A Colorful Warrenwood Manor Wedding with a Chinese Tea Ceremony: Janice + Quentin

A Colorful Warrenwood Manor Wedding with a Chinese Tea Ceremony: Janice + Quentin

We performed a tea ceremony with our close family and friends before the main wedding ceremony. My grandmother painted calligraphy just for the occasion and it was very special to have that part of her there when she was unable to travel from China for the wedding.

We spent maybe a bit more than we should have on bourbon . . . but it is Kentucky after all.

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Real Couples // A Lake Michigan Beach Engagement: Emily + Ang

Real Couples // A Lake Michigan Beach Engagement: Emily + Ang

Emily's engagement ring is gold with a small diamond and was made for my great-grandmother in the 1940s by my great-uncle in Melbourne. My great-grandmother was a rabble-rousing Anglican woman who loved me dearly and was always kind. It seemed appropriate to give it to a rabble-rousing Episcopalian woman who loves me dearly and is always kind.

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Real Couples // Evening Garden Engagement Session in Shelby Township, Michigan: Genevieve + Maurice

Real Couples // Evening Garden Engagement Session in Shelby Township, Michigan: Genevieve + Maurice

Maurice and I met while attending Central Michigan University. After passing each other a few times on campus, exchanging smiles each time, we decided it was time we spoke. Maurice asked me to be his date for Sweetest Day, and five years later, on that same day, he asked me to spend the rest of my life with him. Breakfast in bed and a trip to the movies was just the beginning of our day. Maurice surprised me with a photo shoot at our local park. As we walked onto a wooden bridge overlooking the creek, I was shocked to see both of our parents approaching us. Seeing as how my parents don't live in the area, I knew something big was about to happen. Caught on camera was my guy on one knee, and myself emotionally overjoyed with the fact that I'll be spending the rest of my life with my best friend. We then celebrated with a family dinner and headed home. To my surprise, there was even more to come. I walked in to find hundreds of photos of us surrounded by string lights, candles, and a bottle of wine. Am I not the luckiest girl in the world?!

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The Queen Photographers // Photo of the Week: The Life & Legacy of Hazel Smith Jones

The Queen Photographers // Photo of the Week: The Life & Legacy of Hazel Smith Jones

"My Great Aunt Mrs Hazel D Jones celebrates her 99th birthday today. She was 2 years old during the Tulsa Race Riot. It is meaningful to me because she is the 8th child of 12 children. (She is my grandmother's sister) She and her baby sister are the only 2 surviving siblings. You must just seize and cherish every moment of life. She holds so much history."

It is with great sadness that we at Catalyst learned that Hazel passed away Sunday at the age of 99. Our thoughts go out to Jada and her family, and we could find no more fitting way to honor her life than to share this photo. 

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Four Things To Do Before Choosing a Wedding Transportation Vendor

Four Things To Do Before Choosing a Wedding Transportation Vendor

It's not uncommon to have your ceremony location and reception location be far apart, and if you're considering a remote location, you might have to consider how guests get back and forth from the venue to their hotel. Renting buses or limos can be a great way to provide a thoughtful service to your guests, but it can be hard to know who to trust for your wedding day transportation.

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Real Couples // Sun and Nature Filled Engagement Session in Lafayette, IN: Alexis + Megan

Real Couples // Sun and Nature Filled Engagement Session in Lafayette, IN: Alexis + Megan

There weren’t many sentimental locations in our city that we could use for our engagement session (unless we did it at Steak ’n Shake where we had our first date) so we decided to leave it up to our photographer, Jasmine. Jasmine amazed us yet again. She gave us a few suggestions and showed us previous engagement sessions at each location, and we loved the look of the battleground, so that’s the one we chose.

One thing I'm looking forward to about being married (other than the typical cliché of spending the rest of my life with my best friend) is being able to call Megan my wife, sharing a last name, and knowing that she will forever be my family.

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The Queen Photographers // Photo of the Week: Fearless

The Queen Photographers // Photo of the Week: Fearless

Tsage, my model for this shoot, is not only pretty and smart, but she's also fearless. The park was full of adventure and she wanted to share them all with me. This image was taken when she stopped to show me some feathers she had found. She looked up and the light was perfect. It really captured her spirit.

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Styled Shoot // We Are Young: a Celebration of Young Black Love

Styled Shoot // We Are Young: a Celebration of Young Black Love

Our debut styled shoot, WE ARE YOUNG, is about diversity and exploring the ways in which weddings can look and love can be expressed. That beautiful weddings include imagery, past rustic, chic, and pastels.

We especially wanted to celebrate young black love, which we often times feel is underrepresented. WE ARE YOUNG is a representation of the vision that many millennials like ourselves share toward humanity: that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.

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Real Couples // A Glam Wedding in Cleveland, Ohio: Gloria + William

Real Couples // A Glam Wedding in Cleveland, Ohio: Gloria + William

We flew back to Ohio in the winter of 2016 to view venues, and in about one foot of snow. We visited several places, but the Museum of Contemporary Art in Cleveland (MoCa is how it is branded) fit with our contemporary theme and was totally unique. We were able to purchase the entire venue for six hours and have all the art exhibits to ourselves and our guests. It was something most of our guests said they never had experienced before.

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Being an Inclusive Officiant // The Joy of Saying "Yes!"

Being an Inclusive Officiant // The Joy of Saying "Yes!"

A couple of weeks after September 11, 2001, I got on a plane, flew to D.C., and joined two women in holy and completely illegal matrimony. Same-sex weddings were a crime in the state of Virginia, carrying a two-year prison sentence and a $250,000 fine. I was not concerned about going to prison. I was a tad concerned about terrorism and the war that was breaking out, and a bit worried about my own safety. One of the brides was a Marine, and her father, also a Marine, had threatened to come shoot both brides if he could find them. I did not wish to be shot. I am an avoider of arguments, embarrassing social situations, and conflict of all kinds. I did not wish to be shot or shouted at or even to receive snarky, sarcastic comments. But I also could not stand by, and say no, and refuse to marry this couple of women who loved each other and wanted God’s blessing on their union. So I said yes.

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Real Couples // Backyard Wedding: Janean + Andrew

Real Couples // Backyard Wedding: Janean + Andrew

When Janean first inquired with me about shooting her wedding, she described the wedding as "invoking old fashioned elegance, but not fussy by any means." Janean and Andrew got ready in the home they’ve been renovating over the last year, along with their cat, Pam. Then came a pop-up wedding in Glen Echo Ravine, and it was a very short and sweet ceremony. Led by a flautist, the guests played follow-the-leader to the bride and groom’s Clintonville home for a cocktail hour (catered by Al-Tubasee Street) and a serve-yourself-bar of mini champagne bottles. After toasting the bride and groom, the group moved to the sister of the bride’s house, which was only a few blocks away. The DJ spun records, and the tacos from Taqueria El Fogoncito were plentiful on a beautiful October evening. Janean made the invitations and all of the signage. Hannah Hoffman Jewelry made their custom rings and jewelry.

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Meet our {un}convention LGBTQ+ Inclusivity Workshop Leader: Cassandra Zetta

Meet our {un}convention LGBTQ+ Inclusivity Workshop Leader: Cassandra Zetta

Cassandra is a photographer based in Cincinatti, Ohio, and has worked tirelessly to support the LGBTQ+ community, which she herself is a member of. In addition to making sure that the couples she works with feel loved and supported throughout their wedding process, she also has worked to educate other photographers in the nuances of serving the LGBTQ+ community that often get overlooked. It is because of this that we are so completely thrilled to have Cassandra host a workshop for us at {un}convention.

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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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10 Tips for Stress-Free Dress Shopping

10 Tips for Stress-Free Dress Shopping

You should feel beautiful, happy, and confident in whatever you choose to wear for your wedding day. But unless you live in a vacuum, it’s hard to stick to your vision, or even decide on a vision without everyone offering an opinion. Making matters worse is the generic advice in every wedding magazine on how to find your “perfect” dress. 

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Out of the Box Winner // Confetti Unicorns

Out of the Box Winner // Confetti Unicorns

As soon as we saw the wrapping papers included in our mystery box, we were transported to the end of the 80s and early 90s. All the textures, patterns, and shapes brought us back to a time of bright makeup, Saved by the Bell, flashy clothes, and fun music. We wanted to make sure those textures and patterns were felt and seen throughout the shoot as our inspiration, but with a contemporary modern twist.

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Real Couples // Love and Activism: Bianca + Christina

Real Couples // Love and Activism: Bianca + Christina

Going to a protest as a first date was fitting for these two Chicago land activists who are planting seeds of change all around their community. Bianca and Christina are passionate about making this world we live in a better and equal place for all. Love just happened naturally and sprouted fast for these two. They may even admit that it was L-O-V-E at first sight for the both of them. As they approach two years of being together, it still feels like fireworks and butterflies to them.

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Real Couples // Married in the Spotlight: Mitch + Erynne

Real Couples // Married in the Spotlight: Mitch + Erynne

Mitch and Erynne are a special kind of special, man. Mitch met Erynne at a show they played together at Chicago's Double Door, and the rest was quickly history. So it seemed only fitting they'd marry in a place where they met: onstage. They wed at the Bottom Lounge, a venue in Chicago's West Loop, surrounded by over 200 of their closest friends and family. 

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Out of the Box Challenge // Two for Joy AKA "Shut the fuck up!"

Out of the Box Challenge // Two for Joy AKA "Shut the fuck up!"

We met in person for drinks and were unanimously feeling we had picked the perfect couple. Our first evening together was spent listening to stories of their meeting: an almost-missed connection, driving hours to meet halfway for a first date, facing a fear of heights, falling in love, moving to the same city, revisiting the first date and Carolina’s fear of heights during the proposal (“I still don’t know what the view looks like.”). We felt that Sarah's entire body seemed to smile while talking about Carolina, and Carolina's deep, soulful smile and tenderness toward her future bride were qualities we couldn't wait to convey.

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Real Couples // Oklahoma City Love: David + Blanca

Real Couples // Oklahoma City Love: David + Blanca

We first met in our high school algebra II class my junior year and his senior year. He started to sit by me everyday. Then one thing led to another, and our small talk over homework turned into flirting. He would randomly ask, “Why are you blushing?” in order to make me blush. I refused to let him win and make me blush. But no matter what I did, without knowing, my cheeks would automatically get a little rosy each time he asked me. For my birthday that year he showed up to class with a present for me. Of course he had to ask me, “Why are you blushing?” in order to embarrass me a little. I never imagined he thought of me as anything more than a friend until that day.

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