In the wide world of weddings, there’s a perfect planner, florist, and photographer for every engaged pair. The trick is finding that great match — a task that gets trickier for immigrant, interracial, LGBTQ, or other couples with specific needs that may be less familiar to some vendors. Four local wedding pros who work to make the process less stressful offer their insights.
Abdullah, a native of India, created the social media account Post Proposal (instagram.com/postproposal) for engaged South Asian couples to find henna artists, floral designers, and venues accommodating specific dietary needs.
“One of the biggest hurdles I’ve found for South Asians is booking venues,” she says. “These weddings are huge, at least 500 people, sometimes a thousand. You need space to fit everyone, and it’s crucial to have vegetarian and halal food options.”
Desireé M. Dent
“See what images vendors post online; check out the hashtags they’re using,” says the founder of Dejanae Events (dejanaeevents.com). “Are they sharing images of LGBTQ+ couples, working with Black-owned businesses, dealing with interracial couples? You can find out a lot by what they share.”
Openness and honesty are key. “If I need to bring a Chinese tea ceremony to life or bring in Nigerian dancers, I will,” Dent says. “I haven’t worked with every type of couple in the Chicagoland area, but I am very open to saying that I’m willing to learn.”
Acierto, who is from the Philippines, says his life experience is as valuable to clients as his decade of work as the founder of Prudence Photography (prudencephotography.com). “At a Vietnamese or Chinese wedding, you might have a tea ceremony. It’s unorthodox to traditional American weddings, but to me, it’s normal,” he says, noting that he won’t be distracted by the novelty and can focus on composing shots.
Recently, Acierto photographed a Polish groom and a bride from Africa. “The groom was concerned because their skin-tone difference was vast,” he says. Acierto assured him by explaining his lighting techniques. “Knowledge and experience help a whole lot.”
Derrick Joseph Taylor
Wedding planner and florist
Currently engaged himself, the president and creative director of Taylor & Co. (taylorandcoevents.com) says having grown up gay in rural Illinois means he’s “always been sensitive to the needs of couples who are nontraditional.”
“Compassion goes a long way,” he says, recalling a bride he worked with who had been fat-shamed at a dress salon. “I said, ‘I’ve got you.’ We went to another salon together, and they had Champagne waiting for her. We found the perfect dress. When you just care enough, people really appreciate that.”