A bridal shoot rich in African heritage and culture

29 Oct 2019

Celebrating African wedding traditions, this styled shoot puts the Zambian bride centre stage

Wedding planner Joana Tosetto of Love From Mwai shares the details of this bridal shoot bursting with vibrant colour and creativity. 

What was the inspiration behind the shoot?

The Zambian plains with its dotted treelines, mix of short and tall wild grasses and roaming wildlife created the backdrop for a bold and vibrant editorial shoot that paid tribute to traditional African bridal fashion. Its greens and browns contrasted with the colourful bridalwear and beaded jewellery to turn the attention on the main attraction - the bride herself. A true tribute to African culture and tradition.

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Tell us a little bit about the venue and why it was chosen

Liyali Lodge is a 100-year-old family business that is located on Liyali Game Farm in Lusaka, Zambia. The original farmhouse, which was built in 1924, still functions as a family home and was named a national monument in 1996. The family who runs the lodge and farm is a big supporter of wildlife conservation. They breed cattle and support a variety of wildlife through their unspoiled woodlands and grasslands, including orphaned elephants who have lost their families due to poaching.

Luxury chalets with thatched roofs are nestled among the property allowing guests to watch wildlife graze right from their verandas. The lodge supports sustainable tourism and it’s a place where luxury, compassion, wildlife and nature collide into a remarkable experience and backdrop for an ethical and exotic wedding. The lodge was the perfect venue for our shoot and their business and tourism practices aligned with the heart of all of our suppliers.

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What did you choose for the flower arrangements?

Native foliage, twigs and leaves were paired with white and pink roses to create a romantic bridal bouquet with a wild side. It was a mix of rough and dainty elements to create a sort of tension that embodies what we love about nature - it is both beautiful and safe yet wild and dangerous.

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What kind of look did you want to achieve with the make-up, hair and outfits for the bride?

Spirited and spellbinding, our gorgeous model Lonah embodied everything we love about Zambia and Africa: its heart-thumping beats, unencumbered dancing, vibrant celebrations and exotic beauty. With thick braids, smokey eyes and soft pink lips, our bride stares back at us, inviting all who dare to lean into her secrets and take part in her celebration.

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What was the thinking behind the décor for the shoot? How did you tie it all together?

Thatched-roof huts and handmade crafts and woodwork from local, subsistence entrepreneurs added texture to create an aesthetic alive with creativity and culture.

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What kind of accessories were used to create these looks and why?

Adorned in spikey and dangling, beaded necklaces, the bride embraces traditional jewelry that holds the story of a single artist, a solitary craftsman. Her rich black, white, red, orange and yellow patterned dress swayed with each movement, letting her guests know that she had arrived. Her bold headdress is a tribute to native bridalwear and marries history with beautiful fashion elements. Her second dress pairs the vibrant yellow we love with a neutral tan and off-the-shoulder sleeves for an elegant gown with subtle cultural undertones.

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Creative team: 

Creative director, planning and styling: Love From Mwai
Photography: Stepan Vrzala
Venue: Lilayi Lodge Zambia
Flowers: Fiona Quiambao
Hair: Afropologie
Make-up: LNS Makeup
Jewellery: Kani K. Fashions
Mustard dress: Chizos Dezigns
Checked Chitenge dressL Mangishi Doll
Model: Lonah Shawa

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