Jess and Steve were married at Race and Religious, a quintessential New Orleans venue which was built in the 1830s. They were inspired by the city itself for their June wedding.
“New Orleans was a big inspiration for the wedding”, said the bride. “I would say it was alternative in that we often referred to it as our ‘party’ rather than our ‘wedding’. It helped us remember to keep it fun. Our theme was pretty loose but it was really about New Orleans and love and celebration. We played off the romantic and imperfect loveliness of it all.”
“I DIY’ed a lot of the wedding elements and I had a great time with it”, she continued. “We tried to make sure you could see a bit of us in everything we did and keep it personal. Our wedding favours were jars of honey from a bee-keeper in Steve’s mom’s community garden in Florida. That was symbolic for us because we got engaged in Wolfgang Laib’s Waxroom in the Phillips Collection Museum in DC.”
Hayleigh and Marc met at an alternative nightclub in 2010 so they always knew their wedding would be quite non-traditional. “We went for a bohemian-esque evening wedding however tried not to go over the top with our decorations”, said the bride. “We really wanted it to be about us and our families, not the ‘stuff’. Whilst I had hundreds of photos saved on Pinterest not a lot of those ideas made it to the big day!”
“The bouquets and headpiece were made by me, my mother and my godmother the day before the wedding”. she continued. “We went to the local flower market and picked out anything that we wanted. It ended up costing approx $200 including the wire, tape and ribbons and a few hours of laughter! We also made our own rug and cushions. I picked out all of the fabrics and my mother and her sister made the amazing creations. I decorated some small bottles and vases for the bar tables to put flowers in.”
Harnaam Kaur has polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which meant she started growing a beard from aged 11. Battling to remove her hair every day, and bullied at school, she started to self harm and considered suicide. Harnaam is now a body-confidence and anti-bullying activist and she fully embraces her unique look and hopes to encourage others to do the same. So when this bridal shoot using Harnaam as the model was submitted to me I nearly jumped out of my skin with excitement!
“I am a British born female living in Slough”, Harnaam told me. “I am a little different from other women. “I was diagnosed with polycystic ovaries from a really young age, around the time I hit puberty. PCOS is a condition in which there is an imbalance in hormones within the female body, this has led me to have more male hormones then female ones, and it is also the reason to why I have a beard. I used to have my face waxed 2 to 3 times a week, and on the days I couldn’t bare the pain I would simply shave.”
“I had a great upbringing and a really happy family life but I was severely bullied all the way through school, starting from nursery right through to my late secondary school days. I even got beaten up a few times. I became very aggressively suicidal and I even resorted to self harm.”
“At the age of 16 I hit my biggest low. I had been suicidal all year due to immense bullying from school and people in society. I hid away and did not want to venture out into the public. My bedroom was my only safe haven. I was hugely depressed. I remember sitting on my bed and thinking about taking my own life. But instead, as I sat there, I started to counsel myself. I told myself ‘The energy you are putting into ending your life, put all that energy into turning your life around and doing something better’.”
“At that point I decided I wanted to be me. I decided to keep my beard and step forward against society’s expectations of what a woman should look like. Today I am not suicidal and I do not self harm. Today I am happy living as a young beautiful bearded woman. I have realised that this body is mine, I own it, I do not have any other body to live in so I may as well love it unconditionally.”