The Beautifully creative DIY Wedding of Ben & Charlie
Venue Fawley Hill, Henley on Thames – Berkshire – UK
Cake – The Bride
Afternoon Tea – Scones & Sausage Rolls – The Groom
I love resourceful people. They use what’s around them to create beautiful things and host lovely events. Sarah and Mark chose the picturesque village of Rotherwick, Hampshire to basically host their entire wedding by using four elements of it on one day. The bride got ready at the gorgeous Tylney Hall Hotel with her mother, maid of honour and flower girl. The church service was held at the very charming Rotherwick Church, at the top of The St, which was filled with beautiful flowers by Eclectic Bliss Events and smelled amazing.
After the service, the entire wedding party walked down the road to The Coach and Horses pub for a quick drink. Even though intermittent showers meant that everyone huddled under umbrellas to stay dry, it didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits and the small but welcoming country pub was filled with laughter, the clinking of glasses and good wishes for the happy couple.
After an hour or so, everyone left the pub and crossed the road to Rotherwick Village Hall for speeches, food, games and evening party. The 1930s hall looked stunning with even more flowers from and Vintage china from Eclectic Bliss Events, and glassware that the bride had collected herself, handmade bunting, handmade wooden place names, a delicious sweetie table and a contemporary-styled jukebox. Everywhere you looked there was something more to look at and appreciate. Sarah had put wedding photos of both families around the room on windowsills and on a paint-spattered, lovely, rustic, old step-ladder that had belonged to Mark’s grandfather. There were so many personal and creative touches, it was clear that a lot of time and love had gone into making this wedding happen. Huge congratulations to Sarah and Mark, may you have many happy years together and inspire many other couples to be resourceful with their wedding preparations!
Stationery Norma & Dorothy
Dress Tabitha by Charlotte Balbier
Flowers & Vintage China Eclectic Bliss Events
Caterer Lewis Bros
Please be upstanding for Charlotte & Andy.
When I started to shoot weddings, I never wanted to be that guy that just turns up on the morning of one of the most special and intimate days of your life and start taking photos. Some people can do this very well but for me, I want to always get to know the couple, spend time with them and by the time the wedding comes round I am not just a random stranger but someone that they can trust. In the case of Charlotte and Andy, we did an engagement shoot, not only to get some great photos but just another great reason to get to know them.
Charlotte and Andy had their wedding day at the very beautiful Wasing Park in the heart of the Berkshire countryside. This was the first time I had worked at Wasing Park and WOW, it was amazing. Couples book their venues and suppliers for many different reasons. Sometimes they like their style and approach, others because of their price point. In the case of Wasing Park, you book them for a venue that not only is beautiful and so well kept but also because you can trust the team who will bring a reassurance to your wedding so you as the bride or groom don’t have to worry about anything.
A few special mentions have to go to the amazing Lulabee for her beautiful bespoke wedding stationary, menus and decorations. The amount of love that went into these truly show and they add a lovely touch. When I started shooting weddings, I thought the whole point of flowers was just something that the bride could hold onto, but how very wrong I was. Choosing the right flowers can add something so special to your wedding day. They can tie themes together, add personality, and look gorgeous. Linz from The White Horse Flower Company does this to perfection. Not only will her flowers blow your mind, they will also smell incredible and, I promise you, in years to come when you smell the same flowers again, they will bring you right back to your wedding day. For me the smell of popcorn takes me right back to when I was a young boy and used to go to the Saturday cinema club and for that hour or so I could be anyone I wanted to (and usually it involved saving the world). On the wedding day when Linz explained the different flowers in the bouquet, Charlotte was so choked up and emotional. There was something truly very special about those flowers.
The ceremony, drinks reception, wedding breakfast, speeches and evening party were chock full of laughter, love, hilarity, emotions and tears. It seemed to me that every guest thoroughly enjoyed themselves and the atmosphere all day was great. The night flew by and before I knew it, I boogying along with everyone, witnessing and photographing the hilarious dance battles (kudos to the chaps who tried to do the splits!!) and shapes being thrown on the dance floor. It says a lot about a couple and their guests when I find myself on the dance floor, being treated like an old friend, enjoying having a laugh with complete strangers and no one caring that I have a camera in my hand. Honestly, it makes my job so much easier and far more enjoyable when that happens. So huge thanks to the newlyweds and their loved ones; you made these photos happen, literally!
Venue Wasing Park
Caterers Galloping Gourmet
Dress Benjamin Roberts
Flowers The White Horse Flower Company
Grooms Suit Slaters
Makeup Charlotte Elizabeth
Stationary & Decorations Lulabee
I began my friendship with Jess and Ben last year when, having booked my services for their Spring time Berkshire wedding at Ufton Court, we met up for their engagement shoot stroll along the river in Henley-on-Thames. We chatted, we laughed, I snapped away, they held hands, hugged and giggled. Jess told me after the wedding that they had found it so helpful to have the engagement shoot beforehand as it prepared them, it relaxed them and meant they knew what to expect on the big day itself. Like most couples, they weren’t used to having their photo taken so were appreciative for the chance to get used to me and my camera first without the pressure of it being their special day.
The morning preparations were well underway when I arrived at Jess and Ben’s house in Reading. I think sometimes we forget that as a bride, about 25-30% of your wedding day is spent in preparation. Therefore, it’s so important to have the right people around you in that situation; people who will not fluster you or make you nervous. The space you’re in needs to be comfortable, physically speaking with regards to where you are getting ready but also mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Your story of the day starts in this moment; your transformation from fiancé into bride to become a wife. A cocooned caterpillar preparing herself for transformation into a bridal butterfly if you will. And I want to be there to capture the emotions of that experience.
Jess’s dress suited her down to the ground. It was simple but delicate and elegant all in one with lace and beading detail. The bridesmaids complemented her with one-shoulder green mid-length dresses that weren’t too fussy or over-the-top. And lovely flower girl, Chloe, was pretty in white with orange flowers and painted orange toe nails! Page boy Leon matched his military father’s uniform and was a hit with all the guests taking photos of him all day.
The ceremony at Ufton Court was truly lovely. A highlight for me was Ben’s Opa (German for Grandpa) doing a reading for the couple. Ben stood next to Opa throughout with his arm around him holding him tightly. It was honest, personal and made my wife, Zoë (who was photographing the ceremony from the back of the aisle) rather emotional as she had never met another ‘Opa’ before. She’s very fond of her German Opa who passed away when she was 10 years old, and the words that were being said by this Opa struck a cord with her in more ways than one.
As always, the fabulous Oakwood Events delivered on their gorgeous hanging lanterns and fairy lights. The wedding colour lanterns of orange and green along with the white and lace lanterns made the whole room come together along with Berkshire Wedding Hire’s ceremony and (later) table decoration in the Tithe Barn. The outside garden games provided by Ufton Court produced the perfect fun atmosphere for the guests to enjoy the sunshine and interact with each other. I think it’s great when guests get to know each other at weddings; it’s so healthy for the atmosphere of the day. And you’re probably most likely to find a kindred spirit or two at a wedding because you’ll probably find out you have more than knowing the happy couple in common. Often friends of the newlyweds who have never met hit it off because they’re similar personalities or have a similar sense of humour, etc. So next time you’re a wedding guest, get chatting! You never know who you might find.
After dinner and speeches were over, I went with Jess and Ben for a walk around the grounds of Ufton Court. The light was perfect as it was just before sunset, Jess had put on her flip-flops and Ben had relaxed a little now that his speech was over and had a beer or two. Having spent nearly all afternoon chatting with family and friends, listening to speeches and having photos taken, it was important for Jess and Ben to spend some time together away from the madness of the day so they could stop, take everything in and enjoy the moment. And we had a good laugh doing it.
A word needs to be said about Darren and his team at Foster’s Catering and that word is excellent. The food was on time, ‘on point’ and went down a storm with all of the guests. As well as canapés, drinks and a three course dinner, Darren served up a full English fry up served in a bap and cooked in his massive paella dish during the break in the evening band’s set. Genius! And what a band it was. !daft! literally rocked the night away and the dance floor was pretty much full from start to finish. Guests were kicking off their shoes, letting go of any inhibitions and throwing their hands in the air like they didn’t care. For any band to achieve this is surely the ultimate goal – having your crowd absolutely loving the music you’re playing and dancing away like there’s no tomorrow. And you just have to check out their Facebook page to see that this is a regular occurrence!
Venue Ufton Court
Caterers Fosters Catering
Dress Rembo Styling
Bridesmaids David’s Bridal
Groom Suit A Suit That Fits
Makeup & Hair Claire Nicole
Lanterns & Lighting Oakwood Events
The story of love and life
In my opinion, weddings should be a joyful occasion; a chance for those closest to the couple to witness and celebrate their union. Family involvement and enjoyment can honestly add another level to a wedding day that is such a privilege to photograph. Katie and Craig’s wedding at the beautiful Highfield Park in Berkshire embodied this completely. It was fun, relaxed and entertaining; there were roars of laughter, happy smiles and tears of sadness at all the right moments throughout the day and everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
The groomsmen looked very dapper in their 3 piece blue suits and grey waistcoats from Asos and matching brown shoes. The bride wore a stunning Essence of Australia wedding dress with beautiful back detail, shoes by Pink Paradox London and all the flowers were created by Croppers In Bloom. The invitations, table plan, name cards and table names were all handmade by the couple and family members which added a beautiful, personal touch that I personally favour and appreciate.
Katie and Craig clearly thought about the enjoyment factor of their wedding for their guests and a lot of preparation by all involved went into the execution of the day. They had a great team of family and friends around them as well as the support and assistance of the venue staff and registrars. It was a fantastic wedding, I wish the newlyweds every good wish imaginable as they start married life together and I hope you get the (very obvious) ‘happy vibes’ from these photos.
Venue: Highfield Park
Dress: Essence of Australia
Flowers: Croppers in Bloom
Shoes: Pink Pardox London
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!
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.
This seaside theme Berkshire wedding was a real treasure. Roxy & Scott have a true love for the coast (Scott proposed to Roxy on bended knee on one of their favourite beaches) so they wanted the seaside to be the theme for their wedding. They tied the knot on Friday 7th August 2015 at the lovely Herons Farm in Berkshire, and then headed over to the gorgeous HillFields Farm Estate for the reception. They envisioned a rustic and relaxed wedding day with a seaside theme… think afternoon tea, beers in a boat & beach huts.
Roxy bought her stunning dress from Confetti Bridal Centre in Wokingham… “When the assistant brought out a sheer lace off the shoulder jacket with scalloped detail, it became my perfect dress.” The gorgeous flowers were by the wonderful florists Croppers in Bloom The stunning purple hydrangeas were a perfect match for the Purple bridesmaids dresses.
It was pleasure to shoot this gorgeous wedding, such a fun day. PS Every wedding should have boat full of Corona!