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Haunted Weddings: Voodoo Shoot

By Jaimz Dillman

Dreams of the bayou don't always involve a princess and her frog. Mix in some spooky touches of voodoo with a sexy bride and groom and you've got the makings of one steamy photoshoot as hot as a night in New Orleans. Now an annual tradition, local Central Florida wedding vendors reunited for the second time to conjure up a celebration fit for a voodoo king and queen.

The team at Michele Butler Events chose the upstairs ballroom of Ceviche in downtown Orlando to stage their annual Halloween shoot in collaboration with fellow wedding professionals. The historic space gave just the right tones in dark wood and wrought iron accents to stand in for The Big Easy. Catering manager Kelly Sucharski said, "No matter what this team dreams up I know it'll be above and beyond anything anyone's done before." Reminiscent of the balconies on Bourbon Street, the venue features large windows allowing natural light to spill in adding to the spiritual feel. 

Lee Forrest, of Lee Forrest Design, mixed deep rich gem tones and various textures to give arrangements an otherworldly feel. Roses, lisianthus, calla lilies, peonies, stock, and accents of liriope and hanging amaranthus evoked foliages of the swamp. Touches of skulls, feathers, skeletons, gemmed animal brooches, and loads of candles filled out table settings and room decor. "This shoot gave us an opportunity to explore a theme that ordinarily would not be thought of," says Forrest. "The rich colorful world of New Orleans voodoo- a little dark and a little scary, it was loosely based on Marie Laveau, the legendary Voodoo Queen of New Orleans,"

"I wanted to do something different, other than the traditional wedding themes," said photographer Olivia Ginn with In Style Imagery. Playing with 3 different dress changes from Calvet Couture Bridal Boutique, Ginn caught the glamour and elegance in bride model Marlee and the quiet brooding of groom Devin in menswear by John Craig. Touches like a bold statement necklace and black feather collared tux turned the attire up a notch.

"Voodoo symbols are typically written on the ground with powders which look very much like chalk drawing on a blackboard. At the time of the shoot, a huge trend in cakes was recreating the look of chalkboard writing using black fondant, powdered sugar, and white food coloring." says Anna Hightower of Anna Cakes. "I thought this was a perfect way to merge a current trend with the voodoo theme." 

Hand-painted symbols - Veve Sigils- were added to the top 2 black fondant tiers of Hightower's 3-tiered round cake. Usually representing an alphabet that composes mystical phrases apt to summarize a metaphysical concept, this freeform design stood out along with the fresh flowers to tie the finished product together. "With respect, the choice of which symbols to place on the cake was purely aesthetic. I hope nothing specific was conjured in the process, but if it was, that hopefully only lent to the magic this team always creates."

Natural hair and makeup were enhanced by the team of Makeover Maven with just enough drama to give a nod to the voodoo theme. Rentals from A Chair Affair and Runway Collection combined with Linens from Kirby made for a stunning tablescape. Eye-catching distinctive physical compositions of the paper products from Impressions included an invitation suite, menus, and place cards for the most important invited guests. You'll see another appearance from Bone-ita and Juan Esqueleto on the table, too, regulars of the annual event. 

A supernatural tone is felt throughout the highlight video from Seltzer Films- link listed below. Flickering images and ghostly shadows capture the mood set for a wedding on the moor. "My whole idea with the video was to add a different feel to an already unique style shoot. With the overall shoot, the main focus was on the bride while fading in and out with the groom to give a feeling of ``is he real or a ghost?" says Dustin Seltzer. "As the video goes on you understand that either have or had a relationship. All this will add a creepy Halloween flare."

The most surprising element is revealed in the later photos of the gallery featuring costars Monty: a 12 foot python and Hodgie: a 7 foot long Monitor lizard. Because what's a photoshoot without a couple of reptiles to wrangle? Second Chance Wildlife provided the animals who were more than ready for their close up. Another haunted styled shoot that invites you to let go of what you think a wedding should be and lets you imagine just what a Voodoo wedding could be.

Venue: Ceviche Orlando Planning: Michele Butler Events – Michele Butler, Faye Novick, Cathrina Dionisio Photographer: In Style Imagery Videographer: Seltzer Films Attire Stylist: Fused Fashion Wedding Dress: Calvet Couture Bridal Boutique Men’s Attire: John Craig Florist/Decor: Lee Forrest Design Furniture: Runway Collection Chargers and Chair: A Chair Affair Cake: Anna Cakes Paper Products: Impressions Hair and Makeup: Makeover Maven Models: Marlee and Devin Linens: Kirby Cultural Consultant: Martha Power


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