Cublington Wedding Photography : Stuart & Siân

Stuart & Siân grew up in a Buckinghamshire village with a remarkably pleasant social dynamic to it, that continues to this day. Next to the gates of the village church sits a rota – populated with dozens of different names – for mowing the grass in the church grounds; no sign of a very small few holding on to tradition but one of a community still living up to the spirit of that term (Stuart, as it happens, mowed the grass in the days leading up to his and Siân’s wedding). Across the road and a few paces down, then just a couple more, the village pub serves as a hub for that same spirit of community, equally as welcoming to strangers as it is to those that cross its threshold on a regular basis. Down the road a little further and around a corner, the village cricket ground serves not only for the playing of cricket but also for all manner of community celebrations.

I found the village (and its denizens) so pleasant that I’ll not make specific mention of where it is just in case certain elements of the outside world stumble across this blog post, recall its existence and decide afresh to plonk a third airport for London on top of the place.

Along a friendly side street off the diminutive main road running through the village, Siân lived a little closer to one end, Stuart at the other, their two homes but a couple of literal stone throws apart. I feel quite certain that the distance could be spanned by just a couple of stone throws but I didn’t test my hypothesis out. It wouldn’t have looked good. Back to the story at hand, one might say that Stuart & Siân were childhood sweethearts but to be more precise, they were into their later teens when they became that much more aware of each other and together they’ve been ever since. They now live and work in London but they carry that spirit of village life in their hearts and manifest it in their demeanour, day to day.

I was happy to have the opportunity to meet with them at their London home some months before their wedding, to enjoy the wide slice of sky that they’d managed to find as a view from their window, the uplifting sense of openness along the nearby walk that they frequently enjoy and that I shared with them on that occasion, and the particularly warm, cosy and welcoming pub at the end of that walk, one that might as much have been in a village as in a city so large. I really enjoyed my time spent with them then and all the more again come the day of their wedding. This is the story of that day, of Stuart & Siân’s wedding…

I walked the entire day of the wedding – thankfully just carrying my cameras and not a bale of hay! – from my splendid accommodation down a lane o’er other side of the cricket grounds, through morning set up there, along a countryside footpath to Siân’s home thence to Stuart’s as they readied themselves for the ceremony, along a sun dappled lane to the church (and the pub!) then back again to the scene of ensuing celebrations. It made for a nice day out just for the walk, a fantastic day out for the major event itself.

Fresh doorstep delivery…

Siân’s sister, Beth, over a period of months hand folded a grand total of one thousand origami Cranes. They made for a fantastic centrepiece to celebrations further into the day…

Definitely glad that I just had my cameras to haul around!…

Off to Siân’s family home I made way…

Then those literal two stone throws away, the bedroom window view that Stuart grew up with…

The groomsmen’s buttonholes were hand-crafted by the fantastically talented Jane Murrell – friend and village neighbour of Siân & Stuart and their families – with the brasses from shotgun cartridges used on her farm. Jane also created all of the floral displays for the wedding and undertook a great deal of the styling and set up too!…

Deep breath! :~)…

(Still not saying where we are.)

Everything in order…

…time to place an order…

Stuart demonstrates that he’s not nervous, in the slightest!

Back to Siân’s for the final stages of her preparations.

Stuart & Siân enjoy and appreciate the friendship of a good many people of particular talent. Ria could deliver workshops on how to be the commensurate bridesmaid. In the closing minutes of preparations, realising that Siân’s sash was too long she quickly recut it to the perfect length, complete with arrow-tailed end detail. Previously, she had also seamlessly applied the sleeves to Sian’s dress, originally a sleeveless one…

The bridal entourage were skilfully drummed all the way to the church by Mark, a former army drummer, next door neighbour to Siân’s mum and dad…

The village turned out to wish them well…

Waiting with excitement…

“Sorry… Sorry… Sorry we’re late… You look lovely!… Sorry!” Siân was amused no end…

Just one more sorry :~)…

And it’s time…

My thanks to Stuart & Siân’s vicar, Phil, for being so accommodating and helpful and for allowing me a position to photograph the ceremony from, from which I was able to make some of the most intimate and at times emotionally intense images that I’ve been able to take away from such an occasion.

Walked up the aisle by two dads…

Excitedly nervous – in the most positive manner possible – as Stuart had been, to be fair to him it had also turned out to be a fabulously hot Summer’s day :~)…

S̶t̶u̶a̶r̶t̶ Somebody had playfully rearranged the numbers on the hymn board to display the date of Stuart & Siân’s wedding (and also, no doubt inadvertently, to highlight the chronological disarray that has beset my blogging endeavours for some time now. I’m getting there, slowly but surely :~)…

The celebratory right hook was unexpected :~))) (The camera, of course, never lies! :~)…

Stuart points out that there’s a time and a place…

One of the guests helpfully rectifies Stuart’s failing to remember to wear his party hat for the occasion…

Ria runs ahead to ensure that everything is in place…

(Still not saying where it is.)

Bowled over…

The aroma from the home made brownies was nothing short of intoxicating. As Stuart & Siân would later discover upon the cutting of, the aroma from the cheese cake was rather powerful too :~)…

Tee…pee…

A good friend of Stuart’s – from their school days together to the present day – Luke made for a brilliant master of ceremonies and was fantastically helpful with plotting aspects of my photographic coverage of events, too…

The food was extraordinarily delicious. My thanks to Stuart & Siân for seating me as a guest to enjoy it too…

One of those, “I know your game with your constant immersive documenting of anything and everything including when a guest spills red wine down the front of his shirt type approach to photographing weddings!” moments :~)…

Luke demonstrates how to drink red wine without spilling it down the front of one’s shirt…

Speeches that were everything that wedding speeches might be; heart-warming, heart-string-tugging, then hilarious enough to make you cry.

A cutting interlude. Say cheese…

My fantastic hosts from just over the hedge and down the lane a little way, Gina & Michael. Brilliant company during my stay in the village. Mike’s breakfasts are deserving of a Michelin Star…

Delizioso!…

Congratulations Stuart & Siân and thank you for being such lovely people to work with, to spend time with, to see be yourselves as individuals and together. It was a great honour, a great pleasure and fantastically good fun to be there for it all!

Contact Cublington Wedding Photographer Phillip Allen : phill@misterphill.com