Join us for a stroll through an idyllic English country garden brought indoors with today’s styled shoot, featuring perfect posies, flourishing florals and showcasing a stunning brand new venue, The Oakwood at Ryther!
It’s no surprise the flowers are perfection – this shoot was pulled together by Victoria Penrose-Charlton, of UNVEILED Network Member, Victoria Ivy Floral Design, and reflects her passion for creating flowers that tell a love story, using the finest quality homegrown seasonal flowers and textured foliage.
Victoria tells us that her inspiration for the shoot was ‘the classic English garden’ and walks us through the evolution of the theme. We hear of the excitement of being the first to style a new venue and the talents of the various suppliers involved in the finished images. We’re sure you’ll agree, they’re bloomin’ marvellous.
Fancy seeing The Oakwood at Ryther for yourself? There’s some very special dates for your diary right here.
With images by Hayley Baxter Photography
Victoria says: The Oakwood at Ryther is a brand new wedding venue which is still being built but, following the completion of the ceremony room and the Old Grain Store, no one has yet had the privilege to dress and do a full shoot at the venue so far. This was a creative’s dream as the design scope was limitless and we were excited to be amongst some of the first to bring the venue to life through florals and styling.
The theme was centered to showcase Mother Nature at her best, working with the beautiful interiors of Oakwood and creating a seamless transition, bringing the outdoor countryside in. Creating a seasonal styling, embracing the prettiness of what a June garden can give us.
When I first visited at the beginning of the year, when it was mid-build with only The Old Grain Store completed, Oakwood just had something incredibly special about it. Surrounded by the Yorkshire countryside, it’s the perfect example and partnership of how structure and nature can work hand in hand, creating a piece of heaven and tranquility, which is what it feels like when you are at Oakwood. Janine, who embarked on the renovation of their family farm, kindly showed me around and it was clear we both shared a common love of nature.
Laura, of Ambience Venue Styling UK & York, and I both wanted to use the stunning backdrop that the team have created at Oakwood, and ensure the design worked in partnership with the venue, whilst using the natural beauty the farm sits amongst.
We wanted to create a really clean look for the ceremony so opted for lots of clear glassware and acrylic pedestals in varying heights to add depth to the styling. The polished tiles on the floor in the barn looked simply magical when the candlelight reflected off them and really defined the aisle. We then highlighted the back wall with further candlelight
For the chairs, we added sage green chiffon drapes that worked in perfect harmony with the rest of the styling and really pulled the shades of green out from Victoria’s floristry. Letting them fall to the floor effortlessly provided a beautiful feminine feel that contrasted with the textures of the foliage.
To coordinate with the modern, luxurious design of the venue, we wanted to incorporate some modern statement pieces, so we opted for a black calligraphy font on white gloss acrylic for the wedding signage. We then asked Cath from Raspberry Toast to design some stationery pieces to coincide with this look. She created some fantastic place names, table names, menu cards and invitations with a minimalist feel, clean font, wax seals and beautiful tracing paper details.
For the wedding reception images we wanted to achieve a striking look that used the stunning exposed staircase as a backdrop. We brought the top table into the centre of the room with round guest tables to surround it in order to combine both banquet style dining and traditional dining. We then framed the end of the top table with florals and candlelight. Contrasting usage of white and sage green fabrics throughout the styling added definition and an abundance of candlelight provided an inviting glow, despite it being a beautiful summer day.
All flowers used were British grown, with the majority grown just outside of York by Sally at Pickers Cut Flowers. British blooms were so important to the floral creation, as it’s showcasing not only local nurtured and grown stems, but embracing the seasons, showcasing what Mother Nature gifts us and what you typically would see growing in your gardens, surrounding meadows and countryside in the summer months. From cornflowers to sweet William, with the gentle dance of the grasses and the delicate detail of the ammi, made this design bespoke and a nod to the gift we are given from the earth.
I have worked with Sally at Pickers Cut Flowers for around 18 months now, and developed a real respect for the incredible job that she and the rest of our talented growers within the UK do. I love to keep designing simple as, for me, this is when magic is created, and using the greenness of foraged foliage in two striking urn statement pieces within the ceremony room, not overcomplicating with florals, just keeps the texture. Lining the aisle with the most beautiful scent of white stocks and sweet peas, lining the aisle through the soft candlelight provided by Ambience Styling. It was important to Laura and me to include height, texture and detail to the design, allowing the eye to move through the detail.
Emphasising the grand central staircase was a feature we wanted to really give focus to in the Old Grain. Creating a banquet table, trailing a sea of florals from the floor, in softest tones of pinks, peaches, with beautiful undertones of coral and lilac appearing through. Losing yourself in the sheer romance of the styling, then flowing up the stairs through dreamy candle light and again being greeted by the joy of Mother Nature.
Each table was designed to specifically celebrate and showcase a garden. From the ‘Herb Patch’, which gave the most incredible smell of mint, lavender, sage and rosemary, sitting in stone plant pots, sitting on a silk organza sage sash, accompanied with the elegance of tapered white candles, to a moss wreath, which had the beautiful scent of white lavender wafting from the top, with the dancing of cornflowers and grasses. I am such an advocate for couples enjoying their centerpieces and taking a piece of their day home, which can be planted and in years to come remind them of the day, from the smell, look and feel. There was also the delicate ammi creating a see through effect, working beautifully with the surrounding of the oak staircase, to the beautiful drapes and twinkle of chandeliers peeping through the dancing stems of ammi.
The shoot was different to any other as obviously, for many of us, it was the first work we had done in three months due to COVID-19 and lockdown. Leading up the shoot, we had all discussed and agreed that measures in terms of distancing, limiting people on site, along with great hygiene through hand sanitiser would be adhered to, however for someone who hadn’t done the food shopping in 14 weeks (thanks to my husband!), I was a tad apprehensive and anxious about seeing people on the day. In all honesty, the most awkward part of the day was greeting people. We laughed as we’re all huggers, and not having that contact and awkwardly saying hello, was weird. Where possible we adhered to the two metre distance rule and all worked in harmony, conscious of respecting the guidelines, but we still managed to create a real team feel.
The shoot surprisingly ran like clockwork and all day we had a real sense of calmness. We had giggles, lots of industry talk and, for all of us, simply having a sense of our ‘normal’ back was wonderful and what we all have craved for so long. It was good to feel like Victoria, Floral Designer, not Victoria Mummy, picker-upper, lunchmaker, and all the other hats which I’d worn during lockdown with two small minis. The wonderful Hayley Baxter did an amazing job capturing the mood of the shoot perfectly.