Today it’s a little bit of magic… Have you ever watched the Labyrinth, the 80s fairytale starring David Bowie?
A team of London wedding suppliers thought it would be a great wedding inspiration, put their talents together and organised a magical shoot.
The romantic fantasy film “Labyrinth” was a favourite of mine as a child and teenager and when I was thinking about ideas for a styled shoot it seemed rich with potential. Of course the famous balloon-sleeved ball dress and David Bowie’s skin tight trousers are the obvious elements to reference but other aspects lent themselves easily too; themes of owl feathers, books, clocks and masks, a gingerbread maze wedding cake, glass globes in the flower arrangements and bubbling cocktails to conjure up the bog of Eternal Stench! Touches of the 2018 colour of the year ‘ultra violet’ completed our theme.
Learning as a teenager that the film is unusual in that it passes the Bechdal test was the beginning of my journey along the road of feminism. Female empowerment and strength is integral to the plot. So we decided to honour this with a same-sex female wedding couple. We wanted to create wedding inspiration at once magical and fantastical but also convincingly realistic, as if for a real couple.
A core of three, Lex Fleming the photographer, Laura Devine the stylist and me, the dress designer worked together on the concept, supported by our outstanding creative team. Our perfect venue was Hever Castle, it has a real yew-tree maze and a grand hall for our ballroom shots. The shoot day itself was very cold, we watched snow storms through the castle windows all morning hoping the ‘Beast from the East’ would break long enough to allow our models outside. We did manage a few short outings into the castle grounds and maze, but our original plans for an almost totally outdoor shoot just weren’t possible. Luckily Hever Castle is stunning inside and out with panelled halls, stone archways for our shoot, plus the modern Astor Wing to accommodate all aspects of a wedding.
Mix and Twist designed us several special cocktails inspired by the film. ‘Bog of eternal stench’ has to be the best new cocktail name in many years, with bubbles and foaming purple smoke evoking the film’s atmosphere for your eyes as well as with taste.
I designed a modern interpretation of Sarah’s iconic ball dress. It has ethereal silver beaded lace on an off the shoulder bodice with illusion back. Removable long lace sleeves that just hint at the enormous puffed sleeves of the 1980’s original. The possibilities for transformation continue with a simple, slightly flared skirt that can be worn alone, or with a spectacular silk organza over skirt that cascades into a train behind.
We broke with convention translating David Bowie’s elfin character into our Jareth-bride. Our model looked heart-achingly romantic in an ivory silk crepe blouse with cover buttons and long cuffs and super tight black trousers with lace up, boned high-waist detail. Umbrella’s from Brolly Bucket gave a jaunty air to our Jareth-Brides poses.
Both brides wore fabulous jewellery from jeweller to so many rock stars The Great Frog, London with real amethysts and moonstones set in sterling silver. The famous headpiece for Sara was created by Mcfayden Millinery, glittering with pearls, silver curls and leaves. She also wore exquisite flower petal shoes that can light up by alternative shoe artist Elusive Rabbit! Hair and make-up by Moira Borg and Ann Marie Lawson hinted at the film’s original look with romantic flair. The brides’ bouquet and buttonhole were designed by Green & Envy with misty green eucalyptus, trailing catkins, thistle and heather coloured roses.
The standout feature of the shoot for me was the Gingerbread maze, all edible loveliness by Maid of Gingerbread. Set on the antique warming table from the Inner Hall at Hever castle with green leaves as if amidst a fairy forest, it had icing battlements, delicate pearl castellations and swirling silver detail on the walls. At the end of the shoot many hungry, tired people agreed it the only thing the maze did better than looking amazing was tasting incredible!
A tablescape put together by Laura Devine featured gold edged white china and classic kings pattern cutlery from abacus caterhire. There were spectacular floral centrepieces Green and Envy featuring flickering candles in delicate terrarium glass globes hanging from towering silax (pussy willow) branches, with asparagus fern and anemones and orchids. Laura also arranged clocks, books, pearls, feathers and masks as if for atmospheric table centres or venue decoration.
The table numbers and invitations featuring exquisite calligraphy by Smitten with Ink were designed in watercolour by London Wedding Stationery with clocks and smoky semi-sheer paper for a misty effect.
Lex Fleming our photographer pulled all our work together in her amazing images. Working at speed when outside to prevent the model’s freezing to death and contending with little natural light inside the Tudor Halls Lex skilfully laced together all the elements with a touch of camera magic. Lex used fairy lights and real glass globes to instil ethereal magic into the photoshoot. Her work was the backbone of the whole affair!
Planning/styling: Devine Bride
Photography: Lex Fleming Photo
Dress, blouse and trousers: Felicity Westmacott
Gingerbread maze: Maid of Gingerbread
Flowers: Green & Envy
Models: Maria Chamberlain and Lucy Claire Brennan
Makeup: Ann-Marie Lawson
Hair: Moira Borg
Hairpiece: McFayden Millinery
Shoes: Elusive Rabbit
Jewellery: The Great Frog London
Drinks: Mix and Twist
Crockery and cutlery: Abacus
Stationery: London Wedding Stationery
Calligraphy: Smitten With Ink
Umbrellas by Brolly Bucket
Venue: Hever Castle.co.uk