Indy contributor Shannon Brooks, owner of creative communications agency FORWØRD (, discusses her two pieces in this year’s Wedding Guide below.

Shannon Brooks | Credit: Courtesy

What was something you learned or that surprised you in your reporting?  I found it interesting that each of the four wedding photographers I interviewed fell into their niche organically; the profession found them. It was illuminating to hear how the pandemic changed the wedding business, as well, between the increase in elopements and how there is a greater reverence for gatherings and celebrations now that people can hold their postponed events. Photographers are full of advice and inspiring love stories from the couples they’ve worked with — it was hard to narrow it all down!

What do you hope readers will take away from your stories?  For the wedding photography piece, I love what Doza said about weddings showing him that “love persists.” James & Jess’s love of love and overall enthusiasm is contagious! And as someone who loves hospitality, I really appreciated Jen’s insightful recommendation that couples approach planning their wedding as making their grand debut as hosts.

For the Sweet Suites hotel piece, I hope some readers are inspired to treat themselves, be it for a wedding or a staycation! Santa Barbara County has some incredible properties and resorts, and it’s so fun to be a guest and experience our region through a visitor’s lens.

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