When Grace Ormonde Wedding Style magazine asked if we wanted to participate in their tabletop shoot at the Ocean House in Rhode Island, we said, “hell yes” and got together with Candice at Jubilee Events to devise a plan. Here are a few images by photographer Matthew Wagner that really showcase some of the details: our orchid chandelier and leaf-covered charger plates with blue delphinium accents
Thanks to Luxe Rentals for the mirrored table and ghost chairs, to Resource One linen for the incredible custom chair covers (seen in all their glory in the magazine spread) and to Posh Paperie for the menu cards.
We’re starting our new year with a blam over here at Datura – and the blam I speak of is an 11 page fashion spread & the COVER of GALA Weddings latest issue.
You just don’t see enough features on winter weddings, so we got together with our good friends at Carla Ten Eyck Photography, Jubilee Events, The White Dress by the Shore and Dana Bartone & Company to bring you this crisp winter shoot at the Mayflower Inn and Spa in Washington, CT.
Needless to say, we were psyched when the good folks at GALA Weddings told us they were going to feature it — and double-psyched to hear that Carla’s portrait was chosen for the cover. Since I don’t want to spoil the surprise of seeing the images in print, I’m going to post a few that that are not shown in the magazine.
A huge thanks to Carla’s team of Sara Code-Krall, Rebecca Hales and Greg Lewis for lending their considerable talents to this shoot (and this post)!
We’ll start with bouquets. Cat and I each have a bouquet featured in the magazine but, as usual, we went a little overboard for this shoot and created three others. First up – a snowflake bouquet I created using several gauges of wire, rhinestones, cut-glass pendants & blue eryngium. It’s worn around the finger – like a ring. I love that Sarah’s crisp shots of the bouquet in the snow have a completely different feel than Carla’s warm, romantic take in the center image.
Next is Cat’s magnolia branch bouquet with dendrobium orchids and rhinestones – I love the smooth, rich orchids contrasting with the rough texture of the branch and the sparkle of the rhinestones.
The first image is Sara’s and shows the luxurious black velvet handle, followed by Carla’s portrait, where Beth’s styling and Dana’s hair and makeup really shine, and Rebecca tags in with a great overhead shot showing the sparkle of the rhinestones.
And for the last bouquet, I challenged myself to use nothing but fern, babies breath and carnations – things that are commonly considered run-of-the-mill flowers – to create a bouquet that no one would think of as run-of-the-mill. I accented these flowers with metallic silver angel-hair rolled into orbs. For Max, our groom, I made a simple boutonniere of white anemone, birch and lily grass. Carla shot these two portraits and Rebecca got the detail shots of the bouquet.
Here’s a ring I made from birch bark, thistle and babies breath. I secretly thought it looked like a piece of sushi and hid it under a scarf, but Beth found it and rescued it. I also made this bracelet from lamb’s ear and ornithogalum on a flexible wire base. The ring shot is Carla’s, the bracelet is Sara’s.
And finally a few images from our table. This was my first time collaborating with Candice from Jubilee on a creative proect. She brought some milk glass, I brought some flowers and we worked together seamlessly to create this tablescape. The magazine features many detail shots of her contribution to the work and here are some images, all by Carla, of the centerpiece.
There’s lots more of this shoot to see – but to do that you’ll have to run out and grab a copy of GALA Weddings magazine!
So, we decided to take a break on Thursday – we’d been going pretty much non-stop since we got in (with breaks for some late-night hot-tub hopping, a living room dance-party and the occasional glass of wine). Some of the crew decided to take it easy and rest up for our big Friday shoot, while a few of us just couldn’t stop. I was one of those guys.
See, there was this one dress that we initially had on the list to come along with us, but it just didn’t work out. And I loved this dress – it’s ‘Hunter‘ a Priscilla of Boston with a bolero jacket of fabric roses. So when Beth from The White Dress by the Shore suggested I make my own floral bolero, I jumped at the idea.
I’d been wanting to use these pink flowers that grow on the property at Los Suenos (Beth calls them Costa Rican hydrangea) and this was the right application for them. I asked around and no one knew what they are called, so anyone who might have an idea, throw it out there.
A little glue, half an hour and boom:
Carol, one of our models from day one and, I’m happy to say, a new friend, came over to our house and Beth dressed her in Tobi by Modern Trousseau, which is fresh off the runway and suited the high-fashion look we were going for. DD Nickel outdid herself with dramatic hair and makeup and we grabbed Carla Ten Eyck, Jim Altieri, Max LaManna & Aryn and took off to a location about 20 minutes from our place – a dirt road lined with huge trees crawling with philodendron.
Safari Jim was never off-duty:
This shoot felt like magic to me. There is just something about seeing an image in your head and making it become reality that’s hard to describe. Everything I make is ephemeral, fading before it’s even complete, and just having the opportunity to create these fantasy pieces is artistically thrilling, but to then see it captured and translated by such incredible artists as Carla and Jim – I can’t even describe how grateful I am to be a part of this team and to call these people my friends.
When we were done with the jacket it was time to move down the road to Kayak Jaco to make DD Nickel‘s vision become reality. DD had in mind an idea for a bird in a nest as a hairpiece and I had a suitcase full of feathers and some earring hardware…
While Carla worked her magic, I couldn’t help but repurpose the bolero and create a bouquet. I’m telling you, I just couldn’t stop making stuff:
After our mini-shoot, we headed back to the house and joined Candice, Katie, Sarah, Domenique, Diana, Lindsey, Mark, Magan, Barnabus and Vanessa for a dinner out to celebrate Beth’s birthday.
Our first day in Costa Rica was a huge adventure. While our trusty photographers, Carla Ten Eyck, Katie Slater and Sarah Code-Krall took off on an adventure with event planner extraordinnaire Candice Coppola of Jubilee Events, Magan Hunt of MMH Marketing and Jim Altieri of Vintage Cinema, Aryn and I headed to San Jose with our host Larry Savage of Stay In Costa Rica, Beth Chapman of The White Dress by the Shore and makeup artist DD Nickel. Beth and DD spent the day on one side of the city at a luxurious coffee bar conducting a casting call for models while Larry took us on a bumpy ride through the grittier side of town to the flower market.
As soon as we hit the street, Larry realized that he wasn’t allowed to drive in the city on Mondays (something about the last number on his license plate being wrong. Don’t ask me). So we zipped into a parking lot, bribed the guard to let us leave the car and then grabbed a taxi downtown. Our first stop was a pretty average looking spot – a lot like a New York City florist, buckets of flowers, nice and neat. We grabbed a few things while Aryn wielded the camera:
Lots of gorgeous and inexpensive tropicals, but we were looking for more white flowers (you’ll see why eventually) – and Larry knew the right place to go (after he made a few phone calls and asked a bunch of folks for directions) – Mercado Centrale – a huge open air market filled with meats and fish, live chickens, geese, ducks, dried herbs
and ALL the way at the back of a building, a few flower stalls with just the right things for us.
Tomorrow is our first day of shooting. I’ll try to grab some behind-the-scenes so I’ll be up late turning those flowers into bouquets…
We came back to Winvian in the fall, but this time Cat and I spent the day, creating some things on site and setting up more elaborate ceremony locations. It was a looooooooong day – we arrived at 8 am and didn’t leave until 11 pm! The weather was alternately gorgeous and rainy, but we stuck with it and shot outside whenever the sun came out long enough to dry the grass. Jacklyn from JagStudios was a trouper, making sure everything we made got shot (even if it meant lighting it with candles and shooting it at 10 pm…outside…in the cold). You’ll see.
We started the day in Winvian’s ‘Camping’ cottage — a cozy spot nestled in the trees with floor to ceiling glass walls and trees built into the decor. It felt like being out in the elements (except for luxurious bed and top shelf mini bar). The enclosed back porch even has an outdoor fireplace for marshmallow roasting. THIS is luxury.
I’d made this bouquet at home without knowing which cottages we’d be shooting in and it was just perfect for the feel of this space.
yes, she is INSIDE the cottage here. Imagine getting ready to walk down the aisle in a room like this
How ’bout that ‘tent’ bed? And look at that dress. And the ceiling. And the windows. And how beautiful my wife is. AHHHHH! It’s visual overload.
Okay, a quick trip to the bathroom and we can leave Camping and make our way to Industry. This is the tub.
This next cottage is a tribute to Connecticut’s steel industry – sleek contemporary lines, smooth leather — all in blacks, whites and greys. Our model for this cottage was Sharalynn Decker, Miss Connecticut.
We chose minimal accents for the room, simple orbs of rose petals and aluminum wire, softened with a few scattered petals:
Cat created this fan-shaped woven bouquet of lily grass with green trick dianthus, craspedia, lisianthus, mokara orchids and gloriosa lilies. love it.
Sharalynn didn’t have a lot of time to give us, so Bridal Trousseau changed her into this (amazing) vintage suit and Jacklyn took her for a walk outside to catch some of the foliage and beat the rain! No flowers here, but I couldn’t resist the suit (or the image).
While Jacklyn was busy shooting the morning away, Cat and I had been erecting and decorating an arch overlooking Winvian’s pond — we covered the arch with southern smilax and hung vases of kale, amaranthus and rosehips from it. The aisle is chocolate velvet lined with winter squash, mushrooms and asparagus.
aaaaaaaand….Cat again with this European cascade of lily grass with kale and mokara orchids. Simple, dramatic and graceful. She’s brilliant.
One more bouquet before we go back inside — Cat’s cranberry cascade:
This is a long post, right? Well, it was a long day, trust me. While Jacklyn shot the arch, Cat and I set up our chuppah on the opposite end of the pond, but before she could shoot it, the rain came and we ran inside. The models had all been redone and put in fabulous new dresses and Jacklyn snapped a few shots in Winvian’s main office building, just because it was pretty.
This dress needed a more traditional bouquet, so I threw together some cherry brandy roses, fiddleheads and dianthus:
Aryn’s holding a bouquet I made of green trick dianthus with red mokara orchids. Like moss without the mess!
Now it’s getting dark, we still haven’t shot the chuppah so Cat and I decided to hang some vases from it with candles, we also happen to have a ton of floating candles in the van from a previous wedding, so we got to work while the ladies got changed again and the headed off to shoot in the Connecticut Yankee cottage (one of my absolute favorites — based on the Twain novel, A CT yankee in King Arthur’s court). Look at this bed.
Here’s a veil I made out of lily grass, hypericum berries and mokara orchids. Could I have a better model for this? I think not.
And I made some shoes to wear with the veil
And another pair (actually this is the first pair I made — they didn’t work with the veil, but I couldn’t leave them home, could I?)
And now, at last, 10 pm or so, Cat’s been outside trying to use dead grass to keep the candles on the chuppah lit for well over an hour. It’s freezing cold, the models are exhausted, Jacklyn’s exhausted, but we all trudged down to the pond and got these (completely amazing) shots:
Then we drove the hour home and CRASHED. But the truth is, I really couldn’t get to sleep. My mind was racing with everything we’d done — all the images in my head, in Jacklyn’s camera — seeing things I’d only vaguely imagined become real. Only one thing to say. I love my job.
Thanks for coming on the ride — leave us a comment below so we know you’re watching!
So here is Winvian, one of the coolest places in Connecticut. We shot here twice last year, summer and fall. The summer shoot was my first time working with Jacklyn from Jagstudios, coming off a weekend of two huge weddings and working only with what was left in the cooler (and a few additions from a trip Cat made to the grocery store), We made a few things, dropped them in Jackie’s hands, drove the hour back to Middletown and crashed. Here’s what Jacklyn did with our stuff:
Cat made this entirely edible bouquet of herbs, grains and dendrobium orchids:
Look at how it moves!
This next one was a test. Well no. Not a test. Perhaps a challenge. I ran into the barn at Winvian having had maybe two hours sleep, looking a little sweaty and crazy in the eyes. Models were being primped, gowns were being steamed, I needed coffee. So I walked up to this photographer I’d only met once at a cocktail party and handed her a giant lavender egg made of flowers. Jackie looked at me like I was crazy, but I figured whatever, with those dreadlocks i knew she could handle it. I was right. I told her I thought it was a bouquet, she decided it was sculpture.
It looks great, right? But come on. Don’t you think the right bride could carry it as a bouquet? Who’s with me?
Here’s something Cat pulled together out of a grapevine ball, a few cymbidium blooms and a very happy plant. To me, it looks like it’s dancing.
Cat again: stones wrapped in copper, brussels sprouts, lychee nuts:
And the last piece from our summer shoot was a little woven thing. I told Jackie I wasn’t sure what it was but that I suspected it was a hairpiece. Is this not the coolest image?
Or wait. Is this cooler? Hard to say.
Winvian autumn shoot coming next featuring shoes, a veil and the most incredible shots of our chuppah at night…