Shustoke Barn Wedding Photography : Emily & Dan

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From her very first email to me I was very much hooked into a highly enjoyable conversation with Emily, an engaging narration of her and Dan’s plans for their wedding day, how they became engaged, and what had drawn them to my photographic work; more than that, brushstrokes in what would become a broader picture of their life together as we continued to converse. I was already photographing their wedding day, in my mind, from that very first point of contact.

Emily & Dan chose Shustoke Farm Barns, set in refreshing West Midlands countryside, as the venue for their celebrations; marrying at a church just minutes up the road. Whilst relatively new as a wedding venue – at the point of their marriage – Shustoke Farm Barns certainly seemed to already be proving quite a hit in the arena (having just run a Web search to find the link to their Web site, I noted that immediately after the barns’ search page entry – at number one – the remainder of the page was filled with links to weddings photographed there by some top notch photographers, a number of who I know personally and the remainder who I’ve never met but have always been aware of their work). It proved to be a pleasure going about my work at the barns; a very easy going environment (yet with everything working perfectly in the background) that allowed the day to be just what it was, progressing at its own natural pace and manifesting itself with an identity – true to the natures of the people at the centre of it all – unfettered by any outside or indeed inside agency’s ‘stamp on things’.

On the subject of natural pace there was something quite unique to me about Emily & Dan’s wedding day, in that respect. Later into the day I’d discussed this with Emmelie – a fantastic videographer that Emily & Dan had found to photograph their wedding in moving image form – and we both concurred on that special character of the day, when it came to the passage of time; something that neither of us might usually expect to experience. Emily did indeed tell me after the event that the day had flown by at a hundred miles per hour – a common experience for marrying couples – but whilst weddings do, to a degree, often take on a more accelerated relationship with time for myself, on this occasions each passage of the day seemed to progress at a perfectly gentle pace; self-contained elements, preparations, a ceremony, a gathering devoted to mingling and congratulations, a meal followed by speeches then a party into the deep of the night, all in no hurry to expend their connection with time. Everything was just what it was and was honest to itself in the being. All contributed in it’s own special manner to my enjoyment of a day that I would certainly have enjoyed no less even if it had flown by.

It is my hope, as is always my hope, that my images will for Emily & Dan allow them to relive their wedding day in a timeless manner and on such a note, this is the story of that day… View full post »

Godwick Hall & Great Barn Wedding Photography : Paula & Bill

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Paula & Bill cast their net far and wide when it came to searching for a venue for their wedding. With one working in and both living not too far out of London, they would have had no end of choice had they looked closer to home but they wanted to break out of the urban sprawl and take in open skies, with a location not too onerous a distance away for their families and friends to make the journey with them but far enough away that there would be no temptation for anyone to try to make it back the same night. That way, as many as possible would still be around come the morning to make it more than a single, parenthesised day of celebration.

They cast their net far and wide and drew in the perfect catch; Godwick Hall & Great Barn in Norfolk. The county itself is as far away as one might get – in one direction at least – from the capital and its surrounds but in that direction not so far away as to be a great labour. The barn’s locale offers skies as expansive as the two ends of a protractor might encompass. Not all of Norfolk is completely flat, but this bit – bar the odd mole hill – certainly is and it has an effect on the mind and soul, at least for those conditioned to more undulating topology or indeed to the broken vertical surroundings of cityscapes and townscapes. Enormity and freedom play together in tandem. It truly does make for a breath of fresh air. The barn itself offers an equal degree of freedom, a very easy going space to make use of and shelter to boot should those wide open skies not be wearing and bearing the kind of weather one might prefer. The skies were on their best behaviour though when Paula & Bill came to town. Well, country.

So Paula & Bill brought their loved ones with them to a place that matched their temperaments perfectly; open souled and attentive people that took great care of their guests and very much too of yours truly. This is the story of their wedding day… View full post »

Suffolk Tipi Festival Wedding : Becky & Chris

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As I stood on a fine Suffolk summer’s evening looking back towards the heart of Becky & Chris’s ongoing wedding celebrations I felt as though I were looking into a small village in the thick of a festival special to that community. Though the material fabric of that village was but temporary, the spirit of the place was tangible, rooted and built to last. In correspondence some months before the day, Becky had suggested the plan that her and Chris’s wedding would be disguised in a festival theme. It was more than that though, not a disguise nor a tip of the hat but it had become a festival true and proper, a celebration to be revisited in the mind across decades of anniversaries and no doubt in between as well. It would be great if it could be recreated every year in just that same spot. I don’t know though if Becky & Chris would balk at the magnitude of the organisation (but they did a grand job of it as a one of a kind event, with no end of organisation on their account and a wealth of help from a small army of family and friends).

Two years earlier I had photographed the wedding of Matt & Anna – two good friends of Becky – at the other end of the country in Somerset. Becky had seen the photographs from their wedding and kept tabs on my work until Chris popped the question, and she could in turn pop the question to me. A different question of course; one that I was happy to be able to say yes to; Matt & Anna’s had been an enriching and fantastically enjoyable affair to photograph and I had no doubt by virtue of the connection of friendship that Becky & Chris’s would be too. And I was right. Absolutely, of course :~)

Becky & Chris married in a church of especial character in a small village in the Suffolk countryside, just outside of Bury St. Edmunds and celebrated on a patch of farmland right outside the family front door; very useful indeed to have an obliging and friendly next door neighbour with land stretching as far as the horizon. It was immensely enjoyable to spend time with such an energetic, good humoured and caring couple and the friends and family that they surrounded themselves with for their celebration brought the same characteristics to bear in great measure. This is the story of their festival wedding… View full post »

Stowford Manor Farm Wedding Photography : Abi & Matt

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I would always say that it’s all about the people for me, people far more above place, before things. I will enjoy the places that people choose to celebrate their marriages. I’ll take pleasure in seeing the things they make and bring to bear in the decor that permeates the day. This enjoyment though will always stem from the fact that choice of place and space, choices to do with decorative touches, all provide further clues as to the nature and personalities of the people at the heart of it all. It’s all about the people.

I might find myself, of a weekend, in a space that I thoroughly enjoy just for what it is. I’ll be with people that I enjoy being with though regardless of where and what the space might be and the following weekend, often-times even the day before, or the day after, or even on a number of the surrounding days there will be other people bringing their minds and spirits to bear on the utilisation of that space and I’d have no idea who those other people were. They might be entirely different sorts. The space might become a very different thing, whilst still materially being the same. In a retrospective sense, this could be one of the key reasons behind the fact that I latch on to mindsets, not on to places. It’s not something that I apply reasoned analysis to though. It’s a simple enough thing to me.

There are some places though, some places and spaces that one might look at and find oneself thinking, “There’s not many people that would buy in to this. It would take a certain type,” and, “I like this place, this space; I’d want to come and play here even if on my own.”

Abi & Matt first came across my work when they were searching online for images of weddings that had taken place at Stowford Manor Farm in the Frome Valley, Wiltshire. They were looking for somewhere genuinely laid back, as far as might be reasonable unfettered by restrictions; when people could turn up, when they had to leave, who they were allowed to use to provision their wedding and so on; questions that my clients do tend to ask when planning their weddings. They felt strongly drawn to Stowford Manor Farm but weren’t sure that they would be able to make the key space at the venue work for their celebrations, a large stone barn where wedding breakfasts and evening parties tend to be set when the farm is booked out for a wedding. You see, it’s not your upgraded, somewhat modernised, rustically re-plastered and perfectly comfortably weather sealed kind of a barn; it’s a barn, good and proper. Mice roam through it at night when all the humans have departed. It isn’t scrubbed to the pores to say the least. One might easily imagine it having been populated by over-wintering livestock (though it is much cleaner than that :~) or having been used to store farm equipment. Come Spring and Summer, swallows nest in its nooks and crannies. I downright love the place. I hope it never gets a major makeover.

So Abi & Matt were deeply drawn to this space but wanted to see how it might work when populated by a host of wedding guests in wedding day finery and they searched for images of previous weddings at the farm, came across some of the photographs that I’d taken of Tory & Jon’s wedding that I had photographed there the year before, became convinced from those that the space would work just perfectly for them and I was really, truly, very very happy that they also became convinced that I was the right photographer to document what they themselves would do with it all.

And this is what they did… View full post »

Bournemouth Wedding Photography : Harrison & Maria

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Myriad are the ways in which people meet and get to know each other. Over the years I’ve photographed the weddings of couples that have known each other since school days, couples that were introduced by friends they shared in common, couples that worked together, all manner of ways in which two people’s lives somehow orbited each other then were drawn together that much more closely again. At least twenty-five per cent of my clients found their match online; most probably more as that’s a statistic I’ve accumulated through anecdote, not interview. Then there are those meetings of minds, of spirit, that leave you wondering was it blessed coincidence, serendipity, something you’d like to feel was destined to happen whether it was at the actual point in time that it did or at some later point in time if not, or was it just the universe casting its lot and that was your one chance of ever meeting? When I think about the story of how Harrison & Maria met, I find myself breathing a sigh of pleased relief.

Maria is from Bournemouth, Harrison from London; both big places, the latter far more so than the former of course but the former’s a big place none-the-less where one might never knowingly see the same person twice. Harrison had come to Bournemouth to study for his degree and Maria was completing her A’ levels. Both happened to be passionate fans of live music so there was certainly something in place that would serve as common interest should they ever meet, which of course they did. One night, both attended a gig at the Bournemouth International Centre; by virtue of the nature of the venue these tend to be large scale events. Both happened to find themselves in the same spot in a very large and broad queue outside the centre and they got to talking about the band they were about to see, and thus this shared journey began. I’m thankful there hadn’t been another few metres in that relative positioning, deep within a queue. For them I’ve no doubt that the sentiment is immeasurably so.

I have an inkling that I’d also once met Harrison whilst he was a student, up a tree on the university campus, retrieving a football. More precisely, he was up the tree – though I may of course be entirely incorrect about who it was as I didn’t meet, in far more cogent a manner at that, with him and Maria until some years later – and I was down on the ground. That’s going to sound rather an abstract anecdote if my memory is being wayward. It’ll likely sound abstract an anecdote to most everyone else, regardless :~)

Harrison & Maria married at St. Mark’s Church in the Talbot Village district of Bournemouth and celebrated at the Ocean View Hotel, atop cliffs over the sea in the south of the town. Which is where the sea lays. All of the day’s locations were within fifteen minutes drive of my own home, which was a fairly novel experience for me. I thoroughly enjoyed photographing their wedding, getting to know them before the day and throughout; a really lovely couple sharing a creative, caring and diligently thoughtful nature. This is the story of their wedding day… View full post »