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  • Karla

Elopements + Micro-Weddings: A New Year in New England

Primary Photographer: Babel Photos | Secondary Photographer: All Pics Dot Co Officiant: Once Upon A Vow | Florals: Al Jones Collection | Band: Devil Love

Last Fall, Dani and I led a team of local Boston wedding pros and creatives in a styled shoot intended to let folx know that Once Upon A Vow has officially expanded into New England!!! Woot! Woot!

We decided to make a styled elopement shoot with real Bostonians living in the city and looking to explore alternative options to get married!! Our target spot was Franklin Park - an urban green space GEM (part of the Emerald Necklace park system) that happens to be near my home/new business location.

Wedding Pros Connect

We partnered with a truly inspiring group of humans to make it all possible. The whole process felt like a very special coming together of like-minded business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs in the wedding industry. Each person reached out to us responding to our notices eager to collaborate.

Photographer Kayla Lanagan, from Babel Photos, has been capturing brilliant images of special moments for years. She was the first to sign up for this endeavor and excitedly welcomed our second photographer, David Joseph, from All Pics Dot Com, a burgeoning photographer seeking to build his portfolio. To our pleasant surprise, we discovered that Kayla is a quarter Peruvian and David, although born in Boston, lived in Belize for much of his young life. We don't take these ties to shared heritages, cultures, and/or lived experiences lightly as we welcome all opportunities to resonate and be in kinship.

To round out our team, we were graced with the gifts of the very talented Jamaica Plain florist, Al Jones of Al Jones Collection. He was particularly interested in participating in this styled shoot because his own entrepreneurial journey as a black gay wedding pro in New England made it clear to him that we need to create more opportunities to collaborate and be in community. Al created specific floral pieces that matched the style and personalities of our models perfectly; each arrangement and accessory was exquisite and unique.

Wedding Industry IDEAS & Magical Outcomes

We got what we wanted - a crew of professionals interested in conducting business with an intentional focus on creating and incorporating Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Accessibility & Social Justice (IDEAS) models that work. We are creatives & entrepreneurs who seek access to resources and community; folx who want to engage in courageous conversations around racial and economic justice and do something about it. We are activated business owners looking to practice proven, as well as unconventional strategies, to help build bridges of understanding across lines of difference and to exercise our social justice values because it matters to us.

We're currently in the process of breaking down the styled shoot experience to help offer guidance around how to start any project with IDEAS as a top priority. We know more of us are looking to connect and figure out ways to apply the knowledge that we gained in 2020 to our businesses in 2021 and beyond.

For Once Upon A Vow that means we're here to do the anti-racist work required to uproot all forms of bigotry, especially the anti-blackness and xenophobia within our own cultures! We're here to say goodbye to the stronghold of the patriarchy and the binary in all our systems and structures. We're here to face the implicit biases and reconsider the training we've received for the purpose of expanding and evolving into who we're being called to become - a more conscious, empathetic, and kinder collective liberated from self limiting beliefs and the fear of others - of difference - of scarcity - of loss.

2020 showed us just how imbalanced our energies are as is proven by the state of affairs in our material world right now. But, for Dani and me, 2020 also made clear that WE are the ONES WE'VE BEEN WAITING FOR; we are the ones who must help restore balance by facing our own DARKNESS and stepping into our own LIGHT.

The truth is that this duality of LIGHT & DARK we've concocted, as is the case with all duality, is not really about opposing forces and the battle between them. We've learned that it's more about how two parts of the same whole can co-exist within and around us. For us, it's about learning to navigate, transmute, and effectively work with our energies to better serve ourselves and others. And while everything we're seeing can be devastating and confusing and enraging and just sad, there is plenty of joy and laughter and clarity and creativity that's worth celebrating ALWAYS.

LOVE remains the constant that helps us make peace with our darkness and embrace our full light so that we can learn to shine bright!! And LOVE is what Once Upon A Vow is here to honor and amplify through storytelling and celebrations of all kinds!! We may not get to experience love parties in the same ways we're used to for a while longer, but safe and socially responsible elopements, micro-weddings, hybrid (in person & virtual) ceremonies with socially impactful businesses are entirely possible and highly recommended. In

act, we think they're here to stay! Finding new ways to do things we already do is part of the collective expansion we're undergoing - it is part of our evolution! Let's evolve together and let love win!

For this styled shoot, we shared time and space and creative energies with two amazing couples. The whole experience was a privilege and a wonderful opportunity to connect with brilliant people!!

The first couple was a pair of awesome queer women! One was a Latinx social worker and transplant to Massachusetts; the other, a native of MA who recently returned home and now works to feed and care for the homeless. They'd planned to get married in 2020, but COVID put a hamper on their plans. Still, this manifesting duo managed to turn this styled shoot into an actual elopement that was attended by their fur child, Moose, and came complete with a surprise live band. They, legit, got to have a first dance, which is now forever memorialized by the band, Devil Love, in their music video.

The second pair was a queer nonbinary couple born and raised in Massachusetts who currently live minutes from Franklin Park. They are artists and activists who advocate for and work with the local community. Their style, personalities, and complimentary dynamic were beautifully captured by Babel Photos and the shoot was a prelude to their 2020 Winter Solstice Elopement, which was a personal win for me as it took place during the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction!! What can I say, I'm a bit woo woo and love all things stars and planets and nature!

¿Por qué US - Por qué HERE - Por qué NOW?

Neither traditional nor stuffy, Franklin Park is one of the most versatile public spaces for elopements and micro-weddings that we've found in the Boston area thus far. We look forward to exploring it further with those interested in something different - something safe - something that lends itself well to this NOW we're living through!

If you're engaged or thinking about becoming newlyweds sooner rather than later, then reach out and let's explore your options. If you are looking for an officiant who cares about you, your beloved, and your crew - someone who gets giddy hearing and telling your love story - AND you want to support a socially impactful BIPOC/QWOC business, then look no further, amores. We're here for you!

We look forward to celebrating and spreading love in Boston and across New England this 2021 and beyond!!


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