Kansas City, MO - The Mid-America LGBT Chamber of Commerce announced the formation of the Wedding & Events Coalition (WECo) at their B2B event on Thursday, August 19, 2021.
The Wedding & Events Coalition is an entity of the Chamber whose purpose is to provide industry-leading education and inspirational networking events to wedding & special events professionals, vendors & suppliers with the goal to advance diversity, equity & inclusion standards of the wedding and events planning industry for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and allied businesses, organizations, individuals and consumers.
WECo was born from founding WECo Board Member and Chamber Ambassador Morgan Miller's 18-year experience in wedding photography. Prior to transitioning to portfolio & portrait photography, Miller observed discrimination toward those in the LGBTQIA+ community firsthand. "Prior to 2015, I traveled all over the country for my clients' weddings," Miller remembers. "It wasn't that they necessarily wanted a destination wedding, but rather that it was their only option; it was illegal to wed in their home state."
From then on, Miller made it part of her mission to amplify their voices and show their love stories. The COVID-19 pandemic provided an opportunity to make this dream a reality: "Lockdown actually gave me the opportunity to sit down and make it happen."
Miller compiled a team of seven founding WECo Board Members and through the last year, this board has worked on strategic goals, budgeting, event plans and presenting the coalition to the LGBT Chamber Board of Directors, who unanimously approved the formation of the coalition in June 2021. Founding board members include Miller (Morgan Miller Photography), Jeff Dutzel (Dutzel's Catering), Adri Guyer (Black Coffee Photography), Derek Hoffman (Levity Events), Tayanna Nelson (Hey Tay), Carolyn Campbell Schwartz (Ultra Pom Event Rental) and Josh Volland-Burns (Wedley Weddings).
Suzanne Wheeler, Executive Director of the Chamber, is looking forward to how this coalition will grow the Chamber to the next level: "WECo is the only coalition of its kind in the Midwest," she notes. "This coalition will allow the Chamber to further expand our reach into not just the KC metro area, but the wider region, appealing to vendors & couples throughout the Midwest."
In the next year, the Wedding & Events Coalition plans to host monthly Wedding Wednesday networking events, will provide diversity & inclusion training for their members (required for membership) and are already in plans for their first Wedding & Events Expo, planned for early 2022.
WECo memberships start at $495.00. You can learn more about WECo by following them on Instagram (@weco.kc).