Back in July I had the pleasure of staging a styled shoot with Maria of Adventure Elopements Hudson Valley at the Saugerties Steamboat Co.
Styled shoots are photoshoots staged by a team of wedding vendors. Typically, we all volunteer our time and skills, pull together something beautiful, then take really nice pictures of it. Especially right now when most events have been called off, a styled shoot is a great chance to flex some creative muscles and try new things!
Maria was organizing a styled shoot bonanza: three different model couples, with three different photographers and three different dresses!
For this shoot, we used a “something blue” color scheme, with lots of whites and bright greens. All of the flowers I used were 100% locally-grown and seasonal, many of them grown at Sea Change Farm (yay!).
Knowing that we’d be shooting three different couples at the same venue with the same color scheme, I wanted to make each bridal bouquet distinct.
I’m excited to show you these three very different creations! First off, let me introduce you to:
Photos in this section are by DNA Photography
I knew I wanted one of the three bouquets to be a real showstopper. I wanted a unique, distinct, eye-catching feature, and I wanted it to feel a little edgy. This would be more of a vogue, runway bouquet. It might not be Too Much Bouquet for most brides to actually want to carry around on their wedding day–but what are photoshoots for if not to push boundaries a little?
I’ve been wanting to try using a curly willow armature ever since I saw Ponderosa & Thyme use one in a video. It’s big, it’s weird, it’s wild: aka, a perfect showstopper!
When my fiancé and I first moved in together, we planted a curly willow tree in our front yard. I went back to that house (which other members of his family live in now–I’m not a total creeper!!) and harvested some branches. The tree is now big and healthy and beautiful, with plenty of extra branches and love to spare for a new couple’s bouquet.
At home, I stripped all the leaves off the willow branches to display their beautiful yellow bark. To create the armature for the bouquet, I selected branches with the most interesting shapes and gathered them in my hand. I wove them together, looping the branches back on themselves and securing them with wire until I was happy with the shape.
With the armature ready, I layered in flowers and greenery until I was happy with the bouquet’s form and texture. I kept the color palette fairly reserved, since the “wow” feature here was the willow armature, and I didn’t want the bouquet to become confusing or distracting with too many colors on top of that.
I used globe thistle as the strongest blue in this bouquet, and hydrangea as the brightest white. Dusty miller served as a lighter blue tone, and helped bridge the gap from blue to white. A few creamy lisianthus and dahlias gave this composition focus, and fun textural fillers like feverfew and flowing oregano completed my mix.
I love how this bouquet turned out. The willow armature is bouncy and fun, wild and unusual. It’s a different take on local flowers from the “wildflower meadow” look, for sure!
The Textural White
Photos in this section are by Noxon Photography
For my second bouquet, I wanted to make something that felt very different from the willow bouquet. Where “The Showstopper” was loose and large, I wanted to make something small and tight. Where the colors were a little broad, I wanted to pull them narrow.
This second bouquet is a textural white bouquet, and most of the elements in it are on the white-cream-beige spectrum. I used a mix of fresh and dried flowers in this bouquet to lend it more interest.
My favorite flower in this bouquet is yarrow. Fresh yarrow! Dried yarrow! Wonderful yarrow! Fresh or dried, it has a lovely sparkling look to it. As a medicinal herb, yarrow helps lower blood pressure and helps wounds to heal. When I use it in a bouquet, I like thinking that the yarrow might offer some similar protection and healing to the bouquet-wielder.
At the shoot, I paired this bouquet with the most “glam” dress that we had. That dress was a solid clean white, and this textural white bouquet played well off it, bringing in some interest without overshadowing the simplicity of the dress.
Photos in this section by Alex Healy Photography
For the third and final bouquet, I used a size and shape that is quickly becoming my favorite to make: a large and lush oval-shaped bouquet. I also call this shape a “heart” because I like to build it such that the center is tight and low, and the edges looser, flowing up and outward like a heart.
This shape of bouquet is super photogenic and flattering! This bouquet is wide enough to span the body when held in front for photos, so the bouquet-wielder’s torso appears to be rising out of a garden meadow.
(aside: can we also talk about how ADORABLE this baby is?)
I love this shape because it is so versatile. It can be held a number of ways to look beautiful. It also allows me to incorporate a wide range of floral materials: large dense flowers, like dahlias or peonies, fit well in the center of the bouquet where they can be protected and anchor the composition; looser, flowing, and trailing elements can be allowed to do their wild thing on the outer edges of the bouquet.
In this particular heart bouquet, I wanted to showcase some brighter blues. The star of the show here are two incredible hydrangea branches, one a solid deep blue and one featuring blue-centered petals with a white picotee. The trailing blue silk ribbon highlights these bold colors and brings them out (psst: we use handmade plant-dyed ribbons on all our bouquets! These ones are from Silk & Willow)
I can’t get over how well Alex Healy captured this day! I love everything about these photos.
There’s no one way to make a bridal bouquet, and everybody has their own preferences about style, size, and shape. What’s great about a photoshoot like this one is that I can play with multiple twists on the same theme!
You can probably guess which bouquet was my favorite 😉 What’s yours?
Samantha is the head farmer and florist at Sea Change Farm & Flower.
Want flowers in your inbox? Sign up for our newsletter here.