Help : We're looking for someone to lead our LGBTQIA+ ceremony
I was chatting to a couple at the weekend at a venue for their forthcoming wedding, and they were asking me about my LGBTIQA+ credentials. It really made me think that despite being a passionate champion for equal rights and having attended and officiated countless weddings for the community, it’s something that I probably don’t shout enough about.
My advocacy dates back to the late 90’s when I was at University, working at a bar on Canal Street in Manchester, the beating heart of the gay scene and where I spent the majority of my time socializing. I even had a cameo in Russell T Davies’ TV Show Queer as Folk. I had a dual role of bar / restaurant at night and office by day (and somehow fitted Uni in too) and in my head office role I worked within their marketing team promoting their portfolio of leisure businesses specifically to a gay audience. (I even wrote a dissertation about gay attitudes to the hospitality industry).
When I graduated from University, my first full time job was within an advertising agency, one of my projects being getting a gay community lifestyle magazine off the ground.
Ready to take on the world, I soon spread my wings from there and started a very successful chain of businesses with my gay business partner (and best friend to this very day). Our portfolio included bars, a marketing agency, and a publishing company. As any small business owner will attest, my role was varied, but very specifically I was the editorial director, a gay lifestyle magazine being one of the 3 titles we published. This role is where I honed my writing skills which come in very useful when it comes to the art of crafting ceremonies.
A business sale and career break later and I was back in the corporate world doing what I do best, managing high profile live events, and coming up with creative ideas. When I found myself working at Manchester United, I quickly involved myself in their equality, diversity and inclusion staff forum as a community ally, and led on the clubs marketing activity around the Stonewall Rainbow Laces campaign, and their EDI fan forum work. The resulting campaign is something to this day I am probably most proud of (and the picture of me and Sir Ian McKellan was taken at the Stonewall Equality Dinner in London).
It sounds glib to say ‘I have loads of gay friends’ but I really do, and I think that puts me in a really good place to lead LGBTQIA+ ceremonies, not only as a champion of the community, but as someone who is immersed in queer life. My lifelong embedding in the scene and advocacy for equal rights goes way beyond tokenism to being something I alway have been an ambassador for.
I pride myself on my ceremonies being inclusive, and ripping up the rule book to make new traditions when it comes to disregarding stereotypical gender normative roles within weddings, making everyone welcome and (hopefully) not offending anyone along the way. Advocating for the gay community isn’t just a box ticking exercise it's my way of life.
Don’t just take my word for it though, this is what Julie and Liz wrote about me when they nominated me for an award after their ceremony:
‘From the moment we contacted Vikki for information to our wedding day and beyond she was incredible. She got to know us, she made sure our wishes for us and our guests were fulfilled and it truly was a day full of love and laughter. Our ceremony was so personal, it was an absolutely true reflection of our love and life. She even had everyone up singing as we danced down the aisle as we left the room as wife and wife. We would recommend Vikki to anyone ~ she is an absolute star!’
And if you're looking for a fabulous gay owned venue for your wedding, then look no further than the amazing Lawrence Hotel, www.thelawrencehotel.co.uk