Back in the very beginning of English Wedding Blog I wrote my ‘About‘ page to introduce myself. I love pretty things: I adore edgy, provocative and rebellious things as well. My response to the diamond jubilee and Olympics marketing-fest has been halfhearted… until Mat Hepplestone of Red Floral got in touch. Mat’s flower designs are always a revelation – and his flair for the alternative and cutting edge in flower design is unrivalled. With such a top creative team behind this shoot, I’m convinced: Britannia rules!
This is a wedding industry shoot which stands out from the crowd of red, white and blue-bedecked blog features. And while I might sample a cupcake and wave a bit of bunting come jubilee weekend (I’ve moved back to a little Cumbrian village – my Dad will make me!), inside my heart this is the Britannia I can relate to. The story behind the shoot is just as inspiring – over to Mat to tell you more.
Alternative patriotic wedding inspiration – Britannia
Back in February, my good friend and design collaborator Ann McKavney and I began planning an idea with the whole Diamond Jubilee/Britain/ Olympic theme in mind. What we didn’t want was an image that would be instantly forgettable with flags, bunting and cupcakes. We came up with the idea of Britannia after Abigail James Herbert spoke with Ann at the Tatton Park Wedding Show where we were all exhibiting.
Abbie was sporting her usual beautifully coiffed mohawk hairdo and exuding her own unique style. Instantly the idea of Britannia, who has controversially been sidelined in British culture and removed from our coinage, was born. We thought it through for a week or so and asked Abbie if she’d like to be involved. She agreed, thought we were mad, and before she knew it was being measured for a specially commissioned dress by bridal couturier Erica Stacey.
Another Bank Holiday in Manchester was bookmarked for the shoot and knowing our luck with the weather the decision was made to shoot it all in my unit in Hyde. This building houses all kinds of industrial machinery and would provide the perfect backdrop. As we are all from the North of England, it was right and proper to go with an industrial, creative vibe using all the raw, unstaged and random equipment as our props.
A banqueting table, fit for a Queen, was set up with a Union Jack hastily spray painted on the wall behind. As a floral and venue designer I indulged all my favourite pleasures, masses of flowers, crystal, glass, candles and as much detail as I could fit in with the Britannia theme coming through.
Abbie rocked it as a strong warrior princess, ruling the northern waves. Clare used Mad Max style hair extensions, lip tattoos and a variety of different looks throughout ranging from Boudica to punk to rock star. British bulldogs made an appearance and a Bichon Frisee came along as a nod to our multiracial society!
Ann designed two headpieces and a several items of jewellery including a bracelet made from old sixpences, drilled and hung from a British sterling silver chain. Britannia stood resplendent with a designer silk gown, joke shop trident and a dustbin lid shield, heavily covered with flowers, of course. Several themed bouquets were made with seasonal flowers, red leather barbed wire, official Ministry of Defence Jubilee ribbon and old 50p pieces, the only coins left in circulation with Britannia still on them.
Abbie and her husband Darren constructed an amazing Britannic white chocolate cake, with hand painted detail and Damian and his wife Charlotte used some very clever lighting techniques to add to the mood of the day.
Creative shoot by Manchester wedding suppliers
- www.redfloral.co.uk Red Floral Architecture
- www.damianhall.com Damian Hall Photography
- www.butterfliesandangels.co.uk Butterflies and Angels Chocolatiers
- www.eleventhheaven.com Eleventh Heaven headwear and styling
- www.harryjon.com Harry Jon make up and hair
- www.ericastacey.co.uk Erica Stacey wedding dress designer