Style Court

Nine Years of Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes


Not Just for Wedding Days

[Photo by Liz Banfield ©Weddings by Tara Guérard, Gibbs Smith Publisher 2010. The bouquet was hand tied with gray dusty miller leaves, silver Brunia, white dahlias, Coral Charm peonies, Sentyna and Giselle spray roses, and Peach Finesse and Versilla roses. Dupioni silk ribbons were sewn into pleats.]

There are a bunch of reasons why I enjoy flipping through the recently released book, Weddings by Tara Guérard, several of which don't necessarily relate to weddings.

[All pictures except image three below can be enlarged by clicking. All photography by Liz Banfield ©Weddings by Tara Guérard, Gibbs Smith 2010.]

For one thing, historic houses like Drayton Hall and natural lowcountry landscapes often figure prominently in the weddings designed by Tara and her Soirettes.

Photographer Liz Banfield, who frequently shoots for Soiree, said to me, "I love great light but I'm going to say that the best thing about shooting in the South has to be the amazing backdrops." She thinks the architecture and old character of the historic churches, houses and buildings is unmatched anywhere else in the U.S.

In addition to Drayton Hall, Liz is especially wowed by the William Aiken House. (To learn about archaeological investigations and changes happening at Drayton, visit the site's blog.)

Chic color combinations typically characterize Tara's weddings, and the world of interior decoration often informs her work too.

For the South Carolina wedding of Carter Samis and Fred Fellers, Tara and the bride opted to emphasize orange and gray, and they took inspiration from Tony Duquette. You'll have to pick up the book to see the whole event, but here I'm sharing a little peek (each photo except image three, above, is from Carter's wedding).

Carter bought ikat fabric from Pakistan while Tara and her Soirettes worked fallen trees into the decor. Some trunks and stumps were left natural and some branches were painted gold, a la Duquette. Birds were a central motif as well. Liz mentioned to me that, in her experience, branches aren't always photogenic but she felt that the gold at night was stunning.

Expanding on the topic of flowers and photography, she said, "Black Magic roses photograph darker than they seem in person. Any deeply saturated color like that will be even darker on film. The same goes for fabrics, incidentally. Deep purple or navy will look almost black. I also think that people expect white roses to be white [when] in fact they usually have a yellow tint to them, an effect that is exaggerated in pictures."

There are a lot of recipes and creative ideas in the book that could be interpreted for other types of events. It's all about the details, something Liz echoed when I asked her what elements contribute to the best wedding shots:

"Being set up for success is key. Great details (and Tara always delivers those in spades) combined with having the time that I need to do my job. A wedding is by nature a fast moving event so I have to plan ahead and make sure the schedule is conducive to [outstanding] pictures.

This fall I had a wedding for a couple that didn't want to see each other prior to the ceremony. And yet they were getting married just before sunset. I knew there would not be enough time to do a great portrait shoot with them together, let alone their families, or to shoot the reception details all before the sun went down. We had a discussion and they decided in the end to do all the portraits before the ceremony. The results were absolutely amazing and they told me afterward that they didn't regret their decision one bit. Plus, they didn't miss a minute of their party! That gave me more opportunities to document them candidly just having a fabulous time."

For this blog post I've emphasized decorative details but the book is filled with terrific candid shots of people. So, I wondered if Liz instantly feels the magic when she is behind the camera or if she doesn't really know what she's got until she's back in the studio beginning to pour over the images.

She said, "When it's happening, I feel it all over! And it's a wonderful sensation. Occasionally I'll discover a little surprise, later, when I'm editing the images. But generally speaking, I know I got a great shot as I'm taking it. I usually feel really, really excited and break out in goose bumps."

Apart from the gorgeous blue shoes and ethereal dress on the book's cover, you may notice the elegant rug in the shot. Seeing it again prompts me to post a reminder of the Cathedral Antiques Show which starts Thursday, January 21 (the preview gala is Wednesday evening). General admission for the show is $15 and ticket sales benefit Cool Girls. Since tomorrow is a day of service, I don't think it will hurt for me to repeat three more philanthropic and volunteer-related links from last week:

Vanessa De Vargas' project for Upward Bound House,
Charlotte Moss' pledge to UNICEF, and
Spotlight on Art, which in part benefits Families First.

Click here and here for the AJC's coverage of artist Louis Delsarte’s newly dedicated 125-foot-long Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Mural created with a few helping hands from the community.


Laura Casey Interiors said...

I just got completely lost in all of these beautiful images. I am completely inspired.

Ragland Hill Social by Gwen Driscoll said...

What beautiful images. This book looks amazing. I agree, you can be inspired by wedding pictures beyond having a wedding, especially in a book like this. I may have to purchase it. Hope you are well. Have a great week.

red ticking said...


Karena said...

Beautiful images, so elegant! Oh and my mother has the best recipe for bread and butter pickles.

Missive said...

Thanks for posting this--I must go see this book in person. I love her style, especially the interior design influences.

Lee Kleinhelter said...

Love Liz Banfield. So very talented!

Gramercy Home - Atlanta said...

I love wedding photos for inspiration. The attention to detail that many have is amazing. I'm a big sucker for news stand mags - esp. the annual Grace Ormonde issue. Great Post!

Lacquered Life said...

When I lived in Charleston, I worked in the Historic Preservation Dept at Drayton Hall, and always dreamed about having a beautiful wedding there!-It is an absolutely perfect spot, right on the Ashley River--spanish moss, palladian plantation house--perfection.

flyoungstudio said...

What a gorgeous book. The mood that the design and decor conveys is just magical. Oh and one day, I MUST make it to Drayton Hall...I used it as a model for one of my recent murals, and am just smitten with it.

Stylebeat said...

Such charming ideas!

Turquoise said...

Thank you for the shout out Courtney! The Upward Bound House project came out amazing, and I will send you pics as soon as we have them! Best, Vanessa