By Jaimz Dillman
So, dear readers, we've come to the last of my backlogged haunted weddings but fear not- more are being created as we speak and Creepy Kingdom will definitely get exclusive details to share. And here's a little secret I've waited until now to reveal, I've actually been a creative consultant on most of these shoots. If I wasn't able to be there in person I was behind the scenes with the team at Lee Forrest Design. Being able to shine a light on all the vendors we work with who give their time and talents each year has been an honor and privilege. And this week you'll read about our latest creation- Beetlejuice!
This one was near and dear to me as the models selected weren't only professional Lydia and BJ character actors but also real-life couple Kyla Swanberg and Robb Simms- also known as my dear friends from Cos Fx Studios. It was super important to get the right people to bring out the personalities needed on this shoot as we weren't going full costume and makeup but more of a nod to the feeling from the movie and cartoon. And didn't we really want them to end up together?
"This was a theme we just had to do for our Halloween shoot because come on, it's Beetlejuice!" said Forrest. We work with a big bunch to bring these ideas to light including Michele Butler of Michele Butler Events, "Who doesn't love this great movie? We had such a great time planning for this shoot. Complete with the perfect models, venue, and decor. I'm always honored to be a part of this great crew."
Lauren of Laura Reynolds Artistry Hair and Makeup started with paling out both the bride and groom to lend to the otherworldly look we were going for. Kyla actually wore a wig styled in a soft updo complete with Lydia bangs framing her dramatic smokey eye and bold lip. Robb also got the shadow treatment with simple shadowing and a green streak through his hair. They were able to add a few small touches of their own including his jewelry and her parasol with that iconic black and white stripe.
We looked all around town and online for the perfect dress. It had to be big, bold, and RED!! We finally found exactly what we needed at The Bridal Gallery right around the corner from us! It was just brought out to the showroom and we were lucky enough to be the first to get it. After a fitting for Kyla, I remarked a matching veil would really complete the look and they made one for us! Talk about customer service!! They also provided the bridal jewelry which gave some much-needed sparkle. The groom's attire was a tailored morning suit from Luxury Tux with a few touches added found on Amazon- but hey, when you need something specific, you look everywhere.
Videographer Ephraim McCormick of Elmwood Productions said "The TRUE show-stealer was the talent. Our Beetlejuice and Lydia actors were so strikingly spot-on in their performance, I was positively giddy while working with them. They had amazing chemistry, knew exactly the vibe we were going for, and chewed the scenery in a delightfully over-the-top way. No one can top Keaton and Rider, but damn it we came close!"
The venue was almost our third character as it too had to be just right. We're incredibly lucky to have just the right place in Apopka, Florida that not only fit the bill for the Maitland's house but is also widely known to be haunted. "Beetlejuice was a joy to shoot. The fact that the venue looked so much like the Maitlands' house really allowed me the freedom to match a few key shots with the original film. The level of detail and passion that Lee and Jaimz put into the scenery was astounding -ribbons on the tree branches anchored with flowers? Hell yeah!" says McCormick.
"We had great fun putting this shoot together." said Forrest. As the ballroom has been photographed numerous times we took our party upstairs to the bridal prep rooms and the attic- of course. "From the wild overgrown graveyard inspired chandelier covered in twigs and vines to the striped ribbons and black and white vases, this shoot was just pure campy fun!" (I even included a behind the scenes shot from the town model set to show you what we do to get the shot just right, hahah!) The florals were mixed deep burgundy, royal purples, and that bright moss green that we all know so well. The centerpieces and bridal bouquets were created with roses, lisianthus, anemones, coxcomb, stock, smilex, and Italian ruscus.
These blossoms were also carried over to fill in the grapevine wrapped around a tree focal point outside. The blue and white plantation style house with wrap-around front porch and grand live oak trees gave us the perfect canvas to create the ceremony site. A custom carpet from Artistic Aisle Runners brought in the black from the chairs Orlando Wedding and Party Rental provided plus the white from the ribbons in the trees. Fresh red rose petals lining both sides of the aisle really popped against the dark backdrop and a final touch of a welcome sign suspended from an overhead branch announced to potential guests- It's Showtime! "It was incredibly exciting to see the Beetlejuice styled shoot develop from inspiration to reality especially since it was my first time participating in a shoot." said Mad Oddities Weddings and Events owner Grisell Careaga. She also created custom tea wedding favors for each place setting at the reception table.
Speaking of tables, we had to include some sinful treats for something fun and Sugar Chic by Ps I Got This went above and beyond for us. From the wicked candy apples, jello shot cups, and tree complete with sandworm, we were all so excited once owner Nini Lopez had everything set up. Seen in stunning shots captured from Olivia Ginn of In Style Imagery we loved having this new element added to the overall look. A few more vendors rounded out this all-star crew including paper products from Impressions who provided the menus and place cards, A Chair Affair gave us the beautiful chargers and flatware, linens from Over the Top fit in perfectly on our grand table completed by shrimp cocktails from Dubsdread Catering- one detail we absolutely had to include. The black and white stripe theme was carried through to the 3-tier cake provided by Anna Cakes and it was a perfect showpiece to feature even more fresh flowers.
And for one more special touch, Cole's Classic Cars for Hire brought us a stunning vintage beauty for our couple to take a few extra special photos in. Just one element you can use in a real wedding to add a little wow factor to those pictures you'll have forever.
Whew! I think I got everyone this round. We truly are lucky to have such a cohesive group of vendors who are not only great at collaborating but are also long-time friends. Every year we get a chance to bust out of the traditional barriers weddings typically have and take a trip to the dark side of things. We hope you've enjoyed the look back on our previous creations and I look forward to sharing more with you as they come! Remember, your wedding should reflect YOU and your personalities as a couple. There is no right or wrong way anymore. Trust the professionals you hire to bring your vision to life and then just enjoy the day!!
Venue: The Highland Manor
Planning: Michele Butler Events
Creative Consultant: Jaimz Dillman
Photographer: Olivia Ginn / In Style Imagery
Videographer: Elmwood Forest Productions
Wedding Dress: Bridal Gallery of Orlando
Men’s Attire: Luxury Tux
Florist/Decor: Lee Forrest Design LLC
Chargers and Flatware: A Chair Affair, Inc.
Aisle Runner: Artistic Aisle Runners
Favors and Signage: Mad Oddities Weddings & Events
Paper Products: Impressions
Cake: Anna Cakes
Linens: Over The Top Rental Linens
Desserts: Sugar Chic by PS I Got This
Hair and Makeup: Laura Reynolds Artistry Hair and Makeup
Models: Kyla Swanberg and Rob Sims
Cultural Consultant: Martha Power