I love it when a photoshoot like this sends me tumbling head over heels with a flower I never knew could be so lush, opulent and beautiful. Today’s feature is glamorous, brooding and alternative – and breathtaking. Huge thanks to lovely Grace Hill for sharing her dream with us today!
Words & images: Photography By Grace Hill
When you have a beautiful married couple and 800 carnation stems, what do you do? You throw on a styled wedding at Captains Wood Barn, of course!
Within three months, I managed to put together my first styled shoot, a dark romantic authentic vintage wedding, with some absolutely fabulous vendors, all relatively local to the area, in Colchester, Essex.
We decided that there would be no gypsophila, or light and airy style with big boho flower crowns – something which seems to be so in fashion at present. Instead, in came 800 gorgeous, punchy carnations in all hues of reds, purples, magentas and creams, a beautiful lace gown, vintage and reclaimed furniture, crockery and even jewellery, a venue situated within acres of picturesque Essex countryside, a horse called Roxy and a very much in love couple.
Our wonderful florist, Kelly L’Esperance of Miss Fleur Floral Design, was one of the driving forces behind the shoot, along with myself. Through a contact of a contact, she managed to find Benchmark Growers, who were willing to send her carnation stems, for absolutely free, and plenty of them, too. We ended up with an eye-opening eight hundred stems.
Carnations are a massive trend in the USA at the moment, and it is a shame that other popular flowers have overshadowed them and meant that they have been popped in the same pile as 80’s weddings and dated aeshetic, here across the pond in the UK. Truly, they are not. They are beautiful, bold, and so versatile, because they come in a multitude of stunning shades and suit almost all budgets. Not to mention, they are still going strong, one month later, adorning my house! Kelly and I wanted to make them the focal point of our shoot, as well as to raise their profile amongst the growers and florists who love them so.
Gemma Guy of The Vintage Party Co did the most beautiful job of adorning the reclaimed and vintage furniture from Anthology Vintage Hire at our venue, Captains Wood Barn, with her hand-selected crockery. She even went to the lengths of creating personalised place settings, a seating plan and a range of beautiful signage, including on her up-cycled dining room mirror and picture frames. These looked stunning within the barn and in the outdoor blessing area.
Catherine Parker of My Fair Cakery made us not one but two main cakes, along with some smaller individual cakes, for the day. She absolutely hit the nail on the head with her aesthetic, through incorporating some gorgeous gold leaf onto one of the cakes, with beautifully intricate handcrafted flowers, which adorned the upper tiers of the cake, and beautiful ombré ruffled buttercream piped onto the second cake.
Kelly L’Esperance, of Miss Fleur Floral Design made use of as many carnations as she could, including two gorgeous bouquets (one adorned with hand-vegetable-dyed ribbons from Silk and Purl), an ombré floral wreath, floral vases, centrepieces and boutonnières. The colours absolutely popped against the rustic background of the venue, and gave some life to what was effectively a very dull, dreary day.
Rashida Agboke of Lily Christina Bridal Collection provided our model, Fiona Ogilvie, with a range of gorgeous gowns, although it was the stunning lace-sleeved chiffon ‘Camellia’ by Suzanne Neville, which made the cut. Rashida also provided a well-fitting, contemporary suit for Fiona’s husband Joshua, from Peter Posh Suit Hire.
Fiona of Fee Alice Leslie MUA was also our make up artist for the day, creating a beautiful almost semi-gothic look, which she later toned down with a rose-gold lip. This was beautifully complemented with a romantic up-do hairstyle created by Ruby Onslow, who managed to curl Fiona’s hair despite the cold of the barn in the early morning. Fiona, along with her husband Joshua, were the perfect models for the day. There was something inherently important to us about having a real couple for the shoot, rather than simply two professional models, because you just cannot create electric chemistry with two people who barely know one another. All in all this made the shoot much more relaxed and most importantly, authentic, and I can only vouch for their fabulous work ethics.
Finally, James Heathcote of J.K. Gems in Clacton entrusted me with hand-picking the most gorgeous collection of statement antique jewellery for the day. From a astounding Amazonite ring and bracelet, to an opulent opal set, and also some a timeless diamond necklace, these really added some je ne sais quoi to the day.
All in all, the day was an absolute success, and was something that we all enjoyed working together on. Not only have we worked together as vendors, but we have all become good friends throughout the process, and I can only thank everyone who was involved.
Photography By Grace Hill – www.photographybygrace.co.uk
Carnations from Benchmark Growers Sourced and co-ordinated by Kelly L’Esperance of Miss Fleur Floral Design
Décor: The Vintage Party Co
Furniture: Anthology Vintage Hire
Venue: Captains Wood Barn
Make Up: Fee Alice Leslie MUA Models: Fiona and Joshua Ogilvie
Hair: Ruby Onslow Hair
Cake: My Fair Cakery
Dress: ‘Camellia’ by Suzanne Neville, Suit: Peter Posh, both via Lily Christina Bridal Collection
Jewellery: James Heathcote of J.K. Gems Clacton