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Jessica & Chris - St John The Baptist, Wonersh

Jess & Chris live in South Africa and Chris is of Swedish descent, but their wedding, on a wonderfully sunny day in early August, had a unmistakable and quintessentially English feel about it. Wonersh’s lovely St John The Baptist and the adjoining walled garden was the setting for their nuptial celebrations and as you’ll see, quite a fantastic setting it was too.

We started off at Jess’ parents home before heading into Guildford for hair at Koko’s in Tunsgate. From there it was back to Jess’ parents home in Wonersh for makeup and the final stages of bridal preparation. I think you’ll agree Jess looked quite superb in her dress. Like a wise chap, Chris had decided that the Red Lion in Shamley Green was the ideal place to get proceedings underway and I met him and his groomsmen there before we all made our way to church. Chris and Jess are both serious endurance athletes/adventurers (despite the fact that they’ll pooh-pooh any such suggestion) and prior to a pint and sandwiches at the pub, Chris had begun the day with a ‘light’ 5 mile(ish) jog. Now, I’m not a runner and I recognise that 5 miles isn’t exactly a marathon, but this was the man’s wedding day! I was disturbed and impressed in equal measure.

Following the wedding itself, we moved into the Walled Garden which sits beside St John’s. Jess and Chris’ and both their families had gone to great lengths to transform what was previously an empty field into a simply outstanding reception venue. An open sided marquee bedecked with indoor trees, separate cake and refreshment tents and a children’s tent for the smorgasbord of ridiculously cute kids. Both the band and speeches were also particularly memorable. Chris, his best men and Jess’ father Ian are all fiercely intelligent and their ability to bend words to their will was quite something to behold. Befittingly, many tears were shed! The band for the evening, Saloon Star had been built up as quite the event and they didn’t disappoint. Top-draw multi-instrumentalist performers, great musicianship and crowd-pleasing knowhow of rare quality! Jess & Chris also happen to know some wicked dancers!

Jess & Chris were a delight to work with, and despite being adamant ahead of the day that they were ‘useless in front of the camera’ I’m sure you’ll agree that they look like they thoroughly enjoyed themselves! My thanks to everyone involved, and a special word to Jess’ mum Wendy for her extremely thoughtful thank-you phone call. As always, here’s a selection of my favourites - there’s a fair few, but I think it’s a wedding that deserves it!


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Nancy & Rich - Dunsfold Aerodrome

I know Nancy from my involvement in the Dunsfold Wings and Wheels Air & Motoring show and when she asked me to shoot her wedding I was thrilled. She and Rich are wonderfully fun-loving and laid back people and from the off it was clear that their wedding day was a departure from ‘the usual’.

Time is a commodity often lacking in wedding days, the limited hours are crammed with 101 things and although everyone has a superb time, the sense of haste and hurry is palpable. Not so with Nancy & Rich’s wedding. I began the day by visiting a quintessential greasy spoon, just round the corner from me in Deepcut, to photograph Rich’s final breakfast as a free single man. A more genuine and welcoming guy you’d be hard pressed to meet, Rich is known as ‘Pig’ by his friends and, although it’s down to his surname rather than his appetite, that didn’t seem to be wanting despite the momentous nature of the day! After watching Rich tuck away breakfast in short order, I headed over to Nancy’s house to shoot the preparations. With makeup done and hair fixed it was off to Guildford Register Office to do the deed. The ceremony was full of love, laughter and a few genuinely hilarious moments and, once the formalities were completed, we all made our way to Dunsfold for the reception.

What a reception! With a Caterham/Lotus kit-car day in progress those who were feeling brave were offered rides in the passenger seats as grinning petrolheads did their best to perturb coifed hairdo’s. Afterwards, there was plenty of time for guests to catch-up, relax and enjoy the newly-appeared sunshine. As I said above, most weddings feel quite tight from a time point of view, in contrast Nancy & Rich’s wedding felt like the perfect embodiment of a relaxing sunny Saturday. (With the addition of some rather nippy cars).

Shooting portraits on an airfield was an interesting experience. Dunsfold is actually quite a big, open, desolate space in some ways so we had to seek out the best spots quite carefully. Nancy & Rich are really into dog agility and so we thought it proper to include their three gorgeous dogs in the photographs! Complete with matching neckerchiefs and full of energy they were fantastic fun. I’ve never seen a dog bounce quite as high as Lucca. Dog meets cartoon rabbit would be a fitting description!

So, as you’ve probably gathered this was one of my most memorable weddings for a long time. It’s not every day that I get to meet my long lost brother - a chap called Phil who, despite my denials, actually looks a LOT like me (see here) - shoot pictures on the Top Gear Test Track and work with a couple who really got to the heart of what a wedding should be about. Family, friends and having a fantastically memorable time. Nancy & Rich were a pleasure to work with from beginning to end and couldn’t have been more welcoming. I love shooting weddings like this! Thanks to them both.

As ever, please find a selection of my favourites below. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

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Rob & Steph - Clandon Park

With the 2012 wedding season due to kick off for me this Friday, I was spending some time the other day making sure 2011’s weddings were all fully archived and tidied away. In doing so I realised that I’d never actually got round to blogging Rob & Steph’s wedding at Clandon Park nr Guildford. I shot Rob & Steph’s engagement session a few months prior to their wedding so came to know them particularly well. I don’t usually do engagement sessions, but they were especially keen to have some photographs done ahead of the day itself and I found the experience really great fun. It’s sometimes hard not to see the very best in people when you spend such an incredibly happy day with them, and I know I bang on about great clients, but Rob & Steph really are immensely lovely people, the sort of people I hope to stay in touch with and hear from in years to come.

Steph begun the day at her Dad’s house - another equally lovely guy - a short drive from both Church and reception venue. After a really great morning, in which I discovered that I’d been to school with some of Steph’s bridesmaid’s friends (small world!), I headed off to Wotton to meet Rob and his groomsmen. St John the Evangelist is a gorgeous church and in the cold bright December light it looked stunning. I tend not to feel the cold a great deal when I’m shooting a wedding and so if in doubt I tend to forgo a jumper. After seeing guests and Rob’s family inside, I stepped outside to wait for Steph’s arrival. It was pretty chilly, but expecting her imminently I figured it’d only be a brief wait. As it happened, half way to church they realised that they’d forgotten Steph’s bouquet and so had to head back to retrieve it! I am convinced this was all a ruse on Steph’s part to keep Rob honest, but she assures me it was a genuine mistake!

I shot the service from the back of the church as I’d been requested to be very discrete. It’s sometimes challenging shooting from the back, but thankfully there were some lovely sight lines that worked well with where Rob & Steph were seated. Following the service it was on to Clandon Park. Clandon is a huge building with an incredible aspect and a magnificent Marble Hall. The wedding breakfast gave way to some first rate speeches and the special guest appearance of Rob’s Super Ted bear - exceptional stuff! The Vaulted Undercroft, where the evening reception took place, is a really fun room to shoot in. It’s curving white vaulting makes lighting it a blast and yet it’s relatively low ceiling keeps things feeling really energetic and intimate. All in, it was a fantastic way to end the 2011 season. Here are some of my favourites from the day, a selection I found particularly hard to whittle down!

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