Honoring African Heritage: Inspiring Ceremonial Styled Shoot

Inspired by the visual and cultural elements of African heritage and the honoring of Kwanzaa, this gorgeous styled shoot seamlessly incorporates multiple levels of decor and design showcased within a complete day of wedding ceremony and celebration. The country estate setting is the perfect backdrop, complemented with a lovely earth-toned color palette with rustic bohemian flare. Read all about the inspiration and design details below.

Because the backdrop of the shoot was a private country estate, I wanted to incorporate flowers that represented the area but also I didn't want them to be too country or rustic. I loved using a lot of greenery to tie in with the outdoor area of Park Winters. In addition to that, I love texture in my designs and wanted to have the softness and romantic look of the peach roses and the organic and flowy look of the Queen's Anne lace.

I wanted the cake to represent cowrie shells and an African drum. Both items are very much part of the African American heritage. In African culture, cowrie shells were used as money and the drum was and is still used today for religious ceremonies, celebrations and weddings. The cowrie shells and the drum on the cake were tied to the rest of the shoot where the cowrie shells are part of the ceremony and are on the model's necklace and the drum is in the background of the ceremony.

When working with Sparkle Bridal Couture, I wanted to use a gown that was simple, elegant and understated. The reason for that was that I wanted to customize the sash that was going to go around the gown and also have that tied to the groom's bow tie and handkerchief. Personalization and customization was very important to me because I want couples to be able to express who they are on their very important day. Both the bow tie and the gown sash were custom designed and also tie in to the linens that were on the guest table. The fabric of the bow tie and gown sash is actual African wax fabric.

As explained before, the bow tie and sash were custom designed and made using African wax fabric. The cowrie shell necklace was designed and created by me. The linens on the tables were hand sewn by me.

Every detail was inspired by a strong earthy color palette, drawn from African American culture, to create a bohemian and romantic ambience with lots of textured details. The tabletop is set with a purple runner, green stoneware, peach, green and clear glassware and bamboo flatware. The napkins were custom designed by me and were meant to tie back to the fabrics in the gown sash and groom’s suit bow tie. The cream colored table was used to soften the strong earthy color palette and the wicker and metal candelabras were used to create a bohemian rustic look.

~ Gina Lett-Shrewsberry of Inspirations by Gina

Planning, Coordination, Styling, Floral Design and Accessories: Inspirations by Gina
Stationery: Beauty Bright Design
Photographer and Videographer: Meagan Lucy Photographers
Wedding Dress: Sparkle Bridal Couture
Venue: Park Winters
Men's Suit: Tuxedo Den
Hair and Make Up: All Dolled Up
Rentals: Rustique Country Rentals
Officiant: Dearly Beloved Celebrations
Cake: Go West Baking and Events 
Fabric for Sash, Bow Tie, Napkins, Runner: Mood Fabrics NYC

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