feature weddings

Friday 29 May - Down Hall

Caroline and Andy

I vividly remember Andy approaching me at the Knebworth Bride wedding show this January and bombarding me an array of questions. Thankfully, since then, I've met up with him and Caroline on several occasons so on the day it felt like I was photographing for friends! Caroline got ready at Down Hall and as you'll see, choose to shun the traditional style bouquet for something really interesting.

wedding dress

hair and makeup

brides in mirror

bride and bouquet

In fact, everyone got ready at Down Hall so there was time to meet up with Andy and the boys in the drizzle. It was a day of having to dash between the downpours and making the most of the dry spells - typical English wedding weather! I loved that each groomsmen had personalised cufflinks and pocket watches to make sure they knew their role in the day and that everything ran to time.

groom and bestman

groom cufflinks


pocket watches

groomsmen walk

I knew that the ceremony was going to be particularly emotional as unfortunately Caroline's dad had recently passed away. However she carried his photo in a locket attached to her bouquet as a sign that he was there with her. Mum and sister accompanied her down the staircase before handing her over to her brother for the walk down the aisle. The civil part of the ceremony was conducted by local registrars who then made a distreet exit after the signing of the register so that the bride's uncle could take over for a religious blessing.

Prior room set up for ceremony

bride, mum and sister

bride and brother

exchange rings


exit as husband and wife

Given the drizzle, Down Hall is perfect for group photos with plenty of gravelled areas and doorways to run for if necessary. The lounge is also big enough for the guests to mingle quite happily and I know how much everyone wants to spend some time with the bride and groom. During May and June it's light until around 9pm so there's the opportunity for more photos after the meal rather than cramming them all into one timeslot.

bride and groom with parents

bridal party

bridal party

bride and groom hug

bride and groom walk in grounds of Down Hall

For the reception the gold and red colourscheme matched the room perfectly. Plenty of tealights plus the twinkly backdrop gave it some sparkle and I definately fancy having one of those personalised champagne glasses just for me! With Mark the toastmaster overseeing proceedings the bride and groom were guaranteed a big entrance.

table flowers

wedding cake

meal entrance bow

mum's speech

bride and groom during speeches

Literally, this happened straight after the meal! The sun came out and it proved to be an excellent way of getting the guests to leave the room, so that it could be turned around for the evening. The kids headed straight for the giant chessboard and the bride and groom got the opportunity to explore the grounds.

all guests

kids playing on the chess board

bride and groom with fountain

bride and groom in the folly

bride and groom - early evening sun

The majority of my couples are not big dancers, so a 'first shuffle' is often more appropriate. But it's so lovely to photograph a moment where actually they tend to forget that anyone else is in the room. Saying that, the dancefloor also makes way for some excellent posing from guests of all ages ... and sometimes even by me!

first dance

toastmaster on the dancefloor


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