Roz and her fiancee Dave had booked the beautiful walled garden at COWDRAY PARK, West Sussex, as their wedding venue, and I was lucky enough to be booked as their photographer. I met with them before the wedding on a slightly sunny, slightly overcast day at the venue and, with coffee in hand, took a look around the grounds. Both Roz and Dave are such nice people that I had no doubt I would be able to capture some lovely shots from their wedding day. We spent about an hour getting to know each other (I had met Roz before, but not Dave) and it was good for me to chat to them about their plans, how they felt about being photographed, and ideas for places to take a short walk with me after the ceremony. We also had a good look around the venue in detail. I left feeling excited, not just about the potential photos that I could capture, but also about just being there on the day and watching it all come together…through my lens! They had chosen a perfect venue to get married and treat their guests….now all we needed was the weather… and WOW, did it deliver!
I arrived in the morning at the venue to clear sky and the anticipation of a hot sunny day. Roz had decided that she was going to get ready about 30 mins away from Cowdray Park so she didn’t need me to take any ‘getting ready’ shots. Instead I had time to take detail shots in the dining room (table decorations, wedding cake, place names etc), and photos of the set-up in the ceremony room. I met Dave as he walked through the door and photographed him enjoying the morning with the arriving guests. As a wedding photographer, it’s great to see some of the differences in facial expressions and the way the groom holds himself before and after the ceremony… There is a definite ‘relaxation’ point after the ‘I do’s’ !! Its also great knowing that I’m capturing the only part of the day that the bride and groom are not together, and they will look back on the images to find out what the other half was doing during that time.
Soon it was time for the bride and bridesmaids to arrive. I headed over to the back of the walled garden and met with the bridesmaids, and the flower girls. Then, from around the corner, came the bride…. in her decked out VW CAMPER VAN!! Roz was so relaxed. Natural, smiling and enjoying every moment… And of course, father of the bride was there to lend a hand when needed. I got some lovely shots of the bridal party entering the walled garden and heading to the ceremony room. Roz then took 5 minutes to herself before the ceremony began. I took this time to photograph the guests in the ceremony room, the best men and of course the groom, loosening his collar and making ‘anxious’ faces at the camera! It was great to see everyone so relaxed.
The ceremony went smoothly. I positioned myself behind the registrar, which was great for capturing Roz and Dave in this very personal moment. I made sure I didn’t walk around too much, however I did of course capture all the best bits including some natural reaction shots of the guests.
After the ceremony I spent some time with Roz, Dave, the bridesmaids and the groomsmen as they wandered around the grounds in the sunshine. We went from stable doors, to the back seat of the VW… From in front of the castle remains, to sitting on antique chairs… I photographed them from a distance, only taking ‘posed’ shots when they asked. We shot the ‘confetti walk’ (always a tricky one!) and then I left them to mingle whilst I took photos of the rest of the guests enjoying the fizz! When Roz and Dave were ready they all made their way inside for the wedding breakfast.
After a quick bite to eat myself, I went back to capture the speeches, the raucous laughter, the crazy costumes, and the love that was EVERYWHERE! It was such a brilliant atmosphere. After the meal, all that was left to capture was the ‘gentlemen’s cigar tradition’ that Dave had planned, the cutting of the cake and the first dance. It was perfect.
I think the colours that were present at this wedding; the incredible unique bouquet, the vintage china, the superhero table names, the buttonholes, the home made wedding cake (yes, that was home made!!) and of course… Dave’s blue suit… really made this a special day to photograph for me.
I left feeling honoured that I was there to witness such an amazing day, and keen to see if I had captured the atmosphere for years to come.