These absolutely lovely images were send in by the very lovely Becky, the talented stationery designers behind Hawthorne and Ivory.
I love this editorial for a few reasons, partly because it showcases so beautifully well how small weddings can be held in big spaces, but, the choice of model and evident passion that Becky has poured into this photoshoot – you can feel it as much as you can see it. Enjoy…
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The inspiration behind this shoot began with a bespoke wedding stationery design that I created last year for an absolutely lovely couple. Their design was influenced by the rich colours and contrast of paintings by the Dutch masters- especially the beautiful still life floral set ups.
I couldn’t get enough of the colours and the dark and moody feel and so this shoot started to come to life.
I’ve been promising and promising to organise my own styled shoot for about two years and it feels almost surreal that it finally came together amidst a global pandemic.
This was motivated at least in part by seeing friends and colleagues within the wedding industry come together to keep creating inspirational and uplifting content, and to keep doing what we all do best.
As a stationer, I provide only a small (but very important) portion of the overall event and, because of this, I also recognise just how much of a difference the finer details can make to the look and feel of the day. And so, armed with an invitation suite and a moodboard, I set about bringing together a team that I knew could capture my vision and create something truly beautiful.
The first on my list was Leesha Williams. Having worked with her previously on another shoot and continuing to admire her work on Instagram, I knew she would capture the depth of colours and deeper tone beautifully.
For the location, we needed somewhere suitably grand and luxurious feeling and Liverpool Town Hall was first to my mind.
A Grade 1 listed building and, according to the National Heritage List, ‘one of the finest surviving 18th-century town halls’, the setting was truly breathtaking. Filled with stunning original details, the ballrooms and reception rooms were perfect to set the tone for an opulent shoot and we were able to capture a feeling of grandeur and intimacy at the same time.
Even the elaborate grand staircase and chandeliers of the venue couldn’t take attention away from the love of our models Kim and Ant. A real couple who are wedding photographers themselves, it was fantastic to see them on the other side of a camera after years of capturing their own couples and helping them to feel at ease.
Their own love and chemistry was palpable and I really do think you can sense the love in these images.
This love was captured, not only by Leesha’s camera, but also by Sophie Colligan, our wonderful Humanist celebrant.
Sophie crafted a heartfelt and beautiful mini-vow renewal which brought us all to a standstill as we enjoyed what drew us to our various wedding professions in the first place- the love between marrying couples.
To top off the ceremony, an absolutely stunning vow book by Ofe of Studio Oudizo. Hand-made in the most beautiful silk with an engraved gold plaque to the front, this really proved how important those finishing touches and smaller details are – having one of these to keep and hand down through generations would be so special.
Through the set-up and styling, the feel organically became that of a micro-wedding. The beautifully rustic wooden tables and chairs from Wirral Table and Chair Hire were set out and styled as small groupings, while Roya of Polaris Events styled each table to perfection.
Each table had a slightly different style with the same roses, peonies and other florals in a gorgeous colour palette of deep reds, oranges, cream and pops of blue.
The colours really captured the warmth, depth and contrast in the paintings that inspired the shoot and additions of gold from the centrepiece stands, crockery, cutlery and table number frames further added to the luxe feel.
The floral arch used as a ceremony backdrop was a lovely addition to the shoot and framed our couple wonderfully.
True luxury came again from the exquisite cake and treats provided by Afternoon Tea at Fifi. Fifi showcased the theme perfectly with her tiered cake in a soft pink tone, beautiful sweeping floral arrangement up and across the cake and with added gold leaf.
An antique table provided the ideal spot to set up and exhibit all of this deliciousness and her treats were styled around the base. Salted caramel cupcakes and chocolate hazelnut bites, all with touches of gold, added such elegance.
Ant wore an emerald green suit from ASOS and the cherry on the cake of his attire was the tie from Shaun Gordon– a real touch of opulence. Expertly hand-crafted in beautiful plum silk patterned fabric, the tie contrasted perfectly with the colour of the suit.
Another gorgeous finishing detail which really paired well with the colour palette and overall feel of the day.
Kim wore two amazing dresses by Modeca which were provided by the lovely Marisa of Beautiful Brides Liverpool. I knew when I started planning that Marisa was the perfect fit for this shoot.
Her boutique specialises in plus size wedding dresses and she personally ensures that each and every person who crosses her threshold feels beautiful by the time they leave.
The gorgeous lace of both dresses was the perfect choice and provided lovely texture and detail.
The blush tone of the first gown worn for the ceremony gave us yet more depth of colour and complemented the rich palette for the day. The second gown gave us romanticism in spades, the dress fell perfectly and was just beautiful for those more relaxed yet intimate couple shots.
On the day, Kim not only looked like a princess, but felt like one too thanks to the efforts of Marisa and our fantastic hair and makeup artists, Adele and Carol. Adele gave Kim a soft glam look with a warm and Autumnal feel from the shades of gold on her eyes. Carol styled her auburn hair into gentle waves which fell about her shoulders in the most beautiful and romantic style.
Together they gave Kim an elegant look which was topped with the most decadent flower crowns from Tracy of Rusty Rose Bridal. The flower crowns drew from the still-life inspiration behind this shoot and the colours Tracy used within those and her bouquet were the perfect touch.
Last, but not least, the stationery that actually inspired the shoot. The designs feature photographic florals in deliciously rich colours, contrasted against a deep navy background. For this shoot I, Becky at Hawthorne and Ivory, included menus, place cards and table numbers to dress the table and to really follow through with the theme created by the invitations. With the intimacy of smaller weddings, couples are given the opportunity to really go all out with the table styling and this can, and absolutely should, continue to their stationery on the day.
I also designed and illustrated a welcome sign, because your nearest and dearest need to know just how important they are to you and your wedding day. The sign featured an illustration of the Town Hall, really capturing the grandeur of the venue and providing a gorgeous keepsake to look back on after the day.
I’m delighted with how everything came together and so proud of the results we achieved with this collaboration. I’d like to thank the whole team for their hard work and dedication to realising the theme and vision I had for this shoot!
I would also like to highlight the importance of understanding and recognising the history of the beautiful buildings we have across the UK and, in this case, especially in Liverpool.
Local historian Laurence Westgaph has created an incredible community group in which he shares educational resources on the history of the slave trade and the ties to the founding wealth of the area, for more information please see the group Liverpool and Slavery.
Credits & Thanks
- Concept, Planning and Stationery - Hawthorne & Ivory
- Photographer - Leesha Williams
- Venue - Liverpool Town Hall
- Styling - Polarise Events
- Tables and Chairs - Wirral Table & Chair Hire
- Model Couple - Struth Photography
- Dresses - Modeca via Beautiful Brides Liverpool
- Groom's Tie - Shaun Gordon
- Flower Crowns and Bouquet - Rusty Rose
- Cakes and Treats - Aternoon Tea at Fifi
- Makeup Artist - Adele Rene
- Hair Stylist - Carol Ellis Thompson
- Celebrant - Sophie Colligan
- Vow Book- Studio Oudizo