A few years ago Rod got lost in the woods whilst out deer stalking with the dogs (no deers are hurt, just tracked lol). Whilst navigating his way out he stumbled across an old abandoned church deep in the forest and logged it in his mind for a future shoot. As soon as QQW mentioned their concepts to him and Julie this venue immediately sprung to mind and so the planning began!
So you all know that we love shooting weddings and the madder the better…it just gets our creative juice buzzing around and makes us happy! Well, imagine our excitement when we bumped into Bev Seal from Quaint, Queer and Weird – the alternative (very alternative) wedding specialists who have run a series of pretty quirky wedding fairs around the south east for a number of years. Bev had just taken over the business and was looking to relaunch the brand and appeal to a very much wider, wackier and weirder set of Brides and Grooms.
Coming from a theatrical and business background and being a wedding coordinator toboot Bev was full of creative concepts and asked us to come up with a storyboard and location for a launch shoot which would also be used to promote the upcoming ‘Wedding Wonderland UK’ wedding fayre, created to bring together the absolute extremes in wedding ideas.
Throw out the pastels, the florals and the ‘Cadburys Purple’ and think, latex, bondage, circus, steam punk, dark and creepy and downright mad!!
We gathered together some of the industrys finest venue dressers in the form of Amanda at Hire Your Day and Eloise at Your Beautiful Day and threw the concept at them. Those ladies got their heads together and came up with just the right blend of romantic, eerie and intricate.
Next was to find our gorgeous Bride – we were looking to depict an everyday Bride (not too alternative looking) being tempted as she entered her church. Well did we hit gold with Claire Drew from The Drew Do (a fabuous hairdresser and Bridal make up artist), apart from being drop dead stunning, she also bought her own Groom in the shape of her boyfriend Simon! Amanda Samain (Hire Your Day) has another wonderful talent in that she is one of the best make-up artists (bridal and theatrical) South of London so she quickly got to work on our Bride and Groom and the models.
We then needed some suitable ‘extras’ to tease our beautiful bride-to-be with. Stilt walking, Fire juggling, Fire eating, burlesque dancing, contortionist(ing??), woodland elves, twisted Bridesmaids, saucy celebrant (thank you Claire Bradford) creepy magic, bondage and even live reptiles were all on offer to show just what can be done!
Rosemary Jane designs made our dress specifically for the shoot in a blend of lilac and purple tulle with hand made roses. Ellen at the Enchanted florest worked tirelessly for the days leading up to the shoot to bring us an ingenious steampunk inspired boquet and button hole and then foraged in the woods in the dark to help dress the church!
Lighting the set and managing the styling, posing and concept was possibly the trickiest things that we have done…ever! Imagine blending candle light with continuous light, with off camera flash, fire eating and 3,500 watts of flood lighting, throw in some live snakes, iguanas, smoke grenades, bendy contortionists and 12ft high ladies into a stinging nettle ridden, damp old church in the darkness of night and you may just start to get the idea! Our intrepid photographer came away with a twisted ankle, a 3″ knee gash and multiple stinging nettle burns to add to his massive grin!
The final shots show our Groom, draped in a python, awaiting the arrival of his wife-to-be along with a weird congregation of ghostly figures and a their celebrant also taming a python. Cue the moonlight and mist and our Bride makes her appearance in the doorway, backlit by the moon, as the creepy guests shake off their disguises to reveal their temptation. After some nervousness she makes her way down the aisle to her Groom touching the temptations and gradually feeling at ease with what she sees. Finally they meet and the guests make their way to the alter to watch in eager anticipation as the couple prepare for their vows.
So, if you fancy doing something altogether different when it comes to your own big day – just think…anything is possible and get yourself along to the Wedding Wonderland show on 29th October at The Spire in Brighton.
To say hello to any of our models/performers/suppliers and to ask them if they could help with you wonderfully weird wedding plans then scroll to the bottom of the page.
Concept – Bev http://www.quaintqueerweird.com/ and Zest
Photography by Zest
Set dressing and concept by Amanda at http://www.hireyourday.com/ and also Eloise at http://thebeautifulday.co.uk/
and Nikki at The toast
Flowers by https://www.theenchantedflorist.biz/
The gorgeous wedding dress: http://rosemaryjanedesigns.co.uk/
Hair and make-up for Bride, Groom, forest elf and twisted Bridesmaid – http://www.amanda-j.co.uk/ and https://www.facebook.com/thedrewdo/
Our Bride and Groom – Claire Drew & Simon Nicholls
The Celebrant – Claire http://creatingceremony.com/
Forest Elf/twisted Bridesmaid – our very own Julie Davies
Twisted Bridesmaid – Eloise Sole
Contortionist – Caroline Ailsa – https://www.bitterandtwistedburlesque.com/
Fire breathing – Betty Lou – https://www.facebook.com/thebettylouginclub
Stilts, burleque and fire – Zoe aka Miss Lily Fortune http://www.oohlalascancan.co.uk/
Burleque #2 – Dollie Doré https://m.facebook.com/DollieDore/
Bondage – Aby aka Minxx Moré www.facebook.com/MinxxMore
Magician – https://www.facebook.com/joemason10
And, last but not least our scaley reptiles Madam Mimm the giant Iguana and her friendly Pythons were supplied and looked after by the team at https://www.tomstalkingreptiles.co.uk/
Lastly, for the full galleries with download please follow this link https://weddingsbyzest.smugmug.com/QQW-alternative-shoot/n-qb5t9g For the access password please email to firstname.lastname@example.org