My coverage of Amy and Aaron's wedding at Bradbourne house started with the bridal preparation at Amy's parent's house in Sevenoaks. In contrast to when a bride gets ready at a hotel, homes usually have less space to work with and end up being more chaotic, but they also have that personal touch, where literally every item on every surface has a story to tell and a meaning to the bride. You also often have neighbours standing in the street to see the bride off, many of which have probably known her since she was just a baby.
Bradbourne House is one of my favourite wedding venues in the area. There are some amazing grounds to work with for portraits and the rooms inside the house have large windows (letting in plenty of natural light) and lots of character. It also offers couples the choice of an inside ceremony or an outside ceremony in the orchard. For Amy and Aaron, their first choice was definitely the outside area. As a bit of a first for me, another local photographer, David Burke, had asked to 2nd shoot for me at a wedding, and Amy and Aaron's wedding date worked well so whilst I was covering the bridal preparation, David was at the venue capturing photos of guests arriving, and the ceremony area.
Once Amy arrived, I had a few minutes to capture some portraits of her, but the registrars needed their talk, and I could join the groom for a few portraits of him to match. Both bride and groom looked stunning and relaxed before the ceremony, with little hint of nerves, unless they were hidden by their excitement.
I do love an outside ceremony. The space all around lends itself to beautiful photos but it's also very calming being surrounded by nature. My wife and I got married in a field, and I'll never forget the feeling of a gentle breeze on my face, sunlight warming my neck, and the sounds of birds all around. I hope that one day there will be less restrictions on where ceremonies can occur in the UK, and thus opening up even more opportunities for outside ceremonies.
After the ceremony, Amy and Aaron led their guests back to the main house and out onto the lawn to enjoy drinks and canapes before we started with the group photos. And then, I whisked them away to a few of my favourite locations for their portraits. Having been a wedding photographer at Bradbourne House many times in the past, I've come to know lots of areas that I love for different looks of portraits, although I'm always seeing new places as well every time I'm there.
The wedding breakfast room looked absolutely stunning, and I love their choices for wedding favours for the men and women (port for the men, and a Welsh love spoon for the women). Having not had the opportunity before the meal, I took the groom and his groomsmen out for a few quick pictures before the speeches, and whether it was down to the time of day, alcohol consumed, or stage of the wedding day, but all looked very relaxed and in great spirits.
The speeches were all very well done with great energy, emotion and humour. I loved the best-man's "This is your life" theme to his speech, but also his honestly at revealing the big red book he was holding was just the biggest red book he could find, and not actually the history of the groom. His speech was a great mix of stories, commentary, and heartfelt feelings and had the whole room gripped.
During the meal, it had been raining pretty heavily at times so I really didn't expect us to see any form of a sunset in the evening, but just when I was setting up a shot with Bradbourne House in the background, the clouds broke, and beautiful golden sunlight shone down on us.
Then it was time to go back inside for the cake cutting and first dance, before I took the bride and groom outside for one last photo as a sort of end shot to their day. It always takes an element of trust setting up these shots because the bride and groom can't see much, and it's only the flash that I control that brings the image to life. It was therefore lovely to hear, after I showed the image to Amy and Aaron, how amazing they thought it was. I really enjoyed photographing their wedding at Bradbourne House and can't wait to produce their album for them.
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