The Wellbeing Farm in Bolton is a gorgeous venue, fabulous all year round but in its element in summer. So when Celia, Wellbeing Farm owner and Head Maid to their family of Llamas, called and asked us to set up a styled shoot with Afternoon Tea on their tennis court just before Wimbledon we absolutely jumped at the chance. A tennis inspired, outside shoot at the end of June in the North West? What could go wrong!
We gathered a team packed with Aces – photographer Kerry Woods is a wonder with natural light so was the natural choice, Ava Rose Hamilton Bridal Couture always have an eclectic selection of dresses (ideal because we wanted something a bit out of the ordinary), the Skelmersdale Flower Centre crew love a creative challenge, Nala and Knot on fabulous Glam Squad duty, Whitfield and Ward always have an amazing suit for any wedding, our friends at PUMA provided some awesome footwear and the amazing duo that is Finch Bakery put the cherry (well the strawberry in this case) on our creative team cake. So far, no double faults. 15-love.
The morning of the shoot dawned, and suddenly we were back in February. Driving rain, ferocious wind, and nothing but dark clouds on the horizon and our Weather Apps. But did rain stop play? We’re Brits AND we’re Northerners – so not likely! We did what all hardened Northerners do in the summer – we had indoor play instead. Here comes the roof – cue Cliff!
Luckily the Wellbeing Farm had plenty of space inside their huge barn for Kerry Woods to work her magic! Proof positive that the best photographers can work in any situation, Kerry has beautifully captured every element of the brief. A tall order for what was planned as an outdoor photo shoot! Kerry has been crowned Best Female Photographer for three consecutive years in the Great Northern Wedding Awards and it’s easy to see why.
The clever and talented team at Skelmersdale Flower Centre created a wonderful tennis inspired table display, bouquets and button holes – and nothing says summer wedding like yellow, green and white. They took the additional pieces that had been destined for the tennis court display and dressed the cart inside the barn too, and we just can’t decide what our favourite piece is! Those centrepieces! The balloons! Such incredible attention to detail, Sarah and Debbie did a wonderful job and Sarah is quite possible the strongest woman in the wedding industry. Hay bales – two at a time – not a problem! They also dressed a vintage Wilson tennis racquet, which when we think about it is our favourite piece – but only just, because we are so spoilt for choice!
The dress from Ava Rose Hamilton bridal couture is Georgie Girl, from the 2018 ‘Le Jardin’ Collection designed by award winning British designer Ian Stuart. We instantly fell in love with this gown – just beautiful, and such an unusual, subtle shade of pink. Gorgeous detail to the bodice, and it moves beautifully – the skirt is a dream! Absolutely perfect for a bride who wants to look incredible, but be comfortable all day (and night on the dancefloor!) and let her personal style shine through.
Our groom for the day (model Phil Bruce) wears a stunning suit from Whitefield and Ward, who never fail to deliver on trend style every time.
Teamed with a gorgeous pair of PUMA Basket Hearts – tied with a ribbon bow – a modern, feminine interpretation of a classic made famous by the thriving Hip Hop scene of the late 70’s – Lydia looked every part the modern, beautiful bride, doing her day her way.
Fresh from their recent Highly Commended success in the Great Northern Wedding Awards, Nala & Knot created the perfect look to complement the dress. Our model Lydia from Angels Elite Models is blessed with natural (yes, NATURAL) ice-blonde hair, so for this look for accessory was needed. Laura swept Lydia’s hair into a simple, sleek, elegant side ponytail that worked beautifully with the neckline of the dress. Natalie gave Lydia a peaches-and-cream complexion that works like a dream on Lydia’s clear complexion, making the most of her gorgeous eyes but letting the strong, red lip do all the talking with breath taking results.
When we asked the GNWA 2017/18 Best Cake Company Finch Bakery team to get involved we knew we were in for a treat, but we don’t usually get to tuck-in at the end of the day! Delightful sponge, lashings of amaaaazing buttercream, white chocolate and GLITTER strawberries – what’s not to love? And it’s just so pretty!! Perfect for Wimbledon – strawberries and cream all round!
The team at the Wellbeing Farm made us feel right at home – with a most welcome “help yourself” policy at their handy and well stocked coffee bar, they provided us with a gorgeous lunch and the staff couldn’t do enough to help – and we asked a lot of them, if it could move we moved it!
We found five minutes away from the getting-ready madness and asked Celia about her venue, it’s clear that she adores The Wellbeing Farm and that her brides and grooms do too!
Little White Books: Your list of awards and achievements is impressive! So many couples have made amazing memories here – what’s your stand-out wedding memory?
Celia: Gosh, there are just so many as all our brides are full of such fun and quirkiness. What I really do remember though is when Jake and Lana decided to do a karate fight as their first dance! Jake and Lana were very special as they were our first couple to actually get married at the farm with a Registrar.
LWB: Tell us more about your staff, the people who make it all happen…
Celia: Gilly Hoy, Weddings and Events Manager is at the heart of weddings at the farm and it is her enthusiasm, kindness and professionalism that makes every wedding we hold here a success. Other key members include Karl Popple our amazing Head Chef – everyone loves our food; Carlina Thommason who works hard to keep the venue functioning and the staff supported; Rachel Cleary who is Mrs Professional and is amazing with her skill at handling any issue which could come along. Then there are the multitude of front of house staff whose personalities are the reason we receive so many compliments about the attitude of the staff here – they are all a credit to the farm.
LWB: Have you enjoyed the photo shoot today?
Celia: Loved it – loads of fun, creativity and helpfulness wrapped up in bundles of care. The suppliers were amazing, the way they styled the barn tables and that cake…the makeup and dresses – what more can I say! It was our first professional shoot and we loved it. A special thanks to Little White Books for coordinating it all and coming up with the great brief
Here’s just some of The Wellbeing Farm accolades;
- Winner of Lancashire Wedding Venue of the Year 2016 (Marketing Lancashire)
- Green Tourism Business Award 2014, 2015, 2016
- Accredited by Green Union 2016
- Top 5 Finalist in the Great Northern Wedding Awards 2015/16/17/18
- Regional Finalist in the 2016 Wedding Industry Awards
So when the umpire signalled for play to stop it was definitely game, set and match to everyone involved. Wonderful team, gorgeous shots for our brides and grooms to be inspired by. There’s more to come from this photo shoot – look numbers two and three are not to be missed – watch this space! <3 #greatnorthernbride #greatnortherngroom #anyonefortennis #wimbledon #gnwvphotoshoot #gnwv2018 #littlewhitebooks #allyouneed
Find all our contributors on Instagram:
Kerry Woods https://www.instagram.com/kerrywoodsphoto/
Nala & Knot https://www.instagram.com/nalaandknot/
The Wellbeing Farm https://www.instagram.com/wellbeingfarm/
Skelmersdale Flower Centre https://www.instagram.com/skelmersdaleflowercentre
Finch Bakery https://www.instagram.com/finchbakery/
Ava Rose Hamilton https://www.instagram.com/avarosebridal/
Whitfield & Ward https://www.instagram.com/whitfieldandward/