Panelist & Workshop Lead // Whitney Teal of GayWeddings.com

Whitney Teal of GayWeddings.com

Whitney Teal is based in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and is the Content Manager at GayWeddings.com, by WeddingWire — "We Do Love."

GayWeddings.com is a wedding planning and inspiration site that’s been around since 1999. They also have the most comprehensive directory of LGBTQ-friendly wedding vendors, with more than 150,000 vendors and counting.

Who is your dream client?

Since we don’t plan weddings directly, our clients are wedding professionals who work with LGBTQ couples. And the ones we dream of are folks who fully appreciate the diversity and complexities of the community, while always learning more about how to better serve non-straight couples.

What is one of your favorite creative, offbeat projects you’ve worked on?

While not necessarily offbeat, we did a beautiful campaign to celebrate the one-year anniversary of marriage equality last June. The video submissions we received from couples and professionals gave everyone a case of the sniffles.

What are three ingredients for a perfect day at your company?

Getting to chat with a recently married couple, discovering some bomb wedding pro and a steady supply of cold-brew coffee.

If you could plan a dream retreat for you and the folks you work closely with, what would you do and where would you go?

Anywhere we could hang in queer-owned spaces, communing with like-minded folks and learning more about how to serve our couples.

What do you do when you're not working and what's your favorite way to practice self-care?

I write a travel blog that I started when I darted to Paris for six months in 2014; spend a lot of time planning my next tattoo and plotting yummy-smelling, all-natural hair and beauty concoctions to make in my wannabe home apothecary.

What's the biggest risk you've ever taken?

Leaving the country and the job market for a year to travel.

If you were in charge, what would the next big wedding trend be?

Because I was Janis Joplin and Lisa Bonet’s love child in a former life, I’d hang on to this current bohemian wedding trend until the end of days.

What are you most looking forward to at {un}convention?

Meeting lots of intrepid and forward-thinking wedding professionals! 

 

Headshot Photographyer // Tiffany Josephs Photography

Tiffany Josephs is a photographer based in Fredericksburg, VA, and offers headshots, product photography, and event photography, as well as social media photography for clients and small businesses.

Who is your dream client?

My dream client is someone who goes with the flow, living in the moment, and allowing me to capture it all through my lens for future generations to experience and enjoy. 

What is one of your favorite creative, offbeat projects you’ve worked on? 

Documenting the kitchen and waitstaff at a local popular restaurant in Fredericksburg right before they moved into their new building was my favorite. I also shot before images of the building and will be returning soon to shoot the after images of the new FoodE Restaurant.

Photo by Tiffany Josephs
Photo by Tiffany Josephs

What are three ingredients for a perfect day at your company? 

Good music, aromatherapy, and Bobby Juice ;-)

If you could plan a dream retreat for you and the folks you work closely with, what would you do and where would you go?  

With perfect days like ours who needs a retreat?

What do you do when you're not working and what's your favorite way to practice self-care? 

When I'm not shooting/editing I'm being semi-domestic. My favorite way to relax is solitude, watching Netflix and  eating tacos.

Photo by Tiffany Josephs

What's the biggest risk you've ever taken? 

Moving to Maryland from Dallas, TX.

If you were in charge, what would the next big wedding trend be? 

No trends just authentic, classic imagery.

What are you most looking forward to at {un}convention? 

I'm fully aware of how cliche "being around like minded individuals" sound.. BUT it's the honest to God truth. 

DIY Workshop // Maven Made All-Natural

Bethany Frazier of Maven Made

Maven Made is owned by Bethany Frazier and based in Richmond, VA.  Maven Made offers simple, all-natural products for home, wellness + beauty.

Maven Made is a small-batch line of handcrafted apothecary and aromatherapy products. From Headache and Tension Relief roll-on (yep, it works!) to Facial Serum and Linen Spray, each product is created to connect customers with ethically-sourced natural ingredients. I also offer one-on-one consults at my home studio if there's something specific in mind someone would like to concoct or focus on.

Who is your ideal client or customer?

My clients/customers are already amazing. I feel Maven Made has opened the minds of some who have thought chemical based products or medicines are the "be all end all" solution. On the other end of the spectrum, it's found a beautiful fit within the local Richmond community and mindful folks who incorporate some of the products into their day to day. I learn so much from customer interactions, more than they even know. Each conversation gives me more of a push and affirmation that I am on the right path (and be okay wherever it may go). 

What is one of your favorite creative, offbeat projects you’ve worked on?

With my other side business (with my fiery best friend and business partner),You.Are.Venus., I'm able to explore a super grounded and spiritual aspect of Maven Made and essential oils as a whole. At our holistic-forward retreats and workshops, I find ways to incorporate the products into yoga practice, meditation and chakra alignment. The last retreat we hosted in Floyd, VA I did one-on-one third eye opening massages (on the forehead) on all participants with a calming blend of neroli and lavender oils. It was amazing and extremely personal. 

New Maven Made Products

What are three ingredients for a perfect day at your company?

A good cup of coffee (right now, I'm stuck on Three Ships), a feel-good balance of my three (yes, three) jobs throughout the day and customer feedback (good or bad). 

If you could plan a dream retreat for you and the folks you work closely with, what would you do and where would you go?

I would probably choose Tulum (a Zika free version, though). I've been to this magical place in some intense stages in my life, including jungle camping solo right after a breakup. There's nothing better than a group of people gathering together, letting go of ego, jealously and just being real. So this dream retreat would include swimming nude in the ocean, embarking on a full moon ritual (I love moon phases), drinking something delightfully bright, eating too much guacamole and staying up to talk deep all night long. 

What do you do when you're not working and what's your favorite way to practice self-care?

When I'm not working, I'm usually eating something incredible Ipanema, connecting with my friends (these conversations tend to go over 3 hours) and hashing out ideas with my partner for our own wedding for next year. My self care practice and therapy is yoga, it's my inner, outer and all-around balance. I also love baking, it completely zens me right out. Oh, and also good beer, it's my weakness.

What's the biggest risk you've ever taken?

Since last October, I've been adamant on releasing situations (relationship, jobs and ways of thinking) that no longer serve me. With each uncomfortable conversation or self-doubt, the things I've cut loose, have literally propelled me further into opportunities that would have remained undiscovered if I hadn't just spoke my truth and let go. 

If you were in charge, what would the next big wedding trend be?

Incorporating the concept of mindfulness on the wedding day (and every process leading up to it). This also translates to a wave of couples letting go (or not even giving attention) to "looks", trends or traditions that don't reflect them. I also think introducing a light + short guided meditation during the ceremony would be badass. I have been to (and in) so many weddings that are religion-heavy when the couple isn't... at all. That's part of speaking your truth, saying no to things. Yeah, it's challenging, but I feel couples would feel more aligned and conscious if the day truly reflects who they are. 

What are you most looking forward to at {un}convention?

Being able to talk about the beneficial properties of natural ingredients, but more so to connect with other like-minded people. This is always my intention for participating in events, the conversations and connections are priceless. 

Guest Panelist // Melissa Alam of Studio Alam

Melissa Alam

Melissa Alam is the owner of Studio Alam, Femme & Fortune, and The Fearless Conference, based in Philadelphia. Studio Alam is a digital platform and community for ambitious women.

Studio Alam is my freelance digital brand strategy business where I provide web design, branding, photography and more for clients. Femme & Fortune provides online articles, media, and events for the creative career woman looking to find her girl gang. The Fearless Conference is my annual conference for women where I bring together amazing speakers for a weekend of inspiration and girl power! 

Who is your dream client?

Dream client would be any lifestyle brand dedicated to or focused on women!

What is one of your favorite creative, offbeat projects you’ve worked on?

I have a great nail polish client (check out Misa Cosmetics!) so I get to name the seasonal collections. Dream job!

What are three ingredients for a perfect day at your company?

Awesome client emails, lots of pump-up music (Rihanna, Drake, Ariana, etc.), and naps haha. 

If you could plan a dream retreat for you and the folks you work closely with, what would you do and where would you go?

I'd love to host a retreat somewhere in Europe near a coast where we can enjoy the peaceful sounds of the ocean, lots of wine, and European eye candy of course. :)

What do you do when you're not working and what's your favorite way to practice self-care?

I'm trying to play more pickup soccer because it's my favorite stress reliever. I also hang out with my friends whenever possible because they're awesome and laughing with them is my best practice of self-care. 

What's the biggest risk you've ever taken?

Not going the traditional route and sticking with my gut to start my own businesses — even when it gets rough and it seems like I'm just failing. The risk is there every day, and you just keep going. 

If you were in charge, what would the next big wedding trend be?

Calorie-free cake!

What are you most looking forward to at {un}convention?

Meeting all of the amazing women attending and hello, headshots!

Brand Consultant // Kristen Poissant

Kristen Poissant

Kristen Poissant is a designer and brand consultant in New York City whose tagline is "When in doubt make it gold!"

I am a brand stylist and designer with over 12 years of experience in creative direction, product design, creative marketing, and photo styling. I have worked with a number of different clients from large multi-million dollar product-based brands like Vera Bradley, Tiny Prints, and Shutterfly, Inc. to spirited small businesses with serious goals. My passion is to successfully build your business visually and cohesively through different means of product, messaging, branding, and social media. 

Who is your dream client?

A dream client for me would be someone who embraces color and believes that investing in good design will take their business to a new level. My clients who believe that a strong brand identity sets them apart from their competition is a successful client for me and their business.

What is one of your favorite creative, offbeat projects you’ve worked on?

Working on a project for a few of my favorite creative ladies where I got to incorporate a pair of women's undies in the logo. I drew undies for days! All different types, sizes, and styles!

What are three ingredients for a perfect day at your company?

A morning workout to clear the mind and release a healthy sweat, having my inbox cleared and answered before 10 am, and working through a design concept in the mood board phase (always my favorite part! so many possibilities!).

If you could plan a dream retreat for you and the folks you work closely with, what would you do and where would you go?

I've been dreaming about this one for a long time and hope to make it happen SOON! I would love to take a "design" trip to Morocco. Pull together all my best design friends and photographers and spend a week shopping the markets, eating delicious food, taking fabulous photos, and spending a night glamping in the desert.

What do you do when you're not working and what's your favorite way to practice self-care?

When I'm not working I am spending time with my Corgi Olive and practicing a healthy lifestyle through being outdoors, working out at the gym, and trying new recipes. My favorite way to practice self-care is investing in a good massage each month; it calms me, loosens muscles, and leaves me feeling refreshed.

What's the biggest risk you've ever taken?

I left my full-time job this past June and chose to take my career in the direction *I* wanted to take it in! Scary but so powerful! 

If you were in charge, what would the next big wedding trend be?

Ditching the wedding party and making it about the couple solely at the forefront.

What are you most looking forward to at {un}convention?

I'm looking forward to meeting a bunch of new people who share the same values as I do as a designer and person -- people who are standing up for being off-trend and setting a new tone in the wedding space.

Keynote Speaker // Kelley Raye of Kelley Raye Photography

Kelley Raye of Kelley Raye Photography

Kelley Raye is a photographer based in Atlanta, Georgia.

Kelley is a lifestyle and wedding photographer whose tagline, if she had one, would be “Rad-Ass Required." When she's not shooting cool weddings, she is empowering ladies to level up through girlboss branding sessions — lifestyle portrait sessions designed specifically for rad-ass creative female entrepreneurs.

Who is your dream wedding to work on?

My dream wedding client is one who wants wedding portraits over any other photography and plans their entire day around them (like I would). They are getting married in an unexpected location (rather than the traditional or overdone ones), and they don’t have a schedule so jam-packed that it feels more like a day at a law office than a celebration of love. I love seeing weddings that incorporate unique details, unexpected ‘venues,’ amazing style, and wedding portraits with epic creative direction.

What is one of your favorite creative, offbeat projects you’ve worked on? 

The most offbeat wedding I shot was one which the couple probably had more for their family. The dress was $300, the cake was 6 inches in diameter, the transportation was Uber, the portraits — well there weren’t any, the couple self-married (the ceremony was all of 2 minutes), and then they just danced the night away. No special send off.

What are three ingredients for a perfect day at your company? 

Good coffee, a rad-ass couple, and a scenic location.

If you could plan a dream retreat for you and the folks you work closely with, what would you do and where would you go? 

I would load my business besties on a plane to either Costa Rica or Bali, and we would drink wine, do yoga, stare at the stars, ride bikes, laugh, motivate each other across a bonfire, and remember why we decided to start a business. :)

What do you do when you're not working and what's your favorite way to practice self-care? 

When I'm not working I'm either at a coffee date with another business owner (all my girls are rockin' it!) or I'm booking a flight. My favorite way to practice self-care is to make time to travel; it's what makes me feel the most alive so I make it a priority.

What's the biggest risk you've ever taken?

The biggest risk I've taken is investing in my education by booking a photographers' retreat/workshop in Denver, CO led by one of my all-time favorite photographers. It was a risk because (1) I had to basically deplete my business savings to go, and (2) what if I didn’t learn what I wanted or needed to? There was no way to know until I got there. I did learn what I needed though, so I am happy I went.

If you were in charge, what would the next big wedding trend be?

I would love to make day-before wedding portrait sessions a thing. As a creative photographer, having enough time to make beautiful portraits is my favorite part of any wedding day. I get rushed through this part of the day a lot, and I think it's because people make the most stressful wedding day schedules ever, and then taking time for themselves becomes an afterthought. If wedding portraits were done the day before, that would allow for so much more time to make epic shit and feel good about doing something for yourself without feeling rushed, without pressure of what comes next in the schedule, and without the family-induced stress that weddings seem to bring.

What are you most looking forward to at {un}convention?

I'm most looking forward to meeting other awesome wedding professionals (hopefully in all different stages), hear personal stories, and just connect with other people who know what it's like to live this wedding life!

Guest Panelist // Kate Schaefer of H&H Weddings

Kate Schaefer of H&H Weddings

Meet Kate Schaefer, Owner of H&H Weddings based in New York

H&H Weddings is an LGBTQ+ wedding blog dedicated to providing high end resources to plan and create a one-of-a-kind event. 

Who is H&H Wedding's Dream Client?

Saks Fifth Avenue approaches H&H Weddings to help them create their 2017 fall wedding campaign.

What is one of your favorite creative, offbeat projects you’ve worked on? 

I have been a part of a number of styled shoots that have been super fun and allowed me to work with some of my favorite people (LEAH WEINBERG of Color Pop Events!)

What are three ingredients for a perfect day at your company?

Booze + Fun People + Creativity (because you’d be surprised by how much non-creative shit I have to do)

If you could plan a dream retreat for you and the folks you work closely with, what would you do and where would you go?

I would go to Big Sur with all of the best people I know and we would have a makeup-free/fuss-free week of empowering each other.

What do you do when you're not working and what's your favorite way to practice self-care?

I love Bikram yoga, and I work out frequently. Plus I try to make sure I get lots of sleep. 

What's the biggest risk you've ever taken?

I moved to NYC without knowing a single person there.

If you were in charge, what would the next big wedding trend be?

I want funnier weddings. Like, I think Louie CK should become an officiant. Or John Oliver. Also, I think weddings should be more eco-friendly. There’s this very disposable attitude towards weddings because it’s only one day. 

What are you most looking forward to at {un}convention?

Seeing Carly Romeo, obviously. Oh, and meeting a bunch of rad new people.