couples of all race’s. I love diversity but the wedding industry does not! Fact. If you read my blog regularly, you will already know that I am brutally honest. I don’t beat around the bush. Life is too short and I have a toothache. I already know that there are going to be some slightly less aware people who have read this title and presumed I’m a racist or sparking unnecesary issues and upseting the peace. All I’m going to say is that people said the same thing about Martin Luther King Jr. I may not have a dream right now or the power to prevent racial issues. But I wave my wand and flowers appear and organza sashes dissappear!
I take issue with the fact that my Caucasian clients have 10x more choice of wedding venues than my Black clients. A very sweet lady asked me the other day why it would take a year to plan a wedding in London. Bless her, I actualy don’t blame her. Unless you know, and unless you’ve tried? You don’t know.
I really want to name and shame venue’s but I’m going to give you all a chance to redeem yourselves. Let this be your education. Most wedding venues cater exclusively to the needs of the cultures and habits of caucasian clients and isolate black brides by default or extra pricing. The main problem is food but there are others. I just have to address thisbecause I can’t deal no more. I just can’t…
While there are few exceptions to the rule, Black and Asian couples tend to have differentrequirements of their venues than their Caucasian counterparts.
1. Food. Has it ever occured to you that not every British couple would like to eat English food at their wedding? While I love a bit of bangers and mash and a good old Sunday roast, I am Nigerian. My parents brought me up on a Nigerian diet, not an English one. I like Akara and custard, egusi soup and pounded yam. Yes, I was born in this country and no that does not make me any less Nigerian. I am as British as I am Nigerian. I like country estates, vintage books and lots of tea and biscuits. I can talk about social responsibility and the change of societal issues discussed in literature from the 1880’s to present day. I read books AND I wear lipstick baby! Like every bride, I should one day be able to have the kind of food that reflects my taste at my wedding. That is what every bride would want. No one is saying that wedding venues should have their chefs travel around the world and learn every dish. But let’s bear in mind that the majority of venues only allow you to use their preferred catering suppliers. I just find it incredible that the majority of venues don’t have a preferred supplier that is African! If they do (the 5%), you are shortlisted to one choice. And the one choice tends to have mushy Jollof rice and dry assorted meat. If your lucky, the one preferered African or Asian supplier may be 6 countries away from your traditional cuisine and you’re supposed to be okay with that? It’s the equivalent of me saying I am providing for the needs of all European brides because I have a preffered supplier on my list who is a German chef. Like seriously? Wunderbar…
2. Black Brides have to pay extra for diversity. If you would like to have a diverse caterer at your venue. If you are lucky enough to find a beautiful wedding venue (that is not a town hall) who will allow you to do so? Prepare to pay extra. I have calculated that getting a different caterer will cost you on average of £2500 extra. Yes, £2500. Are you serious? That’s wedding dress money…and not off the rack!
3. Black Brides tend to pay more for less. The biggest culutural market with the highest profitability rate is Asian weddings. Like most West African brides and grooms they bring in their own caterers, decoraters and suppliers. Why? They are able to deal with the larger guest numbers. They get punished for using suppliers who can do the job they need them to do. Please tell me why you can have a 150 person wedding with food included and rooms for guests to stay in for less than the amount it costs an African/Asian couple to use the same venue dry hire? Without food or decor and use the extra seats that the venue already has. Then pay extra again to use an external caterer? At this point someone needs to call in watchdog and every MI5 agent within a 5 mile radius. By the way, don’t say on the phone you are having an African or Asian wedding; it either doubles the price immediately or people get snooty and say they cater for more classic events.Yes I have actually heard this.
4. Decibel & Noise Levels. Most African brides have been driven out of London by measures put in London venues to purposefully disway us from booking. The big one being decibel and noise readers. I have no problem with ensuring that the local community go to sleep at night. It’s just a little funny that I go to a rock event at the same venue without interruption but Bababtunde’s wife can’t make it up to the stage without talking drums cutting out the sound. Someone needs to check who is inspecting those readers.
5. Attitudes. It’s as simple as this. There are venues that are flexible. There are also venues who have strong and wrong attitudes about the kind of weddings they want on their grounds. Is it wrong to want to have the best and most beautiful events at your venue. Absolutely not. It builds brand exclusivity and is ulitimately the best advertisment you could ever want. Here’s the problem. Some wedding venues have decided that the best excludes curry or yam porridge. Class and style apparently includes a certain colour set or way of doing things. To a great extent the Asian community has been able to combat prejudice but not without throwing a lot of money at the industry. Especially with the average asian bride spending an excess of £30,000. African and Carribean brides still have a long way to go. It’s got to the stage that some of the best black owned suppliers don’t even want to work with black brides or other black owned business. In an effort to ‘up’ their prestige in the industry.
Rant over, I’m just bored of recommending the same 4 venues.