People often ask me if I ever get bored of photographing weddings. The simple answer, thankfully, is no and do you know why? Personality. Of course, every wedding has different elements that reflect something of the couple getting married. They can often be found in the personal touches (obviously) like handmade decorations or in the food and drink or in the evening entertainment but I truly believe that there something that goes deeper than surface level decoration that makes every wedding totally unique and meaningful. It’s all about people. The couple getting married, their wedding party, their parents and family, their friends, the suppliers they’ve chosen to ‘produce’ and be present on their day… everyone involved brings an offering of themselves to the table and it’s that unique mixture of talent, personality, purpose and love that make weddings like no other occasion we celebrate.
Becki and Paul’s wedding was a beautiful cocktail of all of the above in the stunning settings of St James’s Church in Bramley, parts of which date back to the twelfth century, and Ufton Court near Reading. Green Parlour created a feast for the eyes with regards to the wedding flowers, in particular the individually bespoke buttonholes that looked fantastic against the boys’ waistcoats and suit jackets. Oakwood Events and The Wild Fork catering team were fantastic as always and all the guests thoroughly enjoyed all of the décor and delicious food and drink that was served throughout the day. During the service, Becki’s mum read one of her favourite childhood books as an alternative reading, which was clearly very touching for Paul and Becki. When the newlyweds walked down the aisle as husband and wife, they were serenaded by didgeridoos and drums that reflected a family tradition of Paul’s. And at the reception, photos of their parent’s weddings and grandparent’s weddings made you realise that this day was bigger than just Becki and Paul – it was about the union of two families with many talents, so much personality and so much love.
Michelle and Larry’s wedding was a more intimate affair with a select number of friends and family at Ufton Court for the ceremony and reception. Again, so much love and effort had gone into the decorative details of the day that everywhere you looked there was something to admire and look at. Oakwood Events were on a roll that weekend with the barn décor and Total Hospitality produced so much delicious food that no one went hungry all day. As well as the fab garden games provided by Ufton Court, the drinks reception was full of edible treats for the guests to enjoy. The bride and groom provided a generous sweetie table and Daisy, the vintage ice cream van, made a stop off in the afternoon to the great delight of the adults as well as the children. Clearly, Michelle and Larry had thought carefully about their guests and how best to help them enjoy the day. The atmosphere was so relaxed and comfortable that it felt more like a family gathering than a wedding, which in my opinion is quite an achievement and something to be proud of. It was an absolute delight to capture.
Michelle & Larry // Ufton Court
Venue Ufton Court
Flowers Green Parlour
Venue Styling Oakwood Events
Ice creams Daisy Icecream Van
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 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.