Welcome to Changing the Game, a Modern Rebel blog series where we talk with professionals in the wedding industry who are using their platform to diversify the industry’s image, give back to their community, and challenge the idea of what a wedding “should” be.
What brought you into the wedding industry?
A private practice client asked if they could gift a cousin a massage for the same day as their wedding. The request evolved to include the many members of the wedding party. The sessions were so well received by everyone that we decided to pursue it more formally as Wedding Wellness.
What is the most rewarding element of your work?
For us, the most rewarding element is seeing the before and after shift our clients undergo when receiving a massage session. The transition usually goes from a combination of high stress, nervous excitement and anxiety, to one of a calm, relaxed and focused attention on being present with their celebration of their union. On a larger scale, facilitating a sense of well being and resourcing our clients to live a life of unbridled expression is what keeps us smiling.
What challenges do you face in the industry?
Most people haven't considered or been presented with the option of what we offer. We are finding ourselves educating our clients and also other vendors in the industry. Within the first few seconds (literally), a realization that it is such a good idea becomes evident.
What marriage tradition are you sick of?
The father handing over his daughter to another man. It is an old tradition from the time of dowries. As a new father, I encourage children to feel significant and empowered, not like commodities to be traded or bartered for. Ultimately though, one should do what they feel is right. Whether it is to stay within the guidelines of “tradition” or color outside the lines. The big day belongs to the happy couple, not anybody else.
What changes to you want to see in the wedding industry?
There are a few things that are very close to us. First, we would love to see more states recognize same sex marriage and facilitate spousal benefits. Jillian votes and I am in the process of becoming a naturalized citizen to vote. We also mindfully create a platform of inclusion, in person and online. Second, I would love to see more green weddings. I have been an Earth crusader since I was a little kid in Canada. We use organic, non-gmo, sustainably sourced materials and products whenever possible.
How are you using your platform to give back?
We are still figuring out the scope of where and how we give back. We give a percentage of each sale to the person who referred us or they can elect we give it to charity. No one has taken us up on the second choice which gives us some time to be more conscientious about who we will choose as a beneficiary.
What do you feel you bring to the industry that wasn't there when you started?
That is a great question and one I ask myself on occasion. I can honestly say our time in Boulder, Colorado allowed us to cultivate a level of mindfulness, skill and experience not usually found in massage therapists. With that background we bring spaciousness, a little breath and zen to the industry.
What do you think is still missing from the industry?
More bad ass crusaders of social equality.
If you could have dinner with a famous female-identified badass [dead or alive], who would it be and why?
Ida Rolf PhD, for sure! Born in 1896, she was a biochemist who studied the human body and popularized structural integration, and was a conduit of ideas and people. We would love to have dinner with her because she was a gifted educator, principled and sharp with a huge heart. She held on to her vision and research in a landscape dominated by men who very frequently did not looked down on women in academia. Imagine, she received her PhD in 1920! Her dinner parties were frequently large community dinners with leaders in a variety of established and emerging fields who wanted to be near her and in the mix. Without her contributions we would not be the massage therapists we are today.