Katie Alcock from Hawthorne Photograpy Co shares the creative process and details behind the original and beautiful urban greenhouse style shoot she photographed and directed at Bright Lights Event Venue. 

What was the original spark that put this style shoot planning in action?
I seem to always shoot weddings that are very white and “classic” when it comes to colour inspiration. I have been dying to cover some jewel-toned colour palates for a while and our scheduled styled shoot seemed like the perfect opportunity!

What going in was the main aspiration for this styled shoot?
We wanted to make the shoot as true to a real wedding as possible. We wanted to tackle real wedding problems and shed some light into those scenarios. One “problem” that kept coming up in our discussions is that sometimes when a date hasn’t been settled, brides can’t land on a theme until a season is decided on. I’ve had brides have to change wedding dates because of a health complication or unavailable “favourite” vendor and this has completely messed up their palate. So, for this styled shoot we decided to tackle the topic of finding a colour palate that could work no matter the season while still being colourful and bright!

How fully do you develop the narrative of the shoot to ensure that all the elements are seamless and read like real wedding day details?

One of the key things was lots of communication between vendors. For a real wedding, you have a bride/stylist/planner putting each element together. So for a styled shoot, it was important that we were showing each other our plans and talking lots before the day of.

Why was Bright Lights a good fit with this styled shoot?
Bright Lights was AMAZING. First of all, we loved working with the staff who accommodated us so well and were so generous with their time and assistance. The reason we landed on Bright Lights was because (aside from really wanting to book a Berkeley venue) we just really loved the light in there. The white walls, greenery, and wooden window shutters were perfect. Honestly the venue is such a great space to be in the colder months when you still want a spring/summer feel! This is so hard to find in Toronto!

What was your process for working with the filmmaker on this project?
Actually, the filmmaker is a great friend of mine. We’ve been working together for a few years now and regularly shoot for each other. We are great at taking turns shooting, communicating lots, and ensuring the other person has a chance to get their shot. For this shoot, it was essential that we had seamless lighting and tones, so it was something we took the chance to “set” before the shoot began.

At what stage were the dresses bridal and bridesmaid chosen for the shoot and how did this shape the style and feeling overall ?
The dresses were one of the first things to be selected! Around the same time as the venue selection. It totally shaped the overall feeling because the dresses, especially the bridal gown (Rue de Seine) had such a boho feel that was easy to translate into all the other elements. Once I shared the fitting photos to the other vendors, we all swooned over the details of the dress and then knew exactly what to do to weave the flow of the dress into the other elements of the shoot.

What would you say made this project stand out as unique and signature ?

I think the colour palate was key. It isn’t one you see too often (though some of the other elements like the greenery and boho feel are common) because it is pretty bold and you have to be a bit risky in order to be willing to try this palate out (which is why I think less people try it). It worked as planned though so I think that’s what makes it stand out!

What are some the benefits of being involved in all stages of the project when you are the photographer as well?
Well I looovved planning my own wedding, but it was five years ago. I was so excited to put together this shoot because it was like getting all my dream vendors all over again! One thing a lot of people forget when they’re planning a wedding is that your best friend will always be your photographer. We attend so many weddings and see so much of the fine details come together. We have great connections and we usually know the typical mistakes people make before they make them. So I guess being a photographer benefitted the planning process (to go more smoothly), and likewise, being the one doing lots of the planning benefitted the photography as well — because everything went according to plan which always makes my job easier.

What are some of the wedding trends you see happening that you find exciting?

I’m starting to see a lot more intimate weddings, and I love it! I personally really enjoy low-key, smaller weddings because then the bride and groom are so much more relaxed, they get more time to spend with guests, and then one benefit many don’t realize until later is that the budget goes sooo much farther so couples are getting to spend their extra funds on details they would have never dreamed of affording, just because the numbers are slightly adjusted.

Looking back over the pictures would you be able to pick one that tells the story?
Oh boy. So many that I love but this one really does tell the story!!

Who were the other creative teams you partnered with on this project and what were the best outcomes of the collaboration?
Our creative team was amazing. We were hoping to highlight each vendor’s skills while looking unified when our elements came together. The team was comprised of:

Styling: Brenna Milligan  /  Wild Honey Weddings

Photography & Artistic Direction: Katie Alcock  /  Hawthorne Photography Co.

Bright Lights Event Venue

Video: Arizona Lanceleve  /  White Pine Imaging
Hair & Makeup : Moda Salon
Stationary: Avenue 16
Bride/Bridesmaid Dresses & Accessories Provided By: LoversLand
Bridesmaid Dresses By: Twobirds New York
Roxanne Bilski  / 
Dimitri Sivak  /  
Nana  / 
Sienna Feng  /  
Interview : Branded By Hand