Suffolk Barn Wedding Photography : Claire & Chris

Claire & Chris’s wedding was the third in a chain of weddings that I photographed of a group of friends. Thinking about it, to describe the three weddings as a chain might easily suggest a causal relationship between one set of friends getting married and the next. Then the next. That could be the case, but I’m certain it’s not in this instance; in these instances indeed. All three are certainly linked though, in that they’re all friends. To me however the three marriages do constitute a chain in what I do, in that I photographed all three weddings with their inherent, established connections and my soul is the richer for having done so.

First there was Megan & Wayne, then Katherine & Tino, then Claire & Chris. Whilst I like things that come in threes – a triangle is a highly stable and reassuring geometric form – I’d be really happy to make a square or a pentagon or a hexagon and even a heptagon or more of the pattern in this case. All made for brilliant experiences for me, the key players were of exceptional character and their supporting casts were just the best to be amongst. I do always fare very well with being found by brilliant clients. I would say that, just because it’s true. When the first couple in such a chain (and their celebratory ensemble) prove to be brilliant, there’s a tacit guarantee of sorts that the second will prove likewise, and the level of guarantee is firmly established come the third. I do like me a thoroughly good time and that’s just what I had when it came Claire & Chris’s turn.

They married in a quintessential English village church with deep rooted family connections, in the Suffolk community of Lackford then celebrated at Suffolk Barn near Bury St. Edmunds, a really rather special place that I shall wax lyrical about anon. This is the story of their special day.

When in the lead up to the wedding day it was decided that I should commence coverage with Chris and his groomsmen finding somewhere to watch the rugby in Bury St. Edmunds, I had an image in my mind of a hostelry of some kind, complete with big screen, a veritable stadium of pub-like proportions replete with a random cast of rugby enthusiasts to serve as an atmospheric defocused backdrop to the key subjects. I must say that what I did in fact find was something altogether more delightful :~)

(Despite the seeming conflict between my bone structure and the WiFi signal when I’d briefly stood at the fireplace behind the iPad to frame a shot! :~) Reconnect! Hope nobody scored a try…

Chris was strapped in ready for take-off…

The day was off to a rousing start indeed…

On arrival in Lackford, I knew soon enough that I was on the right track…

In fact I knew my way around already as I’d dropped by a few weeks earlier having photographed a wedding just ten minutes or so down the road, as it happens. Claire had been away with Chris at the time, for a wedding in Cornwall, but her father is church warden for St. Lawrence, lives just down the end of the lane from the church, and Claire’s sister Helen was able to unlock the church to show me around (and subsequently Suffolk Barn, too). Helen pointed out to me an array of aspects of the church that were linked to her and Claire’s family, big things and small that made the process of photographing certain material details of the church, come the wedding day, an altogether more evocative one and that shared knowledge added a great deal to my understanding of people’s interaction with that place and space too, as I went about observing and documenting events. A practical as well as philosophical sense of connection and belonging permeated proceedings.

The carpet that Claire would walk on as she was brought up the aisle by her father, to join with Chris, had in years gone by served as the staircase carpet in her grandmother’s home…

One of a number of hassocks embroidered by members of Claire’s family…

Pins and floral decoration; a nail-biting moment indeed! :~)…

The gate that Chris diligently sandpapered to its former wooden glory :~)…

Tino & Katherine plus imminent one (certainly here by now :~)…

6… 5… 5… 5… 3. Always searching for patterns, me :~)…

Claire was driven up the lane from her family home in a beautiful Morris Cowley called Myrtle, owned and lovingly maintained by Chris’s step-dad…

It would have been entirely inappropriate had the theme tune to Chariots of Fire been racing around inside my head as I observed Claire and her entourage make their way across the grassy pathway to the church…

Curtains that once complemented a window in the home of Claire’s grandmother…

Perhaps not quite the best seat in the house :~)…

Sealed :~)…

Delicatetti…

They’d have been hungry, what with all the nervous energy expended in the build up to the ceremony :~)…

Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to the Barn we go (a tune not played, words not sung on the day; looking back down that road makes me feel jolly though :~)…

To the beach! Claire & Chris had been hoping for a laid back vibe to their reception and that’s exactly what they got; a thoroughly, pleasantly, relaxing afternoon…

Restocking bubbles for the spirit level…

It’s a mystery to me…

Did you know that Croquet is named after its inventor, Jaques Croquet, formerly of London?…

When I heard tell of the raising of the lanterns, I rather wished that I’d been there to photograph the set up of the barn for the big day. Human pyramids, trampolines, human cannonballs projected into the rafters. Probably good reason why photographing a process serves an important purpose; lest my fancy take total flight :~) I did hear that it was quite a feat though; the results certainly worth the effort…

In the words of the great post-modern philosopher, JT, “Not just a hat rack my friend” :~)…

I can smell the scent of Lavender still :~)…

I found Suffolk Barn a place of true beauty. Dating back to the 15th Century, it exudes an air of palpable history and a genuine sense of its original purpose. They only stage around half a dozen wedding celebrations each year there so certainly worth a look if you’re getting married in the area and like yourself a real barn.

Whilst the guests sat for dinner I walked around the surrounding grounds of the Barn, a potent feeling of peacefulness surrounding me, in the air above and under my feet. The air above my head that is; my feet were on the ground, I like to think. It really did strike me deeply, that feeling, and lingers a strong memory still. Quiet, calming, time abandoned. I wondered, after that day, if maybe the land sat atop a Ley line and in my search for an answer came across a map of the St. Michael line. Whilst the mathematically straight line extending across the map, in running through Bury St. Edmunds, does so a little way north of the Suffolk Barn at Hawstead, the snaking line drawn below that mathematically straight one does dip down into the area. I explored further (well, clicked around; my research methods are truly robust :~) and discovered Tom Scott’s Magical Mystical Ley Line Locator. I entered the postcode for the Barn, IP29 4AB, and let forth a gasp of delight when the result popped up! My senses had proven right! I’m a walking, talking dowsing rod!

Then Tom points out that Ley lines don’t actually exist (a sufficiently populated distribution of random points will always allow patterns of straight lines to manifest themselves) so I entered my home postcode, discovered that I too live on top of a convergence of three Ley lines, and realised that he was right because the school run each day around where I live proves that none exist in the locale. Tom does though remind us that we are all made of star-stuff, so it’s all good. And the Suffolk Barn environs are still utterly peaceful, regardless of what contributes to the effect (complete absence of traffic noise, the occasional twitter of a bird, an abundance of greenery; they might well play a part in things too :~) I’d like to go back there and sit on a grassy hummock.

I took Claire & Chris out to experience the Ley of the land for themselves…

Oh we do like to be beside the… I’ve always preferred grass to sand too…

This week’s first dance off camera flash set up test model. Sterling job…

Ho!…

Hey!…

Claire & Chris brought their collection of holiday hat-wear with them for guests to wear in case it rained and the roof leaked. It didn’t rain. I’m certain the roof is well weather-sealed. I was already really enjoying photographing the dance-floor action; packed, energetic, providing my camera and lens with everything needed and then it just got even more enjoyable again :~)…

Chris wanted to take a photograph that included me, which was rather nice of him. To his credit, he is actually an accomplished photographer; it’s just that I didn’t have a chance to explain that my camera’s focussing system is set up to counteract the effects of nearby Ley lines (or I use back-button focussing, in more technical parlance :~) No existential crisis of being a wedding photographer for me on this occasion!…

Congratulations Claire & Chris and thank you so much for having me there, for being such a pleasure to work with and to your family and friends for being such a joy to be amongst! :~)

Contact Suffolk Wedding Photographer Phillip Allen : phill@misterphill.com : 07870 696248