The Best in West Coast Florida Weddings

The Best in West Coast Florida Weddings

Monday, December 5, 2016

Anatomy of a Styled Wedding Shoot

Vintage Florida Al Fresco!

Although I feature "real weddings" of my own clients on this blog, I have longed to put together a styled photo shoot where everything including the furnishings could be replicated in quantity for at least 100 guests. Many such shoots that grace popular wedding blogs are mock ups that many of the originators use for the wow not the "practical" factor.

With this in mind I joined forces with seasoned photographer Debra Kapustin. She had been trying to put together a half-day workshop for her Clearwater Modeling and Photography Meet-Up Group. Debra set the location for the lesser known Rocking Horse Farm in New Port Richey. It was a blank canvas indeed, but with the perfect Old Florida backdrop: a working horse farm set on the the grassy banks of the Cottee River. It reminded of a Margorie Kinnan Rawlings novel set in the back woods of rustic Northeast Florida. 

Debra and I enlisted some of our favorite colleagues. Professional models were hired from The Benz Agency, and the roster started filling up with area photographers wanting to participate.


Debra used the shoot to show participants (both newbies and pros) different techniques for capturing the beauty and details of an outdoor wedding setting. The late July time period challenged even the toughest of us Florida veterans with the extreme midday heat and humidity. 

I chose an "1930s" motif focusing on a bare wood farm table. 

Because I always encourage our clients to "set themselves apart" in their decor, I took the current art deco popularity a step further.Via, I was able to chose from hundreds of custom graphic designs from an arsenal of artists world-wide. I selected a fushia, light pink, teal and aqua floral print called "Orleanders" from Texas native Susan Malcik who resided in Paris. 

Spoonflower takes licensed artist designs and prints them on  a variety of fabrics and paper elements. I chose to incorporate it into a crepe-de-shene runner for the length of the table. We sewed some rose fringe for textures at either end. 

All other table components were based on this French-inspired art deco design!

We thought about acquiring benches for the table, but then thought about the reality of comfort for guests in a "feasting" style setting. Mahogany chiavalri chairs with thick cushions fit the bill. These were from First Class Rentals in Tampa.

Next we approached our creative colleagues at Invitation Galleria with our design concept. They came up with a collection of tabletop paper goods. 

Vintage elements of lace, burlap, and raffia embellished menu cards for each place setting. Invitations and save-the-date cards could easily be based on these designs.


Next I approached talented cake diva-designer, Letticia Sovern of Sweet Tweets Cakery. I shared the runner design and my ideas for a modernist design amid the elements of the Florida outdoors. She came up with a custom fondant three tiered cake using a drapery effect . None of the participating photographers could believe the flower was not real! We displayed it on an upside down bird bath which mimicked the "skirting" on the cake.

 My next vision was for the fresh flowers as part of the farm table arrangements. I enlisted Tampa custom florist, Carmen Gonzalez to create multiple pieces that would stand out amid the green canopy of the setting surroundings. She chose dark pink garden roses amid white hydrangia. I added two of our in-house clear glass taper candle holders for more height.

Carmen also fashioned the bridal bouquet with matching flowers and pearl clusters to incorporate strands of beads we weaved in and around the center table elements.

Back in the "old days" brides started their wedding journeys by picking out their gowns. Now gown selection tends to gravitate toward the setting of the wedding setting and the style of the celebration. All Brides 2 B Formalwear proprietress Jessica Rios hand-picked two summery gowns for our shoot. 

Since the backdrop was a key element in the shoot, we positioned the farm table in several different positions in order to capture "bayou" feel in front of the river bank. Debra reminded her "students" for the day that wedding clients expect them to focus as much on the scenery as they do on the small details.

It was refreshing to get several photographer's perspectives on the table setting alone. Here's some photographer "angles."

Place cards were displayed in Christmas ornament frames I had purchased at a local craft store during after-the-holiday sales. The pearl trimmed napkin rings came from an internet craft site. Pearl strands collected from sales on "beads" during Gasparilla. China plate patterns are carried in matching sets from many local party rental businesses (No you don't have to use chipped or odd styled plates.) Everyone can feel special. 

Gold chargers, gold flatware, wide-rimmed champagne glasses, water goblets, linen napkins and candle holders are part of the Catering By Robert / Event Concepts in-house inventory. (Some items are upcharges). 

Some unique additions featured were seat cushion covers we ironed on romantic sayings from famous people throughout history. Guests could take them home as " practical favors" and memories from  the celebration.

Another feature for the hot weather here hanging pails filled with ice cold root beer bottles. These are a great DIY item that are constructed from metal pails purchased from the dollar stores. Metal handles from Home Depot are screwed into the sides and all components spray painted in the wedding colors.

As featured in the national blog: