Babb Photo styled wedding shoot

I thought I’d put together today’s post as I’m actually in the depth of Dartmoor working on a styled wedding shoot myself and regular readers will know we feature them a lot on the pages of Juno & Joy…for those of you just tuning in and wondering what I’m harping on about, a styled wedding shoot is (normally) a series of perfectly planned images, showcasing a specific wedding style or specific wedding suppliers in order to showcase their talents or some kind of inspiration for a couples wedding scheme.

Now in the four years I’ve been involved in weddings, shoots of this kind have really divided opinion. Some planning brides & grooms loathe seeing a carefully crafted piece of inspiration, finding it too contrived to see any practical way of translating the scheme or ideas within it – and this can actually be the case – though a shoot styled well should offer just that; ideas that transcend the structured limitations of a dozen carefully selected images…

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A few bloggers and photographers have gown tired of them too, with some citing a lack of originality as the cause for their loss of enthusiasm – yet there’s still a great many of us planning and partaking in them daily. Why?

Well, much like a “real” wedding – styled wedding shoots can be faddy and trend-led with some perhaps using a more paint-by-numbers approach to creating their scene, re-cycling well loved ideas but with a “twist” – you’ve all seen them I’m sure – some of you may have even scoffed at them. BUT whilst this isn’t always ground-breaking for those of us within the bosom of the wedding industry it may not be the case for a bride who’s never witnessed an oversized balloon lining an aisle (I write this with tongue firmly in cheek as I had the very same lining my own aisle!) and subsequently pins said idea to her online scrapbook.

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There is a place for every kind of creative exploration within the wedding industry. Because without this kind of thinking where would we be?! Boundaries certainly can’t and won’t be broken by every single bride and groom out there as many haven’t even discovered wedding blogs or opened a wedding magazine pre-planning. And how many truly want to take a risk with their wedding plans without first seeing it executed successfully in some way – be that a styled shoot – or a highly stylized wedding. Some boundaries need to be breached by our good selves in order to inspire; to spark an idea, be the catalyst of an eureka moment for a planning bride who may want to explore an idea she previously hasn’t had the courage to do prior to seeing it within the context of a shoot…

…I recently received some feedback from a publication I’d submitted on of my own shoots too. They said that whilst it was beautiful they wouldn’t publish it as we’d simply created “inspiration for inspiration’s sake”. Brilliant! I take that as an enormous compliment – precisely what we’d set out to do.

So hurrah to ideas, to creativity, to collaboration, team-work and to boundary breaking. To passion, exploration and a celebration of others talents.

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Brides & Groom’s we’d love to hear if you find this kind of content inspiring. Be it an idea that’s budget busting – or budget friendly…has anything from a styled shoot sparked a eureka moment with you?

From my own point of view a lot of fun details included in the styling of our wedding day were directly inspired by something I’d seen on a blog, or Pinterest – usually a styled shoot – which I was then able to personalise to fit our own tastes and budget (8k)…the WI style cake table (amazing collaborative effort from friends & my hubby and I LOVE cake), hanging lanterns (were it not for a Style Me Pretty featured shoot I’d have never known to use fishing wire to hang them) the colourful ribbons tied to the backs of our “sweet-heart” chairs…all design details I fell for having seen them in heavily styled images and all had the desired effect.

Much like a look book of fashion ideas gracing the pages of a glossy magazine – the point of a shoot isn’t to say “replicate this” it’s to say – “see how we’ve put this item against this backdrop – or adapted this to make it more (or less) bridal – why not explore that idea”. We’re planting seeds and sewing ideas – that is all. And if it happens to help a bride along the way, to introduce her to the dress designer of her dreams or a concept befitting of her venue – or even just to show someone their Groom needn’t wear a cravat if it’s not his thing – then great. Job done. As creative’s that’s all we can hope for eh? To innovate & inspire.

Think on’t.

♥ Sarah

Image credits (Photographers) from the top: Babb Photo//Miss Gen Photography//Jo Photo//Alexandra Wallace Photography//Lucy Turnbull Photography//Jay Kowalick Photography//Pete Cox Photography//Lucy Shergold Photography//Pete Cox Photography. N.B All images used are from styled wedding shoots featured on or styled by Juno & Joy.


  1. Nikki Ward August 6, 2014 Reply

    I’ve seen lots of negative comments around styled shoots over the last year which has left me feeling a little deflated to be honest. I contribute quite a lot of stationery for shoots and it is a great way to showcase my work … but more than that I really do feel like it is great inspiration for real brides and grooms out there.
    I have had several friends plan weddings whilst I’ve been part of the wedding industry and have always been surprised by the fact that something they have seen in a magazine or blog which I’ve seen a ‘million times before’ and am starting to view as a bit old hat … is totally new and fresh to them and has opened their eyes to what is possible. Many ‘ normal’ non creative types out there really do still truly believe that a wedding still has to follow the pattern and style that they have experienced for many many years … and I really think that styled shoots have an important part to play in helping these couples see what is achievable.
    The fashion industry has been doing this for years so why is it a problem for the wedding industry?

    • Author
      Sarah August 8, 2014 Reply

      Couldn’t agree more Nikki – it’s up to those of us working in the industry to stretch those boundaries and as creatives surely that’s what comes most natural to us…to explore ideas and innovate – otherwise how does progress happen?! Xx

  2. Kate Cullen August 6, 2014 Reply

    Fantastic piece Sarah, thank you – personally as a stylist I’m addicted to shoots (my secret Pinterest boards are overflowing with ideas I hope to turn into reality one day!). It allows you to get really creative and try new ideas. And yes, you wouldn’t necessarily recreate a styled shoot for a real wedding – it would often be impractical, over the top or very costly, but it’s the inspiration from one tiny detail or the overall look and feel that a bride may take from it – as you say the way a chair has been decorated, or a certain cake or a specific flower. Long live the styled shoot! x

    • Author
      Sarah August 8, 2014 Reply

      Exactly Kate. Hurrah! Xx

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