California Dreaming in Somerset

Written by Emma Hla
Almonry Barn is a beautiful 800-year-old barn in the heart of Somerset. It’s full to the brim of ancient stone walls, characterful beams and quirky architecture. It’s a one of a kind venue because the uniqueness and history just cannot be replicated – if only walls could talk!

In this stunning editorial, old meets new and a wonderful team show you how to work with your wedding venue to create a truly dreamily fashion-forward wedding day.

Notes from the venue

Louise says…

We wanted to demonstrate the perfect juxtaposition that historic doesn’t have to mean traditional and rustic doesn’t have to mean simple. With the honey coloured hues in the stone and the variety of textures in the barn, it was a perfect backdrop for our ‘Californian Dreaming’ shoot – where old meets new.

For the overall feel and style, we wanted something super stylish, on trend, yet with a slight bohemian, laid back and romantic natural styling element (this is where the beautiful backdrop of the barn came into play).

‘Californian Dreaming’ perfectly encapsulates the laid-back vibe of the West Coast but how you don’t necessarily have to fly halfway around the world for this – it can be achieved/dreamed right on your doorstep in the stunning surroundings of the West Country.

The shoot took place at the end of September – where the sun is still hot enough, but our UK light starts to take on a lower golden glow.

The colour palette of blush pink, candy pink, raspberry, maroon, taupe and gold were just perfect for the start of Autumn, when warmer more russet and wheat tones naturally appear in nature. The maroon and raspberries are normally associated with the jewel tones of the colder months – however the whole colour palette would be perfect for any season as the lighter pinks, taupe’s and gold add that fresh, pastel element – a completely flexible colour palette for any season!

In line with the style of the shoot the styling was kept modern with a laid-back twist. The stationery in particular was fun as it mixed Perspex, a less formal calligraphy font and bright colour washes.

In our book you can’t have a Californian, bohemian theme without a dream catcher. Flick & Flourish provided the outside tree table plan and hanging menu. The way the ribbons and dream catchers caught the wind was a little slice of magic.

Table styling was fun and colourful. Gold cutlery, blush silk napkins, gold beaded charger plates were finished off by personalised Perspex name tags. The peacock chairs had that fun retro Californian vibe, and if you can’t have your own special chairs on your wedding day, when can you!

Texture played a big part in the shoot – the cakes in particular were stunning. Gold foil, hand painting, feathered icing and king proteas really created one amazing cake table. With the flowers in the manger, beaded chandelier and the old wood of the stable feeders this really encapsulated how achievable it is to have old and new working seamlessly together.

On the subject of cakes, Leanne’s macaroon tower coupled with the neon sign was just a perfect example of how barn venues don’t have to be just rustic. Super cool and a real striking feature!

Because texture was such an important element of the shoot, the dress had to fit this brief too – Ellie Rose Bridal provided a dream dress. Large and highly detailed but with contemporary, stylish off the shoulder sleeves. Bridal styling was kept very simple as it was all about the showstopper dress. Hair was kept loose and wavy and the makeup was glam without being overdone. It was equally important the groom was kept laid back and cool. Formal attire just wasn’t required here and a maroon ASOS blazer was all that was required.

Wow, what can I say about the florals. Grace from Bramble & Wild just fitted the brief perfectly. Her style is natural, colourful and modern. As the shoot was taking place in September it was the perfect month to fill the barn with pampas grass, roses, grasses, eucalyptus, dahlias and king proteas. It’s just not a Californian vibe with out pampas grass and eucalyptus! The way this floral combination was styled in the barn made the whole vibe really unique for a barn venue and hopefully transports anyone seeing it to warmer climes!

The main barn was dressed how an actual wedding would look as opposed to the usual just one table featured on shoots. This was an important factor as we wanted the whole look to be achievable and to show the floral design to full effect – Grace really did do a fantastic job!

The barn has such high ceilings, but the fairy light chandelier brings a cosy feel to it. The high floral displays encouraged the eye up to appreciate the space and lights. At the base of the table florals, candlelight and bud vase filled any table voids.

From 2020 the barn will start offering celebrant blessings outside in their picturesque orchard. Grace created the half moon aisle and pew ends to stay in keeping with the internal florals. The outside styling was tied beautifully into the whole vibe of the venue and would be a dream aisle for any cool couple.

Every element of the shoot can be replicated for a real wedding – either just elements or the whole shebang. This shoot could just as easily be images from an actual wedding as a styled shoot. Throughout the process we were all conscious of the average budget a couple would be looking to spend at the barn and it was imperative that no single element would be out of reach.

Finally, the images are the gorgeous work of Jennifer Jane Photography. Jen’s style is natural and fine art and we couldn’t have chosen a more perfect photographer to capture the essence of the day.

California Dreaming was just that – a dream to work on with a dream team, and all suppliers featured come highly recommended at Almonry.


Venue Almonry Barn

Photography Jennifer Jane Photography

Flowers Bramble & Wild

Floral Stands Floral Fabrications

Stationery Flick & Flourish

Orchard Benches Apple & Bramble Events

Cakes Baking Chick

Dress Ellie Rose Bridal

Peacock Chairs & Tableware: Keeping It Vintage

Neon Bristol Wedding Light Company

Hair & Makeup Lips & Locks

The California Dreaming Sign, Red Sofa & Meringue Table The Prop Factory

Oyster Bar & Meringue Tower Pickle Shack

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