I wanted to share this gorgeous styled shoot for a while now. It was submitted by the very lovely Kate Cooper and includes quite a selection of fab Norfolk wedding folk.
Looking for an autumn woodland wedding inspiration? You will find it here, so read on.
What inspired this photoshoot?
Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse Museum is the wedding venue of choice for couples seeking something slightly different for their big day, offering ceremonies of up to 100 guests in their atmospheric Chapel, or more intimate ceremonies in the Boardroom, located in the museum building itself. Guests are then free to enjoy the 50 acres of idyllic Norfolk countryside surrounding the museum and working farm. A perfect setting for a unique, rustic, countryside wedding.
What many couples don’t know, is that Gressenhall has recently registered an area of their extensive woodland for ceremonies, meaning that more bohemian or nature-loving couples can now say their ‘I Dos’ between the trees.
You only need to type ‘woodland wedding’ into Pinterest to see that this is the stuff of wedding fantasy! Bare-footed brides, candles, antique lace, lantern-bedecked branches; think of a magical, moonlit Midsummer Night’s Dream…
The problem was it’s sometimes hard to see the wedding through the trees…! The wedding team at Gressenhall felt that when showing prospective couples the woodland as a possible setting for their wedding ceremony, it was really hard to demonstrate or communicate what this could look like, particularly since no one has got married in the woods yet! (although how exciting is that for the first couple to do so?!!) It’s like an artist explaining their future painting on a blank canvas; in the words of Bridget Jones, ‘tricky, very tricky.’
That’s where our team (dubbed by me as ‘The Dream Team’) stepped in!
The idea was to set the woodland area as if an actual wedding was taking place, as well as to capture some beautiful shots of the Bride and Bridal party, to give prospective couples an idea of the sort of thing they could do with the space and also to show them how beautiful their wedding photographs could look!
On the day
We arrived super early on the day of the shoot to begin setting the area. As we were trying to give the impression that a whole actual wedding was happening, we had a lot to do! That also meant a large team to coordinate… I’d been obsessively checking the weather forecast once every thirty minutes for the whole preceding week, so I knew we were good to go.
Jasmine from Flowers By Jasmine not only provided all of the beautiful flower crowns and bouquets for the ‘Bride’ and ‘Bridesmaids’ and the buttonholes for the gentlemen-folk, but she also put together the beautiful floral arch for our couple to stand at to say their vows!
She layered foliage from her garden with eucalyptus leaf and then added gypsophila, carnations and roses which echoed the other wedding flowers.
As the shoot was taking place in February (!) I decided to embrace the ‘winter’ theme and go for a colour scheme of silvers and berry shades, so we chose dark-coloured hypericum berries and carnations, white gyposphila (baby’s breath) which Jasmine complemented with red roses and yellow carnations which she added to the bride’s flower crown.
While Jasmine was attaching foliage to our wire arch, Miriam and Ellie from Gressenhall and I set about putting out chairs and moving furniture! When I planned the shoot I had a vision of a beautifully-laid table standing in the middle of the woods, cascading with lace, antique glass, flowers and candles, displaying the wedding cake. What I didn’t account for was that the table we found at Gressenhall to use was actually enormous! I honestly don’t know how we managed to carry it to its location but let’s just say I couldn’t really move my arms the next day…
To create my table scene I’d talked a lot with Shelley from the Charming Vintage Company beforehand about what it should look like. I didn’t want to go down the shabby-chic route, but if teacups are your thing, Charming vintage have them in abundance! We stuck with a simple theme of lace and glass, with candles and flower petals. Shelley set the table with her amazing wooden cake stand, which she decorated with lots of glass jars, candles, some beautiful lavender-coloured cupcakes she had made and lots of flowers that Jasmine had brought for the purpose.
Tell us more about the cake
The wedding cake was provided by Imogen from Sugar Buttons Creative. We originally discussed a ‘naked’ wedding cake decorated with berries, which Imogen specialises in. However, as it was a wintery wedding theme, Imogen wanted to try something a bit different, and she came up with this amazing covered cake with a berry-coloured marble effect, decorated with figs, plums, cherries and sprigs of rosemary. Imogen, knowing the challenges of being allergic to gluten herself, also specialises in gluten-free wedding cakes and cupcakes. (You have to sample her snickerlicious- it’s amazing!)
What was the idea behind the styling of the models?
After the stage was set, our hair and make up team arrived to get our gorgeous bride Imy and her lovely bridesmaids ready! I wanted Imy’s make up to fit in with the wintery theme, with a soft, smoky eye and dark berry lip. Lucy, one of the hair and make up artists who I had found through the Norwich School of Beauty, took the berry theme and incorporated it into the colours she used on Imy’s eyes, too, which worked really well! Daryl and Kay, our other two MUAs worked on the four bridesmaids to create a softer look in similar colours. Hair-wise, I wanted very natural, bohemian waves on all of the girls, so as not to compete with the strong make up and the flower crowns they would be wearing.
In terms of the styling for the shoot, I sourced all the dresses in charity shops and on ebay. I knew I wanted mis-matched bridesmaid dresses with an antique, bohemian feel, which I created with a mixture of textures, such as fur, sequins, tulle and silk-satin. The dresses were all the same shade of silver and all similar lengths, which tied them together. I also wanted to play up the quirky, rustic feel of the shoot with the models’ footwear. Heels were not suitable for a muddy woodland floor, ballet flats aren’t ideal in February either, and wellies have been done to death. That’s when I hit upon the idea of Doc Marten boots, which gave an almost punky edge and set the perfect tone for this non-traditional wedding! Imy’s dress was also second-hand from ebay, as I knew it was likely to get wrecked on the day, but was originally from ASOS and there are lots of similar things in their current bridal ranges.
The guys all wore their own navy suits and begged/stole/borrowed some boots to wear! Luckily, one of the guys had a stash of really great ties so I picked out polka dot and floral styles.
A practiced wedding photographer but also specialising in equine and infant photography, Megan Duffield can get a great picture out of even the most camera-shy person- which was brilliant when some of our models had barely been in front of a camera before! I had worked with Megan on a couple of occasions prior to this shoot and I knew that her style was completely perfect for what I wanted to convey.
My favourite shot is one of the ‘bride’ and ‘groom’ standing in the centre of the group who are throwing dry leaves into the air as confetti!
LOCATION: Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse
ART DIRECTION AND STYLING: Kate Cooper
PHOTOGRAPHY: Megan Duffield Photography
HAIR & MUA: Lucy Morris (Bride’s Make up), Kay Chan, Daryl Naulls from The Norwich School of Beauty
FLOWERS, FLORAL ARCH AND CROWNS: Flowers By Jasmine
PROPS AND FURNITURE: The Charming Vintage Company:
WEDDING CAKE: Sugar Buttons Creative
MODELS: Imogen Clarke, Morgan Stiefel, Marketa Zidkova, Lucia Thompson, Martha Watts, Esther Lowles, Lawrence Malyon, Joseph Hoyle, Daniel Robertson.