The heart behind this shoot at Chateau Polonez is twofold. The first has to do with the increasing number of couples I’m meeting that want to plan a destination wedding, but either can’t afford a wedding abroad, or they have concerns about certain family members being able to make the trip due to health and other concerns. I hate to see couples “settle” for a wedding they can’t get fully excited about, so with that in mind, I wanted to spark inspiration for a “destination wedding at home.”
The second has to do with the wedding industry’s lack of male representation. Men get overlooked no matter if it’s a straight or same sex couple and it makes me sad for grooms who are excited about their wedding, but feel like they aren’t invited to the [planning] party. The wedding industry is obsessed with brides. I totally get it, I am a girl after all. The dresses, the bouquets, the romance…it’s like a dream. But as a photographer, I want to make sure that the grooms that come my way know they and their families can count on me to document them on what is also their day! They should also have photos of the details they contributed and of themselves looking dapper. It’s really important to me to be a photographer who represents the couple and not just brides.
I knew bringing all of these aspects together would be a challenge, but I also knew I couldn’t not make it happen. I decided the overall theme would be a European chateau destination wedding. Imagine the kind of wedding you might see at a country home in Provence, France or a chateau in Tuscany, Italy. It would be full of family, food, wine and joy. It would be elegantly and exquisitely relaxed. It would be that wedding that so many couples want, but can’t quite make happen for one reason or another. Well, you don’t have to travel across the pond to get that kind of experience because we’ve got an awesome venue right here in Houston, Texas!
When I presented the idea to Liz of Elizabeth Abshire Events and Design and the fabulous ladies at Chateau Polonez, they thought it was genius and were immediately on board. We began pulling everything together starting with the elegant furniture from Vintage Indulgence. The blue wingback chairs and deep toned wood table where perfectly masculine and a gorgeous fit for our setting. House of Hough added in matte satin cornflower napkins, chargers accented with silver glass beads, and for a touch of femininity, ruffled muslin table runners. Flower Vibes crafted an overflowing fireplace mantelpiece and centerpiece of light blue delphinium, pale pink snapdragons, ivy, eucalyptus, lavender, sage and rosemary. I wish I could have bottled the fragrance, because it was just absolutely divine!
Lily and Rose Studio hand lettered a navy and powder blue stationary suite including invitation, rsvp, menu and place cards. The understated elegance of the suite was the perfect introduction to our shoot. Meanwhile, Sinfully Sweet designed a three tier, pink ruffle cake with rose detailing that really stood out amongst the hues of blue and masculine details.
To add an extra decadent touch, we included food. Normally wedding editorials do not include food, other than a wedding cake, but I really felt that with this theme, food was essential. Chef Rae from Kouture Kuisine out did herself arranging every little nibble you would expect to see at this type of affair: a glass platter overflowing with grapes and berries, a marble platter featuring antipasto nibbles including salami, crackers, and creamy Havarti and another arranged with garlic stuffed olives and marinated artichoke hearts. A basket piled high with baguettes and sliced breads had us all ready to crack open the wine and enjoy a feast!
I also have to brag on The Ivy League Men’s Shop. We were just a few days away from the shoot and we had yet to secure attire for our couple. Menswear is really difficult to borrow, unlike wedding gowns which are (ironically) very easy to get for shoots. After contacting at least 10 menswear businesses, I was referred to the The Ivy League Men’s Shop. I stopped in to make my case and found that Victor, the owner, is a fellow veteran! He was happy to help and even picked out the absolute perfect wardrobe for each of our guys. Julius was sporting a plaid Adolfo blazer, while Michael looked dapper in a navy blue Ben Sherman blazer. Both were topped off with Beyond Creations bow ties perfectly accented by their Flower Vibes boutonnieres and Hayley and Company provided some extra primping for our guys and did up our lady guests with beautiful summery makeup and hair.
Below you’ll find the links to all of the amazing Houston wedding vendors that made this shoot possible. You can see a video of this shoot, which includes some behind the scenes footage here. I’m also excited to announce that this shoot is being featured in the latest edition of Love Wins Texas wedding magazine!
Venue – Chateau Polonez
Coordination and Styling – Elizabeth Abshire Events and Design
Furniture – Vintage Indulgence
Floral Design – Flower Vibes
Linens, Chargers – House of Hough
Cake Design – Sinfully Sweet
Catering – Kouture Kuisine
Calligraphy, Stationary – Lily and Rose Studio
Menswear – The Ivy League Men’s Shop
Hair and Makeup – Hayley and Company
Videography – Love Captured Productions