Sunday, April 1, 2012

Betsey Johnson-Inspired Wedding Style Shoot

Some days, I think I’m nuts.

.…seriously cuckoo.


I crave color constantly—the brighter the better. Bonnie and I are both like this, but surprisingly in the wedding flower business, we don’t get to use it as much as we’d like to.

We work with a lot of ivory, champagne, and the palest of pinks. Clear glass with clean lines, mason jars and bubble bowls. Lanterns, mint julep cups and moss.These are all extremely elegant and romantic looks, but a little tame for 2 gals that REALLY love leopard print, lots of sparkles and hot pink (I mean…I have purple hair right now.)

One fine day, we were sitting in the workshop and sorting through the morning’s emails and Facebook posts. I seemed to be reading, responding to and looking at post after post on vintage style weddings (heck, we had just finished a vintage photo shoot days earlier!) I looked down at the Betsey Johnson necklace I was wearing and said, “you know what? We should do a Betsey Johnson themed wedding…” Bonnie looked back at me and simply said, “let’s do it!!” and POOF—and idea was born. A really fabulous, unique and DIFFERENT idea.

***Side note: Bonnie and I love ADORE Betsey Johnson. Her designs are playful, expressive, completely feminine and full of humor. If this woman made frozen meals, makeup and house wares we’d both be seriously broke…broke, but FABULOUS.***

Next plan of action? Why to FACEBOOK, of course! I posted a blurb asking if any of our vendor friends would be interested in participating in a Betsey Johnson-inspired wedding shoot. We would have never imagined what came next…our inbox began to FLOOD with Facebook posts, comments and even messages about the shoot! So many people were interested in participating! That was a very thrilling and exciting day for Bonnie and me.

The first step of the design process was easy for me—I just went to my closet! I pulled out all of my beloved Betsey jewelry, scarves, pieces of clothing...even her signature rose print pajamas! We love to design around textures, prints and colors of fabrics, so that was a great place to start.Now I was ready to create an inspiration board for all of our vendor friends to see. I pulled together swatches of leopard fabric, bright yellow and turquoise Betsey heels, neon makeup, Technicolor flowers, bold black and white stripes, sequins, glitter, over-the-top gold flatware, glitzy lamé and of course…lots of HOT PINK! This process was a lot of fun, because with Betsey, pretty much anything goes. She never seems to take herself or her designs too seriously and that makes them so much more fun.

We then planned a meeting for all of our OUTSTANDING vendors a well as a space walk through at the Noah Liff Opera Center. The Liff Center is an amazingly chic and modern venue that can be transformed to look like anything your heart desires.This meeting was FABULOUS! Everyone was coming up with fantastic ideas left and right. It was an absolute pleasure to have that many creative minds working together in one room. We had: Sarah Willard of Music City Events and the Noah Liff Opera Center as our coordinator, Gregory Bylerine as our photographer, Rachel Vich from Betsey Johnson Nashville (HUGE thrill to have the store on board), Audrey Ball from Music City Tents and Events, Juanita Lane from Dulce Desserts, Pam Hogancamp from Ribbons of Chocolate Catering, Sunny Fitz from SUNNYBAND for her headpieces , and last but not least--Amy Lynn Larwig as our Makeup Artist! Our original ideas began to grow larger and before we knew it, our motto for this shoot had become, “go big or go home”. I can’t tell you how incredible that feeling was.

***There were a few extremely important vendors that were unable to make it to the meeting, but were a massive party of the planning and shoot: Bob McClung of REM Entertainment /Weddings for lighting and music, stylists Meghan Parkinson and Jo West (who doubled as one of our awesome models) from Salon P’Nash, Link and Tayla Tipton from Blue Nova Designs for draping and backdrops, Rachael Street from Street Tuxedo, Stephanie Resch from Relish for paper goods, and Heidi Schwartz from Paint Your Event for live event painting!

The next few weeks were spent diligently planning and shopping—it didn’t hurt that Bonnie and I love to shop, let me tell ya. We established our main color palette of hot pink, fuchsia, black & white and glitter (is that a color?) and set off to find some treasures. We focused on our local craft and decorating stores making many trips back and forth to Hobby Lobby, Trees and Trends, and believe it or not--Party City! Most of these design trips seemed like more fun than work--especially picking out linens with Sarah Willard and Audrey Ball at Music City Tents and Events. We giggled like little girls under floating parachutes of fuchsia and gold lamé, zebra stripes and 1980's rose prints...TOO fun!
Bonnie and I really love to design our event florals around linens and prints--grabbing from wonderful and unexpected accents colors or shapes. Picking out the linens and dresses/accessories at Betsey Johnson Nashville were the first major steps and served as springboards for the rest of the design elements!

In addition to picking out what we like to call "dry goods" to decorate this Betsey-fueled ceremony and reception, the flowers were naturally our main focus. We wanted an EXPLOSION of color. Bonnie and I chose hot pink carnations, fuchsia orchids, bright orange roses, royal purple carnations, pink mink protea (with an extra dash of hot pink), pink tulips, pink spray roses, teal-tinted eryngium and yellow craspedia.
We also added a splash of whimsy and rock n' roll with FANTASTIC zebra feather balls, hot pink and black ostrich feathers, black and white beaded sprays, jewels, and leopard accents!
We took advantage of some of the amazing silk (I see you cringing) flowers available now. We scooped up jet black phalaenopsis orchids and roses and angelic white gerbera daisies covered with a smattering of iridescent sequins, beads and sparkles. We even found an extra surprise for our bride's bouquet--a tiny white feathered bird covered in the same embellishments. Again, it's Betsey...ANYTHING GOES!
All the while, we managed to stick to the main design elements we started with: hot pink, black and white stripes, and animal print. Along with the flowers, our collection of crystal-encrusted vases, mirrored glass cubes, bright bird cages, candy-colored bottles, and giant paper blossoms completed our playful look.

Shoot day was kind of a dream come true. I woke up with electricity pulsing inside me, ready for an unbelievable day. Load-in began early and each one of our "friendors" seemed to top the last. Everyone brought their triple A, solid gold, top notch game that day--i mean it! We quickly moved from scene to scene throwing linens, zipping dresses, pinning boutonnieres and setting centerpieces. It was a whirlwind, but SO MUCH FUN at the same time! I made sure to put together a spunky playlist for the day full of Betsey-fied artists: Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Cyndi Lauper, Paramore and Beyonce. Our poor models probably heard each song about 17 times each, but still had fun gettin down.

This day was honestly fantastic. It was really a testament to the unimaginable artistic ability of wedding professionals in Nashville. We all took a single inspiration and ran with it. I think Mama Betsey would be proud of the playful and just a tiny bit naughty look we created. Can you imagine the ideas that we'll come up with next? I've already got a few saved in my brain for a rainy day--I cannot WAIT to share them with you!

Again, a MASSIVE thank you to all of the Nashville Wedding Professionals who agreed to come on this WILD ride with us. You are so very talented. And also, a big thanks to our wonderful models:

Kendall Gemmill: Bride
Billy Gemmill: Groom (yes, they're really married!)
Rachel Vich: Bridesmaid
Liv Blankenship: Bridesmaid
Jo Smith: Bridesmaid
Ryan Carter: Groomsman
Tom Dupree: Groomsman
Chris Scott: Groomsman
Nick Britt: Bartender

Check out our Facebook Page for ALL of the shoot pictures done by Gregory Byerline!

XOX, Amy + Bonnie