Unbridled romance laced with Parisian charm lies at the heart of today’s beautiful styled shoot at the enchanting Kirklinton Hall. You’d be forgiven for thinking that the venue is nestled somewhere in the picturesque French countryside but it is, in fact, much closer to home, near Carlisle (yes, we gasped when we first read this, too).
The 17th century ruin provides the most splendid of backdrops – the kind we’ve often daydreamed about while poring over our favourite period novel. We’re talking 14 acres of leafy grounds and a meandering river nearby, not to mention spiralling turrets and a gypsy caravan for something altogether fantastical.
This serene shoot is about intimacy and those finer details, wrapped up in all things tres chic – from the gorgeous vintage style stationery and dainty crockery, to the most elegant of wedding dresses and frivolous florals. Quite simply: j’adore.
Megan Hawkins from lighting and backdrop specialist Typical Type, who headed up the shoot, tells us more…
With photography from Tiree Dawson.
megan says: The idea for this shoot was to demonstrate how a small, intimate wedding could be styled. The theme came to me after I looked around the venue. There was something about the plants climbing up the soft ochre walls and the gentle sun pouring in which spoke of long summer days in France.
Photographer Tiree Dawson and I have done a number of shoots together and we always like to look for somewhere a little different. We searched for a long time, and when Kirklinton Hall, near Carlisle, presented itself – with its tumbled down walls and less than formal gardens – we just knew it was perfect. It is a very romantic place, with a gypsy caravan, turrets and a river running around its perimeter. It’s the kind of place you could go to as a couple and lose yourselves. It is a new venue, too, so we knew that we were bringing something fresh to the table. We then crafted the French elopement scene around it.
Our models, Lau and Grant are naturally gorgeous, so we didn’t want to do too much to them. The idea was never to make them overtly ‘French’, but to hint at it. So a gentle chignon with soft finger waves, created by Gareth from Aqua The Salon, and emphasis on Lau’s stunning English-Rose look from MUA Aimee Chroley was all that was required.
The dresses were made for the shoot by the talented team at Legend Bridal. For the Parisian theme, we selected the Elana gown. This dress does it all, with its full back illusion panel which shows the back and shoulders whilst remaining softly demure, but enticing. The high low hem allows a glimpse of those incredible shoes while owning a glorious train, which fans out like a peacock when walking. Made from soft glittering tulle, this dress is deliciously light and easy to wear while having all the Parisian glamour from the sumptuous lace and stunning row of tiny satin covered buttons down the back.
For the décor, we brought Janet from Wilde and Romantic on board. It was only her second ever shoot, and she came armed with a wonderful array of props, adding a little ‘joie de vivre’ to the shoot. We added to this with our new crystal chandelier, and the talented Lau not only modelled, but created the stationery and painted backdrop, as part of her venture Neat Creative. The colour palette for this scene was soft – think lilacs, lavenders, olives, and pale pinks – all picked out by the talented Kevin from Brackens of Bowness. In addition, the breads and croissants that featured in the photo shoot were supplied by More Bakery.
All went very well on the day. The hall was in the middle of preparations for its open day, and is very much a work in progress. It has had a rich history, transforming from manor to a casino. There is still a huge amount for the Kirklinton Hall team to do, but the charm of the building and its grounds won us over.
The aim of the shoot was to demonstrate an elopement, or small wedding, and to show that if you choose this route you can still have many of the classical elements of a wedding – including flowers, dresses, hair and mak up, and even a photographer to capture your day. You don’t necessarily need a big party or formal meal, cake or a disco. Your wedding day should reflect you, as a couple.
All the suppliers involved are now looking forward to a busy summer full of weddings and occasions. We will all be collecting ideas for our next shoots in the autumn, I am sure!