Rebecca Caridad wears a lot of hats. As the owner of a multi-faceted wedding business Manzanita she puts her generous creative energies to work not only photographing weddings, but also creating beautiful hand lettered pieces that range from tattoos to wedding invitations and piecing together stunning floral pieces for her clients — particularly those planning elopements. This is, of course, when she isn't posting endearing snaps of her super-cute pups to Instagram or leading calligraphy workshops (which we have vowed to fit into our calendars someday). You can see more of Rebecca's incredible work and learn about her own wedding day and her advice for engaged couples in our magazine, but in the meantime here are some insights into her creative process and how she first fell in love with weddings.
What inspires you to create?
I am inspired by so much! I think most of all I am inspired by stories and people. Like I said I think when people really succeed at telling a true human story with their medium that is the best kind of success. I am always trying to notice the small moments that happen in life and find a way to represent them in what I do. I think this is easiest with photography.
Everything I do becomes so much better when I am invested in the people that I am working and collaborating with. I noticed pretty quickly that just because I make money creatively doesn’t mean that It has to be something I do for money. Does that make sense? When I found myself pushing a work relationship that just didn’t feel right I think it showed in the work. Luckily most people who reach out to me are a perfect fit!
You work with photography, calligraphy and floral design. What draws you to each of these mediums?
I have always been a visual artist, ever since I was a little girl. I started becoming interested in photography in high school. I remember the dark room was always one of my favorite places to spend any free time I had in between classes and during free periods. I took that interest with me into college, but it wasn’t until a couple years after graduating that I became really serious about the medium. I had always worked with film in school and had never been that interested in digital until I started a small online business and blog. I knew I wanted a more convenient way to share better quality images so my husband bought me my first DSLR. After sharing some work some friends started asking me to photograph them and it sort of just snow balled from there until I realized that it was something I thought I could really spend my life doing and making a living with.
Like I said visual art has always been a part of my life. I remember drawing for hours on end as a child. In college I took my first calligraphy class and fell in love with the art. My major was creative writing so I loved being able to combine my love for language and visual art. Once I dived into the social media and the internet community I realized quickly that lettering and calligraphy was in high demand.
The floral aspect of my business sort of happened by mistake. I began booking small weddings and elopements where brides weren’t planning on having flowers. As a photographer flowers are one of the most fun things to photograph so I started offering to arrange flowers for clients. It’s been such a nice surprise to be able to do flowers for so many of my clients!
What does your creative process look like? How does it vary from medium to medium?
I think I approach everything I do creatively in a similar way. I guess my goal is to always be as honest as possible. I think everyone has their own perspective and aesthetic and the more honest we are about what that is in each of us the more honestly we can be creatively. I think that is what people are attracted to, a representation of a truth, even it isn’t their truth. I think we are always trying to understand life and people and art has always been one of the most celebrated ways to try and do this.
How would you describe your personal style or aesthetic? How is it represented in your work?
I have never known how to describe my style and aesthetic. I just go with what my eye says looks good and I’ve never really known how it decides what it does.
How have you changed as an artist throughout the span of your career? What has been the catalyst for these changes?
I think it took me a long time to trust what I like without comparing it to what I see. As I’ve gotten older I’ve definitely become more confident. I remember when I first started charging for my services I felt like I was cheating people because I would have gladly done all those things for free. It took me a long time to realize that I can love my work.
What advice do you have for other creatives, be they photographers, calligraphers or another kind of artist?
My advice is to be honest, don’t compare your successes to others, and take advantage of social media. Guys, seriously social media is the most priceless resource when starting a business. Network with other creatives and interact with your community!
Creatively, Manzanita is a multi-faceted endeavor. What led you to the wedding industry as a home for your business and art?
I avoided weddings for quite a while because my association was that they were very stressful and full of pressure. I shot my first wedding for a friend and was so in love with the whole experience! Weddings are more than just a day where two people get married. They are mile stones in life, they are a time when so many people who love each other are together. They are a day when people let themselves be so much more creative than they are in their every day lives. It is such a pleasure to collaborate with couples and help them make their weddings beautiful.
What do you see as your role in this industry?
I consider myself to be a part of a community filled with young people who have figured out how to support themselves by doing what they love. I don’t know if there has always been this much talent in the world or if the internet has allowed us to find all of these people. I love that I can connect with so much inspiration.
When and how did you know that this was where you wanted to be and what you wanted to be doing (from both a brand and a creative perspective)?
I have always known that I wanted to work for myself. When I found the wedding industry everything started to click and fall into place. I realized that it wasn’t this farfetched idea that I could support myself with something that I really enjoyed doing.