Beauty and the Beast is one of the most magical fairy tales of our time. Iconic characters of Belle, the Beast, Gaston, Mrs. Potts and her little cup Chip, Cogsworth, to Lumiere came together to create a story of love conquering over loss.
The fairy tale starts with Prince Benson and his castle servants falling under the wicked spell of the enchantress turning them all into tangible objects that define their character and the Prince into a beast. True to Beauty and the Beast and many other iconic fairy tales, the Prince would only regain his appearance once he learned to love and be loved. Many years went by and as the red rose lost its petals signaling what seemed to be the impending end of the castle, Belle’s father appeared. Imprisoned and unable to escape, Belle traded herself for her father in return for his freedom. As the story unfolds we realize that the Beast’s outwardly appearance is the opposite of his inward kindness, gentleness, and willingness to do whatever it took to protect his darling Belle.
With the upcoming movie premier of the new rendition of Beauty and the Beast, we thought it would be beautiful to tell the story through a wedding. Featuring the theme of Beauty and the Beast for a wedding at the newest venue to Orlando, the Co-Op located in the heart of downtown Winter Garden, Florida, we knew it would be one styled shoot that would go down in the books for years to come!
The Co-Op, located in the iconic Roper Garden Building in downtown Winter Garden, is owned by the Roper Family. The Roper family has a long standing history in the Central Florida region dating back to 1857 with the growth and development of West Orange County in the 19th century. Bert Roper, the patriarch of the family, was instrumental in the development of concentrated orange juice at the Winter Garden Citrus Cooperative.
As the co-op grew the Roper Growers Cooperative family business was re-located to Plant Street. The idea of the co-op grew as well and most frequently was used to describe the families and farmers that used the resources of a large community to share in the costs of farming and processing their fruit. This idea of coming together for the support and love of your community translated perfectly into re-naming and re-invigorating the Garden Ballroom to be the Co-Op Ballroom. Reflecting the history and tradition of the historic town of Winter Garden, the ballroom is situated right by the Garden Theatre and used as a place for the coming together of celebrations.
Just like the story of Beauty and the Beast, both the castle came together like our wonderful Co-Op to celebrate the beauty of love. After finding our location along with our theme, it was time to find our “guests!”
As we wrote our list of “guests” to invite, I just knew the stars of our show would be Arcadian Broad and Taylor Sambola. Both dancers for the Orlando Ballet, they had starred in many fairytales bringing to life what seems like only magic. Taylor with her lovely brown hair and doe eyes was Belle in every sense. Her warm heart and willingness to help were key characteristics of Belle that made her the fairytale princess she was. Arcadian’s passion for the fairytale translated into a full on ballet version that he both composed and choreographed. One of the very first ballet dancers to bring to life a tale as old as time that was both composed and choreographed by Arcadian is beyond words. His achievement could be seen throughout the community as families went in droves to see the ballet. While most definitely not a beast, our handsome prince helped portray a more modern groom with his darling counterpart Taylor as our bride.
Our guest list was almost complete, but we needed a few key castle keepers to bring to life the backdrop. The first was Patty Ames, owner of Cake Designers. Sugar truly makes everything sweeter and after seeing Patty’s masterpiece, we were all blown away. A rose and medallion graced the front of our cake with a simplistic, elegant white background. It was perfect for our shots of our couple sharing their first slice of sweets together.
Dina Engler, owner of Casa di Bella Bridal Boutique fitted our princess with the most beautiful gown from Justin Alexander. Located in the heart of Celebration, Dina purchased Casa di Bella after witnessing her daughter say “yes to the dress.” The moment was filled with so much love and she just wanted to bring that magical feeling to other brides to be time and time again.
Carol Sutton and her team with Bold, Beautiful and Beyond Weddings and Events brought to life the idea I handed her of “hipster Beauty and the Beast” to a t! The challenge of creating a modern feel in our historic venue fit to the times but reminiscent of the fairytale was mind bogglingly difficult. For several months leading up to our shoot, Carol meticulously researched and sought out special pieces to create our dreamy styled shoot. From the most perfect long stem red rose sitting sweetly in its glass case to gold flatware and candlesticks, every detail was lovingly handpicked. Walking into the room, you felt that that Mrs. Chips and Lumiere would be walking up to greet you and if you were lucky enough, even having the chance to sit with them at dinner. Place cards with the characters’ names graced each plate, but it was the sweetheart table where our Belle and Beast sat overlooking their guests.
Roses ranging in color and napkins rolled up in rose patterns were just small touches that created the greater composition. While I just adored every table, my favorite piece in the room had to be Carol’s carnation wall.
As though the flowers were floating by magic in the air, the carnation wall graced the backdrop of our newlywed’s ceremony site. Every type of candle you can image from candelabras to ornate gold and beige wax candles were scattered around the ceremony. The intimacy of candles being lit all around our couple and the drama of the candlelight upon the two was just magical!
The composer of our styled shoot, Erica Jaze, was also on our guest list. Her wit, creativity, and direction brought together the composition of so many counterparts and guests to create and bring to life the beauty of the fairytale. Making magic happen for the couples who tie the knot at the Co-Op is what Erica does best! Also the Event Director for Market to Table, Erica brings the must delicious cuisine to each event.
Our guest list finishes up with my company, Corner House Photography, invited to capture the love, beauty, and expertise of all of the guests involved. Based out of Central Florida, I travel with my team throughout the state and Southeastern U.S. to capture love. The feeling of being a part of such a milestone and captivating moment in one’s life is beyond words. I can whole heartedly say that every “guest” involved with our shoot lives and breathes the beauty and magic of weddings!
It is with great honor and excitement that we get to share our take on Beauty and the Beast and hope that you find the magic and love you are searching for, just like the Beast found Belle!
Venue: Co-Op Ballroom, formally the Garden Ballroom
Rentals & Design: Bold, Beautiful and Beyond Weddings and Events
Coordinator: Erica Jaze
Models: Arcadian Broad and Taylor Sambola
Dress Shop: Casa Di Bella Bridal Boutique
Cake: Cake Designers
Caterer: Market to Table Cuisine