Styled Shoot: LGBTQ+ Couple, Vendors and Allies
A queer wedding planner created a perfect scene for two women whose wedding had to be reimagined due to the pandemic.
Teachers Alejandra and Rachel (Morrison) Esson were looking forward to their yacht club wedding on a 2020 dream date: Oct. 10, or 10/10/2020 … until, like so many others, they had to revise their plans due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. They decided to wed in a much more intimate ceremony at Flat 51 on Oct. 3, but wedding planner Jeannene Jones-Rupert of Jeannene Lillie Events wanted to make sure their magical date didn’t go to waste.
“I wanted this shoot to be an opportunity for Alejandra and Rachel to enjoy their newly wedded bliss after their intimate wedding celebration the week prior to the shoot,” Jones-Rupert says. “As a queer wedding planner, it was incredibly important to me as the planner and designer to create a shoot that celebrates the LGBTQ+ community and their love.”
Her design aesthetic for the shoot at the Club at Corazon mixed masculine, feminine and androgynous details and featured a cadre of vendors who identify as either LGBTQ or a strong ally of the community.
“As LGBTQIA+ creatives in the wedding and event industry, both Colby [Friedman] and I often feel inundated with a very straight worldview,” says Morgan Aranda of Prema Designs; she and Friedman created the floral arrangements for the day. “When searching for design inspiration on Pinterest or other social media, the couples pictured are almost always straight couples. Taking part in a shoot that celebrates the universe of diversity and strength of love in all capacities, from vendors to models, was heartwarming and affirming in so many ways!”
The Essons felt the warm fuzzies at their shoot, too. “Every person involved met us with smiles and honest love,” Alejandra says. “This was not just a photoshoot, but an unforgettable day for us. … Having this photo shoot allowed us to live out a dream that we would never be able to have in real life and the details that we missed from our actual wedding.”
Photographer Tessa Berg of Starling Studio captured the day, which was also featured on Style Me Pretty. “I have been yearning to create a gorgeous inspiration shoot that celebrates the LGBTQ+ community for years, and these images are nothing short of a dream come true,” Berg says. “The excitement was palpable from everyone involved and the exquisite design was only outshined by the genuine emotions that filled the day. … I feel honored to have captured their newlywed bliss in such an authentic way.”
Here at Columbus Weddings, we’ve long known that styled shoots featuring real couples, not models paid to pretend to be married, makes a world of difference in the finished photos; in that way, Alejandra and Rachel are no exception.
“The fact that all of these amazing team members came together to put this on for a queer couple means everything to us,” says Alejandra. “The use of these photographs by them will help spread love to their future couples. It lets the world know that love is love and that two women deserve to be done up and photographed. The shoot shows that there should be weddings this stunning for all people, not just the traditional couple.”
Co-host, planning and design: Jeannene Lillie Events
Co-host and photography: Starling Studio
Venue: The Club at Corazón
Florist: Prema Designs
Rental pieces: Aiden & Grace and Event Source
Linens: Event Source
Tableware: Crate & Barrel and Anthropologie
Table runners and bouquet ribbon: The Lesser Bear
Cake: Lavender & Honey
Stationery and calligraphy: Lupine Letters
Models: Rachel and Alejandra Esson
Rachel’s attire: Threadwell suit and ASOS loafers
Alejandra’s attire: Gown from La Jeune Mariee and Bella Belle shoes
Jewelry: Diamond Cellar
Makeup: Makeup by Tatum
Hair: Avola Lanza Bridal & Formal