Autumn was definitely in the air for Katie and James’s Botley Mansion wedding. The warmth of summer is still with us but horse chestnuts and conkers were looking ready to fall and the leaves are on the cusp of turning gold. September is a great month to get married in, the weather tends to be more settled and guests tend to be that much more relaxed after the summer. Are you getting the feeling that it’s my favourite time of year!! But what really makes a wedding for me are the couples and without doubt, Katie and James are up there with the best of them. I know they took a lot of time and effort making sure they had the right venue in Botleys Mansion and equal amounts of effort an energy making sure the rest of the day was perfectly planned and well put together. The only anxiety I felt they had was their first dance – a lot of couples go through the same anxieties – but I have to say, Katie and James did it with style and grace with nothing to worry about. Here’s Just One from their day with plenty more favourites to follow soon.
I knew this wedding was going to be special. We needed a bit luck with weather to make it perfect. But even if it was to rain, Bella and Henry would have outshone any grey clouds. What an incredible couple, so perfect for each other, and a testament to them was a fantastic crowd of friends and family. The law of weddings is that the dance floor is usually busy for the first three or four songs and then there’s an unspoken nod amongst the dancers as they head off to the bar (usually somewhere between ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ and “Michael BublÃ©”) for a well earned pint. But as soon as the first dance looked like it was coming to an end, the floor filled with what felt like every guest at the wedding. And it pretty much stayed that till the end. I normally stay photographing until that natural lull around the 4th or 5th song, which I suppose I did at Bella and Henry’s wedding – it just so happened that that lull was the last song. Which meant that I got to photograph them leaving through an arcade of wedding sparklers, one of my many, many favourite moments from a brilliant day. And just to make it perfect, the weather did behave itself and gave us a clear skies into the evening!
Ooh, I do love a good bit of wedding confetti! As the bride and groom casually set off down the path, lined with their friends and family, the couple quietly assume they can stroll towards their waiting car before heading off for a well deserved glass of champagne. But no. With in a few paces they realise that it’s ‘heads down and onwards’, more a gentle charge than a stroll. The longer the line of people and the more confetti, the bigger and better the expressions on the couple as they come through it all. And just when they think they are through the worst of it, there’s another handful of petals waiting! I love this shot of Darren and Gemma from their wedding in Hornchurch, Essex. The only way we could realistically line guests up in the time we had was either side of a willow tree. Which meant that they had to duck under the branches and out the other side – expecting it all to be over, they were greeted by even more confetti.
I know managing a confetti shot is not to everyone’s taste but when it works, it’s a lot of fun! The only downside, of course, is picking all that confetti out of your hair afterwards.
Lucy and Adam had their fare share of pre-wedding trials and tribulations when the original venue they had booked was going through a refurbishment and looked like it wasn’t going to be ready in time. They had to work hard to find a venue that was available at short notice at one of the busiest times of the wedding year but they came up absolute trumps with The Jockey Club Rooms wedding option in Newmarket. What an absolutely superb place for any event – originally a grand private members club for elite of the racing world, it’s now open to weddings which is a great thing. Steeped in racing history since racing in the UK began, the Jockey Club Rooms has an impressive grandeur. But, most impressively, the staff are not only very professional at what they do but also incredibly welcoming with it. It’s hard not to get little carried away with it all as every corridor, painting and table is top to toe in racing history. But when you have a couple as lovely and relaxed as Lucy and Adam, the backdrop fades away, they had fantastic chemistry together which was reflected in great family and guests. The weather was ideal, warm and sunny – we did have a downpour at one point but it was obliging enough to happen just after everyone went in for their meal and stop just as the meal finished (well planned guys!).
Heading west for the glorious Wiltshire wedding of Katherine and Tom. This was always going to be a belter as I’ve known Katherine and her family (and her incredibly well behaved cousins …!) for quite a few years. They are a big family with big hearts and incredibly generous with their hospitality. Katherine’s father’s wine cellar is something of legend in their family and this was the perfect opportunity to show it off. The evening was on course for being loud, large and incredibly well catered for. This I knew – there hasn’t been a celebration (or even a quiet night out) with Katherine’s extended family where I haven’t felt a little wobbly the next day. Or a few days after for that matter. But what’s always struck me about such a robust and gregarious family is the incredible honesty and emotionally open-hearted they are. I was privileged to witness some of the most tender and emotional little moments throughout the day. Here is a selection of my favourites from an incredible day!
There’s a moment at the church door where the bride and father of the bride get ready to walk down the aisle. It’s usually a bit of a flustered and hectic moment.
Up to this point the day has been about getting ready – the bride has been pampered with hair and make-up and the occasional glass of champagne whilst her father has either been keeping out the way, doing a little bit of last minute gardening, or turned into a Brigadier and has been marshalling the signs for car parking and co-ordinating the ebb and flow of caterers, florists, bar staff, DJs and the like. I’ve walked into preparations where the father has been clearing out the over-flowing cess pit which has chosen the wedding day to block up; or fathers quietly (and a little bit ominously!) sharpening gardening sheers; fathers with spreadsheets and clipboards of D-Day organisational proportions; and fathers who have been up, dressed and ready since before dawn trying to look calm and collected but unaware that they are wearing their waistcoat inside out. Then the cars arrive to take everyone to the church. Bridesmaids fluster with bouquets and last minute lipsticks; the mother of the bride tries to work out if it’s better to get in the car with her hat on or off, several different ways; and the younger brother is unceremoniously shoved out the door for making too many jokes about whether the groom is still sober.
There’s the quiet moments in the car to the church before it all gets busy again being greeted by bridesmaids and an usher or two, the bride trying to get out of the car gracefully whilst wearing a large dress and being welcomed at the church door by the vicar – it can all whizz by in a bit of blur, months of preparations and decisions and here they are, minutes away from the ceremony.
The vicar says a few calming words and talks through the practicalities of walking down the aisle; bridesmaids fluster, fuss and giggle; a flower girl accidentally hits the page boy with her posy; last minute guests run up the church path squealing their congratulations and apologies and try and squeeze past everyone through the door. And there’s a moment, a little oasis of calm, between the bride and her father. It may only be a second or two but there is a look, a connection like no other. The unconditional love of a father, all those sleepless nights, trips to A&E, school reports (good and bad!), clumping ballet lessons, lost teddy bears, tears and tantrums, inappropriate boyfriends, inappropriate clothes for nights out to find inappropriate boyfriends, pranged cars, exam results, sadness and loss, happiness and joy, the first job, the first flat, meeting the appropriate boyfriend all the way through to day he comes to ask for your daughter’s hand in marriage.
From the first moment he saw his little baby girl all the […]