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This is like something out of a fashion magazine editorial, and is therefore completely up my street. Kel Ward’s gothic bride vision is a little bit of sartorial genius, given the mix of textures from soft and strokable to ruffly and structured, the mix of colours from the pale skirt, pearls and shoes, to the bold purpley black lipstick and flowers that look like witchy fingers, all of which have their characteristics enhanced by the dark, dark backdrop.

This is a vision that inspires me to consider textured tulle with faux fur, strong make-up with pale skin, and very non-traditional flowers, all dark-hued and spiky, in the bouquet.

This is perfect gothic bridal…




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The Concept from Kel Ward

About two years ago, I was wanting to do a styled bridal/wedding shoot and wanted to borrow a gown from a designer. I wanted something non-traditional and funky, but still something that real brides could relate to.

I found Kate’s Couture on Etsy and loved her designs. Little did I know, she lived 20 minutes from me! Not only that, but she had just turned 14!! What?! So, I contacted her about doing some collaborations, and she was on board. I went out to her house/studio to look at some of her gowns and instantly fell in love with not only her work, but her personality. She’s just turned 16 and blows my mind; she will soon graduate from both high school and community college (with an associates degree), is totally driven, professional, and artistic. She was recently chosen as an emerging designer at Portland Fashion week and showed her line on the runway! Soon after that, she was accepted into a fashion show for Vancouver B.C. Fashion Week, as well as several smaller shows around Oregon and Washington. Kate designs mostly one-of-a-kind couture pieces, and also does custom orders for brides, as well as gowns for other events.

For this shoot, she designed this two piece gown with my style in mind and, of course, I fell in love with it. We both agreed that it needed just the right model, so when Kate discovered Ophelia Darkly, we both agreed that she was perfect for this shoot.

I guided Ophelia on what I wanted for make-up, which she also does, and she did an amazing job. Ophelia is a dream to work with, as she needs little to no guidance in posing.

This was my first time working with hair stylist Ashley Berlin on a project, and I just told her to do a funky up-do and she nailed it.

Between Ophelia and me, we provided the necessary accessories for the shoot, and Amanda created a gorgeous, but uncommon, bouquet, based on the description of the shoot that I gave her. Amanda and I have been working together for nearly a year on both weddings and personal projects and she always creates the perfect floral arrangements.

My vision for this shoot came to life and I could not be happier! I wanted something unique, couture, and a little bit dark, but without being too over-the-top gothic.



Photography – Kel Ward Photography
Dresses – Kate’s Couture
MUA and model – Ophelia Darkly
Hair stylist – Ashley Berlin