Storybook inspiration highlights this styled shoot at a capital landmark

"Shannon Elizabeth and I wanted to create something terribly romantic that would inspire brides as they were planning their wedding day... something that they could dream about. Like a modern Cinderella story. Once we had our vision sorted out I knew exactly where to make it happen. I adore Hatley Castle. It’s as if it was taken straight out of a fairy tale. There is a green space close by that gives the feel of a woodland. The perfect combination of trees, grass and pretty light."


"And then the castle. The first time I saw Hatley Castle I knew I wanted to do something there. How could I feel anything but love when I’m on the grounds surrounding this beautiful architectural structure? We wanted to create a minimal feel... lots of whites and greens. We didn’t want to take away from the beauty that the grounds of Hatley Castle has to offer. So many brides use the gardens for their weddings, but we wanted to look outside of the gardens and enter a space that had a more natural feel. This is why we used the green space directly in front of the gardens."


"Although we received a lot of the decor from a wedding planner based in Victoria, we created this look together. We started by creating a mood board and then went searching for the items that matched our vision. If our planner did not have what we were looking for, we started searching store after store."


"Finding the perfect gown for our look was easy. I love The White Peony in Victoria. Not only because of their gorgeous gowns but because of how I feel each time I enter the beautiful shop. Trish makes everyone who comes through her doors feel so important. She’s incredibly helpful when it comes to finding the perfect gown. I think this is so important for future brides. They should feel important, from the planning phase all the way through to the wedding day."


"I love hearing how my couples meet. I want to hear about what their plans are for their wedding day. I love it when my brides secretly share their wedding dress with me. It honestly brings me back to that exciting time when I was planning my own wedding day! I love seeing couples get excited about planning their special days too. It is such an exciting time in life! I love love... so much. I love watching these beautiful couples in love. And I create these shoots to help inspire them to create the wedding day of their dreams." 


"I would give three pieces of advice to your readers on how to recreate this look. First, I would encourage them—if budget allows—to hire a planner, or at the very least a 'day of' coordinator. That way they can enjoy their day! It's worth it. It is a lot of work planning a wedding, and it can get overwhelming. But imagine skipping the overwhelming part and having someone by your side to help create the wedding of your dreams, executing your look and keeping everything on schedule so you don't have to worry about it."


"Second, hire a photographer that they connect with and whose work they love. These are memories. They will last a lifetime. I meet with my potential clients before any contracts are signed or deposits are paid. We spend a lot of time with our clients... engagement session, wedding day... so it’s important to connect with whoever they choose."


"Third, flowers. Flowers make a wedding. Choosing a florist for our shoot was a must! The team at Thorn & Thistle Flowers is so talented. We sent them our mood board, described our look and allowed them to create. They blew our minds! Flowers can make or break a shoot. Choose a florist that speaks to you and who is passionate about the work."



Photography: Vanessa Lust Photography
Creative Direction & Planning: Vanessa Lust Photography & Shannon Elizabeth Photo
Venue: Hatley Castle
Florals: Thorn & Thistle Flowers
Stationery: Carli Anna
Rentals: White Events Studio
Dress: The White Peony
Hair + Makeup: Sofia Pastro & Artistry by Alexa
Shoes: Bella Belle Shoes
Models: Charlotte & Jackson Denton