The tale is timeless. Barbie meets Ken, they fall in love, they get married, they buy the dream house. (And they actually do live happily ever after.) But here, photographer STEVE WRUBEL, with the help of a certain imaginative 8-year-old, turns the tables, re-creating favorite ‘I do’ moments that — believe it or not — really happened
One of the most amazing things about having a child is getting to watch him or her play. We get to remember what it was like to live in the world of dreams and make-believe. Children have not yet been fully introduced to logic and science and religion — so when they play, it is incredible. They can make up anything. People can fly. Horses can drive cars. And the weddings? Oh, my. You should see the weddings. While they are based on the basic ideas surrounding real nuptials, they take on a dreamy quality that only kids can come up with.
Being a photographer of beautiful things, happy people and glamorous weddings, I couldn’t help grabbing my camera when Stella, our 8-year-old daughter fantástica fabulosa, started creating Barbie weddings all around our house. My wife, Lucy, grew up playing with Barbies, and she and Stella played with them for hours — while I crawled around on the floor, getting shots of the amazing setups they came up with.
Then it got interesting. Our dear friend and Stella’s adopted uncle, Todd Fiscus, of Todd Events wedding-planning fame, started helping Stella take her Barbie weddings to a new level. One Christmas Eve, some three years ago, Todd and his design team presented a mini Barbie wedding venue, complete with a black-and-white checkerboard Plexiglas dance floor, an LED-lighted Plexiglas DJ station (with working MP3 speakers), a lace-curtained wedding pagoda, miniature versions of Fiscus’ Suite 206 rental furniture and an incredible, sized-to-scale, tiered wedding cake. Uncle Todd even threw in many hours of on-site visits to plan and orchestrate Stella’s fabulous, make-believe weddings. He even shows up for some of them and acts as the justice of the peace.
I couldn’t put my camera down — and I soon realized that shooting a Barbie wedding is no different from shooting a real wedding. The cast of characters is the same. The light is the same. Even the flow of the event is the same. (One exception: With Stella, the bride and groom always ice-skate for their first dance. I can’t say I’ve seen that one — yet.) Eventually, we had the idea of re-creating some of my favorite shots I’ve taken over the years of real brides and grooms — but with Stella’s Barbies and Kens. While shooting these portraits, it ultimately hit me: Dreams do come true. I see it happen year after year, during the real weddings I’ve been fortunate to photograph. Maybe that’s why I love shooting them. Some people, like Stella, dream about their wedding from the time they first start playing with Barbies. Sometimes, those dreams stay in their heads and they make them a reality when, one day, they marry the love of their life.