Plantation weddings were once a popular trend, but in recent years, they’ve become a hot topic for a completely different reason.
The pushback against plantation weddings has been growing over the past several years, with advocates pointing out that hosting a wedding at a plantation with a history of slave ownership is akin to celebrating one’s nuptials at a concentration camp. In other words, it would be unheard of.
In light of growing public awareness around this issue, popular wedding portals Pinterest and The Knot Worldwide have changed their views on weddings held at former plantations. The two companies, which are unrelated to one another, announced this month that they would overhaul how plantation weddings are marketed on their sites.
The Knot Worldwide, which includes planning websites The Knot and WeddingWire, is developing new guidelines to make sure wedding vendors on their websites don’t use language that glorifies Southern plantation history, Chief Marketing Officer Dhanusha Sivajee told BuzzFeed News. Plantations will still be able to list themselves as venues, but they won’t be allowed to use words like “charming” or “elegant.”
Incidentally, these new language guidelines will apply to all wedding venues listed on The Knot websites, not only plantations. In talking to BuzzFeed, Sivajee pointed out that former plantations may have changed their names to farms or manors to distance themselves from a history that includes slavery.
“We want to make sure we’re serving all our couples and that they don’t feel in any way discriminated against,” Sivajee told BuzzFeed.
In Pinterest’s case, the website will restrict plantation wedding content on its website and is also working on de-indexing Google searches for plantation weddings on Pinterest. Users will still apparently be able to search for them, but they’ll see a warning message that some of that content may violate Pinterest’s policies.
“Weddings should be a symbol of love and unity,” a Pinterest spokesperson said in a statement to The Washington Post. “Plantations represent none of those things. We are working to limit the distribution of this content and accounts across our platform, and continue to not accept advertisements for them.”
The action from both websites apparently came after pressure from Color of Change, a civil rights advocacy group, which reportedly urged the companies to stop promoting plantations that formerly had slaves as wedding venues altogether.