Styled Shoot

Reader, I Married Him. An Elopement Inspiration Shoot in the Peak District

Sarah Symonds

Wrapped up together, a million miles from real life… what could be more perfect for a couple in love than an escape to the beautifully remote Peak District for romance in the fresh air and an intimate ceremony for two?

Today’s featured styled shoot is absolute fire. Just look at these gorgeous golden hour shots and imagine yourself there, in that moment, then tell us that you haven’t secretly always harboured a fantasy of running away from the day-to-day humdrum. Especially when it looks this dreamy!

There’s something special about an elopement, saying your vows in such an intimate way. Out in the middle of nowhere, on the tops of the hills, exposed to the elements, just the two of you and the celebrant, it just hits different.

We’ve caught up with the woman behind the shoot, Helen of Helen Rose Photography, to shed a little light on how possible this kind of thing is to pull off in real life.

With images by Helen Rose Photography


I wanted to use a real couple that had married recently, in order to show a genuine connection and so that the bride could put her wedding dress on one more time. I know Hannah and Cameron, so felt they would be perfect to ask to come for a little wild Peak District elopement shoot, as they are so much fun and were really keen to get stuck in.

The whole purpose of the shoot for me was to show off the wonderful Peaks as a destination for an elopement or small wedding location, to prove that you don’t have to travel to far off lands to get the intimate outdoors wedding of your dreams. It’s easily accessible, and you can then spend the time you would have normally on travel to actually enjoy and make the most of the special time you’ve allocated to share with each other.

In order to capture what it would be like to be part of a small Peak District wedding, I invited Meg along to show what her involvement as a humanist celebrant is during a special handfasting ceremony and vow exchange, before taking photos in the landscape. Then you would carry on your day with a special meal and a gorgeous place to stay of your choosing.

I think the Peak District has been very underutilised as an elopement location in the UK, so I am very keen to show it off to its potential with this and a series of other shoots I have planned. Hopefully this will help people view it as a viable wedding location of choice as it already is a special place to many.


I particularly wanted to shoot at Higger Tor on the day, as we were blessed with some gorgeous low autumn sunlight that shone down over the moorland and heather beautifully. It wasn’t too windy either which meant they were able to stand on the rocks and nearer the edges to create such stunning imagery in the rugged landscape. In particular I find the views of Higger Tor a very special place to be.


The bride’s bouquet and groom’s buttonhole were inspired by the autumn season, with Karon from Meadows and Mulberry Weddings incorporating rusts, caramels, and greens.

They had a wild, warm look to embrace the natural colours and tones of the Peak District. Adding dried flowers and grasses into the bridal bouquet, complemented both the orange roses and sage green tones of the eucalyptus for a very modern yet earthy feel.


The dress was the bride’s own, originally ordered from Mon Cheri Bridals.


This look worked in conjunction with the floral colours and those in nature present on the peaks; the warm oranges and browns of the surrounding landscape. All of the products used were vegan and cruelty-free.

The hair was curled and tousled to work effectively with the windy late-autumn weather. With the high altitude, tousled loose curls can really give an extra dimension and drama.

Brides who would opt for this look would be a fan of nature yet not afraid to delve into a soft glam look which accentuates the face, perfect for distance photography too, making an impact when surrounded by vast landscaping.

Beauty was done by UNVEILED Network Member Charlotte Hubbard of CMLH Makeup & Hair, based in Leeds.


The shoot went very well and ran smoothly. Meg Senior, our “out of this world humanist celebrant”, met the couple and me where we parked so we could walk up Higger Tor together. We wanted to find a perfect spot to perform the wedding ceremony, catering to what our real couple wanted – which consisted of vows being exchanged, a special handfasting ceremony and some special words of wisdom from Meg herself, before warming them up with a hot drink prepared earlier for them.

We were then able to walk further and explore the location taking many photos of the couple out in the heart of nature, demonstrating what a small intimate wedding ceremony or elopement can look like, as larger weddings and some venues are just not suited to everyone.

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