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Behind the Scenes of Newly Launched The National Society of Black Wedding & Event Professionals

With the recent launch of The National Society of Black Wedding & Event Professionals, BizBash sat down with founder Tara Melvin to get the 411 on the new organization that aims to elevate and celebrate Black-owned event and wedding businesses.

A peek at a D.C-based wedding planned by NSBWEP president and founder Tara Melvin
A peek at a D.C-based wedding planned by NSBWEP president and founder Tara Melvin
Photo: Joshua Dwain Photography

Tara Melvin is the owner, chief events officer, and creative director of Perfect Planning Events, based in Washington, D.C. And as of late, Melvin is the president and founder of The National Society of Black Wedding & Event Professionals (NSBWEP), which officially launched this past summer. The nonprofit aims to provide equal opportunity through representation, recognition, and exposure of Black wedding and event professionals, using its platform to amplify the industry's Black voices and ensure their narratives continue to remain relevant, present, and evident while underscoring the importance of excellence and professionalism in business.  

NSBWEP's leadership includes Brian Green, owner of ByBrianGreen; Marc Wilson, owner of The Style Marc; Nadia Anderson, owner of Virginia Grace Event Management; Sarah Nickens, owner of SG3 Events; Adebola Akhionbare, owner of BCG Events; Tiffany Chalk, owner of Tiffany Chalk Events; Elana Walker, owner of Elana Walker Events; and Chip Dizard, owner of Chip Dizard StudiosTara Melvin, founder and president of NSBWEPTara Melvin, founder and president of NSBWEPPhoto: Procopio Photography

Here, Melvin shares how the nonprofit came to fruition, the event industry's response to it, and more.

Where did the inspiration come from to start NSBWEP? 
For many years, I recognized there was a void in the wedding and event planning industry that did not shine the light on or elevate Black creative entrepreneurs. I recognized this from my consistent involvement in networking events within my market, as I reviewed event media publications, educational platforms, and the leadership within industry associations. I walked into these spaces yearning to see a person that looked like me, but to my dismay, the individuals in the room that looked like me only represented about 5% of the space being presented.

As an industry leader, I desired to create a space specifically for Black business owners—a platform that would galvanize and build a legacy for Black wedding and event professionals throughout the United States and beyond with a common purpose to encourage the excellence for their talent, create unity within the Black community and beyond, elevate business acumen via education, yield financial support to its members via scholarships, and bring awareness to others who are unaware of Black-owned businesses who provide exceptional services for its consumers, and our contribution in the wedding and event planning industry.

As the world had to sit quietly this year starting with COVID-19, and then to be awakened by the social and racial injustice from the unfortunate death of George Floyd, the conversation began to be more vocal about the lack of diversity and inclusion in the wedding and events industry. The spark of these conversations ultimately pushed my desired idea to a plan of action to create NSBWEP.

How did the founding group of event professionals come together to form the founding board of NSBWEP?
The founding board members were carefully selected by myself. In the selection process, I wanted a board of whom I knew would roll up their sleeves and “do the work” at a level of 110%, ones who also exemplified a positive work ethic personally and professionally, and each having a unique personal strength they would be bringing to the association.

How has the response from the event industry been to the launch of NSBWEP? 
The response from the industry has been positively received and supported by our growing list of members and ally supporters. Our members (representing all professions in the industry) thus far range from the East Coast to the West Coast, and the Caribbean, with interests and support as far as Nigeria, England, and Dubai. We are overjoyed with the response and looking forward to serving our members and the industry.

We recently hosted a virtual party with our members (109 and growing!) to celebrate our “100 Founding Members,” and it was a blast! I dreamed of an idea, but it is the members that are going to create a legacy and create change.

What are NSBWEP's goals for the rest of 2020?
With the collective efforts of our board of directors, members, committee members, NSBWEP Allied Industry Council, and supporters, we are creating plans for the following milestones for the association:

  • By year-end, have 150 active members within the association
  • Build a robust monthly educational calendar for our members to gain business knowledge that will allow their businesses to be sustainable
  • Solidify our core partnerships with industry and non-industry sponsors
  • Partner with educational platforms to create scholarships for our members for 2021
  • Extend our membership outside of the United States
  • Introduce our NSBWEP Allied Industry Council members, who will collaborate with NSBWEP throughout the year on diversity and inclusion initiatives to expand into the industry
  • Provide scholarships to our members for educational opportunities to attend conferences to further enhance their business acumen

Want to get involved with or support The National Society of Black Wedding & Event Professionals? Email [email protected] or visit NSBWEP's website

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