It’s sometimes difficult to remember a time when seeing genders other than female wearing dresses or skirts was unheard of. Although in recent times we’ve seen celebrities like Harry Styles and Brad Pitt jumping on board, the queer community have been experimenting with gender in fashion for decades! I mean, the rest of the world is really just catching up.
For photographer Stori O-Foley, who came up with the concept and shot this editorial, having one of her grooms in a wedding dress was the main thing she wanted to do. She wanted something sleek, with a cape, which suited the model’s personality and showed off his best features.
She told us all about her inspo. “Wow, so much went into conceptualising this shoot. I really wanted to push the unconventional in every way. I wanted to show that your wedding or elopement should represent who YOU are as a couple, not necessarily what is traditional.”
Perched on Southern Portugal’s iconic cliffs, minutes away from Albufeira and walking distance from three incredible beaches, W Algarve is the latest and highly anticipated addition to W Hotels, part of Marriott Bonvoy’s portfolio.
Our photo shoot team were commissioned to shoot a wedding and lifestyle editorial at the hotel and let me tell you, this was my the most incredible experience! It was such a fun (yet challenging!) adventure. Inspired by the style of the hotel itself, we were influenced by elements such as the locally made iridescent tiles which feature throughout the property, as well as the location’s striking natural scenery and local Portuguese artisans. We didn’t want to style the models in a way which would fight with the natural beauty of the hotel and region, we wanted to compliment it.
We hired five models, three from the UK and two locals, making this – by far – the biggest shoot we’ve ever done. It was such a GREAT experience and I’m totally manifesting more destination photos shoots in my future – just you try and stop me!
Here are all the wedding looks we shot, whether you’re having a destination wedding yourself or not, I hope these will inspire you for your own wedding day outfits.
For our May/June 2022 issue we wanted to go for a self-love meets springtime theme, which of course, had to be reflected in the editorial and cover shoot too! We combined short dresses and floral details with a slight edge of the 1960s (Summer of Love vibes all round!)
If you’re looking for cute underwear to wear under your outfit (or on your wedding night!) then Playful Promises is a great brand to look out for, too. This London designed lingerie brand mixes quirky, directional design with all things playful and flirty and they offer inclusive sizing to make you feel sexy, bold and confident no matter what your size. Our model, Lauren May, looked absolutely stunning in every single outfit, but the underwear shots hold a special place in our hearts!
We must also give props and love to Matsurika Flowers who created the incredible heart shaped floral arch for the shoot. Imagine getting married in front of something like this? We love it!
Set in the stunning town of Roquebrune sur Argens, between Cannes and Saint-Tropez in France, Tropicana Flore was the perfect location for this gorgeous shoot. Inspired by the spirit of Africa. Photographers Celine and Patrick of Studio Balzac told us all about it. “We were inspired by the way of life, the people and the colours reflecting this beautiful continent”, they said.
With towering palm trees and lush greenery, they went for a natural colour palette, letting earth tones and textures sit alongside white floral accents. They chose a gold metallic to add some luxury, with opulent flower stands adding dimension to the table décor, gold glasses and golden wax seals for a touch of elegance. A dramatic black and white cake offered some extra golden sparkle as well.
This shoot is such a dream, with soft fabrics, gorgeous florals and a real life couple. Sent to us by AE Events and shot by Flavio Debarros, it got us dreaming of a sweet summertime celebration.
Always tempted by a sweet treat, the pretty pink macarons are the perfect favour for any wedding table, nestling in amongst the soft textured ribbons and tulle.
Phoebe from AE Events told us, “When done right, the deliberate randomness of the design for this celebration is perfection…from the mix of stemware, chairs, floral pops of colour mixed with decadent French macaron, every element has a purpose in the overall design aesthetic and fits our Un-Bride and Un-Groom to a tee!”
With much of the world still shaking off the constraints of pandemic restrictions, this shoot gave the designers a much needed outlet for their creativity. Phoebe explained, “When dreaming up this styled shoot I wanted to create something special and some magic moments when the world of design and creativity was so low. The space we transformed was a small shop but the amount of colour and life we added was beyond special.”
Having an issue dedicated to all things eco and sustainable, meant that for this shoot we only wanted to work with brands with this core ethos behind them too. All the items featured in this editorial come from brands putting sustainably at the forefront of everything they do. Whether that’s selling second-hand or vintage pieces, using 100% recycled or recyclable materials, or employing manufacturing processes that are kinder to the planet.
The location we shot at, room2 in Chiswick, was chosen because it’s the world’s first whole life net zero hotel! The hotel uses 89% less energy per m2 compared to typical UK hotels, and it is the first hotel in the world to fully account for its entire carbon footprint, making it ‘whole life net zero’.
Renewable energy is maximised on site with solar and ground source heat pumps, which convert 100% of the energy needed for heating, cooling and hot water and the rooms have ultra-low flow pressure showers (which use less water) and ultra-energy efficient lighting and appliances.
The hotel has a zero-waste policy (and is the first UK hotel to introduce food waste into its in-room recycling bins). Even the roof space has been maximised for sustainability; 200 tonnes of soil and wildflowers have been planted up there to increase biodiversity and absorb CO2, along with beehives and bug hotels!
Minimalist is anything but boring, as wedding planner Mery Lem set out to demonstrate along with photographer Vibrant Feelings in this monochrome shoot. Embracing inclusivity, they built the shoot around their model Math Max Queer, playing with gender boundaries and celebrating the LGBTQ+ communities alongside natural and architectural beauty.
Perched high in the medieval city of Carcassone, France, the shoot took place in the village of Roullens, where rough stone, faded woods and narrow, stony streets sit alongside turrets and towers that stretch into the sky. History was set against stunning contemporary Y.brown dresses, designed as unisex, gender-neutral and for all personalities and body types.
There were two things we wanted to do with our Jan/Feb issue’s shoot – to inject some much-needed colour into the proceedings, and to play around with gender expression. We’ve never had a male cover star, or done a shoot with just a male model, and this theme felt like the perfect opportunity to finally do so.
The super-saturated colour palettes were so fun to put together and after such a tough, dreary few years, we couldn’t think of anything better – anything more needed – than kicking off 2022 making a bold and bright statement.
Minimalism is dead. The time of being self-conscious and shy is over. It’s time to let your colours fly, show off your unique sense of style and have fun with fashion again. Relegate those sweatpants to the back of your wardrobe, it’s time to experiment and discover a new colourful you!
We spoke to Kit, our model, about being a part of such a shoot and here’s what he had to say, “It’s so important to be pushing a narrative of breaking gender norms. I’m very thankful that I can say I’ve been a part of this shoot, not only for me but also for people who are like me and feel like they don’t fit in.”
“Putting the first dress on and after gauging the reaction of the team was the best part of the day! Everyone was so supportive and genuine; I knew we were all going to have a great day of working together. A good team means a good day, and honestly the team at Rock n Roll Bride were nothing but lovely, inclusive and supportive.”
“Wearing dresses and ‘women’s’ clothing makes me feel empowered and gives me confidence. All those times that boys on the playground picked on me for being too fem, now look at me – I’m on the cover of a magazine in a stunning custom fitted gown!”
Issue 41, the gothic issue, featured one of my all time favourite shoots (do I always say this? Yes, probably!) We wanted to elevate the idea of a gothic bride and to create a shoot with a high end, high fashion feel, yet something still super attainable for anyone wanting to embrace the dark side.
Its important to us that the shoots we put together for the magazine aren’t just beautiful, but that they feature wearable pieces which you can incorporate into your own wedding day look, whether you’re going for something more traditional with a subtle gothic twist or you want to be a full-on gothic princess.
Our stunning non-binary model, Nan, has albinism and when we found them, we know they were the perfect face to bring our gothic meets high fashion vision to life.
As a publication which was founded as the antithesis to the big, white, traditional wedding, we love seeing wedding suppliers also stepping away from the expected when they create their own shoots. A break from matrimonial stereotypes and encouraging you to make your wedding day as personal and meaningful as possible is what it’s all about!
Whether you love to dance, pizza is your favourite food, or you just want to bring a splash of colour into your day; we think you’re going to love this editorial created by wedding planners BLAST Concept, based in Spain and Holland.
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.
At Rock n Roll Bride, we’re firm believers in finding beauty in the every day, but finding beauty in a laundromat might be a first even for us! Bare with us though, as you’ll see from the images that with the right styling, literally anywhere can be a vibe when you throw enough rock n roll at it.
Together with photographer Anne Letournel, Matthieu from Marions Nous Dans Les Bois wild wedding films wanted to create some original wedding inspiration, choosing a vintage laundromat in Rennes, Brittany as their location; a place with an authentic atmosphere that perfectly juxtaposed their disco theme for a completely crazy wedding.
If you grew up in the 80s and early 90s you probably have fond memories of movies like The NeverEnding Story and Labyrinth. The Jim Henson fantasy film starring David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly was a particular favourite of ours, and the bubble scene and Sarah’s ball gown made for perfect inspiration for issue 40’s editorial shoot.
Great Fosters, a Tudor estate in Surrey, was the perfect setting with it’s 50 acres of stunning gardens and parkland. Whether you want to go all out 80s with a one-of-a-kind dress complete with dramatic sleeves, or you just want touches of these elements styled in a more wearable way, we hope you’ll find something to love in these photos.