The Butterfly Effect, Featuring Joanne Fleming Designs & Elizabeth Solaru Luxury Wedding Cakes


I wanted our very first editorial feature of 2021 to be something very special.

My incredibly gifted friend and colleague, Elizabeth Solaru, of Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium and her brand new venture, The Luxury Business Emporium, conceived this shoot concept. Elizabeth worked with the immeasurably talented dressmaker, Joanne Fleming – a long time member of our Little Book Wedding Directory, whose beautiful butterfly couture dresses provided the main inspiration. Words by Elizabeth follow…

Elizabeth Solaru + Follow

“This editorial shoot was created to illustrate the duality of life; prior to the unparalleled events of the past year, each of us were likely happily drifting along in our lives, dreamily unaware of the life altering chain of events about to happen. Now, we are adapting to our next normal, coexisting with the unknown as best as we can.”

“2020 was the year of major historic events some of which have changed our way of life forever. It has been a demonstration of the butterfly effect, how a small event in one part of the globe can inspire a reaction that leads to some devastating consequences around the world.”

2020 was also the year of the big reset, but we are hopeful that we will be able to celebrate more fully and be free and joyous once again in 2021. Elizabeth Solaru

Colour & Texture

“Texture was hugely important to this shoot. From the delicately embroidered butterflies and 3D embellishments on the couture dresses, the edible pearls, bas relief, gold leaf and sugar butterflies on the cakes to the tactile spikiness and fluffiness of the dried and fresh flowers.”

“Soft neutrals were the order of the day and the  colour palette for the first part of the shoot included various shades of  whites, creams, taupe, pastel pinks, and greens interspersed with white laser cut butterflies.”

“For the other half of the shoot, darker colours and black laser cut butterflies were added for some contrast and drama. The chosen metallic accent colour was gold, which was used throughout the shoot.”

The Venue

“The setting for this shoot was the beautiful and spacious Pompadour Summer Terrace at the five star Hotel Cafe Royal located in Regents Street London.”

“The historic hotel was founded in 1865 and has played host to royalty and rockstars. It was recently awarded the Butterfly Mark for its measurable impact and company-wide commitment to sustainability.”

“The private terrace with its sweeping colonnades are a signature feature of this Grade 2 listed building and offers the advantage of an enclosed open outdoor space most welcome during these unprecedented times.”

Decor & Details

“The tablescape we created featured a chic and unusually shaped dining table. It was a half moon, black and white split table from the UK Event Hire.

“The idea was to create the most stylish socially distanced seating arrangement for 6 (made up of a lucky couple and 4 permitted guests).”

Wild About created a very beautiful floral runner made up of individual floral ‘bubbles’ utilising the curve of the table. This was made up of sustainable dried flowers such as dried bunny tails, pampas grass, ruscus, stirlingia, feather pampas and eucalyptus.”

“These were mixed with some fresh flowers including cream Bianca roses, pale pink David Austin roses, tiny daisies and delphiniums for the pale side of the table. For the dark side of the table the dried flowers were mixed with black magic roses, black cosmos, eucalyptus and ferns.”

“The lovely black and white velvet chairs with gold trim were from Eden Events and Bailey Tableware Hire supplied the exquisite Anna Marie butterfly plates and Ebony flora chargers, the coloured crystal goblets and the gold cutlery. The Embroidered Napkin Company designed the monogrammed napkins and Ananya Cards provided the beautiful hand cut white, pink and orange monarch butterfly shaped stationery with vellum paper for the menus and invitations.”

“WildAbout also designed two luxuriant bouquets, the first was made up of dried flowers, fresh bianca roses, daisies with soft grasses and delicate ferns.  The darker bouquet was a mix of black magic red roses, pink david austin roses, black cosmos and berries, black eucalyptus and delicate ferns.”

Luxury Wedding Cakes

Luxury wedding cake designer Elizabeth Solaru of Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium created a suite of dreamy butterfly themed wedding cakes…

“For the lighter side of the shoot, the main cake was a 5 tiered wafer paper confection with the wafer paper ruffles created to match one of the wedding dresses, and it was decorated with an explosion of white sugar butterflies.”

“The second cake was a 4 tier contemporary cake with abstract wafer paper sails reminiscent of the flight of butterflies. The third, featured delicate edible pearls, gold leafing and hundreds of tiny wafer paper butterflies.”

“It was topped with huge sugar peonies, blossoms and sugar butterflies. The final cake for the light side of the shoot was a floating tiered cake constructed to look like the sugar butterflies were taking flight along the cake surface.”

“For the dark side, one of the wedding cakes featured elements from the dark wedding dress. It was replete with edible sugar butterflies, edible black pearls of different sizes, luster dusted bas relief and topped with gold wafer paper and black sugar butterflies. The final cake was a two tiered striking black and gold bas relief cake with a crown of gold butterflies and black wafer paper.”

“2020 was the year of major historic events some of which have changed our way of life forever. It has been a demonstration of the butterfly effect, how a small event in one part of the globe can inspire a reaction that leads to some devastating consequences around the world.”

The Gowns

“Jo of Joanne Fleming Design, whose couture dresses provided the inspiration for this shoot, supplied a pair of unique couture bridal dresses one in traditional ivory, and the other in more dramatic tones of caramel and ebony.”

Find Joanne Fleming in our Little Book Wedding Directory

“The first, Juno, is a romantic tulle and silk georgette wedding dress incorporating bodice panels of antique Edwardian lace. A dreamy dress with elbow length volume sleeves and a high neck, it features a flutter of lace butterflies on the dress and delicate silk buttons down the back.”

“The second dress, Psyche, is named for the butterfly winged goddess of the soul. A dramatic V-necked dress, it is covered in black embroidered butterflies with Swarovski jet studded wings fluttering amongst iridescent flowers of gold thread and violet comet pearls.”

“Both dresses were complemented by hand-made, embroidered and embellished matching bridal slippers by luxury shoe designers Coast & Koi for Joanne Fleming Design.”

“Gowns are modelled by Harriet Samuel-Gray, a succesful West-End Musical actor, in more normal times found on stage at The London Palladium (Joseph), London Coliseum (The English National Opera’s The Merry Widow), Royal Albert Hall (Young Frankenstein).”

“But since live theatre is having a particularly tough time during the pandemic and all our valued theatre creatives’ careers are on pause until next year we were particularly pleased that Harriet could bring her talents to bear for our shoot.”

Hair & Beauty

“The bridal beauty was delivered by the wonderfully talented duo of make-up artist Sylwia Kunysz  and Liz of Simply Beautiful Wedding Hair, who formed a great team for our Butterfly shoot.”

For the first lighter look, the bride’s makeup was kept fresh, dewy and natural, enhancing her naturally glowing complexion. Harriet’s halo of tumbling ringlets was arranged in a loose textured updo, framing her face with loose tendrils.”

“For the second look, the make up was more dramatic with a smoky eye and berry stained lips, and hair left longer and fuller with a loose side sweep. For both the hairstyles Liz added some delicate wired embroidery butterflies to complement the gowns.”

Credits & Thanks

View all Annabel’s articles

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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