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Look Inside: Tropical Wedding Styled Shoot

I'm going to do that thing where I get all incredulous about how fast the year is flying by punctuated by lots of exclamation points!!!! But for real tho -- it's July!

This month marks my one-year anniversary being a member of the Engaged Studio collective here in Asheville. In a nutshell, we're a bad-ass group of local movers, shakers, and taste makers that collaborate on big things like weddings and custom events to styled shoots and pop-up shops! When we come together, it's always SO stinkin' fun...and usually amazing things happen!

Like this modern tropical wedding styled shoot we created that was featured on major wedding blog Ruffled!

Concept by Corey Marino of Catering by Corey

Photography by Anastasiia Photography

Right after I joined last year, I signed on as style director and wardrobe stylist for the very first styled shoot we put together in our studio. Corey Marino, owner of Catering by Corey, pitched the idea of an "exotic bride" theme to me, and at first I wasn't sure what to expect. "Exotic" isn't an adjective used to describe weddings very often, and it's a bit of an umbrella term. Then I heard snakes were to be involved and I thought...we're in uncharted territory here!

Then Corey shared her inspiration with me and it all started to make sense. She envisioned a lush, almost tropical vibe, set off by bold pops of color, luxe details, and textures and motifs. Her mood board was gorgeous and immediately the wheels started churning in the corners of my stylist mind. I loved the challenge, and echoed Corey's desire to put something together far away from the princess pastels so currently en vogue.

Invitation + Menu by Redroot Factory

Table Scape Design/Dinnerware by Mingle Events

Bar + Signature Cocktail by Cordial & Craft

Wedding + Engagement Rings by Fox & Beaux

Her one caveat: don't do what's been done a million times. I took that to heart and started storyboarding. My first thought? Rompers instead of robes for the girls to get ready in. Always wanting my "art" to reflect real-life, I picked rompers that could be taken off without messing up hair or makeup -- important details when getting ready for a wedding!!

When I saw these breathtaking Dressori toppers from local boutique Bohême, I was completely smitten with the idea of silk kaftans softly draped over their shoulders. The bold print on top of the crescent moon rompers I pulled from Scout felt right from the point of view of our exotic bride.

Kaftan toppers from Bohême

Drawing from our color-rich mood board, I contacted Charleston-based jewelry designer Jenny Thompson of Theodosia Jewelry about helping me drip my bride and bridesmaids in precious gems fit for the occasion and our aesthetic. I piled on the diamond ring stacks, opal and turquoise necklaces, and chunky bracelets. The colors and iridescence of the jewels brought out the tones in the bride's kaftan and I had one of my stylist moments where I said "OMG I'm dying I looooovvvve it!" like a zillion times!

Jewelry by Theodosia Jewelry

Rompers from Scout Boutique

Hair by Hannah Bailey and Nicole Bohanon of Swell Salon

Playing off of the living wall we featured in our ceremony shots, I accessorized the bridesmaids with silver branch necklaces from Elementality. As I mentioned earlier, I like to think about how our shoot can inspire real brides when I put together looks. The branch necklaces represented a gift from the bride to her bridesmaids, similar in style but different to give each girl a keepsake all her own. And, of course, they perfectly complemented the necklines of the rompers....

Necklaces from Elementality

Bracelets by Theodosia Jewelry

Of course, if we're doing a wedding styled shoot, we gotta talk about the most important piece: the dress! Lucky for me, I got to choose two dresses -- a ceremony and reception look -- from local bridal boutique Wildflower Bridal, which is run by fellow Engaged team member Margaux Weinstock.

When we decided to go with two looks/dresses, things got really exciting. Margaux pulled out the Hayley Paige ball gown with the dramatic beaded back and cool skirt and I thought ummm yes we're using that. BUT! We'd talked to local jewelry designer Amber Hatchett about creating some custom jewelry and accessories (think: hair chains!!!) just for the shoot, so I needed a simple dress with clean lines that would act as the perfect blank canvas for Amber's metallic designs. In walked Margaux with the Nicole Miller and boom -- we had our ceremony and reception looks ready to roll!

Wedding Gowns from Wildflower Bridal

Bouquets by Springvine Design

Hair Chain + Jewelry + Statement Necklace (below) by Amber Hatchett

Bride's Bag + Shoes from Talloni Shoe Salon

Oh yeah....there were real. Live. Snakes. The folks from Serpentarium Magic brought three of them on set and everybody was a nervous wreck LOL!

How fierce is the bride in these photos?? She didn't like snakes anymore than me, but she put on her big girl pants and rocked the mess out of this shoot!

Statement Necklace by Amber Hatchett

With so much going on elsewhere, I didn't want to overstyle the groom and his groomsmen with too many pieces or textures. I landed on solid, neutral suits in different color shirts for the groomsmen to make our main man stand out a bit more. Then I brought in some color and the "exotic" element with feather Brackish Bow Ties I sourced locally at Desirant Boutique. Everybody was in awe over how dang cool these bow ties were!

Brackish Bow Ties from Desirant

I am so so so obsessed with how the girls from Swell Salon wove Amber's custom-made chains into the bride's braid. Or shall we say, they snaked them through her hair!

I accessorized the bridesmaids in custom pieces of Amber's each in their own way to emphasize their personal styles and the different aspects of their navy column dresses. Olivia emphasized the open back of her dress with a delicate chain and drop earrings. Lexie wore a leaf motif pendant necklace and snakelike bracelet.

Bridesmaids' Ceremony Jewelry by Amber Hatchett

Bouquets by Springvine Design

Hair by Hannah Bailey and Nicole Bohanon of Swell Salon

This was one of the most fun shoots I've ever been on! It meant so much that I was already back on set so soon after moving back to Asheville and giving birth. ( months...but you never know how those things will go!)

It also meant a TON to work next to so many talented, established artists and creatives. Thanks to Corey for including me on her dream team!


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