By Jaimz Dillman
It's just a jump to the left... and a step to the rigggghhhttt....
Anyone who's seen The Rocky Horror Picture Show knows this line and the dance that coincides with those instructions. But whoever thought it would also be the inspiration for a wedding? A crazy group of vendors in Orlando, Florida did!
The teams of Michele Butler Events, Lee Forrest Design, In Style Imagery, Anna Cakes, and more come together for an annual tradition of brainstorming for a Halloween styled shoot. The more twisted and off the rails the better. And cult classic Rocky Horror definitely fit the bill.
What made it so different? Well, aside from the inspiring theme, the models who were chosen to portray the iconic characters: Magenta, Columbia, Riff, Brad, Janet, and Dr. Frank N. Furter... were painted. Yep, no wedding dresses, bridesmaid's gowns, or tuxes were used in this round. Body makeup artist Della Morte quite literally got up close and personal painting corsets, stockings, garters, jackets, and such. The only two who wore their own attire were Brooke White and Anthony Marando as Janet and Brad- only because they're the "normal" part of the story.
"Being in the wedding industry for years means I have seen a lot of cool things, so when something comes along that tops everything else, of course, I am going to say, 'Count me in!' As a part-time body painter, I was so excited to be invited to team up with an amazing group that included professional hair and makeup, florals, cake, stationery, table settings - the entire works. Where a bridal shop would normally provide a wedding dress, my assistant Leslie and I stepped in with our paintbrushes and sponges. Of course, we had to step outside the venue to add copious amounts of glitter." Said Morte.
Paired with hair and makeup from Laura Reynolds the models came to life before the lens and embodied the spirit that now has a place in film history. "This was my first experience with body painting, along with a photoshoot of this caliber. Knowing Rocky Horror, how could I not be excited? I remember arriving at the venue and was blown away with all the props and decor for the shoot, absolutely incredible. I still have the Name Card from the dinner plate. Definitely nervous for my first body paint and shoot, but everyone made me feel super comfortable, which truly helped me let down my guard and enjoy the process." says Rocky model Jeffrey Jenkins.
Where a styled shoot would usually feature a bride and groom again the group thought outside the box making Frank and Rocky the happy couple. Frank model Teddy Fournier said, "I felt like it was an amazing collaboration of artists and wedding vendors that captured the over the top and legacy of Rocky Horror! Everyone’s personality matched the quirkiness of each character and we were able to create our own time warp wedding!"
"It was amazing to see this shoot come to life since I am an alumnus of a school called Transylvania University- this shoot holds a special place in my heart, as I have great memories from the 1980's of my school and of seeing this midnight film so many times at the theatre near our campus. Seeing all of the characters brought to life as brilliantly as our models did was simply breathtaking. BY FAR my favorite of all that we have done over the years!!!" says Forrest.
The floral arrangements featured white calla lilies accented by red roses with feathers and crunched silver wire for drama. Instead of a bridal bouquet he created a metal boa with blossoms all throughout and several smaller bridesmaid's nosegays. Heads of roses accompanied each place setting and menu from Impressions by Shelly LaMare and long taper candles were lit for a seductive mood. With rentals from A Chair Affair, Orlando Wedding and Party Rental, RW Collection, and linens by Over the Top the black, white, and red palette was carried through every detail.
Downtown event space The Abbey was selected as the featured venue for it's dark and sexy interior plus black iron accents and a stage for the ceremony set up. Butler said, "Oh so many years and so many great Halloween shoots over those years, it is really hard to decide on a favorite one. Our Rocky Horror shoot was by far the coolest experience I've had."
A first-time addition of live DJ Jennie Ferrer from Our DJ Rocks really got everyone into the spirit of the day as seen in the video by Sugarpop Productions. With a soundtrack that's so well known, the group took the chance to use it for inspiration. "I had always wanted to do a rendition of Rocky Horror but never had the opportunity. So when I was asked to play Columbia, I could not turn it down! And everyone embodied the characters so well. Doing the time warp will forever be imprinted in my mind!" says Columbia model Megan Boetto.
Videographer Brian Bazala created a highlight reel sending everyone back to Rocky's time. He said "I had this set of vintage lenses from the 70’s that I’d been saving for a fun project. When I was asked to be a part of this I knew it was the perfect opportunity to bring that retro look to [the] screen. This shoot was so fun and edgy, taking me back to the first time I watched the movie. It’s always exciting to collaborate with so many talented artists and what a tremendous pleasure to capture all of this fantastic imagery as it happened."
There was no shortage of striking shots in the gallery from In Style Imagery. The bold contrast of colors and low lighting focused on the details of the whole setting and brought the personas of each model right to the forefront.
Additions such as a gold disk accented and corseted cake from Anna Cakes rounded out the reception and tied together every aspect of the mood. Anna said, "I tried to include several textures and decorative elements I found within the movie, while also showcasing some popular cake design techniques that anyone could incorporate into their wedding. I had seen a lot of really theme-y Rocky Horror cakes in the past, but not a lot of sophisticated designs. I focused on creating more of an elegant version. From the pearls and corset of Dr. Frank N Furter, to the gold sequins of Columbia, to the marbled floors of the castle...it was all there in subtle ways, only a true fan might notice." She continues, "When I walked in, the body painting was just finishing up. It was SO realistic. Even up close, it looked like real costuming. The artwork was unbelievable. And the cast of characters could not have been more perfect. I set my humble contribution to this extravaganza down and took it all in minute by minute. What an afternoon it was."
Riff model Jeremy Procopio said, "Rocky Horror has always had a warm, ridiculous, campy and let's not forget "sexy" place in my heart. Even more so, now. What they did with their vision of this wedding was sensational. Every single detail of the placement and the settings were second to none. The paint was such an amazing vision for these iconic looks. I've seen these characters done and dressed a million different ways. And now, I've seen them gorgeously painted. Getting to be a part of it was unforgettable."
Even though this was an extreme example of these vendor's talents the idea is to encourage couples to think outside the box. Morte summarized, "Everything came together perfectly fulfilling Frank-N-Furter's, “Don’t dream it, be it.” I can only hope this stylized shoot will help more couples realize that vendors love a unique challenge. Don’t worry about doing what everyone else is doing, be true to yourself, be that strange and magical creature that your partner is so madly in love with. We will all help you turn your wedding dreams into [a] reality."
Videography: Sugar Pop Productions- Brian Bazala
Planning/Shoot Consultant: Michele Butler Events, Michele Butler
Floral Décor: Lee Forrest Design, Lee Forrest
Furniture: RW Collection, Rachel O’Baker
Chargers: A Chair Affair, Ann Taylor
Chairs, Drape and Rentals: Orlando Wedding & Party Rentals, Darrin Shifrel
Paper Products: Impressions, Shelley LaMarre
Photographer: In Style Imagery, Olivia Ginn
Hair and Makeup: Laura Reynolds Artistry Hair & Makeup, Laura Reynolds
Body Painting: Della Morte Arts Linens: Over the Top, Jessica Raper Cake: Anna Cakes, Anna Hightower Creative Consultant: Jaimz Dillman DJ: Our DJ Rocks, Jennie Ferrer Cultural Consultant: Martha Power
TALENT: Teddy Fournier: Frank Jeff Jenkins: Rocky Jeremy Procopio: Riff Brooke White: Janet Anthony Marando: Brad Megan Boetto: Columbia Cassandra Heinrich: Magenta