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As themes for styled wedding editorials go, this one is fantastically alternative and creative. Based on the movie Valley of the Dolls (itself based on the book by Jacqueline Susann), which follows the rise and fall of three starlets in New York who rely on their ‘dolls’ (a.k.a. pills) to get them through, the styling here is full of 1960s sugary shades, and the gorgeously kitsch surroundings of Hotel Pelirocco in Brighton frames it all perfectly.

’60s hedonism, perhaps even libertinism, and fun, fun, fun are the things that pin together this gorgeously different shoot from Erika of PhotoMadly, Cecily at Hotel Pelirocco, and Kelly of Truly Quirky Wedding Venues.

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The Story of the Shoot

Kelly from Truly Quirky Wedding Venues
“To say I was excited when Hotel Pelirocco decided to become a Truly Quirky Wedding Venue is an understatement. Having spent a long time coveting this totally rock ‘n’ roll venue, and spending many’s an evening sipping cocktails in its bar, I was thrilled. Brighton was my home for a long time before I had a family and moved down the coast, but I visit weekly and never tire of the sense of excitement and variety it offers. Hotel Pelirocco is, without a doubt, the edgiest hotel in Brighton; many’s a star has stayed or drank at this bolthole and why would they choose anywhere else? 
“The décor is something to behold: you could spend entire days staring at the artwork on the staircase walls, which are adorned with spectacular wallpapers, not to mention the bedrooms. Sigh! Oh, to stay in one and have a night off from the family.
“Within a stone’s throw of Hove’s seafront and the bustling Laines, the hotel is situated on Regency Square, so you’re in the perfect location to get married nearby in any number of mega situations like the Bandstand, the i360 or the Town Hall, and then bring the party to the place to be – Hotel Pelirocco. The entire hotel can be yours for the whole day and night, so you can eat, drink, and party in the bar and visit the karaoke room before you send everyone off to their awesome bedrooms in the early hours. Every room is different and based on a theme. Too cool for words. 


 “This shoot was thought up by the duty manager at the hotel Cecily, me, and Erika of PhotoMadly, who has been waiting to shoot here for a while. So a few months ago, we got together over a coffee and the creative juices started to flow. Over to Erika, who came up with the Valley of the Dolls theme…”
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Erika Szostak from PhotoMadly

“Every styled shoot I’ve ever done before tends to follow the same storyline and the same basic rules: everything exists in a state of ‘before,’ each detail is pre-wedding perfect and untouched. Undeniably the results of those shoots are always beautiful, yet for this shoot we wanted to find ways to subvert that same old narrative, lovely as it is. All of the vendors involved in this shoot are interested in the quirky and the alternative, so we wanted a concept that would illustrate that. Of course weddings are sweet, romantic, elegant events, but do you know what else they are? They’re the best party most of us will ever throw. So they’re also mad, fun, messy affairs. Thus our story starts once the wedding ceremony is already over, and our couple and their guests are ready to let loose.

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“We meet our bride and groom as they arrive at Hotel Pelirocco, we then see the aftermath of the wedding breakfast at the end of the night, followed by guests retiring to their room, the bride and groom sneaking off to enjoy some alone time on their wedding night with a bit of hanky panky on the stairs on the way up to their room, and a big sexy bubble bath in their suite. We then see the bride and groom going to bed, breakfast in bed on the morning after and our slightly dishevelled (and let’s be honest – a bit hungover) bride and groom leaving the hotel the next day to face the world together as Mr and Mrs.

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“Aesthetically, we went with a Valley of the Dolls look to complement the vibe of our venue. I really liked the idea of juxtaposing the madness and messiness of the party with the buttoned up glamour of the 1960s, and of course there’s a lot of bad behaviour in that story, so it’s a fun cultural reference for the story of our ‘imperfect’ bride and groom.”

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Photography and inspiration | PhotoMadly
Bridal wear and bridesmaids’ dresses / yellow dress / accessories | handmade by The Emperor’s Old Clothes
Menswear and mens’ accessories | Gresham Blake
Mens’ vintage dressing gown, vintage perfume bottles and hand mirror | Hearts and Guns
Vintage pale pink silk slip | Pick Up Sticks Vintage
Hair and make-up | Betty Lou Vintage