Iconic Biltmore Estate Wedding Portraits

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Iconic Biltmore Estate Wedding Portraits

I don’t remember the first time I heard the name “Vanderbilt,” or saw photos of the famed Biltmore Estate in North Carolina, but I imagine I was young. I was immersed in history as a child—I grew up in Virginia, just outside of Washington DC. I was schooled at home, which meant that American history was a significant influence in my formative years. We took regular field trips throughout our State and region, most of which involved touring large historic homes and estates. I was fascinated by the lives of the people who built and owned those homes.

It is not surprising that I was an avid reader as a child, a natural hobby for anyone fascinated by other people’s lives and stories. I read everything my library could provide in the way of biographies and historical fiction. I wanted to know everything there was to know about place and time, how people lived, what people wore (I could tell a gown style down to the decade from 1790s through present day), but mostly I wanted to know how we and they are so different and still so much the same.

As an adult, this love for story and fascination with other people’s lives has led me into a career in wedding photography where I put my curiosity to good use. Now I don’t just listen to peoples’ stories—I help to tell them.

In 2014 my husband and I celebrated Christmas with his family in the Carolinas. While there, we spent a day touring The Biltmore House Estate, and I fell in love. My curiosity about other people’s lives, my obsession with European architecture and design, my love for history and story combined to make the trip truly magical. I couldn’t get enough. Shortly after that trip we discovered the History channel docu-series “The Men Who Built America,” and my fascination with the Vanderbilts grew. Two years later my husband bought me the book The Last Castle by Denise Kiernan and I read a handful of other books about the overlapping characters in George Vanderbilt’s life and time.

We chose to move our family to the Carolinas in 2020, and the proximity to The Biltmore set my creative wheels spinning. Every time I visited, I couldn’t help but imagine George, Edith, and their daughter Cornelia walking about the grounds. “Who would they be if they lived today?” I wondered. I started dreaming.

I decided to design an Iconic wedding-focused Biltmore Estate Wedding Portraits editorial inspired by the real-life people who lived at The Biltmore over 100 years ago. If they were alive today, and chose to host their wedding celebration at their home, what would that look like? What would they wear?

This editorial is a love letter to The Biltmore House & Estate, the man who built it, and the women he loved. I chose specific elements of their stories and crafted a visual narrative intended to resonate with a modern audience. Drawing on my love and knowledge of history, architecture, fashion, & design, I asked the questions “What would they wear? How would they commemorate their love? Where would they want portraits taken?”

This is the result.

These images were made possible thanks to the following collaborators:

Venue: The Biltmore Estate  |  Creative Director & Photographer: Sarah Bradshaw  |  Stylist & Production: Type A Society  |  Logistics & Planning: Beckon Events  |  Videographer: Chasing Mozart |  Florist: Kate Asire  |  Beauty: Beauty Bespoken  | Jewelry: Era Gem  |   Gown: Anne Barge  |  Tux: Moss Bros

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