I loved making this labyrinth wedding dress to feature in the styled photoshoot. We combined the fantasy of a fairyland wedding with the solid reality of an English Tudor castle backdrop. Florals with glass globes and touches of ultra-violet, a gingerbread maze wedding cake, a modern take on the fantasy ball gown with accessories to die for, styling with owl feathers, clocks and masks, as well as bubbling custom cocktails inspired by the bog of eternal stench… what bride could ask for more from a fantasy inspiration shoot?
Inspiration for the photoshoot
As a child of the 1980’s the film ‘Labyrinth’ was a core part of my film experience growing up. Not only is it a beautiful film with gorgeous visuals and effects but it’s an empowering story about female resilience. Which was a rare thing amongst so many romantic princess films back then. So the core team of myself (Felicity Westmacott, bespoke wedding dressmaker), Lex Fleming (photographer) and Laura Devine (planner/stylist) all agreed that the film’s visuals lent themselves to an amazing wedding concept.
Sarah and Jareth, two bridal looks.
With the underlying story of female empowerment nothing seemed more right than to start with the idea of a female couple, styling one after Sarah in her amazing fantasy ball dress and the other after David Bowie’s Jareth in all his Elfin glory. But both of them updated and with a current modern twist.
Designing a Labyrinth Wedding dress
I designed the Labyrinth wedding dress with removable sleeves and over skirt, giving a bride options to change her look during the course of the day. The dress has an illusion back and sweetheart neckline trimmed with silver and gold beaded lace. Long lace sleeves with a double puff at the top are echoed in the waterfall silver organza over skirt above a simple tulle fishtail shape.
The Jareth bride outfit was meant to look heart achingly sleek, both romantic and feminine yet never conventional, with a simple lose silk crepe blouse featuring button and cuff details contrasting with fitted lace-up back trousers.
Hair and make-up for a Labyrinth Wedding Dress
A stand out element of the design was Mcfayen Millinery’s incredible hair piece for our Sarah-Bride. No recreation of the ball dress, as a labyrinth wedding dress, could be complete without Sarah’s signature graceful silver wire headdress. Hair and make-up by Moira Borg and Ann-Marie Lawson was carefully thought out to compliment the style of the outfits. They referenced the film without over-powering the models’ good looks.
Fantasy jewellery for our Labyrinth Brides
Both brides wore jewellery lent to the shoot by the jewellery designers to so many Rock stars ‘The Great Frog’ of Carnaby Street, London. It was thrilling to have one of the shop’s employee’s admit she was a massive fan of the film too and so keen to pick us out perfect pieces to compliment the theme. Sarah-bride wears a silver feather pendant and moonstone ring with a bracelet of silver roses with her labyrinth wedding dress. Jareth-bride’s necklace is a stronger bird-skull and her ring is set with Ultra-violet toned amethyst.
Shoes covered in silk flowers and that light up (thrills!) were the finishing touch for our Sarah-Bride from alternative shoe artist ‘Elusive Rabbit’.
Incredible wedding venue – Hever Castle, Kent.
We were lucky to be able to work with the events team at Hever Castle in Kent who host many weddings in the privately owned Sussex venue just 45 minutes from central London. We wanted two main backgrounds for our shoot, the maze for atmosphere and the gorgeous panelled interior to echo the ball scene from the film. As home to Anne Boleyn the castle is famous for its long history with all the traditional elements one could desire from a castle wedding venue, including moat, drawbridge, battlements, maze and beautiful gardens as well as the modern comforts of a large guest house wing and full equipped events kitchen.
Ethereal wedding flowers for a castle wedding
The amazing floral design by Green and Envy picked up on Ultra-violet, this year’s ‘Pantone colour of the year’. Lucy used roses, thistles, eucalyptus, orchids and the softness of pussy-willow stems to evoke the ethereal atmosphere of the film. One bride carries a traditional bouquet with her labyrinth wedding dress and the other wears a buttonhole to echo it. The spectacular table centre features hanging glass globes filled with delicate flowers and greenery.
Alternative wedding cake
‘Maid of Gingerbread’ overwhelmed the whole team with her incredible, edible gingerbread labyrinth. Scrolling iced details, castellations, doors and turrets abound! Solid enough to travel to the shoot from London but delicious enough not the survive the end of the day (we ate it all!) it was a centre piece with a difference, a wonderful alternative to the traditional cake.
Bog of Eternal Stench
Lucy Barrow of ‘Mix and Twist Bartending’ designed us special cocktails just for the shoot. With misty bubbles to evoke the film?s atmosphere and colours to compliment the floral theme they would be a thrilling as well as intoxicating addition to any wedding day.
Labyrinth wedding inspiration
Our stylist and planner, Laura Divine of Divine Bride, was an indispensable member of the team both for making sure everything was planned and ready to roll before the big day and keeping everything running smoothly during the shoot – just as she would for any client’s big day. She pulled together elements including clocks, feathers, pearls and masks to create atmospheric table centres and venue dressing. And she coordinated all the efforts of the other suppliers to make a cohesive whole, essential when so many creative minds all buzz with ideas. Laura also made sure we had ivory wedding umbrellas on standby from ‘Brolly Bucket’, an essential addition to any English wedding day. No one wants a damp labyrinth wedding dress!
Watercolour wedding stationery
The watercolour clock stationery designs by London Wedding Stationery were complimented by delicate calligraphy by Smitten with Ink for table numbers and invitations.
Alternative wedding Photography – Kent and London
Lex Fleming’s photography was essential to capturing all the hard work and planning the rest of the team had done. Lex used a real glass globe, fairy lights and as much natural light as she could to conjure the ethereal fantasy of Labyrinth from the dark February day we were working with. Battling against intermittent snowstorms and model’s shivering with cold these images are an amazing testament to her abilities.
Gingerbread maze by maidofgingerbread.com
Crockery and Cutlery by abacuscateringhire.co.uk
Dress, blouse and trousers by felicitywestmacott.co.uk
Drinks by mixandtwist.co.uk/
Flowers by greenandenvy.co
Hair by brides.moiraborg.com
Hairpiece by mcfaydenmillinery.com
Jewellery by thegreatfroglondon.com/
Makeup by lawsonmakeup.com
Models: Maria Chamberlain and Lucy Claire Brennan
Planning/styling by devinebride.co.uk
Photography by flemingphoto.co.uk
Shoes by elusiverabbit.co.uk/
Stationery by londonweddingstationery.com
Stationery Calligraphy by smittenwithink.co.uk
Umbrellas by brollybucket.co.uk