A Japanese fusion bridal shoot

29 Apr 2019

Showcasing an oriental twist on a contemporary bridal look, this wedding shoot displays the talents of a host of Norfolk suppliers

Karen Fuller of Fuller Photography takes us behind the scenes on this Norfolk wedding shoot inspired by Japanese culture. 

What was the inspiration behind the shoot?

With the announcement of 2019 bridal trends such as bows, appliqué and bright colours - as well as Pantone’s Colour of the Year - Living Coral, a styled shoot began to take shape featuring multi-award-winning suppliers from Norfolk. We wanted to create an inspirational mood board rich in symbolism and simplicity, a fusion and intersection of rich traditions, where old meets new, all wrapped up in contemporary bridal elegance. Our inspiration for brides is to keep it simple and be brave with colour combinations; focus on a few elements of bright colour and rich textures, allow the individual elements to shine.

We began with the koi, a very symbolic fish that is closely tied to Japan’s national identity. The koi fish shows great determination, dedication, perseverance and success. They symbolise a transformation in life, love and friendship; by swimming downwards you’ve overcome your obstacles and are no longer fighting the current. A perfect metaphor for marriage.




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

The shoot was hosted at Pentney Abbey in Norfolk. Echoing our theme of old meets new, we used the medieval gatehouse with its rustic walls and gorgeous window light. It evoked the atmosphere of a Japanese tea house.



What did you choose for the flower arrangements?

The fan has a very strong place in traditional Japanese costume and culture and was reimagined as a contemporary bouquet. Special care was taken to select particularly beautiful flowers for the fan bouquet and 'framed' in such a way to emphasise the colours while also having a sense of movement.

Different techniques were used to set the flowers, using several fresh material garlands to create a layered effect within the fan so that the design was not only beautiful but robust. When our bride moved, the trailing elements added graceful and elegant movements.

Flowers used: cerise rose (symbolism: Happiness), cerise dendrobium orchid (symbolism: Beauty), cerise and red ranunculus (symbolism : cerise - Charming, red - Beautiful), red mini gerbera (symbolism: Mysterious love), orange spray rose (symbolism: Tolerance), peach ilex (symbolism: Faithful love), asclepias, tillandsia moss, cocculus leaves, green dianthus.



The table focal point was ikebana in a Japanese lacquer container - black on the sides and a wood grain effect at the ends which added to the fusion theme. The flowers used were two varieties of orchid to create the Japanese influence, bright coloured florals and bold fan-shaped foliage to link to the fan-shaped bridal bouquet. Being the centrepiece of the table design, it was created horizontally so as not to interrupt the eye-line.

The horizontal element was emphasised by using natural, twisted hazel twigs to create strong lines and movement. The asparagus fern was used to further the horizontal lines and to create negative space. 




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

Our model Hayley (a real bride from autumn 2018) wore a bespoke gown by Foxglove & Gingersnap Bridal Couture - an independent designer on the East Norfolk coast. The dress in a fine ivory crepe reflected clean lines and simplicity with a '70s vibe. A detachable obi style back provided a subtle nod to our Japanese theme along with a hand-painted and hand-beaded koi train which was also detachable. Couture buttons and hand-stitched button loops added to the luxurious feel and the rippling of the base of the dress gave a sense of flowing water.



Her hair was styled as a modern geisha, with large and smooth rolls. After rolling the hair to add lift and volume and make it easier to work with, all roots were back-combed and gently smoothed to one side, creating a beautiful large asymmetrical side roll. Once the amazing flowers were added, it popped.



For the make-up it was easy as our model had super skin that only needed the smallest amount of foundation. Amelia used MAC Face and Body Number 3 to even out her skin tone. The eyes were the focal point, bright pink and dramatic, taking the colour almost out to her hairline using HUDA eyeshadows BAE, Henna, Flamingo and Bossy with MAC False Lashes Mascara. To contrast the lips with her very pink eyes, Amelia chose ARTDECO lip liner Orange Lilly and filled the lips with orange.


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

Simplicity and colour. We took inspiration from the vintage collection of kimono, obi and fans owned by florist Sachiko. The sweetheart table featured natural tones of greys, echoed through the plates, ribbon tied cutlery and chiavari chairs. The vintage obi were styled on the back of the chairs - with the colourful fans - and across the table to join the two place settings together.


The stationery echoed the obi with stitched origami papers over a koi illustrated design. The second stationery suite was printed on fine art handmade petal paper giving a feeling of the koi swimming underwater, with clean elegant typography.



The cake table was similarly styled with the obi as a base and rustic grey table. The three-tiered koi cake featured tones of ivory, coral and red, with gold highlights and the koi design. This was completed with a spray of sugar flower ranunculus. The second cake table featured three elegant cakes in ivory, navy and metallics with sugar rose, orchid and cherry blossom flowers.



Get the look: 

Photography: Karen Fuller, Fuller Photography
Dress: Rachael Fox, Foxglove & Gingersnap Bridal Couture 
Floristry: Sachiko Smale, Libby Ferris Flowers
Hair and make-up: Amelia Garwood
Cakes: Amber Briggs, Love Wedding Cakes 
Venue: Pentney Abbey
Model: Hayley Geere

For more Norfolk wedding inspiration, pick up the latest edition of Norfolk Bride magazine. 

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