Belvoir Castle, near Grantham is a beautiful Regency Castle in the heart of England with breath taking landscaped grounds. With striking sculptures, paintings and objets d’art, the Castle is a perfect backdrop for unique, stylish weddings and is also a popular film location, used in the ‘Young Victoria’ and, most recently, ‘Victoria and Abdul’. It really is an incredible venue to host your wedding.
This shoot was a full collaborative effort as we all love the Castle and its history. We were inspired to create something special but unique and wanted to not only pay homage to the grandeur of the building, but also reflect the rich history of country pursuits. Usually, the two have a clear divide and attract very different types of couples, but we wanted to achieve a look that appealed to both and would attract the modern, stylish bride looking for sophistication and elegance, with a fresh twist. Creating a sophisticated, light and bright shoot which showcased country tweed in a completely new way was at the forefront of our brief. Keeping many elements of the styling elegantly simple allowed us to create a look which would work at any time of year and didn’t restrict us just to an Autumnal feel (which is often the first assumption with tweed).
So, we went for a romantic soft colour palette with faded hues of apricots, blush, lilacs and soft grey tones. The colours were inspired by the warm stone of Belvoir, and the subtle colours in the Castles elegant interiors.
Rebecca from Floraldeco designed the dramatic floral installation to create a stylish, opulent focal area for the grand Ballroom (a rambling, architectural feature, with cascading florals which pooled to the floor). It made a stunning ceremony backdrop which are very on trend! The main bouquet contained the same blooms interspersed with an abundance of feathers (to mirror the striking, bold architecture of the Castle) and this married together beautifully with the tweed bodice and antique-inspired skirts of the couture wedding gowns we featured…
Multi-award-winning gown designer, Joanna Leigh Couture, hand stitched a number of gowns for the shoot, including a tweed gown, using a pattern that was inspired by the castles own tweed. Jo explains ‘a glance into history offered immediate inspiration for the ‘Belvoir inspired’ tweed gown. The unique design pays tribute to aristocratic traditions and also to the likes of Coco Chanel for reinventing tweed for feminine and softly sculptured tailoring. Belvoir’s Louis XlV tapestries influenced our subtle French embroidered lacework on the waist, framing the hemline of the gown delicately adorned with hand stitched Swarovski crystals and pearls to add weight and lustre’.
To showcase a number of different bridal looks at Belvoir, we also incorporated two other designs from Joanna’s portfolio. ‘A striking silk organza gown with glamourous fitted bustier and figure-hugging fishtail underskirt, created a dramatic sense of romance on Belvoir’s spectacular staircase’……’For the third design, exquisite French Chantilly lace delicately dances around the scalloped hemline and climbs the soft tulle to meet a luxuriously embellished shoulderline.’
We also wanted to feature a bigger wedding look, showcasing a collection of bridesmaid’s styles to inspire brides for their wedding. Ghost provided a number of satin gowns in a perfect complementary colour palette which kept the look of the shoot light and romantic. Different styles but in the same colour tones gave a beautiful high-end look and complimented each girl’s figure perfectly. Waring Brooke, who are British luxury knitwear designers, make items inspired by country pursuits and the outdoors. We wanted to showcase their personalised scarf as a great way to keep the bride or bridesmaids warm. And being able to personalise the knitwear makes it so much more unique.
Will, our groom (from Blakes Models) wore a blue suit with a subtle cross pattern and a woollen tie from Coneys. We didn’t want to feature a tweed suit as we felt it may overwhelm the look and didn’t want to detract from the stunning couture gown featured. The blue complimented the Castles interiors and the light brown tie worked perfectly with the tweed.
Jenn Edwards and her team created the most incredible bridal and bridesmaids looks for our models (Bee from Blakes Models and Alicia, Annabel, Molly and Rosie independent models). Some looks were deliberately more natural and soft to fit with the light, fresh look we were aiming for but for the tweed gown, Jenn opted for a bolder makeup look to pick up on the darker tones featured in our colour palette.
When it came to the dining room we wanted something grand but light. The castle itself provided the lavish backdrop and the opulent table settings from Whitehouse Crockery added a touch of elegance to the styling. However, the white Louis chairs from Rosetone and white table linen lifted the whole look. The subtle use of pheasant feathers within the flowers and name cards provided a reference to the surrounding rural countryside. Mad Philomena provided gorgeous linen runners for the top table set up which looks incredible with the floral garland and the antlers entwined with candles, to pay homage to the hunting heritage of the castle.
Nicola from Rose Press, another award-winning supplier, created beautiful invitations and name cards on the most luxurious thick card. Keeping her colour palette light with subtle blush, grey and white, allowed the stationery to lift the slightly darker floral and foliage used by Rebecca. Specialising in in-house letter pressing and hot foiling, Nicola also added a touch of gold to compliment the glassware on the tables and add more sophisticated touch to the relaxed luxury look we were going for.
The cake had to be showstopping and Katie from Couture Cakes is renowned for her incredible floral skirts which her beautiful cakes sit on. The four-tiered statement ‘floral skirt’ cake sat on an elegant perspex plinth which created the illusion of it ‘floating’. Keeping the finish of the cake quite rough, resulted in a more relaxed look, providing a perfect balance to our modern opulent castle shoot.
Natalie Hewitt an event planner and designer, explains that ‘by creating dramatic floral arrangements and using luxury tableware, we reflected the sophistication of the castles grand interior, but the asymmetrical construction of the flowers, use of tweed and feathers provided a subtle reference to the hunting heritage. It brought the opulence into the modern era, creating a sophisticated but relaxed look; really appealing to a modern bride. And by using whites and pale colours throughout the shoot has enabled us to create a light and bright look that could really work at any time of the year.’
This shoot was beautifully captured by Rachael Connerton Photography who are a husband and wife duo. They work seamlessly together and create the most incredible stories for their couples in photography form. Rachael’s fresh and ‘real’ imagery is stunning and her passion for photography and this industry has resulted in a collection of the most beautiful images from our shoot.
Photograph by Rachael Connerton