Last June my friends and I were very lucky to take part in an amazing Bridal Shower shoot at an emerging venue on the Norfolk/Suffolk Border called Upthorpe Wood. It was all just a massive stroke of luck, I was scrolling through Facebook and an advert popped up asking if a Bride-To-Be and her friends would be interested in a shoot at the venue. I messaged the photographer, Kat from Loft Space Studio, in Bury St Edmunds and she immediately replied saying we would be perfect (this was obviously because my friends are all horrendously attractive).
So, on a scorching day in mid July, after getting lost once (beware! There are TWO signs to TWO different windmills! We knew we needed to go in the direction of one but who’d have thought, in Norfolk?!) We arrived at a beautiful wooded area and were instantly greeted with big mugs of coffee and warm hugs. Sarah, the owner of Upthorpe, excitedly led us down little higgledy-piggledy pathways and through a little meadow, around natural, wooded archways until we got to the barn. The barn was amazing, and I was equally impressed that Sarah and her husband had built it themselves. A nice, big space, constructed of wood, a tin roof and thick wooden beams. It was dotted with subtle fairy-lights and had two, large open porches on either side spilling in the hot July Sun. Sat on some hay bales were the most beautiful flower arrangements I’d ever seen. The florist, Kerry from Foxgloves & Alice; a sweet, smiley lady showed us around all of her ingenious creations and got us really excited when she showed us the flower crowns.
We began getting ready, most importantly starting by opening a bottle of Prosecco… and chatting with Kat the photographer and Sarah about their ideas for the day. Sarah was open to all of our suggestions and she and Kat really emphasised that they wanted the photos to portray what we had in mind. We looked at a few mood boards on Pinterest (good old Pinterest, where would I be without you to bolster my diminishing imagination?). And for the first set of photos, we went for a kind of relaxed boho, festival look. We sat around a low table literally carved out of a tree. It was in a little suntrap surrounded by ferns, elderflower and a little orchard overlooking fields that stretched on for miles. By this point, I wasn’t sure if I was drunk on the prosecco, the sun, or the fact I was spending the day in such a gorgeous place with all my girlfriends. It might have been the prosecco.
After a tasty lunch (and more wine) we chose to don our fanciest attire and went for a more wedding-inspired look. I wore a simple but very lovely white dress which looked so pretty in contrast with the bright red flowers Kerry fixed into my hair. I honestly felt amazing. After giving birth to an 11lb baby the year before, my body and my boobs had been inflated to phenomenal amounts only to then be deflated, leaving me with a wrinkly tummy and shrivelled balloons up top. I hadn’t felt attractive in a long time, but today I felt good about myself.
The loveliest thing about the whole day was just how informal and relaxed it all was. We had all arrived that morning knowing we would get some gorgeous photos but not knowing what to anticipate the day would bring. What it did bring most importantly was; a lot of my dearest friends together (as well as my beloved sister who I enticed down from Leeds just for the day! Thank you, thank you), some rather vulgar and hilarious conversations about, ahem, someone’s sex life which led to some of the loveliest photos of us all laughing and ultimately, for me, the nicest thing was simply for us girls to be doing our hair and makeup and choosing our outfits together. Such a little thing, but it’d been so long since we had shared that. Now that we are all grown up and have our own homes and children to put to bed, pre-drinking before a big night out has been replaced with a flat white before brunch at Notcutts.
Photo by Loft Space Studio
“Sneaky little afterword: It also opened my eyes a bit more to what I might want out of our wedding.”
Before experiencing the day at Upthorpe Wood, I had imagined something very low-key, minimalist, white. But with the shoot, we were daring with colours and themes and it started me thinking…
Have you considered a bridal shower photoshoot? It could be a great prelude to your Hen Do, or, perhaps just a celebration of your engagement with your bridal party! Personally, I highly recommend it.
Rosanna is a self-confessed coffee addict who is very fortunate in that she is engaged to a cafe-owner.
A sleep deprived mother, she spends much of her time playing with choo choos and changing nappies. In her free time she sleeps and occasionally reads. View Profile