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Aliah & Emma – The Challenges of Being Non-Monogamous

Aliah & Emma – The Challenges of Being Non-Monogamous

Marla Manes Photography Femme queer LGBTQIA+ plus Brides Seattle Washington USA Dancing With Her wedding magazine

Words by Marla from Marla Manes Photography

The inspiration came from a desire to create a shoot that celebrated love, first and foremost, and inclusivity. Both in the accounts that I follow and in much of my own portfolio, I’m sick of seeing one type of couple, one “look” of what a marriage could or should be. I want my business to be a safe space for all kinds of love and all kinds of people, and so I put out a model call for anybody that feels underrepresented in the wedding industry. When Emma and Aliah responded, I was thrilled because they are so beautiful together, and I knew they deserved a really special shoot!

We kept the styling pretty simple because I knew their love would steal the show. In the pictures they sent to me, and in the way, they described their relationship, I knew that Emma and Aliah had something special that we would really want to keep the focus on! On the day of the shoot, as it all came together, and I saw how they looked at each other when they put on these dresses for the first time, I knew we were going to create magic together.

What are the key styling elements of the styled inspiration, and who brought them to life?

Serenity & Co Events was 100% responsible for our gorgeous setup! They envisioned the luxe picnic vibe and brought it to life using all of their own materials. I was floored when I saw the rustic-chic picnic table with such lovely details and the florals by The Petal and The Stem!

Words by couple Aliah & Emma

Tell us your love story.

Like any good zilennial couple, we met on Tinder. 

Aliah’s bio was, much like herself, practical and, a matter of fact. She shared who she was in a few short sentences: She was a future attorney passionate about immigrant rights. She lived forty-five minutes away in Tacoma but was in Seattle a few evenings a week for Roller Derby Practice (wow – this is off to a very gay start).  

I had just moved to Seattle a few months before meeting Aliah. I only knew a few people in the city, most of whom were straight, and I was hoping to connect with other queer people. So I downloaded Tinder, not sure what I was looking for. I certainly wasn’t looking for anything serious.

On our first date, Aliah came to my apartment late one evening. We planned to watch the movie Butter (if you haven’t seen Butter it’s an excellent movie and you should watch it). We spent the evening talking and laughing and making out. Neither of us had any intention to fall in love. I don’t even know that we had intentions for a second date. But, as our first date came to an end, we both –kind of perplexedly- remarked just how comfortable we felt. That comfortability led us to a second date, a third date, and now a home together with our dog Artichoke and cat Apricot.

Tell us about navigating your non-monogamous relationship.

Both of us entered our relationship knowing that we were non-monogamous. But, navigating the nuance of non-monogamy has been simultaneously the most challenging and the most rewarding thing we’ve been through. We both had to overcome an amount of internalized shame about being non-monogamous. We must also communicate endlessly about our desires, needs, and emotions in a way that we probably wouldn’t if we were in a monogamous relationship.

Choosing to structure our relationship in this way requires a massive amount of communication, vulnerability, and energy. Even though this is certainly not the easiest or most traditional path, we both find that being polyamorous brings tremendous value to our lives. When forming relationships with people, we can allow those relationships to freely grow and evolve- without expectations to conform to the constraints of a monogamous relationship. Being non-monogamous has not only made us happier as individuals, but it has also made us a stronger couple.

What’s in the future for you both?

We have some big and exciting changes coming our way in the next few years. Aliah is studying for the LSAT and applying for law school for the Fall of 2022. That means that we aren’t sure at this point where we will end up moving, but we are so excited to explore a new city and build a new home together. We both have engagement rings hidden for one another in our apartment and look forward to when we get to take photos at our actual wedding.


Photography by Marla Manes Photography

Ceremony Venue Carpe Diem Collective
Dress Designer Hannah Caroline Couture
Florist The Petal and The Stem
H&MU Serenity31 
Planner & Stylist Serenity & Co Events

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