I just loved being involved in this Manchester elopement styled shoot. I love a city-centre wedding, a cool couple and the only thing to make it better, a bike! Yes, I super gorgeous, wanted to ride off on a motorbike!!
I have decided to break my shoots down in more detail. Show you the design process and take you behind the scenes a little more. This is to help those planning shoots themselves. I struggled when I started to find information on planning and implementing a styled shoot. Or even couples as this can be adapted to designing your wedding.
For this shoot, I was approached by Chelle, a wedding planner. She had an idea that she wanted a motorbike, it to be an elopement in Manchester. She needed help getting her ideas down as a design. The first step was a venue, once she had this sorted I could work on the design of the shoot. I suggested hotel Brooklyn as I know Chelle loves New York. In her head for the shoot, it was an American couple eloping. They said yes! So with the brief and venue, I could get to work on the design!
I always start with a story when doing an editorial shoot. I sit and write about the couple, what will happen, their reason for the wedding/event. What feelings and emotions are they feeling and I want to create with the design. If you are doing a styled shoot I highly recommend sitting and thinking about the story you want to tell on the day before any planning or design. The same for a wedding or event, write down the feelings you want to create on the day. How you want the guests to feel. Also, think about the story of the couple or the reason for the event.
A young couple living in New York is looking for a place to elope! The stress of the traditions and expectations of the wedding they have planned is too much! It is not them and they want to just be together and make their love official. The traditional elope in American is Vegas, a quick drive-by style wedding! Again, just not them, even though they loved the concept.
They met while travelling Europe and always vowed to go back together one day. Then it hit them, we go to Manchester the place we met and we elope. Mixing our New York style vibes, the fun drive by feel of a Vegas wedding all together to create the ultimate elopement.
Cool, modern, fun couple. Totally in love and looking for an adventure they will remember for the rest of their lives.
A modern couple so the styling needs to be cool, minimal and modern. With the bike, I came up with the idea of driving in and out of the hotel for the drive-by feel. Then the colours of New York with the yellow and black. Again, still modern, urban and stylish!
Once I have the story and couple, if a wedding shoot, in my mind I then go and look for inspiration about them. Think ideal client work, one for the business owners reading this. The couple is cool, modern and want to be different but also want to bring a piece of them to Manchester. With this thinking, I went with the traditional new york colours, black and yellow. I softened with some grey and made sure the yellow was only in pops. Look at my colour palette guide for how I create my colour palettes in more detail.
I searched Pinterest, not for wedding photos, New York City streets, Brooklyn vibes, yellow and black patterns. Then I searched 90’s high fashion, 90s supermodel shots. I wanted paparazzi style, high fashion city street photography. Also, I looked at motorbike photography and leather jacket images and lastly modern yellow florals. Head to my Pinterest blog for more details on selecting non-wedding photos.
I then set up my mood board template and start to build the mood board. This is the time to carefully curate your pictures to showcase your ideas. When looking and saving to Pinterest, or wherever, you can save any you like. As you are just allowing yourself to fall into the design and ideas deeper and deeper. Now you need to examine each picture. Write the keywords you want to create within the shoot. Then pic the photos that show these words. You can’t be half-hearted about this. You can’t just think that will do. A picture that screams the mood you want to create but is totally the wrong colours. A picture may have some elements but a little traditional when you want modern. These work for extra pictures but not for the mood board.
You have to remember this is going out to all the suppliers. Each person will connect and see something different in each photo. They all have to be spot on, every element, colour, detail has to work for that shoot. If not, don’t use it, get looking for another. I can spend days, usually weeks, okay I’ll admit months sometimes, working on mood boards. Head to my 5 step guide for creating a mood board for my full in-depth process.
This is sooooo important! Putting a call out on a group, or on your socials really isn’t the way to get the right suppliers. That’s my opinion though, others do this and have a great shoot. I suppose it depends on the reason for the shoot. When designing a certain look and feel you need to search out the right supplier for that shoot. I go into this in more depth in my styled shoot guide. I also touch on the protocol of paying for suppliers and who pays who.
You need to consider each area and what elements you need to create them. Then search for suppliers that can do this and are the same style as the look you want to achieve. For this shoot, I was just doing the design so Chelle went off and sourced the suppliers she wanted. This can be hard if you are a stylist or designer at times. If the supplier is not suited then it will show and your design can be easily lost. For me, I step away and accept that I have done the design brief and will work with what I have on the day to best style the elements. It is their vision not mine at the end of the day!
I will always talk through certain elements with key suppliers if styling also. I make a design brief and each element of the shoot is considered in this. Each key supplier will have a section tailored to them. Then all suppliers will receive a copy of the design brief. This is the best way to keep things cohesive and make sure all suppliers are working towards the same vision. I like to choose suppliers carefully so I can give them the creative space they need to create something that suits the design brief.
I knew a lot of the suppliers or at least knew of them so it worked out well. Chelle did a great job selecting the supplier that was the right fit on the day.
With a shoot, things are different from a wedding or event. The supplier I am always most conscious of is the florist. I spend a lot on items with a shoot as I always want it to be unique and offer something new. Because I want luxury, the best and with this comes a cost. I am more than aware though that the cost for the florist is usually a lot more. This means you need to be creative and thoughtful with the styling on the day. Reuse items and especially flowers throughout. Meaning, you need to give yourself self-time to set up each area and move elements and set up the next throughout the day.
As this shoot was an elopement it was nice that there wasn’t a lot of setups. I had a table for two and a cake area! It was a lovely chance to have free time during a shoot to network and relax!
A table for two! I love doing sweetheart tables for a wedding also, going all out so this was definitely my jam! This one was a little different as they needed to face each other. Straight away I was excited to do an off angled runner. You may have noticed I do love layering of angle with my fabrics! I knew Chelle was using a stunning dipped dye Lucy can’t dance dress. So, I wanted to do something similar and created a dip-dye table runner.
I kept the table minimal with black and grey elements. The yellow only from the flowers. I used these stunning plates from Nkuku, black crockery and nice simple grey napkins. We didn’t have a stationer so I made my own with a template from Etsy.
I love styling a cake area! This one we went for a dessert treat table for two for them to enjoy. A gorgeous black cake and cool modern treats made my styling job so much easier. I used another dip-dyed table runner and then a mix of plates and terrariums from my styling collection.
I kept this styling minimal also, let the treats do the hard work! We moved the flowers over from the table to reuse and also add some yellow. It is important to mention here about the placement of the table. I choice in front of this sign to add to the whole are styling. Picking where you set up is key with a shoot and an event. Look what is behind and speak to your photographer about lighting, background in shots and make sure it will work.
Hopefully, you can see the elements of the design within the shoot. Chelle chose not to go for the more high fashion vibe with the city street shots. I love them all though and it is totally more her style! Enjoy scrolling the pictures and let me know what you think in the comments below! If you want to see the full portfolio and hear more about the shoot its self head to here now!
Planner: MICHELLE AMY WEDDINGS, DESIGNER: ZOEY LOUISE DESIGN, PHOTOGRAPHER: MARNI V PHOTOGRAPHY, VIDEOGRAPHY: CATHERINE LUTHER WEDDINGS, FLOWERS: FLOWER STUDIO MCR, CELEBRANT: CELEBRANT SJ, VENUE: HOTEL BROOKLYN MCR, DRESS: ROCK THE FROCK CHESHIRE, SUIT: GROOM WARRINGTON, HMUA: KATIE, JACKET: ROCK PAPER NIB, CAKE: GRACE EMILY CAKES, ACCESSORIES: GLORIOUS BY HEIDI, COUPLE AND BIKE: HELEN & STEVE.