Autumn takes centre stage in this stunning styled bridal shoot today, led by hair and makeup stylist, Chrys Chapman. Proof that your big day can be truly special and unique, whatever the season.
Inspired by the rich, earthy, jewel toned palette we’ve come to associate with this time of the year, Chrys wanted to bring to life her vision for a modern twist on a country shooting party and decided that Denton Hall in North Yorkshire would make the most idyllic backdrop. And as a favourite venue of ours, at which we hold an annual Brides Up North Luxury Wedding Show, we couldn’t think of a more perfect choice!
If you find Denton’s handsome looks and fine location stealing your heart, then be sure to join us for the event on Sunday 4th November, 11am to 2pm, FREE ENTRY, when you can admire its beauty first-hand. As well as viewing the stunning Hall you will be able to meet with the fabulous team who run it and award-winning caterers Box Tree Events, who provide the most fabulous of culinary creations for Denton Hall couples. Furthermore, we’ll be joined by 30 of the area’s talented wedding suppliers to showcase the service, designs and creations they can provide for your big day; from photography, dresses and entertainment to cakes, flowers and styling.
The grandeur of Denton and its rustic surroundings certainly show off all the country chic inspo crammed into today’s sumptuous shoot. We’re talking burnt orange blooms, stunning tablescapes adorned with pinecones and the most elegant of wedding gowns. If, like us, you’re crushing on an autumn-time wedding – scroll on for all the details, as we hand the blog over to Chrys to tell us more.
With images by Eyesome Photography.
chrys says: The inspiration for the shoot was autumn, the time of year when the pinks and whites of summer, along with its warmer temperatures give way to a deeper, richer colour palette and chilly air. For me, autumn conjures memories of growing up on the north east coast in America, with its mélange of leaves in changing colours – perfect for piling up and jumping into, crackling fires and even the smell of the earth changing. In addition to the vibrant wine-coloured deep reds, burnt oranges and popping yellows that usher in fall, I think of the wildlife getting ready for winter. In my New Jersey childhood home, we always had squirrels, foxes and especially deer wandering into to our garden looking for food. So game, for me, represents the whole season, which informed the choice of venue – Denton Hall.
I wanted to create a modern twist on a country shooting party – updated tweed suits, mini gourds and classic jewellery in updated hues of rose gold were essential. We wanted the viewers to feel the cool crisp air around the couple, encouraging them into each other’s arms. Romance with a touch of passion. Deep, rich colour palette. Rustic sophistication.
From being welcomed on site by stags, does and pheasants when I first visited Denton Hall, I knew this was the perfect venue for an autumn wedding and our modern shooting party concept. Set amid the Ilkley Moors, Denton’s exterior of imposing black and gold gates, stone and glass, and the luscious grass and towering trees was perfect backdrop.
Once I went inside, I was overwhelmed by the grandeur of the multiple reception and function rooms. And while we wanted to emulate sophistication, we also wanted to show intimacy and warmth. For sophistication and grandeur we decided we had to utilise Denton’s stunning staircase. For a more intimate setting we chose the library, complete with original fireplaces and heavy wooden table — the first time this space was used for a styled shoot.
We were so fortunate to have two stylists on hand for the shoot — Gillian Neild from Planned With Gill, who headed up interior styling and flowers, and Natalie Convery from Hand Maid who was in charge of styling exterior areas and stationery. The two worked so well together on the day to create a coherent aesthetic and to make the autumnal sophistication theme come to life.
Gillian created an original tablescape set against Denton Hall’s stunning sculpted fireplace and hearth. Using texture and colour to tie together the theme of autumnal sophistication, Gillian styled not only the beautiful table, but also the legendary and very grand Denton Hall staircase.
The table was decorated with large, rainbow glass plates, small rich green side plates, burgundy napkins and stunning gold cutlery. The glassware continued the theme with cut champagne and wine glasses, and small glass candleholders for the green and cream taper candles. The opulence of the glassware and cutlery was balanced with rustic foliage and cloth, as well as the vibrant flowers and mini gourds, perfect for the season.
Natalie of Handmaid added her handcrafted floral stationery to personalise the table setting, as well as for a gorgeous flat lay that really encompassed the feel of the shoot inspiration. She used the same fall-inspired colour palette, along with script, that was, like so many elements of the shoot, elegant, but unfussy.
Flowers were a key feature in and around the table design – luscious foliage such as leather leaf fern, Cotinus Royal Purple and Panicum Fountain grasses plus astrantia, Chateau Burgundy Spray Carnations, Alstromeria Hot Pepper, Amaranthus, plus some amazing bright orange Chinese Lantern.
Small, delightful arrangements were placed on the back of each chair featuring dried orange slices, Chinese Lantern, Cotinus Royal Purple and Eucalyptus Parvifolia, as well as trailing rich burgundy silk ribbons.
The bride’s bouquet was a magnificent design. With perfect colours for the autumn theme, Gillian incorporated stunning Leucospermum Ayoba Peach, Rose Confidential, Spray Roses Babe and Snowflake, Waxflower, Hypericum Magical Triumph and Tanacetum Victory Yellow. Gillian chose Panicum Fountain grass and Cotinus Royal Purple foliage which she peppered throughout and enveloped her design in a circlet of Leather Leaf Fern to frame the bouquet. Gillian also chose a selection of yellow and orange silk ribbons to trail from the bouquet.
Styling the magnificent staircase in Denton Hall was a must for the shoot. The dramatic colours of autumn that had been utilised throughout the shoot, from the table styling to the cake and the makeup were echoed in the staircase design. Rich foliage included more of the Cotinus Royal Purple, Leather Leaf Fern, Salal, and Cocculus. Flowers ranged from more of the Rose Confidential, Spray Roses Fire Flash and Babe, Astrantia, Scabiosa Stellata, Hypericum Magical Triumph, Waxflower, and not forgetting all the stems of the amazing Chinese Lantern. Gillian twirled masses of yellow, orange and brown ribbon through the flowers that then cascaded down from the stairs and combined with dried orange pieces and pinecones to create a trailing backdrop.
Denton Hall is a magnificent venue that needs no extraneous flourishing to its imposing exteriors so photographer, Helen Spencer, captured as much of its existing charm – both internally and externally – as possible. That said, we found two primary exterior sites to showcase the venue that Natalie styled perfectly – marrying the rustic autumnal country feel with sophistication and elegance that the venue commands. The first was against one of Denton Hall’s grand windows, where Natalie used her wooden, illuminated love letters, which created the perfect backdrop for our couple to have a bit of a twirl – showing off the gorgeous train of Christy’s gown.
The second site was a Parisienne-inspired weathered brick wall, which was perfect for communicating the rustic romance we were after. Natalie created an outdoor archway made of wooden ladders, complemented by geometric glass and gold candleholders. Again, we pulled the autumnal theme into the space using pinecones, mini gourds and more of the flowers and greenery that featured in the tablescape and staircase.
In addition to our two stylists, Gayle from Where the Ribbon Ends brought so much more than cake to the shoot. Gayle really got the brief, and her cookies and macaroons, featuring woodland creatures and autumnal scenes, perfectly encapsulated my own fall memories in sweet treats. The hand-crafted sugar flowers, gilded initials and marble-effect on the show stopping three-tiered wedding cake continued our autumnal palette. She also added those touches of glamour that you can see in the beaded gown, by adding a bit of bling to her popsicle shaped cake pops.
The menswear was a key piece in translating the country chic, autumnal vibe we were trying to achieve, with tailored tweed suits and coordinated cufflinks and tie. We used two different suits from Jenson Samuel Shirts – one a dark grey, the other light grey and blue. The groom’s buttonhole featured a very cute slice of dried orange (which also smelt beautiful) along with Spray Rose Fire Flash, Astrantia, Scabiosa Stellata; and Cotinus Royal Purple foliage.
We wanted the elegance of a Gatsby feel from the bride’s gown, without being strictly period. The lace gown by Lo’Adoro featured an elaborately beaded gown fitted bodice with drop waist and delicate, full-length skirt and train. It struck the perfect balance of structure, sophistication and romance.
In order to translate opulence, what better way is there than incorporate stunning jewellery? In keeping with our colour palette, we opted for hues of rose gold – a modern take on traditional sophistication. So Belle Jewellery’s Rose Gold and Cubic Zirconia Halo Pendant, Rose Gold and Cubic Zirconia Toggle Bracelet and a Sterling Silver and Cubic Zirconia Statement Ring, were the perfect bridal accompaniments.
To create the perfect bridal look for our theme I chose three words to guide me with the hair and makeup look – fresh, soft and romantic.
I wanted an undone but styled look for Christy’s very long hair. It was loosely curled and side swept, then gathered half up, twisted and loosely pinned at the crown. We also used natural flowers tied on with burgundy ribbon to create add a pop of colour, coordinating with the bouquet.
For makeup I wanted to keep skin glowing and the overall look was radiant, natural, but sophisticated. I used Laura Mercier Radiance Primer, Cover FX Power Play foundation and Radiance drops in Moonlight. It’s my current favourite combination for coverage, that still makes skin look like skin. On the eyes, I used a rose gold cream eyeshadow by Laura Mercier as the base, then I created a soft, smokey effect using Urban Decay’s Heat palette — sophisticated with just a touch of sexy. Finally, on the lip I wanted to achieve the same deep, luscious red that ran throughout the shoot’s palette. I wanted lips to look utterly kissable, so I chose Bobbi Brown Luxe Lip Your Majesty for a full, jewel tone colour with a glossy finish.
The day of the shoot was a wonderful collaboration of talent and vision. In addition to each of the suppliers, the day benefitted from the expertise and experience of Denton’s own weddings and events manager, Brooke Adams. The aim of the day was to create an aesthetically beautiful shoot that was unmistakably autumnal. We were still in the thick of the summer wedding season, so to play with the colours and textures of the coming season and create images to inspire couples opting for fall nuptials was a real joy.
I know one of the things photographer, Helen of Eyesome Photography, particularly wanted to achieve, was to tell a story. This can be difficult on a styled shoot. Helen’s innate style and ability to draw out emotions, as well as her use of natural light and the surroundings of Denton, proved to tell a truly romantic tale of love in the Ilkley Moors.
This shoot was a true heart-child of mine. It’s not necessarily the norm for a hair and makeup stylist to be the coordinator on a shoot, especially one of this size. Admittedly, I had a lot to learn, as it was the first one that I directed, but I couldn’t have been happier with our results. When I quit my 9-5 I had a vision that went far beyond the scope of lipstick and eyeliner. I love hair and makeup and I believe they have the power to influence how we feel, and in turn how we approach our day, our challenges, and our outlook. I believe every woman deserves to feel like her most beautiful, powerful self every day. Having the chance to work with an all-female team (with the exception of our first-time male model, George) was an incredible privilege and another step closer to realising the next step in my professional journey.
I’ll be attending the upcoming Brides Up North Luxury Wedding Show at our shoot location Denton Hall on 4th November, and I’m looking forward to meeting lots of wonderful brides and grooms there. All the suppliers involved in the shoot continue to refine their skills and work tirelessly for their clients to help turn their wedding visions from dream to reality.