It's funny looking back now, how vividly I remember when Dominic & Danielle first told me about their idea of having an air display at their wedding. Dom is a pilot and so it would be a lovely personal connection to him, and an incredible addition to the wedding. I know the venue well, having been a wedding photographer at Wadhurst Castle many times over the years, and could immediately see how well it would work there. The wide open view across the Sussex countryside would be a perfect setting. At this stage it was just an idea, but I could see in Dom's eyes how keen he was and Dani was enthusiastic in her support.
I met up with Dom and Dani again about 8 months later for their pre-wedding portrait session in Greenwich Park and we were extremely lucky with the weather. It was a beautifully sunny evening giving us gorgeous light to work with and a stunning sunset. They were so easy to get along with and so easy to photograph - They're a great looking couple and were amazing at taking direction and going along with any ideas I had. Based on this alone, I was even more excited about photographing their wedding, but around this time, they also confirmed that the aerobatic display had been booked for the wedding. Excitement levels were now off the chart. And the best bit, it would be a surprise for their guests. You can read more about how this came about and my involvement in getting the guests in position in the preview blog post from straight after the wedding here (Preview).
I feel slightly bad for talking so much about the display in this post, because I loved every aspect of their wedding and would've loved photographing the day even without it. But, let's be honest - it was a pretty epic. You can read more about this awesome couple & their wedding below, and see a selection of photos from the day including one or two of 'The Blades' aerobatic display team in action. 🙂
How did you meet, & how did you become engaged?
"We met on a dating app before having our first date on Valentines’ day (risky I know!). We got engaged in Paris, in the sunset shadow of the Eiffel Tower – This may sound blissful but Dominic was under stress all day as flights were cancelled, trains had technical issues and Airbnb keys would not work… all while trying to create a memorable weekend for Danielle!"
How long did you take to plan your wedding?
"We got married just over a year after our trip to Paris. We chose our venue and set our date in just over a month and then worked from there with ideas and arranging suppliers."
What made you choose your wedding venues and how did you decorate them?
"We fell in love with Wadhurst Castle as soon as we walked around the path to the lawn and saw the incredible views. We visited on a very grey autumn day and it still stunned us. In terms of decoration, the beauty of the castle is that it already brings a lot of character and décor; all we had to do was add a few personalised touches around the venue in line with our wedding colours."
What inspired you to style your day the way you did?
"We weren’t looking to have a specific theme, but we wanted to include elements of travel as it is part of Dominic’s job and a joint passion. We’ve had a few amazing trips away together and we incorporated these in our table plan and centrepieces."
How did you decide on your dress and accessories?
"I (Danielle) went to the National Wedding show with my Mum and met Sarah Bussey, creative director of Ivory & Co. I tried on a couple of dresses at the show and fell in love with the beautiful fabrics and put down a deposit for a bespoke dress. I travelled to Sarah’s showroom and over the course of two appointments designed my dream dress. Sarah and her team were fantastic helping me try various bodices with different skirts to get the silhouette and style just right. I originally selected a shoulder length veil and simple pearl earrings, both Ivory & Co, but changed a month before to a full length veil and crystal earrings for added drama!"
How did you decide on the outfits for the groom and groomsmen?
"Dominic explored different looks as Wadhurst leads itself to pretty much any style of groomswear. In the end I (with a little colour coordination help!) decided on a faded blue Ted Baker suit with a feature ivory waistcoat for myself. This is a brand that we both love wearing generally so it was nice to make it part of the wedding. Dom looked for and bought some special shoes to mark the day and keep forever!(and we believe some of the groomsmen did too 😉!!"
Who gave you away / walked you down the aisle? And did you walk down the aisle to a particular song?
"Danielle met Claire Jones, harpist, at the National Wedding show. I got in touch with Claire and asked if she could learn The Luckiest by Ben Folds. This song is from the film 'About Time' which we both love and was one of the first films we watched together. The lyrics are so special, and we often say to each other that we are “the luckiest” so it seemed the perfect fit for start our wedding ceremony."
Would you like to share anything about your vows? Did you tailor your own?
"We liked the traditional wedding vows so were happy to use those lines; we added the personalisation we wanted through the reading. We even practised saying “Impediment” so as not to trip up on the day!"
Did you have any readings? If so, what were they and why did you choose them?
"We chose The Promise by Eileen Rafter, read by Danielle’s Mum. We wanted a reading to reflect us as a couple and liked the way the story is told like a personal conversation between us. It was romantic but also had some light hearted elements and it gave an impression of us to our guests on the day."
Please describe your wedding breakfast and the reasons behind it?
"We used Super Events from Sussex as our caterer. As it happened, their connection to Wadhurst was actually down to a conversation we had had with the Castle team early on! They run a big tasting event during the year for all of the couples who are using them where you are fed their range and see the complete package as it would be presented. We could completely customize dishes though to just add the cherry on top of the already great food. For example, Danielle loves dauphinoise potatoes – Super were able to change the side part of the main to accommodate this. Equally Dom fell in love with pavlova dessert and this was possible to be included in their mini-triple dessert."
Did you provide wedding favours? If so, please provide details or what and where you sourced them
"We chose favours from the British Heart Foundation that can simply be buried in the ground and grow into meadow flowers. We had been interested in a charity element to the favours from early planning; we then found that the BHF did a wedding range. It has a close tie to us as members of both of our families have been affected by heart illnesses."
Please describe your cake and why you chose it?
"We had an amazing cake from Sylvia’s Kitchen. As our desserts covered typical sweet flavours seen at a wedding, we were able to personalise the flavours more in the cake. We had a raspberry/white chocolate layer, a passionfruit/vanilla layer and a ginger-flavoured layer. The decoration was a nod to us – Liz was able to do a faint map of the world on one layer representing our travels; another was coloured to match the pinks seen in Danielle’s bouquet and was also beautifully ruffled like the roses! Liz created sugar flowers for the top of the cake to match the wedding bouquet which we have kept."
What was your first dance track and what did it mean to you?
"We danced to 'Over and Over' Again by Nathan Sykes. This was mainly due to its words, pretty much from the first verse, as it reflects our feelings towards each other very well. Dominic was actually tearing up singing along to the words during the dance."
What was your favourite part of the day and why?
"It is so hard to pick a moment. The ceremony had all the little personal bits to it that made it so so special; the weather was stunning throughout the day; the musicians in the evening went down so well with the merry guests – so much so a few had their own attempt at playing them! All that said, our big surprise of the day to our guests has to go down as the highlight. Only Nick, Wadhurst’s staff, the groomsmen and us were privy to the plan. As part of a ‘fake’ group photo, we organised for The Blades Aerobatic Team to fly over the guests’ heads and then proceed to do a stunning 15-minute display. This was actually an idea pushed ahead by Danielle after Dominic mentioned it in casual planning conversations early on! Suffice to say it paid off! Not only did we enjoy watching them but our guests were all on a high and a little speechless after."
What led you to choose Nick from Parkershots as your photographer and please can you comment on the results?
"We both have an interest in amateur photography so this was quite an important part of planning our day. Dominic looked at a few dozen photographers who had worked at Wadhurst or nearby before narrowing these down to a handful. Even at this stage, Parkershots stood out. Not only were the photos of an incredible quality but the way they were put together looked modern but timeless at the same time. This was in the form of how subjects were posed and then how light and the right amount of colour was used too. In terms of our personal experience with Nick – he was brilliant from our first meeting with him; very easy to work with. We had an engagement shoot in our local park in London which firstly produced stunning photos but also taught us what it would be like on the wedding day. Come the wedding day, we were helping our bridesmaids and groomsmen to get used to the lens for the pictures – this proves how good Nick is at getting that feeling right with his couples. Throughout the wedding day he was discreet but equally would interject politely to capture some lovely moments. We then asked him to be creative so that our Air display surprise went smoothly – again he was inventive and funny which meant it all produced a really special moment to remember.
At every point during the day he made it smooth and natural which meant we were enjoying those moments personally and not having a 10-hour photo shoot! Following the wedding we then received our album and we are still stunned by it and treasure every photo. We have had compliments from everyone who has seen them and we genuinely believe he produces some of the best wedding photos you can get! If someone wishes to dispute – send them our way 😉 Thanks Nick!"
On reflection, is there anything you would have done differently with foresight?
"Aside from the usual wedding planning advice we would say make sure it feels like your special day. One of the initial conversations we had was thinking about putting our personal stamp on the day. Obviously you do not want to make it too personal so the guests feel left out but a little nod to something in your lives can add to that warm fuzzy feeling during the wedding day. "
Is there anything else that you would like to add?
"Just 'thank you' for being a part of our magical day and giving us visual snapshots of memories we will treasure forever. Nick was fantastic at making everyone feel at ease to capture beautiful, natural photos – exactly what we wanted."
- Bride’s gown (Designer and boutique) – Ivory and Co www.ivoryandcobridal.co.uk
- Jewellery (Designer & Boutique) – Ivory and Co www.ivoryandcobridal.co.uk
- Shoes – Rainbow club www.rainbowclub.co.uk
- Veil – Ivory and Co www.ivoryandcobridal.co.uk
- Hair piece – designed and made by Sharon from Adornare www.adornare.co.uk
- Perfume – Giorgio Armani Si Eau de Parfum
- Aftershave – Armani Stronger with you Eau de Toilette
- Hair Stylist – Sharon from Adornare www.adornare.co.uk
- Make-up Artist – Sharon from Adornare www.adornare.co.uk
- Florist – Emma Catt from Arrangements www.arrangingflowers.co.uk
- Rings – Vashi – wonderful team here! www.vashi.com
- Venue – Wadhurst Castle www.wadhurstcastle.co.uk
- Cake Maker – Liz from Sylvia’s Kitchen www.sylviaskitchen.co.uk
- Caterer – Super Events www.superevent.co.uk
- Bridesmaids Dresses – Purbelle www.purbelle.com
- Groom / Groomsmen suits – Ted Baker www.tedbaker.com
- Stationery – Rosemood Atelier www.rosemood.co.uk
- Entertainment – PianoDJ www.pianodj.co.uk /Claire Jones www.clairejones.co.uk /The Blades www.theblades.com
- Photographer - PARKERSHOTS www.parkershots.com
- Honeymoon - Hawaii(in the spring due Dom’s work roster)
Share this story