A wildly romantic magical woodland paradise set at the heart of an English country estate
Into the woods
Picture this. It’s late summer, the air is warm with a sense of autumn on the horizon. It’s the scent of the trees, which are dewy and anticipating the transformation of vibrant green to warm amber. The grass is long and home to the fluttering butterflies and the gentle hum of the bumblebees who are swiftly going about their business. Down a small pathway flanked by blackberry bushes bountiful of fruit, you transcend through trees which have doubled over to create a natural tunnel where the dappled light sparkles and glimmers through. Nature’s passage leads you to an opening; the Pinetum. Hidden amongst the vast expanse of the Boconnoc Estate, the Pinetum is tucked away down this elusive path and is home to over 50 varieties of pine trees. This magical setting is circular, mimicking the globe and pine varieties are plotted and positioned on the map in their native continent; North America, South America, Asia and so forth. These awe-inspiring trees provide the ultimate woodland backdrop for couples to say, ‘I Do’, particularly those who are inspired by nature and are looking for that rustic-luxe wedding.
The Boconnoc Pinetum was first planted in 1853. Pinetums become fashionable in large English country estates in the 19th Century as conifers become introduced to England from all over the world. Plant hunters discovered, collected and traded plants which were thought to be of ornamental or commercial value. 150 years later, in 2004 coinciding with the restoration of Boconnoc House, the Fortescue family decided to revive the Pinetum, and most recently unveiled it as a unique space for weddings.For this inspirational shoot, the concept was strong – wild romance and rustic-luxe, set within a magical woodland paradise. English woodlands have a certain charm. From the spellbinding enormity of the tall pines and ancient oak trees, to the calming twittering of the birds and the utter silence that draws you in and envelopes your being. We wanted to encapsulate that feeling, that magic, and emulate it throughout the styling and essence of the shoot. Sustainability and eco-impact were also top of our list, after all how can you be in nature and not respect it in every sense? Our suppliers, all local, contributed their skill and expertise to create the vision of this bewitching woodland setting.
Our graceful bride started the day with preparations in the exquisite bridal suite at Boconnoc House. In keeping with our paired back colour palate and natural setting the bride’s make-up was kept soft, warm and barely there by our MUA Charlotte Albert. Highlighting natural beauty and rose tones to keep the look dewy and mellow was key. The bride’s hair was loosely brought together into a French braid which tumbled down her back with loose strands which effortlessly fell around her jawline all created by Ro Hair. The first dress seen on our bride was the ‘Seville’ gown by Willowby – a completely stunning, opaque design with a nude lining and magnolia embroidered print overlay. Just completely elegant, and effortlessly chic. Any bride would fall head over heels for this beautiful piece.
Our shoot was at a time we were waving farewell to summer and welcoming the warm tones of autumn and the abundance of harvest, which is why we centred our dessert table around orchard fruits. Our naked cake provided the natural and neutral core, which was surrounded by berry lattice pies and orchard fruit tarts in jars as well as sweet little pecan tartlets, and individual fig and blackberry tarts all created by Edible Essence. The dark mahogany table, decorated with a flurry of rosemary, plums and walnuts gave it that really rich, early autumnal essence which was totally fitting against the woodland backdrop.
The wedding breakfast
What couple wouldn’t want to dine amongst utter woodland magic in a truly spectacular setting? Like the amazing redwoods of our American cousins, we wanted to show-off our equally beautiful Cornish woodlands all set within a beautiful quintessentially English country estate.
Set out on the curved pathway, endless trestles magically trailed through the walkway and disappeared into the woodland. In keeping with the neutral palate, the off-white linen paved the way for wooden and rattan charger plates from Keeping it Vintage, as well as taupe napkins, nude candles, vintage gold candlesticks and beautiful cut glass glassware. Golden hammered bowls shimmered with oversized dahlias; the stars of the show, intermingled with dried palms and feathery grasses which were the perfect blend alongside the neutral tones of the colour scape. The light dappled over the table and through the trees giving a dreamy, ethereal feel to the day which totally encapsulated the vision for the shoot. Miniature cut tree branches hosted the name cards which were created by Sincerely May stationers which featured beautiful calligraphy throughout and on the bespoke menus as well. Each place setting was dotted with a single steam; a dried poppy head or steam of dried grass sitting on a slate grey mottled plate from Abbott’s Event Hire which finished off the table to perfection.
In the September sunshine, the Cornish Grazing Company laid out their grazing board of wonders, and my what a display. Any bride or groom or guest for that matter would swoon over this set up. Boconnoc Estate cut a bespoke board for this shoot from a wind-fallen oak tree which was roughly 300 years old that had fallen in the storms over winter. The estate woodsman informed us the tree had two ‘hearts’, which is usually the centre of the tree which had split off – making it the most appropriate accessory for our wedding shoot. The board was carefully positioned on top of the cider press, almost dreamily floating and over spilling with an abundance of produce for guests to nibble. We can’t think of a more social way of eating. Filled with seasonal fruit, local cheeses, cured meats, biscuits, and decorated with leafy foliage; it’s the most heavenly feasting board of delights to be shared at a rustic woodland wedding. The board sat at the head of the long table awaiting guests, as the bride and groom admired the feast about to be consumed.
A bar in the woods
What’s better than a bar at a wedding? A hidden bar in the woods at a wedding! Tucked away between the pines, a beautiful bespoke solid oak bar from Sperry Tents with the same curves as the setting created a unique set up. Stocked up with Lantic Gin, which is distilled and bottled on the estate and welcome cocktails in dainty coupes, our bride and groom propped up the bar which was sat amongst the backdrop of wooden crates and lined with a dusting of the ubiquitous pampas grass. What better way to wow your guests than a beautiful oak bar in a not so likely setting; creative magic at every turn!
At the heart of the Pinetum a vintage circular granite cider press, once using to press apples for Cornish cider was the focal point. Wrapped around the cider-press our florist Loulabel created a ‘lovers circle’ to mirror the round, this was filled with plumed pampas grass, oversized dahlias and palms. The neutral tones added a soft, calming and stylishly-luxe setting for the nuptials which cocooned the couple in this ring-like centre. Surrounding this focus piece are a ring of cherry trees which blossom sweetly in the spring accompanied by rustic cross-back chairs set out in a circle, which mirrored this beautifully unique set-up. Toward the most northern point a walkway and aisle were created, layered up with rich Persian rugs delicately laid out for the bride. The aisleway was dappled in sunlight peering through the trees which leaded her to her handsome groom. The bride’s second dress was the ‘Galatea’ dress by Willowby, which features oversized floral designs suitably matching the botanical setting in this beautiful A-line silhouette dress. The ever so delicate velvet ribbon wrapped around the bodice with a sweet bow at the back of the dress which was an exquisite off-white-grey pale muted tone.
In harmony, the bridal bouquet effortlessly combined fresh roses, dahlias, grasses and foliage, hand tied with a pearly-white hand-died ribbon by Lancaster & Cornish all which linked in with the lover’s circle, which perfectly complimented the titanium toned dress. The groom epitomised the perfect gent in his ever so dapper plush deep blue velvet tux jacket and bow tie from Moss Bros. Together the couple, against the woodland backdrop provided a faultless contrast for the ultimate rustic-luxe vibe. Lanterns flanked either side of the aisle so at dusk twinkly lights could lead the way. The wild ferns enveloped the space around the clearing and walkways which gave a feeling of wild and natural abandon.
Our rings came from the ever so talented Emily Nixon Jewellery, whose designs have evolved from textures found along the Cornish tideline; they are luxuriously imperfect and naturally irregular. We also adore the eco-friendly packaging which resembles a pebble, perfectly in keeping with the coastal connections. Threaded through a sage green hand-dyed ribbon from Lancaster & Cornish, these rings certainly glimmered and shined in that natural dappled light through the trees. Paired with amber tainted ferns on our bare wooden trestle, these flat lays were bringing all the autumnal vibes. We adored the ribbon-esque calligraphy font used on our wonderfully elegant stationery flat lay with a neutral buttonhole finished with dried flowers.
Amongst the towering trees and leafy ferns, our fresh-faced couple fell in love with each other and the dreamy ethereal woodland setting at the heart of an English country estate. Deep, hidden in the woodland, outdoor weddings, which are ever on the rise can be a whole lot of magical, spellbinding, out-of-this-world, wonderment. What better way to share your love with another human being than being amongst nature. We hope the shoot leaves you feeling inspired about the pure magic which can be created at an outdoor wedding, the choices are endless, so let your imagination do the talking, and get your wedding planner to make it happen!