Italy has always inspired me, not only the landscape, but also the fantastic culture, art and literature. When Anaïs Stoelen told me her dream, namely organising a styled shoot around the Birth of Venus, the famous painting of the Italian painter Botticelli, I could envision the whole project immediately.
My thoughts started to wander off, I could start daydreaming endlessly of … beach weddings.
For this shoot I choose to stay in Belgium. I wanted to underline the intense former relationship between Italy and Belgium. After a thorough study of the original painting I started to have crazy ideas. The location had to be ethereal, preferably the sea as a referral to the elements in the painting. Finally I choose some virgin dunes at the Belgian coast. It wouldn’t be easy to reach them but I’m not afraid of obstacles.
I didn’t have to search a photographer anymore. Anaïs and I were on the same wavelength for this amazing romantic project. Based on the painting I decided to create a female photographical painting, because women are the heart of our society and had to be the heart of our project! Three stunning and super female models. No groom in a dark suit. No men behind the scenes.
In the painting of Botticelli two out of the three women are naked surrounded by their lovely long hair. This image had to be reflected through the wedding dresses that had to be elegant, ethereal, romantic and very female. Therefore I collaborated with Marie-Cathérine le Hodey, a fantastic designer of wedding dresses who lives in Brussels. When entering her atelier you feel like entering a fairytale or the garden of Eden. The dresses that we finally used were very diverse, but did match. A lot of lace, Swarovski stones, open backs, tulle skirts. The perfect designer for every bride who searches a unique wedding dress.
Because the entire shoot would take place on the beach and in the dunes and because we wanted to refer to the Birth of Venus, the models didn’t have to wear any footwear. They had to run around barefoot. It had to be as natural and as pure as possible. Also the jewellery of Pandora wasn’t too excessive, but very refined and ethereal.
For hair and make-up I collaborated with Hair & Make-up Evelien, a very professional MUAH. She knew exactly how all the models had to look like and translated perfectly my vision of every model. They were stunning. For the so-called Venus we chose to curl her hair, while the hair of the other two models was gathered in an elegant yet diverse way: braids, curls…
We prepared the models in Villa La Tourelle in De Haan to face the cold because compared to the previous week it was so cold. Thanks to the cold weather almost nobody was at the beach. The photographer could do everything she wanted and the models had a great time. The models weren’t only photographed by the sea and on the beach, but also in the dunes, near the styled table holding some objects in their hands.
For the styled table I used all kind of materials that were in close relationship with Italy, Belgium, the sea and the painting. The wooden table reflected the roughness of the sea and makes us think about a piece of driftwood. The chairs are elegant and make us think about the Italian design. By choosing transparent chairs I wanted to make the whole a bit lighter and more airy.
On and around the table I put some pieces of rough marble as if they came directly from the marble-quarries in Carrara. The table runner was made out of a fine, woven, sand coloured fabric, which was in perfect harmony with the beach. This was draped over the whole table and the sand. It had to be as if the wind was playing a light and airy game with the fabric.
I also used antique golden chandeliers, old plates with a golden edge, silver cutlery with a golden touch and lace napkins. Last but not least I added some gorgeous, real Venetian set of glasses.
On the whole table I put Italian food, as a wink to the Italian kitchen. It had to be luxurious with an informal touch. The sweet table was made out of a wooden cardboard decorated with hanging flowers. Instead of putting all the decoration on the table, some parts of it gave the impression that they were falling out of the sky. On the sweet table I put lovely, homemade Italian inspired dessert always in the same theme colours, rose quartz serenity and gold. The cannoli cake, the meringues, the almond cookies,… everything was delicious thanks to the wonderful culinary art of Sophie of Caramel Salé Design Cakes.
The amazing floral compositions were created by the extremely friendly and helpful Olivier Petillion, a real artist. The bridal bouquet had to be a small cascade bouquet. It was composed with small pink flowers. The other bouquets were a derivation of the bridal bouquet, but two different compositions. All the floral compositions had the same flowers so that it would be one unity.
I placed candles everywhere. After different attempts and a black thumb we finally managed to lit them all and by sunset we enjoyed a little bit of Italian romance in the Belgian dunes.
I hope you will enjoy this magical project and the magic that we brought alive. Your beach wedding really can become a reality.
Hotel Villa La Tourelle – www.latourelle.be
November 10, 2017
+32 (0)475 78 80 96
Peter Benoitstraat 2
Art’Anna Weddings & Events is specialized in the organisation of weddings and events in Italy, France and Belgium. We add an extra dimension to your day and seek to give you an unforgettable day with an eye for innovation, creativity and originality, completely tuned to your wishes.