Inspiration

Not only is this intimate elopement inspiration shoot at The Glass House in Sussex incredible, but it also raises awareness of brides with alopecia. Planned by Nikki at Toast and captured by, Recommended supplier, Elena Popa Photography. Featuring sequin bridal capes, flower crowns and roll-top baths full of flowers. Plus, real bride-to-be, and, alopecia sufferer Jen, sharing an intimate letter to her fiance Oli about what his support means to her. As you can imagine there wasn't a dry eye in the house.


Bride with Alopecia at an intimate elopement in a glasshouse with wildflowers, sequin capes and crowns.

During this time when Covid dictates a lot of what we can and can't do. I wanted to show that turning a few wedding traditions on their head can make them 'just as' and 'even more meaningful and personal when you haven't got an audience. The shoot details everything from the couple helping each other get ready, a first look, a simple but lavish and emotional ceremony (Jen read out a letter she wrote to Oli about what his support means to her and the whole room was in tears!)..., a bath scene, eating cake to a romantic first dance.

Nikki at Toast

It was important to me that the styling was sympathetic to the glasshouse, I didn't want to take away or mask the beauty of the brick walls and original features but instead highlight and celebrate them. Having been inspired by old pictures of the glasshouse in its overgrown and dilapidated state before it was restored, the florals were really important to me and I was keen to bring some (or a lot!) of the wildness back for the shoot. Emma from Tigers to Lilies jumped on the brief and created some incredible floral displays using seasonal early autumnal blooms and foilage that looked like they were literally growing from the brick floors and walls.

Nikki at Toast

BRIDE WITH ALOPECIA

It was really important for me that Jen was bald for the shoot to make it really powerful. I didn't want to hide from alopecia but embrace it. I also wanted to reflect on the two ways of dealing with Alopecia. Look 1: 'Fragile like a flower' is about raw beauty and venerability. While Look 2: 'Fragile like a bomb' is about embracing it, having fun and being strong and defiant in the face of it.

FRAGILE LIKE A FLOWER

The first look showcases Jen's bravery to just be herself with a really ethereal and feminine look perfect for the ceremony scene. Ophelia Ren Bridal made an exquisite bridal headpiece especially for the shoot that was covered in intricate handmade flowers. Jen wore the Ekaterini Rose dress from Julita London Bride featuring beautiful embroidery and the most amazing cape-like 'sleeves' of translucent tuille gave the whole look a fairytale feel.

FRAGILE LIKE A BOMB

The second look was much more dramatic, stronger and sexier to reflect defiance in the face of alopecia - a kind of two fingers up to the condition! Jen looked stunning in layered crowns by Tilly Thomas Lux. We also played with fabulous ear cuffs by the designer and my personal favourite, some 'killer' statement earrings that looked amazing against the full-length sequin cape, again by Julita Bridal.

I was due to help Oli and Jennifer (the couple featured in the shoot) style and prop their wedding this year. But, like so many others, their wedding has been postponed. Jennifer suffers from alopecia. A condition I know only too well as my mum suddenly lost all her hair (absolutely every strand, even her eyelashes) 3 years ago. I‘ve watched my mums painful battle with the condition these past few years and seen how it stripped away from her identity overnight. I’ve seen the effect it's had on her confidence and how she flits between being vulnerable and embarrassed to defiant and strong in order to cope. It's the same for Jennifer.

I managed to convince Jen and importantly her fiancé Oli to model for the shoot. As much as I wanted to do something positive and empowering for people around the globe that suffer from alopecia. (Or other health conditions that affect the way they look.) Encouraging them to be strong and defiant and give them confidence that they can and will be beautiful on their wedding day.

Nikki at Toast

An emotional yet empowering elopement shoot to raise awareness for alopecia through raw beauty, femininity and strength.

I wanted the shoot to highlight the meaning of marriage and what it is to find someone that loves you for who you are. And just simply wants to spend the rest of their life with you...no matter what. I think there is a lot to be said for the person that stands by you when you suffer from a condition like this and it was something I was keen to capture in the styling and set up of the shoot.

Nikki at Toast

It's so important to us at Rock My Wedding to ensure everyone can see themselves represented in our content. We can't thank Nikki from Toast enough for sharing this beautiful glasshouse inspiration with us that not only inspires couples to just go for it and have an intimate wedding but most importantly raises awareness for alopecia.

Written by Lorna Shaw

Featured suppliers

Concept, styling and props: Toast | Photographer: Elena Popa Photography | Florist: Tigers to Lilies | Venue: Our Beautiful Glasshouse | Real Couple: Oli and Jennifer | Cake: The Beachside Bakery | Dress, Kimono, cape and veils: Julita Bridal London | Makeup Artist: Joyce Connor Makeup | Stationery & Signage: Lou Paper Wedding Stationery | White Headdress: Ophelia Ren Bridal accessories | Rings: The London Victorian Ring Company | Crowns, earrings & ear cuff: Tilly Thomas Lux | Shoes: Freya Rose London | Table and glassware: Harriets Table | Menswear: Menswearr | Shoot Assistant: Lucys Little Knots | Chandliers: Lighting with Intent | Ceremony Rug: Sea Thrift Interiors

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