Styled Shoot

Gothic Romance. A styled bridal shoot in Lancashire

Alexis Forsyth

We’re going gothic on the blog today with a fabulous styled shoot at Samlesbury Hall – the most fitting of settings for this bridal theme thanks to its rich history and folklore.

Led by photographer Sarah Longworth, the shoot is all about making a statement, with rich palettes of purple, orange and burgundy beautifully complemented by floral arrangements of dahlias and scabious, not to mention retro decorations and stationery adorned with calligraphy.

The shoot showcases two stunning gowns – a lacey vintage inspired number for a more demure wedding day look and also a stunning embellished gown, with the sparkliest of bodices for a hint of that gothic glamour.

Combine these ensembles with a daring look; we’re talking a chunky crown braid and a bold kiss me quick lip and there you have it – proof that bridal fashion and beauty needn’t always be super sweet and understated.

With images by Sarah Longworth.

Model: Lily Kate France

Sarah says

: The shoot was very much inspired by Lancashire; it’s history, folklore and tales.

Samlesbury Hall is the ultimate romantic venue with a rather turbulent history and I wanted to style a shoot which would reflect this, yet still be in keeping with the moody, gothic vibes. We also wanted our shoot to feel contemporary with the styling, and our makeup artist Leigh, did an amazing job of combining these elements.

Growing up in Preston, I’ve known Samlesbury Hall for as long as I can remember and I’ve always loved this venue. Its history perfectly fitted our theme and in the darker winter months this venue really comes into its own.

We worked with Becky from Picking Posies to create an alternative floral arrangement. With the dahlias in full swing, she used plenty, all in dark burgundy hues with a large orange and red one thrown into the mix. Becky also used grasses to give movement and artichoke leaves for structure. She included pops of white blooms, with gaura that is just so delicate and plenty of scabious. The bouquet was finished off with beautiful hand dyed silk by Bertie and Fred.

We also styled up a table with handwritten calligraphy by Inviting Writing and a bespoke custom printed newspaper by Photopress UK.

Jayne at Foxglove Brides suggested two dresses for our shoot. The first was the Melanie lace dress by Pronovias which fitted our romantic vibe perfectly. We also wanted to bring a bit of contemporary festive sparkle to our shoot and the Nova dress by Willowby by Watters was a perfect choice for this.

Leigh, our makeup artist and hairstylist, totally understood our brief from the outset and the makeup and styling she provided was perfectly gothic yet still very fresh and light. We went with deeper colours to fit with the darker mood of the shoot, which was also an opportunity for Leigh to showcase her love for autumnal makeup and dark lipsticks. Her first priority was to create flawless skin and defined eyes. The deep purple lip finished Lily’s makeup off perfectly and fit the moody vibes of the venue. For Lily’s hair she created a chunky crown braid with tousled curls, framing the face and loosely hanging from the up-do for a more effortless look.

We chose to photograph the shoot later in the day, so the natural light had already started to fade a little, but again this fitted the vibe we were going for.

Overall, the shoot went perfectly well and a special thanks goes to our amazing model Lily who braved the cold with us whilst outdoors! The staff at Samlesbury hall were super helpful and welcoming too.

I’m currently planning shoots in Austria and Romania for this year, as well as gearing up for a busy wedding season back here in Lancashire.

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