Happy Birthday, America! Before you head off to your day filled with BBQ’s, fireworks, friends and family, we thought we’d offer up a little something special to get you in the celebration mood. And not just any “something special,” a drop-dead gorgeous 4th of July-inspired photo shoot crafted by the talents of Millie Batista and Magda Nitray. A shoot that boasts the perfect dose of backyard pretty, and enough inspiration to keep you smiling well past the holiday. See all of the red, white and blue goodness in the full gallery… and have a safe and happy day!
From Millie B… The 4th of July weekend is one of the most popular weekends to marry and for young couples, military couples, or those with limited financial resources, it is still quite easy to create an elegant and affordable affair for two. It’s so romantic to think that two people who are madly in love could have this intimate elopement in their own yard or in the yard of their favorite B&B. The red, white and blue colors associated with the 4th of July were used as the color scheme and we also used birds and frogs as part of the décor to add a little fun and whimsy.
We only had three weeks from the time of conception to pull this off during the busiest wedding season month of the year. And we stayed true to our inspiration story. Instead of employing the assistance of multiple vendors and local artists, Magda (Magda Nitray of Magda Designs) and I decided to handle all of this ourselves. We refurbished furniture, styled the shoot, and baked and cooked all the food. This was truly a DIY experience.
One of my [Millie] favorite parts of this project was finding the fashion garments for the female model. By scouring the local outlets, it only took me a couple of hours to locate the dresses we used for the shoot. Both dresses were found at high-end outlet stores. The white dress was perfect for a stylish but casual backyard ceremony on a fixed budget, and afterwards she could change into the lace red dress, which photographed so beautifully.
Our DIY projects included:
– Chairs that were rummaged from neighbor’s garage and refinished. The two chairs were originally painted two different colors and looked dated. The chairs were sanded down by hand, wiped down and spray painted with Rustoleum heirloom white spray paint from Home Depot. This was a 2-day project.
– The Rusty table was borrowed and painted.
– A 10-year-old cherry-finish bookcase was refinished. The bookcase had a cherry stain finish. The bookcase was sanded by hand, wiped clean and spray painted with Rustoleum’s heirloom white spray paint. The back of the bookcase was painted blue.
– The terracotta pot (table centerpiece) was given an aged lime appearance using white spray paint and a wet rag. The spray painted layers build so you can make the pots as light or dark as you want.
– The menu was handwritten on a terracotta pot centerpiece. We thought it was unique to hand write the menu. The spray paint finish becomes a protective coat and preserves the writing on the pot. It’s so cool to have your wedding menu or vows written on a pot or container that will decorate your garden for years to come.
– Birdcages were spray painted silver.
– Mini terracotta pots in side birdcages were also limed, silver ribbons adorn the top and moss was adhered on top.
– “Mr” & “Mrs” was written on mini terracotta limed pots to designate seating.
– “Mr” & “Mrs” signs were made for back of the chairs with red ribbon.
– Desserts were all baked and decorated by the photographer. We don’t necessarily encourage couples to bake their own cakes or make their own desserts. But, if it’s something you enjoy, then you should go for it. As artists, we are usually pretty adaptable and capable of switching mediums to create art. Food is such a great way to express your artistry. I (Millie) love baking and have taken baking classes at the French Culnary Institute in NYC, so baking for this photo shoot and creating a faux wedding cake was a treat for me.
– Faux 2-4 person single-tier red, white and blue cake made and decorated by the photographer.
– All the food was grilled and cooked by Magda and her mom. Magda’s mom has been a caterer for many years and Magda has grown up eating some great meals and has developed into quite a Foodie. She and her mom handled the entire savory menu. The food was so delicious.
– Wild flowers were all handpicked from the backyard garden.
– Birdhouses were made by Magda’s uncle and painted by Magda.
– Drink: sparkling French berry lemonade with fresh berries
– Appetizer: black bean salsa with steak and grilled crostini
– Salad: watermelon with arugula salad and feta
– Roasted chicken, herbed red potatoes and grilled asparagus & squash
– Dessert: faux blue and white cake with red sugar flower, rustic four-layer red velvet cake with tangy cream cheese frosting, chocolate mocha mini cupcakes, and mini key lime tarts
Photography: Millie Batista of By Millie B Photography | Location: Private Residence, Summit, New Jersey | Hair + Makeup: Magda Designs | Desert + Floral Design + Tablescape: By Millie B Photography | Fashion Styling: By Millie B Photography + Magda Nitray | Food + Styling: Magda Nitra + Mother | Models: Maria Gencova + Michael Nitray | White Dress: Bloomingdales (outlet) | Sandals + Pearls: Nordstrom’s Rack | Red Lace Dress: Neiman Marcus (outlet) | Dishes: West Elm | Glassware + Blue and White Seat Cushions: Pier 1 | Dessert 2 tier Cake Display: Home Goods | Napkins + Frog Napkin Rings + Glass Vase: Pottery Barn | Furniture: borrowed | Terracotta Pots + Birdcages: Michaels