Shawnee Leonard


Moxie Brides Magazine

Logo Design: Kristin Joiner

My new creative project has been in the works for a while now (a little over a year to be exact). Anybody that knows me know that wedding planning was the career I was gonna pursue way before I even graduated high school & always had my eye on eventually starting my own event/wedding planning business. Life took me through the makeup artist path instead while I’m still attending school and as much as I love being one, wedding planning is where it’s at for me. It’s the perfect career path for type A personalities such as myself.

My ideal wedding planning business was gonna cater to the high end, luxury clients. (watching a lot of wedding shows on WeTV influenced that decision). As I've gotten older & my own personal style has changed, I had an epiphany & realized that is NOT the primary target market I wanna aim for. I've always noticed with the mainstream wedding industry, they showcase a specific type of wedding aesthetic. I rarely see brides of colors featured (with the exception of Munaluchi Bride), brides who step out of the norm & away from traditional wedding customs, etc., being featured anywhere. I'm drawn to alternative, non traditional, offbeat weddings. I know here in my local market, there are no wedding planners who caters to that niche. Trust me if there were, I would have been asked to do an internship with them like yesterday.

None of the local wedding publications cater to my ideal niche as well, so I thought it would be a good idea to go against the status quo & do my own digital indie publication/blog of wedding inspiration for my target market (until I get enough coins to turn it into a print publication, cause print is not dead). I’m in a Facebook group of creative professionals called the Rising Tide Society. I occasionally see creatives posting gorgeous photos of an offbeat, dark and moody photo shoot they’ve done & would love to submit it somewhere, but options are VERY very limited.

So the question is, how did I choose the name Moxie? I'm not sure where I've seen this word at, but it caught my attention & decided to look up what MOXIE means. One definition of Moxie from the Merriam-Webster dictionary is courage, determination. That is the PERFECT definition to describe the type of couples/brides I want featured in this publication. So why did I decide to pursue this project?

  • We need more diversity showcased throughout the wedding industry, that include couples of all races, shapes, sizes, sexual orientation, disabled, etc., and wedding vendors who don’t fit the mold of traditional weddings. I feel like the industry in general puts more focus on a certain aesthetic & price range.

  • I’m sure it would be a refreshing feeling to see couples in magazines who they can relate to. Shallow people in general can be assholes & have their own idea of who deserves love & who should be celebrating their love. Just look at how the LGBT community is treated because of who they wanna marry. Trust me I’ve seen plenty of memes with an overweight woman getting affection from a man & the caption says “& I can’t even get a text back”. You’re basically implying that you’re more worthy of love & affection based on your physical appearance and how can anybody that doesn’t fit your ideal beauty standards deserve love.

  • We should showcase couples who have an authentic vision for their wedding that is truly their own, regardless of what other family members think. We can’t front & act like there aren’t parents/future in laws who have to give their opinion on everything when it comes to planning your wedding. Weddings that truly reflect the couple’s values (& not somebody else’s) are the best weddings to attend.

  • I'm tired of seeing as a makeup artist is brides asking us to cover up their expensive as fuck ink to please their more conservative family member(s) who are attending. If Grandma Betty or Aunt Sally doesn’t like tattoos, she can do everyone a favor & just not attend. I plan on having at least a half sleeve of tattoos on my right arm before I turn 30 (& thigh tattoos). I wish I would cover up ink on my wedding day just to please another person & make them “comfortable”, you tried it.

  • Lastly, the word moxie is perfect to describe people who go against the status quo compared to what mainstream magazines deem as acceptable. There’s nothing better than living an unapologetic life on your own terms & put your happiness first, that includes what you want for your wedding.  


Now to the fun part, if you’re interested in submitting, check out the Moxie Brides section of my portfolio to see submission deadlines.

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Most of the pages I do not have up until I start getting submissions.
Majority of the pages will be up during the summer since I’ll be posting teaser content until we do a full launch in August/September
See submission requirements here.