Styled Shoot

Bright Side. A Neon Wedding Styled Shoot at Tower Hill Barns

Sarah Symonds

All out maximalist for this styled shoot! We’ve got neon couture gowns, oversized sunflowers, a riot of balloons, ALL the colours and a luxury barn venue on the Welsh Borders to play host to the party.

We could all do with a bit of looking on the bright side at the moment! In this, a very tough year for everyone, it’s more important than ever to have something to look forward to, something to focus energy on and help keep spirits high.

UNVEILED Network Member Cathryn Kerwin-Rawlinson, bridal makeup artist and the styling, concept and makeup for this shoot, is an award winning professional MUA based on the North Wales Border, near Chester. She decided it was about time to create something fun and funky to cheer up even the darkest days.

She approached Tower Hill Barns, just outside of Llangollen North Wales, and has pulled off one of the most amazing, boldest and brightest shoots we’ve seen in a while! It’s all been captured by Babs Boardwell Photography, a wedding and elopement photographer documenting weddings and elopement stories in North Wales and beyond.

We can’t not talk about that Matthew O’Brien couture dress in neon yellow! What a fabulous look for a bride who might’ve been searching for the elusive wild card, something completely different. Or maybe the red femme fatale look is more your thang? It’s got us all giddy just looking at these photos and we’re sure it’s going to knock your Choos off.

With images by Babs Boardwell Wedding Photography


Cathryn says: Always look on the bright side of life! Life is pretty uncertain, gloomy and sad at the moment but many of us love colour. I mean, Caroline from Flowers at the Dutch Barn is colour crazy, the brighter the better, so with her and a few other friends from North Wales and Cheshire, we decided to do something that made colour the focus.

I personally want to see creatives do something that tests and inspires. I want to see colour and I want to divide opinion – after all, isn’t that what art is about? I know many brides would not dream of wearing a neon yellow gown but isn’t that what styled shoots are meant to do? We might make one person think “well, I could wear that and rock it”.

However, I am known for being very classic in my styling and I never want to do something that is too contrived or ‘fancy dress’. So the aim, even with the different styling, was very wearable and something a bride might want for her day.

For some suppliers, especially Babs Boardwell, our photographer, this was really stepping out of her comfort zone in terms of style and colours. This is why I loved this shoot.


The venue was Tower Hill Barns in the vale of Llangollen,an area of outstanding beauty. Tower Hill is one of the most beautiful venues that I’m lucky enough to work at and I’m actually their preferred supplier for makeup.

They have the most stunning outside area for wedding ceremonies, underneath a bridge archway. However, with Babs being known for elopements and smaller more intimate weddings, we wanted to really maximise on this and we used this area to create a fun sweetheart table with lots of colour. The rustic feel was a really nice contrast against the bright table and setup.


It all started because I am crazy about colour and the artwork of Frida Kahlo, but it really became much more than that and turned out better than my original vision.

Babs was adamant we stick to the warmer bright colours and avoid blue, just because her editing tends to work better with reds, oranges, pinks and yellow. We definitely wanted to incorporate lots of fresh bright florals, done by Flowers at the Dutch Barn and the balloon arch and details that were created with Desired Occasions.

Julie from UNVEILED Network Member Red Rose Cakes is another recommended supplier at Tower Hill Barns and she was pretty much given carte blanche to do whatever she wanted, as long as it matched our colours, so she opted for a bright yellow cake and a black cake with fresh floral decoration, as this is a trend she is seeing many brides opting for now.

We set up this beautiful, bright and charming table in the ceremony area as a cute little sweetheart table with vintage crockery pieces supplied by Becky from Cariad Crockery. The table styling was done by Caroline at Flowers at the Dutch Barn, Desired Occasions and Cariad Crockery


The gowns were designed and made by my friend Matthew O’Brien who owns a luxury boutique in Chester City Centre and he focuses on couture one of a kind gowns for special events and weddings. I knew he had a show stopping red gown and asked him could I use for the shoot, and he was excited to help and said would I like some more gowns and he made the pink gown and the neon yellow gown (which was a risk but we wanted to add a wild card) the yellow gown features the latest design feature of Matthew’s in the exposed see through boned bodice and cups.


I’m usually known for being very elegant and classic in my approach to makeup and, with the dresses being a little bit different, I didn’t want to do a makeup look that could be considered too contrived or like face paint. Instead, I just kept it really simple with a hint of a winged liner, lashes and a pop of a colourful lip, on a base of luminous, dewy skin using Temptu Hydra Lock Airbrush Makeup.

Gracie, our model, has quite fine hair so we added hair pieces to add volume and kept it very elegant, in a low bun. She also has bold red hair and a fringe which we made a focus of. For two of the looks Carol Ellis Thompson made headpieces; one bright using dry foliage and the second a gentle nod to my love of Frida Kahlo with a piece inspired by her.


It was a beautiful day and the end of warm and nice weather so we were so lucky to have a great day.

My aim was to create something unique and modern without being fancy dress or silly. I feel that we have created something chic even with the riot of colour involved in the styling.

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