Holker: A Royal Flush
It's safe to say that the Victorian times are having a moment. It's perhaps funny to say they are having a moment when the Victorian era lasted for 64 years, but ultimately what I'm saying is the age of not-being-amused is very much back in fashion. Which is why I am very excited to be featuring this wonderful styled shoot, shot by the enviably talented Tiree Dawson.
Something else big in the style stakes, which is classically of the Victorian heyday, is botany. So where best to capture a botanical bridal shoot than at "Holker, the best loved House in England", according to Lord Cavendish himself. Although Holker Hall was built during the Elizabethan reign, its design remains unmistakably Victorian.
There's something incredibly romantic and poetic about having a library within your wedding venue. Part of the furniture as you walk down the aisle towards your happy ending. Sharing your stage with tales of once upon a time, and the love letters of great men and women. Rows upon rows of romantic prose, whilst the greatest love story of all time is busy taking place just feet away. And that is why I love this picture of beautiful Indus so much; taking in the passionate words of star-crossed lovers who have gone before.
In the late 1800s, pioneering Victorian botanists globetrotted their way to the far ends of the earth, disregarding their own safety, in order to bring exotic plants back home to England. Tracking down plants which were unheard of at the time, that are now staples in an English Country Garden. Sir Joseph Banks, Captain Cook, and Robert Fortune, risking life and limb to bring home the blooms. Beautiful bold colours from all corners of the globe to be marvelled at upon their return. Fuschias, forest ferns, and the palest baby pinks imaginable - and they're all here in these stunning bouquets, masterfully arranged by Valerie Ann's. The Victorians created some of the greatest gardens in our history, and I can't help but thinking the same could be said of these floral arrangements.
These dresses by Mears Ghyll Bridal Rooms are so wearable yet elegant and sophisticated. The devil really is in the details with these gorgeous designs - a flowing skirt with a ribbon-tied top, an absolute must for the boho bride - something a little more fitted and lacey for the vintage lover, just look at that back! - And high-necked for those who take their fashion very seriously. The detail in the dresses is faultless, the fit ever so classy, and the overall look breathtaking. Can I have all 3?!
Stationery is one of my favourite elements of styled shoots. I envy the talent of the stationer who seamlessly weaves the concept of the shoot into their work - subtle enough for it not to be garish; in your face. Yet obvious enough to be a very clever nod to the overall style. Gooseberry Moon hats off to you! This stationery suite is a statement, but oh how that lovely lilac softens everything up in a charming and antiquated manner. Oh and FYI, a bespoke monogram is always a good idea. I am in awe. Botanical, british, brava!
Let's talk for a second about backdrops - get them wrong and they can be pretty tragic, but get them right and it will likely end up as the highlight of your wedding. And Typical Type have got it so very right. We all know that Pantone's Greenery is having a bit of a moment right now and this backdrop displays this colour trend so perfectly. Grassy background, check. Big ol' gold letters, check. Foliage to frame it all, check! Look long and hard ladies and gents because I promise you that this is the backdrop of 2017.
But that's not all... this fairy light display is pretty much a wedding essential, and just look how beautiful the photos look when you stand in front of them. You want Edison bulbs too?! Oh go on, then. Typical Type you spoil us.
Onto my favourite topic in the whole world, apart from food but we will get to that yummy deliciousness in a sec, it's table styling! As a stylist myself, it's the first section of any blog post I turn to. I'm obsessed with the way other stylists interpret a theme and then represent that with a table layout. Nina Marika literally provides us with a masterclass in how to do this here. Antlers nestled in with ferns and foliage is table centrepiece genius! And the rustic plates in earthy tones offer a botanical and rich current to the setup. This is my kind of table - no chair covers, no fuss; just clean and clever.
Right, food! If you want to carry the earthy botanical look across to the menu then what do you do? You call in Rowleys Catering and have them work some pure magic, that's what! Deconstructed desserts, edible flowers, and stunning presentation is what makes for an epic wedding breakfast. Hearty food presented in a delicate manner is a winning combination and these guys just get it.
Aimee Chorley and Daniel Gray, respectively, are the masterminds behind the incredible hair and makeup looks you've no doubt been lusting over whilst scrolling through the photos. The makeup is not heavy by any means, but the attention to the eyes does give us a sense of drama connected to anything Victorian. Beautiful skin, and a nude lip finishes all of these looks off with sheer perfection. And those updos are so regal, yet so achievable for all the lovely brides to be out there. It's great to see a down-do as well (is that a thing?) Those curls complement that dress in the best way possible. So if you see me in the next week, expect me to be rocking a bronzey eye and my best chignon.
Cake and succulents, yes please! I love how the semi naked cakes act as a edible blank canvas on which to carry forward the botanical theme. And just so you know, this is what all greenhouses will look like in heaven. The bottom layer of the cake, by the fabulous Poppy Pickering, blends in so well with the brightly coloured flowers, and the ribbons add just the right amount of style. It's so easy to go overboard with a wedding cake, but when your wedding theme is as concise as this one sometimes it's worth letting the cake not take the leading role. It can play the part of the best friend; allowing the main act to shine whilst still being bloomin' lovely all the way through.
I have spent a very long time looking at these photos whilst writing this blog post, and they still hold the same enchantment as when I first cast my eyes over them. Rich, opulent, and a wedding theme fit for a Queen. To paraphrase Victoria herself "I am not amused, I'm just bloody impressed!" To the dream team of suppliers who pulled this off, you should all be very proud.
Photography - Tiree Dawson Photography
Lights, backdrop and coordination - Typical Type
Venue - Holker Hall
Styling - Nina Marika
Florist - Valerie Ann's Windermere
Stationery - Gooseberry Moon
Cake - Poppy Pickering
Dresses - Mears Ghyll Bridal
Catering - Rowleys Catering
Makeup - Aimee Chorley Make up
Hair - Daniel Gray Hairdressers
Models - Hannah, Steph and Indus