Over the weekend, Lavender Blue participated in an amazing photo shoot. The photographer had a vision for a vampire-themed wedding, inspired by the film Only Lovers Left Alive

An abandoned schoolhouse in Burlington, IA provided us with the perfect backdrop to tell this story. Just pulling up to the hill of the old building provided a jaw-dropping moment. When you pull off of the highway at the Burlington exit, you see quaint little homes and you imagine that the school would not be very large.


But... the school is huge!

I love to learn the history of old buildings, and the town they sit in, so I did some research. The school was built in 1910 and closed in 2001. Since that time, it has sat empty. Over the last 17 years, animals have moved in, teenagers have broken in and painted graffiti on crumbling plaster walls, and a fire has destroyed the roof of what was once the auditorium space. 

Developer Brian Anderson now owns the building and plans to turn it into commercial spaces, high-end apartments, and condos. He has opened the door to the public for tours. People that attended the school at one time, have been able to travel back and re-visit their old lockers and classrooms. Oh, the stories this place could tell! 

Lavender Blue was fortunate to be asked to collaborate with several other Des Moines wedding vendors to bring the photographer's vision to life while combining our products and talents in a very unique setting. The shoot called for some darkness, as the story was of a vampire couple and their gothic-style union. 

I created a bouquet for the vampire bride, as well as centerpieces and floral masks for the couple. The centerpiece was a mix of "Amnesia" roses, Vendela roses, succulents, and antique-looking carnations. Grevilia and eucalyptus added to the texture and shape of this gothic style.

I turned inexpensive masks from the craft store into something that resembled what a vampire might wear to his wedding, or when going to a masquerade ball. I thought of Phantom of the Opera (one of my favorite musicals) and went to work. I wanted lots of texture and some darkness to the tones, but a bit of plant material and a butterfly to keep it interesting.

The old auditorium was dusty and cluttered, with debris left from a fire and the models had to endure a lot of discomfort! They were so professional, making every pose and stance look so easy and believable. 

The two-story theater inside the abandoned school had a huge hole in the roof! A lot of rubble had collected among the seats, and it was all just left there! It was almost as if time had frozen, and now you walked unexpectedly into the story of the school's demise.One of the centerpieces we used on the auditorium stage, with several amazing vintage items from Des Moines vendor-Something Borrowed. 

Every inch of this old abandoned school in Burlington, Iowa had a story in its surface. Chippy paint, rusty lockers, peeling walls, holes in the roof and broken windows were seen at every turn. The light that entered through these open spaces was incredible for the photographer, Raelyn Ramey as she worked her magic with the models. It was a true joy to watch this happen in front of my eyes, especially when I got to see the creations of Lavender Blue included in the photo story.

working together to make the magic!

Des Moines has great wedding vendors!

We Love to work with :

Hair and makeup: Trixie's Aveda Salon

Photography: Raelyn Ramey

Menswear: Skeffington's Formal Wear

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