From time to time, I meet couples with whom I have a genuine connection with; we get along, we have common interests or a similar sense of humour, there aren’t any awkward silences and we feel comfortable around each other. Somehow, this ease and natural state of being manages to translate into the photos I take. I find I am able to happily snap away, capturing intimate, funny, meaningful moments and no one seems to know I’m there. The couple are often too wrapped up in themselves, in the moment, with their nearest and dearest, to really notice me at all which is perfect! The more I can blend in and not be obtrusive, the better the photos, the happier the guests and the moments captured are, therefore, of genuine celebration.
One such couple is Alex and Alana and I am so honoured, excited and chuffed to be able to share this glorious day with you all. It was definitely a favourite of mine to photograph not only because of the gracious nature of the bride and groom but because of the many personal touches that were included in the day itself. It seemed that every detail had been meticulously thought out with love at the heart of it all, which was undoubtedly true for most of the day, but there were some glorious surprises for both the bride and groom as well. Having met through their love of performing, the newlyweds had many guests who shared their passion for the arts and some even shared beautiful tributes to the happy couple through speeches, songs and poems. All were filled with emotion and there was barely a dry eye in the place!
The setting of this glorious day was literally picture perfect. St Mary the Virgin Church in Weston Turville, Buckinghamshire, was bathed in sunshine as the newlyweds appeared through the doors as husband and wife with the biggest grins imaginable plastered all over their faces. You may recognise this particular church as it has appeared as the famous but fictional St Barnabas in the brilliant TV series, The Vicar of Dibley. Another claim to fame sat nestled on the hillside over looking the church – see if you can spot it. Two words: windmill and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (well that’s five words but you get the point!).
Old Luxters Brewery, down the road in Hambleden, played host to the wedding reception and did not disappoint. A splendidly decorated marquee and cosy candlelit barn provided the backdrop to a wonderful afternoon and evening which was clearly enjoyed by all. Handmade apple favours adorned the wedding breakfast tables, hand-drawn birds decorated the backdrop to the head table, fairy lights twinkled everywhere, candles flickered on the tables and a beautiful hand-drawn map of the world welcomed the guests to take their seats.
One thing worth mentioning that seemed to just ‘come together’ on the day were the bridesmaids dresses. Each of the six ladies had been told to buy a full-length dress individually with the only instruction of the autumnal/winter hue that they should compliment and wow, what a result!
It was coming to the end of Autumn as we started the day at the lovely Kew Gardens Hotel, London. The sun was peeping through the clouds and lit up the downstairs restaurant and upstairs bedrooms rather spectacularly. The bride, her family and friends were all exceptionally calm and, I think, were starting to enjoy themselves with the pampering and general excitement of the day. When the pretty bouquets arrived and had been presented to Amy, Zoë and I took them for a little walk around the hotel for some photos. We also took with us the bride’s shoes and wow, what a pair of shoes. They were a gift to Amy from her sister (which shows great taste on her part) and just so happened to be the very fabulous Fyber 100 in ocean suede and lace by Jimmy Choo! Gorgeous with a capital G. And different too, so don’t be afraid to wear shoes that are not traditionally bridal and do you know the best part? You can where them again and again and not look like a has-been bride. Excellent news all round.
We left Amy and her family to the final preparations and made our way to Pembroke Lodge, nestled in the heart of London’s Richmond Park. The intimate, heart-felt ceremony and wedding reception were held in the upstairs rooms of Pembroke Lodge which meant the wedding party had spectacular views of the park and surrounding neighbourhood all afternoon. Conscious of the temperature and wind, the newlyweds and I stayed close to the Lodge for the couple photos but we had fun nonetheless with Amy wrapped in her new husband’s suit jacket and both of them practising the beginning of their first dance.
A delicious and comforting wedding breakfast was served shortly afterwards and the wonderful Pembroke Lodge staff made sure that all the guests were well looked after and catered for. It’s always a privilege to work alongside other professionals at weddings, especially when they are so courteous and make sure that we have everything we need as well. Those little considerations do go along way. As is usual at most traditional weddings, the speeches followed the wedding breakfast and were enjoyed by everyone in the room. There were laughs, tears and even some rather funny photos of the groom from when he and his best man had been children together. As the evening guests started to arrive and the party atmosphere was in full swing, I was struck with the amount of love and admiration that everyone had for Amy and Sam. They had clearly made their families proud with all of their achievements together and as individuals but there was also a feeling of respect and appreciation of the newlyweds that was tangible throughout the evening. And, as you can imagine, this lifted the spirits of all and kept the general mood of the wedding very happy indeed. Amy and Sam, it was an honour to photograph your beautiful day and I wish you every happiness as you start married life together.
The morning mist was still lingering as we started the day at the bride’s family home in Camberley, Surrey. Everyone was calm and serene as the ladies were beautified and the gentlemen made breakfast, polished shoes and refined speeches. Nan kept a watchful eye over the proceedings and all seemed to go according to plan. Hannah’s parents are keen gardeners and told us to ‘help ourselves’ to their spacious back garden for some beautiful photos of the vintage-styled bridal shoes (by Rachel Simpson), elegant and shimmering bridesmaid dresses, and THE FLOWERS.
Now I can’t go any further without gushing about those flowers by The White Horse Flower Company! Oh my goodness, the bouquets have to be in my top 3 of all time and they smelled AMAZING. Often, when planning a wedding, folks don’t understand why wedding flowers cost so much or what the point of them is. After seeing these flowers, it made me realise their importance and how they tie the season or theme together in the most beautiful way. Lindsey from The White Horse Flower Company is a genius, a lovely lady and someone you can trust to interpret your flower requirements to perfection. Hannah & Rob decided, with Lindsey, to make the most of their hessian wrapped tubs of red heather that lined the aisle for the ceremony so they became the table centrepieces for the wedding breakfast and will eventually be planted in the bride and groom’s garden as a memento of the day. Talk about forward planning and not letting anything go to waste!
The rest of the autumnal decor in the Tithe Barn at Ufton Court had been lovingly made by the bride and groom: home-dried confetti, hand-tied leaf bunting, hand-painted crate signs, handmade streamers that covered the entrance of the bridal party and doubled up as a backdrop for the head table, hand-chiseled pieces of wood with Hannah and Rob’s initials, and a rather impressive array of white photo frames that displayed the bridal party in all their glory. So yes, a lot of time and effort had clearly gone into making everything look very pretty which helps make my job that little bit easier!
Rob and his groomsmen wore hired blue three piece suits and brown shoes. Rob opted for a deep maroon coloured tie which complemented his groomsmen’s ivory ties. Lindsey’s fab buttonholes of heather, blue berries and twine looked amazing on the guys’ blue lapels – great choice all round. Hannah’s dress had beautiful lace flower detail over the shoulders, bodice and the top of the skirt which was a mass of layers of soft tulle which flared out at the back creating a small but elegant train. The silk ribbons on Hannah’s bouquet set off her dress in a boho, kind of whimsical way that didn’t overpower or distract from the bride. The great Total Hospitality team were on form providing a whole host of goodies for the guests to enjoy as well as conjuring up the elegant wedding cake on top of feeding everyone – what stars, and trust me, they make it look easy. The evening was rounded off by DJ Adam Rees getting everyone up and dancing, the way it should be!
This wedding has reminded me that in all the decisions when planning a wedding, be convicted in what you are doing and in the decisions you are making. Just because it’s on Pinterest, it doesn’t mean it’s right for your day. Your wedding day should reflect you as a couple and we felt this autumnal wedding suited Hannah and Rob down to the ground.