I’ve sat reflecting this afternoon on how far we’ve come with Love My Dress since our first post back in November 2009 and had a magic little pinch-me-moment on realising how amazing it’s all been – and continues to be.

I’ll feel forever indebted to my beloved wedding site, primarily for introducing me to so many wonderful people. Creative talent who are now my friends and colleagues – people who inspire me every day with their art and vision. One of these individuals is the incomparable Joanne Fleming, whose designs quite literally took my breath away the first time I saw them. Joanne is an independent designer with a studio in Brighton, and I am exceptionally proud that we are able to recommend her most highly through our gorgeous new Little Book Wedding Directory.

“Once a year I like to get together with some favourite collaborators to put together a creative shoot, something that will give us all some beautiful new images for our respective portfolios, and also give me a chance to style some gowns from the new collection in a way that I was imagining as I was designing them. Location is always a tricky one – I love to use outdoor spaces as the embellishment details on many of my gowns have a strong connection to nature, with flowers and foliage generally featuring quite extensively.  However this year I felt a slightly darker, more opulent, look would work well as I was planning to also use some designs with some glamorous beaded detailing alongside the florals for the shoot.”

Images by Cheng Han

 Gowns by Joanne Fleming Design - The Artist's House - Featuring Joanne Fleming Design

“I found our perfect setting right in the heart of the walled Citadel of Rye in Kent, where Alex of Alex Macarthur Interiors had found a near-derelict building, originally a 14th Century monastery, which had been semi converted in the early years of the 20th Century to light industrial use.  It was in a near derelict state when she made it her passion project two years ago, but undeterred, Alex bought it, and has spent virtually every intervening waking hour turning it into the place of beauty it is now. The Old Monastery as it stands is absolutely stunning, and filled with a constantly rotating collection of covetable antiques, large scale architectural salvage pieces, and original artworks that Alex sources from all over Europe, and which are all for sale.”

 Gowns by Joanne Fleming Design member of our Little Book Wedding Directory - The Artist's House - Featuring Joanne Fleming Design

“I had not worked with photographer Cheng Han before, but was a huge admirer of his, and I was really hoping The Monastery with its wonderful collection of inspiring ‘props’ would appeal to Cheng’s wonderful story-telling sensibility.  I was absolutely thrilled when I contacted him and he agreed to join us. A much appreciated added bonus was that Cheng invited Andy Teo to come along to assist him, and also help out with capturing some behind the scenes and detail shots.”

“Hair was done by Liz Bower and make-up by Harriet Rainbow, both of whom I had the pleasure of working with last year on the beautiful ‘Into the Woods’ collaborative styled shoot.  These ladies are such fun to work with…..they totally put the models at their ease and are completely eagle-eyed on set, ready to jump in to fix the tiniest smudge or single hair out of place, which makes post production a whole lot easier.”

 Gowns by Joanne Fleming Design - The Artist's House - Featuring Joanne Fleming Design

“Rachel and Sarah of Lomax and Skinner make the most delightful hats and headpieces out of their studio in Lewes, and I knew I could rely on them to bring something spectacular to the table, something that would match the drama of the location.”

 Gowns by Joanne Fleming Design - The Artist's House - Featuring Joanne Fleming Design

“Ivy of Edera Jewelry in Vermont, USA creates exquisite silver and gold wire lacework pieces, incorporating various pearls and gems in ways that manage to be both delicate and bold. It is extraordinary craftsmanship.”

“Clement, a Parisian jeweller working under the name Lotta Djossou, crafts the loveliest metalwork pieces – miniature works of art inspired by the Belle Epoque, Art Nouveau, and his love of nature. I first came across a dramatic ring of his, fashioned out of a silver stag beetle, on Instagram, and was instantly hooked – I knew his pieces would complement the beaded gowns perfectly.”

 Gowns by Joanne Fleming Design - The Artist's House - Featuring Joanne Fleming Design

“There was one particular gown that I planned on bringing along to the shoot – a vibrant red and black flower-embroidered Day of the Dead/folk art inspired style, that I knew could take even more drama in the way of accessories. A pair of fabulous black lace boots from House of Elliot and scarlet floral crown from Miss Mole’s Flower Emporium made this particular ensemble a model favourite.”

 Gowns by Joanne Fleming Design - The Artist's House - Featuring Joanne Fleming Design

“Our two models, Emmeline and Maika were stars, dealing with the boring draughty bits of modelling with as good grace as the more glamorous bits of a couture fashion shoot.”

“I love to do more traditionally ‘bridal’ styled shoots, but sometimes it can also really help as a designer to just indulge your creative side on a shoot with like-minded people without any restraints.  Here we have abandoned all thought of how wedding fashion should conventionally be showcased  and  shown some more unusual wedding gown designs in an opulent fairy tale context, hopefully creating some inspiring escapist pretty that everyone can enjoy.”

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 - The Artist's House - Featuring Joanne Fleming Design


Annabel is the founder of Love My Dress. She lives in rural North Yorkshire with her husband and business partner Philip, two daughters Eska and Leanora and three dogs. She is passionate about photography, supporting women in business and in life, and is in her element being surrounded by nature and the countryside.

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