With the wedding industry suffering so much over the past year and a half due to the coronavirus pandemic, finding new inspiration and content for social media etc has been a real struggle for so many wedding suppliers. How do we post fresh and relevant images to connect with potential brides/grooms when our wedding work has been so hugely diminished by covid restrictions? I decided to tackle this problem by organising my very first “styled shoot” - something I’ve been really interested in doing for a long time. I thought it would be the perfect way to meet and network with lots of fellow local wedding suppliers, build some momentum, inspire others and be inspired myself, and provide lots of fresh new images for all of the suppliers involved, so that we could start building our brands back up again ready for the easing of restrictions and the start of a proper wedding season ahead.
The first thing to consider was finding a venue willing to host us all for the day, and I knew I wanted to use somewhere local, with lots of beautiful outdoor space as well as a great rustic interior for some indoor shots too. Bellows Mill instantly came to mind! This is a beautiful watermill offering self catering accommodation, set in stunning grounds near the village of Eaton Bray, Bedfordshire. I have only shot here once before, and it POURED with rain for the entire day, meaning I completely missed any opportunity to photograph their outside space. I was gutted, as I saw instantly that there was so much potential here to get some stunning shots in the grounds, and I hoped that I’d be able to go back one day to get a chance to do it justice. So this seemed like the perfect opportunity! I spoke with Elaine, the wonderful wedding coordinator and owner Rachael, and they were kind enough to agree to me coming in to do the photo shoot, and from there our plans grew and grew!
The next thing I needed was someone to help me with the overall styling/logistics for the day, and I couldn’t have asked for a better right-hand woman than Kelly from Pink Peony Weddings. Organised and efficient beyond belief, and with so much creative flair, I was so pleased to have Kelly on board to help me with the overall look and feel of the shoot! After an initial meeting to brainstorm ideas, she sent me a mood board which was exactly the kind of thing I had been hoping for - rustic yet elegant, natural woods, soft candle light, blush pink florals and natural foliage. This gave us the perfect starting point to get creative and to start contacting suppliers who could best help us achieve this look.
After lots of behind the scenes work and planning, contacting all of the suppliers and getting arrangements in place, shoot day finally arrived, and it’s fair to say I was a little nervous! The weather had not been on our side in the run up to the shoot, and I was envisaging another wash-out and all of our outdoor photo ideas going wrong… But fortunately, the rain held off, and on the morning of the shoot I was ready and raring to go - so excited to shoot a wedding again after so long in lockdown, even if it was a pretend one!
I arrived at Bellows Mill around 10am, and things were already starting to take shape, as Pink Peony Weddings and Bloomfield’s Florist had already been in the evening before to begin set up, so there were already some amazing flowers and decorations in place which looked great!
At around 12.30pm, Niki Lawrence (make-up) and Bridal Hair Design by Lorraine (hair styling) arrived to get set-up, along with our incredible models, Joanna and Ryan (a real life couple, not professional models - they did such a brilliant job though that you’d never know they hadn’t modelled before, so I was so grateful to them for agreeing to take part!). Niki created a stunning, natural look for Joanna and she looked absolutely glowing, whilst Lorraine did an incredible half up-half down hairstyle for her with gorgeous curls and a beautiful floral hairpiece from Thistle and Moss which completed the look perfectly!
We’d allocated around 2 hours for hair and make-up, so after getting plenty of shots of them in action I moved on to capturing some more detailed shots of things like the stationery (provided by Pink Peony Weddings), the cake (from Sweet Marguerite Cakes) and the rings (from Pyman Jewellers).
The stationery was just beautiful - everything was so well coordinated and fitted in perfectly with the theme we had chosen!