INSPIRATION - A Socially-Distanced Post-Lockdown Bridal Editorial on the Isle of Wight

14th June 2020

The last few months have impacted lives in ways we could not have imagined, and we still face uncertain times ahead as people learn to adapt to unimaginable losses and life and livelihoods. Few industries have been as affected as the wedding industry; yet amidst the heartbreak of rescheduling our couples' dreams and fears of what the future will bring, the lifting of some lockdown restrictions has unleashed the pent up creativity of wedding professions up and down the country - albeit modified to this 'new normal' we find ourselves in.

I've had the pleasure of knowing Karen (dressmaker-extraordinaire of Karen Dornellie based on the Isle of Wight) since 2012, my first year in the wedding industry. We've done some weird and wonderful styled shoots over the years with all sorts of fun and borderline-crazy themes, and her inventiveness has never ceased to amaze me. So I wasn't at all surprised to find that she had teamed up with a couple of Island wedding vendors to create some playful inspiration for the post-lockdown bride, tastefully executed so as not for a minute make light of the terrible situation that the pandemic has created.

Over to the team to tell us more...

The Bridal Scrubs, Veil and Mask

"I have been occupied in the making of scrubs for care workers on the Isle of Wight running a team of approx 150 sewers, drivers and admin helpers. Initially asked by a friend who works for The Mountbatten Hospice, a popular and important charity on the Isle of Wight, we made so many we have since sent them to many other care homes and medical professionals. All the fabric has been donated and as a result of lots of hard work, the team has produced over 2500 sets of scrubs, 1000 scrub bags and other odd items like hats and headbands. We used 100s of old sheets and duvet covers and any off-cuts were given to garages for rags, any items not suitable for scrub making has returned to the Mountbatten Hospice shop to raise money for the cause and all the usable bags we received the fabric in also returned to the shop to be used again. Many of the recipients of the scrubs have kindly donated to the charity too, helping to gain much-needed funds for them to carry on their good work. The process has been incredibly rewarding not only to be able to help the workers who have worn them but also to motivate and keep connected the volunteer sewers, many of which live alone and have had no contact since March.

My creative mind as always has taken this all a step further with an idea to combine my day job, a wedding dress designer, with the scrub making and when two particularly pretty lace duvet covers arrived, I knew I had to take advantage of this and make a bridal set, complete with a mask, to mark the occasion. This scrub suit is made from two upcycled white cotton duvet covers with strategically placed lace panels. The basic T-shaped tunic has lace edges and centre panels; the drawstring trousers are designed for practicality and durability but are super pretty, too.
With a long, socially distanced 2 and a half metre, simple veil, the bride is ready to walk down the aisle.

My colleagues were tasked with photographing and videoing the concept, at all times staying the recommended distance away and despite such restrictions, created some great images and filming. They are used to my barmy ideas and always produce amazing finished images working closely together, except this time having to do it all at least 2m apart. I have been based at The Rookley Methodist Hall to sort fabric, receive finished scrubs and dispatching the orders to care homes and individuals. It was, therefore, the perfect base for the shoot. They have been so generous to enable this venture to be so successful and I really appreciate their help.

Let's hope we can get back to planning real wedding days again, soon but in the meantime, let's all stay safe."

The Flowers

"At the start of lockdown, I wasn’t able to get hold of any fresh flowers and it was this way for weeks on end. After a week or so I got thinking and brainstorming ideas of what I could create from home, I follow lots of florists who work with dried flowers and it’s something I’ve always wanted to do but never had the time to properly put the time and effort into it. So I used quarantine as a positive and thought I finally have all this spare time to get creative and it’s really been the best decision I’ve ever made as everyone loves them!

Another massive positive to them is they last forever and look amazing the whole time. In the bouquet, I wanted to use dried flowers and ice dried flowers. The trailing Amaranthus, Roses and Eucalyptus are all ice dried which means they keep hold of their colour and texture but unfortunately don’t last as long as dried (they still last years though) and the dried flowers are a mixture of Palms, Ferns, Cotton, Broom and Pampus grass. Being in quarantine has been a massive learning experience for me and I will definitely come out of this with lots of new ideas."

The Photography

"I have not done a photoshoot since lockdown started back in March, and I couldn’t wait to get back out and get creative with a camera again, especially with my wedding vendor friends! 

Bizarre as this shoot idea seemed, and taking photos while maintaining social distancing was a new experience, it’s times like these that can make you try things you wouldn’t normally do, think outside the box and get creative despite restrictions. I enjoyed shooting through different objects to create different moods and colours and to boost the feel of the shots."

The Makeup

"Having not picked up a make-up brush since mid-March,  it was wonderful to get my work kit out and create a make-up look for our lockdown shoot...even if it was on myself! Knowing that we would be creating images from a distance and that most of my face would be covered with a mask, I concentrated on a strong and intense eye make up  choosing hues of vintage pink and burgundies to tone in with the hand-tied dried flower bouquet.

I am missing working with this season's brides but this was a great chance to dip our toes back into doing what we love doing and catch up from a distance with the other wedding suppliers on the shoot. 

I can also highly recommend the pretty bridal scrubs....leaves plenty of room for extra helpings of wedding cake!"

The Videography


"After having a lot of postponed shoots, I was thrilled to be asked to take part in this unique and wonderful project and I couldn't wait to get back behind the camera. Capturing this beautiful bridal look alongside the lovely flowers, though from a distance, was very fun and I look forward to doing similar projects to this in the future!"


Concept, Wedding Scrubs, Bridal Face Mask and Veil: Karen Dornellie

Photography: Holly Cade Photography

MUA and Model: Isle of Wight Make Up and Face Paint

Videography: Captured Videography

Flowers: J & K Floral Designs


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