Steve & Nicola’s Christmas wedding at Dodford Manor

January 29, 2014

Steve & Nicola’s wedding at Dodford church & Dodford Manor: the first wedding to be posted this year and the last one we photographed in 2013.

Mother Nature threw all her winter weather at us but it didn’t matter a bit; it was nearly Christmas and everyone was just excited to celebrate with this lovely pair.

About Steve & Nicola

Like many of our couples Steve & Nicola were recommended to us. We first met when Nicola was a Bridesmaid to Mike & Suzie, who were recommended to us by Chris & Helen! So there were some familiar faces on the guest list and with most of their other suppliers chosen on recommendation from the same circle it was rather like being at an event with our own friends and family!

Steve and Nicola are super sweet and clearly adore each other. You can just feel it when you’re with them. Nicola is full of life and excited high speed conversation. Steve is her calmer counterpart and an equally positive spirit. But even Nicola’s eager chatter was no match for Steve on their wedding day! Together they make you feel completely at ease and ready to have fun.

They’re a ‘life is for living’ kind of couple and find joy in everything. Nicola laughed as she tiptoed up the muddy path to church; her Dad more worried about slipping than she was. The rain battered the church roof during the ceremony but they just sang louder. They both giggled infectiously as high winds tossed Nicola’s veil about. It was their wedding and nothing else mattered.

Steve & Nicola dreamed of a day of celebration, with a nod to tradition but with the emphasis on everyone feeling at home and enjoying themselves. So they chose ceremony and reception venues within walking distance of each other so that their guests could park and then relax in the one location without much travelling time. They kept their group photos and portrait photography session short so they weren’t away from their guests for too long. And the choice of an informal style venue provided the blank canvas they wanted for an intimate, cosy, candlelit celebration.

Steve & Nicola’s wedding style

Steve & Nicola chose a Christmas wedding as they love the romance of the season and wanted everywhere to be cosy and candlelit. They made the most of the charm of winter with subtle festive touches. They had snowflake brooches on their stationery and cake, and glittery star shaped cookie favours.

Their aubergine colour scheme was lightened with pink and cream roses, and a tiny bit of sparkle.

My favourite wedding photographs from the day

Steve and Nicola chose a 1pm ceremony to make the most of the daylight but also to give the girls plenty of time to get ready, which is when the photography started.

Nicola made the most of some time to relax while having her make-up done. I loved her wedding colour coordinated top! This girl thought of everything! My previous Bride Suzanne laced Nicola into her dress with pro like speed. The veil was more of a challenge however!

Portable heaters were blasting out warm air, finishing touches being made to the trees and dozens of candles being lit when I arrived at the church. By the time the guests arrived the atmosphere was Christmassy, warm and cosy.

Wedding photography is restricted to the back of the church at St Mary’s in Dodford but apart from that Steve and Nicola were allowed photographs throughout their ceremony.

I really like working at the back of a church. It’s very easy to be discreet and gives a chance to get some nice wide photos that show off the setting as well as some more intimate closer up pictures of the vows and ring exchange.

We came out of church to rain so Steve & Nicola took an extended drive in the wedding car while all the guests hurried back to champagne in the comfort of the barns at Dodford Manor.

There was a very merry atmosphere and an abundance of smiles to be photographed during the drinks reception. Groups of family and friends had the best fun photographing each other. Nicola’s Uncle doubled up with laughter when he spotted me photographing him wearing a fetching red hat. I loved all these moments. But none more than Steve & Nicola stealing a moment just for them as if no-one else was around.

Everything flowed continuously from dinner on to the speeches and cake cutting then into the evening party. The fast pace kept the energy and excitement level high.

The speeches are always a highlight for me as a wedding photographer, with all the great expressions they provoke. Steve & Nicola’s had sincerity, love and just the right dose of embarrassing humour!

Tips for couples planning a similar wedding

  1. If you’re wearing a veil, whatever the weather, make sure it’s carefully gripped into place. If the wind doesn’t pull it out one of your guests might inadvertently do so when they hug you
  2. Your drinks reception will seem to be the fastest part of the day and if you’re having group photos too the time that’s left can feel short and sometimes rushed. Keep your formal photos to a minimum for the most relaxed experience
  3. Plan for cold and rain – you don’t get married in the winter for the weather! Have Ushers with umbrellas to hand. Have wellies and warm wraps for Bridesmaids
  4. If you’re getting married in the winter consider the time of your ceremony carefully to make the most of daylight hours for your photos
  5. To achieve a truly relaxed wedding choose an informal style of venue, barns are great for this.

Are you getting married at Dodford Manor?

Yay! Great choice!

Dodford Manor is one of my favourite places to shoot a wedding. Check out this page to find out why, and read what makes Dodford Manor so special for wedding photography. You’ll find links to other weddings at Dodford Manor on that page too.

If you like what you see and have a question or would like a copy of my wedding photography brochure, please give me a shout. I’d love to hear from you.


  1. Cheryl Agnew-Bass on January 29, 2014 at 7:45 pm

    Aww Sarah stunning photos as always!! I just love how the Church was dressed!! WOW!! See you soon xx

  2. Sarah Vivienne on January 29, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    Thanks Cheryl! It’s a lovely church anyway but looked extra special with the flower arch, Christmas tree and candles. Loved it. Hope we get to work together again soon xx

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