“Basically our tastes tend towards simplicity and we’re blessed to be surrounded by loving, creative people who helped the wedding feel very ‘us.’ …very down-home, cornfields & college towns… us” explained newlywed’s Kelly & John when I asked them about their wedding inspiration.
The couple were married at St. Patrick Church, Urbana, IL. “We grew up in neighboring suburbs, went to undergrad together, and then Kelly moved to the city for a grant while John continued studying at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign,” they continued. “As our future home, at least for a few years, Urbana was perfect for the wedding. Central Illinois was far enough from home to be out of the often over-commercialized urban wedding market, yet close enough for our family to make a day trip. Plus, we really liked the Irish influence at St. Patrick, a small, beautiful church in our neighbourhood.” Following the service, the wedding party headed to their reception at Silvercreek Restaurant, the couple’s favourite restaurant. The chef prepared three richly paired dinners from some of their favourite seasonal food.
Kelly wanted to be comfortable and untraditional in her wedding day look and she found her dress on her very first try, soon after she got engaged from Mikaella Bridal. “On a whim, I visited a bridal shop near my hometown with John’s Mom and sister. Certainly not one for strapless, cupcake dresses, I asked the owner to recommend something simple. I definitely wasn’t expecting to find my dress, let alone have it be the first one! I tried on a few more afterwards, but ended up choosing this super-light, taffeta gown…which turned out to not even need alterations!” With her perfect dress she wore flat shoes as Kelly said she wanted to be comfortable!
To keep in with their simple theme, the couple chose to DIY a lot of their wedding. They designed and printed their own Save the Dates & invitations using Vistaprint, created their own wedsite using sites.google.com to manage the RSVP’s and provide their guests with extra information on their day, and home made all other paper goods like the order of services and table numbers. Kelly’s Dad even built a display frame for the place cards which were caligraphied by her Mum. Finally the couple tasked members of their families also collected small personal items for the reception which also really made the day a perfect reflection of them.
Spring may be on it’s way (apparently!) but I’m still lusting over the prettiness of snowy winter weddings…although would you believe, there was actually some snow in parts of the UK this weekend!? Ridiculous.
There was quite a bit of snow-induced drama surrounding Peri & Ryan’s wedding. The ceremony was supposed to start at 3pm, but due to the weather the bride didn’t arrive until 5pm. Also, a lot of guests couldn’t make the day for the same reason and after the ceremony they couldn’t physically get from the church to their reception because of the snow dump and road closures. However a lovely local pub opened their doors to the couple and provided an impromptu reception to remember! I have to say, from these gorgeous shots by Shell de Mar I’d like to think they made the best of it (and I personally LOVE the pub venue – what great ‘art’ on the walls!)
“I can’t really say I am really a quirky person because I’m not but I have always liked to be a bit different in the way I dress,” explained the bride. “Nothing to crazy but just not like most of my friends, I don’t do brands and If I like something I will wear it! I love all things vintage and always have done! When we were planning I had originally wanted a vintage bunting, candy floss, ice cream type wedding in May but Ryan bless him couldn’t get his head around it so when he said how about a winter I thought it sounded lovely. However I still really wanted all the polka dot and vintage feel to it, so instead of doing the traditional long dress and winter colours we went for red and white colours.”
“Our centrepieces were red and white xmas baubles with led lights going through them with polka dot doilies on the tables and silver baubles as place name holders. Sadly no one got to see any of that due to the snow but it look stunning and transformed the room. Ryan’s Mother had made a 3 tier polka dot wedding cake that no one saw either, but we did enjoy it after the wedding! We had chosen Delilah the Beetle to transport us because we own a 1970’s green 1300 Beetle ourselves, but is at the moment being lovingly restored by Ryan so we knew that we had to have one as our wedding car. However again it don’t turn out like (in the end we were transported in a Land Rover! The good news is that we get to use him again for our Summer blessing! Similarly the lovely vicar and the church where we were married will also perform a blessing for us later this year…so in the end I’ll get to have the summer bunting, candy floss, village hall wedding I wanted in the first place!”
This shoot was organised by photographer Jennifer Whalen who wanted to showcase a different style of valentine’s shoot (note: I know valentine’s was over a week ago, but I loved the punky style of these images so much I still had to still share them!)
The idea was to show a gorgeous alternative girl celebrating the day by causing a bit of chaos and enjoying her own company with wine and chocolates…something you wouldn’t normally see when looking for ideas of inspiration for the international day of love! However it’s this point of difference that made me love the shoot in the first place.
They didn’t spend a fortune on the styling or outfits, choosing to DIY the set design and clothes. The tights were created using plain white tights with red hearts drawn on them, the tutu was also handmade and the tee-shirt was from Target, “I wanted the outfit and the whole shoot to have a graphic, quirky look that was also valentine’s themed without being too cute,” explained Jennifer.
Jacqueline & Erik were the lucky models who got to play dress up with Michelle Logan of Urban Shutter Bug Photography. Jacqueline had this killer idea to have a shoot styled around the Mexican holiday Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead). What might seem like a morbid theme to some, Dia De Los Muertos is in fact the exact opposite – it is a celebration to honour your loved ones who have passed.
My inspiration for this shoot came from the fact that I had seen a lot of big brands in The States using fashion bloggers to model for and promote their new lines. I loved the idea and thought it could really work for the UK wedding market. After all, wedding blogs are the new wedding magazines right?! I approached Rachel at Wimbledon-based Luella’s Boudoir if she’d be up for letting us run wild in her shop and thankfully she loved the idea!
“OMG Huge congratulations!” I squealed, remembering how she’d once told me that winning a photography award was on her list of things she wanted to achieve in her career. “I know” she replied, “and the best thing? I’ve won my DREAM kit from Hasselblad who sponsored the awards…and we can use it for our shoot!” (and they even offered a wind machine…Lisa didn’t have to ask me twice whether I wanted to use it for my shot!)
For those non-photography geeks out there, getting lent a Hasselblad is kind of a big deal. Not only is this a camera worth about £30,ooo (and that’s not including the lights, wind machine and Mac that they also let us borrow!) but it pretty much blows any other DSLR out of the water in the quality of image!
Lisa explained all the techy goodness to me, “In layman’s terms, Hasselblad is a medium format camera and its all about the increase in image quality due to its massive sensor. The files are much bigger than 35mm DSLR and there are a lot more pixels. This is a camera for high end fashion and advertising work, the detail is phenomenal even when you crop in a lot. You get a lot more in the shadows and highlights and if you need to do any image recovery (if you’ve shot too light or dark) there is a whole lot more there to work with. The latest camera, which is what they gave us has a fancy focus system called True Focus which allows you to lock focus on any part of the image then recompose your shot. Once you get the hang of it, it is pretty useful especially when shooting at wide apertures which I do most of the time.”
“You can also shoot straight to computer into their dedicated processing software, which is what we did. This is very useful as you see exactly what is going on and can even control everything from the screen. So if you wanted to, you can shoot from a directors chair with a flunky doing the camera work! It has an eye-level viewfinder and can be held pretty much in the same way as a 35mm DSLR so I found it surprisingly easy to handle.”
Everything seemed to be falling nicely into place. Now all I needed was willing models.
It was important to me to pick bloggers who really stood out – bloggers with a strong sense of identity, both in themselves and their blog themes and ideas. Then I thought that having each of them styled to match the genre of their blogs would work really well. Not only then would the images be authentic, but we could use them to show some different bridal style ideas.
You absolutely MUST head over to all these girl’s blogs to see their full set of images and to find out exactly what they are all wearing…(you can get a sneak peek in the behind the scenes video below, but be assured, you will want to go check out all of their images. These girls are SMOKIN’) Click the links below to see their full sets…
But wait! There appears to be a certain pink haired blogger missing from this list! Well, as you all know I am always well up for a bit of posing. Oh I do love a good photo shoot. For this shoot I (obviously) still wanted to share some alternative/Rock n Roll Bridal styles… but I had to do something different.
First up I decided to add some more colours to my hair – I have been lusting over rainbow hair for months now and I was so excited when my hairdresser, Elbie Van Eeden said she’d be over the moon to do it for me! We dyed bits of my own hair (my base colour is Baby Pink by Stargazer and the highlights are Crazy Colour – Peacock Blue, Violette and Cyclamen) as well as adding clip in extensions dyed with the same colours.
Pretty awesome huh?!
In a similar way, we wanted me to wear something different to anything you’d seen me in before. I have to admit, it took a little bit of persuasion from stylist Kate Barbour that I looked OK in a slinky number but after looking at these images, I might have to admit that she was right! The dress is by Caroline Atelier and is called Emmy (available through Luella’s Boudoir) and I wore it with a Camelia Organza Flower by Victoria Fergusson.
For the group shot I wore an original blush vintage dress, created by Marilyn Monroe’s favourite designer, a gold shooting star band by Jane Taylor Millinery and shoes by Emmy (full list of what everyone is wearing below the gallery.)
But wait…there’s more! I also asked my friend Richard of FX Films to do the honours and film some behind the scenes action for us. I think you’ll agree the result is amazing! This man is a video genius (and I guarantee you will be humming this song all day now)
At the end of the day, we got together for one final group shot. Being a blogger and working from home alone, can sometimes be a very lonely career path. However having these girls on the end of the phone/hanging about on Twitter/eager to respond to an ‘omg I need your advice’ email, makes being a wedding blogger the absolute best job in the world.
I love these girls for their individuality, for their spark and for their passion for their jobs.
I love these girls for the support they give me and their genuine attitudes. These are the girls that make the UK wedding blogging industry great…and they’re all pretty foxy too!!