Here are a few tips from a wide selection of black brides that I had the pleasure to photograph. These ladies are here sharing their most important tips with you in the hope to help you come over the struggles they had themselves while planning their own wedding.
The most difficult thing to find as a black bride
Krissy: A wedding photographer that had photographed interracial couples and had a fun and authentic style. Ed and I are relaxed and playful characters who don’t take life too seriously. We didn’t want overly posed and stiff photos that didn’t capture the fun of the day.
Lesley: I think hair and makeup was definitely the hardest thing to find as a black bride. My normal hair stylist doesn't travel to do hair on location. For simplicity I wanted to find someone who could do both. I spent ages looking online at different forums, wedding sites and googling well known salons. Most of the people I found were either super expensive, already booked or not quite right. I really lucked out finding Lola who did both. I was so happy with how it turned out. She matched my vision perfectly. I don’t normally wear a lot of make up and my biggest fear was not looking or feeling like myself on the day. That didn’t happen at all, it was perfect.
Kysha: I was unable to find ring, dress and reception venue options by a diverse persons or companies.
Cécilia: Well, I wanted to have a caterer that could do French, British and Congolese food to be a reflection of our origins. Let’s say I gave up very quickly on that idea! I can’t say I had too many difficulties finding suppliers. Probably, the most difficult thing to find was what hairstyle I was going to opt for. I couldn’t really decide. Well, time decided for me!
Sandra: The right decorations. As we wanted a bit of traditional colour and decor it was difficult to find vendors who could help. Most of our decor we created ourselves or shopped in another country. In the UK wedding decors are mostly westernised.
Samalie: Finding a documentary wedding photographer who had experience shooting melanated folks. It's not a common style of photography so finding somebody Black was challenging. There are many white suppliers, but I wasn't confident that they wouldn't make us look ashy. I wasn't going to take any chances! It requires a lot of skill to capture black skin.
Why did you want a black wedding photographer?
Krissy: I often find that black women aren’t always captured to highlight our true beauty and power. I wanted a black photographer who could not only ensure they could capture my skin and complexion in a natural way but also capture my husband’s as well. As we are an interracial couple I didn’t want him to look washed out and over exposed and for me to look overcast and for my features to be unclear. Having someone able to do both was really important to me. I was also super keen in supporting a black independent business during Covid.
Lesley: I was really happy that we were able to use some black suppliers for our day. Our venue provided most of our stuff (food, tables/chairs, music). In addition to Lola (Raffinee by Lola) and you, Joséphine, I’d found a black tailor for my dress fittings, Richard Thompson. Richard owns and runs Exclusive Alterations. I was worried that my dress needed a lot of work. However it ended up fitting me like a glove after a few visits to Richard.
Kysha: Important to me to support my community with tangible actions. Also the reviews said you were fabulous too.
Cécilia: I have read somewhere that sometimes photographers fail to capture perfectly the skin tones of Black people. I thought that by hiring a Black photographer this wouldn’t be an issue. I also thought that maybe the connection would be easier, as to what I wanted. And it was indeed, as Joséphine is also French like me! So, communication was spot on! Last but not least, I wanted to work with a woman photographer.
Sandra: Because I wanted someone who will understand our language. Also I wanted someone who could place themselves in our shoes. A wedding is such an intimate moment. Not only we want piece of mind but also we want to be considered. We are a black couple with all that entails, skin complexion (for lightning), body shapes , etc
Samalie: We were parting with a significant amount of money and it was important for us to keep it in the Black Community. We wanted to honour our values of supporting Black businesses and empowering our community, so walking the talk, per say.
Why is inclusivity important for you?
Kysha: I think Inclusion and equity should be important to everyone. It’s where you get new ideas, fresh thinking, different ways of working and moments of inspiration. In addition, representation is incredibly important and there is a direct link between companies that are truly representative and those that are profitable
Krissy: Inclusiveness is important to me as I believe it is crucial for everyone to see themselves represented in all areas of life. It enables us all to boost our esteem and aspirations. It also ensures that the right voices are contributing to the conversation so that the outcome or end product is fit for purpose.
Cécilia: As a Black/mixed-race person, inclusivity matters to me, as I feel we need more representation at every level of society and we also need to push Black owned businesses. We need a more inclusive society and I think it’s start by the actions we take. So, it was important for me to try and work with Black creatives and suppliers, especially women.
Sandra: Because it's part of our lives. We have family and friends of different ethnic backgrounds, religions, beliefs and sexual orientation.
Samalie: Because I live in London and expect to find services that cater to my experience. But I think representation is more important to me than inclusivity.
Hair tips for black brides
Any tips about hair-do for your wedding day?
Kysha: I liked doing a natural hair style without extensions while wearing couture and high fashion. Took any stress away from the day regarding hair for me and I loved the look. I’ve heard some people say that natural hair isn’t elegant unless you change the texture or add length to it. I don’t believe that and wanted to counter that view too
Krissy: I used my hairdresser that I’ve used for The last 12 years. This meant she knew the texture of my hair and I could be really collaborative with her around what I wanted it to look like. Because she knew my hair so well she was able to make recommendations. The change of colour in my hair, to turn it down so it suited my dress and make up on the day. She also was super respectful of my requests and vision as I wanted to ensure that I continued to look like myself on my wedding day. I am never a fan of wedding hair that isn’t reflective of your natural style and flair as I think it looks odd.
Cécilia: Have a clear vision of what you want. I went to the hairdresser (where I get all my cuts and braiding done) a few days before to get some braids done. On the day I wanted to style them in a particular way but as a friend told me the braids are already a head piece in themselves. Less is more I guess, well it worked for me and that gave me more time on the day to do other things.
Sandra: Practice before the day. Try different styles with the veil or headpiece you choose. Also remain natural, but that's a preference. Your wedding photos are set in time but forever alive and you definitely want to be proud and say THIS IS ME with all my natural looks maybe apart from makeup.
Samalie: Find a good barber and try them out way before your wedding day. With short hair, I found it important to accessorise with earrings and to go a little extra with my lip colour as my hair was so cropped.
Make up tips for black brides
Any tips about make-up for your wedding day?
Krissy: Do a lot of research on websites and apps like Pinterest. Find out what makeup look you think looks good on you. I was a bit of a risk taker and I didn’t have a session before the wedding day to do a trial. If you’re not into taking risks then definitely do this. It worked out for me. My make up artist was amazing. I’ve never felt so beautiful and she was really a lot of fun. And so talented. Make sure that you leave enough time and that your makeup artist has worked with women who have a similar skin tone. This is to ensure that she’ll have the right pallet foundations et cetera for your skin.
Lesley: My biggest tips for both hair and makeup would be to do your research. Definitely book in a trial ahead of time. Don't end up surprised or disappointed on the day!
Cécilia: Allow plenty of time on the day, do your research (Pinterest, Instagram are your friends) and be clear as to what you want.
Sandra: Try before the day. Test weeks or months before so you do have time to find alternatives in case it doesn't work. I'm not a big makeup user so having fake lashes for instance I had to get used to the idea. Also I'm very skin sensitive and wanted to make sure no allergy reaction on the big day. I chose a natural look makeup because as I said I wanted to look as much as myself on the photos.
Samalie: Practice with your MUA. Plus, for somebody like me that wanted a more natural look, I realised that it was important to communicate that to my MUA. She did something that reflected my personality and something that was true to me. I also had to trust that she knew what she was doing even though it felt like it was too much. My MUA made a valid point that when the camera lights are on you, it all balances out. It doesn't look as dramatic off camera which I'm thankful for. When I look at the video and camera, it's just the right amount and not excessive at all. So in the end I went for a natural look with a bold lip and I loved it.
|Hopefully these tips where helpful!
Maybe you are planning a multicultural wedding too? Find another article here to find tips about how to create a fusion wedding!
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