Chicago wedding vendors hold photo shoot to celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, combat Asian hate

CHICAGO (WLS) -- People working in the wedding industry set up a photo shoot to send a message of love. They came together on the first day of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month to use their businesses and voices to help stop the hate.

Wedding season is underway, and while brides and grooms are still guided by COVID protocols, some hope couples will consciously hire Asian American vendors.

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"We had a really big booked 2020 and then March it basically all got cancelled," said Megan Rae Banias, Lil Epic Design.

Several vendors showcased their creative businesses on Monday as they celebrated Asian Pacific American Heritage Month - and to combat Asian hate.

"Couples have been reaching out more. I've gotten an email inquiry saying we really want to support Asian-owned business and all that stuff, so that's been really sweet to hear couple reaching out to me because of that," said Nikki Palcan, Nikki Kate Photography.

The vendors' talents were on display for a faux wedding photo shoot at Walden Chicago on the Near West Side. Not only has business been challenging during the pandemic, but recent events motivated Nicole Calaustro of Sweet Letters Calligraphy to bring these vendors together.

"Unfortunately that increase in Asian American hate crimes and violence towards our community and I think that was made this shoot more special and meaningful to our communities," Calaustro said. "I wanted us to show more of what we are about, more of our crafts and creativity."

The vendors said they often find themselves as the only people of color at their events, but they hope times are changing and with it, more diversity in the wedding industry.
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