Rustic Charm and Snowy Mid Winter Wedding Style, by The Natural Wedding Company…

This afternoon, I’m going to share a photoshoot with a difference with you. And it brings me pleasure to do so because it was curated by the lovely Charlie Burton of The Natural Wedding Company – a lady who I very much admire for growing a business with genuine passion and good intentions to help others.  As well as maintaining a successful blog and online wedding business, Charlie has been dabbling her hand in styling of late and it turns out she’s also pretty good at
that too.  I make it no secret that I’ve become a lot more selective than previously when it comes to featuring styled shoots on Love My Dress these days, but this set of images seemed to offer up something more genuine, more wholesome and less contrived – I love the softness of the styling, the attempt to turn something of a ‘bleak’ mid winter setting into something rather more beautiful and fun, and with actual genuine ideas you could pinch too.

I know what you might be thinking ‘which of your readers are shepherdesses huh??’. And you’d probably be right to raise that point (?!), but made you think about going all rustic in your styling, and not worrying about the snow falling on your wedding day, and keeping warm with blankets (like the clever couple in our feature this morning did which you HAVE to see) and actual winter coats and scarves as your celebrate your nuptials huh?  And the florals
are rather beautiful too, aren’t they?  That’s the point of the occasional styled shoot appearing on Love My Dress see – it is there to make you think, see things differently and inspire you.

The words below are by the lovely Charlie, who I’d like to thank,a long with Photographer Jennie Hill, for choosing Love My Dress to share these beautiful images with today…

Love My Dress Wedding Blog – Photography Copyright (c) 2013, Jennie Hill, Styling by The Natural Wedding Company



Photographer Jennie Hill and I met at the Eco Wedding Fair in Bristol last year, and soon got chatting about an idea Jennie had for a shepherd inspired photoshoot she wanted to create.  A few emails later and we had begun collaborating on ideas and discovered that we both had a very similar vision – a wedding shoot that celebrated the mid-winter English countryside in all its seasonal glory, and that brought together and showcased the talents of a small team of British businesses.



The photoshoot took place in January at Portesham Vineyard in Dorset on a very snowy day – the day before Dorset had received a heavy
snowfall and we were worried we might have to call it off.  Thankfully, we were all able to get to the
vineyard and the snow couldn’t have provided a more beautiful backdrop.

Jennie had been looking for a location close to her in Dorset that would be the perfect setting for our ideas – as if by fate, Peter from Portesham Vineyard had recently joined the wedding venues section of my directory, The Natural Wedding Company, and they have the most beautiful shepherds hut (that’s also available to rent for holidays from Canopy & Stars.  From there, our small team of suppliers just
fell into place.


Claire from The Flower Field in Devon created us two stunning seasonal bouquets – one featuring spring flowers and the other a really wild bouquet foraged from the hedgerows.  I shared a few ideas with Claire about the kind of look we were after, but gave her free rein to design something truly seasonal and natural that reflected the countryside.  The spring flower bouquet contained yellow Narcissi, white Anemones, ivy berries, Witch hazel, and hedgerow ferns.

The hedgerow bouquet was a mixture of Paperwhite Narcissi, Hellebores, Rosemary, lichen covered twigs, Garrya elliptica, and Magnolia buds.  I hope that the bouquets can really inspire winter brides with what’s available seasonally rather than believing they need to import hot house flowers from overseas.


I have long been a fan of Sabina Motasem Bride’s elegant wedding dresses, and whilst on the hunt for an ethereal gown that would reflect the bleak countryside setting, I spotted her ‘Cleo’ dress – it’s a strapless Grecian style wedding dress made from the most beautifully soft and flowing sand washed crepe satin.  On the day we accessorised the dress with a vintage fur coat belonging to our makeup artist.

Knitted accessories were incorporated into both our ‘bride’ and ‘grooms’ outfits, with a stunning pale blue knitted necklace from A Alicia
and a mossy green knitted wool tie from vKnit.


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Both Jennie and I wanted the outfits we chose to reflect the time of year – and with the addition of the snow is was pretty chilly!  We didn’t want to have the bride standing out in the middle of the vineyard in a strapless wedding dress pretending to look warm and serene, so instead we raided our own collection of woolly socks and scarfs – after all, I wouldn’t imagine many brides would want to freeze to death on their wedding day, so why not inspire people with winter accessories?

Our model Kerry wore a pair of funky leggings and woolly knee high socks beneath the dress, along with a pair of leather boots.  Our ‘groom’ Nick (Jennie’s brother) wore thick wool socks and his own workboots for a more rustic country look (no shiny Hunter wellies on this shoot!).



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For our tablescape, we went with a simple place setting of pale blue vintage plates and a small assortement of old pots to display more of The Flower Field’s seasonal flowers.  The vintage cutlery was tied together with mustard coloured wool and a place card created by Artcadia.  In addition to the place cards, Artcadia also produced us a table number, invitation and save the date cards from their ‘Twiggy’ range, which fit perfectly with our wintry theme.


To reflect the season we decided instead of a wedding cake to have wedding pies!  Lisa from Tricky Treats in Bournemouth made us a selection of fruit pies and adorned them with pastry decorations – a border of pastry leaves on one, two love bids and a heart on the other.  She also made us smaller versions that we decorated as wedding favours – my sister Izzy Burton created us illustrations that we printed onto recycled brown card and cut into labels.  One featured a sheep and the other the couples’ initials drawn as wool – Izzy then used blue yarn to fasten the labels onto the pies.


Peter from Portesham Vineyard got the stove in the shepherds hut going to create an atmospheric wisp of wood smoke, and we set up a bench with lots of recycled wool blankets and sheepskins to create a cosy seat.  We wanted to keep all the props to a minimum and in quite muted, natural colours – everything either came from either my home or Jennie’s, or were items we found around Portesham Vineyard.

















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In the afternoon the whole photoshoot team headed out to climb a snowy hill in search of a field of sheep – after all, it wouldn’t be a shepherd themed shoot without some sheep! Our ‘groom’ model Nick swapped to a more casual look with a grey knitted jumper, peaked cap and shepherds crook. Jennie Hill had brought along her mum’s vintage wedding dress that had a long flowing skirt in a very ‘70s style.  Our ‘bride’ Kerry wore this vintage dress, accessorised with a thick leather belt made by a local artisan, along with a green wool coat and thick scarf.  She also carried the wild hedgerow bouquet, which really fitted with the beautiful snow white backdrop.

Charlie The Natural Wedding Company

Photography: Jennie Hill Photography
Venue: Portesham Vineyard, Dorset
Wedding Dress #1: Sabina Motasem Bride
Wedding Dress #2: Vintage
Props and Styling: The Natural Wedding Company and Jennie Hill Photography
Seasonal Flowers: The Flower Field
Knitted Necklace: A Alicia Handmade
Tweed Jacket & Waistcoat: Snooks
Wool Tie: vKnit
Pies: Tricky Treats
Stationery: Artcadia
Wedding Favour Labels: Designed by Izzy Burton
Hair & Makeup: Sara Bethwaite (no website)
Grooms Other Clothes: models own
Vintage Fur Coat: makeup artists


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.