We’re stepping back in time with today’s fantastical styled bridal shoot, which takes inspiration from the Pre-Raphaelites, a movement of artists that wanted to reform traditional art in the mid-1800s by imitating nature. Cue plenty of nods to the beauty of the shoot’s natural surroundings and an enchanting backdrop of walled gardens, red bricks and woodland courtesy of the magnificent Denton Hall.
As you might expect with such an au naturale theme – the focus of this shoot was the floral designs, led and coordinated by the talented five-time Chelsea medal winner Erica Berry from Erica Berry Flowers based in Ilkley.
The result? Beautiful styling in every respect – not just the floral arrangements, but in every other detail too, including the towering cake, decadent table settings, and the styling of the bride and groom. Oh, and the Friesian horse too! It’s certainly a unique theme and one we think you might just be lured into exploring further – keep scrolling for all the dreamy photos!
With images by Photography by Kathryn.
Erica says: We wanted to create a shoot with flowers as the focus, so that we could showcase some of our floral designs. We decided on an artistic theme and chose the Pre-Raphaelites, a movement of artists that formed in 1848 who wanted to reform ‘traditional’ art and created designs involving mimesis and imitating nature. This seemed like an obvious choice for us to base our designs and images on, especially with their radial ideologies of the times, as we like to be a bit different! As a result, the shoot was called the Pre-Raphaelite styled shoot.
We wanted the shoot to involve local Yorkshire suppliers, to give brides an idea of the beautiful products we can create when all working to the same theme.
We chose Denton Hall as the venue for the shoot, as it is an iconic building with beautiful grounds that are rarely photographed, and it was very much present at the time of the Pre-Raphaelite movement. Brooke at Denton Hall was very keen for us to use hidden parts of the woods and walled garden to give brides an idea of some alternative photo opportunities that the Hall has to offer. These settings also suited our Pre-Raphaelite theme perfectly, with the fairy-like wood, bridge, winding country lane and beautiful red brick wall allowing us to recreate classic Pre-Raphaelite-esque images.
The flowers were such an important part of the shoot. The Pre-Raphaelite images often feature a woman with red hair and a knight surrounded by flowers, either growing around them or featuring in a design.
We chose peach foxgloves as one of our feature flowers – a British classic – in an ever-popular wedding hue. When combined with roses and other British favourites, this created the wonderful garden style of floristry designs that my business is known for.
We chose organic wedding dress designer Luna Brides, based in Harrogate, whose Camelia dress worked perfectly for the theme. The Camellia gown features beautiful sheer flutter sleeves, a gorgeous figure skimming fit with a low back and a stunning train. It is made from the finest embroidered tulle fabric and lined with organic peace silk. A beautiful, elegant, modern and laid-back gown. This look was complemented by beautiful handcrafted jewellery supplied by Laura Rhodes Jewellery.
We had been planning the shoot for months, as we wanted to have specific flowers grown locally for the shoot. We used a grower based in York and she delivered the fantastic peach foxgloves in perfect condition for us. We chose a date during British Flower Week in June to showcase some of the wonderful flowers that are produced in this country and that are available to brides each summer. There’s been a huge growth in the UK flower market and it was great to showcase so many different flowers in the shoot; the scent was amazing.
Our ‘garden style’ designs, which look as though the flowers were still growing, were created in our workshop and delivered to Denton Hall, on what turned out to be a beautiful day, with dappled sunlight twinkling through the branches of the trees in the wood behind the Hall. It all looked very magical.
All the suppliers met and worked together as a cohesive team to recreate some truly beautiful Pre-Raphealite-esque scenes. Our model, Em knew just how to pose for the style and Daniel was her perfect gallant foil. We had fun with Justin – the Friesian horse – supplied by Reins of Elegance, who found some of the foliage in the grounds of the Hall just a little too tempting, but overall he was a star and let the models – who were a little nervous of him at first – relax and for them all to work gently together allowing the romance of the environment to shine through.
Em was chosen as the model due to her classic looks and long red wavy hair, perfect for the theme. Her hair and makeup, created by Jodie Harrison and Vicky Suddaby respectively, were styled naturally to create the classic English rose look. Daniel was our Pre-Raphaelite gallant hero – with his flowing hair, he matched Justin to a tee.
Yorkshire-based caterers Box Tree Events provided the food and the table was styled by Bridal PA – who count the royal family among their past clients – these again, with the table flowers, created a modern twist on a Pre-Raphaelite banquet. We also had a fabulous cake from Poppy Pickering, based in Ilkley.
All the suppliers were local and could all easily be used together again by a bride for a real wedding, if booked well in advance. Everyone showcased true professionalism throughout the preparation for the shoot and on the day itself, and it was agreed we would all love to work together again.
Our aim to recreate some classic Pre-Raphaelite, nature-inspired styled images was more than fulfilled and we were all delighted with the results. Photographer Kathryn captured the theme and the feeling of nature perfectly and our preferred style of floristry shone though. We are now planning our next shoot, so watch this space.