Inspired by dark, rich tones, moody lighting and non-traditional bridal gowns, this romantic Russian-inspired styled shoot from Julia Rochelle Photography and City Celebrations is uniquely sophisticated, and each image helps tell a story!
A darkly romantic Russian inspired wedding styled shoot in Clifton, VA
“When photographer, Julia Rochelle, reached out to us with the idea of a shoot based on the aesthetic look of the BBC's Version of War and Peace – well, we were afraid we were going to be spending the weekend getting caught up! Instead we dove head first into research using photography stills, and expanding on the idea of Russian literature, Russian fairytales, and the color story behind some of these works that we felt most drawn to. When we regrouped, we knew we had a few common goals: Julia wanted to create a more darkly lit/moody story so we would use a beautiful stately room with well placed and meaningful details to create a narrative, play on deeper and richer tones, have our “bride” wear non-traditional wedding gowns, and lastly create something a bit out of the box in terms of what we were seeing a lot of for brides. It really was an amalgam of all of our various idea threads and what we felt were the best aspects of each of them.”
“We wanted to blend rich/dark tones, lots of greens including several varieties of vine, and some more washed out tones to give it a vintage look. We used this formula for the bouquet and all of the large scale centerpieces we did. For the shelving next to the fireplace, we decided to create a more large scale floral piece to give a nod to the darker side of those fairy tales I mentioned in the introduction. Vines came from the fireplace, crawled up the wall, and over to the shelves where a different colored arrangement sat on each shelf to create a gradient effect. King protea, jasmine vine, hellebores, SO MANY garden roses in different shades, scabiosa, parrot tulips, and amnesia carnations were just some of the amazing flowers we ended up using in this shoot! Amnesia carnations look like they're a flower that you're seeing in an old photo with the colors somewhat faded from all the years. We used a Honey Silks & Co. deep navy silk ribbon and it was a beautiful contrast against the gowns. Lastly, our floristry style leans towards more unstructured, wild, and organic pieces so we embraced that for this shoot! So often we have the restrictions of a specific event and maintaining that aesthetic but in this case, we just really went for what we love in the hopes more potential clients will see this and, want to recreate it for their event.”
“We did not end up utilizing a cake designer for our shoot but instead creating something ourselves. It is very simple, one tier, and brushed with gold leaf. The idea is that it wouldn't look too “perfect” (and since we didn't have a cake designer, it definitely wasn't going to be!!). Lastly, we added fresh fruit and flowers to the top and sides that reflected the color story of the shoot.”
“As I mentioned, we wanted to use non-traditional wedding gowns and it is a theme we repeat often in our (City Celebrations) in our shoots. Initially, Julia came to us with the Jenny Packham beaded ombre gown and we loved it! It felt like a perfect dress to reflect the period she was first inspired by. Liz Miiller gave our model, Alli, a very aristocratic and toned down look from the ones before that by pulling her hair into a low chignon and softening her makeup. Vesna, from Mint Lola, rounded out this particular look with a beautiful gold laurel leaf hairpiece and delicate earrings.
“For the 2nd look, Fabulous Frocks was kind enough to let us borrow a Jenny Yoo gray off-the-shoulder column sheath. It fit Alli's figure beautifully and we immediately pictured an overall regal aesthetic to round it out. Liz gave Alli soft, beautiful, and structured waves combined with a more dramatic eye and darker pink lip. Vesna (Mint Lola) added a stunning tiara and earring. For some shots, Alli wore a delicate pair of Mint Lola gloves.
“Lastly, Fabulous Frocks came through again and in this case we chose a blush Justin Alexander gown with beaded corset and very full tulle skirt. Liz changed Alli's hair slightly by breaking up some of the structured waves and then giving her a lighter lip to round things out. She didn't want to over power the dress which made a big statement by itself. Vesna added a feathered hairpiece for some shots which went so well with that particular dress. Lastly, another pair of beautiful Mint Lola earrings!”
“Katie Klimowicz from Five One Limited hand lettered and designed beautiful love letters. Katie puts so much thought into her work and making sure it is cohesive with the overall vision. The smallest details have meaning down to the names written on the envelopes, drips of ink on the letters, and wax seals.
“In this case, there weren't actual “tables” but we used brass taper candleholders, dark plum taper candles, and glass hurricanes. We used these on the piano with a piece of silk fabric as well as on the fireplace. We really peeled back this room in terms of decor — the idea was to let the elements of the shoot shine through more than the backdrop.”