Pinterest and the Knot Will No Longer Romanticize Wedding Venues on Former Slave Plantations

Pinterest and wedding website The Knot have faced criticism forcontent that romanticizes weddings held on former slave plantations, and according to a new report, they’re finally changing their policies. In a Buzzfeed News exclusive, platforms say they’re issuing new guidelines and rethinking the language around vendors and venues linked to plantation history.

Color of Change, a civil rights advocacy group, had outlined the ways in which promoting former slave plantations is harmful in letters sent to Pinterest and The Knot, as well as Zola, Brides, and Martha Stewart Weddings. According to Buzzfeed, the letters explained that “plantations are physical reminders of one of the most horrific human rights abuses the world has ever seen. The wedding industry routinely denies the violent conditions Black people faced under chattel slavery by promoting plantations as romantic places to marry.” Color of Change also wrote that “the decision to glorify plantations as nostalgic sites of celebration is not an empowering one for the Black women and justice-minded people who use your site.”

The Knot is now working with the organization to change its approach. Buzzfeed News spoke to Dhanusha Sivajee, chief marketing officer of The Knot’s umbrella company The Knot Worldwide (which also owns Wedding Wire), who explained that although venues and vendors associated with plantation history will still appear on the site, the language around them will change. The guidelines they’re figuring out will limit vendor descriptions that glamorize former slave plantations by characterizing them as “charming” or “elegant.” “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 News.

Pinterest has similar plans. A spokesperson also told Buzzfeed News that the company plans to de-index plantation weddings in its Google searches and limit wedding plantation content on the platform. People will be able to find the content if they look for it, but it’ll come with an advisory notice that states it could violate policy. “Weddings should be a symbol of love and unity. Plantations represent none of those things,” the spokesperson told Buzzfeed in an email. “We are working to limit the distribution of this content and accounts across our platform, and continue to not accept advertisements for them.”

The romanticization of plantation venues has been an unsettling trend in the wedding industry, and even celebrities have been called out for embracing the uncomfortable fad. Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds were criticized online after getting married at Boone Hall Plantation in South Carolina in 2012.

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