Real Couples // Cathedral Wedding: Laura + Marc

Real Couples // Cathedral Wedding: Laura + Marc

When it comes to seeing people that have storybook love, Marc and Laura take first place. After dating over three years, Marc sang a song he wrote to Laura during his proposal. The theme of prayer over their relationship hit a new level at their wedding. There were tears during the big moments, laughter in the small ones, and fun dance moves during the reception. Marc and Laura are a couple that leave you feeling complete joy.

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Whimsical Crepe Paper Wedding Inspiration in Ontario

Whimsical Crepe Paper Wedding Inspiration in Ontario

When photographer Hannah Yoon approached me about collaborating on a styled shoot highlighting a model of color and a crepe paper flower crown designed by 622 Flowers, the obvious answer was YES! While chatting, we decided to build a shoot that would focus on handmade details and lots of DIYs. We drew inspiration from the bold colors of the flower crown with the goal of creating a mysterious and enchanting vibe. 

Lastly, we wanted this shoot to inspire an audience who is often underserved in wedding blogs. People of color are often underrepresented online in the wedding industry, and this is exactly who we hope to reach!

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Real Couples // Vintage Glam in the Summer Heat: Keisha + Larry

Real Couples // Vintage Glam in the Summer Heat: Keisha + Larry

The heat was impossible, but Keisha and her girls handled it like champions for pictures before the ceremony, and although we didn't get to shoot outdoors with the guys, Larry and Keisha's outdoor portraits make it hard to believe it was so hot outside! Watching Larry with his family and friends, it is easy to see why he is liked by everybody, and he could hardly make it down the aisle for his ceremony because he made sure to acknowledge everyone and say hello.

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Wedding Inspiration // Asheville Glamping Elopement

Wedding Inspiration // Asheville Glamping Elopement

North Carolina photographer Latoya Dixon and her husband, Lee, are just as gorgeous on the inside as they are on the outside. When I started planning this shoot, I knew they would be perfect for the spot! They had a courthouse elopement and didn't have a big wedding. So, we treated her like a bride. She went dress shopping for the first time with her mom! We had her makeup done on site by my amazing makeup artist friend. It was amazing!

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Wedding Inspiration // Afro Chic

Wedding Inspiration // Afro Chic

This was an "Afro-Chic" styled wedding shoot, sponsored by the Queen Photographers of Georgia, an organization that supports women of color photographers. The inspiration behind this shoot was "Black Girl Magic." It took place in a beautiful natural light studio space, in Gainesville, Georgia. The color scheme was hues of maroon, pink, and lace. 

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Black BeauTEA Talk // 7 Myths About Black Beauty

Black BeauTEA Talk // 7 Myths About Black Beauty

Myth #1: "Black Don't Crack"

I'm going to talk about skincare first because as a makeup artist, this is the most important part of beauty. So under my post asking to hear the biggest myths from my readers, the first commenter said “black don't crack.” This was a good one, and I'll be the first to say that this is TRUE and not a myth, and I'll tell you why it's true. Black women age slower than other races of women, and one main and very obvious reason for this is that melanin, baby! However, the danger in this saying is that it insinuates that as black women, we shouldn't do other things to take care of our skin.

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Black BeauTEA Talk // Celebrated, Not Tolerated: Woke AF Wedding Vendors List

Black BeauTEA Talk // Celebrated, Not Tolerated: Woke AF Wedding Vendors List

One part that really seemed to stand out last month according to the feedback was the story about none of the vendors posting photos of the black bride's wedding. Her story really drove home why I push the phrase, “Go where you are celebrated, not tolerated,” so much. It's very important that on top of realizing these issues, we do our part to support those who truly support us! How many times have you been online and come across a new viral post about yet another business owner coming out as having been racist?! How many of these business owners had you supported in the past? Yea, I know girl, me too, and the worst part is there is no way for us to be able to tell, right?! Well of course there isn't, but we can damn sure look for the businesses that SHOW us that they are here for us. It's really easy to do; if you go to their website and don't see anything close to a representation of you, peace out! You'd be taking a chance with giving this business your support, or in other words, your coins!!

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Real Couples // Old Town Alexandria Summer Engagement: Lauren + Micah

Real Couples // Old Town Alexandria Summer Engagement: Lauren + Micah

We first met at the University of Maryland where we would meet every now and then for lunch with a group of mutual friends. Our relationship grew very naturally. We started as friends and as time went on, our lunch meetings with our friends became lunch dates with just me and Micah. We spent a lot of time getting to know each other. One of our favorite places to spend time together has always been Old Town in Alexandria. We both enjoy being outside and being near water. The day after my birthday (February 19, 2016), Micah had my best friend invite me to get my nails done and go to happy hour. After Kristian and I left the nail salon, she suggested we go to Old Town for dinner and drinks. When we arrived in Old Town, Kristian pulled up next to Founder’s Park (which is right along the water). She handed me a box and told me to look at what was inside. On the outside of the box was a note that said “Open and walk towards the light in Founder’s Park.”

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Inspiration // Bathtub Goddess in A Floral Explosion

Inspiration // Bathtub Goddess in A Floral Explosion

This was a personal creative project showcasing natural creativity and feminist images. We invited a local amateur model, artist, and student to participate in the photo shoot to share her beauty and confidence among the flower structure and style created by Pilar in her home. The overarching look is natural with a touch of rich gold, very little makeup, and focal jewelry pieces. Bold colors, strong lines, fierce eyes, and bodily ease suggest a woman warrior, finding peace and clarity in this garden bath. The creators of this piece are all women (the designer, the photographer, and the model)—most of them brown women. We are creative women and beautiful souls, and we deserve to be boldly represented.

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Black BeauTEA Talk // When Diversity is Cool, Black Women Are Still Ignored, Tokenized, and Used

Black BeauTEA Talk // When Diversity is Cool, Black Women Are Still Ignored, Tokenized, and Used

Diversity and representation are important, but before you send out that model call, stop and ask yourself these questions.

1. Why is diversity important to black women?

2. What do I do regularly to help fight against the white supremacist world we live in?

3. What will this black woman gain from doing my photo shoot?

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Elopement Inspiration // Playful Bohemian Woodland Celebration

Elopement Inspiration // Playful Bohemian Woodland Celebration

The inspiration for this styled session was dreamed up and brought to life by the Creative Director, Robyn Fryer of Vivid Detail Event Design. It was a collaboration that was months in the making and came together beautifully with the help of a wonderful team. We wanted to create a wedding that was simple, yet elegant, and something a bit nontraditional while still showing the beauty the South has to offer. Being an elopement and intimate wedding photographer, I enjoy capturing the details surrounding a couple's big day, as well as their connection to one another. So often couples can become lost in the grandeur of a larger wedding, so something small allows the couple to be in the moment with one another and for the day to be truly about just the two of them.

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Real Couples // From the Beach to the Mountains: Ty + Jarred

Real Couples // From the Beach to the Mountains: Ty + Jarred

These two decided to elope and have a simple ceremony that included just the two of them. For their official wedding photos they wanted photos to reflect their time spent together in Utah. They met by fate one night outside of a club and have not been apart since. They loved to take drives out to the flats and watch the sun set over the city. We spent the day adventuring together doing just that. 

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Black BeauTEA Talk // Silk & Lace Thrift Shop Inspiration for Nontraditional Brides

Black BeauTEA Talk // Silk & Lace Thrift Shop Inspiration for Nontraditional Brides

I never dreamed about my wedding day as a child. I am not that girl! I honestly feel as though I would breakout into hives just like Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City if I were to try on a wedding dresses. This is not an anti-wedding dress rant. Wedding dresses are the most beautiful gowns ever! I just cannot do traditional anything, and the cost per wear is just a little too high for me. What is “cost per wear” you ask? Well, this is the total cost of the item/number of days you’ll wear it. For those brides who think similarly, I’ve found a loophole for you!!!!  
 

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Woke Wednesday // Meet Erika Swift

Woke Wednesday // Meet Erika Swift

We spoke with Erika Swift, the owner of J&E Designs and The Bridal Loft in Phoenix, Arizona, about her experience growing up in a predominantly white community and finding her voice in the wedding industry to advocate for couples of color. 

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Real Couples // Rooftop Engagement: Brandon + Traci

Real Couples // Rooftop Engagement: Brandon + Traci

"Brandon proposed on March 15, 2016. It was a Tuesday at 5:30 pm to be exact! (laughs) He got my best friend to lure me to the Sheraton rooftop in downtown Columbia. Right before I walked to the bar, he popped out of the stairwell, got everyone's attention, got down on one knee, and asked me to marry him!!!"

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Real Couples // A Garden Wedding & Board Games: Mahsino + Graham

Real Couples // A Garden Wedding & Board Games: Mahsino + Graham

These two bonded online with their shared love of laser tag. They wanted a intimate ceremony with a family-style dinner and games. Being chill and artistic, it was important for them to have their wedding reflect them as a couple. Mahsino designed the invites and baked the cakes. The ceremony was held at Parsons Garden and was short and sweet. The reception at Bastille Cafe was spent laughing under the twinkle lights and passing delicious food around the table. The night ended with fun games like Uno. 

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Catalyst Travels to Brooklyn for the Love Union

Catalyst Travels to Brooklyn for the Love Union

Have you met Amy Shackelford of Modern Rebel? She owns an awesome alternative event planning company in Brooklyn that partners with nonprofits. That means Modern Rebel donates money to domestic violence, homelessness, and education-based organizations every time her team coordinates an event. She also shares our feminist values, and she invited Catalyst to join her on a panel about feminism and weddings at this year's Love Union, a dreamy week-long staycation and education opportunity for wedding professionals in NYC. It's hosted by 501 Union, a gorgeous venue for weddings and events in the Gowanus neighborhood.

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Real Couples // Coworkers Turned Lovers: Myeshia + Derrick

Real Couples // Coworkers Turned Lovers: Myeshia + Derrick

We met in Washington, D.C. while working as armed security officers at the U.S. State Department. Both of us worked in the Control Room during most weekends. Those long shifts brought us time and conversation, and I began to fall for his charismatic and funny personality. In December 2012, it was time for me to re-qualify with our work weapons. I knew that he previously helped other officers prepare for their qualification, so I used it as my opportunity to get to know him outside of work. While I failed to inform him that I had already passed my qualification, I mustered up the courage to ask him for his "assistance" anyway.

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Woke Wednesday // Meet Makeup Artist Brittney Taylor

Woke Wednesday // Meet Makeup Artist Brittney Taylor

Feminism is touchy for me because I feel it was created (or given the title and taken mainstream) by white women and fails to include black women. Black children, women, and men are my FIRST priority and who I scream the loudest for. So when something puts that second, it's hard for me to carry the title—although I do understand and agree with the views of feminism. I would say I'm an advocate for social justice because I do believe in equality, and I know the system is fucked up. What it all means to me is pulling your head out of the sand and saying, "That's some bullshit, and it's not okay," and then doing whatever you can to change it.

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Black BeauTEA Talk // Corporate Curls and Natural Hair in the Workplace

Black BeauTEA Talk // Corporate Curls and Natural Hair in the Workplace

Hey ladies, it's been a minute. Did ya miss me?! So I'm sitting here sippin' this hot tea that I'm so excited to tell y'all about! Today's tea is from a black-owned company called SoRen Tea; I ordered it on their website. Honestly, I usually go to the market and just grab a box of tea because it's just tea, right? But I decided to go online to find some black-owned tea companies to try, and this one caught my eye because it looked so luxe. The tea is a loose tea and comes in a black tin, which I know you already know because you've clicked the link to go support these sisters already. So I got the peach flavor; comment below and let me know which one you're gonna try or if you already knew about this company and I'm late as hell.

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