Sea Breeze & Sand Dunes
An Editorial for the Modern Beach Bride.
I am often asked how I come up with a concept for a styled shoot. Honestly, there is no method! I can be inspired by pretty much anything – a piece of art, the colour of a cocktail (yes, seriously! Watch this space!), the pattern of a wallpaper, or in this case, the sea breeze.
I grew up in West Wittering, so much of my childhood and early adulthood was spent on the beach. Not in a sunbathing and swimming capacity so much as a place to walk. If I needed some time to myself or if I was having a rubbish day, nothing would snap me out of it quite like a wild windy walk along the beach. I would spend hours sitting in those sand dunes, chatting to friends, having BBQs and walking the dogs.
So, when I was considering a concept for a summer shoot, it seemed fitting to draw inspiration from the place that has meant so much to me for so much of my life.
Sea Breeze Concept
Inspired by the gentle, yet unpredictable movement of the sea breeze, this shoot epitomizes the romance of a warm coastal wedding. Whilst nature lies at the heart of this concept, it is designed for the modern, style-conscious bride pursuing the fusion of elegance and wildness to evoke a sense of luxury within a laid back setting.
Set in the undulating dunes of West Wittering beach, the essence of the shoot was to explore the unpredictability of movement created by the breeze and how the fabrics of our flowing gowns, from E and W Couture, and the delicacy of the dried floral grasses from Gather and Bloom Flowers, reacted with each gentle swirl. Blessed with an unusually warm day, the bright sunlight cast artistic shadows across the sand and table.
Our exotic bride was radiant in the summer sun as she danced across the dunes, wearing flowing skirts and cropped tops from the separates collection by E & W Couture. The Inca crop, embellished with sequins, glittered in the bright sunlight as the soft layers of tulle from the Sienna skirt, caught blissfully in the breeze, creating captivating cloud like silhouettes against the blue sky.
The Effy lace crop with nude mesh lining, worn with the full flowing Leigh skirt of individually gathered layers of nude and ivory tulle, was the ultimate in coastal chic. The movement created by the skirt as our bride ran along the beach was mesmeric, as the delicate ivory chapel veil billowed like a sail around her before softly settling to envelop her in a romantic cloak.
The Indie dress, with a coral embroidered detail was a fitting addition to our concept and offered an unusual coastal style alternative for a modern boho bride. With loose sleeves and fitted bodice with deep v-plunge and layers of soft nude tulle, this gown added to the uniqueness of our shoot.
Niza Huang supplied a stunning collection of jewellery to compliment the coastal concept. The contemporary silver 2 fingered ring, earrings and bracelet from the ‘Underearth’ collection mimicked the look of coral. Earrings of fine gold with floating sea pearls, a 3 stone gold choker and engagement rings with grey diamonds offered a delicate touch of romance to our bridal look.
Our bride’s hair, artfully styled by Martine Saint, was soft and feminine to allow natural movement in the breeze, and was complemented by the earthy tones of the stunning makeup looks created by our immensely skillful MUA, Birute Thomas.
To complete the look, our bride carried a delicate, modern bouquet of Stipa Penata (feather grass), Phleum grass, bleached ruscus, cortaderia pampas, sea lavender, quaking oats and dried umbels, created by Caroline from Gather and Bloom flowers and tied with hand-dyed silk ribbons, which gracefully wafted in the breeze.
Keeping true to the natural environment, we chose a subtle colour palette with coastal hues of blue and sand tones. Accents of gold introduced a touch of chic luxury to an otherwise informal aesthetic. The tablescape design mirrors the surroundings, with soft natural linens and informal displays of dried grasses. Modern off white dinnerware with an unglazed edge, simply adorned with Laguras (bunny’s tail), loosely entwined with silk ribbons, created an elegant, yet informal aesthetic, whilst modern brassy gold sweet plates, candlesticks and gold and silver cutlery from The W Collection, added a hint of luxe. In keeping with the concept inspired by the sea breeze, the candle flames could not compete with the relentless swirls of wind and remained elusive!
Tanya, from Bureau Designs, provided a bespoke collection of stationery, to perfectly complement our concept. Using soft blues, neutrals and gold touches, the comprehensive suite of invitations, rsvps, menus, placecards and details brought our look together with thoughtful personal touches.
“Dress for dinner and dancing on the sand”
Large cane candle lanterns, wicker seat pouffes and natural cotton throws, all from The W Collection by The W Studio, completed the relaxed beach vibe.
A simple, modern two-tiered white cake with a gold, ruffle edge detail from The Great British Bake Shop, sat atop a rustic, drift wood table and was decorated with dried Ruscus and wrapped in plant-dyed silk ribbon, simulating the sea foam of the coastline.
I could not have been happier with the result of this shoot. We were so lucky to have such a glorious day in an otherwise unpredictable month of weather (May) and I was delighted with how each element of my design came together so perfectly – a true testament to the talent of this incredible team of suppliers.
See the full feature now on Love my Dress
The Dream Team
Concept design, planning, styling and Creative Direction – The W Studio
Photography – Veronika Ward
Flowers – Gather and Bloom Flowers
Dresses – E and W Couture
Jewellery – Niza Huang
Stationery – Bureau Design
Makeup – Birute Thomas
Hair – Martine Saint
Cake – The Great British Cake Shop
Props & Rentals – The W Collection
Model – Katrina Crawford