My BIG, FAT GREEK WEDDING at The Yacht Club | Sone + Niko

When I was growing up, me and my yiayia's favorite movie was My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Not only was it super relatable with our Greek culture, but it was also tastefully done, a little sappy, and hilarious. I mean, who doesn't have an aunt with the lump of their conjoined twin on their neck? No? Just Me?

Anyways, despite being Greek with a Greek mother, my parents (my father not being Greek) decided against sending me to Greek School. I never learned the language or went to church or anything like that. I felt like a part of me was missing, that was, until Sone messaged me about her wedding.

It was such an honor being able to photograph and attend her wedding ceremony that was Greek + traditional (meaning at the church). I started the day by stopping by her apartment and photographing a few detail shots; once I saw her dress, I knew I had to hang it up and take a picture - the long sleeves and all the lace - absolutely gorgeous. I also got to meet her dog whom was the absolute cutest little mush. After grabbing the detail shots, I got in my car and drove to Niko's prep.

Now, the thing with Greek culture is that the family has certain roles to fulfill in him preparing for his wedding day. Each important member partakes by helping him get dressed, one article of clothing at a time. For instance his father tied his tie and his grandfather helped with putting on the vest and doing the buttons. The house was festive and in great spirits with traditional music playing, people singing, and a whole spread of all types of food to snack on. Once dressed, the real fun began! If you have never witnessed a money dance, or Kalamatianós in Greek, is a cultural tradition at many wedding receptions where guests offer the newlyweds money to dance with them, or they shower the couple with money. The custom is to help establish the couple in their new life together, or to show how much they are loved and appreciated.

After we took some family photos, we were off to Saint Nicholas, Constantine, & Helen Greek Orthodox Church in Roseland, NJ. Family members began to fill the pews, and everyone was very excited! As was I, I could not wait to see how beautiful Sone looked in that gorgeous dress and get to photograph it. Niko waited, the music began to play, and it all began - she looked absolutely incredible as her mother escorted her down the aisle.

Greek ceremonies are absolutely beautiful; there is a ton of love and signing and tradition that goes into it. I could not help but feel connected to my spirituality during the ceremony.

After such a wonderful experience, Sone + Niko were declared husband and wife!

This particular church was also decorated rather elaborately - it gave the perfect backdrop for family photos inside (which I often do not recommend because of lighting, but there were a ton of windows and natural light which mixing with my flash was perfection.

like, look how gorgeous her dress details are! and the intricate paintings and design of the church - so dreamy!

I always recommend couples to walk a little more than halfway down the aisle and kiss again so we get dreamy shots like this one, with all your friends and family behind you!

Guests greeted and celebrated the new marriage with throwing of rice as they exited the church; throwing rice is a blessing for newly-wed couples to symbolize prosperity and fruitfulness (in ancient times, this means having children).

Outside, Niko had a surprise getaway car waiting to drive to the next location. We decided to do their portraits in Hoboken, which is a super hip area in northern New Jersey and about thirty minutes from their venue. (FYI: be careful with parking in Hoboken on the weekends, it gets super crowded near the waterfront and the park - there are parking garages but I found some street parking three blocks away). Sone really wanted the New York City skyline in her photos and let me tell you, it was the perfect day for it.

Their bridal party came as well to get prettier photos of the group all together and they came to SERVE LOOKS. I mean c'mon, look at them!

Walking photos are my go-to signature, and they always come out soooo cute and candid.

untitled image

We decided to get a bulk of the bridal portraits out of the way while we were here and they came out so gorgeous. The tones, the lighting, their good looks - they came out exactly how they should of. Also, if you are considering a veil, do it. You do not have to wear it for your ceremony or reception in any means, but a few veil shots for your bridal portraits come out so pretty - like a tad extra pizazz. The park was super crowded and there was a bunch of construction, but we found an amazing spot that had everything we needed. Also, shout out to the guy on the bicycle who kept riding past, yelling weird stuff to us - hope you are doing okay.

The reception was an absolute blast - everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, was on the dance floor. There was another money dance, where everyone participated in. The energy was high from the moment I arrived at the Yacht Club to the moment I left. It was a wicked good day, and I had an absolute blast capturing it.

untitled image

We also snuck out at sunset for some more pictures: Here's the Yacht Club.

Sone + Niko,

Thank you so much for letting me capture your gorgeous day - I am so glad that I got to experience your culture, enjoy the festivities, and dance with y'all! You can truly feel the love between you two as well as all the love and support coming from your families. I hope you have the most amazing marriage and look back at these moments fondly.

xoxo,

Christina Hernandez

PS - look at the dessert table:

untitled image

Romantic DIY Wedding Day at Patterson Family Barn | Kenny + Spencer

The Storybook love story beginning at Allaire Village Chapel then heading to the Patterson Family Barn.

allaire village wedding chapel new jersey
Allaire Village Chapel, NJ

Kenny + Spencer met while playing Playstation. They instantly connected and began dating long distance for eight months before she booked a flight all the way to Iowa! They look back fondly of their first date, dinner at Applebee's then some added sweetness by taking a trip to Cold Stone Creamery for ice cream!

And then we met outside of Allaire Village's Chapel to have them pronounce their love in front of their friends and family. The Chapel itself is a photographer's dream due to all the windows allowing a ton of beautiful natural light in. Kenny was lined up outside with her bridal party and mother, and she looked absolutely radiant. As I prepared for the ceremony, I met Reverend Anthony Cavallo who was officiating and I watched as he prepared Spencer for Kenny to walk down the aisle. Spencer showed me his handwritten vows (totally recommend writing your vows for anyone who is about to do their nuptials. On your wedding day, it not only becomes a keepsake but it photographs better than you reading off your phone) which had a tons of scribbles and corrections all over: "I'm not great with words". I later found this to be false since I literally listened to him pout his heart out in his vows to Kenny.

As Kenny walked down the aisle, tears were already falling down her cheeks. Both Kenny + Spencer had smiles from ear to ear the entire time as she walked down the aisle. Kenny was so excited to call Spencer her husband. From countless hours talking on the phone, to date nights and adventures, to this moment right here where they say "I do".

I was over flooded with emotions as they both said their vows - their devotion to each other was so clear to each other and everyone around them. She literally traveled halfway across the states for him and then he moved here to be with her, it was like a fairy tale coming true. And everyone cheered as they were pronounced Husband + Wife, swarming them with love + hugs + congratulations as soon as they stepped outside, bubbles being blown and surrounding them.

But Kenny removed herself to go walk over to her grandfather and share a moment with him. The joy she felt that he was able to witness their marriage and celebration meant the world to her - there was a period of time where they did not know if he was going to be able to show up for the event, but he did, and tears kept falling as they embraced. He wished her love and wedding day wishes.

Kenny + Spencer had their closest friends and family at their wedding and were so thankful for all the love and support they have received from them over the time in their relationship. Their bridal parties were so enthusiastic throughout pictures, the ceremony, and the whole day.

Leaving Allaire and heading to the reception at the Patterson Family Barn, I called my husband to let him know how emotional and beautiful the ceremony was. Photographing weddings really has me missing my husband, so I always try to speak to him for a few moments in between venues. What can I say, I really, really adore love stories.

Arriving at the Barn, cocktail hour was ago (catered by: Tuscany Italian Market) and people were loving all the little apps. Everyone was laughing, smiling, having a great time. At the venue, they have this cute little bridal house - this is where I met Kenny + Spencer as they took a moment to take in everything that already happened. Kenny sat at this beautiful vanity where she and Spencer chatted whether or not it was "too early to join cocktail hour". I gave them the difference and suggested I take some photos while they prepare to be bombarded with hugs + handshakes.

The details of Kenny + Spencer's wedding were rustic, romantic, and floral, which was perfect for the whole vibe of the day. The wooden barn created their gorgeous set up, plus adding the open door, created a beautiful amount of natural light flowing onto the dancefloor.

Introductions had everyone breaking down their best dance moves as they walked in - especially Kenny's mother and Spencer's father - I mean, c'mon can you see the grooviness?

The thing about Kenny + Spencer's combined family, is that everyone - and I mean EVERYONE - makes you feel welcomed, as if you are apart of their own bloodline. Joining the party, everyone roared with excitement - and all the dancing began!

After Kenny + Spencer's first dance they played a "selfie game" which challenged everyone to take as many selfies with others at the wedding as quick as possible - whomever has the most, wins! This is a super cute game for intimate weddings to be able to have pictures with everyone! The song only lasts about ninety seconds, so it does not take a huge amount of time either - and gets everyone up out of their chairs (and hopefully head to the dance floor)!

Then, while everyone is up - the dance floor opens up and people get to groovin'.

When it comes to parent dances, Kenny and Spencer decide to do something a little different: Spencer dances with Kenny's mom + Kenny dances with Spencer's dad.

The thing about weddings is that you can make it exactly how you want because it is YOUR day. Focus on what's important to you and your values and do exactly that!

After speeches, there was a surprise live musician - can you guess who?

Our bride, Kenny, brought out her guitar; she played and sang a song she learned specifically for their wedding day and it was an emotional, beautiful moment to witness.

And just like that it was almost my time to leave - but before that, golden hour portraits!

It is always recommend doing portraits forty-five minutes before sunset; this will create that warm, romantic, glow that I am known for!

I just want to take a moment to thank Kenny + Spencer for letting me capture their love from engagement photos to their wedding day (and beyond!). Creating a literal obsession with how beautiful these portraits came out (and her skin looks FANTASTIC). Kenny + Spencer reminds me that true love is worth making an effort for, no matter what hurdles are in your way - because they let NOTHING stop them.

Want to see another DIY Rustic Wedding? Check out Jennifer + Tristan's by clicking here!

Or Check Out Other Weddings Below:

Pinterest Worthy Boho Wedding at Emmerich Tree Farm | Jennifer + Tristan

The day started at Tristan's family home where the soon-to-be-newlyweds got ready.

Tristan's now-iconic green suit was the highlight of the outfit, although - later on- he brought out a very cool hat to change the dynamic of the look. We started photographing the details and those closest to Tristan, helped make sure he looked perfect for his future wife.

And boy, does he clean up nice (as you can see below!):

While Tristan hung out in the basement, Jennifer was getting ready upstairs with Renee of Retzy Glam (@retzyglam). I am absolutely obsessed that she decided to keep her hair natural and curly for their wedding day; I am also someone who has an everlasting desire to perm their hair so it is big and curly, but unfortunately, it would all melt.

Details are one of my favorite things to photograph as a part of your wedding day. They always vary so much from person to person. Having an invitation is an easy way to make your details come together as a part of a "whole" - it gives it your very own identity to them. I always recommend shoes, invitations, jewelry, accessories, rings, vow books, perfumes/colognes, and any other "little detail" that makes your day more YOU.

and just like that it was time to head to the venue - but the party has to arrive in style, and very thankful for David of The Good Life to have their very own Trolley Bus!

The best thing about living near the venue, is the easy accessibility both parties can use the trolley without the couple seeing each other! Although it was rather scary for the cutest good boy to actually get on! He did eventually - after some coaxing - and the trolley was on its way to the venue with Tristan and his party before it comes back for Jennifer and hers.

(Below) Photo of Good Boy Arlo:

Emmerich Tree Farm is an amazing venue for those looking for a woodsy, rustic, almost faerie-like location. Also, Emily - the event coordinator of Emmerich Tree Farm - was a pleasure to work with and great at her job (two for one, win!).

Jennifer and Tristan really took advantage of DIY options for their wedding and they came out adorable! As you can see, the ceremony arch overlooks the entire tree farm which is such a vibe! Name placements were stamped with florals, little floral and gold centerpieces, and even a station to make your own floral bags. All the vendors that they used for this day were local, small businesses. (Mentioned above: Flowers by Emmerich Greenhouses in Warwick, NY | Wildflower Seeds by Hudson Valley Bee Supply in Kingston, NY | Milk & Honey Mobile Bar).

While Jennifer's mom helped her put on her dress and do any last minute fixes - I took Tristan to a secluded spot to prepare for their first look!

One of the best things about Emmerich Tree Farm is the variety of spots that are so photo-worthy. Hidden down a trail, there is a small opening with a lake. This spot was able to be just their's for the day - where no one else intruded and they can see each other for the first time.

This is where the real excitement happens - I chat with Tristan as she approaches and make sure he is ready to see his beautiful bride - he told me he was super excited and ready to go.

It went a little like this:

He was BEAMING. And so was she.

We took a few moments to let them embrace and check each other out and then decided to grab a few portraits.

Also - there is this super cool wooden building on the base of the trail where we decided to snap a few photos. The intimacy of these type of moments allow you and your partner to breathe before the ceremony - just to collect your feelings and express your excitement to each other.

Then, the amazing event manager of Emmerich Tree Farm, Emily, picked us up to hide away before the ceremony - we rode in style. We hid at the Bridal Tent which is up the hill in a secluded spot. It has a small little vanity in it, a table, some sitting arrangements. Jennifer + Tristan took a moment here before they say, "I do".

Golf Cart Wedding Couple

Like I am a sucker for people looking in opposite directions - like such a vibe.

Emmerich Tree Farm Bridal Tent
Jennifer + Tristan at Emmerich Tree Farm Bridal Tent

Now, let's get to the action.

While Uncle Eddy got his last minute photographs with his camera, I lined up ready to get mine. The violins began to play and Tristan's father (who was officiating) and then Tristan walked down the aisle. You could feel and see the determination flying off of Tristan as he walked down - he was ready to make Jennifer his wife. Everyone stood as Jennifer, escorted by her father, walked down the aisle. She looked like the ideal boho bride - lace, curls, looking GORGEOUS.

Ceremonies tend to go so fast when they are not in a very traditional setting. But I was hanging on every word that was being spoken. Listening to their vows - about how much love and care they have for each other, about how their journey of TEN YEARS brought them to this very moment, about how bright and exciting their future looks - had me holding back my very own emotions, thinking about my own love story. The fact that they took their time building their relationship to be sustainable and functional for over a decade, is awe-inspiring. All while these warm, sweet moments, their furbaby, Arlo, was totally uninterested and took a snooze (as pictured below!).

I have every couple write out family groupings for their family photos - this makes sure we can knock them out of the park right after the ceremony. I literally bring the list with me and we go right down it. Since there was no time before the ceremony to do bridal party photos, we got right to them after the family ones! The Good Life - Trolley Bus had no issue holding the trolley so we could get some fun trolley pictures.

first dance boho bride

Divin' right into the reception, we had the usual entrances, first dance, and speeches. They did break up the parent dances to later in the evening (this is a good idea for those who want to break up all the formalities).

As Jennifer + Tristan slow danced to their first song, they held onto each other as if gravity disappeared and they were no longer grounded. That must be some sort of symbolism for marriage. Watching them made my heart sing.

black and white first dance boho wedding
first dance

Now - for what I am known for. Glowy, warm, romantic portraits. This is the most fun of the day not only because its my expertise, but because the newly weds get to take a moment and breathe a little bit. We walked around the grounds and explored as the trees whispered to us in the wind. They even started the campfire for us so we could make s'mores (local vendor plug: Gourmet Marshmallows by Hudson Valley Marshmallow Co). We took about thirty minutes taking some GORGEOUS portraits that will be a beautiful family heirloom. When dusk hit, we even got some lit up lights in some!

Emmerich tree farm rustic venue
Emmerich Tree Farm

Then it was time to BREAK IT DOOOOOOOOWN on the dance floor. People were going OFF. Booties poppin' and hips swingin'. DJ Joey B literally lit up the party (and supplied the Photo Booth). Also, shout out to Tristan's mom, because she had the best moves of the night.

As the night came to the end, it was time for the sweetest exit: pie + ice cream + coffee!

The pies looked AMAZING and were local, as well, from Nobile Pies, accompanied with ice cream from Bellvale Farms Creamery and coffee from Milk + Honey. They also tasted better than they looked since multiple people signed up for seconds + the coffee was a great hit (and fueled my three hour ride home!)

Jennifer + Tristan have this amazing love connection that isn't hard to miss. It was an absolute joy capturing their day and I am so honored they chose me. Their family and friends were absolutely incredible and brought all the energy!

Congrats to the newly weds!

milk and honey mobile taps wedding
Jennifer Grabbing Coffee

"Should We Do A First Look?"

“Should we do a first look?” The absolute #1 question asked by every single wedded couple ever! Do we have a first look? A private moment between the two of us? Or do we keep it traditional and wait to see each other down the aisle for the first time? I am a firm believer in “to each their own”, but let me tell you why I HIGHLY recommend that you consider a first look!

For starters, some people may feel the “pressure” to cry in front of their family and
friends when they see you coming down the aisle. Of course it is every bride’s dream to
have that moment of true magic captured while tears are rolling down their partners face
after seeing them for the first time. I’m here to tell you, as a very experienced wedding
photographer, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment. Could this moment be
absolutely everything you’ve ever dreamed of? Of course!

Gina + Jeff Industrial First Look, Alley 14, NJ
Gina + Jeff First Look, Alley 14, NJ

Or, your partner might not have a big (physical) reaction at all. Sometimes the person down the aisle waiting is so overwhelmed with happiness and love that they are stunned - no joke! Well, what is a first look? A first look is a private moment, between just the two of you before your ceremony. You pick a beautiful area (with the best lighting!) and approach your partner while their back is turned towards you. You tap them on the shoulder, they turn around, and the emotions start flying! We’ve seen so many sweet moments, so many happy tears and shocked faces that make for the absolute best additions to any gallery. Having the private moment allows for your partner to be open with their emotions and honestly gives you a better chance for that “crying reaction” we all dream about!

During your first look, your photographer and videographer will likely be a few feet away snapping away and recording every moment. Feel no pressure! We are there to capture the MOMENT, your energy, the love. Pretend like we’re not there, we want you to embrace and soak up every second. This is also a HUGE PLUS for our clients that have anxiety!!! Seeing your partner before the ceremony can alleviate any or all butterflies or nerves you may have before the ceremony. It can be nerve wracking knowing you will be in front of all of your family and friends, but the private moment with your partner will have you both excited for the ceremony to begin. It’s also a huge plus that you can reserve this time for some romantic portraits, giving you the freedom to enjoy every second of your cocktail hour! That is the best food of the day of course.

That being said, one of my couples did a "fake" first look where the best man put on a wedding dress and surprised the Groom! We, of course, did a real first look after - but just putting this option out here as well.

Joke First Look With Best Man in Wedding Gown
"Fake Bride" First Look

In conclusion, we want nothing more than for your wedding to be perfect, and exactly how you want it. After photographing and attending hundreds of weddings, our brides always rave about how thankful they are that they took the time out for a first look. Not only for the sweet, private moment, but on average it adds anywhere from 25-50 additional photos in your gallery! Who wouldn’t want as many photos as possible from their wedding? If you’re unsure which direction you want to go, talk to your photographer and they will help you make the best choice for your special day.

Engagement Session at Willowwood Arboretum (NJ), Victoria + Frank

Scouting out locations are all apart of the job - and stumbling upon Willowwood Arboretum is a dream come true. Willowwood, 130 acres of rolling farm land, has about 2,100 kinds of native and exotic plants, many of them rare. In addition to the formal gardens near the residence and undisturbed forest, they are open daily from dawn to dusk and offer one of the dreamiest of locations that is outside the standard gardens and beach photos we often see here in New Jersey.

Victoria + Frank are one of the sweetest people I have met. Victoria loves reading, movies, and animals while Frank love sports and gaming. They met through Tinder roughly six years ago, and his first line (which was a play on her name) was, "If I won your love, would be Victorious". Like c'mon, how cute is that? Their first date was at Barnes & Nobel, where they browsed their favorite books and had coffee. After a few dates, everything felt natural and went with the flow. Two and a half years later, they moved in together and eventually added five cats, a dog, and two guinea pigs to their family. On Halloween 2020, he leaned down while she was on the couch and proposed.

Victoria said it felt they were already married but looking forward to the wedding cake since they are total foodies and definitely looking forward to cocktail hour as well.

Victoria + Frank, I am so excited for your wedding day - you to absolutely adore each other and it totally shows. I love you both!

xoxo,

Christina

Tips For Your Engagement Session (From A Photographer!)

First off all, congratulations on your engagement!! This is absolutely the most exciting time ever - and we are SO glad that you stopped here for some tips! We’ve photographed hundreds of couples from their engagement session, to a surprise boudoir session, to their wedding day, and all the way to any of their future events, so we hope that you stick around too! Here are our MOST important tips for your engagement session, from a professional standpoint:

1. Location, Location, Location

My biggest advice is to pick the location that screams YOU and YOUR love story. Do you love being outside? I’ll help you scout out the perfect location. Hate the outside? Think about the activities you both are into - we can go to a roller rink or arcade or anything in between! Still stumped? I always have a list of places I adore and will always create the most dreamy of photos.

2. Wear SOLID, neutral colors!

I know what you’re thinking! “But I saw this beautiful flower dress that I really wanted to wear!” or “my partner really wanted to wear matching plaid” and if that’s really what your heart desires, who are we to stop you. But let me explain why we highly suggest you take our advice! Prints, such as stripes, florals, animal print etc. tend to “warp” on our high tech cameras. Stripes can be extremely unflattering depending on the outfit, and florals will just about clash with every background. Why neutral colors? Our editing style is “earth tones” which focuses on greens, browns, yellows, etc. and a BRIGHT red or purple outfit might not match with the vibe that you were after. Neutrals allow you to blend in with the beauty of nature for a more cohesive, warm vibe.

3. Try to plan your session as close to sunset (or sunrise) as possible.

I cannot stress this enough! When you’re hiring a photographer, you hire them because you love their work and trust their artistic abilities. Every photographer’s dream is that EVERY session be photographed at sunset! Or for the early birds, even sunrise! This is the absolute best lighting of the day and we cannot stress enough how much lighting impacts your photos. If you’re looking for those dreamy, creamy, warm tone photos, trust us - sunset is the best time! Even if at first it may seem like you’re unsure, we definitely recommend it. We have the ability to make magic regardless of the time of day, but we promise the BEST lighting is about 45 minutes before sunset!

Feeling nerdy? Click here to learn why golden hour is the absolute best and to know all the good scientific facts behind it!

4. Be confident + have fun!

We ALL doubt ourselves. Some of us don’t like how we look in selfies, some are unsure of how poses will look on ourselves - but trust us!! We have spent hundreds of hours PERFECTING our personal posing style so that you look and FEEL amazing in every single photo! If you’re not feeling so sure, the camera may capture that! The best way to enjoy your engagement shoot is to let loose, have fun, smile, laugh and be yourself! Let us capture your beauty how the world sees it! Don't worry, we’ll be hyping you up every step of the way.


Engagement sessions are so much fun and an amazing way to get to know your photographer. We hope that you consider our advice when you schedule your engagement session! Either way we can’t wait to create magic with you and have the best time capturing your love in the best way possible. As long as we have a good time, you will love these photos for the rest of your lives.

This being said, so not worry about posing - do not worry about feeling awkward. My signature style is “romantic and candid” and I will have you both doing silly movements to loosen you up and capture the in between, goofy moments - then I will start bringing in the more classic poses, this way you get the best of both worlds!

5. Not sure? Ask your photographer.

If all else fails, ask your photographer for their opinion! We are constantly learning the new trends and styles as well as spend our free time scouting new locations, learning the latest and greatest in the photography world. We want to take time to make sure you have the absolute best experience as well as have amazing photos to show for it! We want to make it totally customizable for each and every client that it can represent you in the best way. This isn’t just my job or some type of side-hustle, it’s my art and career - both things that I absolute love and take pride in. Nothing is more rewarding for me than creating emotional, jaw dropping, art that captures you and your partner.

Interested in booking an engagement session? We will have a total blast! Contact me here and tell me your vision: Girl, let me tell you our love story!!!

Loving Day: June 12th 2022

I am going to start writing more blog posts that are more than just sessions, weddings, and posing advice. I want to be able to offer resources to everyone and encourage education on social issues and give glimpses into my life. So that being said, here we go:

I married the love of my life on December first 2021; yet it wouldn’t be possible without Mildred + Richard Loving. They were originally arrested in 1958 because they were in an interracial marriage in Virginia. Often while talking about segregation, racism, and laws that forbade basic human rights, we view it as late American History… yet, the Lovings were arrested only sixty-four years ago. This happened WITHIN our parents lifetime - which is insane to think about.

My mother was born in 1955 and grew up in a somewhat progressive part of New Jersey called Asbury Park. She was constantly surrounded by different cultures and backgrounds and even dated a few outside her Greek heritage (which tends to be uncommon in the Greek community). I am very blessed she raised me to be this open-minded person and to view everyone as equal because without her ability to love everyone, I would not be married to the man of my dreams (him being Black and Puerto Rican). I can only imagine the biases my mother faced with having a diverse group of people in her life, just as I am used to the dirty looks I receive when walking and holding hands with my husband.

Loving Day is the anniversary of a historic court decision for interracial marriages. Loving v. Virginia (1967) reached the Supreme Court where the Loving’s lawyers argued that being against interracial relationships are dated back to slave laws (this oppressing Black people and enforcing White Supremacy).

It took nine years after the Loving’s arrest for them to win their case (this being June 12, 1967 - hence why June 12 is Loving Day). Yet, it was not just a win for the Lovings, it was a victory for all those in interracial relationships since it debilitated all laws against such.

America is built on the foundation of systematic racism. Beyond race, class, or other factors, there is a powerful caste system that influences people's lives and behavior and the nation's fate. This being said, claiming you are “colorblind” tends to be a more harmful statement than progressive. Talking about race is incredibly important for society to progress and dismantle the racist systems that are keeping BiPOC from reaching true equality.

Talking about Race is Necessary:

What is Racism?

In simplest terms, racism = prejudice + power. In America, the white men collective holds the power, this includes politically and socially. The non-dominant group, often faces inequalities and disparities that often can lead to abuse, not only from individuals but institutions and cultural practices. This equation of racism creates the caste system that discriminates against certain groups (BiPOC) and benefits others (caucasians).

As a white person, it is important to look at my

privilege and power. I need to be able to active anti-racist work on myself and those around me. We have to continue educate ourselves to destroy the inequalities that BiPOC face. Being “not racist” is not enough to better our world.

How To Be Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi is an important book I believe all white people should read. There are six essential points in the book I want to highlight for this blog post.

  1. Understand the Definition of Racist
  2. Stop saying “I’m Not Racist”
  3. Identify Racial Inequalities + Disparities
  4. Confront the Racist Ideas You’ve Held or Continue to Hold
  5. Understand How Your Antiracism Needs to be Intersectional.
  6. Champion Antiracist Ideas + Policies

I will elaborate below:

Understand the Definition of Racist

Merriam-Webster defines racism as "a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race." As stated, this is also how racism = prejudice + power. We need to be able to hold ourselves accountable for our thoughts and actions, as well as the politicians and policies we support.

Stop saying “I’m Not Racist”

Saying “I’m not racist” is only a self-serving sentiment. This does not help anyone but your ego - people constantly change their view or “what is racist” and what isn’t so that it does not apply to them. That joke you’re telling that degrades a black woman? your racism and biases are showing. If you're a white nationalist who's not violent, says Kendi, then you might see the Ku Klux Klan as racist. If you're a Democrat who thinks there's something culturally wrong with black people, then racists to you might be people who are Republicans. Who and what you support is literally your deepest beliefs. Kendi states “that term is more of a term of denial than a term with meaning”. Often people are quick to say “I’m not racist” but do no anti-racist work; by saying you are not racist you are creating blinders to your own ideas, thoughts, and actions that could be in fact racist. Anti-racist work will have you re-evaluate your own views and beliefs in how to be better. For example, avoiding a neighborhood that is predominately African American without any other reason than it being of a Black majority, is racist.

Identify Racial Inequalities and Disparities

Racism creates racial inequalities and disparities in all aspects of life: politics, healthcare, criminal justice, education, employment, property ownership and so much more. What an anti-racist does, first and foremost, is identify racial inequalities and disparities. By Identifying inequities and disparities that give, in particular, white people, or any racial group, material advantages over people of color. When Social Security was created in 1935, for example, it did not include domestic and agricultural workers, majority of whom were black. While the Social Security Administration denies it’s racial biases being a factor in that decision, it still meant that black workers had less opportunity (over the course of DECADES) to accumulate savings and wealth compared to white workers. Being actively anti-racist will have you acknowledge that BiPOC are not the issue, instead it is the policies that put BiPOC at a complete disadvantage - hindering their growth and prosperity.

Confront the Racist Ideas You’ve Held or Continue to Hold

Now that you understand what racism is and acknowledged how anti-racism can progress society, it is important to take a breath and look at your own beliefs, systems, and voting patterns that have justified racial inequalities (does the person you vote for constantly degrade Black and Brown people and make them the “enemy”?). Are you voting to create educational opportunities for ALL neighborhoods? Do you know that funding policies affect how resources are allocated to schools and why those practices can create racial disparities? To many, these realities probably seem disconnected from whether or not they're racist, but Kendi argues that remaining ignorant about them, or declining to change policies that produce disparities, is not an option for someone who wants to be antiracist. How you vote will directly impact to those who are not in power.

Understand How Your Antiracism Needs to be Intersectional.

I am an intersectional feminist and proud to include all people in my work and in my life. If one believes that black men are superior to black women, then that person won't be able to see how certain ideas and policies disproportionately affect black women in harmful ways. Viewing black woman as lesser than the black men, or labeling them in derogatory ways while praising the other gender, is still racist. You need to be willing to intersect all parts of someone’s identity; this includes gender, sexuality, ethnicity and race. To truly be anti-racist, you need to be intersectional.

Champion Antiracist Ideas + Policies

You cannot - let me repeat this - you CANNOT be anti-racist without some sort of action. A step in the right direction would be supporting organizations in your community that fight policies that encourage and create racial disparities and inequalities. If you do not have the funds, donate your time to these organizations. If you have some sort of power (even being just your white privilege) to change racist policies in any setting you are involved in (for example, school, work, government, family). We need to commit to making action against racial disparities to create a better world for everyone.

“When racists criticize America—namely people of color + our spaces—racists call it preaching facts. When antiracists criticize America—namely racist policies and ideas—racists call it preaching hate.” - Kendi.

Reading List

This is a Buzzfeed article of educational books to learn more about race and racism.

Loving Day

If you’re in an interracial relationship, be thankful for this court decision, for no one’s love should be illegal.

xoxo,

Christina Hernandez

Get Fancy: Host a Tea Party

Bridgerton's Netflix series has undoubtedly proven to be the most popular ever, with over 82 million households looking into the era's drama since it was broadcast on our screen. It's little wonder that she is so adored based on Julia Quinn's novels, written in the quintessence of the regency in London and with her magnificent locations, elaborate clothes, and dramatic stories. We have motivated us to make our own Bridgerton tablescape with a second series already confirmed and put up a great guide so that you may go to the magnificent 1800s and your own charming tea festival.

Establish a Dress Code

Encourage visitors to dress for the occasion by throwing an event inspired by society. Include your invitation with the correct dress code. A Bridgerton event's attire falls from casual to semi-formal business. Tea-long robes and somber outfits with lengthy ties are included.

Customized dress code language might be used for creative hosts to make the tea party attraction even more special. The more contextual indications you provide to visitors, the better — this helps them choose equipment that feels good enough to offer them a positive vibe.

Send Thematic Invitations

Send invitations to guests after confirming crucial parameters such as date, time, venue, dress code, and color scheme. Guests are a significant aspect of the theme of your party. It's the first thing attendees see, and it's a great time to establish the tone for their party. Choose your invites to extend the theme seamlessly.

Set Tablescape

This would be a fantastic moment for people who store their best China for special occasions! For our tea party, we utilized old Chinese tea glasses and think tea certainly tastes better! Now we realize that not everyone at home will have china fancy, so we covered you. Our brand-new Truly Scrumptious V10 line blends classic and contemporary flower design. The set comprises a lively flowery table cover, a 3-story cake stand, plates, serviettes, mugs, and canape flags, each with a distinctive, beautiful pattern. No need to worry about any valuable break-up of the vault, and the entire spectrum of components may be recycled.