Quite often wedding planners, photographers, caterers, and florists curate photo shoots to have beautiful and recent photographs for their portfolios, websites, and social media accounts. Beyond Details is fortunate enough to participate in a handful each year. Our most recent shoot took place in July at The Barn at Sycamore Farms, a beautifully timeless venue for wedding design. Vendors included:
Cake: Patty Cakes
Catering: Beyond Details
Dress: LVD Bridal
Florals: Beyond Details
Photography: Nicole Colwell Photography and Richard Sparkman Productions
Rentals: Southern Events
Stationery: Dear Addie
Venue: The Barn at Sycamore Farms
I was lucky enough to be the head designer for this styled shoot. My inspiration came from my desires of how I would style my own wedding. Being a part of the wedding industry provides me the opportunity to see many different wedding styles, and while each wedding is beautiful in its own right, sometimes weddings can appear lackluster to industry professionals since we see so much repetition. When designing a wedding, it is quite easy to get swept up in popular styles and trends, but quite often those styles and trends are just that, trends and they are not timeless and elegant. I wanted to ensure that this styled shoot appeared timeless and elegant.
The Barn at Sycamore Farms is a venue revealing timeless beauty
Although barns are very popular in the south, and in my personal opinion trendy, the grounds of The Barn at Sycamore Farms are beautiful. The 100 year old Sycamore Tree is a hidden gem to Nashville, but is definitely not hidden on the property. There is nothing contrived about nature and there is nothing more timeless than nature. I knew I wanted the styled shoot to take place among the tree and all the greenery. Green, white, cream, and blush tones for flowers, rentals, and stationery would help tie in natural earth tones with elegance.
Oscar Wilde claimed “you can never be overdressed or overeducated” which holds true to this day. My goal was for the bride and groom to appear overdressed and proper, to completely embody the black tie affair yet contrast the naturalness of the environment and farm table and flower garland. Luckily, the groom owned his own tailored tuxedo which was the perfect ensemble.
In the bridal world, there are thousands of dresses, but how do you choose the right one for a styled shoot? From working with a photographer and occasionally being in front of the lens, I learned that most movements need to be over exaggerated to appear normal in the photograph. Same goes for the proper dress. You want to select a dress that photographs well so it is important to take quick photographs of the dress in the salon to see how they appear. Dramatic dresses such as dresses with full trains or interesting shapes help the dress stand out in photographs. But most importantly it is necessary to select a dress that compliments the bride’s body. Do not select a dress from a bridal store without the bride even if you have her measurements. Dresses fit differently on different bodies. Even if you have a particular dress style in mind for the photo shoot, if that dress does not look good on the bride, then let go of it. If the bride does not look good, the photographs will not look good.
Simple elegance was added to the shoot via attire, florals and stationery
So how did I select the gown for this styled shoot? I wanted a sleek simple slip dress that would appear expensive and elegant. I brought my bride along to try on several gowns and per my own advice I had to debate over night which dress she should wear. Do I select the champagne colored slip dress or ivory structure mermaid gown? While her body might have looked slightly better in the ivory mermaid gown, I ultimately decided the champagne slip dress was best because I have not seen many styled shoots that feature silk slip dresses. I wanted my dress to differentiate itself from others.
Like a dress, there are countless styles of stationary, and like the dress I selected, I enjoy simplicity and elegance. I wanted to stay true to natural colors and colors that would work well with the selected florals so I opted for ivory paper with gold lettering. But I wanted to differentiate my stationary somehow so adding calligraphy to the invitation, menu, and name card made each paper good feel fancier. Also adding a stroke of blush water color helped to tie in the blush flowers and add a little something extra to the stationery. Most importantly, I wanted the soft edges because to me that is timeless. I often see old documents and writings on paper with deteriorated edges and yet that have survived throughout the years, the ultimate test of timelessness.
I do believe I achieved a styled shoot whose photographs would look beautiful today, tomorrow, and ten years from now. I have heard many brides say they wish they did x, y and z differently, or they did not like their photographs, or how the bride disliked their gown years later, and my goal was to create a styled shoot that would never go out of style.