Intense Winter Wedding Inspiration for the Modern Bride
You know all those cheesy quotes about the ‘comfort zone’?!?! Things like: “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” or, “Everything you’ve ever wanted is one step outside your comfort zone.”
Yup. Totally cheese-ball, but totally true. When I posted a sneak peek of this collaboration on myInstagram account and told you guys that it really pushed me outside of my comfort zone, you have NO IDEA how far it hypothetically shoved me out the door, booted me onto my rear end (luckily it’s soft and squishy instead of rock-hard muscle so the landing was ok) and slammed that same hypothetical door behind me. I was picking up flowers and cueing major self-doubt on my color palette choices, textures, and intensity. I was so afraid I had crossed a line and that nothing would look the way I wanted it to, but the cool thing about stepping away from your security blanket and pacifier is that you learn to trust yourself as an artist and a designer and this shoot really helped me learn to trust myself and my ideas and designs that seem totally out there and crazy.
The inspiration for this shoot came over a year ago when Ashley with Hawkeye Photography and I both fell in love with the Elizabeth Dye gown ‘Furiosa’. She was dark, brave, edgy, and so so intense. I loved her for the contrast she made to all of the light, billowing romance of chiffon that everyone was wearing. I loved that there was something out there for the intense girls, because I’m totally an intense girl. I’m that person everyone has to “get used to”. I’ve learned to tone it down and take it down a few notches over the years, but it’s me and it’s there and I get that it’s intimidating (which makes me so glad I’m married and not in the dating scene because I can’t tell you HOW SICK AND TIRED I was of guys telling me they liked me, but they were intimidated by me – you don’t want to know what I was thinking when you gents said that btw *insert smirk :)
Anyway, me + Furiosa = Heaven, so Ashley and I went for it, even though it would appeal to literally no one in our target market here in Utah and not a lot of traditional bride blogs either for that matter. But, we knew there were intense, modern, or edgy brides who would LOVE this. They would put it on and it would just feel right, where clinging lace and lush garden roses wouldn’t. But mostly, I know so many brides who need the push and the inspiration to bravely do what works for them for their wedding and not just what is pretty on Pinterest right now. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the regret, “I wish I had done what worked for me at my wedding.” Well, this is me giving you some of my intensity and bravery and wrapping it up in this edgy, yet romantic wedding inspiration. It’s ok if this is too “out there” for you. It was almost too “out there” for me too, but sometimes “out there” is where the magic happens and this is one of those times. Take this edgy romantic inspiration and use the daring and bravery behind it to propel your own wedding to be personal to you, and not what magazines or Instagram say it should be.
The Color Palette
For this shoot, we totally threw caution to the wind, ditched the garden-romance pastels, and just went for it with an intense color palette of midnight black, charcoal, plum, oxblood, bright citrus accents, and white. I kid you not when I picked up the flowers I was like, “Good night woman what have you done!” The colors were so intense it was almost frightening. But I love how the colors evoke the mood, look, and feel of midnight on a winter’s eve. This palette just DARES you to make a move and to be a little more bold and sensual. It’s a passionate love affair in color. In a wedding world full of white, blush, and pastel, these colors get noticed just by stepping in the room. We all know what’s popular and trendy right now, but an unflinching color palette is a great way to stand out and personalize your wedding. Bonus! You can see these colors featured on Wedding Colors! I love the concept of this wedding website, where brides can search for wedding inspiration based on their color palette and it’s so fun to see these daring colors displayed there!
Ashley and I wanted to create something truly unique with ‘Furiosa’. We wanted this to be winter wedding inspiration, but if you’ve ever seen the full gown you’ll know from my post here that winter and ‘Furiosa’ don’t go together…bare arms, shoulders, back…brrr. I just couldn’t. It’s blotchy skin city. It’s a photography nightmare. We also wanted our shoot to have just a hint of steampunk and cosplay vibe. Enter the corset. We loved meeting Michelle from Damsel in this Dress to design this gorgeous black on black damask corset. You know how much I love introducing you guys to unique artisans and so today I'm featuring Michelle from Damsel in this Dress. Michelle does, hands down, the most gorgeous work in corsetry I have ever seen. I know because I tried it on like the second I got home with the product. No judging! But it was just so pretty (and amazingly well constructed and sturdy!). I laced that thing up and was shocked that after three babies, there was my waist again! I instantly resolved to somehow create a Little Red Riding Hood Halloween costume out of one of Michelle’s corsets someday. But that’s not today. Today we’re talking about bridal corsets.
I think one of Michelle's corsets would be such an amazing detail for brides looking to pull a steampunk, cosplay, elfin, or renaissance feel into their weddings. A bride could bring in so many fun colors, textures, and patterns that are unique and personal to her wedding with Michelle's corsets. And I’m dying over the contrast of how ‘Furiosa’ moves and floats against the more rigid silhouette of the corset. All the heart eyes for this intense, sexy bridal look.
Emma at Harlow Brides sourced the gown for this shoot and carries many of the stunning gowns by dress designer Elizabeth Dye, but ‘Furiosa’ really captures the brave, audacious bride.
Ashley and I liberated our model Jeremy from the traditional suit, and instead, opted for a swanky charcoal herringbone vest and black leather moto jacket.
Jeremy sports a black titanium wedding band and a kitschy plum and charcoal skinny sweater tie to complete the look for winter groom's fashion.
And I don’t know about you guys, but I certainly don’t mind a little scruff, even at a wedding! But then I’m the girl that loves a well-done goatee or neatly trimmed beard. I don’t do the mustache though…ick. But, I actually prefer my husband to have 4-5 days of scruff or a goatee, as opposed to being clean shaven. I guess I like just a little rebel in my guy :)
I can’t tell you how much I loved working with these florals. The tricky thing with bold color palettes and fresh flowers is that it can be hard to tell nature just what shade you want and have her consistently produce that color, and then be able to source it without hurricanes, drought, disease, etc. ruining your flowers. Black and plum are particularly difficult, but again, I wanted those deep midnight tones. And I wanted sleek, sexy, modern lines and luxurious blooms. But I still wanted it to be romantic. I’m not asking too much here am I?!?!
Here’s our bouquet breakdown:
We’ve got plum-colored calla lilies and ti leaves. These are so dark and intense that they are very nearly black, just not quite. But I love the midnight sky because it’s never a pure, flat black. It always has hints of a deep midnight blue or plum swirling in it and then whorls of silver and cream in the Milky Way. I can’t wait for summer to come so we can spend some time stargazing without freezing! I lightened up that deep plum and incorporated just a hint of soft romance with lavender alstromeria and white stock. And then I pulled in those bright citrus oranges with spray roses. I also added in an accent of deep, blood-red standard roses. I love the passion behind that red!
We finished off the bouquet with black scabiosa and white anemones. Totally luscious. Totally midnight. And very very edgy. We pulled in those same black scabiosa (yup that’s the flower’s name…gross) with a plum calla lily for the groom’s boutonniere and I love the lustrous lines it gives to the boutonniere.
I rounded and bulked out the bouquet with leather leaf, Italian ruscus, and asymmetrical sprays of plumosa fern. I love how the this fern looks against the tulle of our ‘Furiosa’ skirt, but beware because it’s easy for plumosa to snag on things and shed little pieces of fern on your gown. But it’s totally worth it when you see that airy movement.
Hair and Make-up Inspiration
You’re going to die when you see the edgy hair and make-up that Julie from Blushing Blonde created! For the make-up, Julie made a smoking-hot plum and charcoal smoky eye and paired it with luscious oxblood-red lips. She not only perfectly captured the color palette of this shoot, but also the personality and style behind it as well. These gorgeous eyes and lips are definitely a midnight, out on the town look.
I love how the bolder eyes and lips make such a great contrast to our model, Nicole’s, smooth creamy skin tones, but without washing her out. While neutrals are a classic bridal look, these bolder tones make Nicole’s skin look flawless and brighten her eyes.
And I’m totally crushing on Julie’s faux-hawk...side dutch braids swept up into a pompadour/fauxhawk combo. Edgy and intense, but still with a nod to the tradition of a stunning up-do for your wedding.
But my very very favorite part of Julie’s hair and make-up inspiration is her DIY midnight winter constellation hair piece she created for Nicole’s faux-hawk. For the brides who want to wear a headpiece, but aren’t into the veil, I loved Julie’s idea of a hairpiece as an accent. And this would be so perfect for weddings with star or constellation accents!
You’ll see those same midnight winter constellations captured as a detail in the invitation suite by Cassia with Cassia Leigh Designs as well.
I love her galaxy-inspired whorls and the constellation details. Perfect for your starry midnight wedding!
Ashley and I worked with Carol and Callie from Creative Wedding Events to create this intensely elegant sweetheart's table inspiration. Carol and Callie pulled rich, luxurious linens from our color palette and did such a beautiful job layering them to create depth and texture. Some of the linens also had a subtle sheen to it that was so elegant.
For place settings, you’ll see rataffia and snake skin chargers paired with pewter plating and goblets and silver cutlery. Again, those chargers provide such great texture and the hexagonal plates offer subtle lines and movement on the table. And are you guys diggin’ the understated gothic vibe from the pewter and the candelabra as much as I am? These accents compliment Michelle’s corset work and tie it all together.
The thing I love most about this table is that all the layers create depth and dimension in the photos, and since all you have at the end of your wedding day are your photos (so hire an amazing photographer!) I think it’s super important to keep the question of, “How will this photograph?” in the back of your mind when making design decisions.
I filled the table with glass urns of my same floral selection and then paired everything with bright pops of seasonal winter fruits. I love those tangenelos and pomegranates and check out how the plumose fern sweeps down the table :) Love those moody winter fruits, and the flowers and fruit combined smelled amazing.
I would have to say that when designing flowers, my clients see the biggest ‘‘sticker shock’’ when it comes to centerpieces. These beautiful urn style arrangements are classy and so popular right now, but most brides have no idea how much product it takes to create a lush-looking arrangement like this. Or, they “have their own vases” they want me to fill because they’re trying to save money, but their vases are huge. General rule of thumb – the bigger the container, the more it will cost to fill it. The other misconception I commonly see is when a client brings me little bud vases (you’re on the right track because they’re small) but then they want them filled with stems and greenery and want 3-5 vases on a table and they have 15 tables. It’s an eclectic look that I love, but it’s misleading in its simplicity. The bare-bones fact is that each stem costs money and the more of them you have, the more it costs. So should you ditch fresh floral centerpieces? No way! You just need to be prepared that because of the sheer amount of product needed to fill each vase and then multiplying that by the number of tables you have, it could take up a significant amount of your floral budget. For what it’s worth, though, by the time you try to go out and buy picture frames, votives, rose petals, or other décor trying to “cut costs on fresh florals”, you’ll have spent enough to afford the flowers. It just won’t feel like it because you spent it in small increments at several different stores, but when you add it all up, you could have afforded the fresh flowers you wanted!
Another fun midnight and starry-eyed romance detail that will have you oohing and aahing are these custom constellation sugar cookies by Number 13 Studios.
Not only were these cookies the PERFECT color and full of all sorts of galaxy and constellation love, they were delicious. I would use custom sugar cookies for so many different wedding styles and themes…seriously the possibilities are endless.
And as a bride, you have so many options. They would be darling on a dessert buffet, plated at a sit-down dinner, or packaged up as wedding favors. I’ll take sugar cookies over candied/Jordan almonds any day! For reals, though, am I the only person who thinks those candied almonds are disgusting?
Oh cake. I could have such a rockin’ hot bod if only I didn’t love cake so much :) jk...but no really. I don’t know if any other brides or cake decorators think about this, but something that’s key to me when I design and sketch out a cake is that the decorations AND the flavor profile fit the style, feel, and personality of the wedding. For this Edgy Midnight Romance, I knew the flavors needed to be dark, intense, decadent, and sensual. And nothing says that to me quite like chocolate. Our bottom tier is 5 layers of alternating dark chocolate cake and dark chocolate brownie. Say whaaaat? Dark chocolate brownie? Oh yes, we went there. In between each layer is a filling of dark chocolate ganache. This is a chocolate lover’s dream people. I frosted the entire tier in dark chocolate ganache before I covered it in fondant, and it’s the richest, most delectable cake I’ve ever made.
For the top tier, I played off the color palette a little bit more and created alternating layers of dark chocolate cake and white chocolate raspberry-swirled cheesecake. I wanted to bring in that rich oxblood red. Each layer was filled with raspberry filling and then I frosted the tier in vanilla buttercream. The dark chocolate is still very rich, but the cheesecake and the raspberries brighten it up just enough to keep it from going overboard.
The cake decorating was another area where I was pretty nervous that what I had dreamed up was going to completely bomb and turn out horrible but I love the final product and I feel like I found the balance between edgy/modern and elegant. For this edgy winter wedding cake, I covered the bottom tier in black fondant and painted an asymmetrical silver paint splatter. I love the contrast of the more modern paint splatter with the luxurious black satin ribbon and the feel of edgy elegance it gave the cake.
For the top tier, I used colored buttercream in black, charcoal, white, plum, lavender, and citrus orange to create an edgy, modern-art inspired galaxy and I love the smokey, blended effect it gives the frosting.
To create a focal point, I frosted an asymmetrical galaxy filled with more silver splatters and real winter constellations. Do I know anything about constellations? Nope. But you better believe Google and I did a ton of research on which constellations are visible in North America in the winter and I used those as my inspiration for the stars and constellations on my cake. I really tried for authenticity here :)
This is definitely a moody wedding cake. It’s got some edge. It’s unquestionably dark and mysterious. I love it. I’m seeing this with a fabulous pewter laser-cut topper.
Photography and Venue
Ashley with Hawkeye Photography shot this collaboration at the Chantilly Mansion in Layton, UT. I love the Victorian-esque backdrop it provided for Ashley and she has curated the most beautiful images from this shoot. Ashley and I have both worked with Chantilly Mansion before at another wedding and it’s particularly beautiful in the springtime when the gardens are in full-bloom! But, even in the winter, it sets just the right mood, and Ashley captured the deep romance of our edgy midnight winter wedding inspiration so well, even going so far as to shoot into the deepening twilight to help set the right midnight romantic mood.
I’ve never worked on a styled shoot with a videographer before, so this was a first for me, but after seeing the magic that is Rob with Sugar Rush Photo and Video, I’m hooked! A videographer was a must for me at my own wedding. I love seeing my special day play out again in a way that's just completely different from photos, and it was just as good for a styled shoot as well!
His video brings back all the fun and excitement of seeing this project come together! Plus, it’s such an artistic take on our midnight wedding under the stars. I’m in love, I’m in love, and I don’t care who knows it!
I hope you loved our Edgy Midnight Romance: Intense Winter Wedding Inspiration for the Modern Bride as much as I did and I truly hope it inspires you to be bold, beautiful, and create the wedding that is authentically and distinctly you! Scroll down to the vendor list to find all the amazing talent in this shoot...And if you love it, feel free to share this blog post, pin images, or share images on social media!
The Pear Blossom
The Pear Blossom
Cassia Leigh Design
Creative Wedding Events
Damsel in this Dress
Number 13 Studios
Sugar Rush Video
Jeremy and Nichole Tippetts
Meet the Designer
Emily first fell in love with flowers while studying floral design at Brigham Young University-Idaho in 2002. She did her first wedding that same summer and has been designing weddings ever since. With over 12 years of experience in the floral and wedding industries, Emily loves creating flowers that bring beautiful colors, textures, and most importantly, memories to every event.