Hey everybody, welcome to the wedding ceremony podcast. We talk about anything and everything that has to do with wedding ceremonies. This is episode number 287 recorded on Tuesday, September the 22nd 2020. Man, it's a lot of twos and 20s. I lost my train of thought. But anyway, My name is Clint Hufft. And with me are two people. The first one you know you love him, the one and only JP Reynolds.
JP Reynolds 0:29
Hey, Clint, very excited for today's episode.
I am too and that is because of our special guest. All the way from Texas, Taylor Griffith. Taylor, How are you?
Taylor Griffith 0:41
Hey, thanks for having me.
Oh, sure. Of course. Now, listeners, you are probably wondering who the heck is Taylor Griffith? And why do you have her on the podcast? And I will explain all of that in just a moment. But first JP’S books are in the Amazon store and the Kindle store in Amazon. He is a communications expert. Thebusinessofconfidence.com is that website. His wedding website is JPRweddings.com. Mine is ReverendClint.com or ClintHufft.com for all the things that I do. Now, Taylor Griffith is a writer. And we got an email from her. That was the best written email I have ever received in my entire life. JP, I don't know if you go that far. But you did admit to me that you thought it was really well written.
JP Reynolds 1:31
I did. I did. Taylor, you are an accomplished writer, yes?
Taylor Griffith 1:39
Yes, yes. He reassures me that I know what I'm doing.
JP Reynolds 1:42
In this age when emails are tattered and scattered, It was it was a delight.
Yes. tattered and scattered. That's going on the T shirt. Yeah. Yeah. Taylor, if you don't mind, you approached us as a copywriter in the wedding business. But Fun fact, you're getting married in November? And is that right?
Taylor Griffith 2:08
I am. I'm getting married in November, this year, which is 2020. So November 2020. I'm a Corona bride, I suppose.
I guess you are about that. And so what I'm curious about and I said this to you in the email, when I invited you to join our podcast was, your specialty is helping people kind of with their, their writing and their branding as far as business goes. But I was curious about whether or not you are applying your incredible writing skills to your own wedding ceremony. And just kind of your thoughts about preparing for the wedding ceremony and all of that kind of stuff. So if you don't mind, let's begin with how people can connect with you give us your whatever those whether it be social media or website or whatever, start with that, and then start telling us the story.
Taylor Griffith 2:56
Sure, yeah. So thanks for having me. My name is Taylor. My business is Lemon Tree Editorial. I am a website copywriter who specializes in the wedding industry. So if you serve couples on their wedding day, I serve you helping to sell to them. And so you're right. I'm a writer, I have been my entire career, I went to college for that. I have done all different kinds of writing jobs over the years before working for myself with my own business. And yeah, it's been fun working in the wedding industry, and then myself getting engaged and getting married and going through the client side or the couples side of the experience because as a writer in sales, essentially, that's what copy is, is words that sell things. It has been really helpful to sit in the couple's seat and see what that experience is like. Reading websites, going on people's Instagrams. So if you wanted to find me online and learn more about me and my business, my website is LTeditorial.com. Or you can find me on Instagram at tm, Griffey g Ri ffvi. You can find me on there I talk about writing, I talk about inclusive language, which is a big piece of my platform. And I just talked about in general. And so much of this parallels to writing for your wedding ceremony. So I'm glad that we're having this chat. There's so many things that are similar or the same, even across those things, because you're writing with other people in mind. It's not necessarily for you. So whether you're writing your own ceremony or you're writing ceremony for somebody else, you have to think about your audience. What do they want, storytelling, personality, humor, all of those pieces involved. So to answer your question, Clint, I am not writing my own ceremony. We decided that we were doing a lot when it comes to wedding planning because we did not hire a planner. So I outsource that, but I am very eager to get the copy back from our officiant and to help her work on that now. It doesn't mean I didn't write anything. She had a very detailed questionnaire that she sent to us, my fiancé and I to sort of answer questions. And of course, it was written. And so I wrote quite a bit for that. And actually, it's kind of funny, if I read his versus mine. His is like, one sentence answers to the questions. And mine are like two paragraphs for every question. But yeah, so I'm excited to see what she comes up with and then helping her I'm sure tweak, tweak some of that to incorporate even even more storytelling, even more personality, even more significant moments from from our lives into the ceremony.
Before we get into the meat of the ceremony itself, I'm curious as to how you found your officiant.
Taylor Griffith 5:51
That was like a big thing for us. First of all, my fiancé, David, and I are not religious. So we want to have a civil ceremony. So it was important to us, we're getting married in South Carolina, which has significance to me and my family. And that's a very religious area, we are not religious. So it was important for us to find somebody who was going to be okay with that, and wasn't going to hit us over the head with church, because that's not something that we care about. And we wanted to find somebody that was close enough that they would know about us, and we would feel comfortable having them there on our day, but doesn't know us so much that they wouldn't be able to speak because they get all choked up as they were talking. So the person who we landed on is a dear friend of my mom, who lives in the area. And so she knows me and David. And she has some some experience like public speaking. She's a teacher, she was a teacher for a long time, and so is familiar with standing up in front of a group and was kind of similar to us in the religious sphere of totally comfortable keeping that out of ceremony, and she's officiated a few weddings before. And so that is how we selected her.
JP Reynolds 7:14
Great. Well, I'm curious Taylor, as to how you came upon this niche as a copywriter? What a good story in the world of weddings.
Taylor Griffith 7:29
Yeah, so I have always been a writer, as I mentioned, and I have always done work on the side outside of like my corporate nine to five job. And I decided that I wanted to leave the corporate sphere and start my own business. And I started out as most writers do writing everything for everyone, and quickly found that that was exhausting, and not as much fun as I thought it would be. So I looked at my list of previous clients, at the suggestion of a business coach, and just tried to find themes of people who I thought were the most fun, the projects that I had the best time with, or I felt the most inspired when I was writing, and what could I find in common between all of those. And so I did that and all of them, coincidentally, were wedding vendors. I decided that that was the thing. Yeah, one was a wedding cake Baker. One was a caterer who did weddings and other events. Yeah, and a few sort of similar like that. And so I was just like, Oh, that makes a lot of sense. And then I really thought about it. And I've tried to figure out, Okay, why does that industry work for me? What about them was the most fun, and I realized that I am a very creative person. So I appreciate the wedding industry for being beautiful and aesthetically interesting. And there's a lot of new ideas and inspiration. And so that really gets me going when it's time to sit down and write. And there's enough variety, because I don't just write for, let's say, wedding officiants. I also write for venues, for planners, for photographers, for florists, so there's enough variety to keep me interested. But there's also enough in common that it's challenging, where every time I work on a new person, I have to push myself to find a different hook or a different way to describe them. So yeah, it's been super fun ever since I narrowed down to that work has just flowed in it was like I said, hey, you're the people for me. And all those people were like, great, you're the person for us. And it was just perfect, perfect situation.
JP Reynolds 9:40
But it's a two way street. Yes. What kind of what kind of wedding professional seeks you out?
Taylor Griffith 9:50
Really, in terms of what do they do? It's really anybody who has who works with a couple on their wedding day but in terms of like demographics, and everything. there's kind of two branches. There's either the younger branch like, I'm 29, so sort of, like 30, or younger, 35 or younger, who grew up with the internet and websites and recognize that that's important. But maybe they just don't like writing, or they don't want to do everything themselves. And so they need help. Or, there's a lot of my customers are a little bit older, like 40 50 60 have been doing this for a long, long time, have a heck of a lot of experience, but they don't really get the whole website thing. And they recognize that their customers are my age and younger, and their customers really require a website. It's a non negotiable, but they just don't really get it. And so they hire somebody like me to help them with that.
JP Reynolds 10:51
And your your emphasis, when you reached out to us, Taylor, what really intrigued Clint and myself was your dedication, your commitment, the emphasis you place upon inclusive language. And I have to believe that, based on how you presented your work, this sets you apart in some respect from others who are doing what you're doing. Maybe you could say a little bit more about that.
Taylor Griffith 11:28
Yeah, so a huge part of my brand, which is really just a reflection of me and my personality, is I really care about people being authentic, and original themselves and a branch of that as being inclusive and really accepting other people for being themselves. And so, if you work with me for copywriting, I always start with really trying to get to what makes you different, what makes you special? How are you different, because there's a million wedding officiant and celebrants out there, right? They could all stand up there and say the vows for you and physically marry you, sign the paper, the whole thing. But there's a reason that somebody chose you, JP or you Clint, over another officiant in your area. And that reason is what you should be putting front and center on your website. So in any case, some of that has to do with embracing who you are, and also embracing who your couples are as people. And we can't overlook that that includes certain aspects of themselves. Like if they are an LGBT couple, for example, or if they are a black couple, or an interracial couple or an interfaith couple. And I think this industry is broken, in a way, and it's very trend focused. It's very white, it's very young, it's very wealthy, it's very thin. And we all know that that's not what the real world looks like. Plus sized people get married too. Black people get married too. Non religious people get married too. Trans people get married too. All of that, and who is catering to those people and saying congratulations on your engagement, I want to be part of your special day. Not a lot of people are whether they mean to or not. And most of us don't, most of us want to welcome those people with open arms, but just a lack of information and education out there kind of prevent us from from doing that. And there's not a lot of great examples to follow. And so part of my role as a podcast, you can't see me but I am a white woman, I'm cisgender, which means that I was born as a woman and I identify as a woman, I am straight. I'm a woman interested in men, all of that I have a lot of privilege. And so I feel like it's my duty as somebody with that power to use the platform and the power that I have to spread that message because no social justice movement ever made progress without the people who have power giving some of that away, and letting those people in. And so really, when I contacted you about getting on the podcast, because I know that you talk about wedding ceremonies, and really, to get married, all you need is a couple getting married and you got the officiant truly, that's all that you need to do it. And it's really the heart of the entire wedding is the ceremony. And so it needs to be inclusive, you need to recognize people for who they are and make them feel welcomed and wanted and all of that. So that's where the inclusive language part of my business comes from.
How did you learn about that inclusive language?
Taylor Griffith 14:38
Have you ever heard of the enneagram of personality test? I bring that up, because my type is number one, which is all about, justice, truth, fairness, equity, all of that. And I just bring that up to say, I it's just how I'm wired. I just have always really cared about social justice movements in general. And it's been something that I've followed. When I was in college, I got certified as an ally on campus, I was in a sorority, and I started an inclusive sorority initiative for LGBT people to feel like they could be involved in Greek life at school. I’ve have always kept up with that and carried on with that and getting into my own business. Again, when you're your own boss, you get to decide the rules and what you want to do and how you want to help people and speaking like I did before, about telling people to focus on what makes them different, this is something that makes me different is that I care about this, so much so that I will open my big mouth, and I will tell you that you're being exclusive, or unoriginal, or you're keeping people out and help, hopefully, in a nice way, try and help you get better. So I've taken courses, and I've read articles, and I'm always looking for my next thing to keep learning myself. But overall, a lot of this stuff I just know, from diversifying my own friend group, and knowing people who look different than me, and asking them questions and having open honest conversations and learning about it that way.
JP Reynolds 16:17
So Taylor, when you just said, you would, tell someone You're not being inclusive?
JP Reynolds 16:28
Going back to when I had asked you who seeks you out? Would you say that? And this is speaking roughly that the majority of the people who seek you out, are have a heightened awareness of the need for inclusivity?
Taylor Griffith 16:53
Yes, I'm, in fact, I asked those questions. When somebody inquires with me. And at the end of our project, when I'm sort of doing like a testimonial questionnaire, I asked, why did you pick me over somebody else? Or what made you interested in working with me? And they always say, it's because you had a focus on inclusive language. And so either the person themselves is somebody who is in a marginalized group, like a vendor who is black, or is LGBT, or is plus size, and they want that. So they recognize there's a gap in the industry. And so they enjoy that I offered that. Or it's people of privilege, like me, white people, men, wealthy people, educated people who recognize that this is an important topic, but they also recognize that they don't really know how to address it, and they want to desperately so they seek out somebody like me,
You know, knowing how to address it. I can relate to that, because I'm always afraid of saying the wrong word. It's supposed to be this, but now it's this but and, and JP and I are, well, I'll speak for myself, I'm old enough to have gone through different generations of language. And so that's always kind of a fascinating slash frustrating thing, when you want to say the right thing, but the word that used to be correct, is now politically incorrect. Does that make sense?
Taylor Griffith 18:19
Yes, absolutely. Which is why I always say the number one quality that anybody needs to be able to broach this topic is bravery. And I know that as business owners and wedding vendors, you got that Enya? Because you did it when you decided to start your business and stand up there in front of a crowd and tell talk about couples in sort of a public speaking kind of scenario like that takes some hutzpah. So I know you got it. Let's exercise that again, and be willing to say, I don't know if I'm going to get this right. And it might be embarrassing, or I might offend somebody or I might get yelled at afterward. But I am committed to trying, and I'm going to put myself out there and be awkward or again, possibly get embarrassed or whatever, because it's worth putting in the effort to try and make it happen. So there are places that you can go to try and keep up with the language, it definitely changes over time, and it's just part of the territory is you might try and be inclusive, and you might get it wrong. And that's, that's just the name of the game.
Have you ever not taken on a client?
Taylor Griffith 19:29
Um, no, because and this goes back to like copywriting in general. My opinion is you need to put yourself out there authentically as you and what you like and what you don't like. And it's okay to say that you like something and you don't like something else. And if people read that on your website or in your social media, they will get the memo, essentially and they'll go, oh, that person's not right for me. So for example, let's say that you're an LGBT couple. And you're looking for a wedding officiant, who is LGBT ceremony friendly, and you go to the officiant’s website, and they have language and photos talking about how they serve LGBT couples, then you know, okay, this is going to be a good fit for me versus if every single photo is of a straight couple. And you don't write about inclusivity for something, like sexuality anywhere, and you don't have any language like that, then they kind of, on the flip side, get the memo that this might not be a good fit for me. And so that's why like, changing your website is so important, but that doesn't just scan inclusivity, like we're talking about, it also just talks about, like a good fit in general. But back to your question. If somebody inquired with me, and I went to their website to check them out before I talked with them. And they had all this information about all the isms like sexist, or homophobic or racist or whatever, then that would probably be something I would ask them about before saying no, but in general, I don't have a problem saying no to those people, they're clearly not my people.
JP Reynolds 21:25
What would be in following up from that? Can you recall one of the more challenging clients that you've had,
Taylor Griffith 21:39
um, just in general, or like a specific thing being challenging,
JP Reynolds 21:44
Challenging in terms of helping them expand their understanding of the importance of inclusivity?
Taylor Griffith 22:05
I think, not to be stereotypical. This is just my personal lived experience that normally comes up with older people. And I don't mean old, in general, just older than me. So again, I'm almost 30. So I'm talking about somebody who maybe has been in the game for 20 years, 30 years, 40 years. And as you mentioned, Clint, you've been around for a while, and you've seen things change. And you're kind of a little wary of that, and not sure what to do, and you have a process established and pieces established. And so it would require a lot of work to change, everything involved. For the most part, the people who struggle with the work that's involved with changing their language are those people who have maybe been around the block a time or two and have had a negative experience with trying to be inclusive and getting yelled at for it or feeling embarrassed, or they have like a boatload of stuff that would need to be changed. And in a lot of ways, they're looking for just a copy and paste solution, which there are versions of that, there's words that you can swap out like an exclusive word swap out for an inclusive word. Instead of saying “bride” all the time, just “a couple”, because you don't know if you're talking to a bride or not. But not everything is that simple.
Right. This is fascinating. I think the whole thing is just fascinating, on a lot of different levels. And I realized, JP and I talked about this in the last episode, how it seems to be it can be regional, in terms of the progression of the social mores, and what's accepted in terms of inclusivity and etc. Have you found that there are certain regions of the country that you don't have to explain as much as opposed to other regions of the country that maybe need to be brought up to speed?
Taylor Griffith 24:03
Oh, if it's region so much as its urban versus suburban or rural, I find that people who are from an urban area, just naturally have more exposure to more diversity, because that's just the nature of cities. There's a lot of different people from different backgrounds, they live in different types of homes, and they get to work in different types of ways. And so they're just used to that, that diversity, versus people who maybe are from the suburbs, or even out in the country haven't really been exposed to that. So they just don't necessarily know what to do or what to say. But I found I've worked with clients all over the country and I have found that it doesn't matter like which region versus another. I’ve had somebody from every region be interested in the topic. So it's just how exposed are they and how much experience have they had with it in the past, I've had a lot of people say I want to be more inclusive. But my customer base is very white. I live in a very white area and so I don't know what to do to attract those people. And my answer to that is always let's start with your words on the page.
Lovely, lovely. Well now I'm really curious about your wedding ceremony. Because at the very beginning of this, you said that you were mindful of the content not only for you and your fiancé, but also for the guests. And I've always been of the opinion that the most important thing is what happens between the two of you. And the guests are just lucky they get to watch. But it sounds to me like the officiant that you chose is not an officiant, officiant, that is somebody you think, who would be able to do the job? Have you provided any guidelines in regards to that process? Fill that in?
Taylor Griffith 26:02
Yeah, I know her well enough to know that she's a pretty good writer. And she's a pretty good speaker, that I trust her to get the ball rolling. And then yeah, I said, I would love to read what you have, at some point. That way, we can work on it together to make sure it's something that that I would want. So yes, you're correct. She doesn't. She's not an officiant full time. But she has done officiating for friends and family before. And so that was part of the reason why we felt comfortable using her. But I think overall, there are parallels between writing a website, for example, and writing ceremony. There's things that they have in common. And so for example, like I mentioned, your audience there. And so you as the officiant who are writing the ceremony, you have to think about who is your audience for this? And yes, your audience is the couple who hired you. But it's also the people who are in sitting in the seats in the audience observing this, and you want to make sure that they're part of it, too. And that's the same thing that you're doing when you write a website for your business is you're thinking about, okay, I, as the business owner, want to tell people things and want them to do something. But I also recognize that they are coming here for answers to their questions and for information that they want. And so how can I meet both of those needs at the same time, and it's a little bit of a juggling act. And that's why, writing as a profession, just like anything else, because it is a skill set, it's not always easy.
I'm really fascinated by this whole thing. And I think that, if you don't mind, we'll do a little part two, after you get married. How the whole thing turned out. But we've run out of time right now, Taylor, I think this has been great. If you don't mind, there's a possibility that there will be people that will want to reach out to you when they listen to the podcast, what's the best way for them to do that?
Taylor Griffith 27:58
Totally. Yeah. So two best places for me are on my website and my Instagram. So my website is LTeditorial.com. That's lt as in lemon tree editorial.com. If your listeners want, they can go to my website, and scroll down to the bottom and they'll see a form to add their email address. And I will email them a copy of my inclusive language Guide, which is totally free. And it will give you some of those words swaps that I mentioned. Which word to use versus not to use. So I have those four people. And I also hang out my social media is on Instagram. My handle is @TMGriffi. And you can find me there. And same thing, if you click on the link in my bio, you can grab a copy of your free inclusive language guide there. And so that way, you could go through your own ceremony, scripts, your website, whatever, and make sure that they're inclusive. So that way, everybody knows that you want to marry them.
That's very cool. JP, any last words?
JP Reynolds 28:57
Taylor, it's such a delight, talking with you today. And I salute you and cheer you on in this great work that you're doing.
Taylor Griffith 29:11
Well, thanks to both of you for having me. Because as I mentioned, you people with power and privilege have to use it for good. And the two of you have power, privilege and a platform. So thank you for having me to use your platform to spread this message.
Yeah, absolutely. We've been honored to have you here. And I'll be honest with you, Taylor, whenever we have somebody come on, I have no idea what's going to happen. But you have exceeded my expectations. So good job.
Oh, good things.
Well, there you go, everybody. That's the way this works with the wedding ceremony podcast. So we really invite you to join the conversation, go to our website, wedding ceremony, podcast comm and click on the email us button, and we check it every day. And then if you have a story to tell us or a question to ask or anything like that, then we invite you to email us also on that website is where all of our episodes episodes are archived they're chronological, the most recent one is at the top. And if you really want to get into the podcast thing then subscribe. Go to the Apple podcast site and find wedding ceremony podcast and click the subscribe button. And then every time we post a new episode, it'll automatically come into your podcast world. Remember you can find JPS books in the Amazon store and in the Kindle Store on Amazon for communications coaching, the business of confidence calm and that website is wedding website is JP our weddings calm. My name is Reverend Clint calm or Clint hufft Hq FFT calm for all the things that I do. Once again, we thank the incredible musicians that play our theme music that a couple players da ca p o players calm. That's it for this episode of the wedding ceremony podcast. This is Clinton on behalf of Taylor and JP We will see you next time.