A natural bridal shoot on Dorset’s beaches

12 Apr 2019

Celebrating the simplicity of true love, the team went barefoot for this beach-side shoot

Photographer Leonie May talks us through the inspiration for this coastal shoot. 

What was the inspiration behind the shoot?

My inspiration for this shoot was something I’m beyond passionate about and try to incorporate into all of my shoots: the combination of nature and private intimacy away from a world of ‘likes’ and unrealistic expectations about what a wedding, elopement or partnership should be. 



I love social media as much as the next girl but I feel sometimes that Pinterest inspiration and Instagram influencing can get in the way of what’s most important: two people and the love they have for each other. I’m a massive fan of elopements where the whole day is centred on the couples love for each other – it doesn’t have to be about hashtags.


I’m happiest when I’m swimming in the sea, exploring the forest and climbing on rocks where there is no one to impress, it’s just me and the earth. Wedding portraits can be the most simplistic and beautiful thing in the world, capturing love celebrated in the most amazing backdrop we can ask for.




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

This venue is super important to me as Bournemouth girl who grew up around the ocean. It is also the favourite childhood spot of Mel, hair and make-up artist for the shoot. Being by the beach has the most calming vibe and that’s something I love for the couples I work with. For me, photographing people in places that truly mean something to them is the key to getting emotive, true shots.



What kind of look did you want to achieve for the bride?

The look I was going for was a boho bride and groom, barefoot to feel the sand and water beneath their feet. We were lucky enough to be lent a skirt and top combo by Chantelle Sophia Bridal that fitted the boho theme but nodded towards a traditional look.

The second dress was from high street brand Nasty Gal. This was also super important for me; I love working with brides who are happy to go on an adventure in their dress, get in the sea and have some fun. When a lot of money is spent on beautiful dresses, I love the idea of having a second dress or a post wedding shoot where we can get those crazy arty photos without worrying about the dress.


I also think that it is so important to have an option for a dress that doesn’t cost hundreds of pounds – of course those dresses are beautiful but celebrating love should be accessible for everyone. At £30 this dress looked absolutely stunning and I adored showing another option for brides. Mel from Bournemouth Bridal Hair and Makeup  wanted to create a boho beach hairstyle, loosely pinned into a tousled curled ponytail, with gypsophila and star roses entwined to finish the look. The bride had coral smoky eyes and lips to match Pantone’s Colour of the Year 2019, living coral, perfect for a beach themed wedding.




What kind of accessories were used?

For me, the décor was the beauty of nature and the two lovers in the photograph. It doesn’t get simpler than that but that is what my photography is about. Mel used gypsophila as a nod to the traditional wedding – philos itself means love in latin. 




Get the look: 

Hair and make-up: Melanie Tilsed at Bournemouth Bridal Hair and Makeup
Photography: Leonie May Photography
Dresses: Chantelle Sophie and Nasty Gal
Models: Samantha Shapley and Matthew Roberts

For more Dorset wedding inspiration, pick up the latest edition of Dorset, Wiltshire and Hampshire Bride magazine

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