Into the Woods

Written by Emma Hla
Images by MT Studio Weddings.
‘You are my sun, my moon, and all of my stars’

We’re heading into the woods with Stratton Court Barn today with a magical, earthy, nature-inspired editorial. Whether you’re dreaming of an intimate dining scene with a canopy of trees for your micro wedding or want to update your contemporary rustic theme, keep scrolling for all the inspiration.

Notes from the Planner

Karin says…

Stratton Court Barn is a beautiful countryside venue, with classic field views and a rustic chic interior. But, the countryside has so much more to offer than the fields and barns so often associated with traditional country celebrations. We wanted to showcase that with this shoot.

Behind the barn is a gorgeous woodland area. With wedding receptions looking to become smaller, and the outdoors being promoted as a safer place to be, the intimacy and the magic of the woodland couldn’t be better suited. We wanted to showcase all that the woodland has to offer: the earthiness, the play of light, the scent of green, the almost other-wordly quality of the sounds and sights found.

The colours were chosen to complement the natural beauty and drama of the surroundings during summer, with deep plums; shades of green and grey; and a touch of black.

Keeping to the micro wedding theme, and also working within the current restrictions (June 2020), we wanted the main dress to be simple and budget-friendly. The ASOS diamante-trimmed maxi dress was less than £100, yet created the woodland nymph effect perfectly. Our model Ailsa did her own hair and make-up – we asked her to keep it simple and natural – and added her own accessories. She also wore a pre-loved dress with a lace bolero, for a few photos, for texture. But the best bit: The bare-foot shoes were crocheted by the Stratton Court Barn’s housekeeper!

Richard from Something Borrowed Event Hire provided the rustic wooden arch and tables, the black and grey crockery and napkins, but added sleek silver candlesticks and silver edged charger plates to create that elegant edge. And those beautiful festoon lights overhead, replicating the stars once the sun started to set.

Anna, from Anna Jayne Designs, completed the table look by pushing the boundaries with the artwork. Anna normally creates floral designs but was drawn to a dark, inky palette straight away. Once Emma confirmed the flowers she was using, Anna experimented with different mediums and textures. She added a deckled edge to the paper to give a more natural feel to the stationery. Her background is in textile design; she made the flag that looked perfect hanging in the trees. The design combined all the stationery elements – ‘You are my sun, my moon, and all of my stars’.

The striking hand-painted wedding cake was designed to contrast wildly against the luscious greens and shade of the woodland, yet also sit at home amongst the foliage, almost as if it had grown organically from the forest floor. The watercolour effect picked up the jewel colours of the accompanying flowers and perfectly matched the beautiful stationery, whilst the leaf-shaped etchings and wafer paper leaves gave a nod to the woodland surroundings. Matching hand-painted biscuits added the perfect finishing touch and tied the whole theme together.

Although the shoot took place in summer, we’re lucky that Emma at Signature Flowers is at her happiest outside. The rain was absolutely pouring while she was creating a (completely foam-free) flower garland snaking up a gnarly old tree!

For the bridal bouquet she chose lots of textures that reflected the flora and fauna in the woods. Beautiful hydrangeas, lisianthus, astrantia and roses. Foliage included asparagus ferns and flowering mint – including not only texture and colour but heavenly scents.

For the tables she made several sections of arrangements so the candles could feature in between them – the mix of heights adding lots of visual interest.

The purpose of the shoot was two-fold: Firstly, we wanted couples to start thinking about the opportuntities that would arise if they chose to downsize their wedding. Suddenly there is so much scope for where and how and when their wedding can happen. The rules can be completely re-written. Including having your celebration outside in a woodland clearing.

Secondly, the woodland theme is there to inspire country weddings beyond lace and hessian. Incorporating elements of nature found on the doorstep of a country venue – from the foliage and flowers, to the exposed wood and visible star light – brings a whole new meaning to contemporary rustic.

Press Play


Venue Stratton Court Barn

Planning + Coordination Karin Tindall Events

Photography + Film MT Studio Weddings

Décor Something Borrowed Event Hire

Florist Signature Flowers

Cakes + Biscuits Cherry Tree Cakerie

Stationery + Textile Anna Jayne Designs

Tables Applewood Event Hire

Glassware + Cutlery Top Table Hire

With thanks to Model (own hair + makeup) Ailsa Renk

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