A couple of years ago, on a beautiful summer’s day in Gloucester, we set up a styled shoot inspired by Game of Thrones.
Ours was a romantic take on the looks from the show, with long flowing wedding dresses, highly styled hair, lots of jewellery and embellishment, and muted metals to balance the sparkly table linen. The stationery and the cake made fantastic use of the motifs of the show, and you’ll have fun spotting all the references!
A Game of Thrones wedding need not be a costume party, if that’s not what you want. You can see here that elegance can take centre stage, while still achieving the nods to the show.
The Story of the Shoot
Game of Thrones is, for me, one of the best things to come to television. Ever. And being in the wedding business, my eye is constantly caught by all the styling and fashion and how it could translate into bridal. I started a Game of Thrones styled shoot mood board, immediately! When I began chatting with Jay Anderson, it was clear this show was a shared obsession! I love Jay’s style of photography, and so he was just the perfect person to tentatively see if he’d be up for it. It was a resounding yes, and the planning began to take on a wonderful shape as Jay and I brought in suppliers we knew would bring it all to realisation just perfectly. Everyone pinned their ideas, and I loved the creativity and collaboration. A real team vision.
The day of the shoot was so exciting. We finally had all the props together in the perfect location – Blackfriars looks very King’s Landing! Everyone had a fun time and worked so hard. I have to say a special big thanks to my assistant Catherine – she came along with Tiffany (Danaerys bride), but rather than just sit around, she helped me (and everyone) all day. I really couldn’t have got things done without her.
The dresses from Heart Aflutter were perfect for each character we had chosen: Sansa Stark bride wore Dunaway by Elizabeth Dye, Margaery Tyrell bride wore Ginny by Chaviano Couture, and Danaerys Targaryen bride wore Heart of Gold by Claire La Faye.
The flowers and the moss made reference to both the glamour and also the rustic elements of the show. The glamour being further echoed in those shimmery chair covers and sequin tablecloths from Gilded Linens.
The hair was astounding. Louise worked magic on creating the styles that pinpointed which character each bride represented. The hair was probably the closest match to actual details from the show itself.
For the make-up, I sent Amy some very avant-garde looks (colours in odd places on the face, obvious and in-your-face metallics, etc.), and she did a fantastic job of interpreting these for a more bridal look, without losing any of the boldness.
I’m over the moon with how the shoot looks. We didn’t want a cheesy replica of the show; we wanted nods towards the styling. And thanks to everyone, this happened. So proud.
Jay Anderson Photography
Erin contacted me about a styled shoot after a discussion of our love of Game of Thrones and how beautiful the costumes worn by three of the main female characters were. What we wanted to achieve from the shoot, and how we envisioned it, was for it to be a bridal shoot first and foremost, with the styling as reference to the beauty in Game of Thrones. We didn’t want to produce a straight replica, but something that brides and grooms could get inspiration from. So with that brief outlined, we contacted a few of our favourite suppliers whose products and work would fit into the style of the shoot.
What we achieved was exactly what I first imagined it to be, and photographing this shoot was amazing, with wonderful, creative suppliers and models.
The Cake – Lauren from French Made
For the cake, I created a barely naked three-tier, which I thought reflected the ‘rough’ aspect of the show. I decorated it with brown leather studded strips and deep red and golden leaf ribbon, which reminds us of the magnificent outfits the characters wear. The golden plaited ribbon mirrored Khaleesi’s hair. Finally, I added small crown charms and a dragon one as symbolic reference. Emma from The Flower Girls’s foliage and blooms were placed on top as a final decorative touch.
The Stationery – Lou from Beyond Vintage
For the invitation, I started by looking at medieval borders and designs; it all pieced together and the dragons had to feature somewhere. It was more tricky than I thought not go full on Thrones, I wanted it to be a mix of something a fan would actually have on their wedding day and something they would perhaps have used for a wedding on the show. The map wallet was taken from a truly geeky bit of research and is a map of Westeros. The only way to finish the set off was to bind with wax-coated cotton string with a family crest wax seal.
The Headpieces – from Beverley Edmondson Millinery
I was first approached by photographer Jay Anderson through a Facebook group for London-based wedding professionals. I was drawn to be involved by the unusual theme. I knew I had some headpieces that would work well already, but it also gave me the chance to make some new pieces that I wouldn’t usually get the opportunity to make. The shoot took place just after my busiest period, Royal Ascot, but I managed to squeeze in a few new pieces especially for it.
I love the rustic yet opulent styling in Game of Thrones, and it allowed me to use a number of different media to create the headpieces. Some of the filigree headpieces were made from a mixture of real lace and 3D printed lace and thermoplastics, then encrusted with Swarvoski crystals. Another was made from the feathers from a whole pheasant wing.
Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the shoot myself, so I sent off a large box of goodies to the stylist, Erin from Way Out Wedding, who then selected the pieces to use on the day. The end result is just beautiful; the soft fine art photography, and the projections against the very rustic natural feel of the venue and floristry, sit so well with the more dramatic accessories and hairstyles.
Creative director and stylist | Erin Balfour
Photography | Jay Anderson Photography
Dresses | Heart Aflutter Bridal Boutique
Flowers | The Flower Girls
Cake | French Made
Stationery and tableware | Beyond Vintage
Hair | Lovehairbylou
MUA | Amy-D Make-up Artist
Millinery and jewellery | Beverley Edmondson Millinery
Other jewellery | stylist’s own
Sequin tablecloths and chair covers | Gilded Linens
Venue | Blackfriars, Gloucester
Leaf ornament | Home Sense
Models | Claire Murphy, Tiffany-Jayne Davies, Bronwyn Honeychurch
Shoot assistant | Catherine McGuinness