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The Ultimate Wedding Day Guide For Brides of Color

Every Bride regardless to her ethnic background is beautiful in her own unique way. From her personality to her unique features, that's what sets her a part and makes her shine bright on her special day. No Bride (realistically) looks exactly alike, but to a Bride in planning seeing another Bride's wedding can inspire her and ultimately help her with planning. So, where did this topic come from? It was inspired by an email that I received from an inquiring Bride. She had been following me for some time on Instagram, and in her email she expressed a heartfelt statement that made me stop for a moment. I'm about to share that with you. (Sidenote: This goes to show that people can have a connection to your brand before they really get the opportunity to work with you. As a well-known Photographer and Entrepreneurial Coach once said, "The power of 1:1 connection is really powerful.")

THE EMAIL: "I really love your work. I have been following you on Instagram for some time now and I'm so excited to reach out to you about your wedding photography. I love how beautifully you photograph ALL of your couples and Brides, but being able to see myself in one of your black-Brides really makes your photography stand out. I don't want to sound weird, but being African-American sometimes it's hard to see yourself in Brides (featured in magazines, television, or online) that don't look like you. Being of a darker-tone it's even harder. Seeing a Bride that is my exact skin-tone and how beautiful she looks in your photographs; I felt like I had a place. Like I belonged. I could see myself in her wedding photos, and that made me smile." - Inquiring UI Bride

When I first received her email I wasn't expecting this type of message to be included. Most Brides start off with their wedding day and then begin to inquire about my Collections. Yes, sometimes they do share feedback about my work, but this one was different. It was different because she shared her heart and how my imagery was directly effecting her in a positive manner. It was knowing that a photograph I captured of my beautiful UI Bride, made another woman feel even more beautiful about herself. It was knowing that my work can speak to any Bride, and remind Bride's of all colors that they are beautiful. It was knowing that a woman who may have had negative thoughts about her skin color or perhaps others have attacked her for her skin tone -my images let her know that none of that mattered. After reading her message, while I was happy that she contacted me to shoot her wedding I wanted to respond to her message about being encouraged through my photography. I wanted her to know that she was beautiful and that her darker skin tone IS beautiful. I wanted her to know that she can be herself with Unashamed Imaging, and that as her wedding photographer my goal is to bring out what she already embodies, and for her to embrace it.

I want to give Brides of Color some resources that my beautiful Black Brides can use to bring out their inner and outer beauty regardless to the hue of your skin-tone. Below are three categories that I want to share with you if you're a black-bride, and no worries if you're not a black-bride, you can use these too.: I: BRIDAL MAKEUP AS A BRIDE OF COLOR {Real Wedding: Ceaser Wedding | Photography by Unashamed Imaging of Professional ​Makeup Artist Bethmaylynes}​

Book A Professional Makeup Artist When it comes to Bridal makeup for Brides of Color it's important that you stay hydrated to reduce dry-skin, choose colors that go with your skin-tone and enhance your features. Choose a Professional MakeUp Artist that knows how to do makeup for a B.O.C. A great way to gauge their skills is to look at their portfolio and look at previous B.O.C. within their portfolio. This will help you to assess if they are the right fit for you. If you're looking for some referrals here are a few that I have worked with who are amazing.

Makeup Artist Referrals:

Carissa Mosley-

​Bethmaylynes- @Kuwbinc​Kyra

Let me also add that these makeup artist are not all African-American and that's what I love about working with this list of amazing professionals. They are professionals which means they know how to 'glam' any Bride; regardless of skin-tone.

{Real Wedding: Sierra Wedding | Photography by Unashamed Imaging of Professional ​Makeup Artist Erwin Artistry (Left)}

{Real Wedding: Sierra Wedding | Photography by Unashamed Imaging of Professional ​Makeup Artist Erwin Artistry}

Headshot by Harmony Lynn Photography

Makeup shot by LabelleMooi Photography II: BRIDAL HAIRSTYLIST

Professional Hairstylist When it comes to Bridal hairstyles and hairstylist for B.O.C., it's important that you hire a hairstylist that knows how to deal with your hair texture. We all have different textures of hair. If you're hair is anything like mine, the center of my hair is thicker than the edges of my hair. I found this out from my hairdresser and because I know this, I know how to care for my hair as a whole and try to avoid doing things that will damage either section from neglecting the other. My hairdresser also educated me on how to treat my hair and this is key. Knowing how to treat and care for hair makes a difference; a huge difference. A hairstylist that knows how to do your hair and your Bridesmaids hair is a big plus! All of you will look glamourous. ​ {Photography by Unashamed Imaging}

​​ A knowledgeable hairstylist will know how to treat and style your hair, but I also believe that if a professional doesn't know how to treat and style your type of hair, they will also admit this and may have some great referrals for you. Being able to see B.O.C. wedding-day hairstyles will help to inspire you. You can also use blogs and resources to find hairstyles that match your hair length and type. I will hone in on this in Category III: Resources. Professional Hairstylist Referrals: Crystal Williams - Elite Hair Care Joanna- In2YourBeauty Mia Farah Beautique- Pamela Hall

Here are some images from real weddings captured by Unashamed Imaging of Bridal Hair/Hairstyles featuring B.O.C.

{Photography by Unashamed Imaging featuring Bridal Hair from Crystal Williams of Elite Care}

{Photography by Unashamed Imaging featuring Bridal Hair from Elite Hair Care} FOR MY NATURAL HAIR BRIDE My UIBRIDE Jacqueline's hair did not frizz up. Her hair was done by Lucina Hair Care. Their session was at 3:00 p.m., in 92 degree weather plus high-humidity. Check out the behind the scenes video of me capturing my lovely couple to see how humid and hot it was; I was sweating through my shirt! If natural hair is more of your style booking a Natural Hair Master Stylist like Crystal Williams or Lucina Hair Care is the way to go. In this image below my UICouple is seen posing on these beautiful steps in Downtown Orlando, Florida. What you don't see is how ridiculously humid it was.

{Photography by Unashamed Imaging featuring Bridal Hair from Lucina Hair Care}

Photography by Unashamed Imaging featuring Bridal Hair from Lucina Hair Care | Featured in The Huffington Post (Photo #2)


This section is dedicated to resources that can help you find Bridal Gowns, Wedding Inspiration, Engagement Sessions Inspiration, access to amazing Vendors and more. Use these resources in addition to Category I & II. ​

Wedding Blogs-

This TED TALK by Catalyst Co. founder is also a beautiful video about this subject. Check out "Why We Should Care About Weddings"

All of these resources will give you great inspiration for Bridal Gowns, Wedding Inspiration, Engagement Sessions Inspiration, access to amazing Vendors and more.

From The Photographer:

My ethnic background is Indian, British American, Asian, and African. Although my family is a melting pot, I am still considered African American ny America's standards. In fact, I've never selected "Other" as an option on a pill or application because I was always told by family that we are African American. When I was an early-teen (ions ago -lol) I was selected to attend an Irish event because of my poetry. I was the only African American there. I felt uncomfortable and out of place. It had nothing to do with my looks, and everything to do with not seeing any other form of representation of my ehtinic background outside of my immediate family (my parents). I remember leaving the event wondering why I was sent there. I couldn't relate to the other girls. I didn't have the same kind of hair they did nor did we tell the same stories (how we grew up and things of that nature). I'm sharing this experience because I believe that this is the same experience that African American Brides face. They don't see a lot of themselves in magazines, television, etc. Having this knowledge it was important for me as a professional photographer and cinematographer, to showcase my weddings on different platforms so Brides of Color would have resources and know that they too can have a beautiful elaborate or intimate weddings; with resources for inspiration.

Over the last two years my work has been featured in many publications where I've showcased my couples (who are not all African American), but knowing that I'm putting quality content out there for B.O.C. let's me know that I am doing the right thing. One Bride's changed perspective about her beautiful melanin skin is enough to keep me going and to motivate me to represent BOC's with style and class.

At the end of the day, I want people to embrace who they really are. I want them to love themselves and not beat themselves up; the world already does enough of that. Fitting in is a struggle for a lot of people (both men and women alike), so if all it takes is one photo to make you realize how unique and beautiful you are then I hope that more people like the Bride who reached out to me and shared what my photography did to her mindset and view of herself - encounter this same experience.

Written in Love, Anesha Collins

Unashamed Imaging photography and videography
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