I love doing styled wedding photo shoots – they’re a great opportunity to meet up with my favourite local wedding suppliers and to get to know some new ones too. I get to photograph lots of beautiful things and be inspired by all the hard work and creativity that’s gone into everything from the dress to the invitations to the choice of table centres. And just like a real wedding, the pressure is on to produce excellent imagery that shows it all off perfectly.
So when Louise Harris from Warwickshire Wedding Planner said she wanted to do a 1920s shoot to coincide with this week’s cinema release for “The Great Gatsby” and she’d got top Warwickshire wedding venue, Ashorne Hill, to agree to host it, I was over the moon. We got together with Lisa from Cake by Lisa Price and Jackie from Jacqueline Doxey Design Couture to discuss colours and styles and settled on an Art Deco theme. Art Deco can involve quite strong colours but we decided to stick to more muted ones as we felt that they would be more appealing to contemporary brides looking for some 1920s inspiration, and they suited the venue too. But, enough of me waffling on – here are the images we produced one sunny but chilly day in April for you to enjoy. There are loads as there was so much detail to photograph!
We started the day with Warwickshire Bridal Hair and Makeup getting our lovely bride for the day, professional model Claire Maher, ready with hair and makeup. With three bridesmaids to prep too, Louise used a triple barrel waver to quickly create that classic 1920s finger wave look.
Stuart from Celestial Cars arrived in his gleaming vintage Rolls Royce. Stuart knows the full history of his car – its most famous passenger so far was Princess Margaret back in the 1930s so it’s got a Royal pedigree and still looks amazing 70 odd years later.
Elena from Occasions Chair Covers did a superb job of dressing the Charlecote room. It’s licensed for civil marriage ceremonies but today she set it up for our stylish wedding breakfast, complete with ostrich feather centrepieces – a great alternative to flowers – all supplied by Elena. And we all loved Ashorne Hill’s sugar swizzle sticks for sweetening your tea or coffee – what a lovely change from cubes.
Here are Claire and Ryan, our groom for the day, with Stuart’s Rolls Royce in the courtyard outside Ashorne Hill. Claire’s wearing Jackie’s bespoke 1920s style dress which she created especially for our shoot. She chose a pure silk chiffon to give a soft, floaty feel and used a delicate satin to underline it which accentuated the waist and neckline, and gave the dress a soft hue of taupe. The fine pin tucks and guipure lace on the front of the dress accentuate the long lines of the classic 1920s shape, helped by a swathe of silk chiffon and soft silk ties. Rouleaux loops and covered buttons give a delicate back fastening, complemented with two rows of pearls draped from the shoulders across the back.
I love Jackie’s attention to detail – the crystals on the shoulders and the low waist are a lovely touch and even the hems of the dress are delicately fnished off with fine lace.
For that real 1920s feel, we added in Chloe, Melissa and Chloe as bridesmaids dressed as flappers, with classic feather boas and strings of pearls. Top tip – it’s worth investing in top quality boas. We had relatively cheap ones for the shoot as you can’t tell the difference on camera, but they shed feathers everywhere which would drive you mad on your wedding day. The more expensive ones that I’ve got for my boudoir shoots don’t do that so they’re definitely something that’s worth investing a bit extra on.
No 1920s wedding would be complete without fabulous head pieces. Jackie supplies these and a lot more other designs in her online shop. They were all beautiful but I was particularly drawn to the one our bride is wearing. It’s called “Anemone” and it’s stunning.
These vintage style organza covered shoes with beautiful bows caught my eye too – again, check out Jackie’s online shop if you’d like a pair yourself.
The lovely Tam Vo supplied our pearl themed jewellery for Claire and the bridesmaids.
But we mustn’t forget the “groom”. Ryan is head tailor at Clements & Church’s Park Street shop in Leamington Spa and he did a great job of showing off his own beautifully fitted morning suit.
The white bow tie is perfect for a 1920s groom and was supplied by Richard Paul Menswear in Stratford-upon-Avon.
The attention to detail didn’t stop with the wedding party. Look at this amazing wedding cake table – a feast for the eyes as well as the mouth. It stopped me in my tracks when I came back in from shooting outside, which is exactly the effect you want to have on your wedding guests. I loved the ivory theme and Elena’s tall crystal centrepieces worked perfectly with the beautiful four tier wedding cake in ivory and jewelled detailing inspired by the bride’s headdress. The vanilla cupcakes and white chocolate cakepops were a great addition, all made fresh for the shoot by Lisa from Cake by Lisa Price so they tasted delicious as always -well you can’t let perfect cake go to waste :-) The vanilla and coffee macarons were a lovely touch too – kindly provided by Comme-Ci, Comme-Ca, the French Patisserie in nearby Leamington Spa. Thanks to Lisa for sourcing them.
The cake table also featured some of Melanie Thorn’s gorgeous wedding stationery. I’ve photographed Melanie’s work before and it’s amazing. Not only does she provide the usual invitations, place names, etc, she also comes up with little signs to add a bit of light-heartedness and extra interest to the photos. Melanie took her inspiration for this shoot’s stationery from the bold, extravagent designs and iconic imagery of 1920s Art Deco plus our live jazz band, 1920s crockery and the vintage gramophone (more about those later!) The combination of graphically designed patterns and Melanie’s hand drawn illustrations resulted in a unique, elegant set of stationery – and I love the little feathers on the place name cards too. (Check out more of her designs at Melanie’s Studio Designs.)
We also had a little afternoon tea party, courtesy of the lovely vintage china loaned by Lisa from A Touch of Vintage
And Lisa also brought along this fabulous original His Masters Voice gramophone. It’s a working one so we tried it out and it produced an amazingly loud sound which really got us in the mood for the final part of our shoot in the Great Hall at Ashorne Hill.
So what was our grand finale? Well, when we discussing ideas for the shoot, I casually said to Louise “I can just picture the bride and groom dancing to a jazz band.” Louise rose to the challenge as she always does and found The Top Hats, a local four piece who turned up trumps with a superb rendition of the Charleston. They really looked the part and if you want to hear what they sounded like too, play the video below where you can see a behind the scenes film of the whole shoot complete with The Top Hats’ Charleston as the sound track. Talk to Mal (contact details below) if you want to book them for your wedding or party.
As our happy couple drive off into the distance, I’d just like to say a big thank you to everyone for all their hard work before and during the shoot. It was a full day’s session but it flew by because you were all so brilliant to work with. Special thanks to Sarah for helping out as second shooter/camera woman. If you want to find out more about these fabulous suppliers, check out their websites:
Photography and film: www.lindascannell.com
Styling and organisation: www.warwickshire-wedding-planner.co.uk
Wedding venue: www.ashornehillweddings.co.uk
Jazz Band: The Top Hats – to book contact saxymal[at]gmail.com
Vintage Rolls Royce wedding car: www.celestial-cars.co.uk
Bespoke designer wedding dress, headpieces and shoes: www.jacquelinedoxey.co.uk
Venue dressing and chair covers: www.occasions-chaircovers.co.uk
Cake and sweet table: www.cakebylisaprice.co.uk
Bespoke wedding stationery: www.melanies.org.uk
Vintage gramophone and crockery: http://touchofvintage.wix.com/touch-of-vintage
Hair and makeup: www.warwickshire-makeup-artist.co.uk
Groom’s suit (and groom!): www.clementsandchurch.co.uk
Groom’s white bow tie: www.richardpaulhire.co.uk
Models organised by: www.janeandmelissa.co.uk
Claire Maher represented by: www.mandpmodels.com