Keeping love local: A countryside wedding styled shoot

Bride outside Furley Manor

If you’re looking for an English Country Garden themed wedding and venue, then this is the blog for you! When the moodboard hit my inbox I was in love with the concept and design that The Celebrant Directory member Juliette Williams put together with some amazing local suppliers, in East Devon.

Here, Juliette shares “behind the scenes” at this incredible styled shoot paired with the photographs of the results. Paired with sunshine and beautiful blooms, the images are stunning. If you’re looking for a relaxed celebrant-led wedding in Devon, read on!

The venue

“When a new wedding venue contacts you to see if you would like to be a recommended supplier, as a Celebrant it is a dream come true. When the venue is at exquisite as Furley Cottages in East Devon it is an opportunity to create a memorable styled wedding shoot by bringing together a community of local, talented wedding suppliers. This behind-the-scenes blog shows you exactly how it came about, as a group of professional wedding suppliers created a series of dreamy, ethereal photographs of an idyllic English Country Garden wedding. 

Kristina and Sean an adventurous, creative, well-travelled couple purchased Goodman’s House and Furley Cottages a few years ago and have spent the past year renovating back it and bringing back to life this captivating Georgian house (set in an area of outstanding natural beauty) and adjourning holiday cottages. Set in over ten acres of land, with ancient trees, ponds and orchards, it soon became clear it was an ideal venue for weddings and so Furley Celebrations was created. 

In keeping with their dream, the couple decided early on that the weddings they would like to host would be intimate events, with smaller numbers, ensuring that their attention to creative detail would not be lost. Guests could also stay in the cottages, making the whole wedding experience, a home from home. 

The concept

The idea of a wedding shoot at Furley Cottages was irresistible and the concept of an English Garden Aesthetic was seamlessly pulled together.  Weddings in gardens are an evergreen trend and now more than ever, when we are encouraged to be outside, this seemed a perfect concept.  As a wedding celebrant it is also perfect, as there are no restrictions on where a wedding ceremony can be held, so the beautiful grounds and seductive hidden corners of Furley could be utilized on the shoot, as it can for weddings to come. 

Using local wedding suppliers is a crucial element of Kristina and Sean’s values and plans for Furley Celebrations. Once the shoot was agreed it soon became clear that there is an abundance of creative, talented suppliers locally, so much so that it could have been shot over weeks.

As I was on hand from the beginning as the Celebrant and having created the concept and the mood board, the next step was to find the rest of the wedding team. 

The photographer

Katherine Newman is a photographer with a sensual and intuitive skill at capturing natural wedding photos. Ever attentive to the benefits of natural light and the right time to shoot for the ultimate photograph, Katherine’s skill, creativity and styling knowledge were perfect for the dreamy look needed for this wedding shoot. The portfolio of photos received afterwards was extensive and any couples choosing Katherine for their wedding, engagement or elopement photos will be in incredibly good hands. Katherine also shot the brand photos for my website.

Behind the scenes at every wedding shoot is the need for a bridal couple! Where would a wedding shoot be without them? Luckily, local model Tess Lathey was free and happy to bring along her three gorgeous little girls as bridesmaids and her husband, a firefighter, to act as the real-life groom. All three girls were extremely excited to be at Mummy and Daddy’s wedding. Tess is a true professional and captivating to photograph as a bride. Equally, and most importantly, Tess is an advocate for body positivity and is open to discussions around body and mind health. Any stylist looking for an alternative bridal model should get in touch, as Tess would be happy to explore any imaginative concepts.  

Katherine ensured that the shoot had some amazing sneak peak photos of how the shoot was set up and it was the ones she caught of the team behind the photos, makeup, flowers, stationery and wedding table, that explain best the hard work and dedication of the local suppliers.

The stationery

Kiasah, who owns Scribe Stationery used her interpretation of the wedding mood board to create exquisitely designed scrolls of hand-crafted paper as wedding invitations, along with ephemeral, antique styles place settings for the wedding table.  Each item of stationery was handwritten by Kiasah using a calligraphy quill and an old-style brown ink in keeping with the look and feal of the day. Often stationery can be over looked at styled shoots, however as the trend for table scaping is on the rise and couples are choosing quality over quantity in their wedding planning, the inclusion of bespoke stationery is a vital element of a wedding plan. 

The florals

Flowers, heaps of flowers are often, rightly at the heart of any wedding celebration. Traditionally, currently and undoubtably in the future. However, increasingly couples want to demonstrate and endorse their values on their wedding day, consequently locally grown and sourced flowers are not only delightful but ethically sustainable.

Claire, owner of Lovette Farm Flowers in west Dorset, grows and arranges all her flowers for weddings with an approach to sustainability, planning with her wedding couples what to grow in relation to their colour schemes and dreams for their wedding day.  Claire was the obvious choice for the concept of an English Garden Aesthetic and styled natural floral arrangements at the end of the pier over the lake, where the wedding ceremony took place. Even the pampas grass was local, coming from a neighbour’s garden.  

The make-up

The secret to make up for many brides is to keep it natural and ensure it says on looking gorgeous throughout the day and for the photographs. That is the skill Tamsin brought to the shoot along with the most fantastic collection of make up anyone there had ever seen. Everyone took turns in the cottage where preparations were being done, as they would at a ‘real’ wedding, to stare in awe and envy at such wonders and goggle Tamsin’s dexterity with her brushes.

Working at a local beauty salon, Tamsin decided to start her own business as a wedding make up artist and is already in high demand. Most undoubtably because she knows just how the bride or groom want to look and with her empathy and good nature, we were all in good hands. 

The Celebrant

Everything was perfect, it was hard work, a styled shoot always is, however the resulting images are a fabulous bonus for everyone’s portfolio, and it was incredibly good fun.  

 As for the vintage 1970s Boho wedding dress, cowboy boots and table settings, well they are all mine. As a Celebrant, I am a storyteller, a weaver of dreams of love, hope and happiness. I am also occasionally a stylist and antique dealer, so if anybody wants a vintage wedding dress… you know where to come!”

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