By Jaimz Dillman
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—
Only this and nothing more.”
The famous opening lines of Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven. Take the dark and mysterious poem and wrap it in a love story, you get our next haunted wedding.
An annual styled shoot- now a yearly anticipated tradition from area Orlando wedding vendors- got spooky and mysterious tying in a historic home and nearby graveyard complete with a tomb.
Creating a romantic setting for a dark and elegant story in history was the perfect challenge for the team at Lee Forrest Design. "Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven" is a time-honored tale of love and loss." says Forrest, "We chose Casa Feliz as the venue for this shoot because of its library room and also its proximity to an old cemetery."
To bring in a ghostly air to the models, hair and makeup were provided by Kristy Alonzo of Kristy’s Artistry Design Team, "For the Raven shoot, I’ve always thought of Edgar Allen Poe as solemn, depressed, yet courteous and stately gentleman. So I wanted to give the characters an elegant yet seductive era-appropriate look. With a crown braid, popping, dramatic eyes, and even airbrushing a beard onto the main male character, we pulled off the look perfectly. " she said. The dramatic effect paired well with dueling dresses supplied by Calvet Couture. Bride Monica Leamy said, "Working on the Raven shoot was one of my favorite modeling jobs ever. All of the vendors did a stellar job and I absolutely loved my hair and makeup." Groom model Sean Holloway provided his own attire from Lip Service.
Each element had its place among the items the crew setup. Included this year was food appropriate for the mood including black chicken. "It was one of our favorite parts." said Michele Butler of Michel Butler Events, "I always think we've topped ourselves and then ta-da, another fabulous, gorgeous shoot with exceptional details matching the theme. From the perfectly themed choice of Casa Feliz to the attire and the decor. This shoot couldn't have been more perfect to reflect Poe's poem."
Even items that wouldn't usually be thought of as wedding decor lent itself to the inspiration in the surroundings, "I purchased literally every antique copy of "The Raven" that we could find. We found a first edition of the 1883 Gustave Dore elephant folio online in near mint condition with it's amazing and richly engraved illustrations-- and this book provided the details that we needed as reference for many of our shots. I spent a small fortune on antique books that year!" says Forrest.
Photographs from Clair Celeste captured the haunting feeling conveyed from a tortured love affair. Using the inner courtyard, carriage house, and Palm Cemetery in Winter Park allowed for a story to be told rather than posed pictures. And what's more striking than a bride in a black wedding dress wanting through tombstones? Feelings echoed from famed blog Rock 'n Roll bride who initially published the portfolio in 2015.
"The whole team from the coordinators, floral designers, set design, photographer, all of the contributors- the entire shoot portrayed the eerie, intriguing, seductive look we were going for. It was fabulous!" summarized Alonzo. You can definitely see the passion these vendors have for making something from so long ago come to life again. And with a timeless look and ageless glamour, we'd love to see the trend continue.
Photography: Claire Pacelli Photography
Location: Casa Feliz
Stylist: Michele Butler Events
Flowers: Lee Forrest Design
Hair & Make-Up: Kristy's Artistry Design Team
Dresses: Calvet Couture Bridal Boutique
Dresses: Modern Bridal
Groom's Attire: Lip Service
Cake: Anna Cakes
Desserts: Hello Sugar
Rentals: A Chair Affair
Stationery: Tina Stison
Catering: Arthur's Catering