Where do Wedding Photography and Poetry meet, if not in the city of Poets, Rome?
This photoshoot is an aide-memoire to one of the most celebrated romances in history, the love story of Romantic period English poet John Keats, and Fanny Brawne.
Packed with delicate vintage inspiration and old world charm, this photoshoot is both a tribute to one of the most romantic stories ever told, as well as a spiritual pilgrimage to the city of Poets itself. Our goal was to retell this romantic story exactly on its 200th year anniversary. We wanted to give its star-crossed lovers’ story a much deserving happy ending. The photoshoot took place in the beguiling surrounds of Villa Borghese in the heart of Rome: a setting steeped in inimitable natural beauty, crumbling marble surfaces and weathered sculptural elements that fuse poetically with nature.
John arrived in Rome exactly 200 years ago, in 1820. With frail health due to tuberculosis, his doctor instructed him to leave the cold London for Rome. Keats hoped Rome’s climate would save his life, but left behind all that was worth living for: his dearest fiancée, Fanny, who remained in England as a result of her family’s disapproval of their union. During his sojourn in Rome, Keats sauntered through the large landscaped park of Villa Borghese and thoughts of his beloved Fanny led him to compose some of the most poetic love letters ever written. Fanny and John remained in love until his untimely passing in Rome.
It is easy to understand what drew the poet to Villa Borghese: its crumbling walls overflow with fragrant wildflowers and encircle profuse historical charm. The calming lulls of birds, and the sweeping views from the Pincian Hill that overlook St. Paul Basilica’s dome in the hazy horizon synthesise a sensual symphony that can speak to any lover’s heart. Perhaps moved by the playful flight of butterflies in the gardens, John wrote these famous words to Fanny:
“I almost wish we were butterflies and liv’d but three summer days – three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain.”
Segueing through the Renaissance and Baroque gardens of Villa Borghese, we traced John Keat’s daily promenade route. With a poetic intention intertwining a sense of melancholy and respectful tribute, we photographed Fanny at the exact same spots that John loved, as if she was there, by his side, during Keat’s walks: the temple of Diane, the marble benches outside Galleria Borghese, and the stairs leading to the Galleria Borghese, the Portico dei Leoni, and finally the fiery sunset overlooking the Eternal City of Poets at his favorite of all spots, the Hill of Pincio.
The styling drew inspiration from the surrounding environment – the textures, the earth tones flaking in the sun, and the colour of the stone, so as to create something that felt harmonious and authentic to the environment.
Fanny’s wedding dress, designed by Cypriot designer Stalo Theodorou, features off-the-shoulder laced straps and intertwining subtle floral accents in the delicate appliques that perfectly echo the bouquet’s dried oat and roses.
The bouquet was designed by Angelica of Flower Addicted and can only be described as one of the most beautiful bouquets I ever got to photograph. It is a nod to the relaxed trend of untamed bouquets that is so prevalent nowadays. The feminine and delicate pale blooms collide seamlessly with the white marble classical statues and Italian architecture, while the white snowberries in the bouquet harmoniously mirror the white pearls in our model’s headpiece by VitaBloom. The headpiece completed the entire visual code of youthful elegance, and spirited playfulness that Fanny was known for.
Our model needed very little make-up so a dewy complexion was created with soft gold shades and pale pinks. The hair was left down with simple waves so as not to take away any attention from our model’s characteristic face.
Stationery designer Thespina Eftychis custom-designed a beautiful suite on handmade paper, detailing a hand-drawn sketch of butterflies that was inspired by one Keat’s most famous letters. The handmade paper’s deckled edges added to the historic charm of the story. A quote from one of Keat’s letters to Fanny, and an original gold victorian locket bring our couple’s story to life, while the beautiful 9-stone cluster diamond ring allows for some swoon-worthy flatlay images filled with that vintage feel.
Welcome! My name is Andreas and I am a luxury destination wedding photographer, and editorial photographer. For me there is nothing more gorgeous than weddings overflowing with style, chic couples in love, and beautiful destinations around Europe! Meet Andreas