Prom Night

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Written by Ellie Kime

Photography by Paola De Paola Photography

She is beauty, she is grace – she is the Prom Night styled shoot we did way back two years ago to bring you sweet-as-syrup Americana prom wedding inspo. And now, it’s finally made its way onto the Way Out Wedding blog – you are welcome.

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We’re well aware that not everyone would immediately come to Brian de Palma’s film version of Stephen King’s Carrie as inspiration for their wedding, but those who will are really onto something. We also took influences from dreamy designers Meadham Kirchoff and Molly Goddard and their dedication to clouds of flouncy tulle, resulting in a shoot with its heart firmly in the 1970s and '80s and all of its bubblegum-coloured, tongue-in-cheek, tasteless and wonderful glory. As followers of this blog will know, Erin has always been drawn to kitsch, to society’s underbelly, to the darker side of surface sweetness, and this shoot is a perfect showcase of that. Fashion houses’ ad campaigns and their connotations, stories, and subtext have always fascinated her and this heavily influenced the vibe of the shoot, which is grittier than it may appear (but that’s just the brilliance of it!). In homage to this, we went with some bolder bridal looks with a clash of styles, from sequin and satin slips for bohemian glamour to fluffier vintage looks to pom-pom adorned festival bridal. Perfect for the more creative bride who likes to make a statement with her fashion, there’s also a whole load of bridesmaid inspiration in here too.

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Budworth Hall was the perfect setting for our shoot, as it had shiny wooden flooring and scrumptious retro pastel blue walls. As an up-and-coming wedding venue, it was ideal, whilst still delivering the same prom-and-reunion vibe we’ve seen and loved in films like CarrieBack To The Future and Grosse Point Blank. Then, we truly just embraced colour, texture and nostalgia, and ran with it. We worked with namely pastels and candy shades, all sugary sweet and fun, though nothing needed to match at all. Propwise, A Peculiar Dream truly fell down a rabbithole of Americana, going in heavily on the disco balls, streamers and sequins, transporting us right back to those high school sweetheart films. The pastel pink fringed 'Doll Eyes' heart is still a firm favourite, encapsulating that slightly naïve, playful, never-known-better vibe. Locke and Busby provided the light-up letters and cinema signs bringing a perfect ‘1980s does 1950s’ feel. And we also raided Flying Tiger for kitschy sweets for favours, just in case it wasn’t sweet enough already.

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We really can’t stress enough the importance of assembling a team of suppliers who really get your vision, and your own story to deliver your day as you want it. No compromising on suppliers means no complaints about suppliers. We had no compromise and no complaint with our wonderful team of vendors, who all lived and breathed our vision, too.

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Paola de Paola was the photographer for this shoot, bringing her infectious loveliness and her bright and airy style to provide crystal-clear images that caught every last glimmer and glossy shine beautifully.

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Patrycja Purgal also caught us in all of our playful glory in a video which still warms my heart whenever I watch it – like one of my parents’ old VHSs. Inspired by the work of Itziar Orbegozo, Erin's brief was to tell the fun story of the night, and the heady mix of feelings it would bring up, watching people move onto the dancefloor.

Lauren from French Made provided the gorgeous buttercream cake, featuring splashes of bright neon colour and adorned with sugary handpiped meringue kisses and retro pick 'n' mix.

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Gwenda from Bohotanical ran with the theme for the florals, as the colour palette was perfect for spring flowers. In keeping with the whimsical, naïve look of the shoot, she used an eclectic mix of tulips, stock, snapdragons, lisianthus, wax flower, spray roses, hypericum, gypsophila, hydrangea, thlaspi, beargrass and phoenix palm to create the bouquets, table arrangements and wrist corsages (without which no prom would be complete!). Using bottles to hold single stems or small bunches of flowers at a time is a great way of decorating trestle tables, as it delivers maximum impact on a long vista. The tables were also styled with sequin tablecloths, holographic paper plates and coloured plastic cutlery. Beyond Vintage continued this by using holographic foil on the stationery, and, inspired by high school crushes and fond memories of heart-shaped exercise book doodling, she also used sequins and heart cut-outs.

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McFayden Millinery a) jumped at the chance of getting creative and using a lot of pink and b) absolutely smashed the brief. Her collection of pieces for the shoot were filled with playful spirit and, of course, sparkle, in a delightfully gritty way. (After all, it’s your day to shine – doesn’t mean you have to do it as a princess). Hard Felt Designs also provided sashes that were all about playing with light, drawing inspiration from the mesmerising light that disco balls throw out (follow the call…) and texture, with metres of organza, loose threads and ruffles harking back to vintage prom dresses.

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And, of course, our gorgeous models! Charlene Williams used pared-back soft peaches and pinks for the make-up, and then accented with glitter and sequins (and as much as we don’t follow trends – can this trend stay forever?). Lovehairbylou finished these looks off sublimely with true '80s magic – bubble plaits for a youthful look, false fringes, high buns, and Farah Fawcett-esque flicks, also adorned with glitter and fallen stars.

Check out the pinterest inspo board for ‘prom night’ here!

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Creative director and stylist | Erin Balfour

*Photographer | Paola De Paola Photography

Dresses | Days of GraceHeart AflutterCoastL.O.M.Federica Bruno Couture

DIY tulles | Bespoke Bride

Shoes | Natacha Marro; stylist’s own

Veils, headpieces and crown | McFayden Millinery

Sashes | Hard Felt Designs

Accessories | stylist’s own

*Flowers | Bohotanical

*Cake | French Made

Stationery and table styling | Beyond Vintage

Plates, cutlery, sugar sticks | The Sweet Party Shop

Props | A Peculiar Dream

Hair | Lovehairbylou

MUA | Charlene Williams

Models | Ruby LorcanMatilda OliverCaitlin Walsh

Venue | Budworth Hall

Videographer | Patrycja Purgal

Light-up letters and cinema sign | Locke and Busby

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