An enchanted woodland wedding shoot in the heart of Wales

03 Jun 2019

South West wedding suppliers showcase the beauty of a non-traditional wedding theme

Hannah Barnes of Hannah Barnes Photography takes us behind the scenes of this enchanted woodland shoot themed around J.R.R Tolkien’s Middle Earth.

What was the inspiration behind the shoot?

The whole idea came from the latest and very popular TV series, and from one of the most watched fantasy films based on the novels by J. R.R Tolkien. Weddings are becoming less and less traditional, and more suited to the bride and groom. We wanted to go very untraditional and create a fantastical styled shoot that involved lots of creative and unique suppliers. They created beautiful bespoke handcrafted items and décor that reflected the beauty in nature and what we can find naturally around us. We wanted to show how beautiful untraditional weddings can be and that you shouldn’t be afraid to put your own stamp on the day.

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Tell us a little bit about the venue and why it was chosen.

The styled shoot was hosted at Coed Weddings and Events in Cardiff. It is an amazingly versatile space to create and plan your wedding ceremony, event or weekend retreat. Hidden in 180 acres of the Vale of Glamorgan countryside, it radiates a spiritual and peaceful connection to nature and its environment. You can wander the gardens, meadows and woodlands finding hidden art amongst the trees and plants while absorbing the surrounding flora and fauna. 

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Its large bespoke indoor event space runs in harmony with nature using renewable energy resources, recyclable materials and promoting a zero-waste ethos towards the event industry. Coed’s stunning landscape and incredible ethos towards the environment made it the perfect place to create our enchanted styled shoot.

What did you choose for the flower arrangements?

This shoot encapsulated all elements from the woodland and the beauty in the nature that surrounds us. Our fantastically talented florist Jan used flowers and foliage from her garden and woodlands, finding naturally growing ferns and flowers to create three stunning bouquets for the shoot. 

One bouquet was created with berries, wheat, lavender, thistles, blossoms, pods and ferns – many elements of this bouquet were found in the woods and her garden. The use of naturally found ferns and flowers ties in perfectly with Coed’s zero waste ethos and showcases the beauty in the world around us in one beautiful bouquet. We wanted to have as much natural texture and variety as possible put together loosely to reflect the surroundings and the vibe of the shoot.

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The second bouquet was a more ethereal look using white gypsophilia for an oversized bouquet and surrounded with plenty of soft asparagus fern to give it a cascading effect. Each bouquet had a matching button hole for the groom – a scaled down version of each look.

For the flower arrangement on the cake, we used a mixture of flowers, foliage and grasses, again most of which was foraged – tiny pine cones, feathery grasses, rosebuds, mixed berries, ferns and very fine dried vine loosely twisted around each tier, placed on a double tier rustic slice to add height.

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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?

In keeping with the theme of Tolkien’s fantastical world that he created, we wanted to create a unique, unexpected and very feminine soft hairstyle inspired by the enchanted elves. Our hair and make-up specialist Maja created a combination of different types of plaits, in all forms and shapes. In the centre of the hairstyle is a beautiful fishtail which was divided into three sections of a diamond shape.

Side dutch plaits were then formed to achieve the dimension and shape of the crown as the base of the headpiece. Small plaits of the same type appeared on both sides of the head. Loosely looped and continuously connecting the whole hairstyle together, Maja created an enchanted and magical piece of art.

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For the groom, we wanted a very casual look that would reflect the model’s character and charisma. Maja used a gel wax, applying ir lightly with a comb onto the hair to tame and soften the natural untidiness. 

For the bride’s make-up, the focus was the eyes. The eyes are always the most important part when it comes to make-up. Maja used three different palettes of eyeshadows. She started with the natural, very light nude-rose eyeshadow for the base and then moved on to creating the definition of the eyes, to be able to then blend it perfectly at the end. 

For the second tone, she again used two different shades of eyeshadows – a light pale brown-rose with a medium pale brown starting from the inner bone line up and back to the outer corner of the eye. This technique gave Maja a beautiful map of the eye shape. With the dark brown she came back to the crease with swiping motions, keeping her brush at the outer corner of the eye. A natural liner look was created and mascara applied. The lipstick was applied to complement the colours of the eyeshadows but not dominate them. Blush was a natural colour in keeping with the simplicity and freshness of the look.

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The groom’s make-up was very minimalistic and natural as we wanted to keep the natural flow of the look throughout every element of the bride and groom’s looks.

The three stunning dresses that were used during the shoot were from Bridal Reloved. They stock pre-owned ex-sample wedding dresses, and specialize in giving wedding dresses a new purpose which goes hand-in-hand with Coed’s zero-waste ethos. We wanted to focus on this use of recycling and reusing as it ties in well with the current events of the world, and goes to show how you can have a sustainable and ‘guilt-free’ wedding.

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This empire line Augusta Jones dress has a pleated chiffon skirt with a lace strapless bodice with delicate beaded detailing. 

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This Lyn Ashworth dress has an A-line silk skirt with a silk organza overlay and a stunning bodice with silk buttons.

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This dress is a Madeline Isaac James a fit and flare mint silk satin dress with a tulle outer layer decorated with stunning lace appliqués, pearl buttons and delicate straps.

What was the thinking behind the décor for the shoot? 

An enchanted woodland shoot was the perfect way for all of the wonderful South West suppliers to get creative with some really stunning and natural decorations which showcased their individual unique talents. We created a very rustic and simplistic table layout using ferns and foliage which were placed on the table around the bespoke wooden decorations. Our inspiration was heavily reliant on wooden elements such as the cake showcased on two wooden slabs and the beautifully crafted wooden pebbles embellished with woodland creatures.

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The cake was designed to keep in touch with the simplistic and rustic décor. The main focus was on the flowers and fauna that were placed beautifully over the top of the crisp white frosting to create a stunning, woodland-inspired wedding cake.

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

The woodland tiara headdress combines vintage and natural materials to make an ethical and sustainable heirloom accessory. The design of the headdress is mostly neutral in tone, with silver, clear crystal and white beads to complement the elegant style of the dress. It features pieces of vintage and upcycled diamanté jewellery, white seed beads from an old necklace and little fir cones painted with chalk paint, all wired together on a soft wire frame.

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The bridal shawl is designed to drape stylishly over the wedding dress. Crocheted entirely by hand to achieve a unique and textured effect and a touch of elasticity, this exclusive cover-up is bound to keep the bride cosy and elegant on her big day. In order to protect the bridal hairstyle and make it easy to put on and take off, the shawl is created to tie easily in front with double faced satin ribbons.

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Get the look: 

Venue: Coed Weddings and Events
Photography: Hannah Barnes Photography
Stylist: Tasha Clarke
Hair and make-up artist: Loxus Hair & Make-up by Maya Jasinska HMUA
Florist: Jan Lima Flowers
Stationery: Lorna Boyer Design
Dresses: Bridal Reloved
Headpieces: Gemma Sangwine
Shawls: Weddings by Laremi
Embroidered napkins: Extra Special Touch
Additional decorations: MarMaya Creations
Models: Polly Darling and Sam Patterson

For more South West wedding inspiration, click here to read the latest edition of South West Bride magazine.

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