A Relaxed, Intimate Wedding in Richmond, VA: Erin + Stephan

A Relaxed, Intimate Wedding in Richmond, VA: Erin + Stephan

We were both a little nervous – there were certain moments we didn’t have an exact script for, and so were awkward for a moment – but knowing that everyone there was thrilled for us, we felt comfortable to be a little informal and come up with things on the fly.

So much pressure is put on people to have the perfect wedding with every last detail planned, but in the end, simply having a fun day with the people we loved most was what made the wedding special.

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Introducing The Hive Wedding Collective! Our Friends at Wood Grain & Lace Just Got a New Look

Introducing The Hive Wedding Collective! Our Friends at Wood Grain & Lace Just Got a New Look

The badass team of Wood Grain & Lace has taken on a rebrand in the last few months, and we are in love with the new look and vibe! Rebranding can have its ups and downs, but we know that for The Hive Wedding Collective, there will be nothing stopping this amazing team! 

We got some time with founder, Christine, to hear more about the rebranding process, what their new brand means to them, and what she wishes they knew when they started the process.

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Loving Someone Long-Term and Long-Distance

Loving Someone Long-Term and Long-Distance

Andrew, the wonderful human I get to do this relationship with, lives in Toronto, Ontario, and yours truly lives in Richmond, Virginia. If you do the math, we live about 600 miles from one another, and the first nine months of our relationship we lived closer to two thousand miles from one another because Andrew lived in Edmonton, Alberta. It was not what either of us planned for our lives, but something about what we saw in one another clicked with each of us. We were both kind of oblivious and not on the hunt for a partner, but things switched quickly, and now we can’t get rid of each other. Despite the distance, we’re like most other couples; it’s just that our quality time is spent through texts and FaceTime as opposed to movies and nights on the couch.

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Meet Our {un}convention Diversity Panelists: Lucy Baber

Meet Our {un}convention Diversity Panelists: Lucy Baber

I started considering how I could give back to the community with my art. During the summer of 2016, I had this idea to take candid family photos of black fathers with their children, in an effort to change the negative media narrative that black fathers are all "deadbeat dads" and "criminals." I am proud to live in a very racially integrated area, and I realized that the amazing black fathers that I know just don't fit that narrative. I wanted to give them a voice—to offer a platform for them to tell their stories. And then of course, after the presidential election last year I felt an even stronger sense of urgency to get this message out. That's when my project "100 Black Dads" was officially launched.

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Meet Our {un}convention Intersectionality Panelists: Jaime Patterson of Hidden Exposure Photography

 Meet Our {un}convention Intersectionality Panelists: Jaime Patterson of Hidden Exposure Photography

If you're a fan of Catalyst, then it's likely you're no stranger to Jaime Patterson of Hidden Exposure Photography. She is a member of our Advisory Board, as well as a contributor both of her photography and her writing. She recently wrote an article discussing the word "fat" and self-worth, and the role the wedding industry has played in perpetuating the ideal that body size and self-worth are somehow intertwined. 

Jaime will be joining us at {un}convention on Sunday, November 5, at Quirk Hotel in Richmond, Virginia for our panel about the importance of intersectionality in the wedding industry. She will be joined by Tim Riddick and our editor, Liz Susong, as they explore how everyone's identity means that we all are affected by oppression in different ways at the points where the many facets of our identity intersect. 

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Ask A Wedding Planner // Why Do I Need A Wedding Planner?

Ask A Wedding Planner // Why Do I Need A Wedding Planner?

As a wedding planner for a little over three years, I get asked quite frequently what a wedding planner does. Being a black woman, I’ve grown to understand that it’s just not common to hire a wedding planner in the black community. It’s just not the cultural norm. Typically the mother of the bride, Auntie FeeFee, or the family’s self proclaimed fashion guru handles the “coordination.” There is the possibility that the wedding day can run smoothly using such “coordinators,” but isn’t it easier to hire a professional? Yes!

So recently, I’ve been making it a point to make random posts on my social media page about what it is a wedding planner does and ask my followers why they would or would not hire a planner. So, to counteract the feedback I’ve received, here’s why you NEED a wedding planner.

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The Queen Photographers // Photo of the Week: Growth

The Queen Photographers // Photo of the Week: Growth

This photo, to me, represents growth. It's been a LONG time coming, but I can finally say that I am completely confident in the work I am producing! After 10 years of shooting, I am just finding a community of supportive creatives that encourage each other, The Queen Photographers. I am so grateful to be (virtually) surrounded by talented women that look like me!

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Ask A Wedding Planner // 9 Ways to Be A Kick-Ass Wedding Guest

Ask A Wedding Planner // 9 Ways to Be A Kick-Ass Wedding Guest

As a wedding planner, logistics are a huge part of my job: timing the guest transportation to and from the venue, timing the catering staff, ensuring there is enough time budgeted for the "shot list" the couple provided to the photographer, etc.

If you are between the ages of 20 and 40, you've probably been invited to a few weddings, and if you haven't recently planned your own fête, there can easily be rules of etiquette you are breaking without even realizing it.

Here are some helpful tips to be a kick-ass wedding guest. 

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Cool Stuff You Should Know About // Girls! Girls! Girls!: A Traveling Mural Project

Cool Stuff You Should Know About // Girls! Girls! Girls!: A Traveling Mural Project

In Richmond, we are painting a series of mini-murals of individual ladies all around town, to build momentum for taking this show on the road!

Leaving July 15th, we'll set out in the HerrSuite mobile studio to drive up the east coast, painting as many more walls as we can along the way. Know a wall between VA and VT that needs a G!G!G! mural? Get in touch!

In Burlington, we will paint a second iteration of the first G!G!G! mural on Battery Street Jeans, a thrift shop catering to diverse body shapes and genders. This mural will featuring many women all together, all people who live in the area.

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12 Photographers You Need to Follow on Instagram for Nontraditional & Diverse Wedding Inspiration

12 Photographers You Need to Follow on Instagram for Nontraditional & Diverse Wedding Inspiration

While wedding websites and blogs are a great destination for inspiration, wedding photographers are the original sources for beautiful wedding images, most of which are never published on blogs, in magazines, or on websites. If you are looking for original, nontraditional, and diverse wedding inspiration — or just a daily dose of love — then do yourself a favor and follow these talented artists:

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Woke Wednesday // Meet Richmond Photographer Nadiya Nacorda of Imani Fine Art Photography

Woke Wednesday // Meet Richmond Photographer Nadiya Nacorda of Imani Fine Art Photography

If you find yourself questioning something that feels inappropriate or abusive, then it probably is. Do not "use" an interracial couple in a shoot just to make your portfolio more diverse so you can start seeming more inclusive to the industry. Start first with yourself. Take a step back, and look at the inner circle of people you see every month. Who are they? What do you all talk about? Are you discussing issues related to populations you have no experience with? Do you participate in tokenizing? Overall, if you share these values and want to start out in the industry, double and then triple-check yourself and your own life. Because if you're still participating in social practices that are damaging or harmful toward marginalized groups in this country, whether it be consciously or subconsciously, then frankly you haven't done the work.

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Closed-Door Prose // Your Wife

Closed-Door Prose // Your Wife

Elizabeth had thought she would never marry. It happened for other people but she hadn’t believed it would happen for her. For a long time she wouldn’t even let herself think about it. She kept the whole idea in a locked box in a locked room in a locked house on a gated street in a far off town she would never let herself visit.

But here was Stacy’s hand, cupped gently around her shoulder, under her shirt. As of that morning, Stacy was her wife. Even better: As of that morning, Elizabeth was Stacy’s wife.

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Real Couples // Love & Board Games: Alex + Brooke

Real Couples // Love & Board Games: Alex + Brooke

Brooke and Alexandria are a couple who exude warmth. Spend 2 minutes with them, and you feel like you have known them your entire life. They are a couple whose love grew quickly and deeply, and you could not imagine one without the other. Brooke wanted to surprise Alexandria with a session that captured who they are as a married couple and that included some board games, some cuddling, laughter in spades, and that warmth that just brings you into their story.

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Flashback to the First {un}convention

Flashback to the First {un}convention

Before liz and carly were liz+carly, they were just two lone islands in a sea of chevron paper goods. Both otherwise practical people, their soft spot for photographing (carly) and coordinating (liz) lovely events brought them somewhat reluctantly into the dreaded Wedding Industrial Complex. They were surrounded by couples chasing the dragon of The Perfect Wedding (TM) and a vendor culture invested in keeping that carrot dangling. When they found each other, it was love at first sight. Together, they vowed to build a community for like-minded professionals straddling the line between participating in and critiquing weddings: {un}convention was born.

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Out of the Box Challenge // Richmond Association of Boss Babes AKA Girls! Girls! Girls!

Out of the Box Challenge // Richmond Association of Boss Babes AKA Girls! Girls! Girls!

Our goal for this shoot was to have fun and highlight color and love! Our theme was Girls! Girls! Girls!, and we were able to put together an amazing team of women, The Richmond Association of Boss Babes. We thought, what would a real life couple do when they woke up together on the day of their wedding? Morning sex, obviously! Boudoir images are usually just of one woman, and even less often do you see images of lesbian boudoir featuring an actual couple. We wanted to capture our girls in their element, being themselves together, whether that was dressed or undressed.

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Real Families // A Long Awaited Love: Roxann + Trey + Lark

Real Families // A Long Awaited Love: Roxann + Trey + Lark

Roxann and Trey have traveled in the same orbit since they were 18 years old, their lives circling around each other and convening at certain points. When tragedy struck they got closer, but it just was not the right time yet. Through relationship after relationship, they stayed in each other's orbit being that shoulder for each other but declaring nothing because the orbit was just not perfect. After a decade of love, support, and caring it all finally clicked, and they knew the other was their person. Seeing them together, it's obvious that even though it took a while to get to this point, it was the exact perfect point for them both. They are already a family, and their wedding in June of this year will just solidify what was known by all.

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Real Couples // A Long Time in the Making: Jennifer + Quinton

Real Couples // A Long Time in the Making: Jennifer + Quinton

Jennifer and Quinton's love story is that was a long time coming. In eighth grade he fell for her quickly; she took some time. They dated for a brief period before she called it off. He stuck by her, being a great friend and over the years, as these stories tend to evolve, she, as he says it, finally got it right! Their wedding was a celebration of not just a love story a long time in the making but a blending of families and friendships. Each person involved in the wedding, from the vendors to the wedding party, were people who had a place of significance in each of their lives and in the story of their love. From getting ready until they said "goodnight," it was not just about Jennifer and Quinton, but about family.

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