A Vintage Winters Tale.

When I opened a few sneaky preview pics from the Grace & Gable winter inspiration shoot and started talking Charlotte through the images, it quickly became apparent that she wasn’t listening to a word I was saying…

Me: Ok… what is it?

Charlotte: Is that Bridesmaid wearing a woolly knit?… I die.

I’m fairly confident that this meant she liked the shoot. And this was before I’d revealed the trees, the tables, the taxidermy… in fact all the little details that makes for a truly inspirational piece.

It would be fair to say that not much work got done that morning at RMW HQ as we poured over the winter pretty before us.

Now it is the turn of you lucky, lucky people. Grab a mug of mulled wine and a hot mince pie in preparation for a tour of the forest.

Lauren from Grace & Gable will be your guide.

It Started With The Forest…..

The decision to direct the shoot came about whilst walking on a friend’s private land in the Wyre Forest. I’d always wanted to organise and style a bridal photo shoot but I hadn’t quite found the right venue or location to fit the bill. Five minutes of walking within the forest however and idea after idea came unbidden to me – visions of a bride and groom trailing through the shoulder-high ferns looking wistfully at one another, bridesmaids in woolly Christmas jumpers drinking festive cocktails and garlands of fairylights festooning the trees. From then on I was hooked and it was just a question of not if but when this shoot was going to happen.

The Photographer

Once the forest location had been confirmed then the choice of photographer was a no-brainer. I’d come across the work of Ann-Kathrin Koch at a recent bridal fair – The Designer Vintage Wedding Fair – and was blown away by both the quality and the creativity of her work. Her portraits are a particular favourite of mine as she is able to convey such a delicate handling of detail whilst still pulling an extremely evocative punch. One of her photo series includes several images of forests and trees and I loved the solitariness that these photos conveyed so I was desperate for her to photograph the shoot. When she responded that she’d love to get involved I will admit that I high fived the air and did a little jig. Ann and her partner Marco were amazing on the shoot, producing some fantastic images in some challenging conditions all whilst continuing to engage with all of the other suppliers and keeping everyone’s spirits high.

The Design.

I believe strongly in working in harmony with a venue or a location to bring out its best attributes and make it work to your advantage. You could say that the forest determined the theme of the shoot to some extent being mostly fir. With this in mind and given that it was getting very close to Christmas I was keen to create a Christmas themed shoot that could offer inspiration to brides having a winter wedding.

It was very important to me that each of the suppliers had the freedom to create their own ideas for the shoot. From experience, people work best when they are not constrained by too many guidelines and conditions. Instead, the indispensable Pinterest was used to create a mood board that was then sent to each of the suppliers to give them some inspiration with buzz words of ethereal, glamour, glitz, vintage and Christmas.

I also approached the girls – Nina and Sonia – at Invitation Only to ask them if they would be interested in collaborating with me on the shoot. These girls are fantastic stylists with a copious amount of experience under their belts and I knew that their help would be invaluable on the shoot.

Having relayed all my ideas to the Invitation Only girls it was clear that when we started getting into the details a single table set-up and a static scene wouldn’t be enough. Instead the shoot would follow a series of scenes that created a story for the entire shoot, including an aisle set-up, a cake table, a fireplace scene and a fun panorama that included a huge wreath and a ladder! We also created two table set-ups – the first being a more luxurious table with a blush pink colour theme complete with bambi, beautiful linen and copious amounts of floral centerpieces accessorized with pearls. The second table was more understated and kept to a white theme with hints of green and silver above which hung an amazing chandelier of mistletoe. Lastly, I found a beautiful door frame which I was keen to use in the shoot because of the symbolism associated with carrying a new bride over the threshold. Cliché!

The Bride And Bridesmaids.

Deciding to use Debbie’s DC Bouquets hairpieces in the shoot was an easy decision for me having sought the opportunity to work with her since she designed a piece for one of my own brides this summer. If you haven’t seen Debbie’s beautiful creations then I suggest that you hot-foot it over to her site – once you’re done reading here of course. Debbie has recently launched a new range of headpieces which I really wanted to use as part of the shoot. Luckily for me and much to my delight she graciously agreed!

Cherished Vintage also kindly provided a glitzy headpiece too for the shoot which worked a treat with the pink bridal gown. Go see for yourselves….

Clare from The Wedding Club provided two beautiful vintage dresses for the shoot which completely contrasted one another. A beautiful pink gauzy one-shouldered number was just what we were after for the playful elements of the shoot whilst the sleek 1930s silk number was set off perfectly against the backdrop of the bronzed ferns. Clare has a fantastic range of vintage dresses at her boutique which made it really quite difficult to choose which dresses would be used in the shoot.

The Dynamic Duo.

Special mentions must go out to Jade and Georgia, who were our wonderful make-up and hair stylists. Given that they had never met before, they worked with ease around each other to create looks that complimented the individual efforts of the other. Of particular importance to me was that each of the models had a distinctive look as I wanted to provide as much inspiration as possible for brides reading this post.

What I really loved was how Georgia was able to interpret Debbie’s beautiful headpieces in completely unique ways for each of the models. Thomasin’s backcombed style really brought the ‘Daisy’ headpiece alive in an edgy way whilst Imogen’s plaits added a softness to the ‘Clara’ headpiece. Lastly Emma’s side bun and ‘Bijoux’ headband really honoured the more traditional elements of the silk gown she wore.

Behind The Scenes.

I was really keen to have someone film ‘behind the scenes’ given the nature of the shoot and the huge number of suppliers involved. I’ve always found watching how a shoot/wedding comes together immensely satisfying and I also love the fact that this gives the viewer the chance to see the faces of those involved other than the models. The frankly brilliant Simon Clarke filmed and produced the video that you’ll find at the end of this post and worked side by side with Ann for the whole day to capture the magic. Simon was a treasure to have on the day and balanced the slightly female heavy group which I think Dave our groom was more than pleased about. Please take the chance to watch the gorgeous video – it’s fun, festive and makes you feel all gooey inside.

Seven Swans A-Swimming (well nearly…)

If you’re ever looking for Florists that don’t necessarily do things the conventional way then you need to see the work of the girls Ellie and Anna at The Flower Appreciation Society. Their website is a breath of fresh air and they are as gorgeous as the flowers they produce. They suggested that rather than using more predictable containers, that it would be fun to use a collection of swan vases filled to the brim of the most amazing white blooms with hints of green and pink tones.

The girls also pulled together a hand tied bouquet and a selection of beautiful buttonholes that smelt heavenly and included lilac, hyacinths, hydrangea, tulips, ranunculus, anemones, roses and gladioli.

Mae Mae Paperie.

The stationery was produced by an amazing American designer called Megan at Mae Mae Paperie. She did the most amazing job of producing stationery items including placecards, a menu and an invitation suite that complimented the table set-ups all the way from across the pond. Thomasin Gautier-Ollerenshaw created the intricate and beautiful Christmas tree card sculptures that were used as favours.

Winter Icing.

Caroline – like many of the people on this shoot is one of those people who you want to hug when you first meet them. Her creativity knows no bounds and she is able to work miracles with anything of the cake variety. Caroline’s Cake Company generously provided three beautiful cakes for the shoot which were all completely different but which actually worked very well together. The smallest cake – a two tiered profusion of gold glitter with a delicate white flower offered a delicious contrast to the largest cake which was a more subdued affair but still elegant nonetheless. The third cake provided a huge dollop of fun with its bright colours and gorgeous glitter baubles on top, which offered a twist on a more traditional cake topper.

In The Bleak Midwinter.

I can’t finish this post without mentioning the amazing team of suppliers who worked with us to bring the shoot to fruition. They braved freezing temperatures and a couple of torrential downpours in the great outdoors with unfailingly large smiles on their faces. They also worked tirelessly to help me produce the exact scenes and shots that I wanted to very high standards, all whilst having a blast at the same time. I’m not ashamed to admit that I felt somewhat bereft after they all went home having spent so much time in their wonderful company; any bride who chooses one of the suppliers involved in the shoot is a very lucky girl indeed and I hope that you all find some inspiration here for your own wedding day.

Feeiling Christmassy now?

I was stunned at how smoothly and seemlessly this ambitious photoshoot flowed together on the day. Especially for a team who largely had not worked together before, it was a marvel to see everyone muck in, get along and produce the fantastic results that we are sharing with you today.

I popped along to the Wyre Forest to meet the team during filming, under the premise of “helping out” but in fact all I did was stand around nattering, stole hot coffee from people who deserved it far more than me, and then on top of that I also managed to crash the video (result!)

Speaking of which – here it is, courtesy of Simon Clarke.

Styling and design Grace & Gable and Invitation Only

Photography Ann-Kathrin Koch

Videography Simon Clarke

Blooms The Flower Appreciation Society

Cakes Caroline’s Cake Company

Stationery Mae Mae Paperie

Christmas Tree Favours Thomasin Gautier-Ollerenshaw

Bridal Dresses The Wedding Club

Glitzy Headpiece Cherished Vintage

All other Headpieces and jewellery DC Bouquets

Make-up Jade Crean

Hair Georgia Morris

Crockery and Cutlery Wedgwood & Arthur Price

Candelabra Candelabra for hire

Lanterns Lombok

Mistletoe and Tree Bill White’s Nurseries

Accessories And so to Bed | House of Fraser | Westley Richards

Models Emma (Bride) | Dave (Groom) | Thomasin and Imogen (Maids)

Location Wyre Forest

I think that just leaves me to say – have a great Christmas everyone!


36 thoughts on “A Vintage Winters Tale.

  1. Wow what a beautiful shoot! I love it! I don’t normally pay much attention to inspiration shoots for some reason, but this seriously struck a chord! Especially that little gold glitter cake. I have to have that. Merry Christmas Eve’s Eve everyone!!


  2. Dear Rock My Wedding,

    Seeing as it is Christmas, and I have been a VERY good girl this year (probably, like, a 9.25 out of 10…), please would you fix it for me to go on a night out with those bridesmaids…and for them to let me borrow their clothes! Please?


  3. Love it. Every bit of it. I’d quite like to have my Christmas dinner in the forest with Bambi now please. And someone to decorate my house with all the beautiful sparkly Christmas loveliness.

    Merry Christmas everyone xx

  4. This is amazing! Wow to everyone involved. Grace and Gabled ladies you Flippin nailed it! And check out Tom the little fashion model! 🙂 Seriously one of the bestest, most stylish, cool shoots this country has seen! And Simon you bloody filmic genius you! Defo my favourite film of yours dude and how quickly you turned this round! Massive high 10’s to everyone! Merry New Year! Xx

  5. Although I am not a winter wedding bride this is the best inspiration shoot I have ever seen, I am just figuring out a way to have ice skates in June 🙂

    Merry Christmas! X

  6. Afternoon gorgeous people! so glad you like the shoot – it was a nice surprise for me as it has been Adam’s domain really (I say domain – he just gatecrashed and then proceeded to drink all of their coffee and eat all the biscuits whilst watching Grace and Gable et al do all of the hard work..)

    Dear Pamela – I will see what we can do pet, I would very much like to wear the headpieces this Christmas season, yes ALL AT ONCE.

    And the cake topper glittery ball things? I want to see a whole lot of those going on in 2012 please people.

    Charlotte xxx

  7. Ahhh it’s all so pretty! Love a bit of Christmas sparkle! And those bridesmaids – soooo lovely!

    My word though, the bride looked chilly on the video – someone get the girl a nice fur coat!!

    Merry Christmas to everyone at RMW!! xx

  8. Hi guys.

    It was a great shoot – the coffee, biscuits etc… all lovely.

    Seriously though – I was stunned that this was Grace&Gables first big shoot. It ran like clockwork and I’ve been on enough shoots now to know that never happens!

    The inspiration is spot on – There is something here for everyone – and even if you are not having a winter wedding, a lot of the concepts showcased here are transferrable.

    and Ruth, it is to the credit of the models, and to Ann behind the lens that the chilliness doesn’t show through – it was FREEEZING that day.

    I can’t wait to see what the folk at Grace&Gable do next…


  9. Thank you all so so much for your lovely and enthusiastic feedback – honestly it’s an early Christmas present for me and I shall bask in this happiness all the way through to next year.
    Having been so immersed in all the details of the shoot for the past few weeks, it’s so difficult to see your own work objectively – to see the woods for the trees so to speak (no pun intended). But your gorgeous comments have assured me that the hard work from all of us involved in the shoot has been utterly worthwhile. Merry Christmas everybody xx

  10. @Lucy and @Charlotte – the big paper ball things are just that.
    You can get them pretty much anywhere – they have some on Amazon in lots of different sizes starting from 30cm diameters – we used two different sizes on the shoot to add a bit of variety.
    If you enter ‘White Flame Resistant Paper Ball Hanging Decoration’ on google you should find them. Hope that helps

  11. Stunning! THE most beautifully styled shoot I’ve seen all year. Superb photography. Every vendor involved has excelled. Love the behind the scenes video. Thanks for featuring this. Look forward to seeing what the Grace & Gable Girls do next.

  12. This has got to be the most amazing shoot I have ever had the pleasure to be a part of. The whole weekend was fantastic, actually. I am really happy to see that everyone likes this as much as we did, thank you, people!

    Lauren is a magician with mad organisational skills. It’s great to be on her team. 🙂

    Thanks for featuring this, Charlotte and Adam! Now bring on Christmas…

  13. Wow just beautiful! Made me really really want a wedding videographer though 🙁 silly budget why can’t I have everything?! Oh well really lovely inspiration ideas!

  14. wow!This feedback is great glad you all like it. Myself and Nina at Invitation Only would like to say a big thank you to lauren for asking us to style this shoot as we’ve been eager to get creative in an outdoor location and the results were amazing thanks to the beautiful photography by Ann and the full team who remained in high spirits through the bitter cold. Merry Christmas!

  15. This whole event went fantastically well and I’m as delighted as all the team with the images. Thanks again for featuring them Adam!

    And yes, I know it doesn’t look *that* cold in the photos but there are plenty of shivering models in the great video Simon put together if you look carefully!

  16. WOW! I love all of it! I’m a spring bride but this totally makes me want to have a winter wedding!
    I am also a VERY LUCKY BRIDE to be having Ann as my photographer! She is a delight to work with and she has totally captured the feeling of this shoot so well!! (as always!)

  17. Such a beautiful shoot, everything – and everyone – has worked perfectly together. I too would like to eat my Christmas dinner in this shoot, ideally with everyone involved as fabulous guests! I’m so proud to have been asked to provide headpieces for the shoot and I adore the styling – especially those bridesmaids who really rock my floral forehead bands! And the pictures themselves – they are just amazing. I want to print them all out and paste them all over my walls! xxx

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