Cottingley Fairies Inspired Woodland Bride Photoshoot…

Wow.  Every once in a while a photoshoot lands in my inbox that really leaves me a little open mouthed, in a dumbstruck 'that is beautiful!' kind of way.  This is one of them.

Buckinghamshire Wedding Photographer Clare West contacted me last month to see if I'd like to publish this Cottingley Fairies inspired photoshoot, that features the gorgeous creations of independent dress designer, Joanne Fleming {whose work has previously featured several times on this blog}.  Didn't take a nano-second to agree once I'd seen these gorgeous ethereal images.  Clare said the team had the most fabulous day out in the woods, living out their child-hood dreams and possibly freaking out the locals a little bit! But wow, what a result! I adore these photographs…

"I love photographing weddings and portraits but I also love creating images, starting with a tentative idea and seeing it through to the finished photographs. When Joyce from Brides and Beauty and I met we knew we wanted to work together and when Joyce suggested doing a shoot based on the Cottingley Fairy photographs taken in 1917 I jumped at the chance.  The idea was to create something fanciful, allowing our imaginations to run a little wild but at the same time offering some ideas that could easily be incorporated into some ones wedding styling.

The resulting images worked out just as I imagined.  It threatened to rain all day but under the trees the light was soft and diffused and the sun showed its face long enough to back light the fairy wings.
Joanne Fleming's loosely based on the Edwardian smock style dresses the girls from the original photographs would have worn and all were sourced from the high street. 

All the accessories were collected from charity shops or car boots, borrowed from friends or made by me.  The wings were the finishing touch and although they took ages, they were worth it…."

Love My Dress Wedding Blog – Photography Copyright (c) 2011, Clare West Photography

Cottingley Fairies inspired woodland wedding photoshoot

Cottingley Fairies inspired woodland wedding photoshoot

Cottingley Fairies inspired woodland wedding photoshoot

Cottingley Fairies inspired woodland wedding photoshoot

Cottingley Fairies inspired woodland wedding photoshoot

"Joyce went for a flawless, minimal look with the makeup that suited the dresses and the setting.  Eye shadows in soft green’s and pinks were used to lighten eyelids and lash enhancements were used to accentuate the outer lashes.  Shimmering lip gloss completed the ‘barely there’ look. Hayley created the beautiful ‘up’ do’s at lightning speed, and finished them with a selection of hair adornments including a beaded head band, wired ivy and a lace bow.  The released ‘up’ do’s gave the perfect flowing hair that complemented the fairy look…."

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"I asked Sylvie of Boutique Bouquets to create bouquets and arrangements that looked wild. She used found items where possible but included longer lasting flowers and foliage that achieved the look but meant they wouldn’t wilt too quickly.  The result was a combination of delicate white Astrantia, simple wax flowers, lush lime ‘Green Shadow’ Hydrangea, wild Ammi blooms, lime carnations, draping Gelda Rose, with splashes of Viburnum and alpine Albiflora surrounded by umbrella and Nephrolepis ferns and abundance of trailing ivy.    

Natural bark and moss was used to camouflage containers and props to ensure they blended into the natural surroundings…"

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"The majority of items used for the table setting were found in charity shops, car boots or borrowed from friends.  I bought the coke bottles and changed the labels, made the sweet bags from sheets of patterned paper and bought the green stripy straws to get everything looking just right.
I have a newfound respect for brides that make lots of things for their weddings.  It is time consuming and hard work but I also imagine that it is incredibly satisfying to see it all come together…"

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Photography – Clare West Photography
Hair + Makeup – Brides and Beauty
Dresses – Joanne Fleming Design
Flowers –
Boutique Bouquets
Accessories – Charity shop finds

♥   ♥   ♥

Thank you so much Clare for sharing this beautiful photoshoot with Love My Dress

You can see more gorgeous woodland wedding inspiration here.

I'm off to play with my 5 year old Daughter – and some real fairies now 🙂

Annabel xXx


Annabel View all Annabel's articles

Founder of Love My Dress. Passionate Podcaster and Editor. Annabel lives in rural North Yorkshire with her husband and business partner Philip, their two daughters and menagerie of furry hounds. She loves photography, meditation, walking, being outdoors and star gazing. She is fierce when it comes to championing talent within the wedding industry and when she's not working on Love My Dress, she supports her husband Philip in the running of the family's sustainable flower farm and floral design business, Moonwind Flowers. In 2013, she became a published author.