An Ethical Wedding Shoot at Southend Barns

We’ve been working with the fabulous team at Southend Barns since they first opened back in 2012 and during this time have had the chance to work on some fantastic events and campaigns.

Set on a working farm in the stunning West Sussex countryside, the converted farm buildings and beautiful landscaped gardens at Southend Barns are built and run using the latest environmentally sustainable technology. To off set the high carbon footprint of a wedding, features including a biomass boiler and sustainable materials such as hemp.

We’ve been looking for ways to showcase the venue’s commitment to the environment so last Autumn we teamed up with To Have and To Hire wedding stylists and other local suppliers for a wedding photo shoot dedicated to showing that ethical can be stylish too.

As much as possible was ethically produced or handmade by local suppliers such as the flowers by The Wild Fox which were all foraged for locally in the New Forest. The styling was inspired by celebrating the season and bringing it inside to reflect the beautiful textures, forms and colours that autumn has to offer.

Autumnal foliage and boughs were gathered and suspended from the overhead beams in the Dairy Barn alongside lanterns which created a twinkling enchanted forest effect. The Wild Fox also created a seasonal indoor meadow using flora foraged from the local countryside, the display was situated at the end of the aisle which was scattered with dried leaves and lined with lanterns. The bride’s bouquet was made using flowers collected from the gardens at Southend Barns which were tied with hand painted silk ribbons by Kate Cullen.

Inside the Threshing Barn the top table was decorated with leaves sprayed in a rose gold paint with a grey hessian runner and lots of rose gold candle holders surrounded by swathes of leaves in warm coppery colours. The chairs were tied with white voile for a simple but effective touch. Behind the table hanging on the exposed rustic beams were large boughs of foliage. The cake, created by Tartufi, was a three-tiered semi-naked sponge with buttercream made using Fairtrade and local ingredients where possible. This was decorated with a scattering of autumnal leaves and flowers from the gardens.

The natural materials used throughout the décor at Southend Barns’ complemented the British foliage and flowers used in the shoot perfectly, giving a sense of nature’s organised chaos and creating an ideal backdrop for the shoot.

The bride wore a range of unstructured and flowing lace dresses from Minna’s ethical collection. Environmental issues are important to Minna so each piece is hand embellished and made from sustainable, organic, recycled and locally produced textiles. Her label has in a short time re-defined what ethical fashion should be. Environmentally friendly production techniques including local manufacturing and zero waste pattern cutting are also used for every garment.

The dresses were teamed with Fairtrade rose gold jewellery from pioneering ethical jewellery firm Cred. Handmade rose gold head pieces by Cherished Vintage were used in the bride’s hair which was styled by ID Makeup, Hair and Beauty. ID chose to work with Davines hair products which are all eco friendly and have no carbon footprint, helping the planet as well as achieving beautiful hair results. The makeup look was inspired by an autumn sunrise. ID used vegan and cruelty free products from Charlotte Tilbury, Becca, NARS and Hourglass to create glowing skin and soft bronzy brown metallic smoky eyes.

The beautiful scene was captured by award-winning wedding photographer Kelly Hearn. Kelly worked with mainly natural light to achieve the clean, soft, ethereal images from the shoot. She combined this with subtle use of a Video Light which enhanced the warm autumnal tones, showing off the beautiful touches perfectly. As both the Threshing and Dairy Barn are naturally light and airy spaces, Kelly achieved the desired result with minimal artificial light.

The shoot has so far been featured on The Natural Wedding Company and is due to be published in Your Sussex Wedding Magazine this Spring.


Venue – Southend Barns 

Styling – To Have and To Hire 

Photographer – Kelly Hearn Photography

Florist – The Wild Fox

Jewellery – Cred Jewellery

Hair & Makeup – ID Makeup, Hair and Beauty

Hair Pieces – Cherished

Dresses – Minna

Silk Ribbon – Kate Cullen

Cake – Tartufi

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