I’ve featured a few weddings at Asylum Arts in Peckham before, but I couldn’t resist sharing another with you today. Melissa and Yoni took that crumbling chapel and made it come alive with colour! They used the de-consecrated church as the venue for their ceremony and wedding breakfast, and moved to The Big Red Pizza Bus in Deptford for their after party.
“We moved to Mexico for a year to teach English ten days after the wedding so we tried to tie in travel and Mexico”, Melissa replied when I asked about their theme. “Our cake was Day of the Dead themed, the place names were glider planes, the orders of service were paper planes, and each table placename was a scene of a place we’ve travelled to so far. Yoni’s family also surprised us with a mariachi band performance during the speeches which was fantastic!”
When Wendy and Alex started looking for a venue for their July wedding, they were stuck. They wanted somewhere quirky and creative but also somewhere that didn’t break the bank. Luckily they stumbled across Asylum Arts in London, a disused chapel that is now hired out for weddings and events. The space has a crumbling almost derelict vibe which they loved. The dramatic backdrop meant they didn’t need to decorate much, so they just added candles, tea lights and simple flower arrangements around the room.
“We wanted to do something that signified the city we love, our home, London”, Wendy began. “We wanted urban, relaxed, but chic, with something people could take away in a visual way, that wasn’t too ‘try hard’. As a creative mind, I had a real vision from the beginning about how I wanted the day to look, and more importantly; feel. Both for us and our guests. We didn’t want stuffy, formal or sombre… We wanted people to smile and be put at ease. Its this reason I chose to have the bridesmaids clap along in time to the piano piece my musician friend played me down the aisle to; ‘Dog Days Are Over’ by Florence and The Machine, I didn’t want to walk down the aisle in a silent, stiff, uncomfortable way with everyone gawking at me with an odd atmosphere! So we lightened the mood with some hand clapping!”
Hold on one second… Now I know I always say that I have the coolest readers but OMG I SERIOUSLY HAVE THE COOLEST READERS! I have four words that will prove it to you too… Zombie. Apocalypse. Engagement. Shoot.
So back in January, wedding photographer Rebecca Litchfield of Catwalk Wedding used this little wedding blog of mine to host an amazing photography contest. She wanted to give away 10 free engagement shoots, with the most epic of them all winning their wedding photography as well! While I couldn’t share all 10 engagement shoots I knew I had to post this one… and in case you were in any doubt, yes these guys won the grand prize. Hello, ZOMBIES. Zombies trump everything.
“The idea of a zombie engagement shoot was exciting enough, but I cant even tell you how much effort Nicola and Simon put into pulling it off”, Rebecca told me. “Because zombie engagement shoots have been done before they wanted to stage a full zombie apocalypse. We hired a zombie army of 13, an abandoned building on Syon Lane and the wonderfullly talented hair and make up artist Elbie van Eeden who transformed everyone into epically amazingly looking zombies.”
“We also had a huge array of props to play with. Three pints of fake blood, an axe, a hedge trimmer, replica guns, a Zombie Survival Guide, a real lamb heart, a ‘the end is nigh’ sign. I also had the help of amazingly talented Odin Raven who is the master of photographing abandoned buildings and processing HDR photos.”
“The day was great”, Nicola took over. “Lovely Elbie helped us with the make up and Rebecca mobilized a few of her friends to be our undead army. I can’t believe how many people took the day of work just to help us. We had the best fun ever running around the huge factory, jumping over dead pigeons and swinging axes about. We couldn’t wait to see the pictures and when we did we were stunned. Rebecca had done an awesome job! I love the fact that in years to come we can show our kids pictures of us being kick-ass.”
“Bridal shoots don’t have to be boring!” We’ve heard this all before but it’s even better to see shoots illustrating that point don’t you think?!
“I just loved this shoot”, wedding photographer Kathryn Edwards told me of her shoot with Beth. ”I wanted to give it a lonely isolated and fragile feel, with a dark edge.”
“Beth is a fellow photographer in Nottingham and was keen to do a rock the frock shoot with a difference. When she sent me a picture of her dress, I immediately wanted to give the shoot a gothic feel in a crumbling run down derelict location. However to describe the disused old RAF buildings in Syerston as ugly would be misleading. Although there are boarded up and broken windows, graffitti everywhere and rubbish dumped in the grounds, there was a haunting beauty about the place. Especially the caved in roof; it made for a beautiful backdrop to the shoot.”
“It was Beth’s pale skin and the beautiful fragile dress that made want to show a real contrast in the location of this shoot. I also had the idea of placing butterflies around the rubble and on Beth’s skin, to really show up the juxtaposition of the fragile and beautiful amidst the ugly and neglected, and to give the shoot a feeling of vulnerability and isolation.”
So part one was spooky, part two was cute and part three is just…well…a whole other level! Could an abandoned fairground in Belgium possibly be the coolest photo shoot location ever?
“The day after our tea party reception we went on a adventure to an abandoned fairground that I used to visit as a child when it was still open,” Regula told me. “I suddenly thought about it a few months ago and wondered what had become of it. I have some vivid childhood memories of it. Bruno and I wanted to go there as we love the creepy and romantic forgotten world feeling about it. We have a thing for the strangeness of old fairgrounds and fairs, hence the rock candy and candy apples at our reception. When I told our photographer Sassy of it she was so excited we decided to make a trip together.”
“We drove up to the old parking area, the sign and everything was still there, yet in decay.The rusty gate was closed but not locked. As we walked in I tried to reconstruct the fairground like it used to look. Everything was still there, the attractions, the ticket booths, even the tickets were still scattered around. A lot of it was vandalized and destroyed. We past the ghost house, the dolls used to be still here but were now all stolen. Nature was taking back it’s territory as all the big squares with souvenir stalls were now becoming woodland. Strange feeling knowing that you came here to have fun for the day and that now, it’s still there but fading away in time.”
“It’s been closed for over 10 years but I’m surprised how quick nature is taking over the grounds. There was something peaceful and beautiful about it, we felt like we could wonder here for days. I’ve never had this strange feeling before, decaying beauty yet frozen in time.”
“You could almost still hear children playing … not being creepy now, there were actually kids running around as the children from the villages around were still playing here. In a different way, the fairground was still ‘a children’s paradise’ which was it’s tagline, like it used to be in the 1950′s.”
“It closed never to open again after an accident, but in a way it never did close. It just became a place out of this world, did we find the real wonderland after all?”
I don’t share as many engagement shoots as many of the other wedding blogs. It’s not that I don’t love them (for the record I think every couple should do an engagement shoot – they’re a great way to get to know your photographer and practice posing before your wedding day.) However it does take something extra special to make a couple shoot worth sharing on these pages, when you get sent as many awesome weddings as I do, usually these take priority for me. Yet I think Ryan & Lanie’s shoot certainly fits that inspiring bill.
The shoot was set up in four parts, as bride-t0-be Lanie explained, “First set was shot in Mogwai, which is a movie screening/cafe bar in Cubao-X. The vintage feel of this place helped us to achieve the nostalgic treatment we are aiming for. Add to that is the idea of our stylist to play a vintage film which served as our background during the shoot. For the second set which was still shot in Mogwai, its more like vintage with a twist of modernness to it. I really love how the tiara went well with my messed up hair.”
“The third set is quirky and nerdy combined! First part of this set was shot in a vacant lot somewhere near Cubao-x, “guerilla style”. Luckily we were able to finish all the shots just in time before the security shooed as away! Owners of two shops in Cubao-X (Atomika and a little vintage book shop) were all kind enough to let us shoot at their place. Atomika’s all “white” room, made the color of our outfits pop while vintage shop’s clutter of books and other stuff gave us just the right amount of “weirdness” for this set.”
“The last set was just casual and relaxed. We love our matching shirt and sneakers here! I was given an “out of bed” look for this set. This was shot at our stylist shop – Thank You Today. My outfits for this shoot were all from Thank You Today’s shop. While Ryan brought in some of his clothes for the 3rd and 4th set. But all these would not be possible without Rock Paper Scissors Photography and Thank You Today’s creativity and awesomeness!”