Essence of Beauty, Woods Quay London

Written by Caitlin Hoare
This editorial is high-end, luxurious in style and entirely inspired by the venue, Woods Quay, and its environment moored on the River Thames in London.

Think natural and raw materials, contrasting textures and wild florals blended with chic, modern bridal fashion and jewellery. Look away if it’s cosy country style and colourful flower arrangements you’re after. This is fresh, striking, and probably not everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s definitely mine!

Notes from the Planner

Hannah says…

Woods Quay is an extraordinary new building moored on the Thames; basking in the revered riverscape from Waterloo Bridge towards Westminster and beyond. Run by the Woods family, who have been Thames watermen since 1866, the venue consists of three main areas; The Cormorant Deck, The East Wing and The West Wing. The Cormorant Deck offers a dramatic entrance and light-filled reception with views of the Southbank and a desirable ‘heart of London’ backdrop. Idyllically positioned to take in the panoramic river views with its floor to ceiling windows, the East Wing provides a gorgeous setting for an intimate, city celebration, with the West Wing offering equally stunning views, where guests can enjoy a desired cocktail or chilled glass of wine.

‘Essence of Beauty’ is a high-end wedding editorial that plays on the topics of ‘beauty’ and ‘luxury’ and how it’s depicted in modern day society. The shoot is inspired by beauty in its most natural form, how embracing one’s true self radiates natural beauty that cannot be diluted or ignored. A soul who is confident, powerful and untameable. A form of ‘luxury’ that money can’t buy. The shoot is also inspired by the natural surroundings of our chosen venue setting, Woods Quay.

The shoot features muted and earthy tones that reflect the colours and surroundings of the river. It also includes natural and raw materials, contrasting textures and wild florals that are inspired by river marshes and the elements used for the structure and interiors of the carefully designed Woods Quay.

We decided to focus on a female model for this shoot, showcasing a powerful, strong and confident individual. There were three bridal looks in total, which featured modern and minimalist gowns designed by three independent bridalwear designers; A La Robe, Harriette Gordon and Bon Bride. All three designers are featured at the new and desirable Staffordshire-based bridal boutique, Amare, and had been carefully selected specifically for this editorial. It was important to have a fashion-led look, in order to appeal to fashion-forward brides looking for more of a stylish, yet beautiful modern city look for their wedding day. Each look was then finished with bespoke pieces from London-based fine jewellery designer, Gemima.

Seeing as the venue offers an idyllic space for a long dining table, we wanted the main focus to be on a beautifully styled tablescape. Set against deep green, verdigris and granite grey of the embankment, the terrazzo floors reflect the river’s shingle banks, embedded with years of lost treasures. And it’s from these surroundings that our dramatic tablescape took inspiration. An earthy colour palette, full of texture, hand-made ceramic pieces and delicately placed stone. Loosely placed drapes reflected the ever-moving water of the River Thames, with it’s over-lapping edges reminiscent of soft waves hitting the pebbled shoreline. Either side of the table sat large floral installations that reflect the wild, overgrown marshes and river banks that surround the Thames.

We teamed up with two florists for this editorial – Cosmos & Plums and Yinari, both London-based businesses. Both Kasia and Nari have a great synergy when it comes to their designs and ideas and often work together on projects. Their unique and artistic approach to florals enabled us to create something full of various layers and texture, providing a beautiful example of how using florals, inspired by a particular season and setting, can prove powerful and entirely distinctive.

We want to encourage couples to be adventurous with their planning and design choices. It’s important that weddings are a reflection of a couple’s story, as well as the surroundings in which their wedding is taking place. This shoot is entirely inspired by the venue and it’s environment. It’s key that any styling ideas are well-suited to the location, so that it creates a beautiful and cohesive atmosphere and aesthetic on the day. We also want to inspire couples to consider something a little different for their big day, perhaps not your typical flower or tableware choices that you tend to find at weddings. Consider less elements on the day, but ones that provide a statement and impact.


Photography Kat Gillespie

Venue Woods Quay

Boat Woods’ Silver Fleet

Concept, Planning & Styling Studio Porter

Florals Cosmos & Plums and Yinari

Stationery Kate Porter Design

Bridal Boutique Amare Bride

Bridal Designers A La Robe, Bon Bride & Harriette Gordon

Fine Jewellery Gemima

Tableware & Pottery Pophams Home & IOTA

MUA Abi Taylor Bride

Hair Stylist VST Hair

Model Bethany Lydia

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