Kaleb Norman James of Kaleb Norman James Design and Tory Smith of Smith + James hosted a workshop for wedding professionals called Le Collectif in mid-2021, and, together with a talented team, they produced three magical French-inspired ceremony and reception set-ups with a billowing, romantic, and on-trend bridal wardrobe to pair with each environment.
“French architecture will forever be a grounding foundation in my design aesthetic, so we decided to fully embrace this and focus on a crisp white palette accented with shades of mint and sage with darker green tones pulled in from the ivy covering the front of Greencrest Manor,” James explains. “We focused on ornate polished silver accents to add to the grandeur and aged design and were lucky enough to use the original china the estate purchased back when it was built.”
James first stumbled upon the manor on her Instagram five years ago, and when he pitched the location for the workshop, everyone assumed they were going to France, but it is actually set in Battle Creek, Michigan. The goal of this shoot, in part, is to transport people to the French countryside and very well prove that it can be done locally. Grey & Cake helped set the tone of the editorial with three highly-detailed wedding invitation suites, as well as dinner menus.
As for styling, Gabrielle Hurwitz joined the team and immediately got Monique Lhuillier’s team involved—smart move, as her gowns are favorites for European-like aesthetics. The main wedding dress is a flowing, off-the-shoulder gown that, of course, was captured when the model ran through the lavender-filled grass. And the other, more bold, lace dress is an Elizabeth Fillmore design that would suit an intimate wedding, civil ceremony, or rehearsal dinner. Danielle Ryan Beauty was also on-hand to perfect the “bride’s” glam looks all day.
Amanda K. Photography shot the beautiful scenes, filled with florals from Kaleb Norman James Design. And then they moved to the tablescapes with rentals and linens from Nüage Designs, Petunia Rose, and Locust Collection and a tiered cake, made by Millennium Events & Catering.
After wrapping the shoot, the team sat down to a perfect tablescape to enjoy a final meal. About 15-minutes into dinner, it began down-pouring out of nowhere, soaking all 25 people almost instantly. “We didn’t stand a chance!” James exclaims. “Being a table full of event planners, we all sprang into action, grabbing place settings, centerpieces, and chairs, and within another 15-minutes, we’re inside, soaking wet, but dining once again at a fully set tablescape, florals and all!”