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I’m Louise. Blogger. Wife. Designer of TruLu Couture Veils + Accessories.  If you’d like to know more, check out my bio.

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{A Styled Shoot} A Fake Wedding, REVEALED!

Last week I posted my first Fake Wedding here on The Thirty-Something Bride. In it, I revealed my past contempt for styled shoots and how they made me crazy insane during my wedding planning process. I always felt that somehow my wedding wasn’t quite good enough. I know now that thinking is plain silly. I loved my wedding Still do. I love all kinds of weddings! Back yard, big cathedral, small church- whatever it is, I love them. I love them because they express love. Sometimes when I see a styled shoot, it’s missing the love of the couple and that frustrates me. But usually a styled shoot is just so freaking unbelievably gorgeous, you can help but love what you see. How can a bride balance the dichotomy? 

Something I realized in putting this next post together is that a styled shoot can very much be about love. It may not be between the “bride” and “groom” but it’s an expression of love through the people who put it together. Honestly, the folks who do this kind of work do it because they are artists. They love what they do. They love creativity. It’s not often that a wedding vendor can create a look purely for the sake of creativity. They have clients they must answer to, limitations and budget and bills and everything that goes into running a business.

This shoot was about that limitless creativity: a no holds barred of self-expression and imagination. Just think, what would you do if you had unlimited resources!?

A group of vendors in Seattle did just that! When I was first approached about featuring this shoot, I had some reservations regarding how crazy insane it might make some brides.  I engaged the photographers and vendors and asked a few questions. I got them involved, definitely a little more so than they expected. When I asked what inspired this shoot, this was Eliza’s initial response:

It's funny you asked what inspired this shoot, because it actually came out of an "Inspiration Group" that meets about every other Monday morning over breakfast to talk about what's inspiring us and to try to inspire each other in the work we do. We're a group of four Seattle wedding vendors: Barbie Hull (Barbie Hull Photography), Kim Neff (Lilies and Lemon Drops floral design), Heather Driscoll (Heathoriginal paper design) and me (Eliza Truitt Photography). This shoot grew out of some of the brainstorming we did at our breakfast meetings.

Um, I want to be  part of a breakfast inspiration group! *Stomping feet like a child* So here are some of the Q&A I floated past them as well as some additional research I did on cost and stuff. To be 100% honest, there was some reservations about sharing costs on this shoot. Those reservations came from an honest place – that this shoot was a creative outlet for these vendors, not something that was meant to be priced out and sold as a commodity. It was the opportunity to get creative and to express themselves as artists. I totally get that. But I also want to share facts and costs about this shoot because it inspired me to do so. I love this shoot. I want someone to have this wedding and I want a bride to have the tools in which to make it happen. That is my goal – to inspire and to assist in that inspiration.

Many, many thanks to the folks who put this styled shoot together and who were willing to go that extra step with me, talk with me and  to help inform and inspire all brides! Show them some link love, OK?

Photographers  Eliza Truitt Photography and Barbie Hull Photography

Favors and Gifts   Heather Driscoll, Heathoriginal

Floral Designer  Kimberly Neff, Lilies & Lemon Drops

Reception Venue  Clise Mansion

Dress La Belle Reve

Cake Designer  High 5 Pie

Hair/Makeup Artist  Michelle Chappron

Transportation  British Motor Coach

Q. What inspired you and the team to do this?

A. We love creating and always have new ideas to share. This was the perfect way to both create items we’d wanted to make and share them with others. We also found inspiration from the venue, Clise Mansion: the willow tree, brick wall, and gazebo all became elements in the shoot. Our overall theme "Preppy Meets Romantic Vintage".


The Venue, Clise Mansion – To rent this lovely space on a Saturday night (6pm-midnight) during peak season will cost $2825. Please note that this is only to rent the space, other costs like rentals and food and service are all separate.

Hair and make-up for the “bride” (the “bride” and “groom” are actually married, so the love pictures here is real!) was done by Michelle Chappron and her rates are:

Consultation: $75

On-site day-of is $150

Bridesmaids, MOB’s, etc. are $130 on the day of.

I spoke to Michelle and asked her if there was one thing she could communicate to my readers, what would it be? She wanted to stress to all brides that having a hair and make-up professional is an important part of both looking good and feeling good on your wedding day. From my personal experience, I couldn’t agree more! It’s pampering, it’s stress free and you know you’re going to look fantastic!


The gown is from Seattle bridal shop La Belle Reve. It’s a WToo, Watters gown, style #6819 and it costs $1248. The gown’s name is “Liane” and it’s an ivory silky taffeta strapless dress with ruched bodice and cascading pleated ruffle skirt with a puddle train. Honestly, I thought this dress looked a lot more expensive than $1248!







Q. What kind of research did you do for this shoot?

A. Kim from Lilies and Lemon Drops had to research a bit to see what flowers & greens would be available and in season, but mostly she used items and flowers that she loves and that inspire her. Heather of Heathoriginal said that she just created items based on what she likes and what is inspiring her these days!

The flowers Kim used included: Mint, Peonies, Scabiosa, Poppy Pods, Ranunculus, Baby's Breath, and a variety of greens. She handmade the greenery garland for the get-away car and all the various floral arrangements

Remember to keep the seasonality of flowers in mind. For instance, peonies (used in the bouquet) bloom in late spring and early summer and will have better availability/price at that time. For a winter wedding in Des Moines, Iowa, you’re going to pay more for those peonies. Keep that in mind when working with your florist. There are about a million billion websites out there that can tell you the seasonality of the flowers you love. The more informed you are, the easier it will be to work with your florist.




Q. What about the food goodies?

A. For the picnic, Jones Soda is a local Seattle favorite (and they do custom labels!). The pies, both the full-sized and pie-in-a-jar came from the fabulous Seattle shop High 5 Pie.

Jones Soda is definitely a cool way to add color and pop (no pun intended) to a tablescape. They have a rainbow of colors and flavors and like Eliza mentioned you can customized the labels. You can buy Jones Soda at many, many retailers or you can buy them online for anywhere between a $1.50 and $1.75 each, NOT including shipping. Customized labels through the Jones Soda website are $29.99 plus shipping for a 12 pack.

The pies-in-a-jar from High 5 Pie are $5 each. If you have the time or inclination, you can also DIY these suckers. I wrote about that here. I can’t imagine they’d turn out as cute as these though, right? The High 5 Pie 9” pies are $21 for fruit and $23 for cream filled. The Candyman and I paid about that much per cake for our cake buffet, so much less expensive than a traditional wedding cake and for us, by FAR tastier! And pies are just so on-trend right now!


Where'd you get the props?

All the non-floral handcrafted goodness was created by Heather from Heathoriginal. All floral and tablescape decor was from the Lilies & Lemon Drops collection. Kim loves shopping for antiques and has started a collection of white milk glass & other vintage items. If you're looking to start your own collection, thrift stores and antique stores are a great place to start. If you want to buy online, Etsy and Ebay have tons of this stuff, ranging from the reasonably priced to the not-so-reasonably priced. She used a variety of milk glass containers for the flower arrangements and a vintage toolbox stored all of the desserts for our picnic. She purchased fabric from our local craft store to create the sweetheart table tablecloth and found a silk scarf while antique shopping that I used as the table runner. The plates on the sweetheart table were a gift her parents received at their wedding and were perfect for our shoot!  

There is nothing truer than these words right here. You can find all sorts of goodies at Goodwill, thrift and resale shops. At privately owned thrift shops, you can totally negotiate. I do it all the time. Recently, I purchased (based on the original price tag cost) $423 worth of TruLu Couture goodies for $45. Yes, I did too. The guy was having a sale, half off of everything, so it would have been $211.50. I didn’t want to pay that much, I wanted to pay $45. I asked. He got uncomfortable and shuffled around and scratched his head and complained. I let him do that and remained silent as he did his math. At half off and a store jam packed with product, I knew his inventory needed some relief and felt comfortable going so low. These deals are few and far between and I have a long background in negotiating, so don’t go and be a big bitch to these shop owners, but definitely negotiate. If you tell them what you need and why, you’d be surprised at how generous some people can be. Don’t believe me? Check out this post.




By the way, I believe that the “groom's” suit is vintage. It’s by Frederick & Nelson, which is an old department store based out of Seattle. In 1992 they were taken over by Nordstrom’s, who made the original Frederick & Nelson location their flagship store. It’s a hip suit, no?



Q. Can you give more info on sourcing--if you bought the cute little ice cream chairs, where did you get them and how much were they?

A. The chairs had been sitting around Heather’s parents house for over 20 years; she dug them out and gave them a little love (sanding, painting, reupholstering). You can find similar ones on eBay if you search “ice cream parlor chairs.” There are awesome vintage toolboxes on Etsy  and Ebay . Or you can just ask if you can poke around in your grandparent’s basement...

This is SO TRUE! Me and The Candyman have some ice cream chairs that I inherited from my parents, who got them from my grandparents! Also, check out Craig’s List for this kind of stuff. You can get it for so cheap! The same thrift shop that I got the great deal at? Oh. My. God. They had a crap-load of white hobnail milk glass stuff – more than enough for a single wedding. I bet some great deals could be made there….buying in bulk, particularly from a source that normally doesn’t sell in bulk, always means a cheaper price. If the store won’t budge on a bulk sale, move on.



I love vintage cars! The Candyman and I had a 1939 Packard for our wedding!  I love the look of this one! The kind folks over at Seattle’s British Motor Coach were nice enough to send their rates and honestly, they seem to be pretty much in line with what other vintage cars cost. Again this will vary from place to place and city to city.

Vintage Cars (Bentley, Rolls Royce): $110/hr plus 20% gratuity and 6% fuel surcharge. There is a 2-consecutive hour minimum charge unless a “split package” is requested.The “split” is useful if you only want the car from the ceremony to the reception and then the reception to a hotel, providing that the events are local and that there are at least 3 hours between trips. The split is then $165++ versus the $220++.

The total all-inclusive price of the 2-hour minimum is $277.20

The total all-inclusive price of the split package is $415.80

British Motor Coach offers stretch limos and vans and all sorts of other transportation goodies.

The Candyman and I negotiated a split with our driver, though it wasn’t offered as part of a package like this one is (handy!). It was a last minute need (remember The Candyman’s ride was stolen 2 weeks before our wedding?!) for us and since our driver was available, we worked out a deal. Remember, ask for what you want or need – you might just get it!



Can you give me all the details on the items you used?

All the paper goods were created by hand by Heather and can be found through her Etsy shop  or website . Items include: Sewn crepe paper streamers, Mr. and Mrs. pennant flags, The Happy Couple sign, "&" sign, drink flags, sheet music rosettes, "Enjoy" pie flags, "Just Married" vinyl decal and tulle pom car decorations, Thank You pennants, sparkler display, matchboxes, hand-sewn "Toss Me" bags, send-off flags/pennants (Huzzah, Yay!, Love), farewell banner and "Away We Go" banner. 

Here’s a list of the costs from Heathoriginals:

Sewn crepe paper streamers: $2.50 per yard.

Mr. & Mrs. pennant flags: $2.50 each

The Happy Couple sign: $25.00

“&” Sign: $10.00

Drink flags: $1.00-$1.50 each

Sheet music rosettes: $3.00 each

“Enjoy” pie flags: $1.00 each

“Just Married” vinyl decal: $40.00

Tulle Garland (on car): $18.00 per 6 feet.  

“Thank You” pennants: $4.00 each

Matchboxes: $2.00 each

Hand sewn “Toss Me” bags: $2.50 each

Send off flags/pennants: $4.00 each

“Farewell” Banner: $15.00

“Away we go!” banner: $35.00

*Pricing is for items shown "as is". Custom items may vary based on quantity, sizes and materials used.





Giant Sparklers? Try Sparklers R Us. Their 36” sparklers are $1.03 each, the cheapest I was able to find! There are shorter lengths (generally 10” and 20”) that are even less expensive.



So I know this was a crazy-ass long post, but I thought it would be worth the effort to share the creativity of some talented artist with just a touch of reality – to truly inspire a bride and to show that dreamy weddings have resources that you can access.

Again, I want to thank all the vendors involved for sharing their time and information with me so that I could make this styled and inspirational shoot a little less scary and a lot more fun!

So ladies (and gentlemen?), you must tell me what you think. Was this helpful? Was it inspiring? Was it information overload? Do tell. 

*This is not a sponsored post, just one I believe in.

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Reader Comments (6)

I can appreciate your annoyance with fake weddings. I remember wondering, when I was planning, How much do you have to pay to get all your guests clothes to coordinate like that??? It's kind of like in the California Closet ads where all the shoes and clothes are in one color family. Nary a pair of fat pants to be seen.

June 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDaisy

@Abby - Right? All the perfect is both aggravating and delicious!

June 10, 2011 | Registered CommenterLouise

I love this post. It's so refreshingly honest, and yet many of the items are absolutely attainable, depending on which splurges you choose. And these details and items are so pretty and well thought out!

Also, I am dying about Seattle pricing. DYING. LA onsite hair and makeup is $500. Mansion venues are $5K (if you're lucky) on Saturday night. Seattle is lucky to have these options (for venues and these featured vendors, of course!)

June 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBecca

@Becca - $500??? WTF? Seattle and Nashville are neck and neck when it comes to costs, I can't believe those LA prices! I also think all the paper goodies from Heather are WAY manageable, particularly if the bride isn't a DIY-er or just doesn't have the damn time. ☺

June 10, 2011 | Registered CommenterLouise

I LOVE this post! Your entries are not only honest, but they are interesting, captivating, and creative. I love this bride's dress; the photography is brilliant, and you continually keep me captivated. Awesome awesome awesome blogger. Keep it coming!

June 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlecia

@Alecia - Thank you!

June 10, 2011 | Registered CommenterLouise

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