A few months ago photographer David McNeil and I were sat in a Creperie in London. He turned to be and said, “Let’s do another photo shoot and let’s make it the best yet… Let’s go to Paris!” It’s hard to believe how far we’ve come since that first whimsical conversation and that we actually managed to pull it off – to hop over the channel and channel my inner Marie Antoinette!
Well, if I do say so myself, we not only pulled it off but we SMASHED it! I am actually so blown away by the whole experience (and the results) that I kind of don’t really know where to start..maybe the beginning would help?
Myself and David McNeil have been friends for years – before either of us got into this who wedding ‘thing’ so needless to say we know each other pretty well. I love the fact that we started our businesses around the same time and I often refer to him as my “wedding industry husband” (and a few people have actually thought he was my husband – however Gareth is a lot more beardy!) We’ve worked together on shoots before; he did Gareth and my engagement shoot, my (two!) bridal shoots (here & here) and my boudoir shoot, however this was our first with proper styling, hair & make up.
Working with David is a dream. He’s calm, he makes me comfortable and he’s so creative it’s unreal. In fact the first ever shoot we did together was my boudoir shoot which just goes to show how comfortable I am with him! David also asked our friend and Rock n Roll Bride favourite, Shell De Mar if she’s like to come along too. I think it took her all of about 3 seconds to agree after we told her we were going to Paris! Shell second shot with David and also shot some behind the scenes images and video - both of which will be featured on the blog next week.
With such an epic idea as a Marie Antoinette themed shoot in Paris, there was really only one lady I could ask to help is style it. Penny Merricks of Tigerlily Weddings is not only one of the most well connected planners I know but her vivacious personality and unique visual flair made her perfect for this project. She managed to get some amazing people to donate props for us to use and she pulled together an utterly incredible hair & make up team. She also persuaded Ian Stuart to lend us FOUR – yes FOUR - gowns to bring with us! Gift of the gab? Yes I think so!
I don’t quite know how she did it, but after she spoke to Mr Stuart himself (yes she spoke to him directly!) and told him of our plans, he immediately shipped four of his most extravagant dresses right out to us! I know. I still can’t believe it either. Amazing.
I am so pleased that we asked Penny to take creative control on the styling of this shoot because in all honestly I would never have chosen Ian Stuart as the dresses for the shoot if it was all up to me. Not only would I never dream that he’d agree to letting us borrow over £20,000 worth of stock to bring to Paris, but big dresses scare me a little…and these were BIG dresses! These were the kind of dresses that make an instant impact and yes, are ginormous and a little scary, but after getting my hair and make up done and rocking the look out of the streets of gay Parieee, they were, well…perfect. The lady was right!
The inital idea from David & I for this shoot was to do something really really different. That phase is thrown around a lot at the moment so we really did have to think outside the box, and even go out of our own comfort zone. DIY & quirky touches, tattoos, pink hair…are all very unique and Rock m Roll but we really wanted to make you all go WOW. We wanted to pull off a real statement of a shoot…something you’d literally never seen before and maybe wouldn’t even expect me to do.
Penny was able to bring this out of us, even more so than we envisaged ourselves. David & I may have said said “Paris, Marie Antoinette” but if we’d done everything ourselves I don’t think even we would have gone as far-out as we did.
I predict that over the next few years the trend of small and quirky DIY weddings might shift slightly towards couples wanting to create something a bit more opulent and ‘out-there’. I think that people will still be doing things on a budget and implementing DIY elements, but that the styling will become a lot more more glam, ostentatious and extravagant. With this shoot we wanted to show you that more dramatic styles can still be pretty damn Rock n Roll and you don’t have to follow everybody else’s idea of what makes a Rock n Roll Bride to be fabulous!
Want a big dress instead of a short quirky number? Go for it!
Want mini wedding cakes instead of cupcakes? Do it!
Want to wear vintage pearls and a custom made crown? ROCK IT OUT!
…And what a way to showcase this idea that by channeling one of the most glamorous and opulent women in history, Marie Antoinette!?
Penny asked if I could dye my hair a more baby shade of pink to go with the style she had in mind. After a mini disaster with the dye not being delivered on time (eek!) I was able to locate some dye at the last minute and rock the baby pink look like no other. I used Baby Pink by Stargazer and hair stylist Cassandra Rizzuto dyed some blonde extensions with the same dye to match perfectly. She then curled them and went to work on pinning them to my head. My real hair was put up into a massive beehive over a sponge and the extensions were positioned around it. Cassandra also sprayed my roots with Bastiste dry shampoo for that authentic “white powder” look that was popular in the 18th Century. We went for 3 different looks with both hair and make up which we matched with our 3 favourite dresses. Full list of everything used below.
My Make Up
Alison Cameron came along to do my make up. I simply love love love getting pro make up done and if I could have one wish it would be to have a professional make up artist to prep me every day! Alison’s handiwork even lasted until I got home at 1am that night (seriously!) For the first look we started with a subtle smokey eye, a beauty spot and deep red lips. For the second look we went for a much brighter pink lip and for the third, my favourite and a much more dramatic look, we piled the black and pink onto my eyes and paled out my lips using a gorgeous pale pink lipstick.