I love this inspiration shoot from John Barwood and Kirstie at Ruby & The Wolf because it's thought provoking as well as being beautiful to look at. There's a huge amount of fuss and frippery that can go into creating a stylish wedding day, but this shoot cuts all of that out and just presents a couple of gorgeous elements in a really elegant way. The 'Clemence' gown in blush pink by Halfpenny London for example, is so striking it doesn't need to be drowned out with lots of accessories and florals. If you are trying to chose where to allocate your wedding budget and also the actual time on your wedding day, then grab a cup of tea and settle down to read John's words - there's a lot to be said for trusting in a just few creatives to bring your wedding day to life. Oh and hello gorgeous venue, The Forge, totally going on my ones to watch list for gorgeous weddings...

The Inspiration

John the Photographer: I am deeply inspired by the idea of essentialism as both an aesthetic choice and a way of living. This ethos is so important when shooting generally but it becomes indispensable when shooting a wedding. There is so much going, so many interactions each contacting infinite combinations of emotion and composition as well as so many stunning details, it is easy to get overwhelmed. Essentialism helps by making you ask what are the fewest elements needed to convey the emotion or story you want to. I am a boy raised on farm who has always lived in big cities and so I am always trying to combine the natural and organic heart of the outdoors with the clean and sophisticated assuredness of a modern city. For this, Kirstie from Ruby & the Wolf is the perfect collaborator, there is an understated elegance in everything she creates. Her ability to keep everything flowing yet focused is everything I am striving for in my photography. The two pieces Kirstie created are just stunning while always helping to keep the focus on our model, Thea. The goal at every frame was to not give in to over the top rustic frills or stark minimalism rather peel everything back until all that is left is contributing to the subject of that particular frame, whether that is the beautiful Thea, one of Kate’s stunning dresses or even the effortless cascade of a table cloth.


I hope to inspire brides & grooms to think like the essentialist when planning the details although there is also so much that’s implemented in the timeline and life in general, I would highly recommend the book ’essentialism’ by Greg McKeown. Firstly, you don’t need to stuff every corner with all the latest trends but rather pick elements that reflect you individually and as a couple. Secondly, and this is less obvious but actually has a very big impact, think about the elements within the space as a whole. This is so important to the overall effect and is so easily overlooked. Often you will see a table with exquisite details and deeply touching personal mementos tucked away in the corner of a big hall with very bad lighting. This often renders something truly beautiful rather sad and underwhelming.

Getting The Photography Right

There is a reason your photographer will take your flowers away. It is to first and foremost put them in good light. I have noticed that almost all the images I see on Pinterest of weddings that people love are in very good light, as there is pretty much nothing you can do to correct for bad light. Big windows = good light, small yellow indoor lights = bad light. This is even more important and almost always totally overlooked when it comes to the ceremony. As a photographer I find it a little upsetting when I have spent 4 hours with the Bride and her girls getting ready in front of some beautiful window light, I have had time to get some shots with very flattering light and been able to push myself to get some creative images as well and then I turn up to the ceremony. Everyone looks incredible, the Groom looks dashing, there is even a stunning floral arch, but it’s all tucked up against the back wall of a room. There is a window but it’s way back behind the guests and the only lighting on the key players are small (going to create eye shadows & highlight skin problems) and yellow (going to look like Homer Simpson). Obviously we try our best to work around this but there will never be a substitute for good lighting and to compound the problem having elements near walls means that it is impossible to create depth in the images which highlight the bride and groom or the details. Weddings are living, breathing things and as a photographer we accept that you won’t always get the best light and when you can, a beautiful moment between people. This will shine through the worst lighting conditions but luck favours the prepared and many times with the smallest about of planning the bride and groom could be standing in the most glorious light.

The Venue

The Forge is a new intimate venue situated in Bristol City Centre. Full of character, with the most amazing exposed walls. It’s available for hire and would be the perfect backdrop for an intimate wedding.

The Flowers

Kirstie from Ruby & the Wolf has the ability to keep everything flowing yet focused, creating total elegance in the pieces she produces as you can see here where she has used delicate green foliage as the back drop.
Fern Godfrey

Written by Fern Godfrey

Wedding Gowns: Kate Halfpenny | Model: Thea Owens | Hair & Make Up: Evie's Make Up | The Barn Somerset | Paper Goods: Megan Riera | Cakes: Hannah Hickman | Jewellery: Channings Jewellers | Floral Design: Ruby & The Wolf | Venue: The Forge

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