A Crafted Affair


Women’s Wedding Fashion at Bent Paddle Brewing Co. in Duluth
Written by Alyson Newquist, Bash Collective
Styled and Produced by Bash Collective
Photos by Canary Grey Photography

At Bash Collective (www.thebashcollective.com) we work with many to-be-wed lesbian couples hoping to host intimate gatherings reflective of their personalities and love.  Across the board they want to make their weddings more than just a celebratory party, but also don’t want to simply replicate hetero-wedding norms.  These couples want attire they are comfortable with and are weary of traditional, gendered wedding attire and the hair and makeup that often accompany it.

Duluth_lavender-20Equipped with these observations and our desire to work with some of Duluth’s LGBT-friendly wedding professionals we headed northward for a styled shoot celebrating intimacy, nature, and a real representation of what same-sex weddings look like for many couples. We wanted to highlight the small, intimate, sometimes two-person celebrations many couples are having across the state while showcasing fashion and décor styling that blend together one couple’s individual comfort levels, tastes, and interests.

Wing Ta of Canary Grey Photography (www.canarygrey.com) captured the collaboration and her familiarity working with same-sex couples is evident in the naturalness of the moments she captured.

Duluth-based florists Saffron & Grey (www.saffronandgrey.com) designed the floral for the shoot.  They have been designing for same-sex weddings non-stop since marriage equality passed.  Their no-minimum policy is great for couples looking for amazing, personalized design for smaller weddings.

Duluth_lavender-27DUluth_lavender-38Derick Cich Makeup Artistry (www.derickcich.com), also based in Duluth, added to the couple’s natural beauty without making them uncomfortable as women who don’t ordinarily wear makeup.  Cich also provides male grooming services for men hoping to look their best on their wedding day who might want to tame some brows, simmer down hairline shine, or cover up skin imperfections. Kristy Johnson took care of the couple’s hair for the shoot, doing them up as they’d normally be done, with just a little more polish for the photography.

Bent Paddle Brewing Company offers a modern Duluth setting with a nod to the city’s industrial aesthetic.  The co-owners of the brewery, Bryon and Karen Tonnis and Laura and Colin Mullen, were previously wedding photographers and event planners, respectively, prior to starting the brewery. Their combined eye for design created the industrial chic taproom used for our setting.  The space is available for rent for events any day of the week. We utilized the brewery’s existing tables and chairs and Saffron & Grey created loose, organic floral pieces in containers mostly sourced from thrift stores.  The floral and natural items like amethysts, moss, a butterfly, rocks, and carved wooden animals tempered the machine-age chairs, exposed brick and corrugated metal walls of the taproom.

Duluth_lavender-25Duluth_lavender-19Two brides often face the challenge of finding wedding attire that reflects each of their styles and goes well together but doesn’t match too much.  For a couple who feels more comfortable in suits/suiting separates choosing pieces from the same collection within a line of clothing is generally a good place to start. Collections are generally made to look good next to one another either on the runway or in stores. Adding in a piece or two that reflects a bride’s personal style and further differentiates the outfits is easier from that starting point.

Crazy-in-love Duluth couple, Allyson Rolph and Sarah Lee, joined us for the day to be photographed alongside their photogenic husky Monet.  Both women feel most comfortable in more androgynous clothing and rarely dress up. To respect this common lesbian wedding occurrence and veer away from the expectation of brides in white, we styled the couple with unexpected textures like leather, silk, and wool and geometric patterns.  Minneapolis-based online shop A MANO (www.weshopamano.com), a curated store of handmade goods, provided geometric necklaces that subbed in for the usual tie.

Rolph is the Head Brewer at Thirsty Pagan Brewing (www.thirstypaganbrewing.com) in Superior, WI, where Lee bartends in addition to her non-profit urban farming work in Duluth.  They settled in easily to the settings for the shoot, Bent Paddle Brewing Company (www.bentpaddlebrewing.com) and a yurt being constructed at the Hartley Nature Center (www.hartleynature.org) by Scott Graden, owner of New Scenic Café (www.sceniccafe.com).


On Sarah: Jacquard one button blazer ($76.80) and “Quinn” tuxedo jacquard skinny ankle pants ($79.00) by Halogen from Nordstrom, gold-tipped western shirt ($24.95) from Forever 21, “Summit Necklace” in black and gold ($65) by Cursive Design from A MANO, Frye 15R Harness Boot ($298) from Frye.com

On Allyson: Faux leather motorcycle jacket ($44.99) by Mossimo from Target, “Rachel” shirt ($248.00) by Rachel Roy from Nordstrom, “Quinn” jacquard skinny ankle pants ($79.00) by Halogen from Nordstrom, chiffon bow neck tie ($14.24) from ASOS, vintage shoes


On Sarah: Vintage long coat by Land’s End from Everyday People, plaid shirt ($44.99) from Gap, navy blazer ($198.00) from J.Crew, “Home Sweet Home” necklace ($138.00) by Wazo Designs from A MANO, multi-color tweed pants ($69.99) from Urban Outfitters, “Donata” boots ($298.00) from Nordstrom, black wide-brimmed hat ($24.95) from H&M, orange scarf with foxes ($24.00) by Cooperative from Urban Outfitters

On Allyson: Vintage tweed blazer by Ralph Lauren from Everyday People, cream flannel shirt ($24.95) from H&M, grey sweater ($49.00) from Kohl’s, grey vest ($69.00) from J. Jill, eggplant trousers ($49.99) from Gap, felt hat ($29.00) from Gap, geometric navy scarf ($14.00) from Maurice’s


Hartley Nature Center’s trails and its new yurt offered a more private, natural setting for the couple to be photographed in.  We imagined a couple eloping in this space or visiting it for photos after a casual courthouse legal ceremony.  The space allowed for shots of the couple walking through the woods and also for more posed shots within the yurt.  The contrast of the posed, stylized shots within an outdoor setting like a yurt fits with a couple’s decision to formalize their commitment while doing so in a simple, yet beautiful way.

We selected dressier-than-everyday looks that were still practical for taking a celebratory fall hike in Duluth.  Stylish outerwear that corresponds with a wedding look is essential for weddings with a potential for cooler weather. We paired warm jackets over sweaters with scarves and rolled trousers and boots, and topped the couple off with wool hats. We covered the ground with textiles and throws and hung woven tapestries by Liz Toohey-Wiese sourced from A MANO amongst Saffron & Grey’s ferns and floral.  Monet the husky rested at his moms’ feet amongst the styled items.


Lavender Magazine

5100 Eden Ave, Suite 107 • Edina, MN 55436 • 612.436.4660

©2023 Lavender Media, Inc.