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Much of the bridal world is ‘sweet’ and stereotypically ‘girly’ (I don’t even like typing that word as I hate gender constructs, and always strive to ignore them in the hope they’ll go away), but rising star and styling genius Michaela of Clear-Hearts created today’s shoot that challenges that notion of bridal in terms of its position of the overriding default and dares to dream of another type: kick-ass, bold, darker and residing in the rock or metal world. You don’t have to like pink to be a bride (although that is also OK if you do).

 

The Story of the Shoot by Michaela from Clear-Hearts

“These women are strong, daring, madly in love and blissfully married. They’re ready to rock, do shots and dance the night away into eternity. Their colour choices are a gorgeous winter palette of black and purple, with a hint of silver from intricate patterns of piercing studs. From a tattoo artist creating matching tattoos, to synchronised headbanging to their favourite song, this shoot is a kick-ass statement that women don’t have to be sugar-sweet to be bridal. Your day is your day, and love is love.”

“This shoot comes from a desire to represent women in wedding media as bold yet bridal. It’s important to me as the founder of Clear-Hearts – a completely inclusive alternative event planning service – to show that you can be a real princess on your big day, just by being yourself. Even if you don’t fit into the stereotypical ‘bride’ mould. Moulds can be broken, and it’s okay to paint them black.”

“I wanted to create an original and exciting day of tattoos and Jack Daniels (instead of champagne, obviously), and capture the enjoyment of their love and their friends celebrating at their dream reception. The jackets are from Born to Thread, lightening the mood and adding style with fun and unique designs. There’s tongue-in-cheek humour with coasters from the hilarious A Braw Wedding, and the flowers are from Wild Renata Flowers, wildly beautiful and non-traditional. Just like our brides, the perfect winter bouquet for a metal-lover’s wedding. Remember, it doesn’t always need to be dark colours and funeral florals for alternative-themed wedding days.”

“Through research and industry networking, I was able to hand-pick all the suppliers based on their company ethos, originality and style. Social media and wedding events are a great place to build relationships and business partners, and once these companies started sending me pictures and creative briefs, I was even more inspired.”

“Both ladies in this shoot have lots of tattoos, which were brought to life by the incredible bespoke dresses from Legend Bridal and the beautiful jewellery by Hex Cavelli to add extra sparkle. You heard it here first: the future is bridal dresses with tattoos, chains and shining studs. The models’ shoes are made by yours truly, to correspond with the already knock-out ensemble; whilst the signage and stationery come from Cellar Door Calligraphy, made with a unique mix of traditional script on a painterly background.”

“Trinity Bar in Harrow was the perfect venue for this sassy shoot. Featuring a pentagram on the ceiling, it hosts all kinds of cool parties and gigs every night of the week. This vibe, coupled with the beautiful light-up letters from Doris Loves, made a classic backdrop for a heavy metal reception. My venue styling reflected this theme with reds, purples and blacks – using strong focus on the table setting and balloons. Naturally, there was a lot of DIY, with some of my own handiwork on the old china and milk bottles, sprayed black for a gorgeously gothic cake table.”

“A vegan baker was a must, and Tiny Sarah’s Cakes was one of the first companies we had to ask. Sarah immediately understood the brief and made the sumptuous all-black chocolate cake using purple florals, fitting the colour-story beautifully.”

“The make-up was strong but still feminine, designed by Rachel from Make-up in Orangeries, she suggested the elegant dewy base to brighten the look, as we didn’t want to go too sinister. Rachel even made the tattoos look real, which is such a hard thing to do. Complementing the make-up are veils by the ever-cool McFayden Millinery, who took the brief and ran with it with astonishing results.”

“Our photographer was Paola De Paola, my first choice for this setting as she has stunning work published on the front cover of Your London Wedding with an enchanting same-sex couple. Her work is incredibly honest and real. I wanted this shoot to support women without over-edited or airbrushed nonsense.”

“The film is made by Loz Morgan, who, to be frank, was on board as soon as he heard the words ‘heavy metal.'”

Credits

Planner/stylist | Clear-Hearts

Photography | Paola De Paola Photography

Videography | Loz Morgan Films

Flowers | Wild Renata Flowers

Headpieces | McFayden Millinery

Cake | Tiny Sarah’s Cakes

Light-up letters | Doris Loves

Leather jackets | Born to Thread

MUA and hair | Make-up in Orangeries

Dresses | Legend Bridal

Gifts | A Braw Wedding

Models | Sally Pearman; Hannah Britton

Tattooist model | Dave Webb

Dreadlocks | Void Hair Extensions

Jewellery | Hex Cavelli

Stationery and signage | Cellar Door Calligraphy

Venue | Trinity

 

Gallery