Midelney Manor

This styled shoot at Midelney Manor in Somerset showcases vintage Hollywood Glamour alongside a more bohemian theme.

What was the inspiration behind the shoot?

This photoshoot was conceived by Alice Acton of Midelney Manor, Susan Hinckley, stylist and owner of wedding dress shop Parham House Brides, photographer Emily Fairweather and florist Emma Urqhuart around Alice’s kitchen table. We wanted to showcase Midelney Manor in all its Elizabethan glory as it’s one of our very favourite wedding venues – showing both the classic front of the house and the potting shed and surrounding rose gardens to the rear. We decided to use two of Susan’s wedding dress designers; Suzanne Neville – with a vintage Hollywood Glamour look and Rembo Styling – a contrasting bohemian style. We chose model and TV researcher Dora Baker to achieve both genres as we knew her striking looks and fabulous interpretation could deliver both styles. To set the Vintage Hollywood glamour scene to the front of the house, Alice was lent the most amazing vintage Thunderbird car, imported from the USA.

Tell us a little bit about the venue and why it was chosen

Midelney Manor is a real slice of Somerset history having been in the Cely Trevilian family for 500 years. Alice is the current family member to take over the responsibility of looking after this beautiful Elizabethan manor house and started having bespoke weddings here five years ago. Alice really wants Midelney to feel like a home from home and because she only does ten weddings per summer every wedding always feels very personal. With the contrast of the beautiful rose-covered walled gardens and quirky potting shed it’s such a unique venue. In the twenties there were lots of fabulous parties held here so the Hollywood Glamour theme seemed a perfect fit. For the more bohemian styled wedding the rustic elegance of the potting shed was the perfect backdrop.

What did you choose for the flower arrangements?

For the vintage glamour look we chose a loose bouquet of pastel flowers including David Austin garden roses, scabies, cosmos and astrantia. For this look Emma chose to have no foliage, as she wanted a contrast to the other more boho look.

For the more bohemian style, Emma hung a flower cloud from the beam of the potting shed. We wanted to create an interesting background for the model and a piece to complement her flower crown. Emma says: “I don’t normally like blue flowers but in this instance it lent a great colour contrast that popped out amongst the dried pampas grasses and sugar palms – almost like a Haitian painting. I also love the look of working with orchids amongst dried flowers and foliage.”

What was the thinking behind the décor for the shoot? How did you tie it all together?

For the Hollywood Glamour look we used Midelney’s front of house and established gardens. The Thunderbird car was the icing on the cake.

For the boho look we chose to dress the potting shed, a beautiful barn that has a bar at one end and is often where the ceremony takes place at the other. We chose dried palms and grasses that complemented the neutral tones of mellowed stone and wood and vintage flags in the potting shed. The brighter colours of the yellow and blue flowers gave a pop of colour to contrast with the natural palette. Emma used the pampas grasses for the hanging cloud, flower crown and in hurricane lanterns on the floor as a way of tying this all in together.

What kind of look did you want to achieve with the make-up, hair and outfits for the bride?

For the Hollywood Glamour look we used two dresses by the designer Suzanne Neville – one of Europe’s leading designers of bridal wear with an impressive portfolio of celebrity clients. Revered for beautifully constructed hand crafted bodices and figure flattering shapes Suzanne’s exquisite fabrics and laces are perfect for a vintage glamour look. Dora wears Suzanne Neville’s Cavetto dress in Ivory Italian Ziberlene and her Ariel dress in ivory Italian crepe and chiffon.

To capture the feel of Hollywood glamour, Rhiannon defined Dora’s eyes with a subtle winged eyeliner, mascara and a simple sweep of neutral shimmer across the lid, completing the Hollywood glamour look with Bobbi Brown’s classic red lipstick, in shade ‘Hollywood Red’. For Dora’s hair, Rhiannon drew inspiration from the 1920’s with the use of soft waves and twists, finished with intricate adornments including Miranda Templeton’s ‘Gatsby’, a 1920’s inspired diamanté headpiece courtesy of Susan from Parham Brides and Clare Lloyd’s pale gold, champagne opal and pearl hair combs.

Clare’s trio of hair combs are called Harlow after the David Austin roses and are easy to style, working beautifully in the elegant up-do reminiscent of Hollywood starlets from time past.

For the bohemian look Dora modelled the Lila-Grace ivory chiffon, satin and lace dress by Rembo Styling who make beautiful contemporary gowns in a Belgian based family business.

Rhiannon wanted to capture whimsical simplicity using a palette of soft pinks complemented with tousled hair, teased into a loose textured braid with tendrils framing Dora’s face and finalised with the addition of firstly Brompton Buds striking floral crown and then Clare Lloyd’s En-Hiver Bo-ho crown – an ethereal crown with delicate Swarovski pearls and crystals that complement the lace of the Rembo gown.

Steal Their Style

Photography: Emily Fairweather Photography
Photography Assistant: Tati Reed
Venue: Midelney Manor
Dresses: Parham House Brides
Hair & Make-up: Rhiannon Salter
Hair Jewellery: Clare Lloyd & Miranda Templeton
Flowers: Brompton Buds
Model: Dora Baker

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