Wedding dress dressing up day at Herd HQ for our cover shoot

We spent Sunday the 5th of February (my birthday!) on a front cover photoshoot with some gorgeous wedding dresses, four beautiful models and the very best wedding florist, wedding hair stylist and wedding make-up artist. Not forgetting Jonny Gawler – our brilliant front cover photographer.

With a three-hour delay to the shoot while three of our four models fought the snow and train delays to make it down to us, we had a long and leisurely lunch (with wine, to celebrate my birthday) before the team started working with models Jade, Alana, Charlotte and Caroline (star of our current front cover, one of our all-time favourite girls).

The shoot is always carefully orchestrated and planned, with the wedding dresses called in by managing editor Rachel Morgan, the models chosen and directed by art director Andy Allen (he’s the guy who creates our front covers, too, so that makes sense) and accessories and jewellery chosen by Details Editor Sophie Hodge – as a bride-to-be herself, I have no idea how she resists trying on the wedding dresses herself. Perhaps it’s because she’s already found THE ONE?!

Top wedding florist Sabine Darall of Glily created our stunning bouquets

Flowers are almost always created by the dynamo that is Sabine from Glily, hair by Rachel Ryan of Rachel Louise Hair and Beauty (another bride-to-be!) using Aveda and make-up by Sarah Bee. The atmosphere is fun and friendly, and it’s one of our very favourite things to do here at Giraffe Towers.

So, because I have been attending photoshoots for 17 years, I am about to give you a few fun facts about what really goes on behind the scenes at a shoot…

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1 – It’s rare that the wedding dresses fit the models exactly, so we use a special device (top secret, this one) to create depth at the back of the dress to help it fit at the front. In wedding dress shops they often pin or clamp the dresses similarly, but we use something a whole lot more fun (and squidgy).

2 – Especially at this time of year, we find that models are rather partial to wearing Ugg boots. The sight of these beautiful gown with a pair of leggings and Ugg boots sticking out the bottom is quite amusing.

Stunning bridal accessories and wedding jewellery called in for the shoot

3 – Contrary to popular belief, good models have healthy appetites. Not since the a shoot I did around 2004 have I come across a model that is seriously underweight. All of our models yesterday were fit, healthy and glowing. Two of them are also dancers, with Caroline regularly working on X Factor, and she’s just about to dance with Olly Murs at the Brits.

4 – Bridal make-up is, of course, an artform, but photoshoot make-up is a whole ‘nother ball game. While it looks soft and natural on our covers, in the flash the make-up can appear quite piled on. We only work with make-up artists who are versatile and skilled enough to do both, like Sarah Bee.

Models like to mix beautiful wedding dresses with Ugg Boots

5 – Sophie called in jewellery from some of our top clients, including Donna Crain, Tantrums and Tiaras, Chez Bec, Flo and Percy, Sweetheart Vintage, Juliann Beads and House of Istria. Because she is the editor of the details section of the magazine, she knows her accessories like no other stylist, and has a brilliant eye for what wedding accessories will work with each dress.

6 –Finally, Wedding Ideas magazine brought smiling brides to wedding magazine covers. Before that, models across the board looked demure, serious and sometimes ethereal. We showed that brides can look happy, so our shoots are always full of smiles, from the girls, from the creative team and from me. I’m very proud of each and every front cover we produce.