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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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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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 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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When We Are Different, We Are Also The Same

When We Are Different, We Are Also The Same

“I grew up in love!” That is a statement I hope a majority of us can say with some degree of certainty. Love as a constant and transforming force in our lives. It might have come from our parent(s), or a friend, a trusted teacher, a like-minded grouping of people, or even the love of your life. Whether it came from all these spaces or just one, we know it. It can sometimes be impossible to describe, but it’s something we feel, and we let it guide us toward what makes life grand.

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Real Couples // A Private Quaker Ceremony in a Tree: Darren + Elyse

Real Couples // A Private Quaker Ceremony in a Tree: Darren + Elyse

With a small wedding of only our closest family present in mind, we then had to decide the type of ceremony we wanted. Neither of us is particularly religious so we didn't have strong ties to a specific wedding tradition. My mother however, is a member of the Society of Friends Church, or the Quaker church. She is considered a ‘convinced friend' — someone who joined the church rather than being born into a Quaker family. Through her, I learned about the elements of a Quaker wedding and thought that they would be perfect for our own ceremony. Quaker weddings, like all of their services and ceremonies, are not led by a priest or minister. Weddings are led by the bride and groom themselves. This appealed to us because it put the focus solely on our relationship. This part of the wedding was only possible because we were married in Pennsylvania, one of the few states that allows couples to marry without an officiant, know as a ‘self-uniting ceremony’ (Elyse's family is from Pittsburgh and her mom was the one who tipped us off on the choice). 

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Real Couples // Love + Zen: Alexa + Stephen

Real Couples // Love + Zen: Alexa + Stephen

Alexa and Stephen are totally awesome. Alexa is a petite and meditative (with a Buddha-like personality) woman from Puerto Rico. She has an awesome Brooklyn accent, and wildly amazing hair. Stephen is originally from Washington state, and is funny and quirky, and still knows how to rock a paperboy hat and suspenders. Their energy from day one of knowing them was rooted in just being, and loving and it shows. Best of all, they were so real, top to bottom. They met while working together at Ruby Tuesdays in Virginia Beach, and fell in love. What is more real than that? Their wedding was crazy fun, and felt like a true celebration of not only their love, but their families as well. They blasted traditional Puerto Rican music far into the night, danced their butts off, and belted in Spanish with fist pumps in the air.

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