Ritual Union: A Wedding Shoot With A Difference

Jamie Allio

March 13, 2018

I think we can agree that this styled shoot is what the word ‘fierce’ was always destined for. From the bodycon lacy red dress worn with golden spiked crown, to the hot shower scene, to the flaming ring of fire drawn around the couple in the ceremony shots!! Photographer Jamie Allio wanted to shake things up a bit in the world of weddings when she devised this photo session.

“Essentially, the wedding industry can sometimes rub me up the wrong way, and rarely does ‘traditional’ or ‘normal’ inspire me”, she explained. “More then that, I really just want to see more people following their hearts when they’re planning their wedding day. I think it should be a representation of who they TRULY are, not whatever is trending at the moment.”

Enter ‘Ritual Union’: The shoot that delivered Jamie’s wish and then some! “We have the couple getting ready together in a shower filled with flowers, a wedding party made up of a fortune teller, a witch doctor and a high priestess, and of course a ritual in place of a traditional ceremony with a ring of fire around the couple. Fire was the very first thing on the drawing board, and everything else was created around that. The symbolism of the couple creating that ring around themselves, followed by the man crowning his bride was very powerful.”

“We really wanted to include representations of non-traditional guests. We had a fortune teller who read the couple’s tarots cards and did a palm reading, a witch doctor who created a love potion, and a high priestess who gave the couple her blessing. Gold was also a key element and can be found in tiny ways throughout the entire shoot.”

Excitingly, this shoot is actually just the first in a series, with each session representing a different part of love: The emotional, the mental and the physical. “This specific shoot was our focus on the mental connection, and we represented that with flowers, which are shown in each part of the day,” Jamie says.

There were three different locations. The first showing the couple getting ready at a home in The Historic Cornado District in Phoenix, the second where the party happened at Blok Studio downtown, and finally the ceremony took place off Bloody Basin Road in the middle of the desert.

“Our mission in creating this wedding shoot was to be fearless. We wanted to show couples that there is no right or wrong way to plan their day. If you want to get ready together, do it. If you want to crown each other in a ring of fire as a symbolism of your devotion to each other instead of vows and wedding rings, do it. If you want witch-y type guests, invite them. Whatever feels good for you.”

“Our shoot has lots of differences compared to most out there, but the most important to us is that our bride and groom weren’t having a wedding, they were having a ritual union. It might just seem like words used to describe an event, but it’s so much deeper then that. When you think of a wedding, you automatically assume there is a flower girl, a huge cake and a ballroom for dancing guests. But when you hear ‘ritual union,’ you’re left guessing and probably imagining something rather intense…. at least that’s what we’re hoping! We were also very keen on having a black bride and groom, something this industry doesn’t do often enough.”