A Beautifully Quirky & Fun ‘Symbolic’ Nature Inspired Bridal Shoot
I’ve got a fabulously quirky styled shoot to share today – and if you’re a fan of the taxidermy and the pretty, it’s one you are going to love.
Yes, this is unusual, but in a really, really pretty and unique way. Well done to a totally talented bunch of wedding vendors.
The idea for this shoot, wasn’t only to get some amazing pictures, but to work with other businesses who share a passion for weddings and also have something different and special to offer.
I have made cakes for photoshoots before, but had never organised a shoot myself and really wanted to do it! I have a real love for animals and all things nature, so wanted to incorporate them in to the shoot.
We wanted the photos to reflect the natural beauty and connection of life and death and the organic cycle that takes and gives back with nothing being wasted, only reused.
This is shown in the elements throughout the story of the shoot, especially shown with the animal bone jewellery and dried flowers used in the ring and flower wreath.
The magpie wing hairpiece was one of the main focal points and so the magpie theme ran through the shoot. They are such beautiful birds, with incredible feathers, iridescent in the sunlight. The ‘two for joy’ representation was worked into the stationery – more of that later!
The groom wore a blue suit by Marc Darcy, which looked great on. He had the great idea of using a magpie wing as his boutonniere!
“After setting up 25 years ago, Marc Darcy has gained a reputation for offering high quality, designer garments at affordable prices. Thus we have evolved into a one-stop shop for a Groom and his Groomsmen.
From carefully selecting the finest fabrics, such as heritage look tweed, herringbone mixes and luxurious velvets for our blazer and waistcoat ranges to a variety of high shine, checked and non-shine opulent fabrics for our suits.”
The simplicity of the cake tied in with the theme. I wanted the cake to represent what I love about baking. It was covered with buttercream and decorated with gorgeous fresh flowers.
When I bake, I like to use as natural ingredients as possible. Don’t get me wrong, I love a crazy, unique multicoloured cake just as much as a classic looking cake, but the inside has to be delicious, natural and super fresh.
I’d rather stay up all night, the day before a wedding, finishing the last details, than handover a cake made days before. This is the message that I wanted to come through in the pictures.
There are so many great photographers out there but for this shoot I wanted somebody who not only takes amazing photos, but who also has a real unique and quirky style. I contacted Paola De Paola as I had seen some of her fabulous photos before and knew straight away that it would be great to have her involved.
We met up for a chat and I was super excited that Paola wanted to be part of it! She has experience in styled shoots and gave me some great advice and input which helped bring everything together.
“When Maria got in touch with me about putting together a styled photo shoot, I was very excited to hear about her ideas. We had a meeting over coffee about the best way to proceed.
I have done quite a few styled photo shoots and I was very happy to help, as it was Maria’s first one. I’m sure it’s the first of many to come. The concept behind the shoot was very creative and interesting, and as an unconventional and same sex wedding photographer, I’m always keen to get involved in something unusual and offbeat. Maria, after a few difficulties was able to arrange the shoot in a most incredible venue.
The models involved were particularly good looking and very willing to perform in front of the camera. We were fortunate to have wonderful suppliers who gave us amazing shoes and dresses. The day was sunny and the garden, and its surroundings were absolutely stunning.
The props and the cakes were photographed on the moss, resulting in an incredible visual impact. I truly enjoyed the experience. A huge thank you to Maria for her hard work.”
The taxidermy jewellery was by amazing business, Virginia the Wolf. They make the most incredible jewellery out of animal bones which are all natural and ethically sourced.
They are so unique, fun and fitted perfectly with the theme. You can get your jewellery custom made in any colour and design.
The concept of Rock the Frock is brilliant and owner Karen has got it so right! The dresses are absolutely stunning! I explained that I wanted something pretty and fun and Karen picked the perfect dress! I looked amazing on the model and live up to its name, ‘Amaze’!
“Rock The Frock is an independent bridal boutique for fashion conscious brides who are looking for a unique & beautiful wedding dress.
Gone are rails of endless long, strapless gowns, here is the future of bridal boutiques with dresses by leading British & American designers in the wedding industry as well as original vintage gowns. “
The Dried flowers
I love that so many people are getting their pets involved in their weddings. I really wanted to add this element into the shoot and thought what could be better than a bunny bridesmaid with a flower wreath!
Paola suggested Sophie and Luna. They made a beautiful flower crown/wreath and napkin rings. Another element was a ring made fromflowers. I’d seen one on Pinterest and thought it was such a cute, unique idea! It looked amazing!
“Sophie and Luna was born hen a bride wanted to keep her flower pieces looking beautiful after her wedding, and still have real flowers. Sandra, founder and designer, got married and wanted something that didn’t exist in the UK, so she created it!
Sandra’s the master of flower crowns, but also creates vintage flower decorations and other headpieces. You can now keep your flowers as a “memento”. You get married once, but can enjoy your flowers for longer.
If you are not a dried flowers fan, Sophie and Luna can also make beautiful fresh flower arrangements.”
The stationery tied everything in together. I contacted Matt and Leanne at Swoon at the Moon and they were really excited to be involved. They were absolutely great, listening to my strange ideas and came back with some really pretty designs.
Instead of table numbers, I wanted to go for animal, bird and flower names and they designed something different for animal, bird and flower names and they designed something different for each, which worked really well together.
The different designs went into gorgeous little frames that I had sourced from vintage markets, car boot sales and online. They all went onto a large moss covered frame and looked so effective.
“We’re Matt and Leanne from Swoon at the Moon, a company specialising in personalised wedding stationery and paper pretties. We set up a year ago when we were faced with redundancy from our previous jobs. We have seen Swoon go from strength to strength and feel really positive about the future.
We love designing stationery and feel really proud to be chosen for a couple’s big day. We love to create bespoke stationery so we were delighted to be asked to do something for this photo shoot, it sounded really interesting with its nod to the secret garden and edgy magpie hairpiece.
We took a lot of inspiration from these things alone and of course from good old Pinterest, a brides/stylists best friend over recent years. We’re really pleased with how striking it is and hopefully we’ll be adding it to our ranges in the very near future.
It’s so much fun to take part in styled shoots, it’s always interesting to see the whole shoot pulling together only being in control of one element.”
The fresh flowers were by Warren at Stargazer Flowers. Warren makes the most beautiful arrangements and he was really enthusiastic about the shoot.
He chose the flowers and suggested hanging them from one of the trees in cute little test tubes. The flowers looked like they were floating in little bubbles!
I have always been fascinated with Natacha Marro’s shoe creations, ever since I first laid eyes on them! They are sexy, fun and the best thing is, she makes bespoke shoes so they can be anything you want them to be!
The heel-less shoes are just mind-blowingly beautiful. I felt like a kid in a sweet shop when I went to Natasha’s studio in Brick Lane and she told me I could choose any shoes I liked.
I ended up taking five pairs!
Hair and Make Up
I met Kylie when she contacted me for a cake tasting for her own wedding cake. She and her fiancé (now hubby) loved the cakes and I luckily got to make them.
I was looking for a great make-up artist and had a light bulb moment when I thought of her. Her wedding was pretty, fun and quirky and she looked amazing – of course she did her own hair she make up!
“I created the looks for the shoot based on Maria’s initial ideas and the dress designs. I’d describe the look as 60’s grunge. Rich, smoky colours and a voluminous ‘do compliment the dress, ensuring our Bride looks sultry and ready for fun.
Most of my Brides want beautifully clear skin a complimenting eye and lip with a laid back but sexy hair style, it always has to be injected with who THEY are as people, their personality. That’s what makes each bridal look I create unique, and sexy.”
We had to change venue last minute and were really lucky to have found Dunsborough Park through Coco Wedding Venues. It’s a really cool site where you can search for a venue by location, style or venue type. So handy when you have no idea where to start!
I saw pictures of Dunsborough and thought that it would fit perfectly with the style of the shoot. The gardens were so pretty and had so many lovely areas, we were spoilt for choice. It was seriously stunning!
“Dunsborough Park is located in the picturesque village of Ripley, Surrey, less than 20 miles from Central London. Set in 100 acres of fields and woodlands it has 6 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens made up of a series of “rooms”. The romantic gardens and grounds offer a fantastic backdrop for a traditional and exclusive marquee wedding receptions.”
The shoot was a carefully planned process, the photos came out really beautifully and we are so happy with the way they look. We hope you love them too!
Well I sure do!!! Thanks so much for sharing this – and lovely brides, I hope this shoot encourages you to find the inspiration in everything.
We’re all unique and different from each other, and what better place to reflect and celebrate our loves and quirks than on our very own wedding day.
shoot credits: cake & photo-shoot organised by: sugar rose / photographer: paola de paola weddings / dress: rock the frock / shoes: natacha marro / hair and make up: kylie mcclelland / skull jewellery, blue antler, skull headpiece: virginia the wolf / suit: marc darcy / flower crown, ring, napkin holders: sophie and luna / flowers: stargazer flowers / venue: dunsborough park via coco wedding venues / models: robert nerantzoulis @robnerantzoulis and katie groark @pennyvalent