Alternative wedding style inspiration with a gloriously gothic twist

Published by Claire Gould on

We’ve LOVED scrolling through today’s styled shoot – it’s fun, flamboyant, creative and dramatic. If you love a little alternative wedding inspiration, you’re going to adore this!

All images are by Doodah Photography

Our models are two gorgeous burlesque performers, Carousel Hart and Lux DeLioux. (And it’s a cheeky shoot, which is so much fun!) Styling touches include elven details on the most incredible bespoke dresses, gothic lettering and Dungeons n Dragons detailing on the stationery, dragon skulls, moss and a dramatic burgundy colour palette.

Beautiful ‘princess bride’ Carousel told us she was excited to be part of this shoot, “especially as I’m a disabled model and Burlesque artist and an always pleased to see disabled people represented in the media. This was my very first wedding photo shoot and it was a magical experience. The whole day was planned as if it were a real wedding and swishing about the grand old house in a stunning gown, saying some heartfelt vows to my fellow model and “wife” on the day and cutting the cake with a sword, made me wish it were my actual wedding!”

Planner:  @x_planit.pixie_x
Stationery:  @primandglad
Cake:  @kitchenwitcherynotts
Calligrapher:  @thecheshirecalligrapher
Photographer:  @doodahphotography
Arch: @beautifularchesweddings
Celebrant:  @vmceremonies
Dresses: @felicitywestmacott
Hair & Makeup  @derbyshire_bride
Stylist, ceremony & table flowers:  @foxgloveandblack
Little Bottles @littlebottles_1
Velvet linens  @theprettyaccessory
Bouquet and floral hoop:
Models: @carousel_hart and @luxdelioux
Videographer:  @kryslersoriano
Merch: @critituk
Rings:  @bespokeweddingrings
Venue  @dunwoodhallestate
Tables & chairs: @cestrianeventhire
Antlers:  @glenartneyantlers

We’re lucky to have some words from the key suppliers on the day, explaining how the theme inspired them to create something truly magical! We’ll begin with lovely English Wedding member Felicity Westmacott, who submitted the shoot for us to share with you.


Felicity Westmacott: Dress Design

I love working with brides with a passion that can inform our design, this Dungeons and Dragons shoot was so much fun! I designed one ‘elven’ dress with draped Gercian styling and gold leaf trim. Loops on the shoulder train pieces mean it can become wings!

The other dress is more for a human princess with a tudor shape neckline in soft grey with statement lace overlay. I loved designing a dress for a model with curves, if you are a plus size bride don’t allow thoughts of what you ‘should’ wear to hold you back, you should wear anything you want to!

The grey dress has a tulle overskirt and halter neck that can be removed for a different look later on your wedding day. A fantasicial theme doesn’t mean you won’t look elegant, a bespoke wedding dress means we can meet all your expectations. To recreate looks inspired by your favourite games or fantasy story look out for grecian or medieval style gowns with draping sleeves, bold colours and celtic trims.

Pixie Knowles of Plan-it Pixie: Planner
I wanted to create a wedding which reflected the love and passion Dungeons and Dragons fans have for the role playing game, without the appearance of cosplay. A wedding that can be enjoyed by all without non- D&D players feeling ‘out of the loop’. Taking elements of the game and injecting the character into both the ceremony and the reception. Including an optional session of the game itself as reception entertainment. All whilst still having a style / using a colour palette which isn’t necessarily dictated by, but is still in keeping with the game. Using a venue which speaks to the feel of the game was key. As was using amazing suppliers who understood what I was looking to achieve. Many players of D&D themselves. For me, reinforcing the magic you can achieve with suppliers who share and understand your style and passion.

Emma Duder: Doodah Photography
Weddings with alternative, quirky and geeky themes are my absolute favourite to photograph, so when I heard the plans for this D&D shoot, I had to get involved. As a wedding photographer, it’s easy to take very similar shots time and again, so a shoot like this where all the suppliers are producing bespoke and unique work is a real joy to work on. I tried to make sure my images were an honest portrayal of what was being presented, whilst also fitting in with the mood of the shoot.

I kept the lighting natural wherever possible, this was easy in the gorgeous sun room at Dunwood Hall where ceremonies are held, and for the outdoor shots. The darker rooms were really atmospheric and fitted well with the theme, so I just used minimal light to pick out details of the rich dark colours used in the styling, cake and props which might otherwise have been lost. In post production I tried to keep the vibe opulent, rich and quite muted with some minor colour adjustments.

Alaina Turner from Derbyshire Bride: Make-up Artist

My thoughts when creating these truly unique looks for truly unique people, was how can I instil confidence and help make an entrance with bold, creative looks, that still compliment each other beautifully.

Models oozing with personality, and in a venue with so much character, I wanted these looks to live up to their surroundings and be effortlessly chic. I feel I did this by featuring bold, electric yet warm inviting colours around the eyes, to really make you look at the emotion of the face, which for me is always felt through the eyes.

Paired with a strong colour on the lips to complement the eyes and the colours within our models tattoos and florals, softer hair and light, dewy, glowing skin balanced the look to ensure we still gave off bridal – with an edge!

Samantha Garner:Stationery
I designed the invitations with beautiful deep burgundy & purple florals with a hint of the Dungeons & Dragons theme, a couple of dragons flying over the page & the iconic ampersand from the game.

I also included a boho skull, some weaponry & a couple of DND dice to finish it off. Other items I designed included a menu card, table name & little name tags. I always want to show that you can have anything you want for your wedding, be it fully themed, a hint of a theme or traditional & pretty, it’s your wedding, do it your way!

Maddison Rocks: Florals
As an alternative florist I love nothing more than twisting up my florals.

I knew more or less straight away that I wanted to create a long cascading bouquet with the subtle yet striking inclusion of a dragon’s skull, which incidentally lent itself perfectly to the shape of the bouquet. It took a while longer to source the oversized dnd dice, but felt these were a must to make the bouquet pop and bring the bouquet to life! The floral and fauna were selected according to colour, shape and texture.

Before I commence work on any piece, I extensively research the theme and only once I can visualise the finished piece in my mind I begin work.

The moon floral hoop on the other hand was literally a last minute happy accident. I’d actually had the moon hoop for sometime prior, so this project felt the right moment to breathe life into it and create something extra special.

The fact that the moon hoop was so much lighter in weight meant that the bride was also able to carry it alongside (and at times attach it to) her walking cane.

The florals and D&D dice used, were chosen to compliment the cascading bouquet and for a little added “ump”, neon lighting was highlighted around the crescent of the moon. (After all you can’t have a moon that doesn’t shine!)

And by the light of the moon they were wed

Kitchen Witchery-Cake
To design the cake for this shoot I started by thinking about how my Dungeons and Dragons campaigns usually go, then realised that they never go to plan. That’s how the hidden section came to life. The front of the cake with the dice tumbling down it, all of them high numbers, is how every player wants their campaign to be but the hidden section is how it usually ends up. Creatures trying to kill you, mimics tricking you, and the prospect of a new character having to be rolled.

The cake itself is decorated in a black fondant over all three tiers, the dice are real held on with edible glue. The hidden section is grey fondant with modeled brickwork to resemble a dungeon and the Kraken bursting round the door, chest mimic, and death saving throws are all created using modeling paste.
I made a topper that resembles a Dungeons Masters screen with the words “Roll of Initiative”, words any dnd player dreads, hand-painted on in edible paint.

Laura Rodger: The Cheshire Calligrapher:
The theme for our shoot was the perfect excuse for me to use a flourished gothic lettering style. All of the calligraphy was created using a traditional dip pen with the super versatile Brause EF66 nib.

I used a handmade paper for the large scroll with a custom, rich brown ink made from gouache. For the bottle labels, brown kraft card with twine gave the slightly rustic, weathered feel needed for a little medieval magic.

Erika: Dunwood Hall Estate
Dunwood Hall is a family home. It has been in my husband’s family for 4 generations and lots of love and hard work went into the estate to keep it going. Dunwood Hall Estate has won two English Wedding awards as a best local venue in 2016 and 2017 and it was shortlisted in 2018 as well.

Brodie and Erika are the visionaries behind Dunwood Hall, striving to propel the estate into a new era. ‘As it’s custodians, we wish to protect its rich history and keep its legacy alive. At the same time, we are passionate about what Dunwood Hall is today and can be in the future. We love it and we invite creative people to share it with us.’

So when I saw Pixie advertise that she was looking for a venue for her D&D photoshoot we knew that the Neo-Gothic style of Dunwood would be the perfect fit.

We had a planning session with Pixie and the Stylist, they fell in love with its charm and the rest is the history!

Becky Smith: Stylist, ceremony & table flowers (Foxglove & Black)

‘As an alternative wedding stylist, I believe a wedding should showcase a couple’s personality and be unique to who they are. And what could be more unique, than a Dungeons & Dragons themed wedding?! Using a rich colour palette of red & burgundy for both the linens and floral arrangements, I contrasted this with an ‘outdoors’ feel with moss on the table; ivy winding up the ceremony stand and wooden place settings.

I added in quirky elements to add personality, such as dragon eggs; antlers and dice, alongside candles to create a romantic setting. Overall the style created represented the theme, but also proved that a ‘themed’ wedding doesn’t have to mean tacky!’

Critit: D&D pieces specialises in all things RPG. As long time gamers spanning decades it’s always important for us to offer original products, made with quality and the gamer in mind. When we were asked to take part in this amazing wedding shoot we jumped at the chance to send some of our finest items which we handmake here in Norwich, Norfolk. Relishing in custom work we are always open to work alongside any client and ensure we help them acquire original, innovative products for theire gaming (or wedding!) table.

Natalie Beer: Celebrant
With the ceremony I hoped to reflect what a couple who loves D&D would include; from a reading adapted from the popular D&D show Critical Role, to multiple symbolic elements including a handfasting and ring exchange.

The most unusual symbolic element I included was a dice unity ceremony, similar to a sand ceremony but using two sets of D&D dice. The two sets were poured from their own jars onto a dice tray. Carousel and Lux took turns to read out a meaning for each dice as they placed them into a jar labelled ‘Together’. The d4 (four-sided dice) represented the stable foundations of their friendship, the d6 (regular six-sided dice) represented joy in everyday normality, and so on and so forth. The final dice, a d20 (yes, it is a twenty-sided dice), represented future possibilities and the highs and lows they would face together. Before placing these dice in the jar I asked them to ‘roll for initiative’. In D&D this dice roll dictates the order you’d be in battle, but here it was a nice way to lead into the vows and decide who read theirs first!
I loved being part of this shoot and having the flexibility to set up a ceremony that I felt would really connect with a couple who love D&D, and it was wonderful to see it come to life before us.

Jenna: Arches
At Beautiful Arches we specialise in unique ceremony arches & backdrops.

For this shoot, we loaned our gorgeous Woodland arch to Becky at Foxglove & Black, for her to create the ceremony backdrop. With the beautiful velvet drapes, tonnes of foliage and Becky’s dramatic styling, the look came together to great effect.

Kysler Soriano: Videographer
Krysler Soriano (known professionally as KS Films) is a cinematic wedding videographer &
filmmaker based in Rotherham, South Yorkshire. A filmmaker who isn’t afraid to seek out those hidden angles that you perhaps wouldn’t have even thought of. You get a roundup of the best 24 hours of your life, compressed into your very own cinematic fairytale. One that you can relive for years to come.

Philip Ellwood: Rings
BWR-London were asked to provided the bespoke wedding rings for this shoot. The theme Was Dungeons and Dragons which conjured up an ancient mythical world of royal castles and terrifying creatures with huge wings breathing fire and brimstone. The resulting pictures did not disappoint. Opulant backdrops set in a real castle, rich and deep colours captured by the photographer and an amazing group of suppliers who really smashed this brief.
BWR-London make beautiful bespoke wedding rings to each clients specification. As each order is bespoke we carry very little stock so we had to dig deep and we provided beautiful Rose Gold shaped and plain rings to reflect the rich tones captured in the photographs these rings were set with exquisite round cut diamonds, the immortal Queen of gemstones with that deep magical brilliance that has fascinated and been coveted by humans since the dawn of time. Absolutely stunning.



Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in November 2009 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.


Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read previous post:
Kevin & Riza’s chic modern wedding in Cornwall, with Hannah Timm Photography

Stunning Cornish sunsets and a gorgeous couple tying the knot after a long-distance relationship between northern England and the Philippines!...