Dreamlyn And The Arizona Elopement

I had a whole intro written for Dreamlyn, but I scrapped it, because what I really want to say about her is this: she is being the change she wants to see in the world (well, wedding blog-o-sphere) and I deeply respect that and am thrilled to make it happen. So, I bring you Dreamlyn and the amazing wedding elopement in Sedona Arizona. Hubs and I knew that we wanted to elope all along so planning was fairly easy. Our family situations are complicated thus a large wedding would be incredibly stressful for us. Plus there is that little thing about money. We knew we’d be footing most of the bill ourselves. So, we planned our elopement. It eventually grew from just the two of us to the two of us and our local parents and siblings. We decided on what wedding-y things we absolutely had to have and I took it from there. Don’t get me wrong, for a hot second I thought, “I could plan a wedding on the cheap”, but then I thought of the stress and inevitable emotional breakdown. Wasn’t interested.There is something that I found during the process that I think absolutely needs to be said. My husband and I are a black female/white male interracial couple and let me tell you, there’s a real lack of diversity in the blogosphere. I found very little representation of couples that looked like us on blogs and especially magazines- and don’t even get me started with the availability of cake toppers. In no way am I saying that I need an all interracial blog, but I like seeing the world that I live in represented. There are interracial couples (hetero and same sex) of various ethnic backgrounds in all sorts of shapes and sizes. It’s time for the wedding industry to catch up. Meg said it best with her reply to my e-mail, “You’d think that only skinny white girls are getting married.” Anyway… that’s all I’ve got to say about that!Hubs and I didn’t take engagement photos (he thought I was making the concept up) so I was surprised by the whole photo shoot process. You know how in love everyone looks in their wedding photos in the real weddings that you see on the blogs? It’s like a Gone With the Wind/Disney/all consuming love? It’s staged. Yeah, the couples love each other but those super romantic Hollywood photos are staged by the photographer. Kinda broke my heart a little…Planning such a small wedding, we wanted to remember every minute of it. Hiring kick ass photographers was extremely important to us. I knew that some people would hate on the fact that we didn’t have a party for them to attend, but I wanted everyone to be blown away by our photographs, and they were. Once the ceremony was over we submitted to the will of our photographers. That was a brilliant move on our part. They were fantastic and our pictures exceeded our expectations (shout out to Cameron and Kelly). Whatever suggestions they had, we took them. I sat down on rocks, I walked through dirt- whatever. I look at the red dirt that’s covering the bottom of my dress and I think about how much fun we had that day.If you don’t have the money for the custom $65 garter, Jimmy Choo shoes or designer dress, so what? Do whatever feels right for you, don’t stress yourself out about having a platinum wedding. My hair was in braids, I had no idea what to do with it but my friend Olivia did, so she was in charge. My shoes were from Nordstrom Rack and my feet were completely comfy. After seeing my pictures I received some compliments on my dress but lots of people commented on how happy we looked. I was relaxed, overjoyed and in love.Here’s some advice that you may have read elsewhere but it’s REALLY good, It’s really easy to look at wedding blogs and magazines and feel bad that you don’t have the time or money that a lot of these “real weddings” have. Don’t let anyone make you second guess what you’ve planned. We have no regrets about our wedding. There’s so much about that day that I love and very little has anything to do with my shoes and dress.Amazing photos by Cameron & Kelly Studios in Arizona. Dreamlyn raved about them (and you can see more wedding photos on their blog)

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  • Great post! We've encountered some of the same problems since we've been hard pressed to find representations of people who look like us in wedding magazines and online. Especially with cake toppers! My fiance has a Lebanese background so he's not white, but not super dark. The closest cake topper we could find in Michael's is a super skinny, tan, white girl (which I am not) and a black man (which he obviously is not). Thankfully, we didn't want a traditional cake topper anyway (the Mr. has opted for Mario and Peach instead) but it's still shocking to see the lack of diversity in the wedding industry.

    Congratulations on your marriage and your ability to move beyond the wedding industry to make your wedding day truly yours!

  • I LOVE your wedding, Dreamlyn! (I also really love your name.) It's so great to see a beautiful interracial wedding. My fiance and I are an interracial couple with a complicated family situation, so it's great to see what can be done.

  • Great post! Dreamlyn, your wedding looks amazing and was amazing because it was what you had defined. I'm proud of you and happy for you.

    Every now and then I have to slap myself because I feel the vortex pull of the "wedding machine."

    That's not me. That's not my fiance. Our wedding will be uniquely ours and those that attend will know and love that.

    I can't wait. Thank you for the reinforcement.

    Your comments about the lack of representation of people who look like us hit home. With us, it's age. I'm 53 and my fiance is 43. But, in the world of the "wedding machine" we don't exist except as parents of the bride/groom.

    Guess what – we hired a kickass photographer, too! And we are gonna fool them all!

    Congrats and thanks again!


  • Meg

    Clearly you need to send me your wedding. I've done my share of begging for couples not in their 20's… and haven't gotten a thing yet.

  • Beautiful post! I agree about the lack of diversity in the wedding blog world, it sucks. But that's why I love this blog!
    The comment about how when everyone looked at the photographs they noted how happy they looked, that's the stuff right there.

  • dreamlyn, first of all, your wedding is so intimate and beautiful! and yes, sooooo true about the interracial couples. you hardly see any! my fiance and i are an interracial couple (he's mexican/jewish and i'm filipino/spanish) and it's sooo nice to see some more diversity. :)

  • Congratulations on your marriage, and on doing your wedding your way.

  • I love your wedding and your comments about the blog sphere. I love the picture that I think is maybe of your moms.

  • This is EXACTLY what I needed this morning.
    Last night after talking about fixing the pipes in the house and getting a washer and dryer we decided that we should cut down our 75 person guest list to 20.
    I am fine with a small, lovely wedding (I'd prefer it)but it's SO HARD to find something that is both of those and REAL.

    Congratulations on your marriage and can I ask where your lovely husband got his suit? It's the perfect shade of grey!

  • Try this: take any wedding magazine. Flip through the dress ads. How many brides are not white? I've only ever found one in the ads. Obviously, real people and people here and in forums have much broader backgrounds.

    And you look beautiful and joyful Dreamlyn. Congratulations on your marriage.

  • Quite possibly my favorite wedding graduate post. We are interracial and I love seeing other interracial couples in love. Mainly because you don't see them in wedding blog land. If I saw them all the time I might not care, but the non representation makes each one I see special.

    Oh, and the bride looks so stunning. They are a very handsome couple.

  • Thank you so much for sharing your wedding. It looks absolutely beautiful and simple and so full of love. Congrats!

  • Dreamlyn!! What an great name…and good Lord, you're gorgeous! And of course, insert obligatory dress swooning here…

    First off, mom pictures always make me tear up. ALWAYS. And you are so right and so awesome for doing your wedding your way. And your photos are so great, your kids (who will also be gorgeous) will have a great time looking at them!
    And as the dark half of (and the product of) an interracial couple I hear ya. It's telling that while I was reading I was looking at your pictures going, "Is she…wait…YAY!! They're MIXED!!!" I have the same reaction when I see interracial couples on TV and no one mentions the fact that they're interracial.

    Maybe us non-traditional couples (race, size, gender) need to email bomb wedding blogs. I'm not holding my breath on magazines because most models are skinny white girls so most models in bridal magazines will be skinny white girls. (Nothing against skinny white girls. My mom's one…)
    But if we can prove to the BIC that our weddings are blog-worthy too, maybe one day we'll see those indie wedding shoots with colors of color.
    But ones that are ethnic themed. Those don't count.
    I want black/Hispanic/Asian people with fake moustaches, red balloons and jumping pictures. THEN I will consider that progress.

  • Your post is amazing, because it can sometimes be downright demoralizing the absolute and complete lack of color out there in the wedding industry mags and sites.

    I was so happy when I saw a Black person on this site (I literally said, "ooooo, a Black lady!!") because even here at super cool A Practical Wedding, I very rarely see ladies and couples of color.

    The absence can get you down if you let it. Obviously I won't, because I'm fabo, but it's a constant battle to remember that I'm a viable and beautiful bride too.

  • "I want black/Hispanic/Asian people with fake moustaches, red balloons and jumping pictures. THEN I will consider that progress."

    YES. Allthough I have to admit that as soon as I read that I thought of "Stuff White People Like".

    My parents are an interracial couple (she's pale as pale can be and he's mexican) and you know what, they were so in love and so cute in their wedding photos that no one even noticed their skin-color difference. However, people DO notice it now since my sister and I are so fair skinned they seem to think that we aren't a product of a happy marriage of 28 years…

  • HOLLA!
    Dreamlyn, you look absolutely stunning. I am so glad you shared your wedding with Meg so she could share it with us.
    Meg, between this post and the Brooklyn wedding that happened in (gasp) a church, you've about made my February. Here's to interfaith, interracial weddings everywhere!
    Plus, Dreamlyn, way to make choices that were healthy and right for you and yours without feeling bound to anyone else's standard. Inspiring.

  • DJ

    Thanks everyone! Glad I made it on the site. It was incredibly inspiring to me when I was planning everything. Thanks for posting Meg, you're too awesome.

    Congrats to all of you newly married ladies and best of luck to those of you still planning. The best is yet to come!

    @Allison, Hubs is wearing a Hickey suit in tweed. He got a smokin' deal on it, like 75% off.

    @Mary, I want to see your photos too!

  • We also shot another interracial couple last year if you guys are interested in seeing those photos. (http://www.cameronkellystudio.com/2009/06/jennifer-jamaal-sedona-wedding.html) I agree you that when open any bridal magazine it's skinny white girls and how boring is that? As a photographer, I like to try to show moments of love and happiness which makes a couple unique–and we do stage some of the portrait session time but we try to have the couple's TRUE personality shine through in ALL their photos candid or posed. Dream and G were a blast and their families had such honest reactions to the ceremony, it was lovely.

  • You are STUNNING…I cried looking through your photos. You can absolutely see the love pouring out from your faces.

    LOVE it!!

  • Meg

    SEND IN YOUR WEDDING. I have (I think), thus far, posted every wedding I've ever gotten with people of color (and I have flat out begged for more diverse weddings in the past). So, as you'll see, it's not me that's the problem, it's my inbox.

  • beautiful wedding. beautiful couple. i am also the darker half of an interracial couple. we are also both in our late-ish 30's and it's my second wedding and i have four children from my first wedding. this blog has been a bit of a saving grace for me. meg, thank you for actively trying to bring diversity to the wedding blogosphere:)

  • #1: OMG OMG OMG!! This is where the fifi and I are getting married!!! I'm thrilled with how it photographs, though I don't know that I ever really doubted it would be amazing!
    #2: This post was simply beautiful. The sentiment, and the realness were much needed today, thank you!

  • All I have to add is thank you for sharing your simple, beautiful wedding!! I don't think of this so much as an elopement, just a gorgeous edited wedding. You make such a lovely couple! gush, gush, gush.

  • Beautiful and joyful! Thanks for sharing this.

  • In addition to coveting Dreamlyn's name, I also admire (so, so much) the guts it took to have the wedding she did. It's the wedding I always dreamed of!

  • April

    I am weepy with joy seeing this lovely wedding and grad post!

    My husband and I are also an interracial couple, and I TOTALLY agree with what Dreamlyn said that there is a shocking lack of options and representation in the wedding world for interracial couples. 'Nuff said.

    And I'm just a 'lil bit (OK, kind of a lotta bit) jealous about the Sedona elopement. I *heart* Sedona and have vacationed there many times, so this wedding elopement just tugged at my heartstrings.

    Fantastic photos that just radiate pure joy and bride and groom look so happy, so in love and downright GORGEOUS!!!

  • THANK YOU :)
    I needed to read your post today. My fiancee and I are planning on having a family ceremony in April. Just over the past week, I have been so frustrated with not being able to live up to other people's (and magazine/blog/website photos) expectations. I needed a reality check!

  • Great photos – well worth the investment! You both look very happy.

  • this post hits home. bull's eye.

    thank you SO much. you are gorgeous and kick ass!

  • Adina Marguerite

    "Don't let anyone make you second guess what you've planned"

    Wow! Thanks so much for enforcing this Dreamlyn! It's something I really need to learn if I'm going to surve the next 8 months before our wedding.

    Doubts, questions, and assumptions are all I seem to hear from people about our wedding. It really takes the fun and excitment right out of it.

  • I LOVE THIS POST! Getting married in October and although part of me likes looking at what others are doing, I do feel sort of bad that we probably won't be featured any where. Why do I care? What really matters is that we are getting married. Not whether or not we get profiled in some stupid blog (this one of course not stupid). Thanks for making me remember what's important.

  • Marisa-Andrea


  • I love this. Totally inspired me to want to completely drop our 350 guest list and just invite our nearest and dearest.

    Great wedding photographs and fantastic to see some more black representation on here.

    Meg – I will send my wedding photos too!

  • I am moved, inspired and encouraged. Thank you!

  • @meg, @ DJ,

    The wedding date is 10/2/10 and I will be happy share the photos with you.

    Dreamlyn – did I mention that you are absolutely stunning!

  • Dreamlyn, I am amazed and inspired. You look amazing… drop-dead gorgeous, genuinely happy, and — dare I say it — you ROCKED that dress!

    (Your husband looked pretty smashing too. Props to the tie!)

    If I may ask something a little personal for purely selfish reasons… What sort of undergarments did you wear?

    I, too, am a lady with a significant bust. My dress is cut a lot like yours: Strapless, A-line-ish, definition around the natural waist… and I cannot for the life of me figure out what to wear under it!

  • Dreamlyn, that wedding post was so beautiful, it brought tears to my eyes.

  • THANK YOU! I guess I wasn't the only one who was pleasantly surprised at an interracial couple being featured as a wedding graduate. Like Lysachelle I am the product of an interracial relationship and am in one myself. And I look forward to the day when people can do anyt ype of activities and be with anyone they want to be with without thoughts of what color the people happen to be.

  • Wow, I am in love with her words and attitiude. Dreamlyn–those photos are gorgeous. PS: I love your name!!

  • Dreamlyn,

    Thank you for sharing your story (which is too similar to my circumstances to be funny). You have let me off the hook from making everyone happy, and I can move forward marking what is important to ME, and making the day I get married as real, true, and intimate as possible- not a huge presentation. Parties are fine, but the commitment to get married, that is ours. Thank you, Meg, for posting this. Beautiful!

  • I LOVED this post. Also in an interracial relationship & planning a small intimate wedding. It's nice to see someone like us on a wedding blog :)

  • Hear hear to interracial marriages. Interracial, interfaith, international, we're doing it all, and it's nice to see other representations of you as a couple — both in the blogosphere and in the world as a whole. (Whoever made the comment about interracial couples in commercials? I'm right there with you.)

    Lovely photographs, glad you shared.

  • DJ

    @Samantha- I purchased the boustier (sp??) from David's Bridal. I'd check a department store, I think they're a little cheaper. And I was raised with an old, Southern Granny so I wasn't ashamed to rock Spanks, the modern day girdle. The ones that look like biking shorts. – Dream

  • i'm reading wedding blogs at the reference desk and getting all teary.
    this is exactly what i needed to hear. today. tomorrow. and i will read it a month, and in the week before my wedding.
    thank you.

  • Hi Dreamlyn, what an inspiration! We are also planning an elpoement in sedona and I was wondering if you would be willing to share where your ceremony was? I completely understand if not. We are headed up there for a day trip this weekend to get some things set in motion and are hoping to get a ceremony site SET. You're post truely made me feel great about the way we have chosen to get married.

    • Dream

      Oh crud, I haven’t checked our post in forever! We got married at the Creekside Inn.

  • Emma

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful wedding. I to am so disappointed that people of color of marginally represented in the blogesphere. I’m constantly struggling with how to balance my “image” of what the day should be with the reality of what we can do with our finances. Reading the graduate blogs are really helping me to keep things in the proper perspective. Its about the marriage and celebrating with those you love. Not to impress other people. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Samantha

    This wedding story is the first one to make me actually cry.

    Thank you so very much for sharing it. Thank you. Thank you.

  • Sarahkay

    What a beautiful wedding and a gorgeous couple! And the picture of the mother of the bride! The expression on her face just melts me.

    I catered a wedding once where the couple used an adorable cake topper that had been in their family for eighty years and had been passed down. It made me all misty eyed and I wanted a future heirloom of my own.

    Then I realized, no matter how hard I look, I know I’ll never find little ceramic people that look like us- My partner is of mixed heritage and I’m white. It’s not that big a deal that I can’t find my dream cake topper, but it’s times like this that I notice how little what’s available represents the richness and diversity of the world.