Hello Moirae Creatives Fans!!!! Something new and exciting to share with you!!!!As you all can imagine, this shoot has been one of our most popular shoots to date. With it’s different style, concept and emotion. . . . .it’s just been one amazing connection after connection. So much so that recently it was featured in print and you can get your very own copy if you pick up the latest WED AZ Magazine.

We also revived an enormous amount of questions wanting to know more about the shoot. How was it dreamed up?! How long did it take?!?!? Details! Details Details!!!!

So naturally I just asked the Bride to do a guest post for us!

And here it is!!!!

Thank you SO SO SO much Mrs. Amanda! You are amazing!

To those who may have missed the shoot in its entirety, make sure you check out this link as well – HERE

Do you want to create a story for your photo shoot? Connect with us!


Epic and extravagant. Unforgettable and Unforgiving. These were words I had in mind when I came to Jasen and Christy at Studio Moirae. I wanted a bachelorette party that none had envisioned possible. A photo shoot which captured the delicate loveliness of a woman but that subtly alluded to her carnal, ravenous side as well.  I scoured Pinterest (like every girl does when planning a major event), and stumbled upon this image <<search terms were beast/woman/barbaric/sexy>>: group This got Jasen REALLY excited. He said, “we can do this but you have to listen to me. We can’t half-ass this. Are you ready to do this right? If so, I promise you will have the most incredible image you can imagine.” (or at least, something to that effect).

I was a little nervous because I’ve known Jasen for years and when we first talked about this, his voice was low and serious, much different than when he normally speaks.  In my mind it was just a photo shoot, right? We all get dressed, show up somewhere and the magic just happens, right? NOT RIGHT. This was the first photo shoot for which I was involved in the making. A heightened sense of appreciation goes out to all Reno photographers and artists alike in creating their vision. This stuff doesn’t happen over night!

The image above was so dark and so sexual—similar to how I envision all women at some level. But then I asked, “what about more nudity?” Jasen reminded me that my closest girls are not professional models (i.e they are lawyers, nurses, environmentalists, etc.) and would probably not be open to the idea of having their nearly nude bodies hanging on wall.

Then I began to think, what is even more sexy than showing lots of skin? Barely showing any! Taking it to the Victorian era where the term “lady” was defined. But then I wanted more theatrics similar to the Elizabethan era (i.e. neck ruffs). So you’ll see a mixture of eras in the photo, which I think adds depth. So many ideas! The key was to have a sturdy leader who guides you through the process. When I was distracted and got too off course, Jasen and Christy would reign me in (a task my fiancé finds impossible at times).


Because this was my bachelorette party, I wanted control but without the labor (i.e. I wanted to be Queen).  So naturally, I delegated coordinating the ladies to a dear friend, Sabrina Phelps, who is fierce as the day is long (the only way to handle a gaggle of otherwise uncontrollable women).

A 3 page email went out with verbiage such as . . .” The bride has spoken. For Amanda’s bachelorette soiree, she has decided upon an idea that’s both beautiful yet sensual and barbaric. We ask that you each channel your inner animal and join us in a photo shoot to exhibit the beauty and the beast within each of us. Think, refined yet barbaric.”  “one photo will be selected by the bride to become a grandiose art piece destined to spend its days in the Stolee household. Needless to say, these photos must simply be amazing.”

Due to the extreme pressure of making this vision work with so many moving pieces, communication was key. Thankfully, Studio Moirae has masterful communicators. There were four major components to this shoot: hair, make up, costumes, and set. Add a gallon of crazy estrogen and alcohol and you have quite a par-tay! We wanted the girls to express their own inner beast but with proper supervision (have I mentioned my middle name is Bridezilla?)


IMG_5157 IMG_5093I thought the hair was an essential element in this vision but did not trust that our natural hair could be transformed the way I wanted it. Plus, I wanted good ole fashioned white/grey/platinum and black coloring, which is somewhat non-existant these days. We pre-selected a list of wigs from which the girls could order online (only two girls per wig to create variation). Prices ranged from $10-$50 per wig. Antlers were a bit trickier. I reached out to my social network first to see if I could accommodate my budget with free antlers:

” Amanda Sarli ?February 13 near Scottsdale, AZ ?Anyone have a set of antlers I can borrow for a day in April? I am in need of about 12 sets and no, you can’t know why”

Just your typical facebook post for a Thursday, I guess. The excitement created from that post alone was infectious and it washed away any doubts I may have had! Regrettably, while people were willing to let me borrow their antlers, too many people needed them back, and therefore, I purchased all of them on Ebay (approximately $10/pair) and bought some antler tips to make antler crowns to add some variation to the shot.

Julia, girl on the left, had such a gigantic wig that we thought the crown would help bring her back into the realm of the other girls. IMG_5154My solution to all things great and small is to “glue gun it.” That was my plan—to glue gun these bad boys to the wigs and have them stay perfectly erect when worn by a wild woman. Needless to say, I’m not a pragmatist. I talk dream, not reality.

Fortunately my fiancé and Sabrina’s husband, Jason Phelps (the owner of a successful construction company) puffed up, took out their saws, drills and man hands and were giddy in taking on the magnificent challenge of securing these bones to thread.  It took THREE weeks to create these headpieces (they sawed the ends of the antlers to create a smooth, flat surface. Then screwed the antlers from the outside through the wig, reinforcing it with washers, and into a thick plastic headband. My wig was particularly heavy and needed two headbands and additional metal reinforcements).



We wanted theatrical/yet classy/yet seductive make up. Jasen sent me the following images stating, “these are great”:

Then he sent the below stating, “these are not great”:amanda 05amanda 04

In case I got confused, Jasen instructed, “No clowns, china dolls, or zombies” Jasen contacted a dozen MUAs through his photography circle, Model Mayhem, and other friendly referrals. Having make up done for a party is much different than make up for a photo shoot.

I had a trial at a local salon and found this out the hard way . . . MUAs aren’t mind readers so if you give them creative freedom, you’d better trust THEIR mind! We narrowed it down to the fabulous Danell Smith, Hanna Matteson, and Sylvia Fiallos-Meidna.

The typical MUA was wanting $50-75/girl, however, we were on a strict budget. The above MUAs were willing to do make up for $35/girl once they saw the vision we were trying to create. Everyone got fired up about it and they ran with it!


We found several costume shops in the valley but none came close to the quality and service we found at Mardi Gras in Scottsdale. Sabrina met nearly all girls at this shop, and helped the girls try on numerous dresses while simultaneously texting pics to Jasen and Christy for approval.  The only instructions I gave the girls were “rich, dark colors with interesting textures, sleeves or necklines.”  Each of the costume rentals ranged from $60-$150. Some girls didn’t want to rent and therefore, purchased their items through various websites like Etsy or Ebay.

I personally purchased three separate costumes, all lacking a certain “luster.” I was rather disappointed in my search as I was looking for a cream colored costume to look more “bridal.” I was so fixated on wanting the cream (today’s bride) that I never stopped to think about what brides wore back then. So naturally, I researched the week before the shoot and realized that brides actually wore very bold colors like red or blue!

The day before the shoot I went to Mardi Gras to pick up my hoop skirt and the owner confirmed this discovery of “bold brides” and led me to the most exquisite red gown for rent. It took everything in my power to take the blasted gown off and let him ring me up. I wanted to live, get married, give birth, and die in this dress. So despite me having already purchased 3 other costumes, THIS was the one! amanda 07


IMG_5436IMG_5524Oddly enough, Elizabethan ruffs are not a norm at the costume shop, nor are they even remotely reasonably priced online. So naturally I decided to make some ruffs myself! Some were good. . . And some not so good. . . Trial and error and over 50 yards of fabric later . . . I made 3 ruffs (10 yards per ruff) for our shoot and decided the rest could either rent smaller versions or wear fantastic jewelry. Variation was key anyway.

I was worried about the jewelry component because during this era, women had very extravagant (aka expensive) jewels. Jasen calmed my fears and said that costume jewelry actually photographs better than real jewelry. So I went to a local chain store (Charming Charlie) and grabbed all the biggest jeweled, gold pieces I could find. We then had all the jewelry on display from which they could choose when they arrived at the shoot (again, giving them freedom to express while keeping our vision tight). photo 1-2

Next, Christy stated she wanted to see “connection between the girls” in the photo. After all, this was a shoot with my besties. When asked how we could create the connection, she stated with props for which the girls can interact. For inspiration she stated things like hand held mirrors, brushes, goblets, tea pots, etc.

What I loved most about the final product is that it captured the connection between some girls (i.e. the glares, the serving tea, the hand on shoulders, etc.) and the utter disconnect on some of the other girls who were enraptured in far off glances or lost in themselves when staring into a handheld mirror. Women are so complex and the final image captured all of it!


IMG_5480 Originally we had planned to do the photo inside at a table, similar to the first image above. I assumed that none of my girls would want to participate in something this crazy and therefore, just a small group would sit around drinking tea in antlers. But the response I received from my girls was unthinkable—they all wanted in! So we had to change the vision from inside to outside to accommodate 13 women. Jasen traveled to several locations and created bubble shots for me to see the view even though I wasn’t with him. I didn’t even know this technology existed!

Next we went furniture shopping! Christy, Jasen and I went to several antique furniture stores in search of the perfect pieces. When was the last time your photographer took you furniture shopping?! But again, Jasen was always honest when I sent him something he didn’t like: I later found a couch on craigslist for which I paid next to nothing and hopefully I can resell at a later date.


photo 2photo 3 The day of the shoot! Will it come together? Will the girls claw at each other like wildebeests <<secretly hoped that would be the outcome>>. Only time would tell . . . This day was best described as “organized chaos.”

The Sabrinas did an amazing job collecting everyone’s wigs and costumes ahead of time and laying them all out so that when the girls arrived, all they needed to do was get dressed. We sprayed each of the wigs with dry shampoo to create a matte finish with lots of texture. We didn’t want pristine or proper curls; but the“just tousled” look with an “ethereal” feel.


photo-5We piled all the girls into a 15 passenger van for a 30 minute commute to the ideal location. Of course we were arrived much later than planned but precisely when we needed to for the most epic shot of the evening (the exact moment the sun set). At this point, I was more than a little distracted: I’m surrounded by 12 of my besties, drinking Veuve, balancing a hoop skirt and antlers, all the while dancing and simultaneously posing for this adventure.

Christy is one of my close girls and she was partying with us the whole time. However, when she stepped out of that van, she turned into this creature of which none of us had met. She was primping, shaping, directing, posing each girl in such a calculated way that no girl dared question her direction. I’ve never seen anything like it. She moved faces millimeters (something I wouldn’t have thought would make a difference except of course it did), inserted props, moved insignificant pieces of hair, etc.

At one point she deemed “we need more sexy” and instructed two of the girls to get into the dirt and hike up their skirts! After all, we were ladies on the verge of revealing our beastlike nature. Supple breasts and luxurious legs were not lacking in this photo.


amanda (114 of 49)I didn’t sleep the night before in anticipation for this reveal. Studio Moirae does more than take a photograph. They create a vision that is almost as important as the relationship that is grown amidst the imagination. My fiancé and I were seated in the quaint, modern studio and immediately handed a glass of wine. We were instructed to clear our minds of any distraction and to just breathe into this moment.

The lights went down. The music started (Doris Day’s “Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps”). It was as if someone reached inside my mind, kindled this unquenchable fire, and then allowed my mind to dance merrily around the flames. I immediately got chills and stopped breathing. Thank God the song was only two minutes long lest I no longer have breath to write this story.  Well, you know the rest. The image was sick. It exceeded all my expectations. Who needs cocaine when you have the Reno photographers at Studio Moirae?


We then spent an hour going through different photos, edits, and sizes to make sure my future wall space reached perfection status. I wanted people to be in awe and nervous when they stepped in my house. I can’t wait for the metal prints to come in. . .I might even start sleeping downstairs just so I can stare at my BEASTies all night.


1)     Not all make up artists are created equal.

2)     You can’t buy everything, sometimes you have to get crafty with your bad self.

3)     Honest communication is everything.



Wigs: $30

Antlers: $10/pair

Costume rental/purchase: $100

Make up: $35

Jewelry: $10/girl

Furniture: $150

Props: $60

Thank heavens we don’t have to pay per text anymore, as I must have exchanged over a hundred with Studio Moirae trying to coordinate this perfect shared vision. Oddly enough, I was more worried about these photos then I am about my wedding photos (as the Reno photographers at Studio Moirae are also traveling to another country to shoot those as well!) But alas, when you’re in good hands, you never have to worry.  I had at least three nightmares on separate occasions about this shoot turning out disastrously.  I saw my girlfriends not talking to me and a huge gaping hole in my wallet. Poor Jasen and Christy counseled me on several occasions reaffirming our vision and reminding me that greatness was on the horizon.

I’m on cloud 9 with no intention of floating down!

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