Autumn Boho Wedding Inspiration
A person with artistic or literary interests who lives and acts free of regard for conventional rules, free of standards of behavior. One who lives a wandering and alternative lifestyle. Without Bohemians the world would be a complete bore.
And because I’m in danger of becoming the world’s most boring person, tick-tocking my time away doing old lady things like reading novels and crocheting, it was time to do this Harvest Bohemian shoot :) And Bonus... It's here just in time for the week of Thanksgiving! Once again, I was so lucky to team up with Ashley from Hawkeye Photography. We’ve been planning this shoot for almost 6 months now, and I’m so happy with how it turned out that I don’t even know where to start introducing it to you.
I think the hardest part about this shoot was narrowing down our design options, but managing to stand out in a sea of boho inspiration, and isn’t this the same problem almost any bride experiences? There is sooo much inspiration out there (Thank you Pinterest!) that it’s overwhelming to try and narrow down your options (Curse you Pinterest!) to the two or three that are going to make your wedding great. And then to try and personalize your ideas so that it FEELS like your wedding and not like everybody else’s wedding?!?! It’s an ulcer-inducing process almost guaranteed to make you want to tear out your gorgeous wedding-day hair extensions, and I can tell brides struggle narrowing down what they love when they come and tell me things like, “I’m doing a vintage, modern, rustic-glam, farmhouse, industrial romance wedding.” Ummm…what? OK, so do you have an inspiration board? And they then proceed to show me a Pinterest board that, I kid you not, has 6 different weddings planned on it. There is so much to love about this industry but scale it back people, scale it back.
So, I’m sure you’re all wondering how to scale it back, how to make those decisions, how to create a theme. That, my friends, is a whole series of posts and there is a ton of advice, but the main thought I can give you is if it takes 6 styles to describe your wedding, you’ve gone a little over the line there, and you need to take a red pen and cross out AT LEAST 3 of them.
For example, the title of this shoot is Harvest Bohemian. This references the season and the style and that’s where we’re going to stay. I’m not going to try and make sure this shoot fits any season. I’m not going to try and make sure the cake would look good in an English Cottage Romance Wedding. I’m going autumn boho or I’m going home. But the great thing about inspiration is that you can use it as a spring-board and personalize it to your wedding. Love boho, but getting married in the springtime? Cover that boho backdrop in daisies and goldenrod, switch that ¾ length sleeved boho dress to butterfly sleeves and sandals, and cover tables with hand-died silk instead of furs…you get my drift.
So, without further ado, I give you our agonizingly crafted and styled Harvest Bohemian Wedding! (Warning: super long post ahead, but stay with me because there are sooo many cool details and vendors to share!)
Now, because this is boho and because when I think boho, I think sun, nature, and a little wild and free, I constructed a wedding teepee backdrop on a gorgeous private ranch in Hobble Creek Canyon in Springville, UT. By “I constructed a wedding teepee backdrop” what I really mean to say is my Handsome Devil of a husband who is talented at all things building, woodworking, and construction built me a teepee so that I could decorate it. It’s our love teepee :) Kind of like a love fern? Like, if we can’t keep a teepee standing we probably won’t last another 6 months? Anyway, the important thing is that I was there helping in a very helpful way. I hauled those logs (they weighed a ton), I pulled rope while he lashed the logs together (my arms are killing me), and I helped him stand that freaking 18-foot teepee up. It was totally dicey there for a minute and I was pretty sure it was going to fall on him and break his neck, leaving me a young, moderately attractive widow, but we did it and so our marriage is destined to be a raving success. After that, I harvested scrub oak branches off the ranch (*read: my husband used the chainsaw because he has this control issue about me and power tools), as well as all that gorgeous autumn foliage. I pulled in some deep maroons, light and medium yellows, a few last light greens, and some fabulous branches from who knows what that had this amazing orange-red ombre thing going on. Plus, those classic autumn-red maple leaves!
I went teepee frame on the backdrop vs. the traditional arch or arbor because Ashely and I wanted this shoot to have a underlying native, tribal feel, but without going all Aztec/Southwestern United States. So, we chose the gorgeous autumn-leaved teepee and then created and decorated a focal point of Indian blankets, furs, and super lush pillows. I’m dying over these textures and patterns together, but I also love how the layered textiles give the photo a 3-dimensional element that keeps everything from looking flat. I’m also completely smitten with the decorative feathers, antlers, and macramé. They add the little kitschy, eclectic details that tie our boho theme together, but also bring in the feel of harvest. Autumn is the time of year we harvest our food and game and I loved tying the feathers and mounts back to Native American tradition that we use all of God’s bounty.
Let me take a moment here while we’re talking about teepee decor to spotlight a favorite vendor in our shoot. One thing Ashley and I love to do in our shoots is find off-the-beaten path vendors who create or sell beautiful artisan products and introduce them to our clients. We had such a great time working with them and love their products so much that we can’t keep them all to ourselves! For example, these Indian Blankets by The Wander Series were so soft, so comfortable, and came in such stylish patterns and colors that I want a whole bunch for my home! If you’re going bohemian on your wedding, or bringing in a little tribal feel to your reception or home décor, these blankets by The Wander Series are a must. And I think Ashley would back me up 100% when I also say they make darling photo prop/photo backdrop accessories (newborn photography anyone?!?!).
We were also so lucky to be able to work with Emma from Harlow Brides as our dress vendor. She provided the bride's dress for our lovely model Alyssa and we loved going up to her shop and looking at all the stunning gowns she carries. All of Emma’s gowns at Harlow Brides were so beautiful and stylish.
Harlow Brides has a unique selection of gorgeous gowns, and they are also the only Utah bridal shop to carry the dress designer Kite & Butterfly. Ashley and I stumbled onto Kite & Butterfly dresses while we were researching this shoot and we knew we had to have one! Harlow Brides provided us with “Rena” from the Kite & Butterfly line and it was perfection in a dress. The colors, the texture, and that neckline make me so giddy! I think “Rena” is the perfect dress for transitioning into Fall. The airy feel of the crocheted lace keeps it light, but those ¾ length sleeves keep it from feeling too summery. And I’m totally digging the boho vibe that all the Kite & Butterfly dresses have. I know Harlow Brides has such a gorgeous selection of gowns from these designers, so you need to run, not walk my friends.
Especially when you see this gown with the bridal bouquet. I am so so happy with how this bridal bouquet turned out! I know right now the asymmetrical, spilling bouquets are so popular, but that style just didn’t fit my vision of this dress. I wanted a bouquet whose shape reminded brides of going out and picking their own wildflowers out of the mountains, so I went with an up-right, spiraled bouquet shape. In the bouquet itself, I used flowers that were both sourced and foraged. I headed to the wholesaler and picked up a selection of muted-toned wildflowers: thistle, goldenrod, white liatris, seeded eucalyptus, and a few other bits and bobs. Then, I foraged for more flowers (those darling orange flowers were growing wild in the mountains). No clue what they are; maybe a wild aster of some variety? As well as the scrub oak and red maple leaves. I love the asymmetry added by the scrub oak and its little nod to the wild beauty that is boho. After the bouquet was finished, I glued in real duck feathers (umm not wild duck feathers…I don’t want to spread disease. I bought these at the craft store). And then I used the same feathers in the leather-braided bridal halo I created. It’s a little on the anti-flower crown/anti-veil wavelength, but again, it’s the little details like this that make your wedding truly personal. When all is said and done, I’m so happy I was able to find the product that captured my vision for this bouquet: it needed to be colorful, but still muted for autumn; it needed to feel wild and free, but still be structured and upright in shape.
*sigh...I could look at that last image all day and I'm so grateful for the bounty of inspiration one can find in nature.
Another naturally inspiring element to this shoot was incorporating some of the beautiful horses from the venue on the private ranch. I love the depth of emotion that a person's love for animals can pull into a picture, and it was so fun watching Duchess and Alyssa get acquainted. It was also completely nerve-wracking because Duchess was much more inspired to eat the cake, the foliage off the teepee, and good night what if she had stepped on the dress?!?! So much for remaining calm 'because horses can sense nervousness'.
I can't tell you how much I loved seeing this beautiful horse paired with all of these bohemian details...especially the dress. Also, I can't tell you how proud I am of myself for catching and saddling that horse all by myself. The things I do for this job...it's stress, but I love it.
Another beautiful accessory to this gown was provided by Utah-based, artisan jeweler Stay Gold Jewelry. This is another hidden gem of a vendor that we are so excited to share with our clients. We love the raw brilliance that is Stay Gold Jewelry and Ashley may or may not have ended up purchasing a little early Christmas present for herself...but shhhh! Keep that little detail to yourselves.
Stay Gold Jewelry created this geode and drop-chain arrowhead necklace for our shoot and I love how it drops right into that neckline perfectly. Plus, the arrowhead ties in so well with our native, tribal, boho décor that I had to run out and get a few other arrow accessories.
We finished off the bridal inspiration with the amazing Hair and Make-up (HMUA) talents of Julie with Blushing Blonde. Julie is new on the scene here in Utah, but her work is amazing and she is so talented! Julie took Alyssa’s locks (and can we all just take a moment and admire Alyssa’s red hair? The perfect red color, the perfect thickness, a little natural wave…sigh) and styled a boho braided bang. I love how it sweeps just so across Alyssa’s forehead.
And then peeking out from underneath is the leather-braided boho bridal halo I mentioned earlier! I created this to come out underneath the bangs and then wrap around the back of the hair, with a side-angled fascinator of feathers and turquoise and I love how it turned out! Even though Alyssa isn’t modeling a veil, the hanging white feathers still give a little nod to the traditional white veil.
Another anti-veil option that is such a kitschy boho detail is the felt hat Alyssa is modeling. It covers up the boho braid...bummer :( but Julie left the rest of those locks cascading down Alyssa’s back in a tumble of waves. So romantic, but so natural and free, with just that hint of mystery a bride behind a veil has, but in a more boho style. That pop of color against the dress, though!
Julie finished off the look with a neutral-bronzy smokey eye (love that eyeshadow palette she used!) and a fabulous nude lipstick. Perfection. I’m so sad Julie doesn’t live close enough to come to my house every day and do my hair and makeup :( Because that’s obviously what she wants to do with her spare time.
And, if any of you were ever wondering where I spend most of my time, that’s easy…in the kitchen. It’s where I make meals for my family, it’s where I do my flowers, it’s where I wash A LOT of dishes. And it’s where I bake my from-scratch, gourmet wedding cakes. Ashley so perfectly captured the golden magic that is this homemade Vanilla Bean cake with homemade Caramel Pecan filling.
Starting from the inside out, I always want my cakes to look AND taste like they fit with the wedding. I tried to capture the spirit of this earthy, harvest, autumn inspired shoot by taking a classic vanilla cake and ramping up that flavor with vanilla bean paste and then filling it with homemade caramel and pecans. Nothing says fall to me like caramel and nuts together! On the outside, I used a classic vanilla buttercream, but put a boho twist on it by adding in more vanilla bean paste. Those little black flecks just taste boho to me :) Plus, they looked amazing against the cake plates. I finished off the frosting with brushed, arrow-inspired strokes of edible bronze dust. I purposefully used a 6” cake because I wanted the size to reflect the simplicity of a true bohemian lifestyle, but this look could definitely be expanded to a more traditional, tiered wedding cake.
I finished off the cake with a topper from selections of the same wildflowers I used in the bridal bouquet and added in a little asymmetrical scrub oak flourish as well as some feathers and a little braided strap of leather. I love the natural, simple feel to the cake, but I also love how that bronze dust glows in the sunlight.
While Ashley and I were styling the cake, we wanted to catch that same layered, kitschy look we achieved with the textiles, so you’ll notice that I have my hand-turned cake pedestal made from silver maple that my handsome devil of a husband made for me for our 5th wedding anniversary (the traditional gift is wood that year, so this is a great idea if you’re on #5!) sitting on top of another rustic wood slice, and that is topped with that eclectic little black and gold cake plate. The black and gold designs totally had an abstract leaf shape to me, and I love how this plate put a great pop of design and movement against the wooden pedestal and stand. We decorated the cake pedestal with this amazing set of antlers and then some fun arrow and leaf décor we found.
The best part of bringing the cake to any shoot, though, is cutting into it at the end and sharing it with all of the amazing vendors who came to work and put the shoot together. From my kitchen to your wedding, a slice of cake is a little slice of love.
And last, but most certainly not least, no shoot is complete without an amazing photographer. We could all bring our stuff up and put all that effort into creating this wedding inspiration for you, but without Ashley from Hawkeye Photography there to capture it, did it really happen?! Jk my teepee-building sore muscles are screaming that, yes, it really happened :) I just have to showcase some of the amazing images from this shoot and share Ashley’s talent for creating light, depth, emotion, and dimension with her subjects.
If you've stayed with me clear to the end, thank you thank you! I hope you found this shoot as beautiful and inspiring as we did. It truly came from the heart! Ashley and I worked hard to help brides fall in love all over again with the month of November. This is an oft-overlooked month in the wedding industry, but for us, it's one of our favorites. Nature offers such an array of creativity, color, texture, moods, and movement that we knew could be incorporated into a gorgeous wedding design.
Wishing all of you at this Thanksgiving time, a table filled with family, love, laughter, and delicious food! Complete vendor list located at the bottom of this post.
Florals, Teepee, Décor and Styling, and Cake:
The Pear Blossom
Photography, Décor and Styling:
Stay Gold Jewelry
Private Ranch in Hobble Creek Canyon, Springville, UT
988 E 3300 S
Salt Lake City, Utah
The Wander Series
Kite and Butterfly