Harking back to the romance and simplicity of Jane Austen's literary greats, this wedding shoot serves to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Doxford Hall in Chathill, Northumberland
The main theme of the shoot was to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Doxford Hall. Built in 1818, this mellow stone, classical country house was designed by John Dobson – best known for his work on the design of Newcastle Railway station.
So with this in mind, the creative team were inspired by the romantic novels of Jane Austen, whose novels 'Persuasion’ and 'Northanger Abbey’ were published post-humously in the same year.
This inspiration led naturally to enforce the venue’s positioning as a classical beauty which has withstood the test of time. Trends will come and go, but style and elegance shall always endure.
Doxford Hall is perfectly suited to a scene from a period drama, with its classical exterior and features such as the stone terrace, sundial feature and canopied steps tucked into the front façade of the building, not to mention the mysterious maze and enchanting walled garden. The shoot shows off the interiors and the variety of reception rooms available. While the Kennedy Suite Ballroom didn't feature in the shoot, it is a truly breath-taking space which holds up to 200 guests for an evening reception and warrants a fairytale theme all of its own.
Showing off traditional blooms that evoke the simple bridal bouquets of the era, a hand-tied country bouquet with flowers native to Britain provided the perfect touch. The bouquet featured spray and lilac roses, ranunculus, sweet peas, jasmine, rosemary and Dusty Miller. This selection of flowers and herbs was authentic to the period. Paler hues complemented the light, airy ambience of the shoot as a whole and the flower arrangement was finished with a pretty blue ribbon that had been dyed with hydrangea petals.
The hair, make-up and dresses
Considering the detailing that was the right look for the Regency period, the team chose natural loose curls for the boudoir scene which were complemented by an appliquéd floral headdress and velvet ribbon hand-dyed with onion skins. This look was then transformed into a more elegant up-do, which was typical of the Regency era, and styled with a decorative pearl braid.
While the team worked with a primarily English rose palette for Laura’s porcelain complexion, they also wanted to slightly update the make-up to be a little more sultry with the smokey eyes. It was this aspect that gave the bride's pretty, dewy make-up a more contemporary style and enhanced her cornflower blue eyes.
Jewellery was also a careful consideration with an antique aquamarine and seed pearl ring typical of the Georgian era, as well as delicate cameo earrings to add a romantic and elegant style.
The bias-cut silk gown, covered in tulle, was made bespoke in silk with French lace, and trimmed with a fine sage green ribbon detail in an Empire line style – the epitome of fashionable Regency gowns and puff sleeve detail.
As well as jewellery and personal items such as the beautiful gilded fan and floral kimono, other accessories included: the calligraphy letter and envelope with wax seal, the feast of fancies and sweets with bountiful flowers and fruits complemented with a bronze ewer, and Georgian style wine goblets. This all served to capture the elegance and decadence of this romantic look.
The research was quite meticulous to create an authentic look for the period, one particular challenge was the crockery. Although Victorian vintage crockery is fairly easy to come by, Georgian examples are more rare and sought after for their value, so the team adopted the ‘mismatched’ look...although the rose pink and gold tea set was exquisite and perfectly matched, a real treasure.
Get the look:
Photography: Katy Melling, www.katymelling.com
Shoot co-ordination: Sarah Proctor, www.spmediarelations.co.uk
Dress: Sarah Kelly of Mia Bridal, www.miabridal.co.uk
Floristry: Helen Mawson of Bels Flowers, www.belsflowers.co.uk
Hair: Tina Elliott, www.tinaelliott.co.uk
Make-up: Danielle Hall, www.danimua.com
Styling and vintage clothing/artefacts: Fran Boyd, www.facebook.com/goodbyenormajean
Props: Kate Cullen, www.katecullen.co.uk
Ribbons: VV Rouleaux, www.vvrouleux.com
Calligraphy: By Moon and Tide, www.bymoonandtide.com
China: Everything Stops For Tea, firstname.lastname@example.org
Venue: Doxford Hall, www.doxfordhall.com