Salisbury Wedding Photography – Evelien and Nick

Some of my favourite weddings take place in parents’ back gardens. Some of my favourite weddings having a mashup of cultures. Evelien and Nick’s wedding had both these things, featuring a marquee reception behind Nick’s parents’ house and a bridal party from the Netherlands.

Evelien got ready with family and bridesmaid at a nearby holiday property, complete with a breakfast of wedding cake. She then travelled to St Mary’s Church in Odstock driven by her dad in his pride and joy, a classic open-top Porsche. Nick was waiting at the church with his identical twin brother in the role of best man (no, you’re not seeing double) and a small army of flower girls, and we were treated to a performance by a couple of musical friends.

After a short walk down the road to the reception, and a brief pause to greet the newly-married couple, the guests were rewarded with fizz and Dutch canapés before taking their seats for the wedding breakfast. Speeches from the usual suspects (plus a quick intermission courtesy of the bride’s brother) and then dancing. So much dancing.

Painted Hall Wedding Photography – Julia and Sean

This was the first of two lots of wedding photography at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich in the same year, starting off at the Painted Hall. Firstly, I found myself in a department store in Bromley where Julia had her make-up done, before heading to her nearby home to finish the preparations. Julia (pronounced and spelt Yulia in her native Russia) had both her own family and friends, and Sean’s family present to help her. The ceremony took place at another venue I was making the first of two visits to in 2015, nearby Eltham College. Sean’s two sons attend the college and so they chose a familiar setting. After some (surprisingly common) taxi trouble Julia finally arrived and proceedings got underway.

Afterwards, we all boarded a pair of Routemaster buses for the short journey across south east London to the ORNC. Drinks and canapés were served in the colonnade next to the Painted Hall, before a receiving line welcomed the guests into the impressive surroundings of the Hall itself for the meal and speeches. There was a brief interval between courses to enjoy the sunshine on the lawns, as the band set off the fire alarms with their smoke machine! Julia’s Russian father managed a very passable speech in English despite it not being his mother tongue, with possibly the best speech backdrop I’ve ever had.

The day came to a close with dancing down in the basement, and the band more than made up for the lack of artificial haze with some pretty awe-inspiring outfits. Light-up codpieces not pictured. It’s not that kind of blog.

Rectory Farm Cambridge Wedding Photography – Lizzie and Ben

I first met Ben at Hayley & Jamie’s Wedding at Careys Manor during the 2012 Olympics, and it was a pleasure to photograph his and Lizzie’s wedding on a return visit to Rectory Farm. The day started in the village of Melbourn at Lizzie’s family home, with a small army of bridesmaids, lots of tears and lots of fizz.

Lizzie was driven to the ceremony at All Saints Church in the village by her grandfather in a Morris Minor belonging to the family, which was then driven by Ben himself to Rectory Farm up the road near Cambridge. The glorious weather allowed for much drinking on the lawn and liberal use of the swing by the kids. Dinner in the marquee was followed by the speeches (cue more tears from the bridesmaids) and an opportunity to enjoy the last of the sunshine.

Trouserless selfies, bubbles and more swinging, then the cake was cut and the band struck up. A very full dance floor, until some of the guests spilled out to light a cigar, or a sparkler. However, it wasn’t long until they were straight back to the dancing.

Tudor Park Hotel Kent Wedding Photography – Kirstie and Jon

Since I moved from Kent to Derbyshire in 2011 I’ve not had many opportunities to return, so it was a welcome return visit to the Tudor Park Hotel near Maidstone. The last time I was here it was just for bridal preparations for Sara and Wayne’s wedding at The Orangery at nearby Turkey Mill, but this time the wedding reception was at Tudor Park too.

First up though was the ceremony at Boxley Church, a ceremony conducted by Jon’s mother who is the vicar at Boxley. Jon’s father had been quite ill the night before the wedding, so it was good to see him present for the wedding, surrounded by tired family! With an impromptu receiving line, and some confetti, out of the way everyone made their way back to Tudor Park for drinks and nibbles in the bar before moving to the marquee for the meal.

Jon’s love of photography reared its head with the table plan and labels, showcasing some of his images from his and Kirstie’s world travels. My travel horizons will bring me back to Kent next August for Rebecca and Ryan’s wedding, but the day after Jon and Kirstie’s wedding I found myself at the opposite end of the country, coming soon!

Notley Abbey Wedding Photography – Fran and Pete

Last time I shot a wedding at Notley Abbey I had a bout of food poisoning (not caused by the venue’s food I should add!), so it was good to return feeling healthy and exorcise a few demons!

Fran and her family and bridesmaids prepared for the wedding at a local farm full of converted barns, before heading to St. Peter & St. Paul’s Church in Dinton for the ceremony. A receiving line and some enthusiastic confetti throwing later and we were all off to Notley Abbey for the reception, where Pete was given the perfect gift for any Spurs fan. A 7″ vinyl copy of the Glenn Hoddle and Chris Waddle single ‘Diamond Lights’. Genius.

After the kids had channelled Andy Goldsworthy using the giant Jenga, everyone headed into the barn for the meal and speeches. There was a cardboard cut-out of the groom in stag do outfit for the second time this year, although this time there was a hole for the groom (and other guests) to recreate the moment using the actual wig.

St Barts Hospital Wedding Photography – Jocelyn and Gabriel

Lots of my clients get married in the church in which they were christened, but very few of them get married in the place they were born. Jocelyn was born at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in Smithfield, East London an undisclosed number of years before holding her wedding reception there, but first she had a date with Gabriel at the neighbouring Priory Church of St Bartholomew the Great, one of the oldest churches in London.

Parts of the church date back to the 12th Century, and it was one of the few churches to survive the Great Fire of London. In this incredible setting the ceremony was conducted by a friend of the couple, featured an amazing choir and when the deed was done the couple left through a military guard of honour thanks to Gabriel’s work colleagues. There followed a drinks reception outside the church, then a short walk into the grounds of St Barts Hospital and up to the Great Hall. The history lesson continued as St Barts is the oldest hospital in Europe still operating on the same site.

Then speeches, scoffing, selfies, spinning, swaying and swinging before a grand exit and a wander to their hotel through Smithfield Market.

Castle Combe Wedding Photography – Lucy and Erik

If this wedding seems familiar, that’s because Lucy and Erik saw how successful Lucy’s older sister Annabel’s wedding in 2011 was (flashback here) and recreated it! So it was back to Britain’s prettiest village, Castle Combe in Wiltshire, for preps at the Manor House Hotel, a ceremony at St. Andrew’s Church, afternoon tea in Lucy’s parents’ garden and finally a reception in the field next door.

One noticeable difference were the blue and yellow flowers and the blue and yellow decorations all around the marquee to recognise the Swedish contingent (the groom and his family). Plus, Lucy and Erik’s wedding took place the day before my son Eric’s birthday, which was an interesting coincidence!

New House Farm Wedding Photography – Rebecca and Dave

I’ve had couples bring their dogs along to their wedding before, but Rebecca and Dave’s wedding in the Lake District was the first time I have seen the dog tasked with videography too. Ted had his own little GoPro attached to provide a unique perspective on the day. Thankfully the lovely Lee & Dawn from Shutterbox were unfazed by their canine competitor.

Rebecca and her army of bridesmaids got ready at New House Farm before heading to the other side of Bassenthwaite Lake for the ceremony at St Bega’s Church in a fleet of vintage vehicles. As you can see below St Bega’s is in a unique location with some amazing views. After the ceremony there was time for a few family groups to make the most of the views, then everyone headed back to New House Farm. Note for prospective couples reading this – if your ceremony venue requests that you don’t throw confetti in the grounds, and you decide to opt for birdseed instead, bear in mind that birdseed is quite hard, and small enough to get EVERYWHERE. Carry on…

Back at the barn we were greeted by some amazing floral table centres and Dave’s handy work with a few thousand fairy lights, and after the meal we had speeches with the final toast done with Jaegerbombs! Then there was time for physical exertion with a game of rounders in the rain and a human pyramid on the dance floor. Not my first, as regular readers will know.

Euston Hall Estate Wedding Photography – Katherine and Laurence

As you might guess, the summer months are quite busy for your friendly neighbourhood wedding photographer, so holidays have to be squeezed in around weddings. This meant that on the second day of my carefully planned holiday in Norfolk I left the family and headed south to Suffolk, specifically to The Angel Hotel in Bury St Edmunds for Katherine’s preparations. In amongst the hive of activity I found Katherine’s customised veil, complete with an illustration by the unsuspecting groom!

A short drive north towards Thetford took us to the Euston Hall Estate, complete with church (St Genevieve’s), Euston Hall and its beautiful gardens, all navigated by the happy couple in their own golf cart! After a drinks reception interrupted briefly by rain, everyone was directed into the neighbouring grounds where a huge Tentipi had been installed. Inside the huge Tentipi could be found huge dining tables, a huge ‘naked’ wedding cake, a huge number of speeches and later in the evening a huge brass band. Not just any brass band, but Acid Brass playing trumpet, tuba and trombone versions of classic acid house tunes.

Osmaston Park Wedding Photography – Esther and Matt

I always encourage my couples to limit the logistics and journeys between their wedding venues as much as possible, but when your chosen reception venue is miles from your family church sometimes you just have to build the travel into the day. Esther’s family church in Kings Norton (to the south of Birmingham) is almost 60 miles and 80 mins drive from the beautiful setting of Osmaston Park near Ashbourne in Derbyshire, but for Esther and Matt it was worth the extra travel time. Plus, Matt chose a rather nice vehicle for the couple to make the journey in.

With the ceremony complete, a cruise up the A38 in a vintage E-Type Jaguar ended in the amazing surroundings of Osmaston, formerly the site of the grand Osmaston Hall (knocked down in 1938) and now home to a huge marquee and an amazing view across acres of Derbyshire. Inside the marquee the couple had installed a forest of home-made paper lanterns, some custom printed cushions and tablecloths, a table of fine spirits and guest tables that used clocks to denote their number.

Masa Restaurant Derby Wedding Photography – Helen and Ash

Familiar faces aplenty at Helen and Ash’s wedding as I photographed Ash’s brother Ross’ Christmas wedding to Claire in 2012. This has to be the nearest wedding to home that I have ever photographed with only a 10 minute drive to the family home for Ash’s preparations, which began with a fairly strenuous cross fit session! Seems a bit crazy for your wedding day, but then in the previous fortnight the groom and his brother had run both the Paris and London marathons.

Now tired from watching the workout, I headed most of the way back home to Helen’s mum’s house for her preparations, complete with lots of presents from the groom and a rare ‘over-the-head’ dress installation. Then it was back down the road to Duffield for the ceremony before heading into Derby city centre to a converted chapel that now houses Masa restaurant.

We had musical family members, Easter-themed place names, a musical speech from the best men and (new record) five wedding cakes courtesy of Ash’s sister-in-law. More from her next.

Rudding Park Harrogate Wedding Photography – Sarah and Adam

After having a heavy bias towards Suffolk weddings last year, this year the balance appears to have shifted to Yorkshire. Sarah & Adam’s wedding was the first of five Yorkshire weddings currently in the diary and my first (but hopefully not last) time at Rudding Park Hotel. They had a brief legal ceremony in the morning as the church on site at Rudding Park is only good for blessings, but this blessing was the focus of their plans and to all intents and purposes was their ‘ceremony’.

It was another unseasonably sunny day, although rather chilly, so everyone hurried inside for the rest of the day once the ceremony was over. We had a FaceTiming bride, a very emotional father of the bride, rapping best men and a smoke machine (YAY!). But not many people dancing (BOO!). Too soon after Christmas maybe?

Stock Manchester Wedding Photography – Lucy and Matt

My last wedding of 2013 was just after Christmas, and it was good to get out and get some fresh air after a few days of loafing around stuffing my face and watching rubbish television! Lucy and Matt were married at their local church in Prestwich to the north of Manchester, and then headed into the city centre to Stock, a restaurant in the old stock exchange building. A meal in the very grand main hall of the building was interspersed with speeches, before the tables made way for a dance floor and as you might expect, dancing. I’ll leave the final words to Lucy:

“Thank you so much for taking such fantastic photos of our wedding and capturing the day perfectly! Both Matt and I are so pleased with them and they are exactly what we wanted – thank you too for your help and advice when getting ready! MANY THANKS!”

Moreves Barn Wedding Photography – Laura and Neil

So, lots of Suffolk weddings in 2013, and this wasn’t even the last one. With the wedding a few days before Hallowe’en, there were pumpkins a plenty and lots of autumnal colour.

One obvious thing missing from this set is shots of the ceremony. It’s thankfully rare to be told that I’m not allowed to take any photographs at all during the ceremony, the last time being in 2010, 120 weddings ago! I’d had prior warning that this would be the case at St. Lawrence’s in Great Waldingfield from blog posts by fellow photographers, so it wasn’t a surprise when the law was laid down, but obviously unfortunate for Laura and Neil.

A short drive down the road to Moreves Barn, and we had bagpipes, wellies, a plethora of polaroids and not only a top table, but a cake in the shape of a top table. And dancing. Crazy amounts of dancing.

Mitton Hall Wedding Photography – Laura and Simon

This was one of my favourite weddings this year. Not because the father of the groom photographed the group shots (I’m free!), or because I had my own place setting and three course meal with the guests (never requested, but always gratefully received), or because the venue was very nice (it was), or because the female vicar was accommodating (more on that later), but because Laura and Simon are two lovely people who were very excited about their wedding photography and had surrounded themselves with lots of lovely friends and family who helped make my day very enjoyable.