STYLED SHOOT: SOCIAL CREATURES – A 70s-Inspired Sustainable Autumn Woodland Wedding

Finally, we have alpacas on the blog!!! :) But seriously, so much of this shoot makes my hart sing. Enjoy beautiful photography by Paola De Paola and read what Gwenda of Bohotanical shared about the process and wonderful team involved.


A richly-toned, sustainable Autumnal wedding concept that embracing the great outside (and an alpaca, or two)


This editorial was intended to be an uplifting final creative fling before the inevitability of Winter lockdowns kicked in. Revelling in the rich, warm colours of Autumn leaves and the dusky blue of Autumn skies (which typically decided against making an appearance on the day, as Mother Nature was in favour of battleship grey…), the vibe we wanted to create was one of positivity. In part, this means embracing the here and now, which is just what our fantastic models, Jay and Sam, had done in real life! They were brand new newlyweds, having rearranged their marriage plans countless times due to pandemic restrictions, finally having tied the knot in an intimate ceremony just a handful of days before our shoot! Although self-confessed ‘social creatures’ themselves, they stayed positive and were able to see the beauty in celebrating their union with just their very nearest and dearest. 

The concept developed further into an all-out embracing of Nature thanks to Claire, the owner of Reuthe’s, kindly agreeing to host the shoot at her enchanting venue (of which we explored just a fraction on the day itself). The principal colour palette of burnt orange and mustard yellow led me to channel a hint of the 70s, to which I added gold to provide the luxe edge.

Both Paola and myself were keen to promote sustainable wedding styling throughout, so a crack team of like-minded wedding vendors was assembled to bring this vision to life. The plan was to further emphasise that just because a wedding may be small on numbers, it can still be big on style – AND be eco-conscious, too!


The Lost Gardens of Sevenoaks are an acclaimed rare species arboretum established in 1902 by renowned plantsman, Gustav Reuthe. Set in 11 acres, this woodland paradise forms part of the horticultural miracle that is the Greensand Ridge in the beautiful Weald of Kent. The historic gardens are currently being restored to their former glory by plantswoman, Claire Price. Under Claire’s custodianship, The Lost Gardens are now open to visitors, who are encouraged to explore deep in the woodland gardens with jungle-like pathways and walks up through the Hidden Valley. There are plants and trees so rare they are the only ones in this country, and there are also hidden pockets of wild mushrooms, wild garlic and blueberries. Seeka Deer meander across your path while woodpeckers and buzzards swoop overhead. The spectacular grounds and event spaces are available to hire for a dream wilderness wedding, complete with luxury clamping if you should wish. There is a certain undefinable magic in the air at Reuthe’s, so it’s no surprise that under normal circumstances they are also home to all manner of wellness classes, as well as foraging and mindful walking activities (with or without resident alpacas, Nuzzle and Scratch). 


Kate of Hero Hairstylist uses only cruelty-free styling products, and loves using hair as a material to blur the boundaries of gender stereotypes – Jay and Sam were willing to take part in that vision. She wanted to show off their long hair using braiding, which has historical links for both women and men. She chose to distinguish a sharp side profile for both men, and designed a scalp-braid combination to complement each other and tie in a ‘modern gypsy’ theme. She kept a deep side parting on Jay to give a dramatic affect and show off the braids on the lesser side.


Hiring a suit is a great sustainable option, but so is choosing vintage and ‘preloved’, or using pieces you already have in your wardrobe. To that end, second-hand items were selected from PreWorn, combined with shirts from eBay and the models’ own shoes. The resulting laidback ensembles of chinos and corduroy jackets picked up on the key colours of the shoot, and were intended to allow both personalities to shine through, co-ordinating without being too ‘matchy-matchy’.


Locate to Create has a clear and simple ethos – they want to create beautiful bespoke events that bring clients’ visions to life. Underlining this is their passion for sustainability: with props being reused at numerous events, they avoid the consumerism which plagues the industry, helping them to reduce their carbon footprint whilst still offering an amazing portfolio of props and furniture. Natural materials were the obvious choice for this concept. We used their wooden frame for the ceremony backdrop, which was then decorated with draped linens and a statement floral piece. Their rustic reclaimed wooden trestle table and vintage folding chairs were ideal for the reception styling, and their low seating area package created a relaxed lounge setting in the repurposed ceremony space, which was also carpeted with vintage rugs. Both of these setups were accented with wirework lanterns and coloured glass vases. To reinforce the 70s vibe and to add the extra touch of luxe, the bold contemporary orange velvet bucket chairs and stool were teamed with the mirrored gold side table and bamboo screen to create an alternative wedding cake installation. Finally, vintage lamp shades were hung from the bough of one of the venue’s gorgeous specimen evergreen trees.


Mia supplied hand-dyed textiles to style the table for runners, napkins and fabric instillation backdrops. Organic cotton muslins feature for the textiles as they give a deep texture, an ethereal style for the woodlands and also high romanticism with long trails being bound to the bouquet.

Everything in the MiaSylvia studio is dyed with hand-foraged ingredients and only natural pigments. Mia harnesses the colours from ingredients such as plants, flowers, food waste and scrap metals and can colour match to specific briefs for events.


Natasha of A Touch of Vintage provided the vintage crockery with gilded accents, golden cutlery, and fabulous coloured glasses, which added the perfect touches of blue and amber to the tablescape, which was otherwise treated in a minimalistic manner with Mia’s runner and napkins and simple florals. 


Dried flowers are absolutely perfect for Autumn weddings! The arrangements for this concept made the most of newly-dried pampas grass. As their outfits were mis-matched, the grooms’ buttonholes were made to be matching to unite the look; the bouquets were also matching, but for Jay the orange table runner from Mia was used as a statement trailing stem wrap, and for Sam, Mia’s yellow and orange napkins were knotted together for an alternative trail. The ceremony backdrop piece also contained yellow craspedia and orange lagurus, plus protea, cane cones and twists, and palm spears sprayed blue, green and gold – a few fallen fern fronds were added to tie in with the surroundings. A large floor-standing arrangement of pampas was placed at the other side of the backdrop. On the reception table, two vases of pampas, lagurus, craspedia and golden poppy seed heads were placed at either end, and down the centre, golden Lotus pods and bright yellow helichrysum head were scattered for an extra burst of colour.


Luna & Sol is a sustainable and design-led wedding stationery brand from London. It was founded by Cat & Chiara who brings a wide range of styling and expertise to the brand. Luna & Sol emphasise zero waste processes, from designing concepts that reduce wastage, to providing seeded paper collections so that guests can grow them into plants. This wedding invitation suite was exclusively designed for this particular styled shoot. It was inspired by warm Autumnal colour palettes and retro design elements, resulting in a contemporary design.


Nicola of The Wild Blackberry Cake Company couldn’t have thought of a more perfect concept to be involved in than a shoot that promotes marriage for all and sustainability in a magical romantic woodland setting. The shoot’s style and ethos reflected all that they love and believe in (even the alpaca…although best kept separate from the cakes!). Using natural and exciting flavours paired with modern fresh designs, she always strives to create cakes the reflect the uniqueness of the people they are for. The Wild Blackberry does all it can to be an eco-friendly cake business that emphasises the use of organic and local ingredients wherever possible, not just for the good of the world but to also give the best flavours! Inspired by nature, their designs often feature flowers and foliage to give a more natural and less sugary feel to their delicious edible centrepieces.


Venue: Reuthe’s
Stylist: Green Union
Photography: Paola De Paola
Models: Jay & Sam
Outfits: PreWorn
Hair: Hero Hairstylist
Flowers: Bohotanical
Stationery: Luna and Sol
Cake: The Wild Blackberry
Furniture & Props: Locate to Create
Fabric Backdrop & Table Linen: Mia Sylvia
Tableware: A Touch of Vintage

Check out other wedding styled shoots on the blog.

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