Why Do Wedding Suppliers Do Styled Shoots?
Working as a wedding planner in London it can be quite easy to get caught up in the wonderful world of weddings without actually thinking about a bride and groom's experience of the wedding world. So I thought I would come to you with a bit of a behind-the-scenes type of post today, which reveals a bit of an insight into how the wedding industry works and sheds some light on what you may see about weddings online. I'm going to talk to you about photoshoots, or styled shoots as they are colloquially known in the industry.
Now, before I entered the world of wedding planning in London and began Redamancy, I used to spend my time perusing Pinterest and Rock My Wedding just like everyone else. I couldn't get enough of the breathtaking styling, incredible imagery, and inspiring creative ideas that brides and grooms were incorporating into their wedding days. However, if you'd have asked me about a wedding photoshoot I would have looked at you completely blankly.
In fact from when I first started out as a wedding planner in London, I remember a conversation about photoshoots that I was having with some other pros that were new to the industry as well. "How do you get into shoots?" one wedding stylist-to be asked, which kickstarted a whole discussion on the matter, although it took me about 15 minutes to work out we weren't talking about the highly-editorial photoshoots that grace the pages of Brides, Elle and Vogue. At that time I had no idea what a styled shoot was and only really paid attention to the real weddings that featured across these media platforms. However, as good as these real weddings are for getting ideas and inspiration, they definitely have their limitations too.
Nowadays, I have countless shoots under my belt and they are definitely one of my favourite parts about my job. However, it rarely fails to surprise me that even though these 'days on set' usually take up so much of us wedding industry professionals' minds, brides and grooms often don't know that we do these or, perhaps more importantly, why we do these.
There has even been a few interesting conversations happening in the industry surrounding this subject, about whether it is worth our time and energy to be involved in these shoots if brides and grooms - our dream clients - don't understand why on earth we do them! I'm actually always both equally complimented and amused when someone sees a picture of a photoshoot I have styled and remarks that I "plan amazing weddings!" The complement is obvious, but what amuses me the most is that they think it is a real wedding when on the day of the shoot itself we're all concerned with shots, and angles, and model poses. You get the picture! As suppliers we spend so much time in planning these shoots worrying that they will alienate brides and grooms who think they look too far removed from an actual weddings, it's extremely nice to hear that we've achieved the opposite of our fear.
This is a twofold win for me as not only do they like what they say, but their whole response means that weddings must be moving away from the whole white, prosecco, traditionalist ideal and towards something much more individualistic and creative otherwise people would look at what we had created and no for sure that it was a simulated environment and not a real wedding.
So why do we do styled shoots?
First and foremost we do it to inspire brides and grooms. I can't speak for every single supplier in the wedding world, but for me, it is at the very heart of my wedding planning and styling business to encourage couples to edge away from tradition and have a wedding day that truly reflects them and their lifestyle. On the most important and symbolic day of your lives you should not be being anyone apart from your truest selves. You're celebrating finding someone who loves you for who you really are, and so why cover that up in a white dress if that's not the type of style you usually go for? It doesn't make any sense, and tradition is too archaic a principle to stop us from doing that very thing.
It is rare you will ever see a photoshoot of a traditional wedding simply because we're all well-versed in contributing towards these types of wedding days for real clients that we spend our time out of the wedding season curating highly creative images that couples will hopefully take some inspiration from for their own day. When I style a photoshoot I always have a dream couple in mind who's wedding I am creating this for, which helps me keep the styling on the right side of achievable whilst still being fun, intriguing and unique. We all know that something too high-fashion and OTT can really alienate people from trying it themselves - if we make it too hard for people to draw inspiration from something then they just won't. Simple as that. So that is how we aim to inspire the most creative weddings around by styling shoots and leading the pack!
Secondly, we want to attract our dream clients - i.e. you! No everyone wants the same wedding theme and style, and thank God for that! I can imagine the wedding industry would be a lot sparser in terms of suppliers if that were the case! But if we've not created something very similar to your wedding for another couple before then how are you going to know we're capable of that type of styling? For me, I'm yet to create a wedding with an edgy party vibe (watch this space) and so if you were to look through my website or my instagram then you may not think I'd be able to help you create this! However, just because a bride and groom haven't asked me to help them to pull this off for their wedding day doesn't mean that I can't. But if you click on my website, or look through my social media and see pictures of the very type of wedding you are hoping for you're going to know you've found a professional who can help you to have that for your own wedding.
Finally, they help us to network with other suppliers. Often when working on a couple's wedding all suppliers are drafted in separately, and at different stages, which mean that we don't know each other all that well but have to pull together quickly to produce something truly spectacular for a couple's special day. However, if we've spent time working with other people, with similar styles on shoots, we're going to be able to suggest to you the best people to create the elements of your day that you have your heart set on! As a wedding planner and stylist, having time to network with other like-minded suppliers on creative projects is essential to me knowing who are the go-to people who can be relied on when it comes to producing the wedding day of your dreams! Which means you are guaranteed a far less stressful planning experience.
So as you can see, styled shoots definitely have a place in the wedding world and ultimately help you to have the most spectacular wedding day possible. So do me a favour and next time you see a styled shoot on your favourite wedding blog, give it a share! It will mean more than you could ever imagine to the suppliers involved to have someone love their work so much they want to share it with their family and friends. And by lingering a little longer on these styled shoots you are bound to soak up more inspiration which will help you discover what it is that you really want from your wedding styling.