Autumnal Light at Standon Hall

Written by Emma Hla
Images by Vanitas Life.
I know it’s just turned December, but can we just indulge in my favourite season for a little while longer? I adore this beautiful autumnal study at Standon Hall in Staffordshire by florist Fletcher & Foley and Photographer Vanitas Life.

The light… oh the light.

Notes from the stylists

Emmylou says…

I had been inspired for quite some time by the works of Taylor & Porter at St Giles House and fell in love with the rawness of the backdrop, the empty peeling walls and the negative space within the image that tells a story of light and emotion.

Also inspired by Vermeer from my University days, I like to play around with light and shadow. By creating a natural contrast between the two, permeating my frame with as much natural light as possible, my object is to beautifully render the florals, features of the room and the people within it using light and shadow.

The idea is to create a depth within the flat image, creating as much truth as possible so those who aren’t present, can visualise the rooms as almost a stage, a diorama.

Joe and I had the foundations of the shoot, based on colour and textures, looking towards autumn for guidance, however we often find that until we visit a location, immersing ourselves in the surroundings, the ideas don’t start to flow.

Once we visited Standon Hall we started to really formulate our theme.

Joe says “The vision of an autumnal hues inspired shoot had been on our minds for some time. After visiting Standon, initially there were three driving forces that brought the design concept together. The light, the era of the venue and the season. Together we wanted to create an ethereal visual mixing the colours of early autumnal flowers such as dahlias with softer grasses, seed heads and foliage and capturing the lower light levels at that time of year.”

Standon Hall was adorned with natural light thought the whole building and in each and every room. It’s a rarity to come across a wedding venue which exuberates light perfectly with perfectly placed windows. We were spoilt for choice with decadent staircases, stained glass windows, stone carved fireplaces and a complete blank canvas to take any direction we desired.

Joe says “Standon Hall was originally built at the end of the Edwardian era and I felt with the light on the staircase working harmoniously together, it called out for an English vintage styled gown that could easily be translated to today’s weddings. When putting the team together, Wilderness Bride’s bespoke gowns which are influenced by nature and heritage, seemed a perfect fit.”

Stephanie’s dresses are made in the North West of England and we felt the heritage of Standon Hall called for English creators with connections to the local area. We wanted the hair and make-up to reflect a bygone era, and Michelle Yates kept the styling the right side of elegant understated glamour.

Again, the tailoring had to be bespoke and handmade. Jo at Papas Tailoring created an impeccable style for the autumnal groom with checked woollen jacket, warm burgundy waistcoat and matching handkerchief.

Joe says “The tablespace was a blend of mustard, gold and rusty orange hues. Hannah Matilda’s contemporary styled cake and macarons picked out the floral elements and colours perfectly, styled with a mix of antique Chinese plates, crystal glasses and Ester Erik elegant taper candles. Tonally, Vanilla Retro’s stationery suite was a perfect fusion of beautiful typography, calligraphy and illustration again picking up on the floral design.”

We created a ceremony space in a vacant room with blank wooden floorboards recently discovered when taking up an old carpet and peeling wallpaper falling from the walls. The backdrop was simple to choose. The wide, bountiful windows created such an abundance of light with a splendid wooden area in the distance. Joe lined the aisle with a living border of rustic delicate florals that danced in the light.

She applied the same feathery soft textures to the staircase to frame our muse, Catherine, and whist backlit by light, stunned us all with an ethereal veiling of sunlight with the assistance of delicate fabrics and veiling from Wilderness Bride’s fabrics. Joe’s flowers were also grown and sourced locally and she incorporated dried variations, touching on our autumnal theme throughout.

There’s a subtle luxury and elegance to the work that everyone created which tells a tale of how skilled and talented makers with their individual innovative thoughts, can create a cohesive, exquisite and tranquil piece of work.


Venue Standon Hall

Planning Fletcher & Foley and Vanitas Life

Photography Vanitas Life

Florals/Styling Fletcher & Foley

Dress Wilderness Bride

Hair & Makeup Artist Michelle Yates

Cake Hannah Matilda

Stationery Vanilla Retro

Suits Papas Tailoring

With thanks to Models Catherine and Rufus

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