Oh. My. God.
This shoot was inspired by the This is England ’86 series, and the incredible tour de force that is Lauren of French Made wanted to create a shoot that reflected the unique subcultures of the ’80s, and the friendship, love, and fun that went with them – and she absolutely smashed it! By curating a crack team of suppliers who all shared the same love for the era – more than a surface-level appreciation, but a deep-seated nostalgic yearning towards it forever and always – she created a shoot of alternative vintage duh-reams:
“As well as being cool and pretty, I wanted this shoot to be simply honest, real and raw. This is why it features real Mods, original Skinheads and Goths, real friends, real couples as well as suppliers who understand what the alternative way of life is about. And the perfect venue!”
This shoot shows you can have the wedding of your dreams, one truly reflecting your personality, without it costing the world or featuring elements you’re not bothered about. (Both things we’re extremely passionate about at WOW. Why do it in a way that’s going to bankrupt you and guilt trip you, or you’re not going to enjoy?) Just LOOK at that rose-petal heart and candles! There’s nothing twee or pretentious here, just unadulterated, unassuming and unconventionally perfect romance. And look at how lovely and relaxed and just right they look in front of all that beaaaaut coloured smoke (which is so pigmented it’s incredible!) It’s gritty, and pretty, and we adore it.
And where there’s pretty and gritty, there’s always Dale Weeks involved. The most incredible photographer with a penchant for messing with lighting like it’s magic, he approached the styled shoot as if he would a real wedding in a working men’s club in the 1980s. That gave us lots of flash and candid moments, with our finished images all having a retro sheen and faded look that’ll help immortalise our photos as being from 30 years ago. (Thirty!)
Wagtail Productions‘ video was also a sight to behold, as if we’d grabbed it from the dusty archives of a talented and artsy relative. Staying away from tracking shots, Ayla used lots of free handheld movement, reflecting the wedding’s casual, relaxed atmosphere. She also looked at lighting trends of the ’80s, choosing a red backlight and a punchy top light atop the camera, which often graces the dancefloor at weddings she shoots.
And now for the subjects of the shoot! A girl-and-boy-gang you definitely would wanna hang with, and who would let you hang with them too (as long as you weren’t a d***). The dresses are all from No Debutante, the Way Out Wedding shop, which is filled to the brim with a hand-curated collection of vintage goodies, sourced mainly and lovingly from eBay, Etsy and charity shops. Bridal isn’t abut how much you spend on a dress, it’s about how you feel in it. We went with frills and no-nonsense frivolity – femininity with a self-defined edge and a story to tell. They were accessorised with headpieces from the incredible La Dame au béret, who based her designs on musicians and bands like Strawberry Switchblade, Lene Lovich, Nina Hagen and Cyndi Lauper, featuring reams of ribbons, bows, lace and tulle for undeniably ’80s silhouettes.
With dresses as strong as those, the make-up, by Lipstick and Curls, needed to not clash or jar, instead being in keeping with the strong style of the shoot. The bride was given a dramatic winged eyeliner and a cherry red lip (as strong as time is eternal) and a backcombed hairstyle that emphasised her short curved fringe and securely kept the world’s best dramatic veil in place! The backcombed bridesmaids (I’m bagsying that as my ’80s tribute act band name, if anyone wants to know) all experimented with bright lip colours to add to the eclectic perfection that is the shoot.
The stationery, by Beyond Vintage, featured neon geometric shapes and the collated, heavy typography that is so iconic of the ’80s. An acetate belt holding the different pieces together gave it a retro futuristic element.
Bright neons carried through to the styling, which was kept as DIY as possible. Paper chain bunting from The Origami Boutique, assorted lanterns and pom poms from The Sweet Party Shop were hung around the venue and mixed with hire signs and lights to nail that enviable ‘just thrown together yet absolutely perfect’ look. Waterbaby Flowers opted for florals that would have been easily available in an urban ’80s environment on a budget – gypsophilia, roses, carnations, flowering branches and spring favourites like anemones, tulips and Vanda orchids all feature, placed in beer and spirit bottles and laid around the venue as well as for centrepieces. I LOVE this detailing – it’s such a cliché, but it’s so simple, and so effective. The differing bottles all provide depth and a colour palette themselves for styling, but with such an array of tall flowers of varying textures too, the impact is major. It also means you have to drink the alcohol in preparation, which is a) always going to be a lot of fun and b) a really lovely way of prepping for your wedding (over time!) – savouring the moments you have together. Bold red roses and gypsophilia were piled on top of the deliciously retro cake, which was an old-fashioned tiered white design with pillars and intricate piping.
Photography | Dale Weeks
Cake and coordination | French Made
Venue and catering | Earl Haig Hall
Venue agent | Antic London
Video and lighting | Wagtail Productions
Stationery, props and venue styling | Beyond Vintage
Model styling and headpieces | La Dame au béret
Outfits | No Debutante
Hair and make-up | Lipstick and Curls
Flowers | Waterbaby Flowers
Tea set | Wild and Violet