Have you ever Googled “beautiful weddings"? You know what comes up? Pages and pages of white couples and maybe an Asian couple for good measure. But there is very little that speaks to a black bride and groom. When I see this, I am saddened. I think of when I was a young girl and did not see much that represented or looked like me. Black men and women get married, too!
Though there are some amazing magazines out there (print and online), I wanted to focus on capturing black weddings and black love in Arizona. I wanted to show brides and grooms out here that there are weddings that represent them. I wanted to showcase a real wedding, more of a “this is something I could afford” style. I wanted to feature young and old black love and weddings right here in Arizona.
Putting this together was harder than I thought. I reached out to vendors I knew and respected and told them about my vision, my ideals, my design...and got nothing in return. It was depressing and very much a shock to my system. Then I reached out to vendors I hadn’t worked with before but had been following and admired from afar. This second round of vendors gave me amazing responses and wanted to make my vision come to life. These vendors (who are now friends) helped me get through this shoot (there were several setbacks, and it almost didn’t happen) and were amazing to work with.
The style and design behind the shoot was an expression of my brand. I am not your typical wedding/event planner. I don’t do a lot of “regular weddings” with calligraphy/scroll font, blushes, light blues, and burlap. The color scheme I picked is all about being bold and colorful. I am a loud, outgoing, and vibrant person. I am a bull-in-a-china-shop type of gal, and I wanted to showcase the fact that none of my visions will be the same, none of the vendors I work with are cookie cutter vendors, none of the brides and grooms we work with fit the “regular wedding” mode. We are risk takers, people who have loud personalities, and we are daring and anything but regular.
I wanted to showcase that you can be black in Arizona, have a beautiful wedding, and be bold in your choices!
Words and creative direction by Erika Swift of J&E Designs
Invitations and paper awesomeness | Nora with Nora Belle Designs
Hair | Diana Nichole @diana.nichole_ | @kensingtonmakeup
Flowers | PJ’s Flowers by Tony Medlock AIFD PFCI & Bre Schindler | @bre.schindler
Models | Mariah Campbell | @m_camp_bell | Dionte Sykes | @dsykes9
Erika Swift of J&E Designs is a local wedding/event planner & designer who thinks in color and is a bold, loud, but fun risk taker. With a “bull in a china shop” style she attracts brides and clients who think outside the box. J&E Designs truly loves working with others and bringing color to the wedding industry.