This spring I had one of my most favorite adventures. I returned to Selma Plantation. Selma is where I did my very first wedding. The estate has been abandoned for 11 years. On many occasions I have partnered with photographer Anne Robert and Dawn owner of Something Vintage Rentals. Dawn and Anne told me they were dreaming of an abandoned mansion shoot. I assured them I had just the right place. Selma is 3 miles from my house and she is sitting there just like a ghost. Dawn and Anne nearly died when I showed them Selma. I received permission to enter the mansion in hopes that a feature on Selma would hopefully inspire someone to bring her back to life. I hope someone sees this and rescues one of the most beautiful homes in Loudoun.

Much to my surprise the house in spite of its abandoned status is still remarkably beautiful, crown molding is still in tact, even the piano is still waiting for its family to return. My heart nearly collapsed when I saw the swing still hanging in the tree. My sister was the last Selma bride and I can clearly remember her sitting in that swing, in fact every Selma bride sat in that swing for her bridal portrait. I was 25 years old when I did my first wedding at Selma, this venue was the grandest wedding site in the area. It was very moving to sweep out the dust and bring the pretty back into the house. I seriously had flashbacks in the mansion. I could clearly remember hanging garlands on the grand staircase 20 years ago. This shoot was also very special because several Chapel Designers came to design with me on this big project. Many thanks to Daevid of Daevids of Norfolk, Trish Van De Merkt, and Donna Sue of  First Dance Floral.  The flowers purchased for this shoot were from my garden or purchased from local growers. I have never seen flowers so pretty.

Bouquet by Holly Heider Chappple Flowers

Crushing on the vintage rentals from Dawn.

This picture says so very much!!!

Bouquet and hairpiece by Holly Heider Chapple Flowers.

Yellow peonies and clematis from my garden bouquet by Holly Heider Chapple Flowers.

My flower cape that I was obsessed with creating. Holly Heider Chapple Flowers

This bouquet was created by Donna of First Dance.

This bouquet was designed by Daevid.

Piano design by Trish Van De Merkt

The grand stairway.

A very exotic and garden influenced bouquet by Holly Heider Chapple Flowers.

Hair by Julie Jackson Stylists, Make up by Suzanne Della Pella for Amie Decker Beauty, Models from the Artists Agency.

Dresses by Reem Acra and Jenny Packham from Gabriella New York.

Paper: Va. Paper Suite

Event design Anne, Dawn, and Holly.



  • Daevid Says: (01.15.2014 | 07:52)

    I am very fortunate that I get to work beside Holly on a couple of her adventures every now and then. Last early spring Holly happened to mention in passing she may be doing an incredible shoot in this spectacular abandoned mansion. I perked my ears and asked about a few details. After that I could not get it off of my mind. A few weeks went by and Holly and I were talking and the ultimate invitation comes from Holly. Secretly I just wanted to be in the mist of Holly and her vision, then question comes with a less than a second reaction I was packing my tool box, and a pair of boots.
    What you see in these images articulates this photo shoot well. However the image and memories I have on this adventure are forever engraved as THE most spectacular invitation to “come design and play with me” ever received. Holly Chapple is beyond the most inspiring decorator, and visionary to the event world.
    This abandoned estate was like being on a movie set. The very grandeur of the house demanded, and begged to be featured. As the day progressed Holly and the group planned a design in the main grand foyer, a couple of bouquets, and the absolute must…the swing. By the end of the day because of the energy (flower mojo) and good time we were having (you know the “what if we did this,” “what if we did this here,” “I wonder if,” and all of the “Oh my goshish’s”) that could be said in a one day. Holly had executed four other satellite shoots outside (despite the snakes) a outside hidden patio completely surrounded and hidden by wisteria and two patio doors that were hidden by obscured pieces of plywood, this area was the gem to the shoot,) a library, two bedrooms, and the stately front porch.
    After learning different techniques from each of the other vendors. Anne was the best photographer I have ever had the pleasure to shadow. The art of film photography is not lost with true artist like her. To work with other designers like Trish and Donna, and the other designers was gratifying for me because being amongst great designers makes you speechless and nervous, however these ladies where knowledgeable and endearing. Most importantly Holly sharing her knowledge of how to manipulate the flower and greens to conform to what you see in these images was priceless.
    No wonder when she says…”who wants to come join me in…..” we all anxiously send massive text messages, emails or call saying what do you have next?
    This adventure again is one to be forever labeled the best!

  • Susan McLeary Says: (01.15.2014 | 09:30)

    Seriously the most stunning thing I’ve seen in a long time! Flawless and gorgeous flowers, styling, photography, models… everything is exquisite!!

  • Debbie Bright Gardner Says: (01.15.2014 | 09:47)

    These photos are awesome and heartbreaking at the same time. Our reception was held at Selma nearly 28 years ago. Our photographer won an award for a photo taken on the landing of the grand staircase….

  • Rosanna Smith Says: (01.16.2014 | 11:14)

    The location, the flowers, the models, the chippy blue walls, the chandelier, the swing, the piano flowers (omg), the pink tufted sofa, and those chairs… ok, maybe not speechless, but still, I have no words. It’s glorious.

  • ChrisRecjv Says: (01.31.2014 | 03:45)

    Keep on writing, great job!

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