Location: Frickley Lake, East Sussex

Photographer: Elena Popa

Stylist: Butler & White

Dress: Story of My Dress

Hair and Make Up: Poppy Tallulah

Jewellery: Agnes Walker

Stationery: Sixfold Studio

Lighting: Lighting with Intent

Models: Gracie & Joshua

Published: Junebug Weddings

This was such a good day in so many ways, though looking ahead it had every right to be miserable – the weather was cold and dank and we were shooting outside. Frickley Lake is a fairly new woodside venue in East Sussex. On the edge of a farm and overlooking a lake, it is pure romance! So even on our cold November shoot-day, we were all pretty quick to fall in love with the space. 

I had bought in some flowers that I could experiment with, in particular pure, porcelain-white Orchids. I’ve not used these flowers for a very, very long time and as a last minute, fairly rash decision, I added them to my basket at the market. Amongst the other blooms I had Lilac, black Privet berries, rose-gold Asparagus fern, Narcissus, dried Straw Flowers and Amaranthus. I had put together an idea of the bouquet in my workshop, but once I settled into the woods at Frickley Lake I decided to rework the design. All around me I was surrounded by the most beautiful decay; rusting brown leaves that either crunched or slid under foot, bare branches, and tall, crumpled arches of bronzed Bracken fern. 

I quickly added as many of these dried and decayed elements to the bouquet as I could. And each element I added just increased the pure beauty and untainted perfection of the moon-shaped Orchids…it became one of those arrangements that is greater than the sum of it’s parts. 

Looking at the photos now, I love the contrast between the fresh and dried elements, and Claire’s hand-dyed ribbon just finished the whole arrangement off so beautifully.

This was the first time I’d worked with Elena and Claire who were really the driving forces behind this shoot. These steps into the unknown always feel a little daunting, but I could see from their previous work that they had integrity and fantastic vision for design, colour and form. Any sense of risk paid off as soon as I saw Elena’s photos, and I have worked with Claire and Elena since as it was so enjoyable!

Frickley Lake is a perfect spot for London or town-dwelling couples. It is pure escape in the middle of the Sussex countryside – spring, summer, autumn AND winter!

I also had a great time creating the hairpiece for this shoot. Dried and fresh flowers were used, and it looked so great on Gracie’s beautiful auburn hair. I cut the Hydrangea right back into little bundles as it is often so incredibly bulky, and it’s dried bracts here are lightly sprayed with graffiti paint. Having a back-facing hairpiece is a really gorgeous alternative to the full flower crown that has been so popular in the last few years. Sometimes it’s nice to make a simple change to a classic design. 

These final shots give some idea of the beauty of the open-backed Story of My Dress gown. It was utterly stunning and finished with a lightweight cape for some of the evening shots. I love how the cape transforms the whole look of the dress, which is itself a clever mix of contemporary, modern and romantic. Adding the cape creates a really unusual finish and another nod to the simple modernity of the dress.

What a  joy this shoot was! I’ll be looking back on this when winter comes round again, enjoying the beauty of the season of decay, goosepimples, and too many socks.