By Jaimz Dillman
Peel back the layers of horror, murder by hook, and tons of bees, and the film Candyman really is a love story. At least that's what a group of Central Florida wedding vendors thought when they gathered once again for their annual Halloween shoot. Inspired by anything spooky and twisted the teams of Lee Forrest Design, Anna Cakes, Michele Butler Events, In Style Imagery, Elmwood Forest Productions, Laura Reynolds Artistry Hair and Makeup Team, and more take a wedding styled shoot and turn it on it's severed head.
The location this year was at the historic Howey Mansion just a bit down the road from Orlando in Howey-in-the-Hills. According to Howey’s website it was designed in Mediterranean Revival style, the house is set back on a wide lawn approached through wrought iron gates and a horseshoe-shaped drive. The entrance features an elaborate arched double doorway topped by a square casement window. The foyer with curved walls rising to the second story is dominated by a wide stone stairway with a wrought iron banister. Three immense fireplaces, a ballroom-size drawing-room, massive beamed ceilings, and the unexpected is what delights the eye and creates visual images. The library, situated directly below the breakfast room, is small in dimension and the hidden passageway, so popular in large older homes, is revealed from behind a sliding bookshelf panel in the library. The doorway that the concealed latch opens is located outside the library, lending even more intrigue to the basement room that may have served as a liquor cache during Prohibition times. Whatever it contained must have been considered valuable, as the door is a fireproof, tumbler locked bank vault type. Some of the inner walls of the house measure over a foot thick and both wood and stone floors are tight and smooth; even today, the heavy doors swing silently and close snugly. And many consider it eerie and perhaps even haunted with the Howey family tombs resting on the grounds. "The Howey Mansion was the perfect setting for such a gorgeous and elegant look." says Lee Forrest of Lee Forrest Designs, " We incorporated many types of antique colors paired with magnolia foliage that might be found in a traditional Southern Garden."
The floral palette laid out by Forrest's design embodied the charm of a wedding in a family mansion. Sweet blush garden roses, playa blanca and terracotta roses paired with darker burgundy dahlias and amnesia purple roses with dripping agonis made up the over-the-top bridal bouquet as well as the tablescapes and cake floral accents. "The Candyman photoshoot gave up an opportunity to be a little soft and romantic rather than wild and edgy." said Forrest, "It fit the antebellum inspired legend of a plantation owner's daughter falling in love with a slave from a time period when such a love was taboo." The accompanying video of the styled shoot takes the viewer on a journey through ethereal sequences riding the line between romance and horror. Videographer Ephraim McCormick said, "I usually try to match the cinematography or mood of whatever film we're paying homage to for the shoot. In this case, since Candyman's cinematographer emphasized a more dream-like feel to many of the horror scenes, I chose to utilize those same elements. You don't get much of a chance to use unsettling cinematographic techniques in wedding films, and I really enjoyed flexing my creative muscles in that way. When I was a teenager, I made my fair share of home-video quality horror movies. Being able to revisit that side of my creativity with the knowledge and experience of production that I have now is something I absolutely loved about the Candyman shoot in particular."
Models Lindsay Crum and Chris Michael Ross were charged with bringing out the cursed relationship between Helen and Daniel from the movie. "Between the gorgeous gown, hair, and makeup, to the stunning flowers, decor, and venue, I felt like I was fully immersed in a horror movie fantasy that by the end of the photo shoot at the crypt, I was totally spooked," said Crum. "I had an amazing experience surrounded by wedding professionals who are clearly passionate about what they do and their love for Halloween."
The bride's attire from The Collection of Winter Park was accented with a gorgeous flowing cape that lent an ethereal quality to her portraits. Hair and Makeup artist Laura Reynolds created soft face-framing curls for Lindsay as a nod to Helen's hair in the movie and a slight smokey eye added a bit of drama to her wedding day look. Groom's attire was a classic black suit but accented with a gold vest and tie, reflecting the honey bees used in the storyline. Anna Hightower of Anna Cakes embraced a mix of textures on her 5-tier confection. "For Candyman's wedding cake, it was back to the drawing board, searching for textures and elegant ways to subtly incorporate the movie's theme." Hightower said, "I knew I wanted one of the tiers to resemble honeycomb, so I began studying different ways to create this in sugar. I ended up using white chocolate poured over bubble wrap, which created the perfect mold. Gold drip was an emerging cake trend at the time and I thought what better way to represent the honey. The last little nod to the movie came from the burgundy brush strokes around the 3rd tier. This was meant to represent a blood smear... in the most tasteful way possible."
Later the same year at Spooky Empire, a horror con in Orlando- Tony Todd, star of Candyman, was shown the photos In Style Imagery was able to capture in truly stunning fashion. He said his favorite thing about the movie was the love story and was amazed at what was created as an homage to what most only think of like a scary movie.
This was one styled shoot that was creatively reimagined to jump from the screen and presented in the most unexpected and refreshing fashion. Stay tuned... one more annual horror wedding to cover coming soon!!
Venue The Howey Mansion
Planner Michele Butler Events, Michele Butler
Decor and Design Lee Forrest Design LLC, Lee Forrest
Photographer In Style Imagery, Olivia Ginn
Cinematographer Elmwood Forest Productions, Ephraim McCormick
Cake Anna Cakes, Anna Hightower
Creative Consultant Jaimz Dillman
Cultural Consultant Martha Power
Furniture The Runway, Vintage Decor, Wedding Rentals & More, Rebekkah Joy Rosado
Chargers and Flatware A Chair Affair, Inc., Ann Taylor
Paper Products Impressions, Shelley LaMarre
Bridal Attire The Collection Bridal
Men's Attire Luxury Tux
Hair & Makeup Laura Reynolds Artistry Laura Reynolds
Linens Over The Top Rental Linens
Favors Heavens to Betsy, Betsy Brkich
Models Lindsay Crum & Chris Michael Ross