A Statement of Love, Action, & Solidarity

Friday, June 5, 2020 Virginia Beach, Virginia

Inclusive and Diverse Virginia Wedding Blog
[My lovies aka behind the scenes with part of our creative team from a styled wedding fashion photo shoot for Town Center of Virginia Beach... we are missing Meghan and Christian who were dealing with wardrobe challenges off-site and Judith who was behind the camera in this capture!]

From day one of launching Tidewater and Tulle back in 2013, I have been fiercely passionate about showcasing diversity in our local wedding world (as you can see in our tagline and hopefully see throughout our pages). Because of my own personal rainbow family growing up, organic everyday diversity has been my heartbeat, so it was important to me when I was a classroom teacher in Portsmouth, then as a wedding photographer all over Hampton Roads, and it's still important to me as an editor-in-chief no matter where I am in the world (which currently has me COVID-stuck in the UK until travel opens up again).

Black Lives Matter has been a global human rights movement for over 6 years now, so the fact that it is still in existence because change still hasn't happened makes my heart very heavy. I mourn the endless pain the black community and my loved ones continue to feel and experience.⁠

I believe silence is being complicit, and I want to be very clear about this brand's heart and mind, especially as a white female-owned small business that has a platform.⁠ My crew and I have been posting support on our social media channels over the past week, but I wanted to carve out space here on the website as well to share more information.

A Love Letter of Solidarity


To the rainbow of couples, wedding vendors, and friends in our community, we love you and will continue to strive hard to share love stories where you are represented, respected, and honored. Wedding days are filled with joy, so naturally, we thrive in the happily ever afters seen on our pages. But we recognize it's not always happily ever after in your everyday lives... all because you were born with a certain skin tone. That reality makes us heartbroken and aggrieved. During these times of protest and long after, we stand in solidarity with you.

Help Us Better Represent Black Love


We realize that black love stories are still underrepresented on our website, and we still need to do better with that. We need your help, wedding pros, for this. While I have been personally reaching out to photographers through Facebook groups and Instagram over the years to help us with our diversity mission, it hasn't been enough. Consider this a very public, vocal call for your help. Simply stated, we need black weddings submitted for publication to us to adequately show that beauty of all shades exists in the Coastal Virginia region.

We understand weddings are submitted to various publications for various reasons, and that's 100% smart business, but we would love to better serve our community through visual representations of black love matters. We cancel our exclusivity requirements when it comes to diversity. If you have a love story to share, please head over to our Submission page for more details and what we need when it comes to a submission. Humbly and candidly, times are financially difficult right now because of COVID-19, but we are trying to do our best with the resources we have.

Inclusive and Diverse Virginia Wedding Blog

Our Wedding Media Call to Action


With the help of my black and POC wedding blogger besties, we are compiling a resource of authentic, loving ways the white-dominated American wedding industry as a whole can better support and amplify black couples and wedding vendors. We want to get it right, so it's taking a bit longer than expected, but it's coming soon.

Oftentimes, people want to be more inclusive with their wedding businesses, but aren't sure how to start. They don't want to fall into the tokenism or appropriation trap, so they freeze in fear of doing something wrong and then just take the easiest route available when running a wedding business. But spoken in love, white wedding vendors need to step up, do the work, and be better -- without fear of "getting it wrong" and with courage of "I can be part of the solution." My editor friends and I are hoping this proactive list will help.

Inclusive and Diverse Virginia Wedding Blog

#UnityThroughCommunity


I also want to give a spotlight to Terrica Skaggs of Cocktails & Details, our own RVA local Bron Hansboro of The Flower Guy Bron, CeCe Todd of Cece Designs, and Tammy Fleuch of Typebird Creative for starting a wedding-specific social media movement to elevate inclusive diversity with the following calls to action in mind:

• Rid the wedding industry of racism, prejudice, and bias
• Support, promote, and purchase from creatives of all backgrounds
• Diversify your followers
• Diversify your network
• Diversify your clientele
• Diversify the industry’s educational platforms
• Commit to being accountable and holding each other accountable

Basically what Terrica and her fellow wedding pros are doing is exactly what needs to happen in our happily ever after world. If you are a Virginia wedding professional, I would like to encourage you to join us and make the commitment, please head over to Terrica's website to sign up and follow the #unitythroughcommunity hashtag to be inspired by our very special industry.

"'I see no color' is not the goal. 'I see your color and I honor you. I value your input. I will be educated about your lived experiences. I will work against the racism that harms you. You are beautiful. Tell me how to do better.' That’s the goal."
- Carlos A. Rodríguez⁠


I am always actively listening, so if there is something you would love to see more on Tidewater and Tulle, please reach out anytime. 2020 has been a challenging year to say the least, but together, we can make change happen no matter what the upcoming months try to give us.

With love and solidarity,
Chelsea
@chelsea_lavere
Editor-in-Chief
Tidewater and Tulle

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