Erin here! Ever wonder why we use the phrase “Chosen Family?” It’s a question we’ve gotten a lot in the last year and I’m excited to provide some clarity fo folx!
(photo by Amelia Fletcher Photography)
As my team & I continue to educate ourselves, we see a lot of positive shifts happening when it comes to inclusivity, diversity, and other cultural topics. And one topic that has really stuck with me is the importance of acknowledging and validating Chosen Family. So…what is it?
Chosen Family is defined by The SAGE Encyclopedia of Marriage, Family, and Couples Counseling as “nonbiological kinship bonds, whether legally recognized or not, deliberately chosen for the purpose of mutual support and love.” I believe that Chosen Family includes anyone you consider your favorite, most cherished people in your life who have raised you and/or molded you into the person you are today - regardless of genetic relation or familial ties. For me, these are folx in my life who I love unconditionally and who love me unconditionally in return. There is a strong level of acceptance and support that I get with my Chosen Family that I don’t receive from everyday friendships or even some relatives.
(photos by Amelia Fletcher Photography)
Not everyone gets to grow up in a loving or supportive home, and this can be especially true for LGBTQIA+ folx. So people find that love & support elsewhere - through their best friend, an aunt, a step-parent, or grandfather, social worker or teacher. Or some people come from non-traditional family structures that can also shake up what a “regular” family looks like. This is true for me - I was adopted (since birth) but also became an “orphan” by the time I was 25. Through all of these experiences, I learned that my family was more than just my adopted parents & brother. It also includes my ride-or-die best friends who supported me through it all. They chose me, and I choose them unconditionally in return. I know even with the losses in my life that I am extremely privileged to have grown up receiving unconditional love from my “adopted” family and I want to acknowledge that I’ve experienced it with my best, best friends as well.
SO - as we love to do at PWS - we want to shift how the wedding industry approaches traditional stereotypes & expectations! When we send our timeline questionnaire, we ask all of our couples for a list of their Chosen Family because we NEVER want to assume your family structure. Your story and your relationships are valid, and we LOVE to see your loved ones included in your day - no matter what that looks like for you!
DEFINITION OF CHOSEN FAMILY: https://sk.sagepub.com/reference/the-sage-encyclopedia-of-marriage-family-couples-counseling/i2967.xml