Strong, we know what it means, but what does it look like? Well, this team set out to show the world just that. To start, they selected three women from New York City, notably one of the toughest places in the world to make it, then they worked together to make sure that each of their muses was dressed the part. The moral of the story–strong can be bold, strong can be open and vulnerable, and most importantly, strong can be feminine, because let's face it...there are few things on this earth as fierce as a woman.
Check out these stunning photos by Silent Capture Photo & Video. Chère Rosalie planned this wedding inspiration shoot down to the tiniest details, and Designs by Ahn created all of these jaw-dropping florals you'll see throughout, including a skyscraping floral installation. Silent Capture Photo & Video was also there to film as this inspiration came to life on the scenic city overlook of Midtown Loft & Terrace. All of the images are in the full gallery. Click through and read on to hear more from planner, Kim Pestalozzi, about how she and her team brought their inspiration to life and see what elements you can incorporate into your big day!
THE BIG IDEA
Three's a crowd? I don't think so. Our trio is a force. This styled shoot was a collaboration of creative minds who produced a powerhouse editorial inspired by and for strong women–to pay homage to how resilient they’ve been throughout the pandemic. To emphasize our message, we featured three New Yorkers and intentionally scheduled it on International Women’s Day (March 8, 2021), one year after the world shut down.
The idea behind the shoot's overall design was to highlight some of 2021’s bridal trends: clean lines, bold statements, and modern minimalism. So, I decided to play off NYC’s iconic architecture, specifically the Empire State Building. I immediately had the perfect venue in mind, Midtown Loft & Terrace, with its wraparound outdoor space overlooking the world’s most famous skyscraper.
PAINTING A PICTURE
I chose a sophisticated color palette of greens, whites, soft grey, and a touch of (New York) black. I wanted to show that you don’t need traditional “Spring” colors to create a fresh, striking design for a Spring wedding. Every detail was meticulously chosen to stay on theme, just as I do when designing for my couples.
Starting with the printed items, I worked with By Dami Studios to conceptualize visually intriguing yet simplistic stationery. We played with textures, utilizing blind emboss and white text. We chose light grey and green paper, a skyline sketch envelope liner, and calligraphy addressing. Most importantly, I carefully sourced vintage stamps featuring women changemakers and historic NYC buildings and bridges. This was crucial to telling our story from the very start. We carried the architectural aesthetic through to the menus, keeping with the grey and green color scheme and unique shapes.
Working with the right florist was key in executing my vision and Designs by Ahn went above and beyond. The bouquet stayed true to our white and green palette with textural elements adding depth and character. Victoria and her team produced a show-stopping ceremony display, accentuating the venue’s double arches. It created an unparalleled backdrop that any couple would be ecstatic to exchange vows in front of. Lastly, and by far the most jaw-dropping work I’ve seen her produce, was our “Skyscraper” tablescape. It actually brought me to tears seeing her floral work completed. It perfectly captured my vision of a bold centerpiece standing tall in the middle of the table. We chose a clear, glass vase to give it a floating, on top of the world feel, just how we want every couple to feel on their wedding day. To accent the centerpiece, we went with a few low arrangements in beautiful ceramic vases with vertical lines to draw your eyes up. We combined common florals with unique, textural elements to emulate that classic, yet whimsical aesthetic.
Filling in the rest of the tablescape was just as important as the florals. I wanted to bring a lot of unexpected finishes and high-end patterns to evoke a luxurious setting. To create a neutral, yet sultry foundation, we went with a Champagne Silk tablecloth, bold Hunter Green velvet napkins, and veiny marble chargers from Nüage Designs. We accented those with contemporary dinnerware in a creamy, tonal ivory, black matte flatware, and gold-rimmed glassware from Luxe Event Rentals. I also brought in marble and glass candle holders unlike anything ever seen on a wedding tablescape. I combined those with extra thick, light grey textured pillar candles in various heights as a way to emulate a skyline rich in history while still grounding the design.
CAPTURING THE ESSENCE OF STRENGTH
Capturing all of the details was of the utmost importance, so I teamed up with Silent Capture Photo & Video. Jenna has undeniable talent, embraces natural light impeccably, and adds the perfect finishing touches without overediting. Her personality really brings out the best in the people she's photographing, making her the perfect person to help each woman truly shine in her own skin.
HIGHLIGHTING EACH WOMAN
I collaborated with some of the most talented beauticians to bring my vision to life. I knew I wanted to appeal to all types of women with different shapes, styles, and skin tones. So I brought in three beautiful women, not models, to personify each look. Hairstyles were crucial in telling three distinct perspectives of the same story. Hair by Alison Farfan is the crème de la crème when it comes to versatility, flawlessness, and ingenuity. We worked together to craft looks that complemented each model’s natural hair and selected gown. We went with a modern, sleek take on the half-up/half-down hairstyle for one model, a Hollywood-glam updo for another, and natural waves with a dramatic part for the third.
Makeup should accentuate a person’s natural beauty, give them confidence, and honestly, just make them happy. Juliana Fink Beauty encapsulates all of that and more with her undeniable skillset. She knows how to use makeup in a way that is subtle and pleasing to the eye yet daring and fierce. We showcased strong brows, smokey eyes, and glossy lips for one model, dewy skin, peachy undertones and a matte lip for another, and shiny eyes, long lashes, and a natural lip for the other. Showing true range was our goal, and I feel we accomplished it.
In order to bring the looks to the next level, we needed the right dresses, dresses that transformed our models’ bodies into their own iconic pieces of architecture. So, I collaborated with the experts at L'Fay Bridal to handpick our gowns. We went with three, all by designer Millanova. As previously stated, we wanted to appeal to all types of strong women, all of whom have different dress desires. We kept it sexy and sophisticated going with a form-fitting off-the-shoulder gown with a dramatic train and cathedral veil for one look. Then we were all about the contemporary bride for another–emphasizing her chest with a stunning square neckline, long sleeves, open back, and a fingertip veil. And for the third look, we went with an updated ballgown featuring show-stopping rosettes, a corset top, sheer overlay, and dainty sleeves.
The saying goes, if the shoe fits...and we made sure that the shoes fit each look to a T. We went with heels by Bella Belle Shoes and Vanessa Noel. I believe each complemented the gown they were paired with and represented what that real-life bride might choose for her own wedding. From the traditional white pump with lace accents by Bella Belle Shoes to the ivory strappy open-toed heels by Vanessa Noel to the bold, black satin bowtie stiletto by Bella Belle Shoes, each shoe fit with their bride's story perfectly.
Rounding out the accessories were earrings by Hushed Commotion. I handpicked the pieces for each gown, ensuring they added to the overall look without overpowering it. We went with an elegant, abstract, and fun take on wedding day pearls for one look, an Art-deco glam pair for another, and a minimalist molten clay stud with a Mother-of-Pearl drop for the other.
THE GRAND FINALE
I also wanted to create an eye-catching vignette, which I called the “Concrete Jungle” lounge–a play on one of NYC’s nicknames. I sourced a gorgeous white faux leather sofa, two grey velvet armchairs with a vertical pattern (consistent with the vertical lines in the tablescape), a concrete cast coffee table, and concrete cast side tables from Luxe Event Rentals. Those concrete pieces stole the show and really put the finishing touches on my vision. It all made sense and was truly cohesive.
Lastly, I have a sweet tooth, so it was important to include a “Sky-high Tower” cake in our shoot. I really wanted to play with color and be bold so Vincenzo Salvatore Cakes designed a three-tiered masterpiece in a striking emerald green with gold accents. It would have every guest saying, "wow", when displayed inside a reception. Overall, this shoot is unlike any other you’ve seen. From the story to the details to the execution–this is what modern brides want for their wedding: trendsetting, thought-provoking, and elevated design.