Sustainable Laid-back Luxury at Kelmarsh Hall

Written by Emma Hla
Kelmarsh Hall and Gardens is a Georgian country house located in Northamptonshire.

This beautiful wedding venue strikes that hard-to-pull-off balance between elegance and homeliness, and it’s this effortless style that inspired the laid-back luxury you’ll see in this dreamy editorial. Think lush meadow flower installations, extravagant candlelit dining, and a groom in black tie… all with a sustainable twist.

Notes from the Photographer

Sarah says…

We wanted the styling to look as though it could be a normal part of the setting, so our thinking was based around ‘what would the owner of this house do?’. Lucky for us, the most famous owner was Nancy Lancaster, a 20th-century tastemaker and the owner of Colefax & Fowler! And with Kelmarsh also being renowned for its gorgeous gardens, that meant fabulous floral features. All great inspiration for a classic, relaxed, countryside wedding.

We took a sustainable approach to show that luxury doesn’t mean wasteful. In fact, it’s an opportunity to give back even more. For example, we supported small businesses and used local suppliers as far as possible. There’s some great talent in Northamptonshire! A tree was planted (via Ecologi) for everyone involved to offset travel. We sourced flowers from local growers rather than importing them and carefully re-homed everything afterwards. Stationery materials were carefully chosen. There’s so much you can do.

Colours were classic greens, whites, creams and soft yellows with a hint of bright yellow to make it pop. And because nature is imperfect and birds love to drop seeds in random places, you’ll also spot the odd splash of bright pink or deep purple to add interest.

Tom wore a classic black DJ with a subtle buttonhole. Olivia wore ‘Odessa’ by Claire Pettibone – a pretty dress with a boho feel. The dress was embellished with flowers, in shades of pale green and warm ivory, which picked up on the strong floral element to the styling. The bride’s hair was styled in a ‘posh’ ponytail with pearl pins scattered through for a playful whimsical feel. Makeup was fresh and radiant. And her bouquet was akin to a freshly picked bunch of flowers from the venue’s gardens.

The flowers were the main feature and we started with a statement front entrance to give a taste of what’s to come. This followed through into a fulsome feature fireplace and relaxed, slightly rustic, dinner table décor. Crockery, cutlery and glassware were kept simple but we chose textured items and layered everything to keep it interesting but classic. Candlelight added the finishing touch.

With the flowers being such a big feature, we kept the cake simple – a plain white cake with white stencilling. This was displayed on a cream sideboard – and surrounded with more flowers!

The stationery (with thick deckled-edge matte paper) was subtle too but used lots of tactile texture to keep it engaging. We chose recycled and recyclable paper stocks and the ribbons were made from organic bamboo which was hand-dyed with natural dyes (lilac leaves and ivy). And we added a more playful element with the seating plan which was created from recycled wine bottles with labels and single flower stems.

We also included a styled sofa which was ideal for our couple portraits and could also be used for relaxed family photos – or even as a luxury selfie-sofa!

Our florist was the incredible Tracey at Once Upon A Time Flowers.

Kelmarsh Hall is renowned for its gardens so we made the flowers an extension of the outdoors – that meant deep ‘flower beds’ with a wild but tamed look. Tracey foraged for foliage, hired trees, bought potted plants which were planted in the venue’s gardens afterwards, flowers came from local growers and were later returned to the ground. No floral foam was used.

Trees and potted plants provided the scale, and then we chose delicate and free-flowing flower varieties for femininity, structure without stiffness, and movement.

This look and colour scheme would fit into all sorts of venues – from relaxed country houses to barns and marquees. The table set-up was beautiful – but far from practical! However, it could be easily adapted by scaling back the moss to expose the bare table or linen underneath. Or if you wanted to make it more decadent you add trailing foliage and flowers down the table sides too.


Venue Kelmarsh Hall and Gardens

Photography Sarah Vivienne Photography

Concept, Planning + Production Green Heart Workshops

On-the-Day Management Vivienne May Weddings

Styling Nerissa Eve

Chairs, Sofa + Napkins Options Great Hire

Florals Once Upon A Time

Stationery Jenna Claire Stationery

Ribbons Laik Style

Cake The Greenhouse Cakerie

Dress Serendipity Brides

Groomswear Scotneys of London Road

Hair and Makeup Alison Jenner Hair & Makeup

Hair Accessories Miss Clemmie

Bridal Lingerie Ophelia Liberty

With thanks to Model Couple Tom & Olivia, One Soul Two Models

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