Styled Shoot

Not-So Bleak Midwinter. A Christmas Wedding Shoot at Ponden Mill

Sarah Symonds

It’s holiday season on the blog, and we’re signing off to snatch a few days of Christmas cheer (whatever that means in 2020!) with our families. We’ll be back in January with service as usual, but from the 27th December onwards be sure to watch this space for a very special end of year treat! Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year.

Aiming to take some of the bleakness out of the 2020 midwinter, we’re joining Heather and the Ponden Mill team in the heart of the Yorkshire countryside for a cosy and festive family shoot, full of Christmassy stylings and seasonal scenes.

Like most of us, Heather just loves Christmas so, when it came to hosting a styled wedding shoot at the beautifully restored old cotton mill, a festive theme and a desire to bring the outside in was at the forefront of the plans. Think Narnia but without any pesky lions, witches or in fact wardrobes to get in the way of the dreamy, wintery forest setting. Instead, we’re seeing heaps of foliage, fresh Christmas trees, pinecones, snowflakes and real snow! What a magical way to set a scene!

Helped by a band of merry local Yorkshire suppliers, the Ponden team have pulled off a truly enchanting display. The simple but glam palette of white and gold is super on-trend for the season and the hearty and homely roast dinner spread is perfect for making sure family, friends, nearest and dearest will all have happy, full tummies before the evening’s through. I’m sure you’ll agree that food is certainly a crucial part of the whole family Christmas experience!

The bride and groom look every inch the happy couple in a stunning Pronovias gown with sheer sleeves and, as a perfect contrast to the lightness of the fabric of the dress, a heavy wine coloured tweed suit. Let’s ‘step into Christmas’ and find out more about how this styled shoot came together…

With images by Aaron Baxter Photography and Gsnapz


Heather says: As an avid fan of Christmas, I wanted to create an inspirational Christmas wedding look. Christmas weddings can be so beautiful and I think it’s a perfect time of year to get married. Ponden Mill lends itself very well to a winter wedding. Bringing the outside in was the plan, with lots of foliage and lit Christmas trees, snowflake place settings and real snow, then we had the Narnia feel we were going for.

I wanted family to be at the heart of this shoot. Nothing brings family together more than Christmas and weddings. I wanted the family spirit to come through in the images. Aaron Baxter was the perfect photographer, always capturing the moments and the perfect lighting. I knew he would be able to show the beautiful bond between our models, The Monteiro family, have with each other.


Ponden Mill is an old cotton mill that has been lovingly restored into a unique and quirky wedding venue. Nestled in Bronte country, this venue gives you a wonderful backdrop of the Yorkshire countryside and the rustic charm and coolness of this old mill.

Our outdoor photos were shot on the bridge that leads to our grassed ceremony area, more lit Christmas trees and sprinkled snow. We got the snow machine fired up to create the most romantic snow scenes. We did actually have a good amount of real snowfall two days before but it unfortunately didn’t stay around. This was quite a highlight of the shoot.

As part of the Ponden Team, I wanted to create a styled shoot that showed the spirit of the venue. With lots of original character, our venue gives the best of both worlds; an industrial feel, surrounded by nature. All the suppliers are local to the venue and very passionate about what they do. Most of everything is handmade in Yorkshire.


The colour palette was white with hints of gold, set against a backdrop of Christmas foliage and pine cones. Rock and Wreath did a fabulous job of creating a woodland feel with greenery garlands along the table and cascading down. Rock and Wreath specialise in creating beautiful, bespoke floristry with a sustainable edge. Whether you’re eloping, having a micro wedding or going big, they’ve got you covered, from their base in the heart of beautiful Yorkshire.

We added real Christmas trees from local Christmas tree nursery, New Coley Nurseries and the snowflake handmade macrame table decorations came from Gadzira. Gadzira Macrame is a Yorkshire based handmade macrame art shop. They make all sorts from fine decoration details, plant hangers and wall hangings to bigger archways, decorative curtains and boho backdrops.

Such Joy! provides calligraphy services for the smaller details of your big day and brings stylish hand lettering to a range of larger signage too. They’re based in the West Midlands and able to post further afield. We had handwritten place names and personalised Christmas baubles by Such Joy.

Cut crystal glassware and glass plates courtesy of MAVE all came together to create the “frosty” look. MAVE Weddings style and dress your venue – from table runners to tealights, they have a large range of unique items to create your dream Pinterest wedding.

We had The Outside Kitchen, our sister company, serve up a Christmas dinner to showcase how our food is served at Ponden Mill. Roast Sirloin of beef and all the trimmings – including the cauliflower cheese of dreams. This was a great focal point for our family shots at the top table. The kids did enjoy those roasties!

Lighting from Luminest was an absolute must, you can’t have Christmas without lights. They lit all of the trees and provided stunning snowflake lights to hang from the top table, a beautiful light curtain and cute little star lights dotted in amongst the table foliage. Luminest is a Yorkshire based venue stylist specialising in atmospheric decorative lighting for both indoors and outdoors and bespoke decor.


The bride wore a beautiful Pronovias Lansbury dress from Victoria Robson Bridal. Victoria Robson Bridal is a multi award winning bridal boutique based in Northallerton, stocking couture designer gowns. The sheer sleeves with a frost like pattern went perfectly with the theme and the dress has an on-trend silhouette.

The groom wore a wine coloured suit from Haworth Menswear, fitted to his measurements, which gave the shoot its extra bit of festive-ness without being over the top.


Louise Gummery MUA matched the suit with the perfect shade of burgundy lipstick. She kept the makeup young, fresh but striking. Louise Gummery is a makeup artist based in Yorkshire offering a full professional service including beauty therapy treatments leading up to your special day. Louise has been a makeup artist and educator for 20 years with extensive experience.

We wanted to keep the hair effortless with tousled pieces coming down. Diana Estrada, our Californian hair gal, then added a hair piece of dried honesty which tied in perfectly but subtly with the theme. Diana Estrada Hudson is an international hair and makeup designer. Originally from Los Angeles, she is based in the UK and a current member of the BAFTA crew. For our shoot, she kept the hair away from the face to show off the new and exclusive handmade clay earrings from CocoWild, Jojo and Jen, two Peruvian sisters, hand making clay earrings here in Yorkshire since 2017. Every CocoWild piece is designed and handcrafted by them.


The day was absolutely amazing! Every supplier was a joy to work with, some people we have known for years and some we have only just met, each one of them embarking on new business journeys. It was an absolute pleasure to team together and cheer each other on in our creative fields. What we all pulled off together was more than I could have imagined and definitely lifted spirits, especially after the year this industry has had.

We’ve worked in the industry for years as owners of The Outside Kitchen & Bar and, when launching this venue we wanted it to reflect our personalities. We wanted a place where you can come and have fun with no restriction, a place where a big massive party is at the centre of your wedding. We’re so proud of this place and we’ve been fortunate to work alongside the mill owners to create something truly special. We are open for viewings on Sunday 17th January so get in touch to book a slot!

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