Call it the peak foliage, or the crisp cool smells of autumn, but I’m fully embracing this cozy, moody season. Rich hues and edgy color combos are calling my name. The pretty at hand? It fits all that criteria and more. Snug vintage rentals from The Salvage Snob, check. Black taper candles and green and gold accents, check. Delightful treats from Cloud 9 Bakery, check. Loads of greenery and florals from Julia Rohde Designs, check. Gianny Campos made my fall dream a reality with this gallery in THE VAULT.
From Cloud 9 Bakery…“I love you as the plant that never blooms, but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers…” -Pablo Neruda
This quote, along with the rest of this poem, has been a long favorite of mine and my husband’s since we met in sophomore english when we were 15. Poetry and art about love mimicking nature and its beauty has always been so romantic and beautiful to me. It’s this constant inspiration that has propelled me in the design style I’ve always been fond of; landing me somewhere in the romantic, natural and ethereal style with a little dash of gold.
When we got married (back in January of 2007), we absolutely knew for sure that we didn’t want a ballroom wedding. It wasn’t us at all, but that’s all there was! We wanted the lushness of South Florida’s botanicals and nature to be the romantic back drop. This was long before pinterest, and all the weddings I saw in magazines just seemed to be blinged out, stiff and tight, and just not who we were as a couple. Despite that, we did what we could to bring our vision to life, and while everyone has always told us that our wedding was one of the most beautiful they had been to, there were still aspects of it that years later, I still wish had been different. I wish I had used my favorite color of green for the bridesmaids instead of listening to my crazy aunt telling me “it would look too much like christmas” with the deep red and cream florals we were using. I wish I chose the lace dress I really wanted but was forced into buying the dupioni silk one that I liked but didn’t LOVE because of eager sales women making me think I had run out of time (in July). So I always knew I would keep the botanical outdoors, and incorporate the greens, the natural white florals of varying varieties, natural materials and accents of gold. So you could say that the initial concept of this shoot was our wedding do-over, if you will.
I had also been inspired by a location I do a lot of work at that’s a highly sought-after wedding venue down here in Miami, Villa Woodbine, Bill Hansen Catering’s headquarters and exclusive venue. After doing my fair share of weddings there this year, it became obvious to me that this would be the perfect setting for what I was envisioning. Between the coral rock walls and steps that looked as though they were carved out by nature, the lawn filled with various shades of abundant greenery, the wrought-iron gates, the pergola patio surrounded by tropical plants, and peaceful wall fountain that seemed to almost be forgotten about other than the vines that were growing over it, it truly was the perfect setting.
Since I’m the baker, I started building a cake design in my head. I love the look of frilly florals, and I’m a real big fan of flower walls so I knew I wanted to do something that emulated that style, but wasn’t as excessive. I’ve never been into flashy things, and I strongly believe a design should evoke a feeling more than being so literal, which isn’t always easy to accomplish. I finally came up with a bottom tier that was filled with white sugar flowers, and kept the top tiers lightly textured buttercream to complement the other natural elements that would be present. I also did a two tier “barely naked” cake which I think looks so organic and natural, along with a dessert spread of mini key lime pies and bundt cakes, meringues, and rum balls.
Who did I choose for this shoot and why? Well, lucky for me, I work with some pretty amazing people here in South Florida. Gianny Campos Photography is still one of the few photographers that still uses film, and her work is just gorgeous. Her and I very much see things from the same page, and the ideas we bring to each other always enhances the other’s. I knew she’d not only be on board but bring ideas to the table that otherwise would not have been thought of. You would never know there was a giant tent set up for summer rain showers at the site where this shoot took place. Her ability to play with different angles to get the shot and dodge background pollution is unmatched.
Julia Rohde Designs’ florals are like poetry to me. Her “garden-picked” style I knew was perfect for this concept, and she had come up with an amazing idea for a hanging piece of vines, peonies and garden roses that I was so excited to see come to fruition. Needless to say, I was blown away the day of the shoot when I arrived on site and saw all the blooms (peonies that were literally the size of our heads!) and arrangements she had put together. Julia also wanted to debut her new line of calligraphy products, which were absolutely gorgeous. We decided on a black paper with gold lettering to give this shoot, while wild and natural, an accessible classic and elegant style as well. Her invitations and ribbon place cards could not have turned out more lovely.
Yvette of The Salvage Snob has quite an array of vintage pieces that I knew would be perfect for this shoot. After perusing through her showroom, our brains starting churning and that’s when Julia pointed out Yvette’s green couch. We all knew immediately it would be the perfect statement piece and green became a more leading star in the color scheme. Yvette was also incredible with her styling for the day of the shoot. Sometimes something in theory just doesn’t quite work out how you imagined it to, but Yvette had a bag full of tricks (and extra pieces!) to achieve a scene that was even more becoming than our initial intention.
Make Up by Hiara was our first thought for make up. She does absolutely incredible work, making the faces she touches look as if they’re simply just glowing. We wanted an au naturale make up look for our model, and she did her hair in almost a wild style, wanting to bring a little edge to balance out the other soft details. Her work was flawless on our model, Marisol, who was our saving grace at the last minute when our other models bailed out 2 days before the shoot! Our beautiful dress was lent to us by BHLDN. A gorgeous ivory lace and tulle dress with a nude underlay, and a floral motif bodice. We could not have been more thrilled with how it looked set against our garden scenes at the Villa.
Photography: Gianny Campos Photography | Floral Design: Julia Rohde Designs | Wedding Dress: BHLDN | Cake: Cloud 9 Bakery | Catering: Bill Hansen Luxury Catering and Event Production | Makeup: Makeup By Hiara | Calligraphy: Julia Rohde Designs | Venue: Villa Woodbine | Rentals: The Salvage Snob "unique salvage & vintage rentals"