WEDDINGS

HOW TO USE STYLED SHOOTS TO PLAN YOUR WEDDING

It’s no secret that we’re big champions of styled shoots at BLOVED HQ, these aspirational scenes of wedding pretty were my obsession when planning my own wedding and I’m proud to continue to share some of the very best right here on these pages. Curated by talented wedding professionals the world over, their aim is to push boundaries and showcase their skills – whilst sharing the most up to date and stylish wedding trends to inspire you for your own big day.  I am also aware they can be a highly contentious subject among brides and wedding pro’s alike, so today I’m incredibly excited to ask some tough questions of four of the suppliers involved in a beautiful sixties-inspired styled shoot, Emma Hla from Coco Wedding Venues, Wedding Planner Katrina Otter and photographers Rebecca Goddard and Jade Osborne to find out what these shoots are really all about.  We also asked our blogging bride Gabi for her opinion on styled shoots – and whether she’s found inspiration from them for her own wedding.   First let’s hear from the pro’s…

What’s the difference between a styled shoot and a real wedding?

Beccy Goddard: A styled shoot is very similar in terms of planning, there’s the location to find, suppliers to source and book, etc, but obviously with out the guests, catering and party!  You have the opportunity to work with a team of other creatives, which is great for bouncing ideas off one another and also the styling is polished and absolutely gorgeous! The pace of day is similar in a way as there is usually a tight schedule to work to, but of course unlike a wedding, you can always retake the shot, adjust the lighting, re-touch hair and make-up. It’s always relaxed with Emma and Kat, and great fun!

Jade Osborne: A styled shoot is conceptual, usually with high fashion / trend influences used to inspire brides. Whilst there is an element of capturing a mood in the shoot, it is unlike a real wedding where my role as photographer is to capture real moments.

A styled shoot takes a great deal of planning and coordination just like a real wedding with collaborations with venues, florists, bridal gown designers, MUAs, stylists, wedding cake suppliers, photographers, etc. There is no reason why a real wedding cannot be styled to the same degree as a styled shoot. Whilst the photography ‘style’ can remain the same for a real wedding, the subject is more than just about the details where focus will also be on the bride & groom and wedding guests and is about capturing the real LOVE which the day is all about.

Why should bride’s look at styled shoots for inspiration?

Emma Hla: When I was planning I become absorbed in all of the pretty on offer and it became a daily source of inspiration, checking the blogs for the latest real weddings! But, my planning started via Pinterest and mostly styled shoots. You can capture an essence, a feeling and a certain style in a shoot. It’s this simplicity that forms the starting point to your whole day – whether it’s a colour palette you love, a romantic tulle gown or a to-die-for bouquet. Once you’ve found this inspiration then it’s time to inject your own ideas/personality into the planning and so the picture grows!

Beccy Goddard: I think styled shoots are great for inspiration and trend forecasts for the coming season. But it is really important that bride’s don’t just try and emulate the whole look. To get the best wedding pictures, the couples need to inject their own style and personality in to their day. It’s their energy & emotions that will make the images the best.

Kat Otter: As a wedding planner I spend a fair amount of time each week reading wedding blogs and magazines. As much as I love looking at (and endlessly pinning) real weddings I often find that I spend longer obsessing over styled shoots for the simple reason that I find them so incredibly beautiful, unique and inspirational.

Styled shoots are often described as unattainable or unaffordable. How can brides recreate the looks they see in styled shoots?

Beccy Goddard: I think if you’re working to a tight budget when planning your wedding, then less is more! Take a few little bits of a styled shoot and try and source the best quality you can for your money. Don’t try and copy everything, cheaply. For instants, flowers can be very expensive, so maybe just go all out on your own bouquet and a simple posy of gypsophila for your bridesmaids. Although props and accessories are pretty, they are not essential and will not be the making of a great wedding. People won’t remember your amazing table decorations, they will remember the atmosphere, the party, the warmth, the food, the laughter, and the brides dress!

You can take elements from the shoot, such as the colour palette and re-create this with affordable touches, such as the grooms’ tie and pocket square, bridesmaids’ shoes, hairstyles, make-up. Also, you need to bare in mind that people need to feel comfortable and happy with what they are wearing on your day. If your friends aren’t used to wearing tails or tweed suits with bow ties, they can look awkward in the pictures. I think it’s really important that couples don’t lose sight of what they are doing though. Yes, it’s a photographers dream for everything to be styled and look beautiful on the day. But the fact that your marrying the person you love the most is going to be the best ting about your day!

Emma Hla: First and foremost, your budget it pretty damn important and it’s in no way worth jeopardising the financial plans for any styling you see in a shoot or indeed a real wedding! So highlight parts of the inspiration that would suit you, your wedding and the bank balance. Your wedding suppliers will also be able to help you recreate certain elements in a way that’s right for you, so pin that inspiration and have a good ol’ chat over a cuppa.

When I’m designing a styled shoot it’s really important that it has a mix of the aspirational as well as the attainable. So for the Iscoyd Shoot we used beautiful bridal lingerie that was all from the High Street! Yep, our girl was cavorting in M&S knicks! But we mixed this with beautiful vintage pearls, luxurious silks and pretty florals to give the overall feel of luxury whilst still being on a small budget. The shoots I’m drawn to are beautiful yes, but also achievable and realistic.

 

Shoots tend to be trend-led, should brides be worried about incorporating trends into their wedding day?

Beccy Goddard: Yes, if they are tired trends that have been done to death! Stamping your ‘own’ take on things makes the wedding personal and unique! Couples shouldn’t try and lift an entire ‘look or theme’ from a shoot or wedding they’ve seen on a wedding blog. It’s great for inspiration and ideas. But bringing your own individuality alive is the best for incredible wedding pictures. Live in that very moment, be yourselves!

Emma Hla: Wedding trends are like fashion trends, they exist but they aren’t going to suit everyone! I’m personally loving the raw industrial concrete and copper vibe that’s coming through at the moment, but that’s only because it reflects my interiors taste at home. So treat trends as another piece of inspiration and pick and choose what feels right for you!

Jade Osborne: I believe your wedding should be unique to you, but we can’t help but be influenced by trends as they are all around us in our everyday lives. Lots of ‘trends’ are actually very ‘classic’ looks and come around again and again and are in fact, timeless (40s, 50s, 60s) To avoid embarrassing wedding photos twenty years down the line, stick with these classic looks

What do you, as a wedding professional, love about styled shoots?

Beccy Goddard: I absolutely love working on styled shoots, meeting a team of wonderfully creative people, there is so much talent involved. From the styling, beauty, fashion, people delivering hand made works of art, flowers, locations, and accessories. There’s a real buzz in the air on the day and everyone pulls together. It’s very much a team effort on the day.

It’s also an opportunity to be a little bit more adventurous, artistic, you’re not working to the same constraints so imaginations can flow and escape.

Emma Hla: For me it’s all about creating something beautiful that might just inspire a Bride-to-be on her wedding journey, after all that’s why I started my business in the first place. It’s also truly wonderful to work with incredible suppliers and be able to personally recommend someone, which I do, lots! I’ve loved meeting and working with some incredible people this last year.

Kat Otter: Personally, it is important to remember the value of styled shoots not only to couples planning their weddings but to industry professionals as well.  Styled shoots provide us with the opportunity to form new industry connections, partnerships and friendships.  They are also an essential means by which the industry as a whole can continue to learn from and inspire one another, thereby pushing our creative and collective abilities.

Jade Osborne: I love the whole planning process, the putting together of the concept and thinking about how to make it work and looking for inspiration. To me this is a chance to play and get creative but then it’s great, as the photographer, to be able to work from a brief so you know what is expected on the day. It’s also a great opportunity to be experimental without the time pressure of a real wedding day…well, some of the time!

What was special about this shoot, and what did you love most about working on it?

Beccy Goddard: Working with Emma and Kat is always a pleasure. I love their concepts and the way the approach and execute each shoot is incredible. Their initial plan and vision for each shoot is put together in such a way that they make it look effortless, although I know how much they work on each project. From colour palettes to moods, clothing and hair and make-up, the themes are totally stunning. But with Iscoyd Park I particularly liked the soft, warm tones. The elegance with just the right amount of playfulness. It was just dreamy. Iscoyd Park is an exquisite venue, a magnificent family home, with a relaxed vibe. It’s beautiful and made a perfect, elegant scene for the ‘La Jolie Mariée shoot.

Emma Hla: I’ve always wanted to shoot at Iscoyd Park. It was everything I hoped it would be and so much more.

Jade Osborne: The team were just the best, the venue is amazing, the styling/theme was to die for and I loved the combined bridal and boudoir – my two favourite genres of photography.

But can you really translate these highly curated ideas into your own big day dreams? We asked our blogging bride Gabi what she thinks.

Have you looked at styled shoots when planning your wedding? Yes absolutely, I love looking through the blogs and magazines at the styled shoots and coming across images on Pinterest. They are often so colourful and packed full of new unique ideas – they get my brain in overdrive planning elements for my own big day.

Do you find them inspiring? Yes definitely I love looking at them and gaining inspiration for my own upcoming wedding. Whether that’s looking at the way a tablescape has been styled or the mixture of flowers or use of colour they are a great place to start when setting your own ‘theme’

What do you love about styled shoots? They are a great way of seeking out original ideas for elements such as stationery and paper details – table plans / table names etc as well as fun elements such as sweetie / dessert tables. I find they are good for allowing you to think outside the box of more traditional themes and colour schemes. It may be that you pick just one thing you like from a styled shoot and incorporate it into your day. I also love discovering new suppliers through styled shoots.

Anything you don’t like? It can be easy to get carried away so its important to remember that styled shoots may not always be representative of what a brides realistic budget can achieve (in terms of flowers etc) as they may show one table when you have 10 to dress. So I have to remind myself of that!

Are you stealing any ideas from styled shoots? Yes I spotted a gorgeous floral table plan that I am incorporating into my day and will also be using some table linens spotted in a styled shoot. I would LOVE to be able to incorporate gold gilded crockery and cutlery and I have found a supplier (through a styled shoot) to hire this from but I am going to have to see what the budget is like nearer the time if we can stretch to it!

What’s your opinon of styled shoots? Have you found them useful when planning your wedding and what ideas are you planning to recreate for your own day? Or do you find them overwhelming or unnattainable? Leave us a comment below!

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Louise

After a decade-long career in corporate interior design, I took a giant leap of faith, left the security of an office job, and founded B.LOVED in 2011 as a platform for romantic and beautiful wedding inspiration. Thanks to a whole lot of creativity, hard work and passion, my gamble paid off and B.LOVED became one of the leading wedding blogs in the UK.

You’ll also find me working as an Editorial Stylist, where I design and curate beautiful photoshoots for wedding and lifestyle brands, as well as contributing as a founding member of bridal inspiration hub Aisle Society, and running wedding industry community the B.LOVED Hive from our super pretty base in London. Yep, I definitely have the best job in the world.

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