Alice in Wonderland meets Where the Wild Things Are — this is where inspiration for this kids’ fantasy land feast began. Floral designer Carly Blair of Margot Blair and photographer Carli Kiene of Inked Fingers teamed up to create and capture the whimsical wonderland. “I work a lot in the wedding industry, where the atmosphere can sometimes get very high-strung and intense, so I think I was subconsciously rebelling against that after the busy event season I had just had,” she says with a laugh. “I really enjoy being around kids, and their carefree innocence is always refreshing, so I wanted to create an atmosphere where that could really shine and to capture those moments of them living out their dreamworld fantasies.” So take a seat at this otherworldly brunch where donuts are the main course…it will surely reignite the daydreams of your youth!
photography by carli kiene of inked fingers
Floral designer Carly Blair of Margot Blair’s vision for the party began with a “red headed queen,” so this beauty was the first to be cast in the shoot.
The red headed queen’s pink gown is available at local Austin shop, Blush Bridal Lounge. Vintage tea cups from Loot Vintage were filled with delicious hot chocolate to stay warm on the crisp winter morning.
The mini queen strikes a post — most of the juniors’ wardrobe came from Millie & Mox, a local Austin shop.
Carly spent a lot of time trying to get a mix of ages, gender and ethnicities to gather around the table. “But what it really boiled down to was who we could convince to wake up before the sun and drive out to the country on a cold Sunday morning with their kids, who might be a little grumpy because of their early morning,” she says. This little lady is all smiles, but when there were any grumpy faces, it just “added to the artistic, moody feel we were going for.”
This stunning, tiered donut on floral arrangement was the centerpiece of the event. “It was a kids party, and I wanted to make sure things looked relaxed and a little undone. So after stacking the donuts in a pyramid, I took out a few from the middle tiers to make it purposefully fall over a bit,” Carly says. “Then, I went in and added the cascade of flowers with some flowers placed in water tubes and some stuck directly into individual donuts for support.”
It was all about elegant, romantic details to keep things from looking “anything but Chucky Cheese.” So, Carly incorporated special pieces like her grandmother’s silver tray. In addition to the “real food” the kids enjoyed off camera, there was also ice cream, heart-shaped meringues and of course, donuts to snack on. “It was meant to be a kids fantasy world, so nothing was more fitting than desserts for breakfast,” Carly says.
To cast the rest of the scene, Carly and Carli thought of their friends’ kids who would have fun being photography and then held a casting call to fill the seats at the rest of the table.
Finding the perfect location was a challenge, and the first idea was finding a spot in the middle of nowhere. Carli found the right place in Le San Michele in Buda, a charming community just south of Austin. Carly says: “We could have those wooded shots, but with a quick turn of the table we could get that gorgeous French-inspired villa in the background just to change up the scenery.”
The kids stood for portraits while they were patiently waiting to eat the donut cake, but by the time they wrapped the shoot, the bees got to the treats first! “Carli and I disassembled that cake like a couple of champion bee keepers,” she says. “No bees, nor photographers, nor florists were harmed on this shoot.”
Everyone, including this sword-fighting super hero, got in to the spirit of the dreamy day in the woods.
The animal masks were donated by Mahalo, an Etsy shop that makes everything from farm animal masks to super hero-inspired ensembles.
Carly and Carli made some of the props themselves, like the mini queen’s crown and a Native American headdress that another boy wore. This project is a part of a series of collaborations for Carli’s InkedFingers and Carly’s Margot Blair Floral. Their next big concept shoot is slated for later this month…and we already can’t wait to see it!
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