Pretty Poppies Styled Shoot - Queer Wedding Inspiration
It had been two years since my last big styled shoot (with Sarandon Smith that got published with Style Me Pretty, heyo!), and in the slow season I wanted to create something new. When I met my partner, Kayla, I learned quickly that she was known in her circle for being a master party planner, going all out with themed food and drinks, over-the-top decorations, and coordinating it all flawlessly. It only made sense to collaborate on something while she was between jobs (and so, Vibrant Visions Co was born).
Looking at examples of queer and gender non-confirming wedding celebrations, we felt frustrated that things still seemed to fall into the binary. As we moved further from tradition, we got to see gender expression and individuality thrive. This shoot was created to celebrate vibrant queer love in a wedding weekend full of bold color and thoughtful details.
We found our venue in the heart of Leesburg, VA. Using Rust Manor House as our backdrop was the biggest piece in creating an intimate, timeless look. Simple yet elegant tones and textures allowed the vibrant colors to shine, and the staff there couldn’t have been more welcoming.
Rosie from Simply Rosie Designs created our colorful stationery suite, complete with a petal pink envelope with a surprise envelope liner detailed with tangerine & sunshine yellow poppies. Rosie also delicately hand-lettered our multi-colored escort cards, which are paint chips! This unique detail was a fun and budget-friendly way to create a colorful statement piece to match the vibe. Our cheerful and picturesque flat lays came together with items from Magothy Event Co’s detail kits, along with the graphics and shapes Rosie used, drawing colors right from our inspiration board.
We were inspired by colorful florals and citrus tones, focusing on a non-traditional, unique spin on the microwedding trend. With seeing more and more couples opting to extend their wedding celebrations all weekend long, we knew we wanted to showcase what an extension to the wedding day could look like. When Kayla suggested doing a Sunday day-after-wedding brunch, it felt like the perfect addition.
When it was time to find tablescape rentals, we knew we had to turn to Something Vintage. Their hand-thrown dishware in vibrant yellow and creamy coral was a must-have. Their handmade bud vases and gold accents really tied the whole thing together.
No morning-after brunch is complete without a brunch bar, so we rented the cutest white bar cart and pink striped umbrella from Vintage Views, who also provided our mocktails and brunch board with delicious homemade pop tarts. On the cart, we displayed the drink sign from Kate Slayton Lettering, hand piped cookies from It’s My Party Cookies, specialty drink charms and stirrers from The Sip Social Co, and the most beautiful custom macarons from Mrs. Macarons. Throw in some fruit and florals, and this “Rise and Shine” brunch spoke for itself.
Married on September 21, 2021 (solely for the Earth, Wind, and Fire song), our models Braxton (they/them) and Arlo (he/him), were the perfect faces for this shoot. We knew we wanted to showcase LGBTQ+ models, and we were thrilled when they reached out to join us. After signing on, we learned that Arlo is a wheelchair user, and made sure our venue and timeline would be accessible for him. It was a privilege to be able to show a variety of bodies, identities, and abilities that don’t always get to see themselves in the wedding industry.
Our makeup artist, Jessica, created two unique, complementary looks for the wedding vignette, and then transitioned to something totally new for brunch. The graphic liner and pink monochrome popped in their portraits!
Finding attire for eight models was definitely the toughest challenge of this shoot. It was important to us to make sure that each model felt 100% comfortable in their outfit, and that it properly showcased their gender expression. Most of our pieces were rented from Nuuly, including the incredible fringe blazer that Arlo wore for the wedding, and the one-sleeved feather dress that Braxton is rocking for brunch. With the dress, Braxton also wore a necklace that belonged to Arlo’s great grandmother.
From the start, we referred to this shoot as “Pretty Poppies,” using their hot red, magenta, orange, and goldenrod colors as inspiration. We knew we had to try to get the real deal. Danie from Dandelions Flower Stand blew us away with the vivid poppies and peony tulips she was able to source locally from Butterbee Farm and Fairytale Farmette.
We were so blown away by how this shoot came together, and how each and every one of our vendors went above and beyond to bring this vision to life. The unabashed vibrant color palette, and models who could freely express themselves, felt like the heartbeat to this shoot.
When we learned that Pretty Poppies would be published with Green Wedding Shoes, we were ecstatic! Our photographer Haley called Kayla and I while we were sitting in the Rita's parking lot. When I picked up the phone I said, "Please tell me this is good news." Haley, her fiancé Pat, Kayla, and I all celebrated with squeals of excitement.
Getting queer folks and folks with disabilities on mainstream wedding media will continue to be a huge mission of mine. We want to show wide audiences that underrepresented people exist, that they can have lavish weddings, and that they deserve to have their love celebrated.
Our full vendor list:
Photography / Haley Day Photography (Haley's photos are featured on GWS. The images here are my own.) Venue / Rust Manor House Florals / Dandelions Stand Attire / Nuuly Beauty / JTan Artistry Mobile Bar / Vintage Views Bar Furniture & Rug Rentals / Magothy Event Co Tablescape Rentals / Something Vintage Stationery & Name Cards / Simply Rosie Designs Signature Drink Signs / Kate Slayton Lettering Macarons / Mrs Macarons Cookies / It's My Party Cookies Drink Stirrers & Charms / The Sip Social Co Officiant / Taylored Vows Couple / Braxton & Arlo Sparks Models / Danie Minor, Jacob Tate, Carson Pursifull, Taylor Picard, Claire Stehley, Amie Sombunwanna