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Yeo Valley Organic Garden Wedding Photography : Sam & Neil

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It was a sign; a sign that I was in the right place. And that’s not a pun, intended or otherwise (or unintended, otherwise… then) as I was just making absolutely certain that I’d be able to find where I needed to be later in the day; this Saturday just gone as it happens. Sam & Neil would be marrying at St. Mary’s Church in Wedmore on this Somerset afternoon, then travelling the half hour’s journey over the Mendip Hills to Yeo Valley Organic Garden to celebrate with a tight-knit group of close friends and family. The directions section on the Garden’s Web site had declared: “By Car: Don’t use satellite navigation, you won’t find us!” I was travelling by car. I’m rather reliant on my SatNav, considering just how much travelling to new and fascinating places I do. So, I thought I’d best set out from Dorset earlier than originally planned and make absolutely certain of where the Organic Garden was located, and my SatNav took me directly to the front door. So to speak. More so a gate really :~)

Now I’ve introduced you to a sign but not to the stars of the story, Sam & Neil, but I haven’t met them yet myself (hadn’t done so, at this juncture) so you’ll have to wait too. And then we can meet them together. You’ll like them.

With plenty of time to spare, I decided to scout out the Garden so… this is the story of Sam & Neil’s wedding day, with an ambling narrator’s prologue…

I was looking out for a tractor to photograph but I think I’ve now found a meme to beat that one, even (assuming rustic classic-car taxidermy is about to take off)…

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My first ever email address, back in the… very early 90’s, if not very late 80’s even, was phila@bournemouth.ac.uk. My initials are PA. There’s a J in the middle, too, but we’ll overlook that for now. I’d like to be able to say that 9-75 bears a relation to my birth-date but you’d need to subtract a 2 from the first digit and… let me see how many fingers I have spare… 8 from the second set of digits for that to be the case. Prefix the result with a 19, and we’d be all the way there :~)…

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My raised beds never looked this good…

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Now this is the kind of garden furnishing that either costs next to nothing, or costs a great deal indeed. Beautifully made whether as a personal DIY project or for commercial gain, whichever’s the case…

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Having enjoyed my scout-about it came time to set off for Wedmore. I encountered a jolly green bus in the car park, guests for the wedding arriving to board…

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And then I found myself outside St. Mary’s Church in Wedmore, as if by magic, or as if by sequential ordering of photographed images. I’d have loved to have been able to provide some bridging shots from the journey across the Mendip Hills – really rather an enchanting and beautiful journey – but it was all hands at the wheel. Windy roads and all that. No opportunities to pull over just where one view or another caught my utmost attention.

A while later the green bus showed up. It came as a surprise to me to discover that the buses destination was in turn a surprise for the guests ensconced therein. Sam & Neil seem to like surprises; elaborate but really very nice ones. I think everyone knew they were turning up for a wedding – the fact that Neil was also on board, suited and sporting a buttonhole, would certainly have indicated something of the sort – but none knew exactly where everything would take place…

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And this was the first time that I met Sam, and she was lovely; welcoming, warm-hearted and enthusiastic (I had met Neil too, alighting from the bus, and he’d been lovely too)…

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The keepers of the gate…

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A beautiful reading from Sam & Neil’s daughter…

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An exit strategy was planned, in the side chapel after the signing of the register…

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Not before the blessing though, hey, Sam & Neil? :~)…

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Rather than escape, she was actually just wanting to dance in the aisle :~)…

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Sam & Neil were going for a long run-up for their confetti aisle triple-jump…

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No vintage Rolls Royce wing mirrors were harmed in the photographing of this sequence

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And back through the beautiful Mendip Hills we all went (I really do need a dashboard cam)…

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Smiley happy people :~) Shiningly so, too…

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I loved Sam’s tiara, bespoke, hand-made to order by a lady in… Suffolk, or Surrey… a county beginning with S anyway. If I had four hands I’d carry a notebook and pen as well as a camera because, you know, my memory…

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The Organic Garden is, in essence, the private garden of the owners of the Yeo Valley people (whose home is on the site), though it’s so beautiful they decided quite rightly to make the space accessible to the public. Sam & Neil’s was the first wedding to be hosted there, though they do frequently host weddings at the Yeo Valley HQ

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Sam & Neil are avid gardeners themselves, a key aspect of their decision to celebrate at the Organic Garden…

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“My New Family”…

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At time is itwha? Hang on… I’ll get there eventually…

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Aside from the fact that I photograph every nuance of place and space that catches my eye in general, this little display had a particular resonance for me as I grew up with three of this set on display and in use in the kitchen of my childhood home…

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A heady bouquet…

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Now, it’s not too often (never, that is to say, except maybe just the once a couple of years earlier) that I feel drawn towards photographing the bathrooms at a venue but…

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It might be a matter of choosing which of the three is least discombobulating to come face to face with, up close. I opted for Titchmarsh myself…

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Rendition of skin tones not unfamiliar to users of the Canon camera system* :~) but I did so love this little card one of the young uns drew for Sam…

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(*I use Canon; I know how it is :~)

Every component of the meal was a tour de force of flavour. Absolutely marvellous. My thanks to Sam & Neil for taking care of me so well, and to the catering staff at the Organic Garden for being so utterly obliging…

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Sam told me that I must be sure to take home a bottle of the cider with me, so I did, and it was fantastic (and was drunk to celebrate my birthday, so double the delight)…

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I’ve been taking tips on how to compose group photographs :~)…

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Cake… Magic…

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No formal triad of speeches; just Neil thanking everyone for being there and sharing in his and Sam’s happiness…

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Accompanied by impromptu musical support on the straw and carton :~)…

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The weather forecast had been for not so nice weather across most of the day but the sun had come out during the ceremony in Wedmore, then followed everyone across the Mendip Hills and broke through with gusto at the Organic Garden and kept the party company throughout the afternoon. It did then rain as the end of the party approached…

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… everyone continued to very much enjoy themselves all the same…

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… and the rain was on its way elsewhere within a very short time anyway :~)…

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:~)…

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Congratulations Sam & Neil and thank you so much for having me there to photograph your magical mystery tour of a wedding day. For myself, I couldn’t be more happy than to work with such lovely people and it was a pleasure to experience the happiness that permeated your celebrations.

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

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