This is quite a special wedding for me for a number of reasons. Clare & Carl treated me like one of the family from the moment we met, I had an absolute blast with them and all of their friends, they bought me a beer when we first met (a perfectly legitimate reason to love a couple). But it's also because their wedding was the birth of my Photofilms!
If you've been following my work for a while you will know that natural, unposed, documentary photography is what I'm passionate about. I believe that wedding photography shouldn't get in the way or distract from your day. Ever since I launched my Silent Movies about 2 years ago, I've been trying to come up with the next step...
And it finally happened, a few weeks before Clare & Carl's wedding. So I messaged them explaining my idea for a Silent Movie with Audio, or Photofilm as I now call them, and asked if they minded being guinea pigs for me... Fortunately, they trusted me and loved the results.
"For people like us who wanted to hear people’s voices during the important bits, but didn’t want a full videographer it’s perfect!"
- Clare & Carl
I knew I needed to take the same approach to record audio as I do with photography - unobtrusive. So, other than a small discrete mic, that is only worn during the ceremony & speeches, there are no other intrusions from me. It's business as usual on the day - you do what you do and I'll do what I do 😉
These photofilms are a new and unique way to remember your wedding. The best way I can describe them is "a mashup of documentary photography, stop-motion images, and recorded audio." The best way for you to see what I'm talking about is to check out the video above 😉
A restored 19th-century house on the Surrey - Hampshire border, surrounded by lush green fields and a wildflower meadow, Millbridge Court is one stunning wedding venue. Stylishly decorated throughout there isn't much you need to do to this venue. There are also eight bedrooms plus a Hideaway cabin at the bottom of the garden.
Clare and her Bridal Party got ready in the Loft. It's out of the way of arriving guests and has plenty of room for hair and make-up stations. Plus there's a sneaky little one-way window which was really handy for spying on people downstairs.
The Hideaway is a cute log-cabin at the bottom of the garden. This is where Carl got ready, and where Clare & Carl would be spending their wedding night. With its own little deck overlooking the meadows and a free-standing copper bath, it's a really cute place to spend your wake up on your first morning as a married couple.
Carl was a little nervous, but no more than is normal. Once ready we headed up to the house to meet the rest of the Groomsmen to hand out ties etc. One of Carl's Ushers made the mistake of wearing camouflage on the stag do, and everyone ripped him for it. So, as a joke, Carl switched his tie, with a camo tie.
I left the boys having a beer in the sunshine and headed back up to Clare in the Loft. The atmosphere was electric, nerves and excitement were bubbling over... And the champagne was flowing nicely too!
At Millbridge Court wedding ceremonies can be held inside or outside. The hall has a high vaulted ceiling with floor-to-ceiling windows and exposed wooden beams. If the weather isn't ideal this would still be a gorgeous ceremony room...
Clare & Carl chose to get married outside, underneath the oak Arbour. Which I was super chuffed to hear as outdoor ceremonies are my absolute favourite! Surrounded by trees, fields, their closest friends & family and the sound of birds singing it was a gorgeous ceremony.
Carl was a tad emotional while waiting for Clare, which seemed to set off a chain reaction amongst the guests... And encouraged a little bit of heckling from the crowd 😉
The Terrace is situated between the two halls and reminds me of Italian Courtyards. This combined with the garden is the ideal space to celebrate with a cocktail or two - which is exactly what Clare & Carl chose to do. The sun was shining, Catherine Wright provided background music and the cocktails were flowing nicely.
After the wedding breakfast, which I can honestly say was one of the nicest meals I've ever had at a wedding (thanks Kalm Kitchen), it was time for the speeches. The Father of the Bride & Groom both made great speeches and the Best Men absolutely killed it. If you've watched the Photofilm above, I trimmed a lot of the more risqué material out of that!
I don't think I've ever met a couple who are looking forward to their first dance. That could be because the couples I tend to photograph generally aren't mad keen on being the centre of attention or just that the act of having a romantic dance while your mates watch is inherently a bit weird.
For me it's all about the last dance - that's where the magic happens. It's the last dance where everyone is drunk relaxed and on an absolute high. It's the crescendo, the finale, the climax of the day if you will... I always leave a wedding on a massive high when I've stayed until the very end.
Venue: Millbridge Court | Hair Stylist: Gemma Sutton | Makeup Artist: Melissa Bourne | Makeup Artist #2: Jo Hamilton | Flowers: Lily Lupin | Cake: Little Cake Garden | Caterers: Kalm Kitchen | Wedding Dress: Morgan Davies | Bridesmaid Dress Designer: Ruby Violet | D.J. & Sax: Dan Goode | Singer: Catherine Wright Events
Plas Dinam is a "Do It Yourself" country house wedding venue. It's set in the beautiful Mid Wales countryside, on the outskirts of Llandinam, Powys - less than an hours drive from Shrewsbury. And it's one of my all-time favourite wedding venues.
I've been trying to work out why I like it so much ever since I photographed my first wedding there, and I think I've finally got it… It's because it's the sort of place where I would have got married. In fact, we got married at Walcot Hall, which is only 50 minutes away, just across the border into Shropshire and has a lot of the same qualities.
Plas Dinam ticks an awful lot of the boxes that for me, the perfect wedding venue has to tick. It's exclusive use, for the whole weekend. There's accommodation. You can get married inside, or outside. The house is grand, the stables are rustic and the gardens are gorgeous. You can hire who you want, to do what you want.
If you want to keep it relaxed and informal you can provide the bar yourself - no corkage! If you want to make it more of an occasion you can do that too. That's the best thing about DIY wedding venues, you can have the wedding you want, exactly how you want it. Sure you may have to do a little more work, but that's half the fun, isn't it?
My opinion is that you should be able to relax and enjoy your wedding. I mean, after all, it is one great big party, right? The last thing I want to do is take you away from your mates and make you feel awkward while I take photos.
So, that's why I take a candid approach to photographing your day. I aim to capture all the little moments as well as the big ones as they happen. That's how I capture genuine reactions, real moments and create images that have significant memories attached to them.
Everything you see on my website is 100% unposed, it's a moment that happened naturally during the course of a real wedding.
I think my favourite quote about my approach to wedding photography comes from the wedding I'm about to show you... The Bride's Father had told Orla (the Bride) that he was impressed with me, going on to say "He's in your face, but not in your face." And I couldn't have put it better myself!
Although I hadn't met Orla or Henry before their wedding, they welcomed me in like I was one of the family - quite literally. I met them at the house the day before their wedding. After a warm welcome, I was shown to my room, dropped my stuff off and got to work!
It was hustle and bustle to get as much done as possible before the rest of the guests arrived. Once everyone had arrived, we had a break for food and wine, then it was back to the stables for the finishing touches. I really enjoyed hanging out with everyone the night before. It's great for me to have a laugh and get to know everyone before the big day.
One of the best things about having a weekend wedding is that it makes it much more of an occasion. You get more time to spend with your friends and family, so you don't feel so pressured to make sure you speak to everyone on the day. And by having a photographer there for the weekend, means you get photos of all that too. You know, like the moment your family from Ireland arrive!
The rooms at Plas Dinam are fantastic for morning preparations. They have big windows and plenty of space for hair & make-up stations! The views out over the rear gardens and the countryside beyond are stunning. And are especially handy for keeping an eye on the weather if you're planning an outdoor ceremony - like Orla and Henry were.
The whole morning was lovely. Orla got ready with her mum, her bridesmaids and her two flower girls. When they weren't having their hair or make-up done, they were looking through a book of the Hen-Do photos and reminiscing over fun weekends away.
I nipped down to catch up with Henry and his groomsmen in the snooker room where they all had a drink or two and Henry opened his card and present from Orla.
There are a few different ways to make your entrance if you're having an outdoor ceremony at Plas Dinam. My favourite is the longest way. You exit from the back of the house, then make your way through the garden, down a few steps and along a winding path to the front of the house. This route gives you a bit of time to compose your thoughts but also makes for some lovely photos too.
Outdoor ceremonies are my absolute favourite and this one was no exception. It was touching, personal and despite the grey clouds, it stayed dry!
After the ceremony, everyone headed to the rear garden to start the celebrations! Welcome drinks, canapés and lawn games made for a great start to the afternoon. The sun was just about winning its battle with the clouds and there was a real sense of celebration in the air.
Orla & Henry wanted to double check everything was going to plan in the Stables, so I used this as an opportunity to get a few photos just the two of them.
I really like the house, but the Stables are my favourite part of Plas Dinam. It could be because that's generally where the party is, but I like to think it's because of the amazing light and the vintage tiled stalls.
It's a great space to take you from the wedding breakfast to drunken dancing. And that's mostly because of the glass roof above the stables. It provides the most amazingly soft, diffused light that fades beautifully as the sun sets. Plus, there's no need to move tables as there's already space for the band off to the side.
Photo booths pop up at a lot of weddings. You can get them in all shapes and sizes from the sit-in booth (that might remind you of passport photos) to the full-on converted camper van!
I include a handful of Polaroids with every wedding I photograph. I like them for their character and their sentimental value.
So, when Orla & Henry asked about setting up a Polaroid Photo-booth I was more than happy to help. They used my Polaroid Originals camera, and I organised a bulk order of film. They set up their "photo-booth" in one of the stable stalls. Filled with funny props, inflatable instruments and a string washing line to hang the prints on - it made a great room for a bit of instant film fun.
I love a live wedding band. They bring so much energy to a wedding party and Trilogy absolutely rocked it! Although as you can see, I don't think these guys needed much encouragement. The dance-floor was packed all night. And during the interval, their friend Kerry organised céilí! No rest for these guys 😍
After Trilogy had finished their third encore(!) there was a bit more dancing, some traditional Irish songs sung by some very talented guests… But this is where things start to get a bit blurry. Orla and Henry insisted that I join them for a drink, so I think it was around 11 pm that I had my first pint. But 1 pint, quickly turned into 3 or 4. And 11 pm quickly turned into… Well, 3 or 4 am.
Graham had planned to do some fire spinning for a little entertainment but with all the excitement it got forgotten, until… about 2 am when it sounded like a great idea and not at all dangerous!
You may have spotted a rather pregnant lady in some of the photos above. Well, we'd had a few chats through the day and it turns out she was "due" the day of the wedding! She was still going strong on the dance-floor well into the night! However, I stumbled into them on my way to bed about 4 am, they were sneaking out not wanting to bump into Orla & Henry… They weren't avoiding saying goodbye, her waters had just broken and they were on their way to the hospital and didn't want to cause a fuss. The last photo I took that night is of her pretending to have a contraction!
Venue: Plas Dinam | Make-Up: Jessica Jackson Make Up Artist | Hair-Stylist: Beautiful Brides by Kim | Bridal Party Flowers: Blooming Catrin | Venue Florist: Wild Bunch | Caterers: Fingers and Forks | Band: Trilogy
"Thank you for being an amazing photographer at our wedding, but also for going above and beyond for us... We really & truly appreciate everything you have done for us."
Love Orla & Henry x x
If you fancy getting married in an informal, unique wedding venue, then Bashall Barn could be the one for you! There's always a really nice, relaxed atmosphere here. The (recently extended) terrace, is perfect for taking in the stunning views over the Ribble Valley, as well as playing a few outdoor games!
Bashall Barn is an exclusive use wedding venue and last orders aren't until 12:30 - I really like here! Oh, the food is really good and there's an ice cream bar too 😉
I'm passionate about capturing the atmosphere of your day and creating images that reflect that. This means that I rarely use flash anywhere other than the dance-floor. As soon as that flash goes off everyone knows you're taking a photo. And once you add an additional light source, it changes the mood and atmosphere of the photo.
Therefore if you get married in a dramatic industrial venue like Victoria Warehouse, then your images should reflect that. Likewise, if you choose somewhere like Bashall Barn, with their floor-to-ceiling glass doors, flooding the rooms with natural light then that's how your photos should look. Working with available, ambient light is really important for my wedding photography.
It was an absolute pleasure to be part of Kelly & Noel's wedding. They involved their friends, family, and crammed a lot of their personalities into their day. There were so many little touches that all added up to create a down-to-earth, incredibly personal and welcoming atmosphere.
We'd spoken briefly on the phone before they decided I was the one for them, but as I'm based in North Wales, we didn't get to meet until a little while later. We arranged a day for me to come up and meet them at the venue for a chat and a bit of a walkthrough of their plans. I remember leaving Bashall Barn that day and knowing they were going to be a great laugh!
I got such a warm welcome when I arrived in the morning. Kelly and her bridesmaids were all doing their own make-up, and Kelly had organised a close friend to do their hair. So everyone already knew each other well - the atmosphere in the room was electric! Everyone was so excited!
That doesn't mean that there weren't tears though... Because there were plenty! I'm sure Kelly's Mum was crying before she even got into the room. And well after that, it was a bit of a chain reaction! Fortunately, they got it out of their system before they had finished their make-up.
Kelly & Noel got married at Our Lady and Saint Hubert's Catholic Church - which is one beautiful church. I arrived and met Noel, who was within the normal levels of anxiousness and excitement. The sun was shining and it was set to be a beautiful day.
They had a lovely ceremony and afterwards, they left in a shower of bubbles to avoid the church's confetti clean up fee 😉
Once all the guests were inside Bashall Barn, we snuck off through the car park to get a couple of photos just Kelly, Noel and Pendle Hill.
It was then time for the celebrations to begin! Sunshine, welcome drinks, canapés and mini skittles on the terrace, while one of their friends played the piano. It was perfect. Once the congratulations had died down a bit, we nipped around the corner for a few photos in the cowshed.
When it was time for the wedding breakfast, one guest per table discovered a personalised apron and a message waiting for them. They were responsible for playing host and dishing out the main course - a great big pie!
After the speeches, everyone moved through to the front bar for ice cream and disco dancing!
I've said it before, and I'll say it again... I'm a big fan of live music. In my opinion, you can't beat a band for getting the energy levels up in an evening. And Munch sure kicked out the jams! They provided the perfect soundtrack for an evening of shots, cigar smoking, motorboating, and epic drunken dance moves. Needless to say, I had a lot of fun!
My Silent Movies are a fast paced, high octane ride through of one of the most important days of your life… Yeah, they're a bit rough around the edges, (hence the Raw, dirty & uncut tag line) but that's all part of their charm.
Follow this link for more info on my Silent Movies & Photofilms
Victoria Warehouse is a converted cotton mill on Trafford Wharf, Manchester. It's an industrial, alternative, cool and very unique wedding venue. It has hardly any windows, has high ceilings and is a pretty dramatic space.
Victoria Warehouse is one of those venues that could give natural light photographers, like me, an anxiety attack. But I love it. It's so different from most of the other venues that it's a real joy to photograph weddings here.
Normally I meet everyone before rocking up to photograph them in their pyjamas. But Jade & Karla live in Amsterdam. So that made things a little tricky. A wedding is a really personal day so I couldn't help being a little nervous having not met them before. Turns out Jade & Karla have a way about them. Within minutes of meeting them, I felt like we'd been mates for years! And still do...
Jade was just about to start getting ready when her sister arrived in floods of tears - she was just so happy! Once calmed down, Grace Marriott got to work on hair and make-up. The rest of the morning went exactly to plan and was pretty chilled.
I think Jade started to feel the nerves the closer we got to the ceremony, but nothing too bad. Plus, she was surrounded by loved ones. Jade, Karla, Sam & Adam were obviously really close, and that showed the whole day through.
Sam & Adam made their entrance first, followed by Jade, Karla and Karla's Dad. The ceremony room at Victoria Warehouse is massive, but with the subdued lighting feels incredibly intimate.
This was quite possibly one of my favourite ceremonies last year. I felt it when I was there, and I still feel it when I look back at these photos. Jade & Karla are really, really into each other. I don't know how else to say it. It's clear to me that they're head over heels in love – just look at the way they look at each other!
Jade & Karla had organised The Vegan Queens as a surprise to entertain their guests between courses of their Wedding Breakfast. And they were definitely a surprise! They put on an awesome show, people were up dancing and everyone singing along!
After some pretty awesome speeches and a bit of fun at the selfie booth - it was time to party! Something that this lot know how to do really well! The Ascent, (who have now unfortunately disbanded) played two awesome sets of good old Northern indie rock!
Despite the low-light levels of Victoria Warehouse, I managed to photograph Jade & Karla's wedding ceremony & reception without flash. I could have used flash, it would have made my life a lot easier. But I feel, by adding flash I would have completely changed the atmosphere of the day. Their wedding was intimate and informal. I didn't want to distract from that by popping a flash off every couple of seconds. A big part of my approach to wedding photography is that I go unnoticed. There's no second chance of getting that perfect natural frame once a flash has gone off.
Jade & Karla weren't too fussed on having posed group photos, so we didn't do any.
However, possibly for the first time in the history of weddings, a Bride said "I really hope it rains today" – Jade really wanted to use their rainbow umbrella! So, when it did rain, I grabbed them and we dashed out into the drizzle for a few photos under a rainbow umbrella. At no point did I say do this or look that way, so as always, all these photographs are 100% unposed.
Raw, Dirty & Uncut. My Silent Wedding Movies are a fast paced, high action run-through of one of the most important days of your life. They're made up from the thousands of photographs I take during a wedding and are a great way to relive your wedding – or Jade & Karla's...
If you're planning on asking your partner to marry you, why not have a quick look at my Secret Proposal Photography? Feel free to get in touch if you like what you see!
Lucy & Chris got married in Lucy's home town of Terrington, a cute village about 25 minutes outside of York. I remember arriving the day before and thinking, "wow this place is nice!". Of course, it helped that the sun was shining, but I can't help but think this place would look great even on the dreariest of days.
I parked outside the church, and after a quick look around, wandered down to Terrington School, where they were having their tipi reception. You can see for miles across the valley from the school field, and on a hot summers day, it was truly stunning.
Lucy was getting ready in her family home, just a stones throw from the church. I'm a big fan of keeping things local on a wedding day. Being able to walk from place to place means no traffic or parking stress, so this was ideal for me. But selfish agendas aside, it fits the feel of their wedding perfectly. Walking, villages, fields, tipis and long summer days all go hand in hand...
I arrived in the morning to a warm welcome and quickly settled in. Despite Lucy having the most detailed plan of the day, she was calm and relaxed, in fact, everyone was. Lucy and her bridesmaids were doing their own makeup while Katie from Reflections Hair Design was in charge of hair. The morning went smoothly and I even got
So, after a few group shots, we headed to the church – just two minutes walk down the road. Friends from the village gathered outside the church to offer some last minute best wishes.
Chris' Bestmen were waiting at the church doors for the bridal party. The
One of the many things I like about photographing weddings all over the country (rather than just North Wales), is the different traditions that different regions have. In Yorkshire it's common for the village youths to tie the church gates closed, the groom then has to chuck them a couple of quid, for the gates to be untied. So, that's always a bit of fun!
Once out of the gates and the congratulations had calmed down, we headed down the lane, through a confetti tunnel, to the tipi and those stunning views!
The afternoon was absolutely perfect, canapés and Pimms in the sunshine, with lawn games and a "selfie flower wall". Incidentally, I still have dreams about Bears Pantry's scotch eggs! Crispy outside, warm runny yolk, and tangy brown sauce... Heaven.
The speeches are almost always my favourite part of a wedding. I know that might be a little controversial for a photographer to say, but it's true. I get to learn so much more about a couple, and I love that. Wedding Photography is a personal business! Plus there are so many reactions and emotions to capture in a short space of time.
All the speeches were brilliant. The perfect balance between banter and sincerity. But one speech stole the show for me... If I ran a "speech of the year" award it would be going to Chris. And that's saying something because his best men absolutely killed it. It's very rare for a Groom to make a speech that can take on a Bestman's speech, but Chris did it. Although, as he went after his Bestmen, he may have had a slight advantage. I'm also not counting the live performance of a song that the Bestmen wrote especially for Chris, as that was a surprise just before their first dance. So, perhaps it should be a draw.
I particularly like Tipi Weddings because they naturally create a relaxed, fun and down-to-earth vibe. They're also perfect for a good party! And boy did these guys know how to party! Their evening was filled with shots, dance-offs, drunken limbo competitions, crazy dance moves and topped off with a sparkler exit!
My style of documentary photography is all about telling a story. It's a mix of being in amongst the action (without getting in the way) and observing from the sidelines.
All the images you see here, and on my website for that matter, are 100% unposed. Other than the family group shots, the only direction I had on Lucy & Chris’ wedding was asking if they wanted a few photos, just the two of them. They did. So I suggested they take a wander around the field – but that was it.
No awkward posing or forced smiles. I’m not invisible, so I know they knew they were being photographed, but I hope that they were comfortable enough around me that it didn’t matter.
Raw, Dirty & Uncut. My Silent Wedding Movies are a fast paced, high action run-through of one of the most important days of your life. They're made up from the thousands of photographs I take during a wedding and are a great way to relive your wedding – or Lucy & Chris'...
If you're planning on asking your partner to marry you, have a quick look at my Secret Proposal Photography...