The Great Styled Shoot at Hales Hall & The Great Barn

Written by Emma Hla
Image by Bigphatphotos.

This styled shoot started life as a bit of fun for some friends and colleagues to show off their creative skills to each other. But before they knew it, it had grown into a full-blown showcase of some of Norfolk’s finest talent in the wedding industry… all hosted at one of East Anglia’s most prestigious venues – Hales Hall & The Great Barn.

The passion behind these suppliers is lovely and I’ve even included some behind-the-scenes peeks as I just think it’s fab to see how these styled shoots are created!

Here to tell us a little more is Makeup Artist Amanda Steed.

Notes from Norfolk


As a make-up artist, I love to experiment all the time, working to create the freshest, most beautiful looks for my brides. I was chatting to my photographer friends Janie and David – the husband and wife team behind Bigphatphotos who like nothing more than to push the creative boundaries – and a plan began to form.

Janie knew of the most incredible venue in the heart of the Norfolk countryside, the historic Hales Hall & The Great Barn that had just relaunched with luxury accommodation. We asked if they would like to be part of our creative ‘display’ and they agreed.

Of course, we all work with wedding couples up and down the land – from London to Cornwall to Yorkshire and beyond – but we’re passionate about where we are all based and this was a great opportunity to show off the best of what East Anglia has to offer.

After all, it’s one of the biggest decisions a couple has to make – where should they celebrate this most important of days and who should make it all happen. Right?!

It was glorious summer weather, the height of the wedding season in the Norfolk countryside and inspiration lay all around us. The look we wanted to achieve was one of opulence and elegance but with a relaxed twist; using blush pinks, soft golds and rich vivid greens for the mood board.

Hales Hall has opulence in abundance, from the enormous Great Barn hosting 300 guests to the wonderful house where you can hold a more intimate ceremony and of course accommodate your guests, 25 plus across the estate. We wanted to recreate an outdoor ceremony, making full use of the beautifully landscaped gardens that are the central point of the country estate, with the historic Hales Hall on the right and the Great Barn on the left making the perfect backdrop for your wedding ceremony.

Our inspiration came from the stunning gardens filled with roses, magnolia and peonies. A large rustic table sitting on a charming patio was to be the main focus for the wedding banquet.

Katherine from Ivy Floral Events used lush green foliage draped down the pergola over the table to create a secret garden feel with fronds that caught the breeze and swayed romantically. Magnificent pastel pink roses and beautiful blowsy peonies were dotted amongst the ornate gold and crystal tableware with natural Jasmine trails left to ramble around the crockery and glasses, adding a lovely subtle scent.

Katherine really wanted to experiment with the best blooms the British summer has to offer. We were spoilt for choice! She used stunning ‘Gardenia’ soft pink peonies with nude-toned ‘Quicksand’ roses, mass-petalled, garden style ‘Ga O’Hara’ roses, champagne-coloured `Vendella’ roses, chalk white ‘Majolica’ spray roses, with fresh green ferns, birch and willow.

Lou from Lou Lou Loves and Claire from Frog & Pencil styled the table with bespoke table settings and menus which encapsulated the romantic feel of the shoot.

Claire chose clean designs with a nude-pink palette, blousy watercolour florals alongside touches of fresh greenery, all wrapped around geometric shapes to add a contemporary vibe. These sat beautifully alongside Lou’s styling and Kat’s flowers, echoing similar detailing such as the angular lanterns.

Fluttering gently above the table were numbers and names hanging within a hoop dressed in leaves and blooms, a delightful alternative for a table plan.

Frog & Pencil creates bespoke watercolour wedding stationery so that couples can be unashamedly themselves on their wedding day. Claire’s designs give couples the opportunity to let their personalities shine whilst giving their guests a taste of what’s to come. The collection as a whole includes a Save The Date, Invite, Map, Details Page, RSVP, Menu, Table Numbers, Escort Cards, Table Plan, Schedule of the Day and a Thank You Card.

Our ‘bride’ Emily wore a stunning dress from Serendipity Brides with a coronet of flowers and cathedral vintage veil – thanks to Serendipity Brides from Northampton and Pure Brides from Norwich who provided the gowns for the shoot and all the men’s attire. The dresses were beautiful, in soft pinks and gilt which worked wonderfully with the floral crowns from Ivy Floral Events. The models all enjoyed trying out several different styles ranging from bohemian veils to the more simple fishtail wedding dresses.

The bridesmaids wore mismatched heather dresses by Willow & Pearl. Heather has emerged as the hot colour of the season with these shades being exclusive to Willow & Pearl. Lilac-greys are great for summer as well as winter weddings and are really flattering for all skin tones.

Willow & Pearl has recently taken the next step with the dress label and added a range of original designs to their timeless multiway dress collection. For our shoot, Hollie wore the Willow multiway dress with plunging neckline and crossover back wrap. Miriam wore the Temple dress with cap sleeves – the new designs have been created so they can be worn alongside the existing multiway dresses but are beautiful designs in their own right too.

The new designer range has been designed to give a little more coverage so you can easily wear your usual underwear and feel supported and comfortable. The dresses are made from our luxurious signature fabric so it matches perfectly, drapes beautifully and is really flattering. The designs can be customised with one of five different sleeve options.

As a makeup artist I’m always looking for opportunities to showcase new styles of hair and makeup for the following season. It was such a joy to organise the shoot at Hales Hall, the setting is glorious and gave me real inspiration for new ideas.

Myself – and fellow Makeup artist Kirstie Barton Grimley – worked together to create the makeup looks for the day. My style of makeup is soft and subtle, enhancing natural beauty and creating a warm glowing look. For the hair, Michelle Hoskins and Nicola Playford worked with our lovely models to create gentle waves and elegant updos to suit their face shapes and the dresses. We were aiming for contemporary yet timeless looks which I am proud to say I believe we achieved.

Then it was the turn of our chef to conjure up something magical. Lee Havers served up the most delicious creations, which epitomised fine dining and complimented the setting. He believes firmly in sourcing all his ingredients from the incredible local producers in Norfolk and Suffolk.

The region is overflowing with award-winning suppliers of superb fresh shellfish, meat, vegetables, cheeses, wines and so on. The kitchen garden at Hales Hall also has hearty crops of seasonal fruit, veg and herbs to add extra flavour!

And not forgetting the cake of course… Emma Thorburn, cake maker at Buns of Fun Bakery, baked lemon sponges with her own lemon curd, lemon buttercream and crushed meringues. A simple white sugar paste was brushed with liquid gold lustre. One of her other specialities is to adorn her cakes with her own meringues kisses and sherbert flying saucers for a next level approach to simple white cakes. The cakes were then finished off with trailing greenery and a Winston-knot tie made out of flowing ribbon.

Our photographers Janie and David worked flat out for two days to capture every setting and moment. David is a brilliant photographer with years of technical knowhow and Janie is the fantastic creative of the pair. Together they are the absolute dream team. Janie will set up the shots and then David will capture them, making sure the lighting is just right and angle spot on.

With the passion all the contributors poured into this photoshoot we really hope it’s clear to see just how much exciting talent there is in Norfolk. Any of us would be delighted to talk through how we achieved these great shots and everyone is welcome to pop along to Hales Hall & The Great Barn to help picture themselves in this incredible setting!


Venue Hales Hall & The Great Barn | Photography Bigphatphotos | Styling Lou Lou Loves | Makeup Artists Amanda Steed & Kirstie Barton Grimley |Hair Stylists Michelle Hoskins & Nicola Playford | Stationery Frog & Pencil | Cake Buns of Fun Bakery Flowers Ivy Floral EventsBridesmaids Willow & Pearl Bridal Fashion Serendipity BridalPure Brides | Marquee & Event Hire Grice & Foster | Catering Lee Havers | With Special Thanks to Models Emma, Holly, Annabel, Charlotte, Emily, Florence, Chloe, Thomas and Jakey.

You can discover Hales Hall & The Great Barn right here on our Venue Finder.

Lots of love…

More from the blog

Discover our Venues

Refine your wedding venue search by location, capacity, type, and style.

Visit Venue Finder

Be Inspired

Planning advice, real wedding edits, and venue showcases to inspire you.

View Blog

Suppliers We Love

From photographers to bridal fashion and styling, find the best wedding suppliers right here.

View Suppliers