I felt an instant connection to Helen and James when we first met, so was extremely pleased when they decided to book me to photograph their wedding. Their venue looked amazing online and was even better when actually there. There are so many beautiful features to it, and cool areas that I knew it would be great fun to photograph a wedding at.
We all hope for good weather on our wedding day & I don’t think any of us would have expected this summer to be as hot as it was. Wow – there were some extremely hot days. When I drove up to the area of the wedding the day before, the thermometer of the car showed the temperature to be 45 degrees celsius (in the sun on a motorway) when passing Heathrow. That’s the hottest I’ve ever seen it, and as it turns out, was the hottest day of the year. Thankfully on the day of the wedding, there was a beautiful layer of clouds in the sky bringing the temperature down to a more comfortable level, although it was still hot enough to warrant the bridesmaids crowding around a fan during the morning prep.
I loved Helen and James’ England / French wedding and styling choices. Helen looked beautiful and elegant in her Jesus Peiro dress and James looked suave in his Moss Bros suit. Their choice of Bentley for wedding car worked perfectly and looked amazing cruising along the drive and pulling up to the venue.
It was a pleasure capturing their whole day, and especially walking around the grounds with them for the portraits, but a special mention has to go to a couple of other moments during the day. The father of bride’s speech was particularly memorable, and ended with a surprise performance of the Spice Girls (seen in the images below), and I loved seeing the father of the groom break out the ‘floss dance’ in the evening – he’s got some great moves!
Here is a bit more about their wedding in their words:
How did you meet, & how did you become engaged?
“We met in February 2012 and got engaged on holiday in the South of France in the summer of 2016. James had been holding onto the engagement ring for 9 months at that point, just waiting for the right moment!”
How long did you take to plan your wedding?
“It took us exactly two years from getting engaged to tying the knot. Although by the time the wedding came around it felt like we had been planning forever, starting early meant we were able to take our time researching and book our first choice for all our suppliers.”
What made you choose your wedding venues and how did you decorate them?
“We got married in the church where Helen’s parents had had their wedding, which added a special touch to the day. We chose to let the church speak for itself when it came to décor and lots of our guests commented on what a pretty church it was, which was lovely.
We viewed 3 reception venues but the stand-out was Wasing Park in Berkshire. The grounds are stunning and we liked how much open space there was and the fact that you had the entire place to yourselves for the day. Decoration-wise, our main focus was on having beautiful flowers.”
What inspired you to style your day the way you did?
“We wanted the look of our day to reflect the natural elements/outside space, using natural materials such as wooden accessories and keeping our colour palette fresh with white, pink, purple and grey-green tones. We also wanted to include a French twist to reflect James’s heritage.
Our incredibly talented friend designed all of our stationery and we decided early on to use a sprig of French lavender as our emblem. We also included lavender in the boys’ button holes and the bride’s/bridemaids’ bouquets, all of which were tied with brown hessian wraps.
We spent 18 months sourcing French wine crates to use as centrepieces on the tables, which our florist Tarnia Williams filled with beautiful flowers.
Finally, we decided not to have a traditional guest book and instead bought a giant colouring poster and asked guests to colour a section and sign their name. It was a fun and interactive way of recording who was there on our day.”
How did you decide on your dress and accessories?
“I had a clear idea about the kind of dress I was after but finding it was another thing! In the end, The Pantiles Bride in Tunbridge Wells delivered and my dress had all the elements I was looking for; a full structured skirt in a plain fabric, full-length delicate lace sleeves and, most importantly, pockets!
I paired the dress with a full-length silk tulle veil and the most gorgeous sparkly shoes by Rachel Simpson in a pink-quartz colour.”
How did you decide on the outfits for the groom and groomsmen?
“James wanted to go for a classic look and choose navy coloured suits from Moss Bros which were complemented by silk pink ties and white pocket squares. All the groomsmen were also given a silver tie slide on the morning of the wedding as a gift and to add something extra to their outfits.”
Who gave you away / walked you down the aisle? And did you walk down the aisle to a particular song?
“My dad walked me down the aisle. I chose a piece of classical music from the film score from Titanic, which I have loved for years.”
Would you like to share anything about your vows? Did you tailor your own?
“We had traditional vows for a Church of England wedding.”
Did you have any readings? If so, what were they and why did you choose them?
“We chose an extract from the Song of Solomon as our bible reading, which was read by James’s sister. Our second reading was an edited version of Oh! The Places You’ll Go by Dr Seuss. We loved the message in the story; it’s about going on a journey where there will be ups and downs but ultimately just do your best together and enjoy the ride.”
Please describe your wedding breakfast and the reasons behind it?
“For the wedding breakfast we had smoked bacon Scotch egg, fillet of beef with fondant potato and chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream. We wanted fuss-free food that was delicious and had been cooked to perfection.”
Did you provide wedding favours? If so, please provide details or what and where you sourced them
“James’s parents kindly made up little bags of sugared chocolates for our guests to take home, which is a tradition in France.”
Please describe your cake and why you chose it?
“We chose a simple naked cake from Marks & Spencer made of vanilla sponge and buttercream which our florist decorated.”
What was your first dance track and what did it mean to you?
“We danced to This Will Be (An Everlasting Love) by Natalie Cole. We don’t have a personal song that’s significant to us as a couple so we just picked something that was upbeat and fun. We knew we didn’t want a slow song so this one was perfect and got all the guests dancing.”
What was your favourite part of the day and why?
Helen: “My favourite part of the day was the party in the evening where everybody was relaxed and having a great time dancing to the band (who were fantastic). Hearing the church bells ring after the ceremony was also brilliant and I loved the confetti walk!”
James: “I enjoyed the entire day, from start to finish, and especially seeing all the people we really care about having a great time. It was incredible seeing our vision come together and sharing it will our friends and family.”
What led you to choose Nick from Parkershots as your photographer and please can you comment on the results?
“We did some serious research when it came to photographers, but Nick was the only one we met with and we knew straight away that we wanted him to photograph our wedding. Nick manages to tell a story by capturing the journey of the couple throughout each part of their day, and each photograph is so well thought out in terms of lighting and composition.
He was incredibly friendly and professional from the outset and we were impressed that he took the time to visit our venue before the day to familiarise himself.”
On reflection, is there anything you would have done differently with foresight?
“We would consider getting married and having the reception in one location. Our church had a really special connection for us so we’re happy we chose it but having the wedding across two sites did restrict our time somewhat and we felt rushed at some points in the day. If you are going to get married across two sites then definitely build in contingency to your timings in case things don’t run according to plan.”
If you could impart any words of wisdom to a bride to be planning her marriage and wedding day, what would they be?
“Planning a wedding can be testing but try to think of the the big picture and remind yourself often of why you decided to get married in the first place and what it’s really about, which is the two of you.”
- Bride’s gown (Designer and boutique): Jesus Peiro 8004, The Pantiles Bride
- Jewellery (Designer & Boutique): Bride’s own
- Shoes: Mimosa Quartz by Rachel Simpson
- Veil: The Pantiles Bride
- Perfume: Jo Malone
- Hair Stylist: Katy Djokic https://www.weddinghairstylingandmakeup.co.uk/
- Make-up Artist: Katy Djokic https://www.weddinghairstylingandmakeup.co.uk/
- Florist: Luxury Flowers for Weddings by Tarnia Williams http://www.tarniawilliams.co.uk/
- Rings: Ernest Jones
- Venue: Wasing Park https://www.wasing-weddings.co.uk/
- Décor / Styling: Chalkboard sign https://www.notonthehighstreet.com/meeandesdesigns/product/detailed-welcome-wedding-blackboard-sign
- Cake Maker: Marks & Spencer
- Caterer: Galloping Gourmet @ Wasing Park
- Bridesmaids Dresses: Monsoon
- Groom / Groomsmen suits: Moss Bros
- Stationery: Story of Two firstname.lastname@example.org
- Entertainment: Pop London https://www.tailored-entertainment.com/
- Transport: Christopher’s Limousines http://www.christophers.co.uk/
- Videographer Kitebox http://www.kitebox.co.uk/
- Photographer: Parkershots https://www.parkershots.com