Woodland Elopement Styled Shoot

How do you create a woodland styled shoot in the DC suburbs?

1. Find your inspiration. I decided on an elopement theme –  I was inspired by several couples who contacted me early this year to photograph their elopements, engagements, and micro-weddings. The small wedding and elopement trend allows a more intimate and personalized experience, whether it is 2 people saying their vows on top of a mountain, or a few friends and family gathering for a beautiful backyard ceremony. A native Virginian, I have always loved quiet paths, woodland trails and textures that can be only found in nature. I included elements of moss, ferns, and leaves in the detail styling, and chose artisan-crafted natural stone jewelry for the rings.

2. Find a location. I was looking for a quiet, wooded spot, which is nearly impossible to find in northern VA. Luckily there is an area only 3 miles from my house that I discovered a few years back – so I made a couple of trips at golden hour to check out the lighting, and decided to give it a try.

3. Find your vendors. This takes some time and coordination. You can make it simple or detailed, but the beauty of a styled shoot is you can create any look or theme that you want. I asked a few local business owners here in the Mt. Vernon area if they were interested in participating and was so happy when they said yes – everyone was so supportive! One of the best parts about this whole process was collaborating with other businesses.

Stephanie, owner of Wisteria Florals, created a loose wildflower bouquet and centerpiece for the table. She chose a mostly green and white palette with a few orange accents, including Lamb’s Ear, assorted vines, Queen Anne’s Lace (which reminds me of my childhood), Baby’s Breath, and Hydrangeas.

I borrowed the vintage tablecloth, table, and orange velvet chairs from my friend Nicole who owns Redesign in a Day, a local eclectic home decor store. I added the Waterford crystal wine glasses that we received as a wedding gift 25 years ago, 2 ivory place settings that I thrifted a few years back, as well as the gold candlesticks and flatware that I picked up at the last minute from Target.

Hollin Hall Pastry shop made a gorgeous and simple cake with both chocolate and vanilla layers and buttercream frosting.

The raw stone morganite engagement ring and the groom’s faceted gold band were hand-made by Jeana and Jared at The Fox and Stone.

The bride’s dress is an elegant satin gown from ASOS, and I added an overlay skirt in tulle for some of the photos. The groom’s suit is custom made from Capitol Hill Clothiers.

The Her Vows/His Vows handcrafted paper booklets are made using cotton and silk textile remnants and plant fibers by PARWANA paper. Each piece of paper is individually made by hand, environmentally sound, processed and handmade on wooden deckles.

A big THANK YOU to everyone who participated, and if you are a couple looking for engagement or elopement ideas in a nature setting, I hope this provides a little inspiration!

Photography, concept and styling: @sarahdrewryphoto // Models: @maevejarvis and Anthony Bolognese @anthonybolognese // Florals: Wisteria Florals, @wisteriastudio // Wedding Cake: Hollin Hall Pastry, @hollinhallpastryshop // Decor Items: Redesign in a Day, @redesigninaday // Rings: The Fox and Stone, @thefoxandstone // Wedding dress: ASOS, @asos // Groom’s attire: Capitol Hill Clothiers, @capitolhillclothiers


Hello, I’m Sarah! Nothing would make me happier than documenting your authentic, real moments in beautiful evening light in the Virginia mountains.