2 brides elopement shoot

Photo shoots

When we get involved with photo shoots, it can be a while before we can share the photos.   That’s because if the shoot is being published somewhere (wedding blog or mag) they usually want exclusivity and you can’t share the photos anywhere else.  We can sometimes wait a year for publication which is the MOST frustrating thing because we want to share the pics as soon as they come in.

The 2 brides elopement shoot I’m going to share with you now takes the record for longest time from shooting to sharing – 21 months!  Yeah, I know…

We did the shoot in April 2018, we had to wait til the Nov/Dec 2019 edition of You & Your Wedding to come out before sharing.  But here we are – finally!

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Shoot background

A bit of background to the shoot.  I had wanted to do a shoot with a same sex couple for a while so when Kate Fierek approached me to do a 2 brides elopement shoot, I was in.  If we’re planning to have a couple in the shoot (as opposed to a venue only/details shoot) I always prefer to use a real life couple as models can be awkward pretending they’re getting married to the love of their life – understandably!   One of the first photo shoots I did years ago where we had models for the bride & groom.  The ‘groom’ turned up saying his girlfriend had told him he wasn’t allowed to do any kissing shots – uh ok. Then when the photos came in she also didn’t want any of him holding hands with the ‘bride’ or any physical contact between them at all.  Yeah, that’s partly where I learned the lesson of real life couples…

Kate had a real life couple (Jodie & Grace) in mind so we were off with our 2 brides elopement shoot.  I then secured a ‘yes’ from one of the country’s top cake makers, Jen from Edible Essence.  Jen has made lots of cakes for our real weddings here (you’ll see her featured a lot on our real summer weddings pages) and she’s one of the very best around, not just locally but in the entire country – lucky us she’s so close by.

Over the next few weeks, Kate and I gathered together all the suppliers we needed, florist (Simon Nickell), dress (Ailsa Munro), props (Prop Factory), stationery (Rose & Ruby), hair (Hair Lounge Tavistock), make up (No 5 beauty clinic Tavistock), edible flowers (Maddocks Farm Organics) and on it went til we had everyone we needed.  Once you get some amazing people on board (Edible Essence being one of them), other suppliers are super keen to be involved.  There’s a full list of suppliers and web addresses at the end of this post.

Shoot inspiration

The inspiration for this 2 brides elopement shoot was a secret garden elopement wedding with a sense of romance and the abundance of nature.  Here’s an extract from one of my early emails to Kate:

“I had a look through the Prop Factory catalogue and like the idea of the moon gate, maybe some old doors as well to use as the entrance to the secret garden.  I’ve been looking at some moss covered lampshades, maybe some moss covered chairs, we’ve also got a crystal chandelier which will be great for the luxe side of the secret garden.  I’ll pick up an old copy of ‘The Secret Garden’ too as a prop.   I think the rings displayed in a glass box with moss would be good.”

We summed up our vision as ‘nature-inspired scenes with lots of greenery with little details of luxe; velvets, mixed metallics, and the tiniest hint of sparkle.’  

elopement photo shoot close up secret garden red rose

Shoot details

Kate had the connection with Ailsa for the shoot dresses.   She wrote to Ailsa “Nicola is very much the creative force behind this shoot, and her sense of style is just fabulous. She’s brainstormed the ‘Secret  Garden’ theme, and envisages lots of green wild ‘hedgerow’ foliage, but with the overall styling interlaced with touches of opulence & lux. Metallics and velvet.”

If any of you are looking for velvet ribbons for your day (bouquet trailing ribbons, napkin or menu ties) you can’t do better than Kate Cullen who make hand died velvet silk ribbons.  They’re not cheap but they are so beautiful and worth every penny.

secret garden elopement 064When it came to make up, photographer Kate knew what she wanted to make the photos look their fabbest, “something that ‘pops’ in the photographs is essential. Lashes would be good, and color wise I was thinking warm blush pinks, and even burnt orange? Jodie (dark hair) particularly may wear gold make up very well. Do you have any thoughts?  I would love to do close ups of their eyes, so striking eyeshadow would be fab. As you mentioned at out meeting, one almost has to go ‘over the top’ with wedding make up for it to stand out in the photographs, and this is even more true with styled shoots.”

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Shoot list

In terms of a shoot list, we needed a ceremony backdrop (the moon gate was the main focus for this) couple portraits in the garden, bridal bouquets, hair flowers, cake flowers, table flowers, dress & face close ups, jewellery close ups, table scape, drinks trolley and several colour co-ordinated cocktails, cake pics and some  snuggly blanket evening shots.   All in a few hours!  Photo shoots generally take an entire day.  Hair and make up takes several hours.   That’s a good time to get detail shots of flowers, cakes, stationery.  You need someone co-ordinating the shoot, making sure the next set ups are being done whilst one bit is being shot so that the photographer can keep going from one element to the next.

The shoot usually follows the elements of a real wedding, ceremony, couple portraits, styling details (cake, flowers, stationery), tablescape and an ending.

Style elements

The ceremony backdrop for the shoot was Prop Factory’s moon gate which Simon the florist decorated with greenery and bright pops of pinks and reds.   I covered two of our chairs in moss for the wedding breakfast table which was set up with our forest green matte sequin table cloth, gold and green plates, ruby red glassware and a magnificent centrepiece by Simon with arching tulips, roses and ranunculus and hanging amaranths.   Of course you wouldn’t do this on your real wedding table as you can’t see each other!  But this is a photo shoot, not real life…

2019 12 06 0003Simon also created two different but echoing bouquets to reflect the two personalities of our brides.

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And the cakes – those lil cakes by Jen of Edible Essence were adorable.   Jen made two teeny individual semi naked cakes, perfect for an elopement if the couple want separate flavours.  She made a larger single cake in white icing with gold leaf, simply dressed with flowers provided by Simon the florist in the shoot colours of pinks and reds.   Finally she also made another single cake with a 3D effect icing flower, again topped with flowers from the shoot.  Proving your wedding cake doesn’t need to be big to have wow factor, the cakes were placed on cake stands and then on pieces of vintage furniture or a wine barrel with a backdrop of our barn doors or the gardens.   It doesn’t take much to ensure your cake display has a gorgeous setting and a considered backdrop is a must.

edible essence 2 mini wedding cakes pink flowers

edible essence mini wedding cake gold pink flowers

edible essence mini wedding cake on stand barn door pink flowers

edible essence 3 mini wedding cakes white pink gold flowers


Using velvet furniture from Prop Factory we set up a little outdoor cocktail area with a drinks trolley and cocktails made with edible flowers, naturally in the shoot colours of pinks and reds.

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2 brides elopement shoot drinks trolley green velvet chairPuppy love

We had talked about my border terrier, Chip being in the shoot but on the day Jodie, our hair stylist bought her teeny, tiny Frenchie puppy Betsy who being a few weeks old was only allowed to be in the shoot for a few minutes but was adored by everyone.   It was a really chilly day and Betsy was too little to be out for long so Chip was cuted out of a job.

2 brides elopement holding Frenchie puppyShoot film

We also made a little film of the day – check it out below:


You can see the full feature in the current edition (Nov/Dec 2019) of You & Your Wedding.  We’ll be putting up the full gallery of photos from this shoot over on our photo shoot page soon so watch out for that.

One of the reasons for wedding professionals getting together for a photo shoot is to showcase their work so couples can see the kind of work they do.

Any regrets?   A few things missed through the day which can sometimes happen with a shoot when there’s so much to get through.  The moss chairs which took me ages and the centrepiece urn probably didn’t get enough attention and sadly we didn’t get to shoot the doors which the brides were supposed to go through to get to the Secret Garden.  I remind myself that shoots (like weddings) are rarely completely perfect and these gorgeous photos prove that enough went perfectly on the day.  Just like a real life wedding…

As promised, here’s the full list of everyone involved:

Cakes – www.edibleessencecakeart.com
Velvet – www.katecullen.co.uk
Flowers – www.simonnickelldesign.com
Venue – www.lowergrenofen.co.uk
Stationery – www.roseandruby.com
Props – www.propfactory.co.uk
Edible Flowers – www.maddocksfarmorganics.co.uk
Rings – www.baldwinjewellery.com
Makeup – www.no5beautyclinic.co.uk
Hair – www.thehairloungetavistock.co.uk
Dresses – www.ailsamunrodressmaker.com
Photography – www.katefierekphotography.co.uk

If you see anyone you like the look of for your wedding, go ahead and get in touch, they’d love to hear from you!


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Ever After Elopement Weddings

We offer exclusive-use, mid-week, 2 night elopement packages for wedding couples who want laid-back luxury either alone or with up to 6 guests (10 guests in warmer months).

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