Photographer Annie Walter and bridal-wear designer Jay Whitestone loved the idea of creating a fairy-tale inspired styled shoot that focused on playing with gender roles. “Jay was inspired by her beautiful wife,” Annie told us, “and the want to bring an element of romance and historical drama to androgynous wedding attire. Her garments are suitable for any gender identity, as she believes that on one of the biggest days of your life, you shouldn’t settle for anything less than being you.” An ethos we can get on board with!
Shot in the Wild Garden of Sprowston Lodge near Norwich, Annie was inspired by an ancient apple tree, dreaming of decorating a set all around it. Florist Charlotte Staff filled the branches full of flowers, and then from there even more creatives collaborated with them for the project, with ceramic-mushroom centrepieces from Pale & Interesting, and a stag-horn crown from Mystic Magic Masquerade adding to the fairy-tale nature. The stars of the show were owls from Evie’s Owls.
Josh and Dre are two social media professionals living in the beautiful city of Austin, Texas. The pair met as many people do these days, online, but from the first time they met, it was clear that this was ‘the real thing’. Josh with his megawatt smile and Dre with her open-minded, free spirit made the pair an unstoppable duo. Just under six months from the day they met, Josh was ring shopping, eager to nail down his spirited and offbeat bride.
By all appearances, Dre considers herself a ‘normal gal’ but she has always been fascinated with the weird and the wonderful and of course, taking a few risks. When she initially brought around the idea of a Hallowedding, Josh jumped at the chance to create this truly authentic and special moment for the two of them. They had met near Halloween, got engaged near Halloween and now would be wed during the same season. “Some felt odd about the wedding choice, many embraced and celebrated us for doing something different,” Dre told us. “A wedding that would truly never be forgotten by anyone and thus #nightofthelivingwed was born!”
Marissa and Darren didn’t want any of the ‘fluff’ that comes with a traditional wedding day; they just wanted to get married and focus on the two of them. The theme for their September day came naturally from their dark and edgy personal style, with help from Cactus and Lace to take their ideas and apply them to the Valley of Fire location the couple chose for their big day.
They had just 10 guests in attendance and skipped out on having a traditional wedding shower, reception, and bridal parties. Therefore they were able to keep to their $5,000 budget for their day, excluding flights and guest accommodation. Marissa cites hiring wedding planners as the best decision she made for their day. “During the months leading up to the wedding, people would always ask us “how’s wedding planning?!” and my answer was always that I literally have done nothing! We bought our outfits and booked fights & hotels. Everything else was taken care of by Cactus and Lace. I had absolutely zero stress throughout the whole thing!”
What do you get when you mix weddings with a global pandemic? A massive ball-ache. So massive it makes you cry, yell, stare at the wall, shout ‘NO YOU CALM DOWN!’ at your partner, mother, the postman and your dog. So huge it makes you chuck in the towel, then retrieve said towel dozens of times a week.
It’s been exhausting, scary, weird AF. It’s created clowns out of usually-sane people. Suddenly we’re over the moon about seeing our oddball neighbour for a socially distanced chat. We’ve doomscrolled our quarantine days away, made highly questionable online purchases (glitter jelly sandals for everyone in your extended family?!) and faced one of the darkest times in our lives.
But the human condition is one that rallies, finds the rays of hope and keeps on keeping on. So, with that in mind, here’s a bunch of silver linings from a really hard year that I hope will bring a wee smile to your face.
Love is not cancelled even though your wedding might’ve been
As hard as it’s been for couples who’ve had to postpone their weddings (and the poor vendors too, whose hearts are broken and their businesses on shaky ground) it’s important to remember that you’ve found your person and have that sweet lover to hold onto, even if you can’t be married right away. To go through something of this magnitude together is a pretty special thing.
I’ve also heard of LOTS of couples who’ve taken this big, mean old lemon they’ve been dealt with (mixing metaphors is fine during a global pandemic, OK?) and made the proverbial lemonade. Consuming all that alcohol they’d already purchased for their postponed weddings and feasting on the personalised cookies meant as favours.
Romances have started, babies have been born, friends have started a new degree or job
Yes, it’s been a monumentally shit time. We’ve lost loved ones, jobs, homes, security. There’s been so much to process that we’re all so fucking tired, sad, scared and repeat, repeat, repeat. There’s grief not only for the people we’ve lost, but for the things in life we’ve lost too (like celebrating weddings and special events, the general lack of agency over our lives, the ability to do ‘normal’ things like hang out with friends, the sudden insecurity we’ve felt or being able to buy bras in person in an IRL shop).
But also, life has continued on. Love has blossomed for many, tonnes of cute corona babies have been born, friends have started master’s or doctorates, people have gotten better jobs, friends have left bad relationships and are thriving and many new business ventures have begun during this turd-nado of a time.
Seeing hope and being hopeful creates even more hope. Somehow, life always prevails, which I’d like to apologise for saying because of its sappy meme overtones, but you’ll forgive me won’t you?
Laura and James’ 2018 road trip around Europe inspired the theme for their August wedding day. Laura incorporated maps into her bouquet, James had plane cufflinks, their table centrepieces were named after places they had been and they even had a suitcase that was their card box and a guest globe book. They chose the Baltic Centre of Contemporary Art for their venue as Laura went to university in Newcastle so they have fond memories of the city. It was also where the couple got engaged so it was an obvious choice for them.
“All other little touches just came naturally throughout our wedding planning journey,” Laura told us. “We didn’t want to rush as we wanted to save up for our wedding but also continue living as well, we wanted to still go on holiday and go travelling and we didn’t want to have to stop all of this to save up for the big day so we got engaged in 2017 and planned to have our wedding in 2020. I got lots of little ideas from reading Rock n Roll magazine and also sitting on Pinterest for hours.”
We regularly talk about the importance of playing by your own rules on your wedding day, and Justyna and Konrad are the epitome of this. They hired an entire 19th century gothic mansion – Rushpool Hall in Saltburn-by-the-Sea for their June wedding day for the sole purpose of sitting there at night while drinking whisky and listening to Black Sabbath, while dressed in their best!
They didn’t have a set budget for their day, but managed to get everything done for less than £3,000. Justyna bought her 1860s evening gown-style dress from an online store and paired it with custom-made, Victorian leather shoes from Etsy. As a collector of oddities who is fascinated by Victorian mourning customs, she incorporated these interests in her outfit with real crow skull and feet in her necklace and a headdress made from magpie skulls (all ethically sourced, of course.) Konrad wore black Victoria shirt and trousers from Devil Night UK with a skull belt by Jeffery West and armour rings.