Japanese Fusion Bridal Shoot
When 2019 trends of bows, appliqué and bright colours – as well as Pantone’s colour of the year living coral – were announced, a styled shoot began to take shape featuring multi-award winning suppliers from Norfolk. We wanted to create an inspirational mood board rich in symbolism and simplicity, a fusion and intersection of rich traditions, where old meets new, all wrapped up in contemporary bridal elegance. Our inspiration for brides is to keep it simple and be brave with colour combinations; focus on a few elements of bright colour and rich textures, allow the individual elements to shine.
We began with the koi, a very symbolic fish that is closely tied to Japan’s national identity. Through the koi fish legend, you can see that they show great determination, dedication, perseverance and success. They symbolise a transformation in life, love and friendship; a perfect metaphor for marriage. We also took inspiration from the vintage collection of kimono, obi and fans owned by florist Sachiko. For the final photograph, Karen Fuller created a fine art image within the ruined tower rich in the symbolism of the shoot.
The shoot was hosted at Pentney Abbey in Norfolk. Echoing our theme of old meets new, we used the medieval gatehouse with its rustic walls and gorgeous window light. It evoked the atmosphere of a Japanese Tea House.
Sachiko (owner of Libby Ferris Flowers) is unique among florists in the UK. She is a traditionally trained and qualified Ikebana (Japanese flower arranging) practitioner, British Master Florist (MDPF), qualified teacher and lecturer of Floristry, an International demonstrator and she is a RHS Chelsea Flower Show Medallist. She brings a range of multi-cultural influences to her design ideas and uses her very high technical skills to make exquisite, striking and stylish floral designs. For this project she created designs which are a true fusion of East with West and the traditional with modern.
Contemporary wired Bridal bouquet in fan shape.
The structure of the fan was made in a technique which is usually called the Gregor Cup method using various gauges of wire to create a unique 3-D design. As this technique is hand-crafted each design is bespoke and allows the Florist to be creative in their designs. For the fan I used a wide range of unusual techniques. The actual materials used to create the structure were golden pearls, ribbons, metallic wire and Bullion wire. As I was using fresh flowers I incorporated a small floral foam pad so that flowers would stay fresh.
Beautiful bright colours were selected for this shoot because the design needed to meet the Japanese fusion theme. Japanese wedding Kimonos are traditionally very brightly coloured (especially red and gold) and the fan has a very strong place in traditional Japanese costume and culture. Special care was taken to select particularly beautiful flowers for the fan as I needed to be able to arrange them in the “frame” in such a way as to show off the colours and to train the flowers into a fan shape which also had a sense of movement. Different techniques were used to set the flowers in such a way to achieve the effect that I desired. I used several fresh material garlands to create a layered effect within the fan so that the design was not only beautiful but as robust as I could make it. These techniques enabled me to create a design so that when the Bride moved the trailing elements added graceful and elegant movements.
Cerise Rose (symbolism: Happiness)
Cerise Dendrobium Orchid (symbolism: Beauty ).
Cerise and red Ranunculus ( symbolism : cerise one- Charming, red: Beautiful)
Red mini Gerbera (symbolism : Mysteries love)
Orange spray rose (symbolism : Tolerance)
Peach Ilex (symbolism :Faithful love)
Our model Hayley (a real bride form last autumn) wore a bespoke gown by Foxglove & Gingersnap Bridal Couture – an independent designer on the East Norfolk coast. The dress in a fine ivory crepe reflected clean lines and simplicity with a 70s vibe. A detachable obi style back provided a subtle nod to our Japanese theme along with a hand painted and hand beaded koi train which was also detachable. Couture buttons and hand stitched button loops added to the luxurious feel and the rippling of the base of the dress gave a sense of flowing water.
Her hair was styled as a modern geisha, with large and smooth rolls.
Sweetheart Tableflowers, Stationery and Cakes
Flowers– Horizontal arrangement in black lacquer container
The design was placed in a unique Japanese lacquer ware container which is black on the sides and a wood grain effect at the ends which adds to the fusion theme. The flowers used were two varieties of orchid to create the Japanese influence, bright coloured flowers and bold fan shaped foliage to link to the fan- shaped bridal bouquet. As this was a table design I made it as a horizontal design so that it would not interrupt eye-line. The horizontal element was emphasised by using natural, twisted hazel twigs to create strong lines and movement. The Asparagus Fern was used to further the horizontal lines and to create negative space.
Lime green Cymbidium orchid (symbolism: Modest )
Cerise Dendrobium Orchid (symbolism: Beauty )
Cerise and red Ranunculus ( symbolism : cerise – Charming, red – Beautiful)
Lilac Eustoma (symbolism: Hope)
Simplicity and colour. Out sweetheart table featured natural tones of greys, echoed through the plates, ribbon tied cutlery and chiavari chairs. The vintage obi were styled on the back of the chairs – with the colourful fans – and across the table to join the two place settings together. The stationery echoed the obi with stitched origami papers over a koi illustrated design.The stationery echoed the obi with stitched origami papers over a koi illustrated design. The second stationery suite was printed on fine art handmade petal papers giving a feeling of the koi swimming underwater.
The three-tiered koi cake featured tones of ivory, coral and red, with gold highlights and the koi design. This was completed with spray of sugar flower Ranunculus. The second table featured three elegant cakes in ivory, navy and metallics with sugar rose, orchid and cherry blossom flowers.
Photography: Karen Fuller, Fuller Photography (MPA & EDP Bride Award Winner)
Dress: Rachael Fox, Foxglove & Gingersnap Bridal Couture
Flowers: Sachiko Smale, Libby Ferris Flowers (RHS Chelsea Medal Winner)
Hair and MUA: Amelia Garwood (TWIA & EDP Bride Award Winner)
Model: Hayley Geere