At first glance, this is a gorgeous wedding full of all the details that Rock n Roll Bride readers go nuts for. But this is actually a styled shoot! And it has a beautiful story behind it…
Vanessa (‘Vanny’) and Martin are very close friends of photographers Anna and Johannes. When they were all children, Anna’s little sister brought her friend Vanny home from school. Vanny’s father had died of cancer and her mum had a new boyfriend and so was almost never home. Vanny was mostly living off pizza and soft drinks, said Anna. “Since my family is very sociable (and crazy), we kind of adopted Vanny and so she spent a lot of time with us during those years, and we went through a lot together. Johannes and I had a styled shoot planned, and we asked Vanny and her boyfriend Martin to be the models. What they didn’t tell us was that not only they were freshly engaged, but they were also expecting a baby! Our shoot then turned out to be half styled and half real wedding, with me doing a speech in church, everybody crying, and our friends playing the parts of the bridal party!”
This was going to turn out to be something so special for Vanny because, said Anna, “During the preparations, she told me that they are really short on money (what with looking for a bigger apartment now the baby was on the way), and that she was so happy I’d asked her to model because now she would have the wedding she feared she would never be able to afford. So we decided to go all out with the styling and ended up with crazy happy bridesmaids, groomsmen, and me doing a speech behind the altar and crying myself while telling everyone how happy I was that Vanny and Martin got their happy ending together!”
The shoot took place at Castle Liebenstein in Neckarwestheim, Germany, with the ceremony part at the chapel and the reception staged at the old barn. The day took on a Christmassy, Rock n Roll, Scottish theme, with a big dose of 1950s glam. Anna said, “We wanted to do something different and, man, did we get it! We have the cute bridesmaids in the sexy dresses, the pregnant bride, the groomsmen with their suspenders, tartan bow-ties, and everyone eating the wedding cake without plates, straight from the bowl, which we called ‘the cake massacre’.” The Rock n Roll element was particularly special as Vanny and Martin met and bonded over their love of this music, even getting engaged at a rock concert.”
The budget for the shoot was very, very low said Anna, “Close to none; there was a lot done by friends – decoration, styling, organisation and DIY. All the friends planned it to be the best fake-real wedding ever. We organised a cake, the wine, the floral decoration, plus we found the perfect music and put it on our mobile phones. This all saved a ton of money.”
The outfits saved a fair bit overall, as everything was borrowed, DIY, pre-loved or from an online retailer. Vanny’s dress, Martin’s trousers and braces, and the bridesmaids’ dresses all came from Amazon, they all wore jewellery borrowed from MeiTherese, and Anna made Vanny’s tartan belt as well as the bridemaid hair bows and belts, and the bow ties of the groom and groomsmen! Vanny wore shoes she already owned, plus one of Anna’s own headpieces. She did her own make-up and because she’s a hairdresser, one of her salon friends at Ewald & Krause Frisöre where she works handled her hair styling. Martin’s shoes were pre-owned shoes, and his shirt was from Olymp.
Anna’s advice for future brides and grooms is that, “Nobody will remember if you borrowed jewellery or if your dress was second-hand. They will remember the party, the feelings, the laughter and the tears and the happiness!”