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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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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Real Couples // A Mod Minimalist Wedding in LA: Lucy + David

Real Couples // A Mod Minimalist Wedding in LA: Lucy + David

I fell in love with David during a 600-mile road trip when he started singing "It's Just My Imagination,” complete with trademarked dance moves. David says he fell in love with me during a 2-hour lost-wallet-scavenger-hunt in which I demonstrated a keen sense of direction, wit, and adventure all at once. I’m not so sure about all that, but we did find his wallet. And four years later, we decided to get married in LA.

Neither of us grew up in LA, but it’s a place where my family has roots and we both have loved ones. That’s what we wanted most for our wedding: to be with as many loved ones as we could possibly manage. We wanted a ceremony that felt authentically us, recognized the many unknowns of the enormous leap we were about to take, and celebrated the love, commitment, and vulnerability that had gotten us this far. We were lucky enough to get all those things on our wedding day, but nothing could have prepared us for the feeling — the sheer and overwhelming joy — of being surrounded by so much love. It was so much more than I know how to put into words.

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Real Couples // Georgetown Sunrise Engagement: Varun + Amanda

Real Couples // Georgetown Sunrise Engagement: Varun + Amanda

Varun and Amanda met up with me early in the morning on a weekday, on a day when the world was still too cool in the morning to not wear coats, but it warmed up quickly. They told me they met getting their MBAs and joked that their hands brushed while using excel, and the rest was history. We traipsed through the tiny bit of forest we found near the water in Georgetown, DC, as we discussed all things Wes Anderson, and Amanda talk about how Varun has taught her a lot about South Indian food and culture. We ended the session just as most coffee shops were opening and as the sun started to warm the city. 

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Real Couples // Motorcycle Fine Art Engagement: Waqas + Kari

Real Couples // Motorcycle Fine Art Engagement: Waqas + Kari

Kari and Waqas went on a motorcycle camping trip and this session was a pilgrimage of sorts to return to a time they loved so dearly. As we walked around with a light breeze blowing Kari’s hat, they pointed out all the areas they remembered eating breakfast at, the places they stumbled around in the dark, the lake where they watched the sun set as the shadows creeped up the trees. The revs from Waqas’s motorcycle echoed through the forest, a curious baby black bear crossed the road behind us, peeking as he trotted along. We went our separate ways, the bear and us, and this is how their session went. 

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Real Couples // Columbia, South Carolina Jamaican Takeover: Brandan + Nordica

Real Couples // Columbia, South Carolina Jamaican Takeover: Brandan + Nordica

I knew I was in love with Brandan when a few month into us dating I got extremely sick, and he was right there with me. He didn’t leave my side, and the way he looked at me didn’t change. He sat and ate all the pureed foods with me. I knew in that moment he would be there with me through sickness and in health, and I fell hard!

He planned a surprise trip for us to visit the Biltmore in Asheville, which is one of my favorite places to visit, but he kept telling me that we were going to different places. When he finally told me that we were going to the Biltmore, I was excited but expected nothing more than the tour. As we walked around the rose garden, I took pictures just taking it all in, totally unaware of what was happening. My back was turned to him, he called my name, and I turned around to see him on one knee!

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Real Couples // Beauty & Bounty in St. Louis: Lindy + Jordan

Real Couples // Beauty & Bounty in St. Louis: Lindy + Jordan

I wouldn’t say it was love at first sight but more of a “when you know, you know” type of love. Jordan and I met in summer of 2014 when a mutual friend introduced us with the intention of us dating. Knowing that was her intention made both of us a bit hesitant and probably nervous. We spent that summer going to endless Cardinal’s baseball games and eating as many tacos as we could at our favorite spot, Mission Taco. It really only took a couple months for us to both realize we enjoyed each other’s company, made each other laugh, and wanted to be together forever. We both knew we wanted to get married, and it was a conversation that we’d had several times. 2016 turned out to be an exciting year as Jordan turned 30 in July, he proposed in early December, and I graduated with a Child Psychology degree a couple weeks after. We always say that we are a “fall and winter couple” because we don’t like the heat and humidity in St. Louis, and we like the cozy aspect of fall/winter. We are getting married this December, and while we don’t want weather to hinder anyone coming to the wedding or ruining the day, we are praying for some snow!

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Real Couples // Spontaneous Friday the 13th Elopement: Mariam + Fernando

Real Couples // Spontaneous Friday the 13th Elopement: Mariam + Fernando

I never wanted to plan a wedding, as I think it’s a waste of our time and money. I always believed that the plan would reveal itself when we’re ready. So a week ago, we jokingly talked about getting married before Trump becomes president. We looked at the calendar and saw Friday the 13th and thought it was perfect! Shortly after, we picked what to wear from our closets, we asked friends (and our witnesses) to come over on Friday, and we spent less than $500 in food, drinks, etc. We had no plan. Our only plan was to enjoy each other’s company.

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Real Couples // A Superhero Wedding: Elena + David

Real Couples // A Superhero Wedding: Elena + David

The Bonifays have a unique love story, which began before the two of them even knew it. Both born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Elena Bonifay, born Elena Washington, crossed paths with David Bonifay in various ways before the couple ever met. Both have artists as mothers: Elena’s mom, Vicki Meek, is a visual artist and David’s mom, Elly Lindsay, is an actress. Both women taught at the local Arts Magnet High School and brought their children with them on various occasions to work. With this is mind, David and Elena have technically been acquainted since they were toddlers. The two would meet again in elementary school on the playground when both found each other about as interesting as watching paint dry. But it was the high school meeting that would change everything. The summer after senior year the two began dating for what was intended to be a “summer fling,” but soon grew into something much more. The two became inseparable, attending college together and securing work in the same establishments. They both currently work for Elena’s family business and local newspaper, The Dallas Weekly.

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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 // Beautiful Rainy Engagement: Kaylee + Vincent

Real Couples // Beautiful Rainy Engagement: Kaylee + Vincent

Kaylee and Vincent met about a year ago and immediately had a connection. They both knew that dating wasn't something they wanted to do just for fun; they wanted to be serious about the person they spent the rest of their lives with. They knew within a couple of months that they were the ones for each other. They started dating August of 2016 and will be getting married in August of 2017! When you know, you just know. They knew how much they loved each other, and the rest was simple. During their engagement session, it rained the entire time, but it didn't phase them one bit. They danced to Nirvana and played in the rain. They were goofy and sweet and couldn't stop smiling.

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Real Couples // Fluid Fun, & Happy: Jasmine and Ty

Real Couples // Fluid Fun, & Happy: Jasmine and Ty

Jasmine and Tyzayah really challenged me as a photographer and industry professional. I love to talk about how much I love photojournalism and being spontaneous, but honestly I had gotten used to the typical wedding pattern and flow. These two wanted so little of what the industry suggests you should. The only firm times were the first look and time of ceremony. Otherwise, there was no schedule. They insisted on a focus on the experience and away from details. They asked for only light direction during portraits. They got married in a little downtown gallery that doesn't traditionally allow events. However, with only about 75 guests, the little space made for a perfect setting to enjoy art and each other. They were married by a friend and fellow musician in a standing ceremony. They broke glass, enjoyed some alone time, and had an accidental grand entrance and first dance into their party. They ate appetizers, drank box wine, and danced until they packed the tables away. They had a party that was truly fluid, happy, and fun. I don't think I'd seen a couple this engaged and joyful throughout the entire day. 

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Real Couples // Pantsuit Glam at the Courthouse: Chloe + Mike

Real Couples // Pantsuit Glam at the Courthouse: Chloe + Mike

I LOVE SF City Hall! It is hands down one of my favorite venues ever!  So of course I was going to make sure we got to tie the knot there, and since we knew we didn't want to jump through all the hoops needed to legally get married in Mexico, like the blood test, my City Hall Dream worked out perfectly.  

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Real Couples // College Sweethearts: Elena + Frandy

Real Couples // College Sweethearts: Elena + Frandy

"We have been together for five years. We met in college on an Alternative Spring Break trip to Alabama to work with Habitat For Humanity. We spent the week helping to rebuild a house, and during the process we developed a connection. In the summer of 2016 we got married, and since we were college sweethearts we decided to have our wedding on the campus. It was a beautiful day that we will remember always."

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Real Couples // A Garden Wedding & Board Games: Mahsino + Graham

Real Couples // A Garden Wedding & Board Games: Mahsino + Graham

These two bonded online with their shared love of laser tag. They wanted a intimate ceremony with a family-style dinner and games. Being chill and artistic, it was important for them to have their wedding reflect them as a couple. Mahsino designed the invites and baked the cakes. The ceremony was held at Parsons Garden and was short and sweet. The reception at Bastille Cafe was spent laughing under the twinkle lights and passing delicious food around the table. The night ended with fun games like Uno. 

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Real Couples // New York Elopement: Katie + Sylvester

Real Couples // New York Elopement: Katie + Sylvester

Online two years ago, they both swiped right, despite no written profile. They went out for a quick glass of wine on their first date, but Katie had made dinner plans (as an escape option), not that she really needed them as they got on very well and had quite a bit in common. She was headed to the Cayman Islands for the holidays, and then they lost touch a bit as Sylvester’s matches disappeared! Sylvester remembered what Katie did and found her on LinkedIn; she accepted his request to connect, but she was headed away again skiing in the French alps! He wondered who this jet-setting woman was… Date two was again just a drink (as Katie “conveniently” had dinner plans, again), but Sylvester persevered, and they had a lovely third date at Beauty & Essex on the Lower East Side, followed by ‘pint-size’ glasses of red wine in a nearby hotel lobby. They discovered a photo booth in the basement where they had their first kiss (yes we have the photos still) and the rest is history!

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Real Couples // Love Fest at Home: Nina + Josh

Real Couples // Love Fest at Home: Nina + Josh

Josh: In 2014 Nina had just moved to Tampa from Lakeland. Her first weekend in town we met each other out through some mutual friends. Her sarcastic and goofy attitude instantly caught my attention. Over the next few months we learned more about each other, and in June 2014 we decided to make it official. Over the past three years we have spent time doing things we love to do with each other, like traveling, playing sports, attending sporting events, exercising, playing board games, exploring restaurants/bars, and just being our goofy selves together. Seems like every day we learn something new and interesting about each other. What I love about Nina the most is her intelligence, sense of humor, and her big warm heart. Nina would give you the shirt off her back if you needed it. (She's always cold which makes this act even more selfless...lol.)

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Kin Aesthetics // Mixed Feels About Mixed Race Love

Kin Aesthetics // Mixed Feels About Mixed Race Love

In my nascent grappling with understanding how white supremacy snakes through everything and everyone, my shock and disgust began to bleed into the way I enacted my relationships. I had been relishing a loving, supportive, monogamous relationship with my white partner for several dreamy months. In one turn, I was plagued by guilt for loving a white person when the arms of white supremacy were gunning down my peaceful black neighbors in the name of white safety. I raged alone, I penned anguished prose, and I drew back emotionally.

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