Brockholes Nature Reserve

Styled photoshoots have now become a regular feature of my work and this one was at the lovely Brockholes nature reserve, near Preston.

When I first sat down to decide the style I wanted to create I found myself looking at woodland and water set close to nature. On trend colours were a must, as was a lacy dress and contemporary styling that was to feature nature.

I didn’t have to do a lot of research to find the perfect venue as it’s basically on my front door; Brockholes nature reserve. The venue on the reserve is really quite unique as it is floating on water and has a resemblance of an ancient marshland village. It is set in 250 acres of beautiful nature. There’s a lot to see at Brockholes, which is almost surrounded by the River Ribble.

In January 2007 The Lancashire Wildlife Trust purchased the site to protect it from quarrying and development and it was opened to the public for the first time on Easter Sunday 2011. During this time a new multi-million pound floating visitor centre was announced which was floated for the first time in March 2011. During the development countless hours and millions of pounds have been spent on developing the ponds, wetlands and woods, all havens for nature. As well as lots of bird species, there are deer and a heard of long horn cattle which graze on the land. Also around the reserve are countless types of beautiful flowers and fauna.

It was to be my plan to include quite a lot of this into my photoshoot, however, the weather had a large part to play in stopping that. The photoshoot was booked during the middle of a quite warm sunny spell, but it just so happened to rain on this day. With this in mind it was time to turn to plan B which was to show off our styling and that should it rain on your wedding day, the images needn’t be dull and boring. It’s a time to get really creative with what’s available.

(All of the images from this photoshoot at Brockholes can be enlarged by clicking on them)

Dreamcatchers of Kirkham once again supplied all of the bridal wear for the shoot. This time I asked Georgina of Dreamcatchers did she have a selection of dresses that she would like us to use. From the selection that she had shown me this one stood out to me, perhaps it was a little formal for our shoot, but it was just too gorgeous not to use. It is a stunning Kenneth Winston, design no. 1573.  This flocked all over lace tulle gown has a detachable beaded sash paired with sheer lace straps and a deep V-back finish with satin covered buttons. Just elegant and beautiful. Georgina was on hand to make sure it fit Yvonne, our model perfectly.

The suit, a Peter Posh design in blue along with the tweed waistcoat was the perfect accompaniment to the whole style and was a great fit on Martin.

The bridesmaid dress which was modelled by our very own hair stylist Clare is a design from the Watters range.

Hairstyling was taken care of by the very talented Clare Osborne of Beloved Bridal Hair who was assisted by Rebecca Wade. Clare and I worked on styles before the shoot using a ‘Pinterest board’ to find the styles to compliment the look of the shoot. As Clare was also modelling for us she had her hair prepared before the shoot arriving with some rather interesting looking hair curlers in.

Makeup was by a real expert in her field, Julie Cain. As with Clare, Julie was onboard with us during the planning process and knew exactly what we were all aiming at. As a self-confessed perfectionist Julie was on hand throughout to apply any touch ups required.

For the styling of the venue, Janette of Promenade creative weddings was with me from the very start of planning. I have worked with Janette on a previous shoot and have found it’s really important to have someone involved very early on with styling a venue. It’s the backbone of the whole shoot and where everything else falls into place. The styling that Janette created was out of this world. She has such attention to detail. I am going to let the images do the speaking, there’s way too much to describe here.

Janette is great at sourcing whatever is required, if she doesn’t have it, she can get it and for this shoot she brought along a cake from Sarah’s cakes and bakes and some rather beautiful stationary from Garden Studio Crafts. Flowers for the top table were also loaned to us from Piccadilly Gardens.

For the bouquet it was time to try something a little different and something of a growing market; paper flowers. Nadine of Paper Meadow skilfully crafted us a bouquet made of on trend colours which would match Janette’s styling. You really do need to see these bouquets to appreciate the skill and craft that goes into making them. They are beautiful and robust.

Paperflowers on one of the jetty's at Brockholes

The style of the shoot relied upon headpieces to work with the hairstyles and to sit within the colour palate of the bouquet and for this Su Moffat of Temple Spirit Designs created some really beautiful jewellery made of fluorite with Swarovski crystals and coordinating coloured pearls to sit with the hairstyles. Su brought these on the morning of the shoot and was on hand to help with anything else especially helping Janette with setting up; a real big help.

On previous photoshoots I have had models to work with, however I felt for this a real world couple would be better and so it was. Martin and Yvonne were just great and fit our style of shoot so well. It’s not the first time I have had the pleasure of photographing this gorgeous couple though. Back in 2015 they won a competition of mine for a complimentary photoshoot, have a look at the link to see the blog. Martin and Yvonne are also engaged to be married and I suspect that an overseas warm sunnier climate may be the destination, I would just like to wish them all the best for whatever plans they make.

Here is a selection of the images created from the day and should you wish to contact me regarding your wedding then please click here. Below the imagery is a list and links to all of the wonderful suppliers involved.

Little White Book

Brockholes Nature Reserve – Website

Dreamcatchers of Kirkham –


           Peter Posh –

            Kenneth Winston –

            Watters –

Beloved Bridal Hair –

Make Up by Jooles –

Promenade creative weddings –


            Sarah’s cakes and bakes –

            Garden Studio Crafts –

Paper Meadow –

Temple Spirit Designs –

Paul Swift Photography –

Brockholes is a wedding venue with a difference, just waiting for you to create your own special day.


Paul Swift Photography 2016 ©

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