WeddingPro is pleased to introduce the 2023 Class of Fellowship for Change, a program that gives pros from historically underrepresented communities in their first years of business the chance to pursue their passions and accelerate their growth through self-paced educational content, expert-led talks and so much more. Research shows not enough small business owners in underrepresented communities get access to funding and education that will truly help them thrive. That’s why we created Fellowship for Change. We can’t wait to see how these Fellows grow their businesses over the course of 2023 and beyond.
And now it’s time to meet the Fellowship for Change Class of 2023!
Is there a particular moment or story about why you decided that being in the wedding industry was what you wanted to do? In the spring of 2019, I became a manager at a bed and breakfast in Northern Virginia that also hosted weddings. I was able to immerse myself in the wedding planning process from a couple’s first tour of the property through their wedding day. As a bed and breakfast, many of the weddings we hosted were weekend events, allowing families to come together for the wedding rehearsal, ceremony, reception, morning brunches and showers. With my passion for baking, I would cater these events with pastries, lunches, and breakfast meals.
One such couple, unfortunately, had their wedding cake baker back out of their commitment, so they decided to ask if I would be willing to make their wedding cake for them. At this point, I had not baked a wedding cake independently and was excited by the challenge. The cake was a huge success at the wedding, and the couple was very happy with how it turned out! This experience bolstered my confidence in my skills and encouraged me to continue to grow my bakery, allowing me to help make couples’ wedding days special for years to come!
I stand for… supporting the community and pursuing life’s passions.
My clients are… full of classic elegance with fun and extraordinary flavors.
If I could… I would travel to see my favorite artists perform in concerts all over the country.
One time… Monte Durham approached me at a Wedding Expo to ask if I wanted to take a picture with him, but I didn’t recognize him, so I was confused by the question until later that day when I realized who he was. I never did get that picture.. oops!
Is there a particular moment or story about why you decided that being in the wedding industry was what you wanted to do? We have always wanted to own our own business and participate more in our local community. When shopping for my daughter’s wedding dress, we saw room for a more unique selection and a different experience.
I stand for… body positivity, making the decision best for you, and love is love.
My clients are… sweet ladies who need encouragement and support.
If I could… work remotely from anywhere in the world, I’d be outtie!
One time I… spent a day with an elephant in Thailand.
Impressed by the Dress | @impressedbythedressco
Is there a particular moment or story about why you decided that being in the wedding industry was what you wanted to do? I have always had a passion for event design and planning. I was always the one that my family and friends would call on to bring their visions to life. The one particular moment that I decided that I wanted to expand my company into the wedding industry was when I had to plan my own! People thought I was crazy; six months pregnant and trying to plan my wedding. My husband and I got married back in 2018, and when we began to plan our ceremony, the pandemic happened. That was a huge disappointment and a sad time being separated from loved ones and friends.
So, back in 2021, I set the date! June 7th, 2021, I wanted to have an intimate micro-wedding and gender reveal with our close family and friends! At that time, not many knew that I was pregnant! So this was a very special time, and I was able to have the dream ceremony that I wanted because I personally took the reigns and planned to the LAST detail. Being that I already have experience planning events, and it is something that I am passionate about doing, I didn’t really have too much stress. It was truly the best experience, and it is why now that my company specializes in the art of Micro-Weddings!
I stand for… authenticity and commitment.
My clients are… humans that deserve connection and moments to live for.
If I could… finally have a honeymoon, that would be amazing! We were expecting and also purchasing our first home, so we decided to have our honeymoon at another time!
One time I… got promoted to be the Event Coordinator for the Afro Punk Festival Series in Brooklyn, NY! I started as a volunteer, so this was a BIG deal for me!
Lush and Lounge | @lushandloungeevents
Is there a particular moment or story about why you decided that being in the wedding industry was what you wanted to do? My love of dishes goes way back. I’m a sucker for thrift stores, especially when they have vintage china and glassware! My collection of vintage china seemed to increase at a much quicker rate than I could find adequate storage. My husband was threatening to throw it out so one day, while I was admiring the beauty of some recent additions and wondering what in the world I was going to do with them, a thought struck me. What if I shared it with brides and helped them create beautiful tables for their weddings? This would allow me to keep my collection and share the beauty with others!
Since then, I have gone on to add floral design to the services I offer which only seemed natural given my love of flowers. I’m a southern girl, and nothing pleases me more than setting a beautiful table and decorating when “company is coming”! The wedding industry has given me the perfect opportunity to share what I love (dishes and flowers!) and create something special to help celebrate a very important day in a couple’s life!
I stand for… kindness, positivity and a can-do attitude!
My clients are… fun-loving and adventurous but love family, tradition and timeless decor.
If I could… I would love to travel to every continent on this earth!
One time I…planned, organized and fed 200 people twice a day for five days! Then, we fed them each week on competition days for the duration of the marching band season!
Two Classic Turtles Wedding & Event Design LLC | @twoclassicturtles
Is there a particular moment or story about why you decided that being in the wedding industry was what you wanted to do? I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur. When my father passed away, I felt strongly that I would be able to remain connected to him spiritually if I finally took a leap of faith and started my business. As a daddy’s girl, I channeled my love of weddings from my childhood all the way into adulthood when I worked my first wedding and witnessed a groom in tears as he first laid eyes on his bride while she walked down the aisle. It was so magical and romantic that I knew I would never get tired of that moment.
I stand for… mindfulness and true love.
My clients are… down to earth with a passion for storytelling.
If I could… snap my fingers and change the past, I’d avoid ever snapping my fingers again as the past is what led me to my present. The journey is just as important as the destination.
One time I… coordinated a wedding during which guests were not permitted to use cell phones for the entire event; ceremony, cocktail hour and reception!
The Styled Stem | @the_styled_stem
Is there a particular moment or story about why you decided that being in the wedding industry was what you wanted to do? For years I thought I wanted to be a nurse. I actually attended my college specifically for nursing until the first day of classes I took biology and called my Mom and told her I don’t think I wanted to pursue nursing anymore. My roommate told me she was taking ‘Intro to Hospitality’ and loved it! I decided to enroll in the course and FELL IN LOVE. Being from a small town in Wisconsin, I didn’t even know I could make a living planning events. After years of hospitality courses and my first wedding internship, I knew this was my passion and purpose!
I get to help people but in a different way than nursing. I get to create the most special days for those madly in love. It brings me so much joy, and I know it is what I am meant to do!
I stand for… inclusivity, positivity, memorable moments and expressing love unapologetically.
My clients are… one of a kind, each with their own unique love story and passion for sharing their love with those who are close to them!
If I could… expand my company and have associates in various states, I would do it in a heartbeat!
One time I… had to stitch up a Groom’s pair of dress pants because he ripped them on the dance floor busting a move!
Day of Details | @dayofdetailscoordination
Is there a particular moment or story about why you decided that being in the wedding industry was what you wanted to do? I grew up watching the major wedding shows which piqued my curiosity in the industry, but when I became the secretary for the woman’s ministry at my former church, that is what really set my passion for starting a business as a wedding planner. I got to experience the process of planning, communicating and handling the logistics of online services and meetings that were held. I really felt a sense of joy being able to be of service to someone else and make life easier for them.
I decided on the wedding industry in particular because that is one of the most important times of a couple’s life.
I stand for… giving others grace and respect.
My clients … cherish life and family with grace, refinement and luxury.
If I could… plan a wedding anywhere in the world, it would be in Paris.
One time I… almost got chased by a horse after my sister screamed.
Sad’es Designs LLC
Is there a particular moment or story about why you decided that being in the wedding industry was what you wanted to do? After struggling to plan my own wedding in 2017, I was enlightened to how difficult it can be for LGBTQ couples to find vendors that were comfortable or willing to work with the LGBTQ community. I was already licensed as a therapist and providing couples/premarital counseling and I had so much fun with my own wedding I couldn’t stop thinking about how amazing it would be to be able to support my community as a wedding officiant.
I stand for… inclusion.
My clients are… fun, creative and genuine!
If I could… live on the beach with my family and marry couples in my backyard. It would feel like I’m living a dream.
One time I… had a crazy idea to join the military. I served my country in the US Navy for six years and had a great time!
Weddings by Love is Love | @weddingsbyloveislove
Is there a particular moment or story about why you decided that being in the wedding industry was what you wanted to do? I traveled with a wedding band in New York as a pianist with many professional musicians. There were plenty of times when I didn’t physically feel up to performing. However, once the music started and I witnessed the joy on all of the guests’ faces, I immediately gained the energy and thrill for the love in the room.
I stand for… love, inclusion, and diversity.
My clients are… unique and spectacular people with a knack for classiness.
If I could… move to another country, I’d choose Jamaica!
One time I… went skydiving and couldn’t believe I’d ever jump from a plane!
The Groovesmen | @groovesmenband
Is there a particular moment or story about why you decided that being in the wedding industry was what you wanted to do? I was really young when I fell in love with weddings. The big dresses, the jewelry, the joy, the love. I can remember how watching weddings on TV take place made me feel so alive. There were countless days when I would find myself restless or even down and for me looking through wedding magazines would shift my mental space. Ultimately, I realized that my love for weddings could become a reality. Starting Unveiled really was a lifelong dream come to life.
I stand for… being authentically your true self. No matter what that looks or feels like. Be you. There is nothing better in the world.
My clients are… incredibly passionate about their love stories but also about the love stories around them. They are lovers of classic yet elevated and elegant weddings with a touch of beautiful flowers.
If I could… solve one world crisis: I would start with homelessness.
One time I… found myself wondering what my legacy would be and so I sat down and wrote down all of the things I hoped to accomplish in 5 years… owning Unveiled was on top of that list. That was one year ago. Next on my list of legacy building: adding reception dresses to the Unveiled by Debra brand.
Unveiled by Debra Events | @unveiledbydebra
Is there a particular moment or story about why you decided that being in the wedding industry was what you wanted to do? I was an event planner for years before I got married. Luckily my wedding venue provided a wedding coordinator. I was so nervous and hesitant about giving this important day to a stranger who I was sure would miss some detail or not do things the way I would have. I was SO wrong. She made planning easy, and my wedding day was everything I could have asked for. I found out later that she had fixed so many things without me knowing or worrying. I decided I wanted to do that for other people… and here we are!
I stand for… love in all forms and making memories that last forever!
My clients are… awesome humans who care about supporting small, local and diverse businesses while adding a little magic to their big day!
If I could… plan weddings for free, I totally would!
One time I… planned a wedding at a televised mud run (World’s Toughest Mudder).
Is there a particular moment or story about why you decided that being in the wedding industry was what you wanted to do? I always wanted to be a wedding planner, but I never thought I would be good at it. I am very introverted and I felt that I lacked many of the skills required to be a wedding planner and own my own business. However, I remember the exact moment and day that I decided I was going to follow my dreams anyway.
My boyfriend (now husband) and I were at a friend’s wedding on June 7, 2014. I was sitting there during the ceremony watching the bride walk down the aisle with her father, tears in her eyes, and tears in the eyes of the groom as he stared at his future wife. I felt surrounded by nothing but pure love and joy and I told myself that no matter what, I needed to find a way to go to as many weddings as possible, and that would be by planning them. I knew I wanted to play a part in one of the best days of someone’s life and help couples and their guests feel the love I felt at that moment. I realized then that I did have a passion for planning weddings and whether I would be instantly good at it or not didn’t matter. I had a passion for it, and that would be enough to get me started. I could learn everything else and work hard because I wanted it.
I stand for… love. I truly believe that love conquers all and I try my very best to let everything I do be done with love. I believe it is the best way to live and the world would be a much better place with a whole lot more love.
My clients are… incredible people who are all unique but share the common trait of wanting to incorporate personal and nontraditional themes and details into their weddings. They also believe it is vital to have authenticity and trust on both sides of our relationship together.
If I could… I would most like to travel & plan weddings all around the world. While I am not “in it for the money,” if I could, I would love to make enough money to allow my husband to quit his corporate job so that he can pursue his dreams of opening his own restaurant. I would also love to start my own non-profit organization and plan weddings for couples who cannot afford it or never got to have the wedding of their dreams.
One time I… did a virtual internship from Florida with an amazing event planner in California. I flew to LA at the end of the internship for just two days to assist her with a fashion show in Beverly Hills. It was an incredible experience!
Erika O’Brien Events | @erikaobrienevents
Is there a particular moment or story about why you decided that being in the wedding industry was what you wanted to do? My sister and I always knew that we wanted to be business owners. It was something that was instilled in us from our grandmother at a very young age. It was in January of 2021 when a close friend of ours reached out and took us to coffee. She told us there was no one else she would trust to coordinate her wedding, except for us. No questions asked – we did it and the rest was history! It was through this experience that we found that coordinating weddings is exactly what we needed to do! We were placed in a unique opportunity to support another person in what is oftentimes one of the biggest days of their lives, all while getting to exercise our own creative and organizational skills. I can’t imagine being in any other industry than the one solely based on LOVE!
I stand for… equality for all. Love, commitment, friendship, partnership, respect, honesty, and open communication. All people deserve their dream wedding!
My clients are… fun, kind, and REAL people that I get the privilege to work with!
If I could… build a castle in Ireland and give my entire family each their own corridor, I would. Let’s go!
One time I… met Seattle Seahawks players Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas on the streets of Seattle and just thought it was one of my partners’ buddies. Then they left and I learned who they were! Whoops. GO SEAHAWKS!
All Things Elle Event Coordination | @allthingselleeventcoordination
Is there a particular moment or story about why you decided that being in the wedding industry was what you wanted to do? My desire to take part in the wedding industry largely came from planning my own wedding and feeling so under-represented in vendors I found. I shouldn’t have been, but I was shocked at the rigid straightness in the industry, the gendered assumptions which were made about my husband and me, and the general pressure to have a wedding that fit a particular traditional mold. I was dying to find someone like me, who occupied a sort of mutable gender space, identified as queer, and was willing to throw the rule book out the window in favor of creating a unique and inclusive wedding. After a few months it dawned on me that, as a photographer, I could literally be the vendor I was looking for.
I’m in this industry because love takes so many different shapes, forms, combinations, etc, and they’re all beautiful. And I’m here for all of it!
I stand for… inclusivity, creativity, and absolutely slaying at all times.
My clients are… adventurous, authentic, and driven by love against all odds.
If I could… time travel you’d find me at the Troubadour in Los Angeles on Aug 25th 1970 watching Elton John’s first concert in the US.
One time I… lived in an artist collective housed in an old convent in San Francisco with 25 roommates. Don’t worry, there were 19 bedrooms, and yes, the parties were legendary.
Dress Up Box LLC | @dressupbox
Is there a particular moment or story about why you decided that being in the wedding industry was what you wanted to do? It wasn’t a particular moment or story; it is my belief that love lasts forever because true love believes all things, endures all things so to have a “happy ever after” it must have a memorable and all-inspiring beginning – “the wedding day”. Because the days in the “happy ever after” will have their challenges but if one can reflect back to the day of promising to love “forever” and draw strength from those memories of commitments to conquer the trials with positive actions to continue to love each other. I decided that I would be the person to help create that all-inspiring moment in the lives of two people who have decided to have that “happy ever after”.
I stand for… kindness and integrity.
My clients are… beaming with the excitement and their eyes sparkle with anticipation.
If I could… I would have the financial freedom to extend a helping hand to the unfortunate and underserved communities in all 50 states.
One time… I was the opening speaker for celebrity wedding planner, David Tutera!
Events by Indya | @events_by_Indya
Is there a particular moment or story about why you decided that being in the wedding industry was what you wanted to do? It was while planning my own wedding that the seed for this business was planted. I couldn’t find couples that looked like my partner and I didn’t see many interracial, queer, and fat couples in wedding blogs or magazines.
I stand for… acceptance and inclusion.
My clients are… compassionate humans looking to plan an event that truly reflects them as a couple and that doesn’t necessarily follow traditions.
If I could… plan an event for any celebrity it would be Dolly Parton.
One time I… waited in line for 24 hours to get tickets to a drag show.
Stardust Weddings & Events | @stardustweddingsnwa
Is there a particular moment or story about why you decided that being in the wedding industry was what you wanted to do? I have planned celebrations my entire life. My time in the military made me want to celebrate life and the union of couples and families.
I stand for… integrity and excellence
My clients are… kind, family-oriented and chic with a touch of wow
If I could… travel the world with my kids, I’d have left yesterday.
One time I… planned a Ball in the desert during deployment.
Events By Kanei | @events_by_kanei
Is there a particular moment or story about why you decided that being in the wedding industry was what you wanted to do? Not really one story but multiple times I have had friends and friends of friends come to me needing a wedding photographer. Someone they knew, trusted felt comfortable with and loved my work to capture their wedding day. I love working with my brides and being someone they could count on throughout the entire process and they would get beautiful images of their special day
I stand for… love. Love is more than a feeling it’s a choice. Love one another well.
My clients are… loving, kind, sweet, friendly, funny easy going and just all-around good people.
If I could… freely travel the world taking pictures I would.
One time I… went on a spontaneous and adventurous road trip with my bestie through the Baja of Mexico for a month.
Kristenia Clark Photography LLC | @kris10yaphotography
Is there a particular moment or story about why you decided that being in the wedding industry was what you wanted to do? I was a musician, and would always dream about what I could do if I could plan weddings full-time. I love all of the puzzle pieces that have to be created and then come together to make a wedding.
I stand for… community over competition.
My clients are… in love, refined, classic and full of character.
If I could… add a 25th hour every day, I’d be the first to sign up.
One time I… made a “cheesecake” – literally out of cheese. A bride wanted to surprise her new husband, so I went to the store, compared MANY wheels of cheese, chose three, and made a three-layer cheesecake.
Boxwood & Bloom Events | @boxwoodandbloomevents
Is there a particular moment or story about why you decided that being in the wedding industry was what you wanted to do? Growing up as a mixed-race person of color in a predominately White community I always felt a little out of place. I want my clients to know that they are all welcome and will be cared for no matter what their skin tone or hair texture is. Diversity is beauty!
I stand for… diversity, inclusivity and creativity!
My clients are… fun, caring and diverse!
If I could… make my business a full-time career I think I would.
One time I… was a stand-in model for Minnesota’s first Black-owned bridal boutique LaNoire.
Laurabbeauty | @laura.b.beauty
Is there a particular moment or story about why you decided that being in the wedding industry was what you wanted to do? I was working 60 hours a week as a food & beverage manager wondering why I was working so hard to make other people money. I finally decided to go out on my own and start my own mobile bartending business. The first wedding I worked, I had a very particular client who wanted luxury service, cocktails, and planning. Watching the whole event come together at the end made me realize that this is what I love. Creating unforgettable memories for clients is priceless!
I stand for… classic cocktails and top-shelf service!
My clients… have high expectations, want great-tasting cocktails and love to have fun.
If I could… create a successful business that was able to financially support my lifestyle, I would quit my other job.
One time I… partied with Lil Jon in Las Vegas.
Cart-Side Cocktails | @cartsidecocktails
Is there a particular moment or story about why you decided that being in the wedding industry was what you wanted to do? Gigi’s Bridal was first conceptualized in 2019 alongside my mom, we had many talks over tea about what Gigi’s Bridal would look and feel like. After each brainstorming session, we always reached the same conclusion; we wanted Gigi’s Bridal to be honest. The vision for Gigi’s Bridal would start with values and grow rapidly into something we were both excited about. Gigi’s Bridal represents my way of honoring my mom; our shared love for elegance and belief that Gigi’s Bridal, above all else, should be honest.
I stand for… finding your voice and owning your style! Wedding gown shopping is among the early steps of planning a wedding, no matter how big or small. I wish each bride at Gigi’s Bridal to feel empowered and stay true to their style.
My clients are… brides that thrive on contagious energy with a love for a high-vibe experience that teleports them to a safe space where they can effortlessly connect with their inner beauty and confidence.
If I could… paint the world pink, I would!
One time I… started making hoop earrings from repurposed jewelry because I believe in the power of the hoop!
Gigi’s Bridal | @gigisbridalfl
Is there a particular moment or story about why you decided that being in the wedding industry was what you wanted to do? I have always been a party/event planner since I was in high school and it is a true passion of mine. I enjoy creating one-of-a-kind experiences and am fulfilled when I assist clients in making lasting memories.
I stand for… integrity and attention to detail.
My clients are… a mixture of diverse and unique individuals with a desire for details, class and elegance.
If I could… I would start a nonprofit for young women of color and teach them how to walk in their true purpose, have confidence and high self-esteem.
One time I… planned a girls trip to Tahoe for 17 women with no hiccups or bad vibes. It included yoga, wine tasting, and an in-home chef experience.
Our Place Event Space and Kitchen | @our_place_2022
Is there a particular moment or story about why you decided that being in the wedding industry was what you wanted to do? Freelancing for other florists was what really helped me solidify my decision to start flowering weddings on my own. I had been doing retail and an occasional small wedding for friends or family, but once I started freelancing…just the camaraderie and all of the moving pieces that need to come together to create a beautiful love story with flowers.
I stand for… individuality and kindness.
My clients are… fun, laid back, and unique. They are go-with-the-flow and extremely kind.
If I could… travel with my kids and husband then I’d be doing that now! But also, if I could do anything or be anyone then I’d be me, doing what I’m doing right here and now.
One time I… broke my leg while 7 months pregnant and had to have 2 surgeries and relearn how to walk AFTER my daughter was born.
Flowers by Melis | @flowersbymelis
Is there a particular moment or story about why you decided that being in the wedding industry was what you wanted to do? I was hired for my first wedding in May 2015. It was an easy job because I was passionate about providing makeup services. At that moment I decided that I wanted to be in the wedding industry.
I stand for… integrity and honesty.
My clients are… unique and free-spirited.
If I could… build my own closet, it would be two levels.
One time I… put my cell phone in the microwave and cooked it. (True story)
Face2Face with Mindy | @Face2facewithmindy
Is there a particular moment or story about why you decided that being in the wedding industry was what you wanted to do? Yes! After working in retail for a short period of time, I felt at times disconnected from the end product. I often never knew the recipient, but, when I created my first bridal bouquet and saw the bride’s expression, I was in! The bride’s eyes lit up, she teared and I was astonished to see what my hands had created. Not just a piece for a moment, but ephemeral art, that would actually last in people’s memories forever.
I stand for… communication, Quality, Consistency, Commitment to Excellence, Integrity, Attention to Detail & Education.
My clients are… kind and respectful, they are fun and from diverse backgrounds. My clients are smart and have so much positive energy. My clients are my foundation and part of my drive.
If I could… provide jobs to lots of people, I would consider my mission on earth completed.
One time I… almost died at a young age, since then positivity and affirmations are my main language.
Eternal Bouquets by JM LLC | @eternalbouquetsbyjm
Nicole “Nicki Rouge” Gregory
Is there a particular moment or story about why you decided that being in the wedding industry was what you wanted to do? When I first started doing makeup I was so afraid of working with brides. Knowing that weddings are one of the most important days in someone’s life gave me so much anxiety. I heard so many bridezilla horror stories from other makeup artists, I declined weddings completely. During this time, I was also working full-time as a pediatric occupational therapist. I worked with many sick children and families daily.
A few years ago, I was working with a very ill 9-month-old with the sweetest parents. He had been making so much progress and was scheduled for surgery to improve his health. Doctors ran many tests to ensure his body could handle the anesthesia. During testing, doctors discovered he had a rare condition that stopped his body from gaining weight and taking in nutrition. A few days later he passed away. I was unaware of his passing and called his family to check on his progress. His dad relayed the news to me and I immediately broke down crying. Shortly after this happened, I realized that I would continue to deal with cases like this.
Helping families is rewarding but also emotionally and mentally taxing. Working with people during the worst times of their lives, I realized that I could handle anything. After dealing with the death of my patient, handling weddings seemed like a piece of cake. With 6 years of experience, I had so much to offer outside of makeup artistry. I naturally transitioned into the role of a wedding makeup artist.
I stand for… building community, discipline, and integrity.
My clients are… busy people who prioritize self-care and have an affinity for classic beauty.
If I could… help make someone’s journey to success easier in the beauty and wedding industries, I would be fulfilled.
One time I… was flown to Tulum, Mexico to work with a bride and I applied her makeup on the pacific ocean.
Nicki Rouge Bridal Team | @nickirougebridalteam
Nikia Nicole Ramsey
Is there a particular moment or story about why you decided that being in the wedding industry was what you wanted to do? I guess my defining moment would be shortly after my warehouse job closed during the pandemic. I’ve been inconsistently decorating events for years, and as a mother of two young boys, I decided to take events seriously to be an example for them. I truly enjoy being of service and creating memories for my clients, so wedding planning was the logical next step.
I stand for… Flexibility, Integrity, Respect, Service, and Teamwork. This creates a great partnership and allows me to always provide my best service.
My clients are… very chill people who love simple romance.
If I could… travel the world with my family, I definitely would’ve left yesterday. Also, if I could turn back the hands of time, I would bring my brother back and create more memories with him.
One time I… provided management for a couple that (forgot they) invited some guests by word of mouth – the number of guests that showed up was double that of the venue’s capacity. I created a standing-only space for the ceremony and shifts for dinner.
Breathless Events | @breathlesseventsbynikia
Is there a particular moment or story about why you decided that being in the wedding industry was what you wanted to do? I am a bilingual person. I have always existed in a steady flow of English and Spanish. I have friends and family who are bilingual too. But many others who are monolingual. When I got married, I couldn’t find a bilingual wedding officiant to honor the diverse spectrum of my friends and family. So, on one of the most important days of my life, I had to make a decision: which of my guests would get to understand the ceremony and who would be left out? And it sucked. That’s when I knew that one day, I was going to become the bilingual wedding officiant I wish I had found. Because weddings are about celebrating together – in every sense of the word.
I stand for… soulful love and human connection through ceremony and storytelling.
My clients are… soulmates looking to celebrate the story of their love and experience the magic of their wedding day.
If I could… stop being an empath, I wouldn’t.
One time I… One time I went to a trendy bar, and within minutes, I met my soulmate.
Dulce Amor Weddings | @dulceamorweddings
Is there a particular moment or story about why you decided that being in the wedding industry was what you wanted to do? I was working as an Accredited Clinique Consultant at my local Belk Department Store. A young lady came in needing on-site makeup services for her wedding day. We didn’t offer any on-site makeup services, so I turned her away. She was very persistent and kept coming back.
Reluctantly, I accepted. I remember feeling so insecure. Putting the word ‘wedding’ in front of makeup added some unfamiliar anxiety. Her wedding day was one of the best days of my life. I was able to do what I loved on a person who not only admired my work but needed my skill set for her special day.
I stand for… love, light, and positivity.
My clients are… beautiful fun souls with a love for luxury.
If I could… in my dream home with my family free from everyday worries and concerns, it would be my heaven on earth.
One time I… saw one of my favorite gospel groups in concert.
Paula J. Fields Makeup Artistry | @makeupbypaulaj
Is there a particular moment or story about why you decided that being in the wedding industry was what you wanted to do? For me, it was seeing the photographs of LGBT couples getting married all around the country when gay marriage was legalized in 2015. A lot of people whom I consider closest to me are part of the LGBT community, and when the news came out (no pun intended), we scoured the internet for photos and videos of reactions.
To see that undeniable joy just jump off the screen as couples who had, in some cases, waited decades finally get the opportunity to commit fully to the person they loved? It was breathtaking and really influenced my love for couples and wedding photography.
What really added on to that magic was the fact that the couples were diverse in their stories and backgrounds. I saw South Asian weddings that reminded me of the ones within my family, only it was an LGBT couple partaking. I saw traditions from religions all over the world, cultural practices that were incredibly different, but ultimately united in their celebration of love. There are so few moments in life where joy is genuine and unfiltered, and this was one of them.
I stand for… undeniable, unapologetic, radical joy, especially when it’s in defiance of all odds.
My clients are… colorful personalities that love mixing luxury photography with a down-to-earth, genuine approach. They appreciate capturing memories in all their chaos and glory. They are never afraid to use their voice if they need to. My clients are people who laugh loudly, live passionately, and dream big.
If I could… learn how to combine my love for writing music with my passion for photography, in addition to being on top of my university work, you’d never see me again without all my words being in song or a camera glued to my hands.
One time I… got to meet and interview Michelle Obama!
Riya Kataria Photography | @riyakphoto
Is there a particular moment or story about why you decided that being in the wedding industry was what you wanted to do? Seeing people happy and their dream day come to life brings me and my team such joy! Knowing that we made our couples’ perfect day possible makes it all worth it!
I stand for… positivity and making dreams come true!
My clients are… wonderful trusting people with a fun, dreamy vision!
If I could… I would continue to do destination weddings all over the world!
One time I… planned a luxury wedding with a fire-breather!
RSG Weddings & Events | @rsgweddings.events
Is there a particular moment or story about why you decided that being in the wedding industry was what you wanted to do? I officiated my first wedding on 2/22/22 (its giving fate) and it was an intimate at-home ceremony for a beautiful black couple. After the ceremony, I asked why they chose me to be their officiant and they said: “we knew we wanted a black woman, someone who looked like us and know our culture then we came across your profile and here we are”. My why is creating a space for couples to celebrate their love in a whimsical and heartfelt way. I am always honored when a couple chooses me to tell their love story.
I stand for… honoring love, creating a genuine human experience, and intentional joy.
My clients are… so amazing. I love that my couples are typically my age so we can connect on so many levels culturally. My clients are open-minded and collaborative when bringing their vision to life. My clients are fun-having and kind-hearted lovebirds happily marrying their person.
If I could… I would help every millennial lovebird tie the knot with ease and joy. I want to provide connections to amazing vendors, an event space for intimate ceremonies/elopements, create luxury experiences, and host bridal expos with amazing giveaways.
One time I… had an idea that I could combine my enthusiasm for love and storytelling. I am grateful for that idea and for all the couples I have been honored to officiate for.
Royal Treatment With Tiara NJ Wedding Officiant | @royaltreatmentwtiara
Is there a particular moment or story about why you decided that being in the wedding industry was what you wanted to do? My sorority sister asked me to join her and her husband in matrimony while I was studying in seminary to become a pastor. Upon walking alongside them through the process to the altar, at the altar, and even after… I was hooked. I loved the process of getting to know “the couple” and the dynamics of the desires, wants, and creativity of the union. After that, I knew my studies would still assist me, but I knew the end game was going to be something new altogether.
I stand for… uninhibited hospitality and affirming all love forms.
My clients are… non-traditionalists with an edge or flare for quality and pizzaz.
If I could… afford to buy property now, I would have converted an old church into a wedding center that would include a chapel, counseling services, reception space (indoor and outdoor), parking, and other on-site necessities for a ceremony of <50.
One time I… One time I officiated the wedding of a celebrity’s sister and they congratulated me afterward… I played their music in the car on the way home!
Rev. I, do Officiating | @revido_officiating