The 1944 film National Velvet is a cinematic tribute to brave women around the world, so it’s natural it would also serve as perfect inspiration for this wedding styled shoot from Rodeo & Co Photography, By Emily B., and Emily Herzig Floral Studio. Blues, greens, and burnt orange come together brilliantly in this equestrian inspired wedding day with heaps of details plucked right out of nature itself.
From the photographers, Rodeo & Co Photography: When Meg (Rodeo & Co Photography) and Kristin (By Emily B.) first started working together, they bonded over a shared love of all things equine. Both ladies had grown up competing, riding, and caring for horses every single day of their lives, so needless to say, the four-legged beasts played a huge role in each of their adolescence. After they met and started working weddings together, it wasn’t long before they figured out that they also shared a favorite film: National Velvet. A 14-year-old Elizabeth Taylor shines in the role of Velvet Brown, a young girl living in Sussex, England who wins a spirited gelding, The Pie, in a raffle and decides to train him, alongside Mickey Rooney, for the Grand National steeplechase. When they can’t find a jockey, Velvet ends up secretly riding The Pie in the Grand National (an extremely tough and dangerous race) and wins! The film, based on Enid Bagnold’s 1935 novel, was selected by Library of Congress for National Film Registry preservation in 2003 because of its cultural and historical significance. It is a Technicolor tribute to brave women everywhere, which inspired us to create a wedding shoot in its honor.
Toad Hill Farm in the White Mountains provided the quintessential backdrop for our shoot. The barns and outbuildings felt like they were right out of the movie, like Mickey Rooney may be just inside grooming The Pie. And though the landscape is different, it offered similar drama with its fields, rolling hills, and rustic horse fencing. Gus & Ruby Letterpress designed an epic stationery suite, complete with a lots of velvet, a steeplechase-themed save-the-date, and little silver bridal bits wrapped around the menus. The bride, wearing Elizabeth Dye from True North Bridal, had a horse in tow, who wore a wreath (by Emily Herzig Floral Studio) fit for the winner’s circle. We worked particularly hard to have this shoot truly embody the essence of the film. The ring bearer even wore a glass bottle around his neck, like Velvet’s brother Donald, who collected bugs in the bottle he wore throughout the movie. We wanted every element in the shoot to have significance, even naming our faux groom Pierce, because it sounds similar to Pie. The navy blue cake sported an absolutely gorgeous “VP” monogram by Bentley’s Bakery, set against the faux boxwood panels that By Emily B. used throughout the design to represent the green of the steeplechase obstacles and the track they race on.
From Kristin of By Emily B.: This shoot was a top moment for me in my design career. It felt as though our work had evolved in this new way. It was mature and sophisticated, yet truly born from a childhood passion. National Velvet was everything I dreamed of when I was young. Velvet’s tenacity and bravery inspired me throughout my adolescence in ways I can’t even describe. To bring a vision like this, so many years in the making, to life was such a gift. I believe Velvet would have been proud and would have even felt right at home if the wedding were actually hers.