An 'urban pagan' winter wedding shoot in Essex

25 Nov 2019

Held at The Barns at Lodge Farm on the Essex/Hertfordshire border, this photoshoot offers alternative inspiration for a winter wedding

Co-ordinated and styled by Jo Thorndike of VV Raven, this winter wedding shoot showcases an 'urban pagan' wedding theme with mystery aplenty. 

Jo says: “I wanted to reflect my passion to work with other British, sustainable, small businesses by collaborating with as many of them as possible. The beauty of the setting blew me away and I passionately felt the need to fulfil my vision for the space. 

"I love to mix fresh and faux florals and used this shoot to show the advantage of using them together and how indistinguishable from each other that they can be.”

“I was influenced by the romance of The Barns at Lodge Farm and the current state of dilapidation of some of the buildings. In harmony with a desire to promote British flowers and sustainability and with the location being a working arable farm I chose to create a series of shoots called Celebration of the Seasons - finishing with this one - Winter.”

“I am enthralled by paganism and its close connection to Mother Nature and I wanted to use the atmospheric outbuildings to create a wedding photoshoot with a twist – and so the urban pagan theme was born."

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The venue

The Barns at Lodge Farm is a new wedding and events venue where several barns are currently being renovated, and I wanted to document their dereliction and history/romance before they are refurbished. Sustainability is a key factor in both the way the land is managed as a working arable farm, and also in the way the barns are being developed in a manner which is as sensitive to the environment as possible.

The ethos of the venue fit perfectly with the key influences for the shoot and the changing landscape of the fields throughout the year are an idyllic backdrop for the Celebration of the Seasons.

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Styling

For winter we were thinking of a hoar frost where all is white and sparkly with deep dark elements of contrast. We styled a tipi and small tent to create a cosy natural winter wedding. This included a vast frosty white tablescape incorporating an icy three-tier cake.

To show that not all brides are the same, we featured an ‘older mother’ bride and her ‘young daughter’ bride to reflect the full age spectrum. An icy winter bride in a pale dresses contrasted with the dark and moody bride who wore a dramatic black dress.

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Hair and make-up

Inspired by the winter theme, we went for a several looks for the bridal mother and daughter. The first look was meant to represent the pure and fragile snowflake bride. It is a strong look matched with an icicle headband and pure white flowing chiffon dress. Although her face looked frozen, her heart was warm and full of love for her mum (the ice queen) and husband to-be. She has longed for this day and showed her emotions throughout the shoot.

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The second look represented her softer, loving side, where frost has left her body and the sun's rays brought some sparkle to her eyes. A matching dress and gold tiara finished the look just perfectly.

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But once the night approached, wind and snow returned. Scared to leave her mother’s home forever and become a wife and mother some day too, the third look represented the sad moments we have sometimes even in the happiest day of our lives. The look symbolised when we want to freeze those happy memories and and be held in our mum’s arms forever. 

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The flowers

Using dried sprayed winter twigs, foliage and dried berries, we dressed the table to create a lush and abundant arrangement. We created fresh British foliage crowns that used strong fern outlines and appealing shapes to create interest and frame the models' faces, which were used alongside matching bouquets.

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The cake

We created a blueberry and lemon sponge cake covered in buttercream icing with a vintage ruffle finish. Decorated with delicate edible cake lace skulls highlighted with white edible glitter to represent the frost of a pagan winter scene, the cake was completed with sugar snowflakes and butterflies cascading down the height of the cake tiers. 

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The props

The furniture provided for the shoot was in-keeping with the winter theme, with our white rustic table, along with our gorgeous grey velvet sofa and armchair. Our vintage sledge, faux sheepskins and Impala skulls were great props for the style of the shoot. Our grey and cream rugs kept with the muted palette and worked perfectly with our grey sofa and furniture in the tipi. 

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Get the look:

Photography: Markuza Photography 
Venue: The Barns at Lodge Farm 
Hair and make-up: Ieva Genovesi 
Styling and flowers: VV Raven 
Assistant stylist: The Emerald Lounge
Wedding dresses: Beyond Bridal 
Tiaras: Mr Mortimer’s Wife
Jewellery: Helen C Walls Jewellery
Stationery: Made by Rae Designs
Cake: Fifi’s Cakery
Props: Anthology Wedding Hire
Bell tents: The Canvas Tribe
Tipi: County Marquees (East Anglia)
Faux hoods: Hoodlum Clothing UK
Hats: CcMillineryCreations
Feathers: Plucking Fabulous
Models: Anne-Marie Hughes and Ellie Nevard

For more Essex wedding inspiration, browse the latest edition of Essex Bride magazine. 

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