We’ve all been on the outside before. We’ve been the person not picked for the sports team, the friend not invited to dinner, the person not thanked in the shopping list of thank yous. It sucks.

I hear it from my couples every day, they tell me about how their family is this and that, and how they don’t want such and such mentioned, all in the name of inclusiveness. I’ve always been 110% behind including everyone present, after all, I was the loser not picked for the soccer team, and the guy who would see friends come back to town after living in London for a few years and I’m not invited to the big catchup. That’s just the way life goes, but it sucks when you’re not included.

That’s why I work so hard to include everyone in my business, I don’t care who you are, what your skin colour is, what your beliefs are, who you love and what their gender is, if your worldview lines up with mine, I would love to be the voice of your wedding, you’re all amazing and beautiful to me.

Especially in my wedding ceremonies I work double time to include everyone there. I craft words together that lead the whole crowd to encourage and love on the couple getting married, and I’m trying to use language that doesn’t highlight family divisions, personal life or marriage decisions, or inequities amongst us, but instead, using words that can unite us, words that bring us together.

That’s why I think this conversation with Tara from Dancing With Her is so important. Tara is a cisgender girl in love with a girl that doesn’t identify as a lesbian. Why does that matter? People call Arlia a lesbian but she doesn’t identify with that term, that matters because we should take responsibility for how we make people feel. I can identify with this feeling. A family member introduced me as a gay priest because at the time I was a single male marriage celebrant. Our words matter, and how we make people feel also matters.

So, I hope you enjoy this podcast episode, it’s aimed at marriage celebrants and wedding vendors, but I think it’s an encouraging chat and education for all of us trying to bring the world together instead of break it apart.