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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A Romantic, Intimate-Feeling Wedding in Charlottesville, VA: Caroline + Jon

A Romantic, Intimate-Feeling Wedding in Charlottesville, VA:  Caroline + Jon

Our first date was at the best pizza place in Arlington. I was skeptical of Jon because his profile was explicit that he "didn't get dogs." Jon was skeptical of dating someone who lived in Virginia, as he had been living in DC for a decade and was only temporarily displaced to the Commonwealth due to a house fire (everyone was fine). There was an immediate spark, though, and by the third date (an afternoon cruise up and down the Potomac) we both knew that this could be special.

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Wedding Inspiration at The Boathouse at Sunday Park in Midlothian, VA

Wedding Inspiration at The Boathouse at Sunday Park in Midlothian, VA

I loved the idea of pairing paper flowers in the centerpieces and an origami bouquet to show that unconventional does not have to be all modern and you can use alternatives to real or silk florals. I used rose gold to add a bit of luxury to the dusty rose and paired with champagne linens.

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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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Real Couple // A Sweet, Fun Wedding in Pittsfield, MA: Jenn + Mark

Real Couple // A Sweet, Fun Wedding in Pittsfield, MA: Jenn + Mark

"We knew we wanted to have it in the Berkshires since most of my family and friends back in Virginia had not been there yet, and we wanted to give them a chance to experience the community and see why I decided to live in this area. We decided to go with the simplest (and most affordable) wedding venue option so that we can spend the money to customize a few details to our liking.

"I hate being the center of attention, so if I had my way, I would just magically appear at the front of the aisle, say "I Do", and then immediately poof away. Unfortunately, technology isn't there yet. So we settled on a very short ceremony so that there was minimal looking at me. But it was a very special moment because we had our dear friend, Ethan, perform the wedding ceremony. He quoted Bob Dylan, as requested, and really made the ceremony specific to us."

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Real Couples // Elegant, Heartfelt Wedding in Alexandria, VA: Tim + Tom

Real Couples // Elegant, Heartfelt Wedding in Alexandria, VA:  Tim + Tom

We reserved the Lorien's Presidential Suite which has a beautiful roof top terrace. After the official wedding reception ended, we had all our family and friends join us for drinks and light snacks on the terrace. It was a time for us to relax, get comfortable and unwind on a beautiful summer night with views of Old Town. The last guest left at 3:00 AM so we would say fun was had by all!

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The Girl Tyler Photography Loves Working with Couples That Don't Conform to Societal Norms

The Girl Tyler Photography Loves Working with Couples That Don't Conform to Societal Norms

We first connected with Tyler Adams aka The Girl Tyler in November 2016 at {un}convention RVA, and we were thrilled to have her be our official event photography at {un}convention. Tyler is a joy of a human and a total joy to work with, and so we could not be more thrilled to add her to our vendor directory. Couples in the Norfolk, Virginia area (and beyond) get real excited to work with this rock star!

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Incorporating Ceremony and Ritual into Bridal Showers, Bachelor/ette Parties, and Weddings // River and Root

Incorporating Ceremony and Ritual into Bridal Showers, Bachelor/ette Parties, and Weddings // River and Root

Ceremony and ritual help us acknowledge change and transition in our lives. You can think about the difference between a meal that starts with a toast or saying grace versus a meal that just starts. In the former, everyone takes a moment to settle in and be present with each other before eating, and in the second we just start right in and we don't necessarily stop to be present.

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Real Families // Ethereal Boho Wedding: Mydanh + Alec

Real Families // Ethereal Boho Wedding: Mydanh + Alec

Mydanh Nguyen Tran and Alec Baker met only a year and a half ago, and it was love at first sight. They were both newly divorced with kids in tow and decided to do a very low-key two day event at Alec's farmhouse in Upperco, Maryland, this past June with only close family members invited to the actual ceremony and close friends and other family for the reception the following day. Mydanh's daughter, Laya, and Alec's daughter, Justine, were the flower girls, while Mydanh's son, Liam, walked her down the aisle. The kids stole the show to say the least

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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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Real Couples // Virginia is for Lovers: Hana + Kaity

Real Couples // Virginia is for Lovers: Hana + Kaity

Sometimes I dream about the kinds of wedding I’d love to shoot. Those in distant places, like Africa or Asia, with simple details and big landscapes. I often think it would make me a better photographer, to have a portfolio with these weddings. But I’ve come to realize the kinds of weddings I want to shoot are the ones like this. 

We met Hana and Kaity a little over a year ago and quickly became friends. Their wedding day was full of genuine, real love. They asked to have their closest friends and family present for their first look. I wasn’t sure how it would go, but afterwards I looked around and saw that we were all crying. It was my favorite part of the day.

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Woke Wednesday // Meet Washington, D.C., Photographer Kanayo Adibe

Woke Wednesday // Meet Washington, D.C., Photographer Kanayo Adibe

Kanayo: My fiancée, now wife, bought me a camera for Christmas. So she tends to buy me enabling gifts when she notices a new interest I may have. I think I have an extreme personality, so say you give me 10-pound weights, I may end up a body builder, or you buy me a bike, I may start biking 20 miles a day. All of this happened by the way. So she gave me a camera, and it ended up as a photography business.

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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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Real Families // Courageous Love: Chardee

Real Families // Courageous Love: Chardee

I greatly underestimated the journey to motherhood. I had nine months to change my mentality and to become the woman and mother I have always dreamt I'd be. I've learned more about myself in these past months than I have in my 28 years on earth. I wanted my maternity session to reflect that growth. My journey hasn’t been easy to say the least, but I have and will continue to overcome all obstacles in my way. At the time of my session, I felt confident in my new role of Mommy-to-be. Megan and Garrett were spot-on with a location that would reflect this change. Mansions are beautiful and known to  symbolize wealth. I found beauty in my transition from independent young woman to highly-favored young mother. I have now become rich—rich in knowledge, strength, and unconditional love for another. Like a mansion, the home for me and my daughter, Ava, will be built brick by brick on a solid foundation of faith. I’m so thankful that I have pictures that truly depict the woman I have now become and the mother that I know I will be. 

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The Pros and Cons of Asking a Friend to Officiate Your Wedding // River and Root

The Pros and Cons of Asking a Friend to Officiate Your Wedding // River and Root

The good news is that it is possible to take the pressure off of your friend to prepare a perfect ceremony for you, while still allowing them to lead the celebration and legally marry you and your partner. Life-Cycle Celebrants are trained ceremony and ritual professionals who can work with you and your officiating friend to create a ceremony that feels comfortable and meaningful to all of you. We are skilled and trained in blending and incorporating elements of different faith traditions and backgrounds into secular (but possibly spiritual) ceremonies.  

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Real Couples // Vintage & DIY Wedding: Jackie + Luis

Real Couples // Vintage & DIY Wedding: Jackie + Luis

As we got to know each other more, the more I fell head over heels for this man. In 2015 on Memorial Day weekend, Luis had asked me if I wanted to go to Virginia Beach for the weekend with family. I said yes, and on that Saturday morning he woke me up at a few minutes before sunrise to go to the beach and watch the sunrise. I was livid. I huffed and puffed the ride down the elevator stating, "it's vacation time so we shouldn't be up this early; it's just wrong." He of course thought that it was hilarious. As we walked the beach and watched the sunrise, my eyes drifted toward the beautiful view, but then quickly remembered that sleeping in has its beauty too. Luis didn't risk any minute longer and called my name and got on his knees and proposed to me. I was stunned, and so many emotions were squeezing through my brain that I was mute for a minute or two. And he asked again. This time I had to pay him back for waking me up so early, so I said I would think about it, and oh boy I have never seen a man blush so hard in my life. And I reacted quick and said yes. 

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Real Couples // High School Sweethearts & Best Friends: Erika + KaShawn

Real Couples // High School Sweethearts & Best Friends: Erika + KaShawn

"So KaShawn and I met when he was just a freshman and I was just a junior, in high school. It started as a usual high school relationship but the longer we lasted...the more I realized that this was different. We are going on four years in April, which will be the longest we've ever been in a relationship point blank period. Growing up, the awkward stages in high school, and going through real life adult struggles with him wasn't what I expected at all, but I'm so glad it turned out to be him. He turned me back to God, changed my life completely... We're literally the best of friends, and I couldn't see it any other way. We know all of our weaknesses and strengths, but we are definitely still learning a lot about each other. He brings out the absolute best in me, and he's the best he can be. It's imperfectly perfect." 

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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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