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I remember planning my wedding and reading ALL the bridal mags and going on ALL the wedding sites, and at a certain point, getting really uncomfortable and overwhelmed because so much of what I saw was heterosexual, white, cisgender, able-bodied athletic couples spending a lot of money (or at least, the kind of money that wasn’t within my budget) throwing Pinterest-inspired weddings. For the record, there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with being this kind of couple and there is definitely NOTHING wrong with throwing this kind of wedding. But these aren’t the only kinds of couples out there and these aren’t the only kind of weddings happening.

And of course, there are websites that are inclusive and celebratory of all the different kinds of weddings. But if we’re talking traditional print, bridal mags tend to have a very narrow, limiting view of what kind of couple and what kind of wedding is “feature-worthy.” In fact, the University of Wisconsin did a study in 2013, and discovered most bridal magazines solely featured light-skinned, fit, and straight couples. It’s a lot less fun planning your wedding if you don’t see yourself in any of them.

Furthermore, the traditional wedding magazine perpetuates the problematic notion that it’s the bride’s job to plan a wedding (assuming she is in a relationship with a man who identifies as “the groom”). Even though the event is to celebrate the union between two people, one person is expected to be doing the planning, and it’s most likely not the husband-to-be.

The bottom line? There are undoubtedly issues with wedding culture.

Enter Catalyst Wedding Co., a publication that proclaims itself to be “. . .the only print publication offering an alternative, diverse view” and promises to be “. . .a progressive wedding magazine that exists to increase representation in wedding media and to engage in critical dialogue about wedding traditions. The magazine tells a different story by showing people of all shapes and colors in beautiful print along with some fantastic editorial content.” And we dig it.

According to its Kickstarter (as of this writing, it’s raised 98 percent of its ask with 4 days to go), Catalyst separates itself out from the crowd by focusing on topics like “The process of planning a celebration of love and commitment while defying the pressure to design the Best Day of Your Life,” “Love stories of couples who care more about having a fabulous partnership than having a fabulous wedding,” and “Intersectional feminism as it relates to the wedding sphere.” Essentially, the brand steers away from the traditional institution of weddings and focuses on what YOU and your partner want in order to make your special day super, super special. It also encompasses racial, sexual, gender, and class diversity, and that’s incredibly valuable.

Catalyst is the brainchild of wedding coordinator Liz Susong (Mug Love Weddings) and wedding photographer Carly Romeo, who have partnered before to push against “the usual trappings of the wedding industry” by running the progressive wedding professionals workshop, {un}convention. In the wake of the workshop’s success, the duo decided the best way to spread the gospel of awesomely inclusive weddings was through print. And thus, Catalyst was born.

The saying we keep hearing over and over again, is that “it’s your special day.” And it is! If you want a very luxurious, traditional wedding and are able to make this happen, that’s amazing! However, everyone should feel like they can make their wedding day special without fulfilling deeply-rooted traditional requirements. An alternative wedding magazine is the much-needed solution to a problem for many, and we’re thankful it exists.

According to the Kickstarter, the magazine will be available “. . .in independent bridal shops, bookstores, design-based home goods stores, and at the traveling indie bridal show, Toasted.” We can’t wait!

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