I am beside myself with glee this afternoon because I can AT LAST share the glorious and final piece of Rock My Wedding editorial of 2013 – The Fall.
If you stopped by the blog on Monday then you’ll have read my post on the inspiration for this Autumn inspired extravaganza.
You’ll know then that we wanted subtle romance, ethereal glamour and natural beauty inspired by Mother Nature herself. Autumnal light is sublime and we were determined to capture this softness and showcase the most stylish gowns and prettiest table settings against it for your viewing pleasure.
So we set about plotting to convince you lovely lot of the tantalising charms of windswept hair, rich colour palettes, Autumn berries and buttersoft blankets against a backdrop of lemon yellow and ruby red leaves.
We scoured the land for the most perfect location and landed upon a beautiful private estate filled with nooks and crannies aplenty. There were woods and fields full of ponies, rustic barns made from weathered oak and old outhouses with handcrafted beams. And I haven’t even begun to mention the lamppost or the redbrick stables…
With so many different ‘scenes’ at our disposal it made sense to devote each set-up to a particular gown. For foxy frockage we worked with two designers that know exactly how to cater for the petite bride – the focus for this particular piece of editorial. Alan Hannah and Charlotte Balbier provided beautiful lace, tulle and slinky embroidered dresses designed with the shorter bride in mind which we paired up with two beauty looks that I’ll describe in more detail shortly…
And who were we going to use to capture our rustic romantic adventure? Well that would be Love Lust Lister Rebekah from Rebekah J.Murray Photography. Rebekah is actually an American photographer who specialises in destination photography but also spends time shooting delectable weddings in the UK. Her awe-inspiring mastery of light and penchant for beautiful detailing suited our vision perfectly and we are bowled over by the results. If you’ve not already chosen your photographers then make sure you take a butchers at her portfolio and exquisite website.
For Abigail’s first scene we leapt upon the charms of Alan Hannah’s ‘Garbo’, a deliciously slinky affair that we knew would harmonise perfectly with a berry lip and the supersized floral crowns that I’d asked Sarah from Mrs Umbels to create for us.
Lashings of hawthorn berries, rose hips and crab apples sat alongside lustrous blooms to form two natural and woodsy but very different headpieces. Sarah also added dried flowers into the mix such as Hydrangea heads and sedum since such combinations would be ‘in keeping with our natural environment in Autumn and is even part of the beauty, a sort of faded grandeur, which is still beautiful but in a more understated way.’ How posh is that folks – straight from the florist’s mouth. Yep we only pick the very very best people to work with.
Honestly I think you’ll agree that Titania, Queen of the Fairies would be hard pressed to find a crown more epic than those that Sarah created for us…and yes I confess to trying both on and posing a bit.
Having spotted the weathered timber barn doors in a pre-shoot recce, I was desperate to feature them in the final editorial so I indulged in a whim and asked Sarah if she’d make a supersized wreath to hang on them. The result is beautiful wouldn’t you agree?
I always had very specific vision for the beauty looks for ‘The Fall’, cue lots of secret pinning and emails between myself and the make-up genius that is Claire Salter. Having snared the gorgeous Abigail to model for us, it was clear that the beauty looks would revolve around her wonderful flaming red hair.
I also deliberately steered clear of using any headwear or jewellery embellishments in this editorial (apart from the floral circlets) because sometimes folks it just feels right to let the beauty shine through for itself.
Instead it was all about showcasing a variety of different looks from textured, mussed up hair to sleek topknots and from a bold berry lip through to come-to-bed eyes. Think sensual wood nymphs crossed with Miss Riding Hood – perfect for those brides looking to combine a more natural “ceremony” look with something a little edgier for their reception.
I’ll leave it to Claire to tell you a little more…
Claire Salter: When asked to create a couple of looks for ‘The Fall’ my mind went into overdrive just thinking about the amazing colour palettes I could use as well as the great textures I could incorporate into the hair.
For me Autumn is all about crisp dewy mornings, rich tones and warm shades, the twists and turns of the trees with their bare branches and lots of red berries, thistles and golden leaves.
With this in mind I created two hair and make up looks to encapsulate ‘Autumn’. The first
incorporated a dark berry lip and bright dewy skin with flushed autumnal cheeks. We played around with the hair pinning a mixture of low chignons and side dos whilst keeping the look crisp and sleek all the while.
Later on in the day we scaled the beauty look up to include a rich,warm metallic smokey eye with a dewy warm toned lip. The hair styling also became more adventurous too with lots of texture for a modern ‘hair-down’ look as well as an intricately beautiful braided up-do for the finale.
I adore the looks that Claire created for us and as a result I’m very tempted to give the braided updo a whirl in the very near future (the exact products used and the how-to is coming to RMW in the next two weeks folks.)
Personally I couldn’t choose a favourite dress (I picked them all for the shoot in the first place as they were on my if-I-were-to-get-married-again-I’d-so-choose-this-one wishlist) but if you were to ask Abigail then I’m pretty sure she’d choose Charlotte Balbier’s ‘Holly’ from the second look.
I’d long been desperate to create a shot with a model holding a truly oversized bouquet against a backdrop of a large floral print – be it fabric or wallpaper. At last ‘The Fall’ provided me with the perfect opportunity to indulge such a whim. Sarah pulled together what I can only describe as a mammoth sized arrangement that was nearly as big as Abigail herself using a plethora of plants including burgundy Cotinus foliage, soft ruscus, hazel and willow stems plus lots of Hydrangea, white waxflower, Roses and Chrysanthemums.
Our backdrop itself would double up perfectly as a background for your portraits or wedding photo booth. Our version cost about twelve quid and took all of about an hour to make. You can find similar wallpaper in Homebase and B&Q. I’d recommend going in with a firm idea as to what you’re after however folks…honestly you can spend hours in there.
And then it was off to the woods for some general frolicking in the woods action in the prettiest sleeved French lace gown by Alan Hannah. ‘Connie’ was the perfect dress for Abigail to channel her inner butter-wouldn’t-melt Miss Riding Hood.
Claire deftly changed Abigail’s sleek low chignon into a more relaxed twisted side bun which framed the delicate high round neck perfectly and helped draw attention to the exquisitely embroidered belt.
I also love the sleeve detail; it’s so intricate and delicate you really wouldn’t need to wear anything else at all.
Oh and I couldn’t resist popping Abigail on a lichen-encrusted log next to a white-washed lamppost either…doesn’t she look a picture.
There’s been a long-running-actually-quite-serious joke at RMW Towers about my desire to incorporate an animal of some description into our editorial. Unfortunately this has always been stopped in its tracks by O’Shea and Crohill. They’re actually quite boring really….
So you can imagine how I seized the opportunity whilst they weren’t watching to actually achieve this life-long dream of mine. Yep folks, I managed to slip a doggy friend in there and how adorable is he…
I’d previously overlooked ‘Flora’ by Charlotte Balbier but the designer herself urged me to give the frock a go – particularly as it was perfect for those brides on the shorter side – and I’m so glad that she did. ‘Flora’ fitted Abigail like a glove with its capped sleeves and its gem-encrusted collar and nipped in waist.
A smaller yet equally beautiful posy of Quicksand Roses, Viburnum berries, brunia and white waxflowers was the perfect accompaniment to Abigail’s tousled hair and modern beauty. How many of you lovelies are considering using vibrant purples and pinks in your big day bouquet?
We saved Charlotte Balbier’s ‘Belle’ for the finale. How could we not? All frothy, spotty tulle and delicate lace appliqué, Abigail announced that she felt like a princess. There was a universal appreciation for the delicate neckline and the beautiful detailing down the back so it made perfect sense to show this off to perfection by pinning and braiding Abigail’s hair around her face.
I think there is a tendency for modern day brides – particularly pint sized beauties – to steer clear of bigger, frothy dresses for fear of the dress wearing them rather than the other way round. It’s certainly something I associate with from my own experience on my planning journey. The trick is in the fit…honestly it really is. Get the size right and you’ll look as radiant as Abi on your own big day.
At this point I want to say that without the hard work of Lauren from Fairly Light I wouldn’t have been able to pull this shoot off. She pulled out all the stops to assist me in the direction of this shoot whilst contributing a few ideas of her own into the mix at the same time. In fact it was Lauren that actually suggested that we style the Autumnal cocktail table you see below for the shoot which I just know you’ll love.
We kept the base of the drinks station deliberately neutral and let the florals, fruits and of course the cocktail itself do the talking. We particularly love a mismatched look hence the use of different goblets and glasses placed at random and the scattering of nuts and foliage.
Have you lovelies thought about a beverage bar at your wedding?
How about hot toddies and cocoa at a Winter soiree or cooling lemonade and gin for summertime festivities?
No editorial shoot of ours feels complete without a confectionary treat but we were eager to try something different…something that we hadn’t seen the likes of on RMW before.
Behold…The Pie Table.
Set in a sunlit glade and filled to bursting with tarts and pies and miniature puddings, this spread would have made any harvest festival assembly proud. Using a rustic trestle table we created a wide neutral runner from a swathe of the softest oatmeal linen and placed a myriad of different sized logs (that I’d had the boy chopping up the day before) along its length.
Delicious pies, tortes and pastries were positioned on top of the logs so that they formed rustic cake stands and fruits and berries were added into the mix to make it all feel natural and organic. Floral arrangements incorporating medlar fruits and conkers were deliberately chosen to add colour and prevent it feeling too flat.
Mismatched plates, striped napkins, beautiful signage and an ornamental mix of Villandry gourds were added to the table to finish the look off.
Of all the decor set-ups that we created for the fall I looked forward to styling the tablescape the most. Honestly I had dreams about it; it was to be Ralph Lauren Home meets the English countryside meets fairytale magic.
Whether we succeeded in achieving that exact combination I remain uncertain but I do know that I am IN LOVE with the final result. From the outset I knew that I wanted to use a backdrop of blue linen for the tablecloth because the colours of Autumn contrast and harmonise so perfectly against the shade. They visibly pop against it!
It was imperative too that the tablescape be situated in the middle of a forest clearing with a carpet of fallen leaves. Happily nature obliged…
Rather than opting for a set-up that looked effective from one side, I wanted to create points of interest from all angles… be it a basket of rustic apples, a romantic lantern, scattered gourds or a punnet of conkers and acorns. Admittedly I did have to tell Adam off on several occasions for nicking strategically placed conkers for his collection.
Variety was introduced to the table settings too through mismatched plates – all with a suitable countryside theme …think floral patterns and the odd pheasant here and there – and with the striking colour pop tumblers. We draped comforting knits over chairbacks to keep bodies warm when the night drew in and decked the table in fruits and nuts to draw the eye along.
It was the talented Mr Crohill that interpreted my demands for something suitably leaf like for the place names and came up with the oak and maple leaf concoction that you see at each setting. He’s a clever one…
But it is the flowers that triumph for me. Sarah used a slightly unusual combination of dusky peach, burgundy, pink, green and various berries for ‘The Fall’ in order to ‘recreate a sense of a walk alongside a native hedgerow, still full of life but colours changing and blending to create an assault on your senses.’ There were Quicksand roses, brunia and viburnum berries as well as thick heads of hydrangea all placed in antiqued silver trophy cups and sugar bowls from my own private collection.
Did I mention that all of the table stationery, pie signage and cocktail chargers are free for you lovelies to download and use to create your very own? Yep that’s right! Mr Crohill worked tirelessly to create these leafy delights for you folks and the DIY tutorial is coming very soon to RMW.
Styling, Concept and Design – Team Rock My Wedding
Assistant Stylist – Lauren at Fairly Light
Stationery and Wallpaper Backdrop – Designed and made by Team Rock My Wedding
Gowns – From a selection at Alan Hannah and Charlotte Balbier
Hair And Make-up – Claire Salter
Florist – Sarah at Mrs Umbels
Model – Abigail Poulton
Photography – Rebekah J.Murray Photography
And it’s there we’ll leave you, to revel like wood nymphs in the dappled sunlight. Is that a bit much? Possibly…
So are any of you girls inspired by our sylvan adventures? Tempted to dress as a dryad on your big day? Or perhaps as a sultry Miss Riding Hood instead? Perhaps your other half fancies being a satyr…
You will let us know if you are, won’t you?
All my love Lolly xxx