A sustainable autumn wedding shoot in Cambridgeshire

14 Jun 2021

The team from this Cambridgeshire shoot explain how to include sustainable elements in your wedding day celebrations

Shoot photographer, Sian Richardson, tells us about the inspiration behind the shoot which took place at The Thatch Barn, Yelling: 

What was the inspiration behind the shoot?
The styled shoot was based around autumn and sustainability in a way that didn’t lose that luxury, wow factor. I wanted to show that being more ethical with your choices does not mean spending more money or limiting the styling of your wedding. Sustainability has become such an important area to consider for people in all areas of their lifestyle and so it was the main focus of this shoot.

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Tell us a little bit about the venue and why it was chosen
The Thatch Barn was the perfect venue as the rustic look complemented the style of the shoot but is also an example of a repurposed building. The renovation of the magnificent Grade II listed, thatched barn was completed in 2013. The barn itself is beautiful with original 400-year-old oak beams spanning the width of the building and emphasising an enormous vaulted, beamed roof. The glazed oak entrance allows light to flood in while the slotted windows are all subtly glazed. They have even had a bar built from timbers taken from the roof that needed replacing.

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What did you choose for the flower arrangements?
As a wedding and events florist Suzanne passionately believes that when we include things as beautiful and natural as flowers in our celebrations we should be as mindful as possible of their impact on the environment. She therefore used locally grown flowers and foliage as much as possible, thus supporting local growers and reducing travel miles. The British growing season is typically March to September and within this time we have an abundance of beautiful blooms, many with the added bonus of giving the most wonderful scent as well. When couples celebrate their wedding anniversary there is something romantic about their wedding flowers always being in season, reminding them of their big day. Outside of the growing season it's still possible to incorporate British florals and foliage and in this autumnal shoot we used an array of dried ingredients within the colour palette.

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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 dresses were from Ivy and Gold who champion sustainability and affordability. They offer future brides a selection of designer once-worn and sample outfits for a fraction of the RRP. They want to make sure that the time, effort and material used to make these beautiful dresses doesn’t go to waste. For this shoot we incorporated three dresses all with stunning details but different fits to show that pre loved doesn’t mean cutting back on quality and design.

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The suits worn by the groom were also second hand, found in charity shops in colours to complement the colour palette.

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For the hair we decided to do a ‘half up half down’, to the side style but keeping it soft looking round the face but also to have a structure to it with soft curls and loops. We also used a full up style and again kept it soft around the face with barrel curls all the way through. We based the styles on the wedding dresses that were chosen and added some dry flowers to add some colour and complement the bouquet.

One of the things Danielle our MUA loves about make-up is the versatility that it has in creating different looks. In this case we were looking to create an autumnal vibe using a natural earthly palette. For the first daytime look we went with softer natural tones to draw out the bride’s natural beauty and enhance her features, using browns and burnt orange tones.

For the evening look we went a bit bolder for more of a statement look, using a darker earthy palette to really draw out the eyes and adding a deep bold berry lip to create a more dramatic evening look. 

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What was the thinking behind the décor for the shoot? How did you tie it all together?
The styling created by Allensis was all based around an autumn theme using a colour palette of brown, cream, oranges and a dark green, making sure colours complemented each other was key while having pops of orange so the palette wasn’t too dull. 

Place settings from Little Cherry (who provide sustainably sourced, biodegradable and compostable party-ware) were used - these included palm leaf dinner, side and heart plates, coconut wedges for place name holders and compostable wooden cutlery, napkin and tie wrap. 

To the finish the look, coconut bowls were made from the discarded shells and repurposed - shipped by carbon offset companies, accompanied by handmade, recycled glass water glasses, vintage silver plated goblets and ethically sourced seagrass charger plates to finish the place settings. 

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Allensis also sourced repurposed old and damaged books from ‘Nicks and Fold’ that are made into beautiful bespoke pieces. We found beautiful artisan handmade fairtrade bamboo lanterns in various sizes and in natural and black (dyed using natural plant based dies). We finished the look using a lot of vintage finds from charity shops and market places such as skulls, brass candlesticks and stoneware pots, then used modern elements like handmade tapered candles and modern brass terrariums. All of this complemented the rustic feel to the location The Thatch Barn Yelling and really emphasised the sustainability theme.

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Bouche Cakes By Leeanne Cooper explains that: “To make occasion cakes that work toward sustainability is no easy task, but the more seasonal and minimal the design, the better in taste and sustainability. I concentrated on two areas: ethically sourced products and minimal plastics /packaging. I already use plant-based gloves for food prep and buy my chocolate from Callebaut which is Cocoa Horizons certified 100% sustainable farming - I buy local, seasonal, Fairtrade, organic and palm oil free products and make mindful food choices as much as possible. To miminise my footprint I kept my two designs very simple, and wholly edible except for the hoop topper handmade at BrambleSky, which can be used again and again. The fabulous mesh stands are handmade by BrambleSky too. We gave the hoop design two looks, one decorated with autumn leaf style edible wafer paper and the other with dried florals which makes for an incredible keepsake after the big day and the cake has been enjoyed by your guests. The chocolate tier is decorated with just ganache and dried fruit slices and the two-tier cake, printed icing sheets from emmadodicakes.com and reusable ribbon.

The stationery produced by Hannah Watts was created using recycled paper and hand written in her calligrapher style.

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What kind of accessories were used to create these looks and why?
CatKin Jane hand-crafted the bow tie, tie and pocket square using Liberty of London's fabrics with a strong autumn theme that complemented the colour palette. 

The wedding rings worn by both bride and groom are also hand crafted by GM Woodstock who used scraps of rosewood that are being thrown out by larger furniture makers, giving them a new life. 

Mela Jewellery also supplied the bride’s additional jewellery pieces made from recycled scrap silver.

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Steal Their Style
Concept, Photography & Videography: Sian’s Photography
Second Photograher: Amy Jayne Food
Planner and Stylist: Allensis
Venue: The Thatch Barn 
Flowers:  Suzanne Humbert
Bridal Dresses:  Ivy and Gold Bridal  
Stationery: Hannah Watt   
Cake: Bouche Cakes By Leeanne Cooper
Hair: Danielle Hawkes Hairdressing
Make-up: Lucy Payne Make-Up
Jewellery: Mela Jewellery
Wedding rings: GM Woodstock
Grooms Accessories: CatKin Jane
Models: Olivia Stacey and Louis Nixon

Click here for more wedding day inspiration!

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