December for me is always a time of reflection, and I’m usually pleasantly surprised by how much I actually managed to achieve. It’s always tricky to see the wood for the trees when you’re at your busiest, so I like to give myself some quiet moments as the year draws to a candlelit close to replay the last twelve months, and revisit some of my favourite moments.
On that note, this is post one of two! I have had an incredibly inspiring, invigorating 2019, and have worked on several epic styled shoots as well as a selection of truly amazing weddings. A styled shoot and a wedding are two very different beasts – both beautiful, but requiring different skillsets and serving different purposes. I want to give them both the space they deserve, so in this post, you’ll see a round up of the sumptuous styled shoots I’ve been involved with, and the incredible suppliers I’ve been lucky enough to work alongside. For my real weddings, shout outs to my couples (each and every one of whom has taught me something new this year) and some BIG personal news, check back soon!
WHAT IS A STYLED SHOOT?
Before we dive in to the gorgeousness, I’m aware that there may be some of you reading this who are not entirely sure what a styled shoot entails. In a nutshell, these are carefully curated playgrounds for suppliers in the wedding industry. They are photoshoots put together to tell stories, to allow groups of like-minded wedding makers and creators to come together and conjure up something magical, with no limits to their creativity.
Styled shoots are a crucial part of my business. I love to be playful with briefs and moodboards, and I tend to use my shoots as a way of really crystallising the sort of style I want to be known for. On a wedding day, I’m playing a part in someone else’s dream – I’m a translator of their vision. During a styled shoot, the dreams and visions are mine.
When you’re planning your wedding, it’s worth scouring your favourite blogs and magazines for styled shoots, as this is where you’ll get to see the suppliers that are on your radar really flexing their muscles and showcasing what they’re capable of.
**Fair warning: This post is a long one. So, grab a cuppa (or a glass of mulled wine, it is almost Christmas after all), and settle in to find out the stories behind these styled shoots, and feast your eyes on a bumper crop of images that still make my heart thump with pride and with sheer joy.**
A Floral Fairytale at Dorfold Hall
The year started strong, with a five-page feature in Brides magazine of this beauty of a shoot at Dorfold Hall – a sprawling gem of a Jacobean mansion in Cheshire.
I was completely overjoyed when the incredibly talented fine-art photographer (and equally lovely!), Jessica Reeve, invited me to collaborate on this shoot. When I’m dreaming up ideas, I always start with flowers, and for this shoot both Jess and I knew we wanted to go big. We were over the moon that Lucy The Flower Hunter came on board for this project. Lucy’s ability to create emotional impact with her floral designs is second to none.
Dorfold is blessed with some incredible spaces both inside and out, and we knew we wanted to make a real feature of its walled garden, which on a frosty Autumn morning feels like a place of enchantment. Lucy created a wild and luxuriant floral archway for a ceremony set up in the garden, while inside we styled a rich and intimate table with taper candles, burnished metals and an abundance of flowers.
I wanted to create a tangible atmosphere with this shoot; the feeling of everything having been infused with autumn sunlight. That peculiar molten gold that comes with the fading out of summer is something I would bottle if I could, so I worked with tones of parchment, caramel and gold as a base, accented with warm peach and splashes of deep raspberry (this rich hue was predominantly provided by our incredible stationery from By Moon and Tide).
The suppliers I worked with on this shoot were a masterclass in creativity. Everyone interpreted the brief with such heart and skill, and everything came together beautifully and with real grace – from the delicate sugar flower wreath adorning the cake by Amy Swann, to the tableware and linens from Kate Cullen, the tiny glints of gold and dozens of seed pearls in the accessories by Claire Lloyd, and the flashes of russet and bronze in Lucy’s tumbling flowers, all captured with a lightness and loveliness by the lens of Jess Reeve. It was the sort of day that makes you feel head over heels with your job, and I’d like to do it all over again, please!
Credit where credit is due: Photography: Jessica Reeve | Venue: Dorfold Hall | Planning and Styling: For The Love of Weddings | Flowers: The Flower Hunter | Cake: Amy Swann | Stationery: By Moon and Tide | Dress: Emma Beaumont Atelier | Shoes: Emmy London | Hair Accessories: Clare Lloyd | Hair and Makeup: Jodie A Smith | Groom’s Attire: Whitfield and Ward | Chairs: Chairman Hire | Linen: Kate Cullen | Ribbons: Lancaster and Cornish | Tableware: Vintage Gold China
LAKESIDE LOVELINESS AT BARNS & YARD
Give me a floral bower by a lake and I’m basically in heaven, so you can imagine the levels of delight that were flying around at this shoot! Barns & Yard is a stunning new barn venue at the edge of the Malvern Hills, owned by two sisters who have poured their whole hearts into restoring the barns and farm cottages and turning them into something really special. This isn’t your typical rustic barn venue, and I wanted to show off that fact with an elegant floral spectacular.
I took my cues from the venue and the changing seasons in terms of the overall styling of this shoot. Barns & Yard is a texture-lover’s dream, with an array of stripped oak beams, exposed brickwork and warm slate. This, coupled with the yellows and golden tones of the falling leaves, set the tone beautifully for the shoot’s colour palette. We wanted to complement the bounty that surrounded us, rather than contrast with it, and so I found myself in a world of yellows and burnt oranges, warm cream and the softest blush pinks.
The styling needed to have impact, but not to feel busy or cluttered. There is a real power in knowing when to stop, as a stylist, and often it’s the gentler, sparser tablescapes and décor that have the most high-end impact. There’s such beauty in minimalism, and in letting each element breathe. (Find out more about my approach to styling, the idea of layers and the importance of stimulating several of the senses at once in this post.)
I had a powerhouse team of Midlands-based suppliers on this shoot. Flowers so beautiful that I wanted to wear them like a bracken-and-berry-flecked cloak, from India at Vervain (one of my biggest industry inspirations); supple, sumptuous gowns from Sienna von Hildemar; elegant tableware and glassware from Amanda at Vintage Gold China (one of my absolute go-to suppliers, who I work with as often as I can as she’s such a gem!), and photography by Katrina Bartlam, who works with light in a way that makes me SO HAPPY!
This shoot was featured on one of my favourite blogs: Love My Dress, earlier in the year. You can check out the feature here.
Credit where credit is due: Photography: Katrina Bartlam | Planner & Stylist: For The Love of Weddings | Venue: Barns & Yard | Florist: Vervain Flowers | Cake: Tilly Flos Cakes |Stationery: Ivy Inks |Make Up: Sasha Brown |Hair: Tabitha Macurrach-Paine |Dresses: Sienna Von Hildemar |Shoes: Faber Novella |Hair accessories + Jewellery: Victoria Percival | Furniture: Valley Furniture Hire |Model: Maria Gardner |Tableware: Vintage Gold China | Charger Plates: Luxe My Wedding |Ringbox: The London Victorian Ring Company |Silk ribbon & Silk runner: Kate Cullen Style
HEARTSTOPPING ROMANCE AT THE LOST ORANGERY
The Lost Orangery at Euridge Manor is a venue that’s made for modern fairy tales. I’ve wanted to work there forever, and this shoot made for the perfect opportunity to get creative and make something that captured its otherworldly, enchanted spirit.
A multi-sensory experience was the order of the day here. I always try not just to focus on what things look like, but to go a little deeper and appeal to as many of the senses as possible. We knew early on that we wanted the flowers to be big, loose and textured, and Christianne from Honeysuckle Flower Co worked with a range of beautifully fragrant spring blooms. Scent is such a powerfully evocative thing, and I wanted to make sure that there was perfume woven through the styling. The tables were dotted with Jo Malone candles and I set each place at the table with a scented favour. Texture is also something that’s really important when building a look with depth to it. We used linens in contrasting textures – whispery silk napkins and richly embroidered damask tablecloths – and included embossed wax seals as part of the stationery suite to really play on the senses.
The bride and groom on this shoot were a previous couple of mine, whose wedding I planned in 2018. Claire and Paul are gorgeous inside and out, and working with a real couple for this shoot added an extra layer of romance to the images resulting images and video that we created.
I can’t talk about this shoot (which we were all delighted to see get a three page feature in You & Your Wedding magazine) without mentioning the cake. What. A. Showstopper. Unique Cakes by Yevnig created a sugar garden, tumbling with amazing flowers that echoed the large arch installation that Christianne created. It was truly an exquisite piece of edible art!
Credit where credit is due: Photographer: Katrina Bartlam | Videographer: Rolling Film|Venue: Valentina’s Lost Orangery | Planning and styling: For The Love of Weddings | Floral design and concept: Honeysuckle Flower Co |Cake: Unique Cakes by Yevnig | Bridal gown: Sienna Von Hildemar | Bride’s shoes: Valentino | Bride’s jacket: Mariana Hardwick | Jewellery: Tilly Thomas Lux | Crown: Miss Clemmie Bridal Accessories | Hair stylist: Joanna Ricarda | Make up artist: Sasha Brown | Groom’s attire: A Suit That Fits | Stationery: Oh Wonder Calligraphy | Tableware: Vintage Gold China |Silk ribbon and runners: Pompom Blossom | Favours and Scent: Jo Malone
A TASTE OF SUNSHINE AT PAUNTLEY COURT
For this shoot, I wanted to show how gorgeous country house venue Pauntley Court could go from quintessential English manor house, to sun-soaked slice of the Mediterranean, simply through the way it was styled.
An al fresco dining setting was key here. We used the green and glorious quince orchard for a long trestle table set up, complete with hanging chandeliers (instant magic, if you ask me!). We chose a Tuscan-inspired colour palette to complement the fresh green of the leaves, with splashes of terracotta, bronze and cream accenting the beautiful florals. Figs and other fresh fruit and berries adorned the tables for an extra sense of lush Italian summertime.
It’s a real joy to find kindred spirits in the wedding industry, (styled shoots are often a breeding ground for stylistic soul mates!), and for this Mediterranean-inspired Pauntley Court shoot there were two of ‘em with me! Gyan Gurung – the master behind the camera –is one of the most thorough, detail focused and all-round lovely people I’ve ever had the pleasure of collaborating with, and Kirsten Butler, AKA The Little Wedding Helper – one of the South West’s most prominent wedding stylists – understood my vision perfectly and was a joy to work alongside. We had such a giggle on this shoot, and I think the fun we were having behind the scenes comes through in the finished images.
Credit where credit is due: Photographer: Gyan Gurung | Venue: Pauntley Court | Planner: For The Love Of Weddings | Stylist: The Little Wedding Helper | Floral designer: Honeysuckle Flower Co | Stationery: Emerald Paper Design | Cake: Zaza Marcelle
Thanks for joining me in a trip back through some of this year’s gorgeousness. I have LOTS up my sleeves for next year, and can’t wait to share more with you.