Heteronormativity in the Wedding industry

Ok, so let’s talk wedding biz.

I’ll be honest, the wedding industry is a bit new to me. I’ve always been a planner and have always wanted a front seat in wedding duties for my friends. But the all encompassing vendor side of wedding is, somewhat new to me.

I immediately started noticing that everything was based on the ‘traditional’ model of Bride and Groom. Male and Female. everything from wedding contracts to decorations had single running thread through it, he and she.

The verbiage that surrounds weddings is inherently heteronormative. We’ve recently grown to add ‘Bride and Bride’ or Groom and Groom’ and I guess thats a small step forward. But what about all of our other clients? Have you ever stopped to ask someone you are working with what their preferred pronouns are? Or have you considered how hurtful it might be to see a ‘Mr. and Mrs.’ sign in the venue?

Most of us havnt’t stopped to consider that the language we use everyday, but especially surrounding something as important as a wedding, is integral. We need to be moving towards inclusive verbiage, and to be having identity positive conversations with our clients.

The LGBTQ+ community is not a niche market to be cornered or thought of as a separate entity from our ‘traditional’ wedding industry. Love is love in all its unique facets, and we, as photographers, planners, florists and guests are all here to celebrate just that, LOVE.

JV & Joey

They/Them & He/Him

Styled shoot January ‘19

Florals - Folie a Deux Events

edits (41 of 64).jpg
edits (46 of 64).jpg
edits (40 of 64).jpg

Gritty Warehouse Wedding in Durham

When River and Adam asked me to shoot their wedding portraits I was really excited.

Knowing them both as creatives and through art I had a feeling it would be something really different.

Adam is a visual artist and part of the DJ visual show Body Games. River is a maker and educator and creator of Riv Tak. Definitely check out both their work.

They decided on ‘the blue room’ at the Durham Fruit, which was also where their wedding would take place a week later. The Durham Fruit is a warehouse turned art space. It is used for theater, photography, dance and other live events. Although it has bee brought up to legal code, it is still very raw and gritty.

I have never had the opportunity to shoot wedding portraits outside of the wedding day. Usually my time with the couples is limited, and often there’s a feeling of hurry! or that we need to get back to the guests. This experience was so different. It was relaxed, low key and so much fun.

We spend hours in different spots in the warehouse, listening to music and laughing. And the result, as you’ll see, was absolutely stunning.

Congratulations to you my friends, your partnership is inspiring and your love infectious.

Full Image Gallery here http://shootwithbliss.pic-time.com/-riveradam

Venue-Durham Fruit and Produce http://www.durhamfruit.com

Dress- Riv Tak http://www.rivtak.com

Florals- Hana Lee https://www.hanaleenc.com

wedding Edits (37 of 113).jpg
wedding Edits (55 of 113).jpg

My first photograph

When I traveled to Europe last September I didn't really know what I was getting myself into. I don't say that in an ominous way, it was actually quite relieving to not know what was going to happen. 

It was a hard trip for me, I grew immensely in ways I am still discovering 9 months later. I was incredibly uncomfortable until I set foot in Belgium. 

I arrived in Brussels and walked out of the train station. I had come from Italy on an overnight train through Paris. The French police had woken us at 2:30 am to return our passports and non of us went back to bed. So, I was tired, I'd been stuck in a tiny room with two other women for 10 hours. 

I walked outside the train station and the first thing I noticed was the stillness of it. There are three taxis and a few people leaving the station in a quiet orderly manor. I had come from the south of Europe. when you exit a train station there are people yelling, cabs racing by, smells from food vendors and bright buildings. 

The second thing I notice, everything was grey. It was like a bad photo preset. The greens were muted, everything had a blue cast to it and the sky was completely lacking in color. 

I hailed a cab and typed in the address to my google maps. I always did this so I could tell if they were taking me the wrong route. Immediately the driver turns the opposite way out of the station. I let the first mister go. After 15 minutes of driving he  ends up at a dead end, turns around and straight into gridlock. I can see that my airbnb is just across the river behind us but there are only footpaths. (hence why he should have gone the other way initially)

Pissed, tired and with a shoot to do in less than an hour at my airbnb, I hope out of the cab, grab my giant suitcase and take off on foot. 

Now if you've never been to Belgium or outside of its city center, let me tell you, Its sketchy as hell. There's lots of construction, changing neighborhoods, abandoned blocks and creepy men. Anyway, after dragging my suitcase through the road, kind of sidewalks and gravel, I arrive at my Airbnb. Even though the road had been rough, I already loved this place. 

On the second day there I was scheduled to shoot Oliviar. I knew I wanted to try a milk bath in the giant tub at the airbnb. He had said he was up for anything so I figured he'd dig it. I had to walk about a mike to the nearest grocery. I think they though I was crazy buying six containers of milk and some clementines with the stems still on. 

I got back to the apartment and set up for the shoot. Later that evening as I was standing on the tub shooting, I thought to myself, 'Wow, you put a lot of work into this and look how it paid off.' It was my first moment of absolute proudness. I was proud of myself for putting it together, executing it, and for being here, in another country by myself at all.

This was my first. 


Peruvian Wedding

About two months after purchasing my first camera I was invited to accompany a friend to Peru for a wedding. 

I didn't have much experience shooting, but I've always had a pretty good eye for what makes a good photo. I was so excited to shoot the landscape of Peru!

I soon found out that the bride and groom had not made any arrangements to have a professional photographer at their wedding. I stepped up and offered to document the day. 

I recently re visited these images from three years ago and decided to re edit the bunch. Although I wish I could go back with the knowledge I have now, I would never trade the experience. 

Bridal and Wedding

I'm excited to announce I'll be booking Bridal and Wedding Packages through 2018 at a discounted rate!

I want to fill up every minute of my booking schedule. So if you've waited to book, you're actually in luck. I have several dates open and am willing to travel! I love elopements, destinations and courthouse weddings.

Don't miss out on commemorating this important day in your life. 


SWB flower ddress.jpg

Treat yo self for V-day

Valentines day sucks for a lot of people. Its the most brazen, in your face, 'Hey, remember how you're single?' or 'You know all those problems in your relationship? Just stuff them away till Valentines is over.'. And yet, some people love the holiday. 

No matter what side your on, love/hate, single/taken, I've compiled a list of gifts to give YOURSELF this V-day. Let's practice self love <3

1. The Sun and her Flowers - This book is a magical beautiful, tragic collection of poems by Rupi Kaur. They are so real, it's impossible not to identify with something in there. And no, they don't rhyme, or go on forever. in fact most are a few lines long and cut right to your heart. 

This book

2. Alterna Hair care - Yes, take care of your hair. It needs moisture, love and time. I know, $35 seems like a lot for shampoo, but trust, you will feel, smell and look like a million bucks! 

Help your hair

3. imo Vibrator - Best purchase of 2017. This thing has 7 pulse settings, you can choose the intensity AND...it lights up, which is just so damn fun! I highly recommend this for any woman. 

Hello, World!

4. Instax - These cameras are so great. High quality instant mini photos, with no fuss. You can throw it in your bag and have it on hand to be the life of the party! 

Lets shoot!

Dont forget the film!