Styled Shoot

The Greatest Show – A Circus Wedding Styled Shoot in Sheffield

Alexis Forsyth

If you go down to the woods with us today, you might just find a bedazzling circus themed wedding shoot, so take a seat and enjoy the show…

We love a quirky styled shoot here at Brides Up North and this circus extravaganza set in Ecclesall Woods in Sheffield doesn’t disappoint, so get ready for a spectacle like no other, complete with a bold black and red palette, spangly tassels, and ruffled textures galore.

At every turn, there’s lots to grab your attention. We’re rather taken by the afternoon tea spread, which seems fitting within this enchanting woodland setting, with the towering trees lending themselves perfectly to props such as hoops, silk drapes, and retro signage. And we haven’t even mentioned the aerial acrobatics yet!

When it comes to bridal beauty and attire – the shoot’s real-life couple combine edgy body art with more romantic details, like a whimsical floral crown, and flower buds intertwined with the groom’s braces. The bride’s black dress is wedding day drama at its finest!

This shoot, quite simply, is where boho meets big top – and we love what the team of suppliers have created here. Let’s pass the blog over to photographer Sarah for the inside scoop.

Images by Key Reflections


Sarah says: I came up with the circus theme and we all agreed that this would provide a bold, colourful backdrop for the shoot. It definitely showcased everybody’s skills and especially our aerial performer, Justina, from Skydancers.


Ecclesall Woods in Sheffield is local to a few of us involved in the shoot, including myself. I spend most days there with my dog Luna, who also played a part in the shoot – her dickie bow was custom-made by Sam, the florist from Fantail Designer Florist. The woods are absolutely stunning and provided the perfect backdrop for our set up, including the silks which Mark from Wild Wedding Days put into place.


Classic circus-themed stationery was created by The Vow with a beautiful gold harlequin pattern that framed each design, and this included our menus and place names. This was finished off with modern calligraphy lettering and gold threaded tassels. Urban Cakehouse created the most stunning five-tiered ‘masked cake’ with edible masks in bold black and red, centred around a hoop of ribbons. Fortune cookies and macarons were supplied in black and gold too, which looked perfect against the gold animal statues holding rings by Tiago Jewellery.

Styling included fabric draping from the trees which drew your eyes down towards the table, to more ruffled textures of fabric with a table set ready for afternoon tea. This was complemented by gold sprayed animals, tied cutlery, and a mix of vintage china.


The four bespoke bridal looks supplied by Bexbrides included an embroidered upcycled vintage velvet bodice with a hand painted ombre skirt (with removable full under skirt) and detachable lace sleeves; a black full tulle skirt with an embroidered polka dot floaty built in cape bodice (perfect for showing off the body art painted on by Mazz Loxton); a long hooded guipure lace cape, a starry Linzistar cape and last but not least Bexbrides’ bestselling starry tulle Rowan dress over a black dress.

Absolute fashion HEAVEN!

A statement floral headpiece, asymmetrically created with roses, snowberries, amaranthus, and thistles, backed with fresh foliage, is perfect for the bride who wants that wow factor, paired with a floral hoop and optional bouquet. For the groom, Fantail attached floral buds to his braces.


Mazz Loxton created the hair, makeup and body art on our model. For the first look, she wanted to keep the makeup very natural, focusing more on the hair. Because of the circus theme, she largely drew her inspiration from Anne Wheelers’ hairstyle in The Greatest Showman. She knew Justina would be going upside down, so the hairstyle had to stay put, as well as support the absolutely stunning headpiece made by Sam! She wanted to make sure the makeup flattered Justina’s features, but it was important that it didn’t take away from the other incredible elements of the first look.

For the second style, Mazz knew we were switching into a black dress, so wanted to add a lot more contrast and drama to the makeup whilst keeping the skin very natural. She also switched the hair into two festival braids which also complimented the glitter and face paint.

For the face and body art, she took inspiration from Bex’s gorgeous dress. She loves taking inspiration from her clients’ outfits, their accessories and the styling of the event, and loves creating striking designs with very simple line work.

On Justina’s face, she took inspiration from the masks on Lisa’s cake, and created a delicate line work mask around her eyes, topped off with glitter. She then created some one-stroke roses and daisies on her arm before finishing off with another line work rose-inspired design in the centre of Justina’s back. For Sam, she created a multi-colour splatter mask, which is always a popular choice at festivals, something she’s really missed this last year!


The shoot went fantastically well. We did it back in October 2020 and as we were outside, it meant social distancing was possible but of course we wore masks, and fortunately our models – Justina and Sam – are a real life couple so we were able to get them close together!

We were blessed with incredible light on the day with gorgeous sunlight streaming through the trees. Wild Wedding Days did an amazing job at supplying all the big items, including the tables, frames above them, massive picture frame for our couple to stand in, and all the circus signs which are handcrafted by Mark and look fabulous.

Mark was also on hand with his generator to get all those lights going, funnily enough there are not too many sockets in the middle of the woods! All in all everybody had a great day and I really enjoyed editing this shoot.

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