I was delighted to be part of this inspirational editorial and stylist (and provider of one of the models, my daughter, Nadia!). Emily Edgar devised the historically-inspired artsy concept which was to be grounded in Nature and all things sustainable. Pelham House kindly agreed to host the styled shoot, making a wonderful backdrop for our talented team of like-minded, predominantly local wedding professionals to create two distinct bridal looks, plus indoor and outside styling setups, teaming romance with a somewhat modern and minimalist aesthetic.
The First Bridal Look - Nadia
Hair & Makeup - Toni Searle Beauty
"It was great to be a part of this shoot with all eco-friendly suppliers. I loved the mood board and the fact the focus was on natural makeup - I'd recently brought a few new products to try and see how they helped create a natural look, and they worked great! I focused on the skin and chose neutral tones that would bring out the models' features for the rest of the makeup. Simple but beautiful. Being a vegan, the brands I use tend to be focused on sustainability and a few of them are even accredited BCorp companies, so I can trust they are good for the environment. Any disposables I use are now bamboo instead of plastic, and when my products run out I save the empty packaging and take them to my nearest recycling point (Superdrug, The Body Shop and Tesco all collect these now!).”
Bridal Outfit - Karen Dornellie
At first glance, it looks like a modern dress with an elegant silhouette and dramatic slit to the bodice - but then you realise it's actually a wide-leg jumpsuit WITH POCKETS. Yep, that's right - and just when you think it can't get any better, you find that it's ethically made from sustainable fabric by Karen's own fair hands in her Isle of Wight studio:
"This wonderful Pre-Raphaelite shoot was the perfect opportunity to showcase the first two sustainable designs from my new collection for the autumn, The Karen Dornellie Artisan Collection. I am trying to be as responsible as I can moving forward with my label to ensure all brides can not only look stunning but to know their big day hasn't impacted the climate. It's so hard to cover all the ways fashion harms the environment but small steps at least will move us all as an industry forward. The dress was created using two new fabrics. One with a bodice made from oranges and the skirt fabric from bananas. A strange combination but the fabric produced is so soft, lightweight and has the feel of silk. I wanted to embrace the high necked style of the Pre-Raphaelite era, but to add modern twists with an exposed back, full sleeves and a frayed hem. The second design is a jumpsuit, with pockets, not that you'd realise initially. A recycled Mikado fabric for the bodice with a slashed to the waist feature at the centre front. The very full trousers are also in recycled duchess satin. These are the first of my new designs, more to follow soon plus a new concept for a 'home couture' to give brides a chance to reduce their carbon footprint, uncompromising on design, and achieve a very personal choice and a perfect fit."
Jewellery - Lunar James
This earth-aware brand creates sustainable jewellery for the modern bohemian. Arianne provided us with various gold, pearl, and mother of pearl earrings and necklaces to complement the bridal outfits. For Nadia's look, we opted for the more modern jewellery styles.
Bryony Mae Flowers
“I was interested in collaborating on this Pre-Raphaelite photoshoot as the ethos of the movement, that of representing truth in nature, has always appealed to me. I love to create natural free-flowing designs that reflect the seasons and the surrounding countryside. The floristry industry, like any other, has at times an impact on the environment and one way I strive to be more sustainable and eco is to use local pesticide-free seasonal flowers whenever I can. All the flowers from the shoot were grown in Sussex, no air miles, and these flowers only travelled a short distance and perfectly reflect an English summer's day (in all its many forms!).”
The Second Bridal Look - Megan
The Wedding Dress - Karen Dornellie
Karen also created this gorgeous dress, this time using fabrics made from orange and banana peel! In style, it hinted towards the Pre-Raphaelite era with its long sleeves and high neck, but kept a creative foot firmly in the now with its raw-edged hem. The accompanying veil bore an edging of peace silk that was also left unhemmed.
The Jewellery - Lunar James
This time, we selected teardrop and baroque pearl styles to complement the gown.
Made By Rae
The luxury eco-friendly wedding stationery was produced and customised by Made By Rae Designs. The minimalist hand-drawn florals in warm neutral tones exuded simplicity and sophistication, perfect for the Pre-Raphaelite Movement era and beautifully complemented by a William Morris pattern envelope liner, who was a designer closely associated with many of the artists of the Movement.
The Outdoor Styling
The Wedding Cakes - Cakes & Leaves
"I was excited about the inspiration behind the shoot, an art movement which is not common to come across when planning a wedding. Cakes are a form of art to me and I think of buttercream as my canvas. I work with different types of buttercream painting techniques that can be combined in various ways to give my cakes a bespoke style. I never use any artificial ingredients, this is especially true for food colourants. I achieve the most amazing colour palettes using all-natural plant powders which is part of my effort to use natural, sustainable ingredients and materials. I've always tried to do my bit for the environment so I can't imagine doing it differently with my cake decorating business."
The Furniture, Table Décor & Props - Luna & The Lane
"It is really important for us to be eco-conscious as a brand and mindful about our practices. Being a prop and furniture hire business, it is at our core to reuse our new furniture and props time again and when we do source new items we predominantly buy secondhand and upcycle. We love pre-loved items, things with stories and history, and adore giving them new life and allowing them to be a part of couple’s new chapter."
The Indoor Styling
Taking our cake and table styling elements indoors, we created a series of alternative setups based on a Luna & the Lane/Bryony Mae Flowers collaborative backdrop. In a real wedding scenario, this sort of installation could serve as a backdrop of the ceremony, the top table, the wedding cake, and the photobooth - reusing props and florals throughout your wedding day is good for your bank balance AND your carbon footprint!
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Coordination, Concept & Photography: Emily Edgar
Venue: Pelham House
Coordination & Styling: Green Union
Bridalwear: Karen Dornellie
Jewellery: Lunar James
Stationery: Made By Rae
Furniture & Props: Luna & The Lane
Hair & Makeup: Toni Searle Beauty
Cake: Cakes & Leaves
Flowers: Bryony Mae Flowers