You wanna know the best thing about having an alternative elopement? You start with a completely blank canvas. There’s no timeline to keep, no expectations to meet, no traditions penning you in. Obviously you’re gonna have to say ‘I do’ at some point. But apart from that, you can do whatever the hell you want. And as an alternative wedding photographer, this freedom of spirit sets me alight like nothing else.
So when I was creating a concept for Marilyn and Roland’s styled elopement shoot, I wanted to create photos that told their love story in a way that was unique to them. I wanted the styling to reflect their personalities. The themes to reflect their passions. I wanted every detail to be theirs. I wanted to take that blank canvas and splash the colours of their love across it.
At the heart of every love story is a perfect balance of two people. Beautiful alone and complete when they’re together. So while I wanted the themes of the shoot to celebrate M & R’s shared passions, I wanted the palette to mirror the spectacular collision of two souls.
Marilyn wore a snow-white dress from Alyce Jane Bridal, with a retro crepe high neck, back detail with bow and a thigh high split. We paired it with detachable puff lace sleeves, striking retro makeup, and an incredible bouquet of pure white orchids. To keep the chill out and to satisfy Marilyn’s obsession with the classic film Easy Rider, a personalised black leather jacket from Rockpapernib was ordered. The icing on the rock n’ roll cake was a combined feathered earrings and headpiece which added to Marilyn’s classy vibe. And as the Yin to her Yang, Roland wore black jeans, black Vans, and a black and white sleeveless shirt by P&Co.
But for me, the real beauty was in the symmetry. The white Hawaiian skull and palm tree print on Roland’s retro shirt and the flashes of white on his Vans. The black grasses in Marilyn’s bouquet, splaying out like ostrich feathers from underneath the orchids. I loved how the thigh high split on Marilyn’s dress showed off her tattoos, and how Roland’s body art continued the sleeves where his shirtsleeves ended. Black and white may be simple, but when done right, simple is beautiful.
Alright, so I’m gonna be real with you. We alternative wedding photographers are a funny bunch. We’re at home in landscapes of exposed pipes, metal shutters, steaming grates and dirty puddles. We love brickwork and flakey paint, grey skies and flickering street lamps. Sounds a bit grubby I know. But you know what? I ain’t even sorry!
Because for me as a wedding photographer, I want you to look at your gallery and say, “Fuck! Look how cool we are!” And then race to the printers to get your photos blown up to the max and framed. And I’m sorry to say it. But there’s not a stately home in England that’ll give you the same cool textures, artistic framing or atmospheric backdrops as a grubby industrial estate in the heart of London!
So me, Marilyn and Roland went exploring and made that place our bitch. We strolled through deserted alleyways, passed dilapidated factories of crumbling brickwork, sat on cold pavements and crossed cracked streets. Like partners in crime, we were on a mission to get cool, cinematic and drop dead gorgeous photos. And like all of my wedding couple’s portraits, it began as an experience in pursuit of art, and then became an experience in and itself of wild unadulterated fun, ending in a shower of colourful confetti. I was still finding the bloody stuff in my hair weeks later, which made me smile as the memories of our time together came flooding back. The memories were also pulled from my noggin every time I heard Marilyn and Roland’s first dance song, lyrics from which they had put on a bespoke wedding banner on the day. They even brought their own polaroid camera to give the shoot a real authentic retro wedding feel.
Marilyn and Roland are music lovers to their very bones. And when I was planning to tell their love story, I knew it had to have music at its heart.
So I made a few calls, traded in a few favours, and got us into the coolest retro recording studio this side of the Atlantic. I dropped a line to my friends at Seven and Twelves Vinyl and had some personalised records made up with Marilyn and Roland’s names on. And I hate to keep bangin’ on about it, but this is the great thing about having a city elopement. You can literally go wherever your love story takes you.
We sat in the studio and just hung out together, chatting away and taking photos. Whisky from crystal tumblers in the low light. Snogs on the sofa. Guitars, pianos and tape decks. Stolen kisses beneath the pages of NME. I always want my photography to capture an experience, an atmosphere. And this was one hell of an atmosphere to capture. These guys were just made for a retro recording studio! And there ain’t nothin’ sexier than a tattooed bride draped over a Marshall stack.
For the grand finale to M & R’s city elopement shoot, I wanted to get some badass motorbike shots. Too much? Nah, there ain’t no such thing! And the sight of Roland on a jet black Yamaha, Marilyn’s arms wrapped around his chest…it brought tears of rock and roll joy to my eyes!
As the sun set, M & R sat together on the asphalt in the headlights of the growling bike. The light cut through the fog and cast shadows across their faces as they kissed. Nothing but the smell of leather, the weight of darkness, and the rumble of the engine echoing through the alleyways. As endings to alternative elopements go, this was pretty fucking perfect. Enjoy the rest of the wedding photos.
Dress: Alyce Jane Bridal
Florist: Fantail Florist
HMUA: Sophie Louise Hair and Makeup
Wedding Banners: Daydreamer Creative Studio
Vinyls: Seven and Twelves
Leather Jacket: Rock Paper Nib
Earrings & Headpiece: Victoria Louise Accessories
As an alternative wedding photographer, I’m in it for the love, the art and the fuck you attitude. Give me tattoos, distortion and Marshall stacks. Give me reckless abandon, blazing passion and freedom of soul. I want to give you creative, artistic wedding photography that stands as art in its own right. I want to work with you to create something spectacular, something wildly, dramatically different. And most of all, something that’s uniquely, inimitably yours.
If you love my work and can see yourselves in the frame, I’d love to hear from you. Please get in touch today and let’s have a chat and get to know each other.