Your Parents Are Paying for Your Wedding. Do You Have to Invite Their Friends?

Your Parents Are Paying for Your Wedding. Do You Have to Invite Their Friends?

You’re creating your wedding budget and you’re lucky enough to have your parents helping out with the bill, but does that mean they have control over decisions like who gets to attend the wedding? It can be hard to balance your wedding day wants with your parents’ when they are helping to pick up the check, so we called on the members of our vendor directory to share their advice for how to manage those expectations.

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It's YOUR Wedding — Pump the Brakes on Your Parents' Toxic Behavior

It's YOUR Wedding — Pump the Brakes on Your Parents' Toxic Behavior

The stress to perform and pull off a wedding flawlessly can make anyone crack, but add in the pressure of complicated family dynamics and, baby, you’ve got the perfect recipe for a volatile soufflé on the edge of collapse.

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Thanksgiving Is a Sham Holiday. Give Yourself Permission To Enjoy It.

Thanksgiving Is a Sham Holiday. Give Yourself Permission To Enjoy It.

While I want all of us to remember the origins of this historically toxic holiday, I’m also going to acknowledge that a lot of people need this day. And if you need this holiday, I want you to give yourself permission to enjoy it.

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Hosting Thanksgiving? Here's How to Survive

Hosting Thanksgiving? Here's How to Survive

Halloween may have passed but there’s still time for one more horror story: This Thanksgiving, you’re hosting. Whether you’re already married, getting married, or recently married, family functions have a way of stressing everyone out.

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The Queen Photographers // Photo of the Week: Newborn

The Queen Photographers // Photo of the Week: Newborn

Most of my clients prefer simple timeless art for their newborn photos. For this photo, the client was a relative who said "just do what you do." With no specific requests or expectations, I felt like I had total creative freedom. I'd been wanting to experiment with compositing newborn images, and this fall background, along with the baby's romper from my stock of newborn outfits, worked perfectly together. So I chose a couple images of the baby and a couple background images that I purchased from a vendor for the final blended images. I'm so please at how they turned out.

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Yes, I Am Single. Yes, I Am a Parent. But Please Stop Calling Me a Single Parent.

Yes, I Am Single. Yes, I Am a Parent. But Please Stop Calling Me a Single Parent.

I want to challenge others to remove “single parent” from their vocabulary — or at least challenge this false narrative that we have about single parenthood and deconstruct why we are subconsciously so set on the two parent norm. I don’t think it’s a word we need to “take back,” but I think we need to stop emphasizing the traditional two parent family when we use it and recognize who it hurts. When we use the term parent, we are becoming inclusive of all parents and not emphasizing the stigma that comes along with the word. Yes, I am single. Yes, I’m also a parent. But please don’t keep calling me a single parent. It’s not my key identity, and I am beautifully just so much more.

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Real Couples // Second Weddings, Merging Families, and Coparenting: Karen + Andy

Real Couples // Second Weddings, Merging Families, and Coparenting: Karen + Andy

Andy and Karen have been through the ringer in love. They thought they both had something but both ended in divorce. What Andy thought was love was simply going through the motions. What Karen thought was love was a different kind of love. These were both hard times, yet they have healed and learned and have become stronger.

And through this, they have discovered new depths. New uncharted continents. Andy has learned to love and take care of himself. Karen has discovered new power in herself and loves Nick as a friend and co-parent. I think you both have discovered love in its fullness and depth. A greater depth and rooting....A love that won’t dissolve and fall once the season changes. Your roots are entwined and you are one tree, not two.

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Real Families // 5 Siblings from 3 Family Units Connect as Adults

Real Families // 5 Siblings from 3 Family Units Connect as Adults

Columbus photographer Rachel Joy Barehl opened her email and found this unique request:

Hi Rachel! 

Just to give a little back story, I grew up with my little brother Taryn and didn't know I had sisters until I was 18. All of us girls share the same father and Taryn and I share the same mother. Over the past 6/7 years, the five of us have become pretty close! My older sister and I have grown to be best friends and have been living together for the past 2 years. The five of us have really become a family with or own unique traditions as siblings. I really wanted to have a shoot where we can celebrate the unconditional love for our unconventional family! But, there are also three amazing, strong women who brought us together, OUR MOMS! Our moms have been so supportive of us finding each other and bulilding relationships together. So, we also want this shoot to be a gift to them as a thank you! We are looking for group shots, single shots, and some paired off.

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6 Ways to Approach the Challenges of Being the Non-Biological Parent in A Two-Mom Family

6 Ways to Approach the Challenges of Being the Non-Biological Parent in A Two-Mom Family

I am typing this while our little dude naps in my arms. I know, I know, there are probably a dozen reasons why that will cause detrimental habits with his sleeping or may cause him not to go to college. But, for now, I am not worried about that. I just picked him up from daycare, and those cheeks burrowed on my chest are exactly what the end of the day calls for. One thing I have learned in eight months as a new parent is that there is an abundance of information, personal opinions, and stories about how things used to be in terms of raising a child that inundate us (and feed our anxiety) every day. However, with the abundance of information available about parenthood, there is a major gap in information and resources available for same-sex parents. I have thought about writing up a bit about our experience and chickened out a few times, but I struggled a lot with becoming a mom (by way of my wife), and I am hoping to give voice to the growing complexity and great diversity in what constitutes a family.

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Real Couples // A Family Affair: Toni + Amy

Real Couples // A Family Affair: Toni + Amy

These brides wanted to spend a night with their closest humans...despite the fact that some of the most important people in their lives didn't approve or show up at the wedding because of the fact that the couple is gay. Toni, our black bride, was married to a white man, and her family was fine with that. But after she divorced, she later fell in love with Amy, and it has caused a rift in her relationship with her parents. Despite this, the couple stayed true to themselves and celebrated the love that they KNOW is right for them.

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Real Couples // Rooftop Cree Wedding: Onowa + Paul

Real Couples // Rooftop Cree Wedding: Onowa + Paul

Their wedding was not just centered on Onowa and Paul's love for each other, but on their love of each other's family, friends, and community. Their wedding started with a Cree smudging ceremony and a beautiful musical performance, followed by promises made to each other, and an exchanging of rings. Onowa, Paul, and Onowa's youngest daughters then shared what they were each bringing to the marriage, which brought looks of tenderness as well as lots of laughter. Both Onowa and Paul wore items that reflected their cultures; Onowa wore a beaded hair piece with her veil, and Paul wore a traditional Maori necklace and tie with Maori designs.

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Wedding Inspiration // Bohemian Elopement with One on the Way

Wedding Inspiration // Bohemian Elopement with One on the Way

When Brittany and Alex, owners of SCULPTEDFILMS learned that their family will be expanding come this July, they knew that they had to expand their business as well, because a triple-faceted business is hard enough for a two-person team without anticipating a birth in the middle of wedding season. Cue their new, fabulous second shooter, Brianna, who photographed this shoot. As an exercise to train Brianna, and to show off some SCULPTEDFLORALS, we put this elopement inspiration shoot together about as spontaneously as a real elopement might happen.

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Single, Straight Guys Daydream About Weddings, Too

Single, Straight Guys Daydream About Weddings, Too

Yep. It is true. I am a single straight guy, and I do in fact dream about my wedding. It is something that I honestly cannot deny, and to that end, I do not feel the need to.In my estimation, weddings are a celebration of experiences, the excitement of future moments shared, and the opportunity to express these recognitions with loved ones that will hopefully continue to have an impression in my partner's and my life. What more could I ask for?

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The ARQ Wedding Guide // Navigating Culture and Family Expectations Together

The ARQ Wedding Guide // Navigating Culture and Family Expectations Together

No matter what your background is, this guide will help you and your partner prioritize the religious and cultural traditions that matter to you and prep you for those tricky family convos. These tips also set you up to understand, honor, and incorporate traditional Jewish customs into your wedding in a relevant and inclusive way.

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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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My Feminist Wedding // Digging into Family History of Cultural Oppression

My Feminist Wedding // Digging into Family History of Cultural Oppression

My grandparents were part of the buffer class unintentionally established by the Dutch over their three hundred and fifty years of colonialism in Indonesia. My very Asian-looking grandmother has the beautiful European name of Gladys, and her dark husband is named Renee. Throughout the years, a few stories and asides have been mentioned in passing by both of my grandparents, and a documentation of their experiences as teenagers in Indonesia was in process. Piecing together these stories results in a remarkable history of my family and culture.

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Real Couples // Island Elopement With Loved Ones: Anya + Arlo

Real Couples // Island Elopement With Loved Ones: Anya + Arlo

And then they got married. I will never forget Anya standing on the beach with her Dad, while Arlo was so overcome with emotion that he stood there and spoke loudly and with so much conviction, telling Anya how much he loved her. He was proclaiming his love for her through tears, to her and to their families and to the sea that surrounded them...and this was before the wedding had even begun, so you can only imagine how emotional the actual ceremony was.

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The Family Narrative

The Family Narrative

Once upon a time, the societal formula for weddings was pretty limited: boy + girl + religious ceremony = wedding. Period. Anyone who deviated was...well...a deviant, subject to social and legal marginalization. Similarly, for many years our culture supported a narrow definition of family, namely family = a husband + a wife + their biological child(ren). Period. Unmarried parents, same-sex parents, interracial families, immigrant families, blended families, families of color, families without children, and even adoptive families struggled to find their place in society, facing a range of difficulties and indignities at every turn.

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Real Families // Overcoming Adversity Together: Taylor + Shealynn + Cassidy

Real Families // Overcoming Adversity Together: Taylor + Shealynn + Cassidy

We got married at the courthouse, and most of it was a fantastic experience except for the man who officiated our marriage. He made it clear that he thought a marriage between two women was absurd. He did not allow us to say vows, kiss, put our rings on each other, not to mention he officiated for us right in front of the front doors of the court house. As hurtful and maddening as that was, my wife and I decided to not let it bother us. We decided that the important thing was that we were married and could celebrate our love for the rest of our lives. Our daughter, Cassidy is a beautiful, clever, hilarious child. We are in the long process of trying to get legal custody of her. We are so happy to have the privilege of loving each other and getting to provide a safe, stable home for a very deserving little girl.

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Real Couples // A Family African Engagement: Val + Lawrencia

Real Couples // A Family African Engagement: Val + Lawrencia

Val proposed to Lawrencia on Valentine’s Day 2013. They were not considered officially engaged until July of 2015, when their families came together to pay and accept the dowries, and their ceremony traditions were performed. Val and Lawrencia met in April 2009 shortly after Val came to the U.S. Val’s sister had just given birth to her first child, and Lawrencia went with a friend to visit her. Val recalls exactly what Lawrencia wore that day and was immediately attracted to her, although he made no attempt to ask her out. Within moments of being introduced to each other, they had an in-depth conversation about their passions, goals, values and future endeavors, and they quickly discovered they had a lot in common. 

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