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Calm amidst Chaos – an authentically natural, organic wedding editorial from The Toast

This fabulous shoot struck me for its uniqueness: for the subtle shift in roles, as well as for the breathtaking styling elements and artisan detailing. Those of you looking for a sustainable wedding with luxury touches need look no further. The shoot was conceived and styled by lovely Nikki at The Toast, and captured so beautifully by OliveJoy Photography. The setting at Bignor Park is enchanting: upturned chairs and trailing, tumbling tablescapes set the scene for a very different wedding style. Florals are fabulously wild and organic, with dried elements and the most wonderful velvet ribbons. The stationery by In The Detail fills a table with beauty which is minimal, elegant and raw.

The Toast and Olivejoy Photography's breathtaking wedding styling blog from Bignor House (30)

I love the non-traditional look of this shoot which is somehow still reminiscent of historical romance: the groom with the bouquet; the bride standing above him (not submissive but equal: fiercely proud of her femininity) and the beautiful bridesmaid (who I see in the context of this shoot as a bride, and I hope those of you planning a wedding with something other than a bride + groom dynamic will adore this shoot for its varied perspectives as I do!)

The Toast and Olivejoy Photography's breathtaking wedding styling blog from Bignor House (16)

I will leave it with Nikki to introduce the concepts behind all of the breathtaking images you’re about to see.

The two hundred-year-old stables and coach house at beautiful Bignor Park in Sussex provided the perfect backdrop for this beautiful ethereal elopement shoot. Oozing a majestic, almost ghostly vibe with undertones of a brooding period drama (think Poldark or a novel by the Brontë sisters!). It features contemporary styling elements and fabulous dresses perfect for brides wanting a timeless dress with a modern twist.

The Toast and Olivejoy Photography's breathtaking wedding styling blog from Bignor House (15)

There is endless texture and character within the Bignor Park stables, not to mention history and I was keen that elements such as the fabulous white washed walls and original old brick floors were incorporated within the shoot to give it a majestic yet authentic feeling of times gone by. It was really important to me that the shoot complimented the venue and that everything looked like it belonged. I think it’s so important that when couples start planning how to style their wedding, they consider all the unique features they love about their venue and try to think of ways they can really utilise and bring them to life…. quite often the best part of a wedding’s décor is the features that were already there, it’s just how they are highlighted that really creates the impact.

The Toast and Olivejoy Photography's breathtaking wedding styling blog from Bignor House (5)

The color palette was really key. A base of earthy soft calming tones woven throughout the flowers, cake designs, naturally died linens and silks (used on both the bouquet and tablescape), along with the stone and pottery tableware meant that pops of bright burnt orange and saffron yellow injected by key objects – vintage sofa, candles, the brides hair, the bridesmaids dress, confetti (in the ‘cakescape’ pictures) provided a stunning richness and quite startling contrast.

The Toast and Olivejoy Photography's breathtaking wedding styling blog from Bignor House (44)

Our fabulous florist Emma from Tigers to Lilies ran with the brief and used ‘wild’ and ‘natural’ flowers and foraged and dried foliage to create a fabulous branch instillation for the ceremony. I wanted it to look like it had ‘just grown’ from the walls but at the same time wanted it to feel rich and abundant enough to be a ceremony centrepiece. Continuing the celestial vibes outside, Tigers to Lilies also created a fabulous crescent moon out of Pampas grass which provided a modern yet magical backdrop to release two white doves kindly provided by Lovey Dovey. A great idea for couples looking for a unique and symbolic way to mark the beginning of their lives together.

The Toast and Olivejoy Photography's breathtaking wedding styling blog from Bignor House (6)

I wanted a timeless, regal look for our bride and a softer more feminine look for our bridesmaid and chose two beautiful dresses by Leanne Marshall, kindly provided by Rock the Frock. ‘Twyla’ worn by the bride features a beautiful flowing organza skirt that’s so ethereal and oozes femininity while the plunging neckline provides a really strong (and slightly daring) silhouette. I teamed this with a beautiful crown and sheer ‘Beltaine’ veil both handmade by What Katy Did Next for the ceremony and tablescape shots.

For our outdoor shots we changed things up slightly, swapping the veil for a fabulous ‘barely there’ tulle off white ballet cape with hood made especially for the shoot by Bath Based, Britten Weddings which created a stunning ‘regal’esque’ bridal look.

Our bridesmaid wore ‘Soleil’, a really beautiful and classically feminine dress that features a gorgeous modern twist, a burnt orange hand painted embellishment on the skirt. Beautifully delicate hair combs from What Katy Did Next and a dreamy delicate scoop neck floor length cape completed the look.

The Toast and Olivejoy Photography's breathtaking wedding styling blog from Bignor House (43)

I wanted the sweetheart tablescape to feel romantic and intimate. I mixed lots of texture from dried flowers, beautiful botanically hand dyed organic table linens and silks provided by The Natural Dyeworks, vintage stoneware and pottery candlestick holders I designed and had made by a local potter especially for the shoot. Each place setting was finished with a beautiful hand etched glass ‘bride’ and ‘groom’ place name made especially for the shoot by Vinegar and brown paper.

The Toast and Olivejoy Photography's breathtaking wedding styling blog from Bignor House (39)

The Toast and Olivejoy Photography's breathtaking wedding styling blog from Bignor House (40)

The Toast and Olivejoy Photography's breathtaking wedding styling blog from Bignor House (41)

The Toast and Olivejoy Photography's breathtaking wedding styling blog from Bignor House (42)

I think it is such a shame when couples spend a lot of time and money on their beautiful wedding cake only to display it on a round table with a white cloth…usually in the corner! I’m on a mini mission to change this and with more and more brides opting for more than just one cake, my idea here was to create a windswept ‘cakescape’ punctuated with colour and showcasing 3 unique and decorative cake designs. The Beachside Bakery provided 3 absolutely stunning cakes inspired by the colours and textures of dried flowers, pottery and fabric. These were placed on their own mismatched plinths and we created ‘mounds ‘of moss and confetti provided by Bubble and Berry at the bottom of each one to simulate the look of leaves and petals as if they’d just blown in.

The Toast and Olivejoy Photography's breathtaking wedding styling blog from Bignor House (1)

The Toast and Olivejoy Photography's breathtaking wedding styling blog from Bignor House (2)

The Toast and Olivejoy Photography's breathtaking wedding styling blog from Bignor House (3)

The Toast and Olivejoy Photography's breathtaking wedding styling blog from Bignor House (4)

The Toast and Olivejoy Photography's breathtaking wedding styling blog from Bignor House (7)

The Toast and Olivejoy Photography's breathtaking wedding styling blog from Bignor House (8)

The Toast and Olivejoy Photography's breathtaking wedding styling blog from Bignor House (9)

The Toast and Olivejoy Photography's breathtaking wedding styling blog from Bignor House (10)

The Toast and Olivejoy Photography's breathtaking wedding styling blog from Bignor House (11)

The Toast and Olivejoy Photography's breathtaking wedding styling blog from Bignor House (12)

The Toast and Olivejoy Photography's breathtaking wedding styling blog from Bignor House (13)

The Toast and Olivejoy Photography's breathtaking wedding styling blog from Bignor House (14)

The Toast and Olivejoy Photography's breathtaking wedding styling blog from Bignor House (17)

The Toast and Olivejoy Photography's breathtaking wedding styling blog from Bignor House (18)

The Toast and Olivejoy Photography's breathtaking wedding styling blog from Bignor House (19)

The Toast and Olivejoy Photography's breathtaking wedding styling blog from Bignor House (20)

The Toast and Olivejoy Photography's breathtaking wedding styling blog from Bignor House (21)

The Toast and Olivejoy Photography's breathtaking wedding styling blog from Bignor House (22)

The Toast and Olivejoy Photography's breathtaking wedding styling blog from Bignor House (23)

The Toast and Olivejoy Photography's breathtaking wedding styling blog from Bignor House (24)

The Toast and Olivejoy Photography's breathtaking wedding styling blog from Bignor House (25)

The Toast and Olivejoy Photography's breathtaking wedding styling blog from Bignor House (26)

The Toast and Olivejoy Photography's breathtaking wedding styling blog from Bignor House (27)

The Toast and Olivejoy Photography's breathtaking wedding styling blog from Bignor House (28)

The Toast and Olivejoy Photography's breathtaking wedding styling blog from Bignor House (29)

The Toast and Olivejoy Photography's breathtaking wedding styling blog from Bignor House (31)

The Toast and Olivejoy Photography's breathtaking wedding styling blog from Bignor House (32)

The Toast and Olivejoy Photography's breathtaking wedding styling blog from Bignor House (33)

The Toast and Olivejoy Photography's breathtaking wedding styling blog from Bignor House (34)

The Toast and Olivejoy Photography's breathtaking wedding styling blog from Bignor House (35)

The Toast and Olivejoy Photography's breathtaking wedding styling blog from Bignor House (36)

The Toast and Olivejoy Photography's breathtaking wedding styling blog from Bignor House (37)

The Toast and Olivejoy Photography's breathtaking wedding styling blog from Bignor House (38)

The Toast and Olivejoy Photography's breathtaking wedding styling blog from Bignor House (45)

The Toast and Olivejoy Photography's breathtaking wedding styling blog from Bignor House (46)

Photography by OliveJoy Photography

Concept, Styling & Props The Toast
Dresses by Leanne Marshall
Bridal Boutique Rock the Frock
Bridal Capes Britten Weddings
Groom Attire Menswearr
Hair Accessories & Veil What Katy Did Next
Make Up & Hair Frances Moore
Stationery In The Detail
‘Bride’ & ‘Groom’ Glass Etched Place Names Vinegar and Brown Paper
Styling Assistant Annie Fern
Cakes The Beachside Bakery
Floral Design Tigers to Lilies
Flower Provider Atlas Flowers
Table Fabrics, Napkins & Ribbons The Natural Dyeworks
Chairs Coordination Catering
Crockery Zara Home
Perspex Plinths Fabricate
Venue Bignor Park
Confetti Bubble and Berry
Furniture Okehurst Design
Doves Lovey Dovey
Model (Bride) Bethany Ash
Model (Bridesmaid) Amy Wilde
Male Model Matthew Roberts

Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at www.byMoonandTide.com. Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in November 2009 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.

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