Urban Portuguese Inspired Styled Shoot
As a wedding planner and stylist, I have used wedding shoots to continually hone my craft and work with some amazing people, but truth be told, in 2018 I hadn’t felt the bug to do a shoot since my previous two in 2016. Perhaps I struggled so much throughout 2017 and then with the huge dip in my health in 2018, that I didn’t really feel inspired. In fact, I felt disconnected from the industry, like it was a train passing by without me, leaving me behind and forcing me to learn about “self care”. And not Instagram basic bitch self-care with green tea and patterned yoga pants - I mean medication, blood, sweat and tears. So there I was, vegging out, pretty blue, when an email pinged into my inbox from Marni Vidal. She wrote that she liked my colourful style and would love to collaborate on a shoot. I arranged to meet her at a steak restaurant in Shoreditch.
“Do you want something to eat?” I said
“No I’m actually vegetarian” She replied
We got on straight away.
And I genuinely mean that. We admired each other’s work and laughed at each other’s jokes so working together was a breeze. I wanted to create something new and fresh. Something that the industry hadn’t shown yet but also something that inspired me. I had always wanted to bring in my Portuguese kidulthood into my work more so I drew up this moodboard.
Primary colours mixed with a Portuguese pattern. How exciting could that be! We set to work on finding a venue and there Marni found something that was only a stone’s throw away from me. The brand new Walthamstow Wetlands opened its doors in October 2017 and was the perfect blend of east London industrial cool, with a countryside-like beauty. As a new venue, we couldn’t believe our luck with this fantastic untouched space that held the key to a new market and new type of shoot. A unique juxtaposition of old and new that I feel I have been striving for my entire wedding planning life.
Excited and fuelled by this gorgeous venue and supported the whole way through by Marni, we worked together to recruit some amazing suppliers who felt as passionately about the concept as I do. I don’t think I have ever felt quite so full of beans about an idea as I had about this one. Every supplier really gave everything to make this shoot what it was.
As ever we started with a stunning pattern and I always turn to Jennifer’s Paper for patterns and colours. Not only does Jen have a keen eye for bright colours, but she is extremely talented at completely bespoke briefs like this one. Our inspiration was purely from portuguese tiling and with the primary colour scheme there was no real guarantee that it could work. Jen made it work, and so so beautifully! From the initial sketches to the final copy, Jen delivered a stationery set that I wish I could steal for myself.
For flowers, Marni wholeheartedly recommended Catherine Short who had so many fabulous ideas to compliment the theme. For the table, we had a running arrangement of olive leaves and rosemary which smelt gloriously herby. Highly recommend this to make the room smell great! As well as the runner, we had bottles with primary coloured flowers in them to add pops of colour here and there. I used navy blue votive candles to add a little bit of dainty light in the leaves. The petrol blue plates are from IKEA and the red napkins from Amazon.
For the cake, we wanted something really modern but with the portuguese flavour which Malarkey Cakes delighted in creating. She used the print of an 18th century tile to display on the bottom tier. Her signature square shape was key here for something very special. She also made authentic pasteis de nata that we used as placecard holders on our table!
The furniture was really important band is usually the trickiest part to arrange. Luckily I found the lovely Amy from Anthology Vintage Hire to provide the rustic tables, ceremony benches and old school chairs. They also leant us the mason jars for the aisle and colourful mixed bottles for the ceremony backdrop which ended up looking really unique!
It was important for Marni and I to have a really cool looking couple so we chose models Dani Moseley and Tashinga Nyatsanga for the day. Joyce Connor was the perfect choice for a London based makeup artist who specialises in brides of colour and is generally extremely talented. She is like the Aunty you never had and was a joy to be around on the day.
For the dresses I went to my old faithful boutique, Blackburn Bridal. I absolutely love the team there as they are always so helpful and knowledgable. You won’t find anyone that can make you feel more special than Russel Blackburn! We were given free reign to choose the dresses we wanted and picked out the standout dress by Rish Bridal (which also weighed as much as a small child) and the more low key and elegant dress by Claire Pettibone. The boho look was strong and it was great to have the flexibility.
Kwame Koranteng Bespoke Tailoring created the suits which I loved for their unique details. How perfect could it be to have a navy blue suit with red button details to match the colour scheme exactly! We chose a waistcoat look and a jacket, which poor Tash definitely struggled with on the day as it was the hottest day of the year!
Ms Erin from Addy’s Vintage also came down for the day with jewels in hand. She specialises in one-of-a-kind vintage pieces that you won’t find anywhere else. Erin also has an affinity for blue stones, so we had a range of blue zircons and sapphires to choose from for the bride’s ring. So sparkly and blue!
The styling. The professionalism. The execution. Everything was on point. And yes it was hard work. Almost 4 months of hard work for me and it continued to be so as we submitted the shoot for publishing that was lovingly picked up by the wonderful Annabel Beeforth at Love My Dress in July 2018 and Nikki & Elle from Bride and Tonic in April 2019. I’m still extremely proud of this piece because it felt like I truly hit my stride with my signature style, which has led to some super cool couples deciding to hire me for that exact style.
I could write an essay about this shoot. And let’s be honest… I have. But this will forever be a huge passion of mine and I will look back on it fondly for the rest of my wedding life.
I hope you like it too.