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Brides of Color

Dawn, this one is for you!

A fellow blogger, The Happy Nappy Bride has done some interesting research as a bride. She purchases bridal magazines and then counts the number of women of color amongst the pages. The percentage of brides of color compared to white (non-Hispanic) is ASTOUNDING. More so than I ever imaged, or really, ever thought twice about. If you had asked me if there were ethnic brides in the pages of bridal magazines, I'd be all, "Well, duh. Of course Modern Bride has women of color all over their pages. They wouldn't be so modern now if they didn't, would they? Yeah. I'd be wrong. It really is a sad, sad thing that we don't have more images of brides and grooms in multiple ethnicities, skin colors and cultures to draw from. Being the lucky girl I am, I have been afforded the opportunity to travel far and wide and observe different cultures and inquire to their wedding traditions. I seriously considered getting the soles of my feet henna'd as Indian brides do, only as a nod to my own world travels. Sadly, truly talented henna artists are few and far between here in Nashville, so opted out of that tradition. But Happy Nappy has a point, we need more, people!

Last night as I approached a new post, I wasn't sure what I wanted to write about. I checked my Twitter account and had a little message from a local florist I met on Sunday night, Rhonda Patton. I was checking out her website and blog and I found some amazing pictures of brides in all colors and shapes and sizes! It got me thinking about The Happy Nappy Bride and her search for more women of color in the WIC. So I did some searching too. First, I want to say that I am appalled. Appalled. Google "Ethnic Brides." Google "Latina Brides." Google Asian Brides." You know what comes up first? Mail-order brides. I wanted to vomit. What the fuck does that say about us as a fucking country and culture? I REALLY had to dig to find positive images of brides of color. Seriously. I stayed up WAY past my bedtime trying to find images across the interwebs. And again, I think that is really fucking sad.

However, I did find some things. What I found made me super-duper happy. I hope you like them as much as I do. And I'd like to say to anyone who might, on the off-chance be part of the WIC and is reading this: Brides need inspiration. People are not made from a cookie-cutter image. Please stop showing all brides as 25, thin, blonde and with an $80,000 wedding budget. Yes, we want to see glamour. Glamour is fun. But glamour can also make you feel like shit when you know that you'll be shopping at David's Bridal and not Kleinfeld's. All I'm asking for is a little variety and a little reality.

*Stepping off soap box and shutting up so you can look at the pretty, pretty pictures of real-life brides.*

Image from Dove Wedding Photography, here in Nashville.

Images from Krista Lee Photography here in Nashville.


Image from L'Amour Photography


 Image by Matt Adcock.



 Images from Culture + Style Wedding Photography + Video.


Images from Sky + Carla Photographers.



Super-fab Amy Jean (The Relentless Bride)! This and images above from Hazelnut Photography.



*I think this might be one of my favorite posts.




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Reader Comments (18)

I was just thinking, "This is one of my favorite posts", and then I saw your comment just below the pictures. Great pics!

March 31, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMom

As a bride of color myself, I really appreciate you (and Dawn of The Happy Nappy Bride) bringing this subject to light! I love the pictures you found :o)

March 31, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGhenet

Yay...everyone should take up the cause!! I'm glad you wrote about it!

March 31, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHappy Nappy Bride

I kid you not when I say that the beauty of these photos made my eyes get teary and made my nose run.

Lovely! (the photos, not my runny nose)

March 31, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGEW

As another black bride blogger (and lurker on your blog), I'd just like to say how much I appreciate you for this post.

March 31, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTiffany In Houston

I have often thought the same thing, and you put it into words wonderfully! One of our favorite weddings was this one from here in Nashville: http://photojoeblog.blogspot.com/2009/08/ken-reigen-tuggle.html I love all the images you posted!

March 31, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRhonda Hendricks

Simply put, you are right about printed magazines but online there are LOADS of "ethnic brides": You can't find them because usually real weddings are named after the *names* of the newlyweds, not after their ethnicity which is an absolutely GOOD thing. Who wants to be classified like an animal (ie based on physical features)????

March 31, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRosanna

@Rosanna - I see your point, but I think being able to look for and find weddings online would be important to a bride who might be interested in inspiration that is more appropriate to HER. How would you find them if you were just a regular ol' bride, versus freaks like us who live in Wedding Blog Land (come on in, there's a party going on!)? I don't know...now I'm all conflicted. What I do know is that our Google search is completely twisted.

March 31, 2010 | Registered CommenterLouise

I love these pictures thank you

buuuuuuuuuuuuut it is not just the magazines. Look at movies, television shows, ads, etc. It is mostly always white people. If people of color do show up, it is usually as sidekicks. Annoying.

March 31, 2010 | Unregistered Commentercupcake wedding

I stumbled across Dawn blog by accident and have become a faithful reader. I'm a slightly older, second time bride/mom of color that is rocking her glasses on her wedding day. Try finding some inspiration photos for that:0 Her informal investigation saddened me more than anything but I wasn't surprised. These images were beautiful. Thank you!

March 31, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCourtnee

Agreed - favorite post dear. You rock, as always.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChic 'n Cheap Living

Thank you for this post. The more we all start to talk about real people as inspirational, the more vendors may start to listen. These images are gorgeous and the mainstream bridal media needs to really start reflecting the true composition of its market: people of all ages, sizes, colors, cultures, and budgets.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBecca

Thank you for this post, as a African American in the wedding industry this is something that is near and dear to my heart. I have began a dialogue with others in the wedding industry about this very topic. There are beautiful Brides of Color getting married and I believe should be featured more. I would love to include you on some of the dialogue when the time comes!!
Kudos and thank you!

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLatrice

I realize this response is a few days overdue, but I have been behind in my blog reading! I agree that inspiration is not cookie cutter (or maybe I should say, shouldn't be)....but....if you type "white bride" into google, you are not likely to find much either...ok, bad example, because white and weddings go hand-in-hand....but if you type in "caucasian bride", it's not likely to yield what you are looking for any more than if you type in "arabic bride" or "polynesian bride" or "asian bride"....I don't know about you, but I will not be labeling my wedding photos as "white bride, with some arabic influence" --> so the photos will not come up if someone searches that term. I think the way we search for inspiration that is specific to our values (be it religious or hobby related or our race/ethnicity), is probably flawed and difficult- but I'm not sure that's Google's fault. The fact that you had difficulty finding diverse weddings is because people don't label their own photos as "diverse"- we are all mainstream in our own lives!

Like I said, I completely agree that the WIC could improve greatly by focusing on real brides with varying lifestyles, ethnicities, backgrounds, values, etc- we would all benefit from that! But I don't think a google search is necessarily a fair representation of the diversity that exists on the interwebs!

Love your blog, and love your opinions- it's always very refreshing and I look forward to every new post! Keep it up!

April 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKristine

Kristine - excellent point that I had not taken into consideration regarding the Google thing. I think I was more angry than anything else that whenever I typed in a descriptor of a "kind" of bride, that it was the "buy a foreign bride" thing that came up first!
Thanks for the kudos and thank you so much for reading!


April 6, 2010 | Registered CommenterLouise

I've seen plenty of ethnic brides in real life, because, um, my family is Mexican and I have a diverse group of friends. That said, I was bummed when I started looking for wedding inspiration and found very little reflecting me. I even contemplated starting a side blog to document the planning for what I call my Jamexican wedding (fiance is Jamaican American), but I'm just adding that to my current blog. Also, when I picked my photographer, part of what made me like him aside from already being familiar with his portrait work via Flickr was that his website featured real couples including Latinas. Maybe it's easier to find that in Southern California, but it definitely was a plus to know he wasn't just putting the size 4, white, rich brides on his blog.

Thanks for the inspiration.

August 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercindylu

what a wonderful set of photos ! I love them! Someday I will get married.

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterArtuno

I love to see how colorful are weddings in this epoch. No matter what your religion is or which your traditions, culture or preferences are, weddings are better every single day. In my brother's one they even gave viagra online to make the event a quite different, and everybody was making fun of an elderlyman... I couldn't stop laughing.

October 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew Keenan

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