10 Outfits That Prove Western Brides Don't Need White Wedding Dresses

10 Outfits That Prove Western Brides Don't Need White Wedding Dresses

Okay, I'll be the first to admit that I wore white on my wedding day. It was a pretty awesome dress, but I chose it knowing full well that the idea of wearing white on your wedding day is not some tradition as old as time, just as old as the Victorian Era. White dresses are a little bit about purity and femininity, but also a whole lot about wealth. It wasn't until the last few centuries that the average woman could dream of affording a dress that they would only wear once.

So let's banish this whole idea of the white wedding dress as being a necessity. If you want to wear one, that's awesome! If you don't, that's fine, too! Let's celebrate these 10 AMAZING outfits that prove that you can pretty much do WHATEVER YOU WANT.

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Real Couple // A Fijian-Mexican Engagement Shoot in Oakland: Falisha + Jorge

Real Couple // A Fijian-Mexican Engagement Shoot in Oakland: Falisha + Jorge

We chose to have our engagement photos in Oakland because it's special for both of us. My grandparents migrated from the Fiji islands to Oakland, and his parents from Mexico to Oakland. It was the landing place for both our families – their first taste of a foreign culture where they longed to be and the start of the American dream. 

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How to Capture Your Wedding Genuinely with Corey Torpie Photography

How to Capture Your Wedding Genuinely with Corey Torpie Photography

Corey Torpie Wants Your Wedding Photos to Age Well. She'll tell you that you don't realize right now how precious your photos are; that they'll become increasingly valuable as you grow older; that there are certain images you won't even see the importance of until some time has passed.

And she should know! After six years of marriage, two years of parenthood, and a decade photographing weddings, Corey's experienced it all personally — and with her couples.

These days, she's asking herself the question: what is important, holistically, to document for her clients? And how can you create a wedding environment that fosters being present in the moment?

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Real Wedding // A Brooklyn-Themed Bar Wedding: Abby + Joey

Real Wedding // A Brooklyn-Themed Bar Wedding: Abby + Joey

Joey and I met at The Cove, a dark and dirty bar in Williamsburg. We met on the dance floor... not the place you imagine meeting your husband, but we lucked out! And oddly enough our close friends who married a year before us met on the very same night at the same club! We were sad to see it shut down a few years back. 

Our wedding venue was TBD, which also closed down now. We loved the mixture of indoor and outdoor space and it ranked high for "dance-ability" as well. Aesthetically, I loved the mixture of cement, greenery, metal, and street art; it felt really "Brooklyn" which we both loved!  And since we had a lot of friends and family we wanted to attend, the size really fit our needs.

As some of our photos suggest, we really tried to include "the city," and namely Brooklyn in our wedding photo story.  Street art, hip hop, and the backdrop to our single lives before and now married life after. 

Rima was a huge part of that, including the memories we'll hold onto forever. She came to us with high recommendations and did not disappoint! We also found out that not only did she used to work with my best friend Kat in television, she also photographed a friend's wedding in Wheeling, WV as well. The coincidences felt too significant to ignore!

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5 Tips for Hiring Inclusive Wedding Vendors

5 Tips for Hiring Inclusive Wedding Vendors

We know our Catalyst readers are some of the most progressive couples out there, and the struggle to “stay woke” while navigating this super traditional wedding industry is REAL. Thankfully, one of the easiest ways to have a woke wedding is to book inclusive vendors. But how do you get started? We’ve outlined some steps that can help.

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Queer + Christian // Love, Marriage and Half Year Celebrations!

Queer + Christian // Love, Marriage and Half Year Celebrations!

Being the kid at heart that I am, in addition to celebrations marking a full year of things, I also love celebrating halfs, and last month was the half anniversary of our wedding — one and a half years married ya’ll!!!  Throw confetti, release the unicorns, and let Kool & The Gang in to “Celebrate good times, come on!”

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The Wedding Nest Is the Gift Registry That Will Finally Help You Achieve Your Dream Home

The Wedding Nest Is the Gift Registry That Will Finally Help You Achieve Your Dream Home

The Wedding Nest is an Australia-based wedding registry site that knows that for some couples decorating their home with the same IKEA or Crate and Barrel couch just isn’t an option. This service is unlike any registry you’ve ever seen. How, you ask? They offer original artwork, let you customize your gifts, and they style your wishlist like a lookbook so you can easily imagine your future designer home.

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What Happens to Boudoir When We Banish the Male Gaze

What Happens to Boudoir When We Banish the Male Gaze

We at Catalyst want to celebrate bodies of all types, and for folks that are queer, trans, and genderfluid or non-binary, these bride-centric ideas of femininity that have come with bridal boudoir simply don’t apply. That doesn’t mean we want to banish boudoir. Quite the contrary, in fact. We want to see it reclaimed.

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Styled Shoot // An Organic, Modern Love Shoot in Baltimore, Maryland

Styled Shoot // An Organic, Modern Love Shoot in Baltimore, Maryland

We wanted to create an organic, modern atmosphere mixing hard and soft elements. Combining the Assembly Room’s brick walls and graffiti with pastel florals, candles, and organic dress details really made that theme come alive. 

We also wanted the true love between Hassan and Dymir to stand out as much as possible. I used directions and fun techniques to make them feel at home and focus on the connection they have with one another. They were the most humble couple I have ever met, and so deeply connected, that it was a dream working with them.

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6 Creative Floral Trends to Make Your Wedding Stand Out

6 Creative Floral Trends to Make Your Wedding Stand Out

Whether the flowers you use are real or fake, florals are a perfect way to create the aesthetic for your dream wedding. Bouquets and boutonnieres have long been the go-to way to incorporate florals, but there are many more creative ways to add greenery to your wedding. 

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Real Couple // Fun-Filled Carnival Love Session in Durham, NC: Brittany + Deon

Real Couple // Fun-Filled Carnival Love Session in Durham, NC: Brittany + Deon

Deon and I (Brittany) work at a North Carolina-based health insurance company, and are happily married with three kids.

We met at a high school football game (my school vs. his). I noticed him right away in his white Avirex jacket, black jeans and Diesel shoes. I thought he was staring at me all night (he disputes this!), so I sent my friend to get his number.

We talked on the phone for a few months, then we lost contact when I moved to Charlotte. I don’t quite remember how we got back in touch, but we did. We had a conversation about taking our relationship to the next level and have been inseparable ever since.

We told our photographer Nikia Williams that we wanted to do something different and have a background that we felt captured our personalities. A photo session at the carnival allowed us to re-live our high school days!

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New York and Chicago Couples, LVR Events Turns Your Wedding Dreams into Reality

New York and Chicago Couples, LVR Events Turns Your Wedding Dreams into Reality

During our conversation Meg told me about a story that’ll go down in the Hall of Fame for Wedding Planners. She brought up her dedication to the client and their day saying “I could break my foot and they would never know about it.” The funny thing is, she actually did. “I got the couple through their ceremony, went to the ER, had an assistant cover me while I was gone, and came back for their reception in a cast.” She came back! Most people would have called it quits and gone home but she came back to make sure her couple had a fantastic day. That’s dedication.

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Real Couple // A Tented Garden Wedding in Louisville, KY: Elle + Suzy

Real Couple // A Tented Garden Wedding in Louisville, KY: Elle + Suzy

We met six years ago through mutual friends while I (Elle) was visiting my sister in L.A.. Between Suzy battling food poisoning and my already being half asleep with my PJ's on, it's safe to say that neither of us expected to meet our future life partners that night when Suzy walked into the room. It took no time at all before we were able to find everything and anything to talk about.

Our whimsical crushes on one another could have easily fizzled once I returned home to Kentucky; however, after numerous visits to see one another back and forth across the country, it was pretty clear that our “crushes” were much more than what we had thought. Our mutual adoration, curiosity, and yearning for one another only grew stronger with distance and time. 

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Black BeauTEA Talk // 4 Picks for Summer Bridal Trends

Black BeauTEA Talk // 4 Picks for Summer Bridal Trends

It’s summer trends, but giving people a little cold shoulder action at your wedding is definitely a "Hell Yes," if you ask me. I have seen so many off-the-shoulder gowns lately and loved all of them. Everything from a fitted dress to a more beachy vibe, loose fitting off-the-shoulder is extremely beautiful and effortlessly sexy to me. Not to mention, Rihanna just released a new body glow product for Fenty Beauty, Body Lava, so just imagine having that glowing neckline exposed, yes girl!

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Real Couple // A Natural Setting Engagement Session in Mount Airy, NC: Ashley + Ruthie

Real Couple // A Natural Setting Engagement Session in Mount Airy, NC: Ashley + Ruthie

I'll never forget the moment my whole life changed. As I came down the escalator to the baggage claim, the woman of my dreams was waiting. She had my favorite flowers, hydrangeas, and the most heartfelt card in hand. Her legs were shaking as I approached her, kissing her before exchanging words. I've never lived a more romantic moment than that one. We really haven't been apart much since.

Two girls means two proposals! I asked first, on Elon day, right in front of her college dorm where she had a brick made with her name on it. She graduated there, under the oaks, and so did my dad when he went to Elon in 1972 (another thing that drew me to her). Elon is a special part of our story because it's part of what brought us to NC and allowed our paths to cross. I had flowers, a note, and a necklace with Ashley's married initials monogrammed waiting for her to find at the brick with her name.

The same words in my note she had engraved on the ring box she used to propose to me two days later at the airport where we first met (she's definitely the more romantic one). "Without pause, without a doubt, in a heartbeat, I'll keep choosing you."

Being in our thirties, we both feel like we've waited a long time for the right one. We're thrilled to start our lives together, make our own traditions, get through school these next two years, and work on growing our family. We look forward to the depth of companionship that time will bring to our relationship, knowing that things won't always be perfect or easy, but that we are a team and we will love each other through any storm we may weather.

We chose to have our pictures done in a natural setting because we wanted the focus to be on us and our connection. We are often told that "we look so in love" and wanted that to come across in our pictures without distraction from a busy background.

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Real Couple // A Tattooed Feminist Elopement in NYC: Frank + Inger

Real Couple // A Tattooed Feminist Elopement in NYC: Frank + Inger

Our fairy tale wedding was the perfect prelude to our fairy tale life. I can say this with certainty, not because we will have any particular experiences, any particular successes, or any particular things, but because whatever happens to us will be met with a spirit of gratitude, partnership, learning, and wonder.

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Why Do We Keep Having Traditional Weddings? The Answer Might Shock You

Why Do We Keep Having Traditional Weddings? The Answer Might Shock You

Weddings have not fundamentally changed for hundreds of years. Truth is, you can do whatever you want! Here are some ideas to remove that monotone sexism from your own wedding and still keep with an upbeat tone celebrating your relationship and partner.

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Real Couples // A Winter Snowfall Wedding in the Poconos: Mamta + Hirsha

Real Couples // A Winter Snowfall Wedding in the Poconos: Mamta + Hirsha

Mamta and Hirsha's wedding at the Camelback Lodge in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania was this past December and all of us had our fingers crossed for snow! We had a backup plan, of course — wander into the snow machines for the slopes. But the weather was on our side and we didn’t just get snow — we got a snow STORM! Though the weather said “just a dusting,” while Mamta was still getting ready, it started snowing heavily! It stayed that way through their first look! They were so excited for snow photos that they stayed out for more than 45 minutes for portraits. (Mamta in those open toed shoes!) Hirsha’s family had a blast arriving in style — and in the snow! With the mountains as our backdrop, they had a beautiful and emotional ceremony filled with family.

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How to Succeed at Weddings by Admitting Their Sexist Failures: Musings from The Feminist Bride

How to Succeed at Weddings by Admitting Their Sexist Failures: Musings from The Feminist Bride

Yearning for a successful wedding or to at least not get kicked out of more than one wedding party, I started studying how to be a bride and the history of Western wedding traditions. That’s when I uncovered how wedding traditions were originally designed to pressure women into becoming mothers, to erase their individuality for the sake of family, to give men power over them, and to discriminate against anyone who wasn’t a white, cis heterosexual.

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