“Let’s do a shoot that involves cats…and motorcycles!” That was the sentence that began this project. Later we’d add to the list: deer teeth, parachute pants, and a grungy bouquet of flowers with roots still attached.
Those of us in the wedding industry work really hard during a chunk of the year we label busy season. Off-season is when we can catch up on shows in our Netflix queue, visit our friends, take extended trips, and work on the back end of our business. It’s during this latter time I often feel the most artistic energy. Once those creative muscles have hibernated, coming back into the world to stretch them is one of the best things I can do for myself to kick off a new busy season.
Back to the shoot. A group of us creatives meet our perfect match: a young couple married two years, who never had their wedding day in the sun. They married at a courthouse before moving abroad to teach English in Korea. There was no first look, no dress shopping, and no being doted upon. Even before we met our couple, we decided to stretch ourselves and what we consider possible by using one couple and one base outfit — but in wildly different aesthetics.
Whether married for two or twenty years, people are always coming up to me and saying, “I wish I would have known you when I got married!” So if you didn’t get the wedding photos you dreamed of on the day you said, “I do!”, reach out to your wedding community. Because your dream is their dream. And if you’re planning your wedding now, don’t let the boxes hold you captive — details can take a vision to a whole new level! A few wild florals can transform a super simple room into a greenhouse, and a little moody makeup and a leather jacket can make you some badass bikers!
“I just was doted on all day, and it really inspired me to think about dabbling in my own personal creative endeavors. I like refurbishing stuff and decorating, and I've done a few projects lately inspired by the shoot. I've also started curling my hair more often now that I know it can look so BA.” —Elaina, Bride
Collaborating with friends has been one of the best things for my business. In our dream world, we’d work together at every wedding every weekend.
“The shoot allowed us to style cleanly and simply, but still create the dream scenarios we've always wanted to see with wedding days!” —MStyle
“I wanted to be part of the styled shoot because it seemed like something Elaina and I would have a lot of fun doing. I also thought my mom would be thrilled to see us dressed up in wedding clothes…I’ve learned more about event planning, floral arrangements, photography, hair and makeup in one day than I ever had before. It was just such an unusual day for me that when I think about it, it feels like a breath of fresh air.” —Bryce, Groom
Words and photos by Rachel Joy Barehl
Rachel Barehl is a photographer in Columbus, Ohio who is known for her abilities to build community and tell stories. She and her partner Adam live with their pup Clooney and several chickens in a little oasis in the middle of the city that they refer to as the Barehl Homestead. If you want to see snapshots of her life, follow her on Instagram @racheljoybarehl