We’re talking with Ainsley Blattel, non-binary wedding planner at Modern Rebel & Co., about gender norms, sacrificing a bit of ourselves when we can’t be out at work, and what LGBTQ+ couples really need: to be seen and celebrated. Plus, our condolences to straight women for what the patriarchy is putting you through.
In Which We Bitch About the Polar Vortex
By “we”, I mean Cindy. And by “bitch”, I mean “complain about how hot is in my house because I am intentionally overcompensating with my heat in the hopes that it will not drop too low as the temperature plummets.”
Meanwhile, in Atlanta, it’s 46º and government buildings are all shut down.
In other news, we’ve spent all this time talking about the weather, so we are officially old. Amanda’s old person voice sends Cindy into a ridiculous giggling fit.
Is anyone still listening? Oof. We apologize. We’ll start taking our supplements and try to be better hosts. Are we drunk? It’s unclear.
Not News: Cindy is NOT a morning person.
Also Not News: Mammograms suck.
Let’s Get Back to Super Gay Stuff Like Tits vs. Boobies
Which term is better? Are they both too juvenile? Are asses so universal that they aren’t gay? Should we have a best celebrity ass competition??
Honestly, what the fuck is wrong with us today?!
Now that we’ve lost all of our listeners and Cindy has spit out her coffee, let’s get on with the show.
(I swear to got that we weren’t high when we recorded this. Though it’d be ok if we were and it would explain a lot.)
Meet Ainsley Blattel of Modern Rebel & Co.
(Whose brother’s wedding was photographed by Amanda because the world is just so goddamn small.)
Wow, y’all. We are… something else today.
The Biggest Lesson Ainsley Learned From Working and Being In Their Brother’s Wedding:
It’s hard to do both. It’s hard to provide professional insight when you’re in a personal relationship with someone. It was a challenge to try to guide them from a professional standpoint when Ainsley wanted to make their wildest dreams come true.
Should we work weddings for folks we have personal relationships with? A lot of people say no. Ainsley recently worked her boss’s wedding – a whole new level of challenge.
We all agree that it’s really fucking hard to just attend a wedding.
And now we’ll actually start this episode officially. Meet Ainsley for real.
Ainsley Blattel is a non-binary wedding planner who works with Modern Rebel & Co.
Fun fact: Ainsley is super gay because, according to them, when they wake up, they are bathed in glitter and they spread joy! (This may be the best answer we’ve ever received to this question.)
Cindy may lose her gay card because she fucking hates glitter. Ainsley identifies as a Glitter Queer and suggests mixing it with glue for containment.
Let’s talk about They/Them pronouns.
Ainsley is non-binary and uses they/them pronouns – an interesting identity to have in such a gender-normative industry.
The most challenging thing about being non-binary in the super binary world of weddings? “How do you come out to a room full of people that you don’t know and you’ll probably never see again, week after week?”
Being the planner or coordinator, you work with couples over a period of time, during which they get to know who you are and what your pronouns are, but day
It’s hard for Ainsley to feel like they have to sacrifice a piece of themselves while they are at work. While their company, Modern Rebel & Co., is very inclusive and supportive, the same can’t be said for the guests at any given wedding.
As if event planning isn’t exhausting enough.
What’s different about LGBTQ+ weddings?
Ainsley’s had the opportunity to work with a lot of couples, both straight and queer, and says that there’s something really special about having a wedding coordinator who really sees you throughout the process. As a coordinator, it’s their job to hold all the vendors together and make sure that the entire team of wedding professionals respects their relationship. The understanding and compassion Ainsley provides is a big part of their role as an LGBTQ+ wedding coordinator.
As far as what’s different between straight and queer weddings? Ainsley thinks a big part is the narrative that the wedding industry sells. When you think of a wedding, you know what the fairy tale story is going to look like — and that leaves no room for LGBTQ+ couples.
So what do you do if your couple doesn’t consist of a bride and a groom, or even identify as either of those terms? There is no space for us. So when you are a queer couple going into the wedding planning process, you don’t have any experience or story or media representation to work from.
Just like in our regular lives, we have to create things for ourselves because society has refused to acknowledge us.
What different needs do LGBTQ+ couples have as they are planning their weddings?
The biggest need is to be seen and valued. And also to know that their vendors support them wholeheartedly.
“Acceptance is bullshit,” says Ainsley. When they work with LGBTQ+ couples, they don’t want to just accept them; Ainsley wants to CELEBRATE them.
In which we all strain our eyeballs from rolling them too hard…
At the folks who think tolerance is telling you to pray the gay away or taking your money because it’s just as green, but not actually enthusiastically supporting LGBTQ+ couples.
Are these fucking gender norms hurting straight folks too?
YES. Duh. Because #patriarchy.
Also, we do not understand how straight folks are surviving and we we cannot relate to you.
Plus, bonus, more than you ever wanted to know about Cindy’s reproductive plans and rant about how everyone should mind their own fucking uteruses and stop treating women like marriage is the
Anyway, straight women: we’re sorry for what you’re going through. You’re always welcome on our team if you wanna come on over. 🏳️🌈
Most of the time a marriage happens between at least two people.
So maybe we should stop expecting only women to give a shit about weddings.
(Cindy’s bridezilla rant is gonna have to wait for another episode, but the TL;DR is: calling a woman a “bridezilla” is the same thing as calling a woman at work a “bitch.”)
This industry is so messed up.
Ainsley’s Favorite LGBTQ+ Wedding Moments
One wedding this year was a favorite because it was the first time Ainsley saw a relationship model like the one they hope to have. It was a couple in their 50s who’d been together a long time and never thought they’d be able to marry. On the day of their wedding, Ainsley found themselves in a room with the couple, plus Cynthia Nixon and Alison Bechdel – and it was just a dream come true. Seeing this beautiful community of world leaders and game changers all just doing their own thing felt, to Ainsley, like a real Ring of Keys moment.
For Ainsley, it was a moment when they got to really see themselves. Fast forwarding a few months, they got to work with a couple who they felt really saw Ainsley. In Modern Rebel’s gender-neutral forms, this couple decided instead of “bride” or “groom” to use the terms “femme” and “swiffer”.
Yep, like the floor-cleaning mop/broom device.
Because they’d heard someone use “broom” as a combo of “bride” and “groom” but they didn’t want to steal it. So they decided on this play on words, a modern day broom, if you will.
After the wedding, the couple told Ainsley that they couldn’t be responsible for their guests’ actions, but knew how important Ainsley’s pronouns are and apologized if anyone had misgendered them at the wedding. They went on:
“We want you to know that we understand how important it is to be seen for yourself, and we want you to know that we see you.
Reading that email brought tears to Ainsley’s eyes. It was the first time anyone they worked with had taken the time to say that to them. It meant as much to Ainsley to be seen in that moment, they think, as it does for LGBTQ+ couples and vendors to be seen.
What the fuck do we wear when we work weddings?
No, seriously, we don’t know. Straight women are wearing heels and skirts and we don’t know how to do our jobs in those.
News flash: we do not all look like J.Lo in The Wedding Planner.
News flash #2: That movie is total trash and does not really in any meaningful way represent what wedding planners actually do.
News flash #3: There’s no way a wedding planner would ever, ever, ever, ever, ever let a wedding start without knowing where the father of the bride is.
Ainsley’s advice for LGBTQ+ couples who are planning a wedding
Definitely hire a planner unless you really want to spend your whole wedding day telling your guests what’s happening next!
Most importantly: YOU DO YOU.
Have the kind of wedding day you want to have. Wear what you want to wear. You do not have to sacrifice a piece of yourself to make your wedding conform to anyone else’s expectations.
(Ainsley’s dream wedding is definitely gonna include a bounce house and face painting because that sounds like a fun party to them.)
FYI: Your gay card cannot be revoked.
Because when you’re queer, you’re family.
Where to Find Ainsley
Website: Modern Rebel & Co.