10 Sep An interview with Nouveau Magazine founder, Fri Forjindam
Fri Forjindam is the founder of Nouveau an online, premier style guide for brides. Launched in 2009, it has quickly become the leading resource for intercultural/interfaith and multi-ethnic couples. Not only is she providing a wedding resource for brides, but she is able to inspire modern couples around the world to create events that pay respect to each others cultures.
What inspired you to start a wedding blog specifically for intercultural/interfaith weddings?
Nouveau was inspired organically from my personal experience. I had never spent more than a second looking through wedding magazines until I got engaged. I found myself spending hours trying to find inspiration in print and online, that reflected my multicultural wedding (I’m Cameroonian and my husband is Caucasian American). I spent over a year planning my wedding and it wasn’t until a year later, after all the hoopla had subsided that I realized that I was sitting on a wonderful opportunity, in creating a platform for millions of other couples in interracial/intercultural relationships searching for inspiration and a unique style.
How has your blog been received since it began in 2009?
Wonderfully. I started out as a trial-and-error blog, literally teaching myself how to code and learning the commandments of the Internet. Since then, we’ve evolved into an online style magazine, with a print publication, been featured in news outlets including Huffington Post, and will soon be launching Nouveau-inspired merchandise for our subscribers. It’s all very exciting.
What are some of the most memorable intercultural weddings you’ve featured on your blog?
I’m constantly amazed by how often brides find unique ways to show their voice through every detail from vows, to favors and everything in between. Hands down the most memorable wedding (and a bit of a surprise, in regards to how rare it was), was a wedding we featured that had twin brides marrying twin grooms. The rarity of the union was wonderful in itself, but then the backstory behind the tragedy, triumph and love that the sisters had experienced reminded me of why I love talking about fusion of cultures. Love all around.
You cover a lot of different types of weddings on Nouveau, from extravagant affairs to sweet and simply barnyard weddings. Do you prefer a large, luxurious affair or something more low-key?
My personal style leans towards more low-key events that allow conversation, honest interactions and the ability for all involved (couple and guests) to be present. Often times the bigger, the more surreal, which is not to say that a grand affair can’t be memorable. I also think luxury doesn’t have to be short-changed based on the size of the event. It’s so much easier to pay attention to, savor and appreciate detailed design when it’s “low-key”.
How do you choose weddings to feature?
Style. You can smell cookie-cut a mile a way, and sometimes it’s as simple as replicating a trend. We try to focus on the story, not just colors. On culture, not just clothing. And most importantly, does the wedding make you go “ahh”! It always helps to enlist a photographer who isn’t afraid to have a unique eye. We have our favorites, but what a refreshing breath it is, to be surprised by a new photographer, whom you’ve never heard of.
Have any ceremonies or weddings surprised you?
Maybe not surprised, but awestruck. I’ve attended two weddings since my own and every time, the moment the bride arrives on to the “stage”, I just lose it. I am constantly reminded of the purity and genuine love in the air. It’s also one of the few moments (other than right after a baby is born), where you can almost cut through the energy with a knife. It’s palpable, it’s present and it’s very overwhelming.
What do you hope to achieve from highlighting specifically intercultural unions?
From a selfish standpoint, I want my children (4 and 7 months old) to one day be able to see loving couples, families and individuals just like them (or their families) in the mainstream. Interracial couples are the fastest growing demographic today, and it’s mind boggling that mainstream media (other than Ikea and Cheerios ads) are capitalizing on that.
How did you marry the traditions of your family and your husband’s family when you married?
I’m a theatre actress, so Shakespeare is just as much my tradition as heritage. We had sonnets in our vows, and traditional clothing and customs. Of course, in hindsight, had I had weddingnouveau.com at the time, I would have been more confident about incorporating a lot more.
What do you love personally about weddings?
When else are emotions high, open bar flowing and in-laws mingling for the first (and sometimes last) time?
Where do you see the site and your magazine in the next five years?
In the next five years, I hope to have more of an online live media presence, venturing into shorts and online TV where we can really flex our creative muscles on storytelling, addressing issues and narratives that speak to intercultural style & interests.