Grace and Ella's Rainbow-Bright LGBTQ Wedding Styled Shoot

One of the things I love most about my work as a wedding photographer is that I get to be creative every day, to help all different types of couples tell their love stories through photos.

So when Chelsea, the designer at Modehaus, and I started dreaming up a fun and creative wedding for one of our local same-sex or queer couples we knew that we had to make our dream faux-wedding a reality.

Styled wedding shoots are such a fun way to experiment as a wedding professional, a chance to explore a setting, meet a new couple and work a little outside your usual comfort zone. For me, I was so excited to create a romantic session for some self-identifying LGBTQ+ folx! While I’ve photographed lots of hetero and cis-gendered couples, it’s so important to me that my photography showcase all kinds of different love.

So we put out a call for a real couple to join us. We wanted the emotions to be real, even if the wedding was faux.

When we met Grace and Ella, I knew they were the perfect couple. Their story is so romantic and they were so excited to celebrate their love with us.
 

Grace and Ella’s Love Story

Grace and Ella met in college at St. Ben’s. Part of a large group of interconnected friends, several people insisted that they meet. After hearing she HAD to meet Grace for months, Ella looked her up online and, in the most adorable modern moment ever, Ella said, “It was the millennial version of love-at-first-sight, even on that little screen I just fell for her right away.”

They started a friendship that grew and grew into something more. And soon Ella knew that Grace was her person, she was ready to say “I do.” But Grace didn’t know if she was ready.

They made a pact: when Grace was ready, she’d propose and both she and Ella would know that they were in it.

And last November Grace proposed with their family and loved ones all around and Ella proposed right back with a beautiful ring at Union Restaurant. I love that they proposed to each other - my partner, Tyler and I, proposed to each other and I always get a little sappy when that happens with my couples.

They started planning a wedding and then, life happened; Grace and Ella are both nurses, but Ella is a nurse in the Army Reserves and received word that she’s to be deployed this summer. They struggled with whether to get married before Ella’s deployment or after her return, but there was another factor, Grace’s grandfather’s health was failing.

So, one Saturday they decided, “Let’s get married a week from now!” And they did. In a small, cozy ceremony in their living room with their important people all around.

And while they loved their wedding, at this shoot they were excited to celebrate with all the fun, fancy wedding elements that didn’t make it into their official ceremony - and have some beautiful, romantic photos of each other to keep while they’re apart.

 

The Style and Inspiration By Bre at Bre is Fun

Event coordinator, Bre had a vision that incorporated a rainbow of joyful, happy hues throughout the day. Bright pinks, oranges and yellows, crisp green and lavender were threaded throughout the space and Bri added so many fun, light-hearted details that make this session special. She wanted this to be the opposite of a muted, neutral wedding. Her words? “Bring on the confetti!”

I loved her big rainbow of La Croix cans to serve as escort card holders and the champagne glasses rimmed with candy sprinkles. One of the things that I so appreciated was that Bre created so much presence with simple elements, like the gradient of rainbow napkins from our rental company, Ultimate Events, on the table setting, they’re nothing out of the ordinary, but changing up the colors provides such a fun detail .

 

Venue and Florals at Camrose Hill Flower Farm

The venue for our faux-wedding was the lovely Camrose Hill Flower Farm, owned by florist Cindie. Cindie started her business as a florist but had a vision for a magical venue and farm where she could grow her flowers, make beautiful arrangements and celebrate couples in love. The venue is amazing, with plenty of little nooks and spaces for celebrating: from a quaint cottage for getting ready to a large rustic barn for indoor celebrations and  two enchanting green outdoor ceremony and reception spaces.

Cindy is a super-talented florist and added so many creative and thoughtful touches to our LGBTQ wedding. From a bright pink and yellow ombre flower arch to Grace and Ella’s gorgeous bouquets. I loved how the bouquets for each of our brides were both intentional and unique, coordinated but still beautifully different.

I loved the dappled light in the ceremony space called The Fairy Glen. It can be a bit challenging to take photographs in a mix of bright spots and deep shadow, so I chose angles to keep both of our brides out of the harsh bits of sunlight while preserving the magical ambiance of the forest light in the background.

 

The Dresses from Chelsea at Modehaus Bridal and Hair and Makeup by Steph at SM Hair and Makeup

Grace and Ella got ready together at the small cottage at Camrose Hill Flower Farm. Chelsea had helped both women choose dresses by Modehaus that would harmonise; each was unique but, like the bouquets, they looked intentional together without being matchy-matchy. I love the clean modern lines and unexpected detail in Grace’s two-piece dress and the romantic movement in Ella’s gown.

Steph from SM Hair and Makeup created styles that complimented Grace and Ella’s looks, a cool, modern half-up for Ella to compliment the clean lines in her gown and a simple updo to accent the romantic flow of Ella’s dress.

 

The Stationery and Paper by Mỹ at Paper Thick Ink

Mỹ at Paper Thick Ink created the stationery suite for our same sex wedding and she brought a bold, modern take to the rainbow brite theme. I love the round escort card tops that fit on top of our rainbow of La Croix Cans and the round cards for each place setting with a sweet note from Grace and Ella to their guests.

 

The Cake by Leah at Ink Sweets and Cookies by Thumbs Cookies

Leah at Ink Sweets created a playful cake for Grace and Ella, with cheerful fondant polka dots and rainbow cake layers! Unlike a real wedding when I’m usually taking pictures like mad, I got to have a little taste of Ink Sweets cake and I can report that it was delicious! We also had these yummy rainbow sandwich mini-cookies that Robyn of Thumbs Cookies created especially for Minnesota Pride Month on the table.

 

Sunset Wedding Portraits and More Confetti

After all the cake and fun, Grace, Ella and I spent a few moments capturing some romantic portraits at sunset and Bre and Chelsea showered them with celebratory confetti that floated down in dreamy clouds. Its was the perfect way to finish celebrating a day of creativity and love.

 

Grace and Ella, thank you for being part of our styled shootand sharing your love with all of us. I was so moved by your story and your commitment to each other. I hope these beautiful photos will help you feel close even when you’re far apart and I wish you all the happiness in your marriage and your life. Congratulations Grace and Ella!


So many creative people helped make this styled LGBTQ Wedding beautiful and special: Venue and Flowers, Camrose Hill Flower Farm; Event Styling, Bre is Fun; Rentals, Ultimate Events; Wedding Cake, Ink Sweets; Cookies, Thumbs Cookies; Invitations and Papergoods, Paper Thick Ink; Grace and Ella's Dresses, Modehaus Bridal; Hair and Makeup, SM Hair and Makeup

Alyssa L-K