When Lexi Fleming sent this shoot my way, she championed the venue of Bloomsbury Lanes greatly. And I can see why – this is the ideal place for alternative couples to hold their wedding! Fabulous backdrops inside and out, just perfect for photographs, is only the start of what you can expect…
And I love what the suppliers have brought to this shoot: one foot in traditional 1950s rock ‘n’ roll and the other firmly in the modern and edgy.
The Story of the Shoot by Lex Fleming
When thinking about London wedding venues, perhaps Bloomsbury Lanes isn’t the first one you think of? But why not? It has the quirky interiors, private bowling alleys, as well as giant pizzas and endless cocktails and beers for your guests…
I first went to Bloomsbury Lanes for my 22nd birthday, and I was absolutely amazed by the interior design, from the bowling ball wallpaper to the pink glittery booths you can sit in and listen to the resident DJs and, of course, bowl.
So it really was the first London venue I thought of when planning my 2015 styled shoot. As a London wedding photographer, I knew I wanted to showcase an unusual and often forgotten wedding venue in London.
Bloomsbury Lanes offers you your own entire floor, complete with arcade room, private bar, a simulated cricket batting café, and five private bowling lanes with ‘all you can bowl’ for your entire hired time. It makes it a perfect location to head to after a town hall or a local church ceremony. You can sit, relax, snack on pizzas and beers, and your guests will definitely be impressed with your choice of entertainment: your own entire London wedding venue!
I wanted to recreate a typical alternative London wedding with a young couple. I wanted to bring together the UK’s top alternative and quirky wedding suppliers into one epic photoshoot.
So, with the location set, now was the task of finding my creative team. One of the first wedding vendors I phoned was Oh My Honey owner Louise! Louise and I first began working together over six years ago when we were introduced through a fellow wedding supplier and we hit it off pretty quickly. Not only is she a badass with making incredible dresses, but she is mighty hilarious and a great person to have at what can sometimes be a stressful photoshoot.
Next, without question, an email was sent to Irregular Choice. I am in LOVE with Irregular Choice’s shoes, and believe that every alternative bride should own a pair for some point of their wedding day.
The suppliers list seemed to snowball after that, welcoming on board glitter headbands from Crown and Glory, origami paper bouquets from Origami Boutique.
Rings were supplied by Cornwall-based Bloody Mary Metal, who I have been following for years. She makes the best alternative wedding rings I’ve seen, and it was a pleasure to have her on board.
Nothing says ‘wow!’ better than light-up letters, which hit the wedding scene hard over the last two years. Friends and fellow suppliers Locke & Busby supplied us with their super amazing multicoloured light-up letters spelling ‘BOWL’ across the alleys.
Ever After Cakes made us super cute tattoo-themed cupcakes, while French Made brought along a two-tier naked cake, all topped by Miss Cake and her superb acrylic cake toppers.
The biggest stress on the day was pulling up at 9am to the venue to the news that all three of our model bridesmaids had pulled out. At 9am on the day of your shoot, this was not what I wanted to hear. Cue the biggest favour by my make-up artist Emma Feely, who not only did superb hair and make-up on the day, but then quickly did her own and stepped in as bride model Michaela’s maid of honour, along with Louise who had come with her sister charlotte from Electric Blue Productions to film a behind-the-scenes video for us.
The theme ended up being a mix of awesome retro style, mixed with eccentric and quirky wedding styling. HEY provided very cute pink flamingoes for the small white picket fence, along with the very retro gold pineapple and ceramics by one of my favourite small businesses, Charlotte Clark Designer Maker.
Our couple for the day was real-life couple Michaela and Matt, who stepped in as faux bride and groom perfectly, and made the model directions incredibly easy!
I approached the styled shoot as I do a real wedding: showing a couple in love that it’s all about having fun. I chose to not have anything too posed, and just make it about interacting with the wedding suppliers’ items and the venue itself. From using the arcade shooting games, to Matt being an absolute pro at the cricket, the finale was watching the group trying to bowl!
I can only speak for myself, but I’m so pleased with how the shoot came out. You can only plan styled shoots so much, and especially with how I approach my photography and like a lot of weddings, anything can go wrong, so we just rolled with it and as always ended up having something pretty cool.
We finished the day with gold glitter!!!!!! Outside Bloomsbury Lanes were some incredible photo opportunities, from their painted mural on the wall to a great entrance where we ended up having an impromptu cake fight and a fun confetti party!
Check out the behind-the-scenes video that Charlotte Eagles from Electric Blue Productions shot. It sums up pretty much exactly the sort of day we had: loads of laughs, cake, milkshakes and some bowling!
I wanna say a big thank you to all the suppliers who took the time to give us their day to head to London to hang out and create a pretty badass styled shoot!
Photography – Fleming Photo
Videographer – Electric Blue Productions
Venue – Bloomsbury Lanes
Dresses – Oh My Honey
Light-up letters – Locke & Busby
Shoes – Irregular Choice
Hair accessories – Crown and Glory
China – Charlotte Clark Designer Maker
Styling – HEY
Rings – Bloody Mary Metal
Paper flowers – Origami Boutique
Naked cake – French Made
Cupcakes – Ever After Cakes
Cake toppers – Miss Cake
Models – Michaela, Matt, Louise and Emma