Patricia + Sammy's Egyptian + Dominican Backyard Wedding in LA

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Patricia + Sammy's Egyptian + Dominican Backyard Wedding in LA

There were too many luscious details at Patricia and Sammy's wedding to mention them all! Because their home base is NYC and they have lots of family living abroad, the entire ceremony was live streamed for international/east coast friends and family who couldn't make the trek. Each element of the celebration was thoughtfully blended: it was a little bit glam (that gown!), a little bit pool party (that gown underwater!); a little bit Dominican (Patricia's side), a little bit Egyptian (Sammy's side); a little bit cozy and warm (hookah and s'mores station) and a little bit chic and funky (Patricia's blue hair)!  

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Calling all witches

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Calling all witches

Anyone else trying to hex Brett Kavanaugh (any maybe Susan Collins while we’re at it)???

The news the past few weeks has been HARD, y’all. Fucking hard. I’m not a firm believer in all things woo, but I know that women are full of rage that a drunken frat boy dipped in partisanship is about to become a Supreme Court Justice. So here are a handful of photos from a shoot I did many autumns ago that was created to remind us of all the power women can’t see, but we can feel. And if anyone wants to use these as inspiration to hex Brett Kavanaugh, you have my full fucking support.

FLORALS - Amanda Burnette
VENUE - Seven Springs
HAIR/MAKEUP - Slingin Pretty
STYLING - Heather Lewis

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Richmond food guide // women and poc-owned biz edition

Top Ten Richmond Restaurants
Owned by womxn + people of color

In case you didn’t know, I am a Richmond evangelist. I love it here. I have lived elsewhere (Charlottesville & NYC) and prefer Richmond wholeheartedly. The pace is more manageable than bigger cities, the art school provides us with a steady influx of creative types, it’s ridiculously bikeable, there’s loads of easy access to nature, and the music scene is just right for an aging hipster/punk like me.

I’m so dang effusive that I am frequently asked for recommendations for food/drink in town. SO I set out to compile an actual list of my ten favorite places, but with the requirement that they be owned (or co-owned) by a womxn or a person of color (or both, obviously). Unfortunately there are no photos to accompany the list, because I hate being That Person taking photos of their food. But each of these places is 100% delicious.

FOOD

Mama J’s Kitchen (Jackson Ward) - Hands-down the best hardcore Southern Soul Food in Richmond, in a spot that can get busy but never feels hectic. Has a fabulously neighborhood-y, family vibe.

Helen’s (The Fan) - A very Richmond spot with great people-watching and a beautiful copper bar. Solid American fare, great vibe, and yummy brunch!

Sen Organic (Carytown) - One of the most calming places I’ve ever been, to say nothing of the exceptional food and flavors! Organic, French-inspired & vegan-friendly Vietnamese fare, including vegan Pho!

Laura Lee’s (Southside) - Cheery New American restaurant with a patio and lots of vegetarian options, including a stellar mac and cheese. Great for brunch!

Sabai (The Fan/Broad Street) - Hip Thai spot with unique offerings and small plates that you don’t see in most (Americanized) Thai restaurants. Tropical vibe, beer garden, and patio.

The Broken Tulip (Carytown) - A super unique dining experience: sit at family style tables and go on a culinary adventure over a six local-ingredients-only courses and no menu choices to make! Don’t worry, when you make your required reservation you can let them know about dietary requirements.  

Dinamo (VCU Area) - Dark, tiny, and hip, with a menu that is mostly Italian, with a little Jewish thrown in there. Nestled in a very “Richmond” way between a tattoo shop and a froyo store. Date night fave.

Mama Zu (VCU Area, Oregon Hill) - Super legit Italian restaurant with just one menu and it’s on the chalkboard. Huge portions. One of those places where many celebrities have eaten, but from the outside it kinda looks like a place to buy drugs.

Stella’s (Near West End) - Charming and warm Greek spot situated on a random commercial block in a super residential neighborhood. Food is legit, portions are huge, but best if you have reservations!

Metzger (Union Hill/Church Hill) - Attention meat lovers: find seasonal & sustainable rustic German-inspired plates here. 

BOOZE (+ DESSERT)

Blue Bee Cider (Scott’s Addition) - I feel like this is self-explanatory, but Blue Bee is THE boozey cider place in Richmond. Cute little tasting room, and some lovely outdoor seating. Bonus: on weekends they sometimes host craft fairs!

Secco (The Fan) - These are the nicest wine people ever, and that’s coming from someone who drinks maybe two glasses of wine per year, and when I do I want it to be the sweetest, most low-brow wine ever. They are never judgmental and always happy to help you find the one you want, even if it takes a few/many tries.

Whisk (Downtown/Shockoe) - Cozy coffee/sweets shop perfect for some downtime away from the bustle of downtown. The macarons are stellar.

Scoop (The Fan) - Same owner as Whisk, their whole Thing is small batches and seasonal flavors. And omg one of their topping options is cocoa nibs, my 100% fave.

COFFEE SHOPS & BAKED GOODS

Stir Crazy Cafe (Northside) - Comfy spot with classic coffee shop vibes: couches, laptops, chalkboard menus, tons of flyers for local shows and events. They serve Counter Culture coffee, which may be heresy to local-only coffee aficionados but tastes excellent!

Brenner Pass/Charilift (Scott’s Addition) - Controversial Opinion: the restaurant Brenner Pass is super delicious (and there’s a CHEESE CART) but I’m way more excited by the attached coffee shop, Chairlift (not a great name). They pour a tasty latte and their baked goods are phenomenal (best caneles I’ve ever had)! Plus, more cheese. The back room is a perfect spot to get some work done.

Sugar and Twine (Carytown) - I take most of my non-studio/non-home meetings at Sugar and Twine exclusively for the baked goods. The cheddar biscuits are awesome, and they have a rotating cast of scones, croissants, cookies, and muffins that never disappoint (including vegan items). Solid tea selection, too!

Sub Rosa (Church Hill) - One word: BREAD. If you’re looking for a croissant or any other breadlike breakfast/brunch food, go to Sub Rosa. Lucky for me it’s up a giant hill so I rarely want to bike there, or else I would go every single day. Bonus: it’s right around the corner from Dear Neighbor, the most Brooklyn-ish shop in Richmond. 

Brewer’s Cafe (Manchester) - Not only is the coffee great and the space is always bustling, but owner Ajay Brewer is super quick to donate coffee and food to social-justice related causes (like Feminist Camp!) This place is a true community spot.

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colleen + david + ari // family mini session

Colleen and David’s wedding was one of the first I ever shot. Colleen and I knew each other from the feminist club at U.Va. that I helped found when I was an undergrad (HAY FIFE!!), and when she asked me to shoot their wedding I was absolutely thrilled. It was a beautiful ceremony at Old Metropolitan Hall with a mega dance party afterwards. I loved it, and I love them.

A few years later, they reached out to me about doing some family photos to celebrate their son’s adoption being finalized. OMG Y’ALL. I have not had more fun doing a family session EVER. Since then, their family has grown to a family of five and I can’t wait for our next session! But until then, here’s a glimpse into our adventures.

(Want your own family mini session? We’re doing a super limited number of sessions this fall and you can sign up here!)


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PLAYLIST // DESERT HIGHWAY

warning: Not wedding content at alL. 

But music is a huge part of my (Carly) life, and lately I've been dipping my toe back into the long-lost art of the mixtape. Did anyone else make mixtapes for their friends, siblings, unrequited loves, etc? Pre-Spotify, it was quite an ordeal. Pre-Napster it was an even BIGGER ordeal. But to me, music can enhance a mood, or change a meh day into a rad day. So here's one of my mixes, Desert Highway.

Over the summer, I attended a retreat in New Mexico called Mujeres Milagros, which is centered around women in the chocolate industry and those with an interest in chocolate. It was my first time in New Mexico (BEAUTIFUL) and my first really long stay in the desert. As the retreat concluded, I had a chance to drive off the hacienda property and go exploring for a moment with some of my fellow chocolate-makers, so I whipped up this playlist for us and have been listening to it ever since. It's ideal for driving out in the desert with some of your best pals, or really any moment when you're feeling hot and happy and free. Features a Neil Young cover by Shovels & Rope, a track by my new faves the Secret Sisters (who I got to see open for Brandi Carlile recently and BLEW ME AWAY), a little Janelle Monae, a little ZZ Top for comic relief, and (of course) a song by my very more favorite, The Mountain Goats. Enjoy!

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Andrew + Ryan's New Year's Eve Soiree Wedding

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Andrew + Ryan's New Year's Eve Soiree Wedding

In an attempt to stave off the crushing dread of The News and The State of Our Country, I've been going back and looking at photos taken over the past year that never made it on the blog. Because when you feel hopeless and defeated, one good option is to spread love, loudly and proudly. Special shout-out to all y'all who are planning a wedding but this political climate is seriously putting a damper on your vibe. Stay strong. 

Andrew + Ryan married each other at a FREEZING private ceremony at one of the most beautiful monuments on the National Mall. They continued the celebration with a community ceremony and swanky soirée at a local restaurant, complete with rainbow-and-confetti dance party and traditional Latin American New Year's traditions (see if you can spot the photo of them, and Andrew's mom, with grapes stuffed in their mouths). It was sparkly and beautiful and perfect.

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Why you need a feminist wedding photographer

I've tried several times to articulate (for myself, and for others) what it means to be a feminist wedding photographer, but this time I think I've really got it down! It's hard to write about feminism and other political things without implying that people who see things otherwise are Doing it Wrong, but I believe that people doing what they actively want--and not mindlessly doing what is expected of them--is the real important thing.

Being a feminist involved in the wedding industry, and in photography specifically, can be overwhelming. There are a lot of gender-related expectations tied up in American wedding culture, and I learned this firsthand last year as my partner and I planned a wedding-esque celebration of our love. While researching photographers to capture the event, I was inundated with language focusing almost exclusively on The Bride (™) and what The Bride (™) wants/needs/should look like in order to properly execute The Best Day of Her Life (™). I found this on photographer websites, in promotional material, on Pinterest, on Etsy, and many other online and offline spaces.

However, through feminism my relationship has grown to value equity and mutual respect, so I didn't feel like the celebration was meant to celebrate ME, but rather our partnership. Thanks to feminism, I define my life by more than my marital/relationship status, so I kinda find the thought that the best day of my entire life took place when I was just 26 years old a little bit depressing. So after twisting the arm of a photographer friend who usually shoots hardcore punk shows, I vowed (har har) to be the photographer that I would have wanted at my own love party: a feminist photographer.

Some might think that viewing weddings through a feminist lens (har har again) makes for a narrower view, but I disagree. Feminist wedding photography actually creates more dimension because it's about documenting love and relationships and happiness beyond the traditional [heterosexist] narrative of Boy-Meets-Girl, Boy Proposes, etc. Being a feminist wedding photographer means celebrating the individuals and their partnership as unique and wonderful things. It means:

 Richmond Virginia Wedding Photographer
 richmond va wedding photographer

- Appreciating and highlighting the ways my clients decide to embrace or shirk tradition/capitalism and taking the pictures that are important to them (from their grandparents doing the Cupid Shuffle down to macro images of rings on foliage) because they are meaningful (and let's face it, pretty) -- not because that's what Weddings Have To Be Like.

- Capturing the physical beauty of the day but focusing less on what your hair looks like (though I'm sure it looks amazing) and more on the emotional beauty: how much you laughed listening to your college roommate talk about what a slob you were, your new spouse's face watching you dance with your parent, the pure joy and warmth of your arms around each other after a first look.

- Thinking outside the box in terms of posing and composition; recognizing that everyone is on a spectrum of masculinity and femininity and not boxing folks into traditional gender roles.

- Mindfully not taking part in the stress and pressure generated by the Wedding Industry during the planning stages and acting as a wedding doula day-of by being supportive, positive, and drama-free.

So if you know someone in your life who's planning to get hitched (legally or not), spread the word! Feminist wedding photographers are the way to go. You can get more info about my work specifically by emailing me: carly {at} carlyromeo {dot} com or using this handy contact form.

DISCLAIMER: The post assumes that you are in the position of hiring a wedding photographer in the first place. Engaged folks or other soon-to-be committed couples who aren't planning on hiring a professional photographer for whatever reason (budget, politics, disinterest, etc): more power to you!

*I originally published this when my business was a tiny baby business, back in 2014.

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Noor & Matt's Industrial Wasteland Pre-Wedding Photo Session

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Noor & Matt's Industrial Wasteland Pre-Wedding Photo Session

I thought about letting these photos speak for themselves, because when a couple asks to shoot in an "industrial wasteland" and one of them is wearing a saree, you know the photos are gonna say something.

But Noor and Matt's pre-wedding session, which was shot by Matt, had more backstory that needs to be shared. Noor is a Pakistani who has lived in the U.S since 2008, but her family still lives in the motherland. She moved to DC in 2012 and fell in love with Matt at a May Day rally and protest at the White House, where they battled some racist neo-Nazis together. So when they inquired I was already like YES YOU ARE OUR PEOPLE.

I'll let Noor tell the story from there: "We flirted, and dated and have consequently been together since May Day 2013. I work at a DC based worker-owned collective and Matt works at a HVAC company in VA. Matt is born and raised in Richmond and loves it nearly, and we've spent a lot of time back and forth from DC and Richmond. I come from a family who had always imagined me to be forever betrothed to a man that fit the demographics of Muslim+Pakistani. But, now I got this white punk kid I love dearly from Richmond, Virginia. We don't have any nice photos just being our silly selves, just selfies of us sweating at marches. So, this request is for a photo-shoot the morning before our wedding lunch (in December we're all headed to Pakistan for a big old wedding there), just us looking fly."

I love their story and these photos and I'm so thankful for couples who care about making this world a better place. And I'm thankful for my associate photographer, Matt, who totally nailed these images.

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lauren + tadeu's new year's eve wedding in seattle

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lauren + tadeu's new year's eve wedding in seattle

As 2017 comes to a close, we've been reflecting on how many couples we've been lucky enough to work with who we would consider our "ideal" clients. Lauren & Tadeu are one of those couples.

I (Carly) met Lauren & Tadeu in 2015 when I was visiting my brother- and sister-in-law in Seattle. I had a spare afternoon so I put out feelers to see if anyone who followed me on instagram would be interested in a free couple's session. Almost immediately I received an email from Tadeu that said he was about to propose to his partner, and he thought it would be fun to surprise her with a photo shoot as well. I was super stoked on the idea of the shoot being a surprise treat, and I asked him to share more about them. He replied: "I'm a second year law student. I'm active in racial justice and prison abolition work. I am Latino (Brazilian) and that is really important to me. Lauren is a fourth grade teacher. We actually met the first day of college because we were both in the same orientation group (I was originally going to be a teacher too, but found that I'm not nearly as patient as I need to be). We are both very family-oriented. We have a cat. We like art. We run." I'm sure you're not shocked to learn that I was immediately struck by knowing that we NEED to be friends and we set the shoot up. Prison abolitionist lawyer and rad molder of young minds? YES PLEASE. When I met them in person, their energy was extremely positive and they had a super strong vibe of support and mutual respect. We had a lot of fun tromping through the rose gardens, fountains, and beautiful plazas of UW, and overall it was a beautifully low-key afternoon. I sent them their photos a few weeks later and crossed my fingers that they would hire me for their wedding.

I was absolutely thrilled when they asked me to document their New Year's Eve bash last December. I didn't realize it at the time, but their planner, Kaleb, is a big fucking deal (and super nice too). I asked around to my Seattle wedding biz friends and I learned that the venue, Sodo Park, would be gorgeous but otherwise I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I knew it would be glitzy (because NYE weddings, duh) but when I got there and saw Lauren's outfit I nearly died. Then Tadeu's outfit (from Tuxedo Club Seattle) nearly did me in. Then the ceremony decor made me have to stop. and. breathe. Y'all, this wedding was GLAMOROUS (but not stuffy at all) and freaking magical. I will be honest: I was really intimidated and worried that I wouldn't be able to fully capture the joyous, lush, sparkling mood of the day. But looking back at these images I'm not too shy to say that we (myself and my fad second shooter Victoria!) totally nailed it. Thank you, Lauren and Tadeu, for being our kind of people and for choosing us to document your celebration. <3

FAVE DETAILS

  • Lauren's hair adornment (not sure the right term for it but it was some Greek goddess shit)

  • The NYE Party Accessory Table they set up which included noisemakers, hats, and confetti

  • The photos they set up in the front row of the ceremony of family members who had passed away

  • The family bolo ties worn by Lauren's brothers and Tadeu

FAVE MOMENTS

  • Tadeu's mom giving a toast in Portuguese (with the help of a friend who translated), expressing so much pride in her son and reflecting on the journey she has taken as an immigrant and in raising him solo. Not a dry eye in the place.

  • The first look we did just outside the Seattle Public Library - the architecture there is so fabulously geometric.

  • Stroke of midnight confetti explosion - made for excellent photos as well as lots of fun re-dos as people were goofily picking it back up off the floor and tossing it around.

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