A vibrant and rustic wedding shoot in Worcestershire

02 Oct 2019

Marrying bold colours with rustic touches, this styled shoot offers a contemporary wedding look

Katie Whitburn of Still Light Photography shares her thinking and creative direction behind this modern wedding shoot. 

What was the inspiration behind the shoot?

Upon hearing of new wedding venue Barns and Yard opening near Malvern in Worcestershire, I was excited to visit. I contacted them about holding a collaborative wedding styled shoot there and Lisi, one of the owners, was very excited to host what turned out to be an amazing day.

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I had an idea of the suppliers I wanted to work with; some I had worked with before at real weddings, others I had met at wedding shows and been impressed by their work and felt it would suit the venue. After speaking with Lisi we decided to go with a bold, contemporary look – something that had never been done there before and something a little different. I researched current trends and liaised with the other suppliers involved to decide on the style and colours for the shoot.

For the model portraits, I wanted to create a mix of indoor and outdoor images, using very contrastive light indoors to enhance the boldness and vibrancy of the flowers, the venue lighting and Ana’s make-up. I used portable Elinchrom lights with large beauty dishes to achieve this effect, exposing for the dimmed bare bulb lighting that features in the venue and spotlighting Ana and Aurimas to pop them out of the background. This gives a bold, punchy look to the images and helps to balance the portraits without losing the amazing detail of the venue’s architecture. I set up a mock first dance later in the day in one of the barns, using fairy lights on the wall behind to create depth and off camera lighting on the couple to give an evening feel.

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What did you choose for the flower arrangements?

I spoke to Lydia at Floral Roundabout about incorporating black flowers into the floral displays however she advised that these were hard to come by and not in season. We chose to go down the route of dark burgundies and purples instead with heavy foliage and ostrich feathers dyed black to give a very bold exotic feel.

When I first saw the display that Lydia had created I was blown away. It was unlike anything I have seen at a wedding before and made the perfect frame for some of the portrait images with the models later in the day. It was an asymmetric display on metal frames using exotic flowers, foliage and dyed ostrich feathers to bring in a contemporary edgy look and incorporate the black colours we had discussed.

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What kind of look did you want to achieve with the make-up, hair and outfits for the bride and groom?

The rest of the shoot styling was heavily based around the flowers as we wanted to have a consistent look and feel. The dresses and suit were borrowed from the award-winning The Dressing Rooms, using modern styles that we felt gave the ‘wow’ factor without overpowering the boldness of the bouquet and floral displays.

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Aurimas’s suit is a grey-flecked tweed – a brand new style in their menswear department and one that is very on trend for barn weddings.

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The dresses we chose for Ana to wear had very different looks but both suited the style of the shoot. The first dress is amazingly stitched and detailed and features a separate add-on skirt to enhance the train. This is from the Enzoani collection, named ‘Nurit’. The second dress, the more sleek satin design with the side details is by Badgley Mischka, named ‘Beth’.

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What kind of accessories were used to create these looks and why?

Ana wore a bespoke veil from Adorn by Ashley, which complemented the bouquet beautifully. Ashley made this veil specifically for the shoot, hand-stitching flowers to the end of the veil to balance the colours against the white of the dress.

We used this veil in outdoor photos and also for some portraits taken against the barn doors in the entrance hall. Here, the exotic flowers and ostrich feathers against the backdrop of the huge rustic oak doors are lovely. The contrast of the white dress and bold purples and reds, balanced by the detail in the bottom of the veil, all comes together so well as an image and shows the skill of so many of the team involved in the shoot.

In the woodland area, another of Ashley’s veils was used but this time a much heavier and bolder cape style, to really contrast with the airy rustic feel of the setting. 

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Hair accessories were from TDR Bridal, chosen to complement the dresses, although we did decide to try out a hairstyle using real flowers in Ana’s hair as this is very popular with brides at the moment. It also allowed us to incorporate the same flowers used in the displays to bring the whole shoot together consistently.

Wedstones supplied wedding and engagement rings for the shoot, providing another attention to detail which I felt was hugely important in executing this shoot to perfection.  

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What was the thinking behind the décor for the shoot? How did you tie it all together?

With regards to the venue styling we kept it quite minimal as I felt the venue spoke for itself and with the bold colours we had chosen we didn’t want to overpower the venue. We chose to use just the floral displays from Lydia at Floral Roundabout and then some laser engraved wooden signage from Timber Things, including a welcome sign, an order of the day sign and some table decorations such as table numbers in the form of laser etched wooden spoons and table number blocks.

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The table set-up was created as a top table with a large floral display, using bare wooden tables and wooden chairs to keep the rustic feel of the venue, contrasted with a large flower display in the centre. Laura at The Nuthouse Bakery provided an amazing semi-naked wedding cake using dark berries and figs to match the colours of the shoot.

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One element added to the shoot which added a bit of uniqueness was China Grey’s vintage horsebox bar. The set up their whole wrap around bar, complete with saddle stools and equestrian-themed décor. I felt this just added a little extra flair to the shoot and made it feel more authentic. The bar suited the venue perfectly and really brought out the ‘rustic’ side of the brief.

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Get the look: 

Venue: Barns and Yard
Photography: Still Light Photography
Make-up: Michelle G Makeup Artist
Hair: The Big Hair Day
Dresses and suit: The Dressing Rooms
Bespoke veils: Adorn by Ashley
Floristry: Floral Roundabout
Signage and styling: Timber Things
Cake: The Nuthouse Bakery
Rings: Wedstones
Horsebox bar: China Grey
Models: Ana Meresescu and Aurimas Mikalajunas

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