Sustainable Luxury at Bodleian Libraries

Written by Emma Hla
“The theme and style of the shoot is ‘Sustainable Luxury’ and the shoot was designed to show couples that sustainability isn’t a style, it’s a way of planning…”

Set in the heart of the dreaming spires, the Bodleian Libraries is a historic venue steeped in romance and elegance. The spaces feature late gothic architecture in the Divinity School and a fan vaulted ceiling in Convocation House, offering a unique yet traditional Oxford experience.

This shoot isn’t just about showcasing the venue, but it has an important message at its core – sustainability. The venue pulled together a local team of conscious suppliers that are either working sustainably or working towards it. We hope this inspires you in your own planning and choices.

Notes from the Planner

Michelle says…

We were absolutely thrilled to be a part of this shoot, with the Bodleian Libraries as the perfect backdrop. In the past few years, this venue has been taking the steps to become as sustainable as possible and, as a dry hire venue, are proud to work with sustainable suppliers who are each doing their bit to work towards a better future for our environment.

The theme and style of the shoot is ‘Sustainable Luxury’ and the shoot was designed to show couples that sustainability isn’t a style, it’s a way of planning.

There is a misconception that a sustainable wedding has to take place in barn with rustic styling, or in the great outdoors surrounded by nature, and for some people that would be their ideal, but not all. We hope that this shoot proves that by making conscious choices, you can plan and style a wedding sustainably, no matter the theme or location.

The colour palette was inspired by season, which in spring allows you to have a variety of tonal colours. We used red, purple, pink, coral and white. All complemented by a range of foliage in contrasting colours and textures.

As a historic venue, with such amazing architecture, the decor has to either stand out of complement its surroundings. The fairy light tunnel, created from ultra low energy LED bulbs framed the dining table, whilst the LED up-lighters highlighted the columns, pillars and architectural features of the rooms. The crockery, cutlery and glassware was chosen to complement the seasonal florals, with single elements to create pops of colour and interest.

The beautiful barely blush pink linen table napkins added both texture and subtle colour to the layered place setting, topped with a combined menu and place card, printed on premium recycled card. We also used a matching pink table runner to soften the dark wood tables and create a different look under the fairy light tunnel.

We also included a beautiful, and oh-so-practical wireless mobile phone charger, handmade from recycled plastic packaging waste, that is deemed non-recyclable by councils in the UK. The tablescape was designed by Fusion Events & Weddings, and styled by Melissa at Oxford Fine Dining.

The floral arrangements were sourced and designed by the team at Fabulous Flowers. A big part of having a sustainable wedding is the flowers, which is why we chose to work with this team. They use two local growers, both within 15 miles of Oxford City Centre. The arrangements don’t include any floral foam and the use of plastics is limited and recycled. Once the shoot was finished the arrangements are deconstructed, composted and donated to a local show garden.

The floral elements of the tablescape were created for this shoot to showcase that sustainable flowers don’t have to be rustic, with Peony tulips, viburnum opulus, patio roses and alliums, the colours look vibrant, lively and luxurious against the dark wood of Convocation house and stunning ceiling of the Divinity School.

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