From our first meeting back in 2019, I got on with Amy & Rob like they were friends I had known for years. We discussed their wedding plans, but moved on to health (they’re both doctors), physics, and ancient civilisations, and ended up talking for quite a while. Then things happened in the world, their plans got postponed a year, and I didn’t see them again until recently for their pre-wedding portrait session. It was straight back into easy conversation with these two – honestly they must be two of the nicest people you’d ever meet. We ended up going for a walk across some fields near their house, and were blessed with an incredibly warm and sunny evening. I had to remind myself to take some photos at times, as I was just enjoying chatting and walking with them. There was a small incident when we got ambushed by a drove of bullocks, but no person or animal was harmed, and we laughed about it afterwards (Amy later confirmed to Rob by way of a photo that they were indeed bullocks, and not heifers).
When the wedding day arrived, I couldn’t wait to get stuck in. It’s been a while since I photographed a wedding at Blackstock Country Estate, and I knew it would be a great day with Amy & Rob. The heavy mist of the morning soon dispersed and then it was sunshine supreme for the rest of the day.
Despite being pre-warned about Amy having an identical twin, I still walked in to the bridal prep room and said hello to her sister straight away thinking it was Amy. Thankfully she recognised my false recognition of her, and quickly introduced herself as Philippa. After that, everything went perfectly. They had their ceremony in the Tudor Barn, drinks on the terrace, and their wedding breakfast in The Granary.
Between the main and dessert, the sun was setting and the light being produced was heavenly. We’d talked about this possibility before the wedding so I knew they’d be happy to pop out for a few photos. I took them to a few locations around the venue but I was particularly keen to get one portrait of them at the top of the hill, looking out over the grounds and the stunning Sussex landscape beyond. I knew from our pre-wedding portrait session how much they love the countryside and they told me the view was one reason they booked the venue, so it was a bit of a priority in my mind. Thankfully the timings and weather worked out, and these two rocked it. A special thanks to the toastmaster, Paul Mitchell, who not only kept things running smoothly for the whole day, but also drove us around the grounds for the photos, and held a reflector for me making the light just a smidge even better.
We then returned inside for the cake cutting and the first dance, kicking the evening party off, where plenty of dancing, laughing, and tequila slammers followed.
Now, here is more about the lovely couple, their wedding choices, and the day itself:
How did you meet, & how did you become engaged?
“Amy & Rob first met at Colchester Hospital in September 2014 where Rob worked as an Anaesthetic Doctor. At the time, Amy was completing her medical school training in anaesthetics. Rob found several opportunities to speak with Amy (particularly in the Doctor’s common room) and after working together for 6 months, when Amy’s anaesthetic rotation came to an end, they finally went on their first date!”
How long did you take to plan your wedding?
“Rob proposed in October 2019, in Florence, Italy, for Amy’s 30th Birthday. Although we had initially planned a very speedy wedding (August 2020), covid arrived and the world had different plans for two Doctors! Blessed with an understanding venue and supportive vendors, we pushed our wedding date back to September 2021 giving us approximately 2 years to plan our wedding.”
What made you choose your wedding venues and how did you decorate them?
“Blackstock Country Estate offered a rustic, cosy, barn wedding feel with stunning countryside views and food to die for! We hosted our civil ceremony in The Tudor Barn, moving to The Granary Barn for our Wedding Breakfast and then back to The Tudor Barn for the evening celebrations. From our first visit it was clear that Blackstock solely focused on and specialised in hosting weddings, instantly putting us at ease. Blackstock worked with us to accommodate our every wish, from bespoke menu choices to providing a golf buggy to drive us around the grounds for photographs. Everything felt so personal and dedicated to us from the start and therefore we chose Blackstock Estate to host our wedding.”
What inspired you to style your day the way you did?
“As we wanted to create a relaxed, rustic, country feel, we decided to decorate our venue with fresh flowers provided by ‘Florist in the Forest’ (Katherine Craft). Katherine suggested flowers such as roses and astilbe in soft shades of blush pink and white combined with wispy sage green foliage for an unstructured romantic feel. She combined high and low flower arrangements on the tables for the wedding breakfast, which were placed in tall gold frames adding impact to the heigh barn ceilings. We also chose to decorate our wedding breakfast with glass footed candle holders containing floating ivory tealights, really adding a special, twilight feel to the early evening. We also made use of Inspiration Decor who decorated both The Tudor Barn for the civil ceremony and The Granary Barn for the wedding breakfast. Inspiration Decor used voile ceiling drapery with lights and decorated the chandeliers with ivy for maximum impact. They also provided two floral arches, which complimented our fresh flower arrangements very well and made for a great backdrop in some of our favorite photographs.”
How did you decide on your dress and accessories?
“I wanted a comfortable dress that suited a relaxed venue whilst still feeling beautiful on my wedding day. Anitra, from Pronovias (Bond Street, London) offered the perfect minimalist style featuring a sleek, bateau neckline, scoop low back and mermaid train. Embroidered cap sleeves, bridal buttons, as well as occasional delicate lace placements framing the scoop back and train added romantic detailing to the dress. My heels from The Rainbow Club were so comfy I barely even realised I was wearing them! I also chose not to wear a veil as I felt that this detracted from the detailing on the back of the dress, opting instead for a wedding hair comb from Lace and Favor decorated with ivory porcelain flowers and pearls. On the day, I was grateful for these understated choices which made me feel more relaxed and made negotiating the estate grounds for photographs slightly easier! “
How did you decide on the outfits for the groom and groomsmen?
“The suits we wore on the day weren’t the ones we had originally intended. We had some fairly questionable advice about how long before the event we needed to place our order that frustratingly led to our plan A being out of stock. As it happens, Rob was really happy with the Ted Baker suits he eventually chose. They were comfortable to wear, complimented Amy’s dress and fit with the venue much better than the original choice.”
Who gave you away / walked you down the aisle? And did you walk down the aisle to a particular song?
“My father, Thomas Bowes, walked me down the aisle to ‘La Nascita Remastered’ by Ludovico Einaudi. This is a memory I will cherish forever. We’ve always liked the music of Ludovico Einaudi as has my dad, this remastered track was one we hadn’t heard before but set the scene perfectly.”
Would you like to share anything about your vows? Did you tailor your own?
“After briefly considering writing our own, we went for traditional wedding vows. It turns out both of us have talents rooted firmly in the sciences rather than literature.”
Did you have any readings? If so, what were they and why did you choose them?
“One of our main priorities was for guests to feel relaxed and enjoy the day. We hence decided against any readings to avoid unwanted anxiety in those that would have been asked to deliver them.”
Please describe your wedding breakfast and the reasons behind it?
“We are real foodies and one of our main priorities for the wedding breakfast was to provide sumptuous food! After attending a very successful food tasting evening, we opted for a 3-course wedding breakfast provided by ‘Fine Food Catering’ at Blackstock Estate. The food was divine and it’s a real testament to the team that they were able to produce perfect slow cooked pork belly or fillet of beef for every one of our 110 guests.”
Did you provide wedding favours? If so, please provide details or what and where you sourced them
“Amy’s identical twin sister, Philippa, kindly prepared miniature bottles of home-made sloe gin from The Isle of Wight (their childhood home). The miniature glass gin bottles containing a cork stopper were decorated with a personalised, homemade ‘Amy & Rob’ label to mark the occasion.”
Please describe your cake and why you chose it?
“Following a very successful cake tasting, we opted for a four-tier, sharp edged, fondant iced wedding cake by ‘Emily’s Mixing Bowel’. Each tier comprised a different flavor, including vanilla & raspberry, Lemon, carrot & orange, as well as traditional fruit cake. The wedding cake was decorated with a cascade of beautifully hand-crafted sugar flowers, which matched our fresh flowers, including blush pink roses and peonies, as well as wispy sage green foliage. The cake did not disappoint and was absolutely stunning in both taste and appearance!”
What was your first dance track and what did it mean to you?
“We chose ‘Ain’t Nobody (Loves Me Better)’ by Jasmine Thompson (acoustic version) for our first dance. As two working professionals we really do try to help each other through the working week as much as possible, from making a cup of tea or coffee in the morning to cooking one another a supper in the evening! We have always felt like a team and support each other through the triumphs and failures of each day. We felt that the lyrics to our first dance track reflected our dynamic very strongly and it was incredibly special to dance to this track on our wedding day.”
What was your favourite part of the day and why?
“This is a tough question as we really enjoyed the entire day!!! If I am honest, after postponing the wedding and focusing on work throughout the pandemic, we were extremely grateful to finally get married! I remember feeling completely elated and overrun with emotion walking down the aisle. Saying ‘I do’ to one another and being pronounced ‘husband & wife’ is probably one of our most memorable moments. We received wonderful applause and it really felt like our family and friends were genuinely excited for us! These moments happen very quickly, so make sure to stay focused and enjoy them. “
What led you to choose Nick from Parkershots as your photographer and please can you comment on the results?
“Prior to the wedding we spent a fair bit of time looking through the work of a number of photographers. Where Nick’s work stood out is in its natural style and beautiful use of light and scenery. We met Nick in person in 2019 and instantly hit it off. His friendly, relaxed and professional manner put us completely at ease and we knew immediately he was the right photographer for us. From the very beginning, Nick took the time to get to know us as a couple, learning of our love for the countryside, eventually translating that into breathtaking portraits of us amidst the beautiful East Sussex scenery on our wedding day. Nick kept in regular contact in the run-up to the event and during our pre-wedding shoot (which we would highly recommend), sat down with us to understand how our wedding day was planned and how the photography could seamlessly fit around that. As a result, not only did Nick manage to document the day with a combination of natural and fun photos, but he also captured its spirit and emotion (see the series of shots of my father seeing me in my wedding dress for the first time)! It’s this emotion that really adds to your reflection when looking through the pictures after the event. We felt like we had the pleasure of a friend document our wedding as Nick really paid attention to every detail and noted all our personal wishes. We really think our wedding photos are outstanding; a sentiment shared by all our family and friends who have seen them. We cannot recommend Nick highly enough and could not have asked for a more dedicated and talented wedding photographer. Thank you, Nick, for helping us to enjoy the best day of our lives.”
On reflection, is there anything you would have done differently with foresight?
“Try not to worry too much during the run-up… it will all work out ok in the end! “
If you could impart any words of wisdom to a bride to be planning her marriage and wedding day, what would they be?
“Take a deep breath, take in what’s actually going on and enjoy the day! If there are any little mishaps, does it really matter? Absolutely not!”
Is there anything else that you would like to add?
“Thank you for helping to make our wedding day one to remember. We LOVE our photographs! “
Congratulations Amy & Rob – it was a such a pleasure photographing your wedding!