Other wedding venues may say that they are more than just a wedding venue however, for Davenport House it really is true. When a project becomes deeply personal, the way Davenport was for my family, it becomes more than just a business.
We moved into the house when I was 15. My brothers were 14 and 11 and my parents were about to take on a project unlike any other they had done before. I think there was a lot of growth that happened inside those four walls, and not just individual growth, but growth as a family and learning how to work and live alongside each other every day. As young adults now in our early 20s and late teens, myself and my brothers feel incredibly fortunate to experience Davenport as a family home on a daily basis and to have done a lot of our growing as young adults in the most incredible setting.
I came out just after I left high school, at 16 sat at the kitchen table on the top floor of Davenport House. For my parents working in the wedding industry and building a venue where we predominantly meet brides and grooms, they may have had an idea or preconception of what their daughter’s wedding could look like. However the weddings we were seeing just were not my reality and my initial questions were “where can I get married?”and “what would my wedding look like?”.
The idea for this shoot was born after several long conversations about representation, inclusivity, and the image we were creating for ourselves as a wedding venue brand. People love to hop on the Pride Month trend and post a rainbow flag or change their logo to pride colours. Don’t get me wrong – this is great, but it is also often taken down or changed as soon as it can be, coming across as temporary support whilst it is “cool” to do so. The representation for LGBTQIA+ couples is not consistent throughout the year compared to heteronormative content which directly adds to the stigma surrounding LGBTQIA+ couples not being “normal” or “every day.”
Davenport House is a beautiful Grade I listed country house venue set in the Shropshire Hills – it is not exactly a gay bar in Soho. But it is for that reason alone that we began to have conversations about the connotations of that, and the heart wrenching realisation that Davenport House as a wedding venue may have subconsciously been part of the problem.
Each photo has been beautifully crafted to tell the story of a wedding at Davenport House. Through normalising a beautiful, interracial, queer couple in the photos, the aim is to normalise it in society itself. I often fear that half of the aggression and discomfort towards the LGBTQIA+ community is simply down to it being kept “out of sight and out of mind,”. That lack of representation directly feeds into people’s fear of change and accepting or understanding that life and love is not binary, and it never was.
For LGBTQIA+ people all over the world it has been normalised that they have a duty or responsibility to justify, explain and announce who they want to love, and for so many of those people it can be an incredibly traumatic thing to go through. It is important to remember it is not just a matter of coming to terms with potentially losing friends. For so many people in the LGBTQIA+ community it is a matter of losing your life, your family, your home, or your job and for people raised in countries or households that are an anti-LGBTQIA+ it can be incredibly dangerous.
Take it upon yourself to be educated, review your own marketing collateral and consider how inclusive your venue and brand really are. By simply using gender and sexuality-neutral language in your vocabulary, even in the simplest of ways eg; honeymoon, wedding, nuptial suite instead of “bridal” suite or having at least one bathroom/toilet that is gender neutral, we are creating a space where people stop being caught off guard by an LGBTQIA+ couple and this sort of thing applies to all minority groups. Race, religion, sexuality, or gender, having that knowledge and education to conduct yourself and represent your venue in a way that is inclusive can make the most incredible difference.
Something I want to touch on is that everyone involved in this shoot, from the models to the photography team, to the hair and makeup artists that were on set from 7am until 10pm, did it completely free of charge. My mum has always said to me “be the change you wish to see in the world” and this shoot came to life because an incredible group of people wanted to be part of the change.
Talking to couples and showing that you have taken some interest in or educated yourself on their culture or background may just mean your meeting goes well but to them, they go home feeling seen, safe, validated and understood.
It does not have to be hard, expensive or an overwhelming change to start making a difference. If every venue / business adopted one consistent method of inclusivity or representation through social media or inclusive language in the work place it could start a domino effect of change and it is only change for the better.
You are creating a safe environment for people to love and be loved in return.
As a venue and as a family our aim is to knock down the barriers that LGBTQIA+ couples must face when planning their wedding. Turning up to a venue and wondering whether they will allow you to get married there, depending on who you are in love with, is a feeling no one should ever go through and I hope, in a way, I will have a hand in changing that.
Venue Davenport House
Photography Still Moving Media
Hair Stuart Holmes
Outfits The Sustainable Vintage Stylist
Props Etiquette Event Styling
Flowers Rebel & the Rose
We want to hear from you.
With Tallulah’s words at the front of our minds, we are asking again for our cherished members to submit to our blog.
We want to see beautiful and diverse editorials and real weddings to inspire our style-led couples. If you have a styled shoot or a wedding that you think is perfect for our vibe, head to our Submissions page for more info.
Most importantly, we’d love for you to take some time to consider your listing with us and how we can perhaps update imagery or amend the language used – we’re here to assist.
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