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Sometimes things come together and you think, that’s it right there. That’s my HEART. This is one of those times.

This Halloween themed masquerade inspiration shoot was one of the largest I’ve ever headed and easily is the one I am most proud of. Back in January I thought it would be a creative challenge and exciting endeavor to created an editorial spread based around Halloween. I wanted to combine the darkness and mystery of such a visual ‘holiday’ with the softness and femininity of a romantic wedding and well, the pictures shown throughout this post do just that in my biased opinion. We had a team of eight wonderful models (real life couples and friends who generously offered up their time), an incredible castle as our backdrop, and some of the most talented vendors in the industry on board bringing this to life. This is what dreams are made of. At least what a few of mine are. Without further ado….

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The first shout out goes to Alexandra Nicole who did the girls’ make up for the occasion. She is incredible (we literally found her the night before) and blew my expectations out of the water. All of our models looked absolutely stunning and had make up that perfectly illustrated the contrast between soft and dark that I was going for. We also had Jennifer Grace come on board again to style everyone’s hair and create looks applicable to the end goal. Jennifer is always a pleasure to have as a part of my team and can always work in any conditions. Then we had Stacy from The Gown Shop Ann Arbor who never fails to deliver. She worked hand in hand with Alex and Jennifer to prepare bridal looks to compliment not only the shoot’s aesthetic but the girl’s make up and hair. The gowns she brought were made up of textures, colors and shapes that were out of this world. Our four gals all looked like a million bucks the entire day.

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Coco. Seriously? Stunning.

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For the florals and the decor, I wanted to work with textures and movement, dark hues and soft neutrals. To do that I made the bridal bouquet up of David Austin garden roses, chocolate cosmos, Quicksand roses, white astilbe, black center anemone, viburnum berries, geranium leaves, sweet peas, spray rose blooms, jasmine vine and pheasant feathers. Then the bridesmaids carried simple bouquets of sword ferns. French silk ribbon from FrouFrou Chic (I adore this stuff) and gold embroidered trim finished off the bridal bouquet. It’s one of my favorites to date. Our mock ceremony was set amongst the grounds of The Henderson Castle in Kalamazoo Michigan. You can read more about the castle here, which is actually a bed and breakfast and wedding destination here in the Mitten. Absolutely a must see.

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Up next is this tablescape. Get ready for photo overload!

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All of the paper products were created by the mastermind behind Pitbulls and Posies. Amber is really in a league of her own and created an entire suite of goodies for paper and beyond. In the beginning of this post you can see the entire invitation suite she created to match the dinner menus shown above here. In lieu of escort cards she create name placecards, cut out of black acrylic that looked like marble. Blush suede was wrapped around each menu, with mini gold skull beads hanging from the ends. We wrapped some of the suede pieces with mini gold skulls around the guy’s boutonnieres. Amber simply brings the perfect touch of whimsy and radness to each project she’s a part of.

And this cake. Let’s talk about this cake for a second now too ok? Sweet Heather Anne in Ann Arbor is one of the best. I usually give her a few details I’m planning on for shoots and she just takes things to a whole new level. Her cakes are works of art and the one she built for this occasion was no exception. The sugar florals matched perfectly with the ones I designed for the centerepieces and bouquets. And that bottom tier of cake with the black design is absolutely breathtaking. The detail in her work is so evident. And her cakes are GOOD. Like mouth-watering good.

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Sinem from Soffitta via Etsy creates these masks by hand in her Turkey studio. Each mask was entirely different from the next and the detail and craftsmanship is impeccable. For the purpose of staging them into the shoot, we placed them at each guest’s placesetting as a favor for the event. The intended goal would be to use these masks as not only party favors but as a costume to wear at a masquerade party. You can view more of Sinem’s work and her masks here.

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The tablescape was actually the first thing I dreamt up last January when this shoot was just a tiny concept. I had visions of black, gold and blush coming together in an unexpected way. The swarming ravens overtop of the table was my absolute favorite detail. The literally swung in the wind during shooting and looked so magical. The gold candelabras worked perfectly with the gold flatware and gold chargers while the black flutes added nice contrast against the softness of the floral components. Sinem’s masks, Amber’s fabulous menus, and Nuage Design’s napkins and lounge pillows all came together in perfect harmony to create the tablescape you see. All of the rentals (placesettings, chairs, farmhouse table) were supplied by the always amazing Special Events Rental in Warren. They literally have everything you may need to host a flawlessly detailed event and hands down are my go to guys (and girls!) for my event needs.

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And last but not least, Sam and Brad from Bradley James Photography deserve a huge kudos for their amazing photography skills. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know them both professionally and personally over the past year and they are such an amazing couple with untapped potential. You can view their blog and website via the link above where more of their work is shown. I’d also love to work a wedding with these guys sometime in the near future so if you’re interested in booking Sam and Brad, think of me too pretty please? But seriously :)

For more photos check out the feature we were blessed with over on 100 Layer Cake too. Thanks for having us, ladies!

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Concept, design, florals: Hey Gorgeous Events / Photography: Bradley James Photography / Venue: Henderson Castle, Kalamazoo, Michigan / Gowns, accessories, bridal styling: The Gown Shop Ann Arbor / Masks: Soffitta via Etsy / Event Rentals: Special Events Rental / Linens and pillows: Nuage Designs / Wedding cake: Sweet Heather Anne / Paper and acrylic: Pitbulls and Posies / Hair styling: Jennifer Grace Stylist / Make up artist: Alexandra Nicole