Tag Archives: 1950s

Desperate Housewife: A Personal Project by Joanna Brown

I love wedding photographer Joanna Brown. LOVE. I’m always blown away by the weddings she submits to me, and I’m thrilled to feature her work on these pages whenever I can. So imagine my unadulterated joy when she asked me if I’d be willing to model for a personal project she was working on.

“You may just know me as a wedding photographer,” Joanna Brown writes, “and while this is true, this is just one element of my photography work. I have been taking photographs for 18 years, since my A-Levels. I have 1000s of photographs in my archive featuring numerous projects. When I am not shooting weddings I love to shooting personal work. I do not rest; the desire to create imagery is too strong. I shut my eyes and see photographs. I have a sketch pad on me at all times including by my bed for the moments of clarity I have as I nod off to sleep.  Photography is my passion and everything about it motivates my work and my fascination with storytelling and the everyday.”

“I love visiting my boyfriend’s Mother’s house,” she continues, “and not for the reason you would think (even though her cooking is ace!) I love it because it is such a nostalgic place. It reminds me of an age gone by. As a child visiting relatives houses like hers, I became fascinated with the objects in them – acres of net curtains, mantelpieces, pot plants, carpets that would make me dizzy, picket fences and shrubs.”

“I guess this is what has driven this project -the combination of a house, my memories and a fascination with the idea of a housewife and the desire to discover the truth and scratch beneath the surface of the everyday life. I have always felt a tension between the banal of the everyday, the comfort of the home yet also the claustrophobia that this also brings with it. It all kind of came together in my mind and I knew that I wanted to do a shoot in this house. I just needed to find the right model.”

“It was only a matter of time until all the pieces slotted into place. The ‘housewife’ had to be authentic and the lightbulb moment came when Kat tweeted something about trying to cook Gareth dinner and then just dialing for a takeaway because it went wrong.” (Kat: sounds like me alright!)

So early one March morning, Elbie & I headed out to her Mother-in-law’s house which would become my character’s for the day. With me I brought a number of vintage dresses as well a huge bag of swag from the amazing Vivien of Holloway. Their 1950s inspired clothes were the perfect accompaniment to the theme of the shoot. I also brought with me the pink wig that I’d picked up in Vegas… just in case. I’m so glad I did though because I think it ended up becoming the star of the show. It certainly helped me get into character!

When these landed in my inbox on Friday afternoon I actually felt a bit emotional! I literally can’t believe that’s me right there. “Holy effing sh***ing crap you are amazing Jo” was my actual reply. No joke. If this makes me sound big headed then whatever…sorry and all that…but I look HOT. I’m not an especially pretty girl, but Jo managed to bring it out of me. In spades.

Jo told me that she really wanted to show a different side to me with her images. Apparently I can do ‘fierce’ and ‘strong’ very well (!) but she said she’d never seen me looking demure and soft. I think she achieved that don’t you?

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The Secret Glamour of Hollywood: A Styled Shoot for Alexandra King’s 2012 Bridal Collection

Secret Hollywood glamour was the inspiration for this shoot, set up to promote the new range of wedding dresses from British designer Alexandra King. “The shoot was originally based on the morning after the Oscars, a hazy, sun kissed feel with the soft prettiness of the dresses against the cold concrete and run down beach,” Alexandra told me. “As if an Oscar/wedding party traveled down to the beach in Lost Boys and here was the morning after. The shoot then developed to two more locations. To shoot the look book, we found a village hall which had the perfect school play feel to it with a velvet curtained stage and lighting that gave the models the appearance of being a puppet show.The abandoned 1960s caravan images gave a trashy contrast against the dresses again and I love the way some of the images have a romantic gypsy feel to them.”

Each dress is made to order and prices start from just £650. For more infomation be sure to check out her website or drop Alexandra a line!

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A ‘US Meets UK’ Rock n Roll Wedding: Aaron & Melanie

Aaron & Melanie’s rocking 50s wedding does exactly what it says on the tin.  This is unadulterated Rock n Roll Bride gold and I’m thrilled to share it with you today. The couple, who met in San Francisco while Melanie was there on holiday, were married at the end of January at Old Marylebone Town Hall, London. “We met whilst out dancing at a rockabilly club called the Jay n Bee, and whilst there was instant attraction, I was only on a two week holiday so nothing really happened,” Melanie told me. “However, I returned to the USA a few months later for Las Vegas and a three month stay in San Francisco, and that’s when we started dating.  We continued travelling between San Francisco and London, and got engaged on our 8 month anniversary (which was also Christmas Eve) whilst out dancing at the Southbank Centre in London.  We had originally planned to get married in SF, but one sunny day last October, we were laying in the garden here in London, and I said to Aaron ‘We should get married in London…in January!’ and so we planned our wedding in just over three and a half months!”

In order to keep the wedding personal, to save money and to enable them to organise everything so quickly, the couple did as much as they could themselves, with the help of friends & family. “We are really fortunate to have a lot of talented friends who were kind enough to help us make our day exactly as we wanted it to be,” Melanie continued. “My niece’s friend Claudia made our cake for the cost of the ingredients, numerous DJ friends took to the decks on the night and my sister’s friend Leena Teperi made my dress for me (exactly how I envisioned it!) My friend Natasha from Pretty Me Vintage did my hair and make up for me and an old school friend of mine, Mike Massaro, was our photographer.”

“We knew that we wanted our wedding to be very personal, and Aaron and I spent many evenings crafting until 2am in the weeks running up to the wedding! We made bunting, table decorations, cookies for favours, the table plan, signs, labels for the sweetie jars, mini-bunting for the table names, and my personal favourite – Aaron made Mr & Mrs 3D letters from scratch, using card, glue and tube maps (to keep with the UK part of our UK meets USA theme!)”

The most important thing to these two though? Well it’s all about the love baby! “Without trying to sound too cheesy, we were inspired by our love,” smiled the bride. “We planned our wedding around all the things that are special and meaningful to us, and did the best we could, with our budget, to make the most fun, memorable, romantic and personal party possible. We wanted rockin’ music, delicious food, attention to detail, and a fun atmosphere. We started out with a very non-traditional approach, and ended up with the perfect mix of traditional and non-traditional elements. We honestly feel that even if we were not on a tight budget, and had access to double or triple the money to spend, we still  wouldn’t change a thing.”

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A Homemade Whitstable Wedding: Sinead & Dan

Sinead & Dan were married in Whitstable at Beacon House, with a reception afterwards at the groom’s parent’s house. The great thing about Beacon House is that it’s one of the only wedding venues in the UK that’s licensed for an almost outdoor wedding, on the porch of the house, overlooking the beach. However it’s a small venue, hence why like a lot of couples Sinead & Dan moved to another venue for their reception.

Beacon House is the most beautiful house, we fell in love with it and Katrina the owner as soon as we arrived for the first visit,” the bride told me. “We married on the veranda with just 20 of our closest friends and family, with the beach as our backdrop. Instead of an aisle, I walked along the seafront to meet Dan at the top of the stairs, while a guitar and sax played. It was perfect, even if there was a 70yr old man in teeny tiny Speedos sunbathing on the beach while the ceremony took place! Our reception was in Dan’s parent’s garden. We found that a lot of venues imposed a lot of rules, you had to use their caterers, their bar service, corkage charges, end times, car parking etc. Having it at home gave us so much freedom and it felt so comfortable being there.”

The couple made their wedding their own with all the personal touches and details. Most things were collected over the years by trawling car boot sales and second hand shops and were things they already owned. They also found a lot of items on etsy or were handmade by friends. “We wanted a small intimate handmade wedding and an amazing reception – great music, great food with exciting and interesting decor. We are so lucky living in Whitstable, with a close-knit community of amazing businesses, I was keen to source everything as local as possible.”

“We wanted our friends and family to come to our wedding and feel as they would if they were on holiday; relaxed, comfortable and ready to have fun,” Sinead explained. “We had a marquee in the garden, but I was keen to make it less marquee like, so we covered the walls of the marquee in deck chair fabric and dotted some choice 1950s style furniture around. I absolutely loved the detail in the planning, and sourcing just the right things…we served the bubbly in Babycham glasses that I had collected over the year and I used lots of 50s children’s annuals and board games as centre pieces and to decorate the furniture and it just wouldn’t have been right without the ‘Kiss Me Quick, Squeeze Me Slow’ hats for the photobooth.”

“We had sticks of rock and cones of fish and chips as favours with a raffle in the evening! Our friend made us our very own seaside peep board as a wedding present, which provided hours of entertainment. I loved looking around and seeing our friends and family smiling, laughing and taking pleasure in all the detail, the details that me and Dan had so much fun gathering and putting together.”

Sinead wore a Candy Anthony wedding dress and it was the first wedding dress that she tried on! “As soon as it was on I knew I had to get married in it,” she continued. “I always knew I wanted a tea-length dress, that 50s look is just so feminine and pretty. I wanted a huge petticoat underneath, it just felt so much fun and really girly. It was also important to me to have a dress that gave me freedom to move, I wanted to cuddle people and I wanted to dance the night away. The slightly shorter length was perfect for that. I’ve heard about a lot of brides that looked amazing on their day but couldn’t move a lot or sometimes even breath very well – I don’t understand that logic. The Candy Anthony dress also allowed me to create a different look in the evening, I took off the sash and lace overlay. I had a tiny bow belt to put on and a matching pillbox hat, I found a blue cashmere cardigan to put on top. I love my dress so much and the girls at Candy Anthony are so lovely!”

“Someone said to me recently, that they wondered if homemade weddings like mine and the weddings that feature on blogs such as Rock n Roll Bride, put pressure on brides to make everything themselves and find newer and more creative ideas,” Sinead concluded. “I felt quite pissed off about this (particularly as the person works in the industry) because in my experience it was the exact opposite. I think there is so much pressure on brides full stop, but particularly at the beginning when everyone is offering their ideas, hopes and sometimes expectations of your wedding. I felt a certain amount of pressure to do things a certain way – the traditional way. Blogs such as Rock n Roll Bride reassured me and encouraged me to make our wedding exactly how we wanted it. Having the freedom to be able to put our personality into our wedding was incredible and I think forums that showcase these weddings, simply inspire and reassure other brides. It’s not about keeping up with others it’s about realising it’s ok to put your stamp on your wedding and a great place for idea sharing!”

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A Sweet Day-After Shoot with Betsy Beetle: Leia & Brad

For their day-after photo shoot Leia & Brad wanted to get someone else involved – Betsy Beetle! “I love this vintage VW beetle that drives by my house everyday with a cute little luggage rack,” wedding photographer Katherine O’Brien explained, “so I asked Terry, her owner, if we could borrow her for the afternoon.”

“It’s still a little chilly in Austin where we live so Leia wore her own vintage faux leopard wrap and turquoise pumps, ” she continued. “Leia had wanted a vintage 50s style wedding dress, but couldn’t find the right one that wasn’t stained yellow from age at the thrift stores. So her awesome Mom offered to make her one! After finally picking a lace and fabric, her Mom used one of her old sundresses as a pattern. She spent months sewing, ripping, and resewing. What an incredible gift to have your Mother make your wedding dress!”

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A Rainbow Rockabilly Wedding: Jennifer & Jon

If you’re a long-time reader of this ‘lil wedding blog of mine, you’ll be well aware that I’m a huge fan of the rainbow wedding trend. I even modeled in an ‘Over the Rainbow’ themed shoot last October. So you can imagine my glee when Jennifer & Jon’s wedding landed on my desk.

The couple wanted a huge party, and with 200 guests and only a $10,000 budget they were determined to not spent a fortune to do so. “We honestly would never have been able to pull of any wedding without our friends and family,” Jennifer told me. “It was truly a DIY wedding with everyone helping out days beforehand by shoveling, raking and baking in the hot sun to make my friend’s ranch into a kick ass outdoor wedding venue. Caitlin & Michael Burns, owners of Rebar Ranch were gracious enough to make our vision come true (or turn our lack of vision into something amazing!)”

Everything from the ceremony to the after-party was personal to the couple. “Our inspiration was simply to have a wedding that represented ourselves completely in every aspect,” the bride continued. “I had to throw out the wedding books in order to stay sane. We just told each other no matter what it would be what we wanted and to not make things to serious. I walked down the aisle with my brothers –  two of the most important people in my life. One of the highlights of our wedding was we wrote our own vows as all the vows we found online didn’t really feel very ‘us’.  It took us awhile but after a few margaritas we incorporated some of our favorite song lyrics into every part of our vows”

“Our theme was simply ‘Party!’ All we wanted to do was celebrate with those closest and have as much fun as possible. Our guests said it was the best wedding they had ever been to. We danced all night! The band was able to play some Johnny Cash songs as well as their original songs.”

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