So Deborah and I were squealing like little schoolgirls as this shoot came together… Only 2 weeks earlier I had met up with Deborah and we talked about working together again on a bridal concept shoot and we both loved the idea of a Marie Antoinette inspired bridal fashion shoot. What might Marie wear on her wedding day? How big could we get the dress? Where could we find a beautiful garden? Who would play Marie? To our shear joy---call it fate---all of these questions were answered in a matter of days and we worked full steam ahead on bringing Marie to life.
Deborah designed an ingeniously beautiful dress for our shoot. It consisted of more than a bolt of tulle (of course we were going big) and a removable jacket. Overlaying the jacket really gave the dress the fitted Marie look, but once the jacket is removed, underneath you have an exquisite Cinderella ball gown. This really let the shoot take on not only a Marie Antoinette look, but also a fairytale princess look. This versatile design of course had me thinking of how we could change up the model’s hair and accessories to get a completely different look.
My search for ostrich feathers for her hair did not go so well, so I had to come up with something different. When I was out on a run it hit me----as the grasses around me were blowing in the breeze. The plumes of the grasses along the path I was running (okay so it is more of a jog than a run) looked remarkably like feathers. I gathered an armful (could have been weeds but they looked pretty) and was on my way. With a can of white spray paint we were in business. I constructed some large sprigs for a fascinator for the Marie look, then also made a wreath crown for the fairytale princess look.
I then went to work looking for just the right music to fit the mood that I wanted to evoke during the shoot. In my mind, Marie is in her secret garden and we are peering it to see just a glimpse of her when no one is looking. Marie was only 14 when she was married, so I imagined she might have been playful and twirling in her wedding gown. While our model wasn’t 14---we still wanted a playfulness to it. Knowing also her unfortunate end, I wanted the mood to be kind of a sad romantic, while still having a sweetness to it.
The night before the shoot, I was most nervous about doing our model’s hair and make-up. I knew Brenton and I could handle the still images and video, but it was mission critical that hair and make-up be spot on to complete the look. Hair and Make-up artists were hard to come by on short notice for a 7am project so it was time for me to work some magic. Thank goodness Mandy (our model) has a thick head of hair and was game for glamming it up with some lashes.
Seeing Mandy become Marie was absolutely magical. Deborah and I were overjoyed as she twirled in the Sunken Garden at Janesville Rotary Botanical Gardens.
Thank you to everyone who helped Marie come to life J
Deborah Villanueva for the beautiful gown, veils, cape and accessories
Mandy O’Connell for being our Model
Janesville Rotary Botanical Gardens for the beautiful location
My husband Brenton for video and stills.
Enjoy the movie and images!