Weston Park – Abbie & Luke’s wedding

Another week, another beautiful wedding. This time it was Abbie and Luke’s wedding at Weston Park in Shropshire.

Weston Park is a stunning venue set in parkland, it’s home to the V festival (but I am way too old to go to such things).  It’s described as “One of England’s most stunning park and gardens”, the grounds themselves extend for 1000 acres.  The house is run by the Trustees of Weston Park foundation. The walls contain the largest collection of Van Dyck paintings in the country.

I arrived to photograph Abbie getting ready in one of the upstairs rooms, at this stage the weather looked rather threatening with dark clouds and later rain, luckily this cleared up later in the day allowing full use of the beautiful gardens.  Luke got ready in one of the rooms on the opposite side of the house which made it easy for me to photographs his preparations as well, before he did the fairly traditional task of heading to the nearest pub for a quick drink along with many of the guests.  Luke’s room was amazing, decorated to look like the inside of a (posh) tent.

My next stop was at the pub to catch a few photographs of the guests before the ceremony in nearby St Mary and St Chad church in Brewood. This is where I have to mention about photography during the ceremony, the rules vary so much from place to place and not just with church weddings, registrars too all have different rules. I had been sent a form to sign which said no photography at all was allowed during the ceremony, it’s the first time I have had to sign something to say I wouldn’t take any photographs although not being allowed to take photographs is nothing new.  I can understand that not all photographers are unobtrusive and that moving about, using flash and generally being seen can be distracting during the ceremony. The way I work is to move during the cover of the hymns and stay in one place for the rest of the ceremony, I don’t use flash and my cameras have quiet settings for the shutter which is barely audible a few feet away.  After some discussion t was agreed I could take a couple of photographs of the entrance of the bride, one from the back during the exchange of rings and one of signing the register, which is much better than nothing at all. As a documentary wedding photographer I want to capture what the day is all about, what it is all about is getting married so it is such a shame when photographs of this are not allowed, these moments can never be recreated.

After the ceremony it was back to Weston Park for the wedding reception.  After dinner the sun made an appearance and everyone enjoyed the gardens.

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Broadoaks Country House wedding – Leanne and Will

Leanne and Will’s wedding at Broadoaks Country House – Lake District wedding photography.

August has been my busiest month this year with weddings all over the UK, as usual for this time of the year I have got a long way behind with adding recent weddings to my blog. I will try to catch up with weddings from July later on. For now though I have Will and Leanne’s Broadoaks Country House wedding from August 7th to share with you.

I often travel around a lot for weddings so it was nothing unusual to have the three hour drive up the M6 to the Lake District. I have photographed weddings at many of the hotels in the Lakes but never at Broadoaks before. My sat nav decided to take me on the scenic route past a sheep dog event and along single track roads, I was happy about this as it meant bypassing the long queue of traffic heading for Bowness on Windermere. Eventually I arrived at Broadoaks Country House, a small boutique hotel at Troutbeck.  After saying hello to Will my coverage started with Leanne and the bridesmaids having their hair styled up in the ‘Boudoir’ room.

The wedding ceremony took place outside in the gardens, luckily the weather was perfect with a picture book blue sky. Outdoor weddings seem to be gaining popularity despite the finicky British weather.  This was a really stunning location for the ceremony with views across the hills and a glimpse of Lake Windermere glistening down below.

After the ceremony Will and Leanne departed from tradition with a game of rounders, in 14 years and 600 weddings it was the first time I had seen this. Everybody joined in for a game of the boys versus the girls. Way back previous to being a wedding photographer I worked as a press photographer, so a little bit of sports photography didn’t break me into a sweat.

I’m sure everyone had worked up a good appetite for dinner served in the dining room.  I don’t take many photographs of people eating so I used this as an excuse to walk up to a scenic point I’d seen in the car on the way in, to photograph Lake Windermere. I’d slightly underestimated how far it was to walk and the short cut on the way back wasn’t such a good idea in my wedding shoes, but it was worth it for the photographs. I arrived back at Broadoaks Country House in plenty of time to photograph the speeches and the first dance.

Broadoaks Country House is a really lovely location for smaller intimate weddings, it is very much the perfect venue for wedding photographers during the summer months.  The rooms are all beautifully decorated and have interesting features, it is really the natural beauty of the surrounding area that make this a real jewel of a venue.  Leanne and Will had exclusive use of the hotel along with all the rooms. Weddings where everything is in one place are always more relaxing and here your guests can stay the night as well.  The Lake District is a fair drive from me, but I’m always happy to hear from couples getting married in the Lakes.

Broadoaks country house website along with details of having your wedding there can be found here.


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The Crypt wedding – Maddy and Dale’s in London

A few months back I received an email from Dale asking if I’d like to photograph his ‘shotgun’ wedding in London at The Crypt at Ely Place in London.  I’d wanted to photograph a wedding in The Crypt for a few years since photographing a wedding in St Etheldreda’s church above.  This is an interesting area of London which once belonged to the Bishops of Ely (Ely is in Cambridgeshire). St Etheldreda’s church is the oldest Catholic church in London and one of the oldest in the country, you can read about the history on the official website here - http://www.stetheldreda.com/index.php/history-of-st-etheldredas/    The Crypt has an equally interesting history involving Henry VIII.  Amazingly both the church and crypt survived the reformation relatively intact.  Today The Crypt is part of The Bleeding Heart restaurant and makes a fantastic wedding venue.

Maddy and Dale had a small wedding with just a handful of guests who all sat around one table for dinner. My coverage started at St Pancras Renaissance Hotel where Dale and the guests arrived for pre wedding drinks. The ceremony was across the road at Camden Tow Hall, afterwards I travelled with Maddy and Dale in their taxi for a few photographs before arriving at The Crypt in Ely Place.

The Crypt looked beautifully atmospheric lit with candles, some emotional speeches followed.  Maddy is Swedish and there seems to be a tradition of almost everybody doing a speech rather than the usual three speeches at most weddings. Later the evening guests arrived for the party.

I took only two lenses on this wedding as I wanted to travel light as I was on foot having left my car outside of London, most of these images are from a Canon 24mm F1.4, the other lens was a Canon 85mm F1.8.

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Alderley Edge wedding – Kim & Oli

One of the wonderful things about being a wedding photographer is travelling all across the country to beautiful venues each wedding. I couldn’t work in just one place, in fact after 14 years of being self employed (and another 12 years on top of that as a staff photographer at newspapers)  I really couldn’t do a ‘normal’ job, just as well my work is in demand!  I really do enjoy photographing weddings which seems to be unusual for anyone who has been doing it for so long.

I had a trip up the M6 to Cheshire for Kim and Oli’s wedding at Alderley Edge, with the ceremony at nearby Nether Alderley.  I arrived at Kim’s parents house to find dad supervising the finishing touches in the marquee and later raking the gravel on the drive – not what I usually find the father of the bride doing on the morning of the wedding, but no small detail had been left to chance.

After spending some time photographing the build up to the wedding and Kim having her hair and make up finished, I headed off to catch up with Oli having a drink in a nearby bar with his ushers. It was then back to Kim for a few more photographs before heading to the 14th century St Mary’s church in Nether Alderley for the wedding ceremony. The church is Grade 1 listed by English Heritage and parts of it date back to 1300 although like most older churches many alterations have been made through the years including restoration in the 19th century.

After the ceremony guests made the short trip back to Alderley Edge for the wedding reception which took place in a marquee erected in the garden. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t at it’s best although this didn’t stop Kim and Oli from enjoying a few minutes together in the garden.

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Sue Key - August 4, 2014 - 11:46 pm

Anne Dunn is my cousin and I live in Sydney Australia. I have watched Oli grow up and to see him portrayed like this in your spectacular photos is wonderful.. I was unable to get to the wedding so seeing these wonderful pics is sort of like sharing it. My daughter got married a few years ago and her photos were dreadful and in fact caused a family rift. Unbelievable.
Well done to you.

Kind regards


Blake Hall wedding photographer

Kathryn & Ed – A lovely summer wedding at Blake Hall

It doesn’t seem that long ago I met Kathryn and Ed for a relaxed lunch in Cambridgeshire to discuss their plans for the wedding.

Kathryn and Ed had the perfect summers day for their wedding at Blake Hall in Essex. I last photographed a wedding at Blake Hall in May 2013, it is a popular venue for weddings and with good reason too.  Hidden away in the Essex countryside and accessed via a tree lined drive is a restored 17th century barn, part of the Blake Hall estate. Licensed for wedding ceremonies inside and out the venue is popular all year round. Kathryn and Ed made the most of the summer weather and opted for an outdoor ceremony.

My coverage started with photographing Kathryn getting ready in The Old Coach House, a self contained cottage in the grounds of Blake Hall.  It was then a short walk to catch photographs of Ed arriving and greeting the guests.

The wedding ceremony took place outside with Kathryn and Ed standing under the old Saddlery and guests sat on cedar benches. This was followed by a drinks reception and a chance for Kathryn and Ed to leave their guests behind for 10 minutes alone in the gardens.

After a receiving line guests were seated in the barn for dinner and the speeches.

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Serge Gree - July 23, 2014 - 5:58 am

Beautiful work! Love your style.