A girl lived with her mother on the outskirts of a smoky city. The girl was beautiful: she had a gentle smile and kind eyes with a little laughter behind them. Her hair was the colour of sunshine and she wore red. She loved red. She always wore red.
The beautiful girl was in love. She was looking forward to seeing her beloved for a special date, so she decided to take a short cut through the forest to meet him. Smiling as she plucked her favourite cape from by the door – for she loved to be noticed – the beautiful girl stepped outside. Heads turned.
Little Red Riding Hood was her name.
Only this day, something felt wrong.
As Little Red Riding Hood stepped deeper into the forest, all became darker. The trees whispered her name as she stepped oh-so-quietly past. The birdsong had stopped. Towards the heart of the forest it became darker: mysteriously so, despite the strong sunshine there had been outside.
With a shiver, Little Red Riding Hood quickened her step. She didn’t like to feel afraid.
There had been a wolf in the forest once, many years ago. Her grandmother had told her stories when she was little: stories which made her huddle up in her sheets at night and squeeze her eyes tightly closed. A young girl had been eaten by the wolf and never seen again.
Our Red Riding Hood wasn’t so little. As the forest grew dark around her she imagined a soft padding to one side of her. Four paws. She felt eyes glaring. She wasn’t frightened. She was strong.
A moment of ancient magics, a shifting of consciousness, a hidden strength surfacing from inside – the little girl wavered and was gone. The wolf had come from inside her very soul. A strange and chilling beauty transformed Little Red Riding Hood into a creature of the forest, and she was no longer afraid.
Prowling, stalking through the trees with her head held high, Red Riding Hood found the wolf inside. She owned her environment. She grinned as the cute things scuttled away from her beautiful, predatory gaze.
This time around, the wolf in the fairytale is the strength inside. When a modern heroine needs to be strong, all she needs is to look inside herself.
Red Riding Hood and the wolf: together, you can do anything.
Become your fantasy.
With thanks to Chris Hanley Photography for the inspiration, for the camera with magic inside, and for sharing his photos with English Wedding blog.
Thanks to the gorgeous model for the day: our little red riding hood and she-wolf in one: Jenny Brook
Thanks to fine-art inspired make up artist Jeni Morris for the transformations and for making the dream come alive.
This is a strange feature to find on a wedding blog! But as with every fairytale, there’s a moral to our little story, and a message to take home with you today.
When life gets on top of you, when you have too much on your mind and the nightmares are creeping in, never doubt that you have the strength to find your way back on top. Too often, we find ourselves under pressure, scared we can’t control our environment, and whether that’s the stress of wedding planning or the shadows you imagine behind you – you have a hidden strength inside. Find your own beautiful wolf inside, let her out, bare your teeth if you must and take on the world!
There’s another message here too. Whatever your focus in life, it’s always fun and inspiring to step outside of your comfort zone and discover something new. Do something different. Take your ideas from somewhere unexpected – free your mind for a moment or two and never, ever let boring ideas and other people’s preconceptions limit you in any way.
I’ll explain a little more of what this is all about later in the week.