We sat down (virtually!) with Nikita from Nikita Pere Photography who we have had the absolute pleasure of working with here at Nudo, as she has captured some insanely beautiful weddings with us. We wanted to chat to her about her experience as an Australian Māori woman in the wedding industry, and how she feels diversity is displayed in the wedding industry as a whole.
At Nudo, we’ve been transparent about our journey of ensuring our core value of inclusivity is reflected in everything we do. So we wanted to talk to Nikita to ensure we (and other people in the industry) are on the right path, and are doing everything we can to be inclusive in every way possible.
Tell us about you and your background
“I am very proudly Australian Māori of the Ngāpuhi (Matauri Bay, NZ) and Ngāti Pikiao (Rotorua, NZ) tribes, but I grew up on Darumbal country (Rockhampton, QLD) so culture is rooted very deeply in my soul and is something that I am very proud of!”
What do you love about working in the wedding industry?
“I love that I get to be a part of (and play a role in) one of the most important days of someones life. It’s always such an honour that my clients and their families allow me into their space to celebrate and capture their story. And I really enjoy working alongside passionate creatives who put their heart and soul into their work. I feel like you can always tell the difference between a wedding vendor who “just does it for a job” and a vendor who literally lives and breathes their craft!”
Do you feel the Wedding Industry has made an effort to be more inclusive of BIPOC since you first entered the industry?
“I feel like the BLM movement has shaken up the industry and lit a bit of a wildfire – and I think its encouraged a lot of businesses to really take ownership of their own biases. As a result I have seen a lot of brands stepping up and putting in the work behind the scenes to instil real, meaningful change moving forward to be more inclusive.
I do think we still have a LONG way to go in terms of BIPOC representation, but I think we’re heading in the right direction!”
How can a business be inclusive of BIPOC in the wedding industry?
“By building trust and including BIPOC in the conversation. Diversifying our teams and our circles. We can’t keep sitting around a white table and asking each other how we can be more inclusive and diverse; we need diversity AT the table, and having that voice WITHIN your company or brand is the best way to make sure you have that representation within your brand messaging and are building trust among diverse communities.
I see a lot of businesses SAY that they’re an all-inclusive business, but their work still lacks diversity. And while they may not ‘consciously’ be trying to exclude anyone, if you cater to a predominantly white/heteronormative audience and only share content from white/heteronormative weddings, you’re sending a message that your business or product is only “for a specific type of person”. If you’re one of those businesses that shrugs and says “well, I just don’t seem to book BIPOC/LGBTQI people” I would encourage you to have a little think about what you and your business has done to build trust among those communities? Or how you have represented those communities in your work – if at all?”
What are some ways you’ve seen cultural traditions be included in weddings really well?
“I’m seeing an upward trend of celebrants encouraging their couples to consider an Acknowledgement of Country to begin their ceremony, and I think that’s just a really respectful way of acknowledging our First Nations people and the land that they maintained for over 46,000yrs – that we have the honour of standing on today.
You can also find out if there’s a local Indigenous Organisation in your region (either online search or through your local council) and see if they have any contacts for a Welcome to Country for your ceremony.
Or even if you have your own connection to culture or heritage (even if you don’t feel 100% connected to it, but still want to honour it as part of your identity), seek wedding vendors that share your cultural backgrounds and talk to them about ways that you can respectfully honour your culture in your ceremony or throughout your wedding day.
Your Wedding Day should be an authentic representation of you as a couple – and I think honouring our diverse backgrounds is a really special way of adding a bit of magic to an already very special day!”
How did you include cultural elements in your own wedding?
“Our celebrant was amazing, and asked us if we wanted to do an Acknowledgement of Country before we had even thought to bring it up with her.
My brothers also performed a Māori Haka for our “walk down the aisle” (my husband and I walked down the aisle together) which made it super special. I could literally feel our ancestors and the ancestors of the land rising up through the Earth during their Haka, and it almost felt like a divine blessing in itself. My make-up was ruined by my ugly crying before the ceremony had even started.”
A huge thank you to Nikita for taking the time to chat openly and honestly with the Nudo team. There is so much more that we need to do to strive for diversity within the Wedding Industry. We hope that by continuing to have these conversations and actively re-learning as a company, we can push forward in helping to create a more inclusive and equal environment within the industry.
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Nudo acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises their continuing connection to the land. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders both past, present and emerging.
If you’re looking for a wedding planner or stylist in Melbourne and would love a team of dreamers and doers on your side to guide you through the journey step by step. Drinking glasses of bubbles, and making wedding planning fun, then head to our contact page to chat to one of our friendly team.