After 13 years in law, Ava decided to walk away from a world that didn’t seem to value inclusivity as much as she did. With experience in anti-discrimination and equality legislation, training in counselling, and a fundamental commitment to empowerment and the art of not assuming, Ava headed into a world of entrepreneurialism, love, and weddings!
During the early stages of Ava’s new career, she received a number of queries along the lines of, ‘do you do gay weddings?’ and she saw so many well-intentioned wedding businesses let down by minimal knowledge or awareness. It quickly became apparent that there was a lack of prioritisation around inclusivity in the wedding industry, which not only negatively impacts couples, but it also negatively impacts businesses and Ava is passionate about both, so naturally, LGBTQ Equality Weddings was born.
Ava saw an opportunity, in the first instance, to provide couples with a resource where #YouDontNeedToAskHere, because never did a straight person ask, ‘do you do straight weddings?’. Ava builds and nurtures this resource by working closely with genuinely committed and inclusive suppliers on inclusive language, better representation, and new and exciting inclusive and gender-neutral products giving couples more choice, more voice, and more inclusion in an otherwise overwhelmingly heteronormative wedding industry.
When Ava is not pairing couples with their ideal supplier team, advocating for equality and inclusivity, or supporting other small businesses, you'll find her climbing a mountain, drinking copious amounts of Yorkshire tea, or singing (terribly) to her cat, Coco.
Lisa joined our team after initially responding to a PR call for guest bloggers. It quickly became apparent that Lisa shares our values and ethos and in her own words ‘simply wants to make the world as inclusive a place as possible’.
Lisa offers wedding suppliers1:1 consultancy, advice, and guidance on specific topics that might impact their wedding business, such as how to write inclusively about a wedding where both of the couple are the same gender or what not to do (or say) when advertising and offering naming ceremonies for trans and non-binary people. Lisa offers this support in a judgement free space where wedding suppliers can ask questions (and have them answered) without the fear of causing upset or offence.
As well as working with us, Lisa is an LGBTQ+ advocate, consultant, and trainer based in Leicestershire and supports businesses, schools, and charities striving for LGBTQ+ inclusion.
Lisa has previously worked on a flagship and award-winning BBC Children in Need project supporting over 70 trans and non-binary teenagers and young adults, where she was affectionately known as their 'fairy trans mother’. Lisa is driven every day by her experiences with these young people as well as her consistently excellent feedback from all those that she supports. In particular, Lisa was referred to as a ‘one-woman powerhouse’ by a local radio host and we can see why!
When Lisa is not supporting those striving for LGBTQ+ inclusion, you'll find her hiking up a mountain or drinking coffee in her local independent café and doing a skeleton crossword!
Charlie joined our team as a consultant after reaching out to us to let us know how passionately she shared our ethos.
Charlie consults on our inclusivity language reviews one day a week, as well as contributing to our business strategy and joining us on our equality focused training sessions.
As well as consulting for us, Charlie is a wedding photographer based in Oxford, and believes that photography should be about connection and storytelling with a whole bunch of silliness and laughter thrown in for good measure!
Charlie relishes working with couples who throw expectation out of the window in favour of making their own traditions. Her passion for inclusivity has been so evident to her couples that they have taken the time to report back and praise her for it.
When Charlie is not advocating for equality or out shooting amazing weddings, you’ll find her dancing the night away at a ceroc or salsa class, getting caught up in debates about feminism, or snuggled up in (one of her two!) rocking chairs playing the ukulele.
Say hello to Charlie by clicking here or check out her amazing photography by clicking here.
Ross joined our team as a consultant after inviting us to speak on his awesome and inspiring podcast and gifting us with a copy of his empowering book.
Ross consults on our inclusivity language reviews during busy periods, and joins us on our equality focused training sessions throughout the year.
As well as consulting for us, Ross is a professional wedding photographer, published author, proud podcaster, obsessive Great British Bake Off viewer and reluctant runner. He is passionate about promoting equality and diversity in the wedding industry which drove him to create, How to Have a Wedding as Individual as You Are: a book (and now also a podcast), designed to help all couples to plan a wedding that is true to who they are and what they truly value.
Ross always prioritises the comfort of the couples he works with and strongly believes that his role as a photographer is to enable people to feel at ease in their own skin and celebrate how wonderfully unique they are. Away from life as a professional ‘Tog’, Ross is the proudest uncle in the UK and enjoys creating (a mess) in the kitchen with his niece. He can also be found dancing around his office to his latest Spotify playlist or chilling out in cosy bookshops.
Octavian joined our team through www.pink-jobs.com, a crucial space for advertising jobs that are LGBTQ+ inclusive (go list your opportunities there!).
Octavian not only shares our values but he has a wealth of experience advising a range of charities and clients including, Mermaids UK, All About Trans, Amazon, Morgan Stanley, Homes England - Government scheme, Goldsmiths University, and National Maritime Museum.
Octavian offers wedding suppliers 1:1 consultancy on topics that impact their wedding business, with a specific interest in working to develop intersectional understanding and positivity around diversity matters and often, but not exclusively, with a specialist transgender focus.
Octavian was brought in initially to help celebrants develop and deliver naming ceremony services for people with a trans experience seeking name affirmation in line with current guidance and good practice.
This is just one example of where Octavian can add real value to a wedding or ceremony-related business.
As well as working with us, Octavian is a senior specialist support worker, working for over 9 years with vulnerable LGBTQ+ young people. This has given him a comprehensive understanding of equality rights and how the absence of understanding them effects people the most.
Jo joined our team after she and Ava found each other in an online networking group and discovered their shared ethos for shaking up industries with positivity!
Jo is dedicated to helping start-ups (you!) and SMEs (also you!) use good corporate social responsibility in their marketing toolkits. Inspired by her work at Saïd Business School’s Entrepreneurship Centre, as well as voluntary work for Oxfam, Jo wants to make sure that the world knows about your business and the good that it’s doing (we’re the perfect match, right?).
Jo saves brands time by looking after their social media (she looks after our Facebook and Twitter accounts), maintaining communication and engagement with online friends, as well as creating content plans that include alternative text, so every image can be described by screenreaders. Jo is the champion behind our change to #YouDontNeedToAskHere® (from all lower-case); thanks a bunch, Jo, we always strive to do better!
Away from her computer, Jo rows for the City of Oxford Rowing Club Adaptive Squad - inadvertently becoming the subject of many tourist photographs! She also loves the theatre for comedy, ballet, and musicals.
Nic is an advocate for all things LGBTQ+ and mental health awareness. She is a Disney and music enthusiast and incorporates her love for all of these things and more into her lifestyle blog and vlog, as well as sharing her personal experiences of planning her own wedding which is due to take place in 2020. WE.CAN’T.WAIT.
When Nic is not writing with us or keeping our blog moving, you'll find her plugging away at her own blog, numerous Instagram accounts, or watching YouTube videos.
Away from the digital world (yes, real life does exist!) Nic loves seeing live music and being by the sea, taking long walks down the beach with her fiancée (on the left in the photo), and sipping a cold pint of cider at a seafront cafe with friends.