20 Wedding Dresses for a Fine Art Bride

Ophelia Gown by Hannah Tikkanen (Image: Simply Sweet Photography by Nomo Akisawa)

This morning we’re focusing on one of my favourite elements of a fine art wedding – the dreamiest gowns you can imagine! Because of course, you want to look like a masterpiece on your wedding day! So what IS a wedding dress for a fine art bride, exactly? Well, it’s less a specific look than a feeling: ethereal, hand crafted, unique, with beautiful fabrics and intricate details. It’s definitely not your standard wedding salon ivory ballgown, and often it isn’t white or ivory at all – colour is definitely part of the equation. Above all, a fine art dress photographs beautifully, which is another reason why you’ll often see dreamy rivers of tulle in fine art inspiration shoots. But where to find these one-off beauties? Well, there are some local designers who lean in this direction, but you could also take the leap and look to the artisan dressmakers on Etsy, which is what I have rounded up here today. Get ready for full scale swoonage. This might be our prettiest dress roundup EVER. Links in bold denote affiliate links. The cost to you remains the same, but SBB may receive a commission for any sales made.

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Cotton Fields Engagement Shoot

We don’t feature a lot of engagements here on SBB, but when we do, they always include a unique theme, gorgeous styling or a super cool location. Today’s e-shoot has two out of three, because Elzaan and Rikus not only picked a fabulous locale (cotton fields for days! And a citrus orchard!) but made it totally pop with their own fashion styling. We’re loving Elzaan’s embroidered floral Burberry dress (a bold choice, which totally works!) just as much as we adore Rikus’ tweed blazer and bowtie combo. Of course, what brings it all together is these wonderfully romantic pics by JCclick. I met this super nice pair of photographers recently at the TopVendor awards, and can’t wait to feature more of their work on SBB!

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Lady of the Camellias

Happy Monday friends! We have so much fab content to share this week, and we’re starting off with a beautiful fine art shoot from my friend Louise over at B.LOVED. I love stepping into Louise’s world, which has got more beautiful as the years have gone by and she’s gone from strength to strength as a stylist, and this spring-inspired shoot is a gorgeous example. With a spectacular English venue, soft fabrics, romantic details, and a beautiful corally-blush palette to match the camellias that were abundantly in bloom, and stunning photography by Kate Nielen, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate spring.

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Winter Elegance Wedding Inspiration

Time for some pretty! While we may be marching toward summer in SA (come on summer!), today’s inspiration is all about the simple pleasures of the winter months. With an outdoor setting in the beautiful Golden Gate area, a stylish bride and groom (LOVE the bride’s lace tattoo gown especially!), and simple elements that come together in the most beautiful way, it’s almost enough to make me wish the chillier months would last juuuust a little bit longer. I know many of you love the natural, minimal look, and this shoot perfectly combines those simple shapes and textures with a few of the fine art elements that I’ve been on about this month, including silk ribbon and gold cutlery, as well as a loose greenery bouquet and a simple, elegant cake. It’s a stunning combination, created by a team led by stylist Melissa Bredenkamp, and captured to perfection by Ian Odendaal Photography.

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Adorable Couple’s Boudoir

I have to admit you guys, when I heard that ‘couple’s boudoir’ was a thing, my first thought was: ick. I mean, some things should be private, right? But since then, I have to admit my mind has been changed by the classy way that photographers have captured fun, playful, intimate moments between couples. As today’s photographer, Samantha Jackson, says: “There are rules – we don’t want to get too out of hand! But overall the sessions are sexy and fun, and a reminder to couples of the steamy connection that they share.” That’s why I love this Mr and Mrs session – it’s super sweet (and beautifully captured) and, like the best kind of boudoir, is like a peek behind the scenes rather than a dodgy provocative lad’s mag shoot. It’s full of laughter and fun, and of course – love! And just wait until you read the adorable couple’s love story and how they pulled off the perfect, relaxed elopement!

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Dearly Beloved

I like to think all the shoots we feature on SBB are special, but today’s really is something extra. As well as being oh-so-pretty, it’s a personal tribute from stylist Kate Bell of Bells & Whistles Event Styling to her lovely grandmother, who sadly passed away earlier this year. Using flowers that reminded Kate of her grandmother’s garden, where she played as a little girl, and a pair of treasured vintage scissors as a prop, Kate drew inspiration from cherished memories of someone who really was “dearly beloved”. As well as being an utterly beautiful way of honouring someone, I think this is a lesson for brides and grooms too, because as I always say, a wedding should be a reflection of you and your story. So when you’re deciding on your wedding design, be sure to allow your imagination to run wild, dig deep into your most precious memories and keepsakes, and what you create really will be truly you. The wonderful Stella Uys took these gorgeous images!

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Inspiration Board: Le Jardin de Monet

Turning from the jewel tones of today’s real wedding, this board is ALL about the pastels. As I mentioned yesterday, the fine art look in weddings isn’t necessarily consciously ‘artistic’, more like curated of soft fabrics and romantic details, but when I started putting this look together, I couldn’t help but drift towards the Impressionist style of one of my favourite artists, Monet. Taking a loose collection of peaches, blues, greens and greys as a base, it’s like taking a splash from Monet’s paintbrush and turning it into a wedding (if that even makes sense). Lovely, no?

Top (l-r): Couple in boat (Kay English Photography) | Watercolour cake (Michelle Leo Events/Layers Cake) | Calligraphy stationery & silk ribbon (Silk & Willow)
Row 2: Shoes (Jillian Mitchell) | Grey candles (Feather And Stone/Victoria Cameron) | Bouquet (Anna Tereshina Photography/Oh My Love Wedding/Sweet William Wedding)
Row 3: Place setting (Emily March Photography/Rebecca Rose Creative) | Bridesmaids in tulle (Katie Kett) | Bride (Feather & Stone/Pearl & Godiva)


Monet Fine Art Wedding Inspiration Board | SouthBound Bride


Whimsical Romance Wedding Inspiration

It’s a new month (and a new season) and I’m super excited about this month’s editorial theme. In September we’re focusing on fine art weddings – not just in terms of photography, but the fine art style that has emerged as a decor trend in and of itself. Not sure what I mean? Well, you’re about to, since today’s whimsical romance styled shoot is a perfect example! (Been DYING to share this one with you!) Think: soft fabrics, beautifully curated details, juxtapositions in texture, and artisan florals. The combination is breathtaking, and for this gorgeous editorial there’s even a touch of real fine art, since the fabric backdrops used throughout are prints of original artworks by renowned artist Louise Janse Van Vuuren. With a pastel palette and an Old European feel that Marie Antoinette herself would approve of, it’s simply the best way to bring in a new season, thanks to the talented team led by Forever September Photography, Anella Wedding Shoes and The Event Planners!

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Modern Gems Wedding Inspiration

It’s been fun focusing on marble and minerals this month – really one of the most versatile trends I’ve seen in a long while, which works for wedding styles from sophisticated city soiree to organic boho celebration, and everything in between. And as we come to the end of August, I can’t think of a better way to end off than with this utterly gorgeous styled shoot, from some of my bestest local Durban suppliers, including my almost-neighbour, Toujours Wedding House, Planned to Perfection, and photographer Wilma Towell. Incorporating greenery, moody candlelight and sophisticated styling, mixed in with crystals and geodes and the prettiest of marble cakes and stationery, it just sums up everything I love about this look and gives it the perfect amount of industrial-meets-rustic flair. The gorgeous models rock swish suits and swoony gowns (oh, so swoony!), and the flowers… oh my. It’s fabulous, so ready, steady, let’s get inspired!

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Geode & Marble Escorts & Place Cards

Custom Agate, Quartz, or Tile Place Card by Seniman Calligraphy

Haven’t you guys been loving the agate slice place cards and marble escort cards that have been ALL OVER styled shoots for the past year? They are so fabulous. They kind of appeal to my inner kid who wants to go trawling through the semi precious stones in a scratch patch. And the first time I saw these I assumed they were only for the actual richie rich, but it turns out that they are on a par with many other escort options, and they definitely make a statement! Plus, they double as a favour, since guests will love taking them home as a keepsake. Anyway, so they rock. (Ha – see what I did there?) And as always, I’ve done all the research for you and pulled 20 fab options from Etsy. And for those on a budget, I’ve even included a few faux marble paper options which would make a gorgeous addition to any table! Links in bold denote affiliate links. The cost to you remains the same, but SBB may receive a commission for any sales made.

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