The Holy Grail of Encore Editorials: Newlyweds 9-Gown Photoshoot Across Israel
I know what you’re thinking. You ladies were half-way across the world, shooting a couple casually straddling on a camel in the middle of the Negev desert? Yes, that happened. And in the million-mile blur that is wedding season, our epic Israeli shoot has largely remained under wraps, until now.
Here’s how it all began: we first met fellow New Yorkers, Meital and Jonathan, when shooting their engagement photos two summers ago. There, we had the pleasure of learning all about their upcoming June wedding in Meital’s hometown of Ra’anana, Israel. Though our discussions quickly led to the possibility of capturing the wedding, we were heartbroken to realize that we were already booked to shoot another wedding on their day. Nevertheless, conversations soon turned to the possibility of a post-wedding shoot throughout the couple’s beloved country of Israel, and the rest was history.
Within a few weeks, our playful jests of “what if’s” and bucket list banter quickly evolved from a hypothetical vision, to the full-blown creative collaboration we’ve since deemed the “Encore Editorial;” a real couples post-wedding photo shoot, elevated not only by a team of professionals, but by all the locations and risk-taking looks one can’t always accomplish on a single wedding day. But give us three days for an Israeli adventure (…pause for sound of flood gates opening) and you may as well start the preemptive social media apologies now.
We were already planning to spend much of this year toting Canons and couture through white sand deserts in the Southwest and abandoned mansions in South Caicos. It seemed the only reasonable way to conclude our season of destination shoots was with one final capstone collaboration, and as much extravagance as TSA would legally allow.
::Cue camels, drones, Jerusalem::
Our vision was to capture the newlyweds in glamorous fashion, celebrating their love in every terrain, from the maze of Israel’s most intricate cities, to the mirage of it’s desert terrains. But perhaps what was most impossible to ignore, were the themes of religion and rule that characterize the region—evoking a sense of regality and spiritual significance with every towering turret and ancient city gate. It was at that intersection of history and holy ground, fashion and faith, where we found our concept for the couple’s shoot.
But to approach the gates of Jerusalem, we knew it would require no less than divine-inspiration. Enter, Galia Lahav—the Israeli-based icon whose lavish motifs are every bit as intricate as the labyrinth of Jerusalem’s age-old streets. As a nod to the bride’s current home, we commissioned New York City designer Nathalie Kraynina (NK Bride) for two fully customized looks, and Amsale, whose sleek styles would complement our bride so well. Four Galia’s, two NK Brides and an Amsale trinity later, we were ready for the Holy Land with nine divine looks in tow. Add to that the talents of hairstylist, Nikki Avanzino and makeup goddess, Jaclyn Accetta of Fede Insieme, and it's safe to say Jonathan's wedding gift to Meital was a shoot beyond her wildest bridal dreams.
From the Tower of David to Old Jaffa, Tel Aviv to Damascus Gate, each of the nine looks continued to raise the stakes. Culminating, most appropriating, with the slay of one final look at the Dead Sea. So without further adieu… we present the Divine Nine:
The gown officially named “Ms. Genesis” by Galia Lahav herself, leaves the rest of us blessed by it’s presence. Though its statement neckline and dramatic embellishments would read largely Elizabethan in most environments, the gown immediately adopted a heavenly appeal there in Jerusalem’s Tower of David. (Galia Lahav Ms. Genesis gown, galialahav.com)
A core of nude corsetry, draped in layers of gossamer tulle with embroidered sleeves, a cape overlay and a train that never seems to end. Maybe an angel, or proof that God is, in fact, a woman. (Galia Lahav Magnolia ballgown, galialahav.com ; Enchanted Atelier by Liv Hart earrings and headpieces, livhart.com)
The alpha and omega of Galia Lahav’s Victorian Affinity collection, with 3D floral details and lace cuff sleeves, all set before the stunning Ottoman architecture of Damascus Gate in Jerusalem. (Galia Lahav Lia gown, galialahav.com)
STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN
Just steps off the Via Dolorosa, we found a hidden alley with a cascading stairway to match Meital’s backswept waves. Here she wears a polished Amsale column dress with dramatic bateau streamer. A variation of the look was also featured with a particularly unique Carol Hannah veil-turned-bridal-headwrap, thanks to the genius of Hairstylist, Nikki Avanzino. (Amsale Ellory gown, amsale.com. Carol Hannah Bridal veil, carol-hannah.com)
Because pants are the new power play, and a high ruffled neck stirs reminders of early nobility, this custom ensemble from NK Bride features wide-leg pants, embellished with hand-crafted silk flowers. A chic, unorthodox nod to Israel’s style capital of Tel Aviv. (NK Bride custom design, nkbride.com)
The latest from Galia Lahav’s Queen of Hearts collection—covered in crochet beaded lace and captured, quite fittingly, at the Gate of Faith in Old Jaffa. (Galia Lahav Rhiannon gown, galialahav.com)
MIRACLE OR MIRAGE
Whether a desert illusion of lush palm trees, or an actual oasis there in the Negev desert, this chiffon Amsale gown mystifies with delicate, feminine grace. (Amsale Georgia ballgown, amsale.com)
DEATH + RESURRECTION
If looks could kill, this custom Dead Sea ensemble by NK Bride would certainly do the trick. Lace overlain with multi-tiered fringe, offering a bohemian-tulle antidote to the traditional mermaid gown. And considering the locale, perhaps even the ability to walk on water. (NK Bride custom design, nkbride.com)