Words by Photographer Riley Bibey
The inspiration definitely started from the so-called “spooky season.” As this shoot took place during October, but it evolved into more than that. We wanted to include crystals, celestial-themed items, and things that also made the shoot feel witchy. We called the shoot “the witching hour” because we wanted it to feel kind of mysterious, moody, and alternative.
I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and create something moody, celestial, and witchy. My normals style is vibrant and colorful, so I wanted to bring that out in an indoor location. I wanted couples to be able to take this inspiration and say, “Hey, we don’t have to do it like everyone else.” We brought in a crystal vendor because we really wanted that unique, celestial vibe to come out in the photos. It was also really important to just have fun and create something beautiful while also getting to flex our creative muscles.
The key elements were the color palette, the crystals, and the decor, including the florals. Katie from Bloom and Twine Floral used passion flowers in her designs, which are almost alien-looking, and I think it really brought a unique touch. The rentals from Urban Creative PNW like the gold candlestick holder for the table or the black woven rug for the ceremony set up also really helped add to the vibe. It made me think, “so this is what it would look like if Wednesday Addams got married.” I also think the crystals from Forest Stone and Sea were stunning and added such a unique touch. Although the planning and inspiration were all done by myself and Mandy and Madely, I think each vendor was necessary for bringing it to life!
Words from the lovers Madelyn & Mandy
Our favorite memory together is our first “I love you,” which didn’t go as planned. We ended a call when Madelyn said, “Okay, goodbye, love you!” without giving it a second thought. Which seems totally normal right? It seems like the usual way to hang up a phone call until you know that neither of us had said those three little words to each other yet. Needless to say, after the line went quiet, there was a freak out on both ends of the call.
Fast forward to one month later, we took a trip to the beach. Car rides and beach trips had become our special thing to do together. Mandy set up a gourmet picnic for us. The day was beautiful, sunny, and warm, something we usually don’t get at the coast in Oregon. We were sitting on the sand watching the waves when we decided to take photos with our phones’ self-timer. Right, when the picture was about to take, we looked at each other. Mandy smiled and said, “I love you.” The celebratory kiss right after was caught on camera. It was the perfect “I love you” we were both eager to share. It was the perfect day, the perfect girl, and without a doubt, the sweetest memory we’ve shared.
As many LGBTQIA+ people know, coming out is a huge deal. The truth is, when we started dating, neither of us had been publicly out in a relationship with a woman. So when we started dating, it was a quick realization that each of us wanted to find a way to come out in a way we each felt comfortable.
Madelyn: I’d say for me, the most challenging part, besides coming to terms with my own sexuality at the age of twenty, was telling people I love and trust the most. My mom, my grandma, and my sister. Saying “SURPRISE! I’m gay, and I’ve found the most beautiful woman that I absolutely adore!” was super nerve-racking considering no one I knew had any idea that this was something that would ever even happen. It’s hard to be so head over heels about someone, but at the same time, having to be cautious of who you tell and how you tell them.
Mandy: For me, I had been out to my family for many years. However, I was not publicly out. Growing up in the church, I was worried that the people I grew up around wouldn’t accept me. But I felt it was time that I lived my truth fully.
For us both, it’s a no brainer. Love is love. Everyone deserves love, and no matter is their sexual or gender orientation. The sad reality of it all is, that not everyone in the world thinks the same way we do and is so openly supportive. That’s always been scary. Lucky for us, we have been privileged enough to have accepting family and friends and were both able to come out on our terms, when, and how we chose. Our family and friends love and support us both. Equality and love for everyone will be something we will continue to fight for.
Mandy: If I could tell my younger self anything, I would say, “Happiness is different for everyone. You don’t have to follow societal norms. Follow your heart and do what feels right, not what you think others think is right. You are in charge of your life, no one else’s. You can’t decide how other people react to your decisions, but you can decide how you live your own life.”
Madelyn: The biggest thing I would tell my younger self if I could is that if it doesn’t feel right, if you don’t feel the kind of love you think you want, to keep searching! The idea of me possibly wanting to be with a woman romantically didn’t even come into my brain until much later in life. Still, looking back on it now, I would tell myself that it’s okay to love whoever you love. Not pressure yourself with societal norms of dating, love, and relationships. Move at your own pace, and find yourself before you look for love.
Mandy: I love that Madelyn puts absolutely everyone before herself. She makes sure everyone is taken care of before she ever thinks about herself. Madelyn has a huge heart and is incredibly generous. I love that we share so many interests and that my girlfriend is my best friend. I couldn’t ask for a better friend or girlfriend.
Madelyn: It’s hard to put into words one thing you love about your favorite person in the world. If I had to choose something about Mandy (besides her wildly adorable dimples), I think I would say my favorite thing about her is that she’s my best friend, on top of so much more. We are always laughing or being weird. I’m comfortable being myself around her and showing her parts of myself I don’t let everyone see. She has a knack for making people want to be vulnerable around her because it’s hard not to be when she is so just authentically herself. And her true self is just the kindest amazing person you could meet.
Dancing With Her Preferred Vendor
Florals Blooms and Twine Floral
Photography & Coordination by Riley Bibey
Baked Goods Just a Dash Cakes
Custom Crystal Crown Kurt Harlan
Custom Jackets Doozy Press
Crystals Forest Stone and Sea
Decor & Rentals Urban Creative PNW
Dress Rental Flutter Dress
H&MU By The Couple Madelyn, Mandy
Paper Goods Peach Wolfe Paper Co.