Dom & Serena’s wedding at Our Lady of Victories church in Market Harborough
Dom and Serena’s wedding was an elegant, graceful affair and despite being a large wedding they perfectly pulled off an intimate and relaxed reception at Serena’s childhood home in the village of Old, Northamptonshire.
About Dom & Serena
Dom and Serena were recommended to me from a couple of sources but I think John & Becca helped seal the deal – thanks you two!
Serena and I exchanged emails over the course of a few months and we met between Christmas and New Year when she was home from London visiting her parents. And therein lies a story …
We had arranged to meet at 11am. At 11am on the dot there was a knock at the door. I opened the door and said a bright & breezy “hi, you must be Serena, come on in”. The lady came in, I asked her if she found the house okay, she said she’d had some trouble finding it, we chatted about the weather and she hung her coat on the coat stand. Serena had said she would be visiting with her sister but the lady was alone so I asked if her sister was parking the car or coming later. To which she replied, in a questioning and uncertain tone: “umm, I’m the midwife?” hahaha! I had clearly eaten too many mince pies over Christmas given that she didn’t question it until then! She hastily left and I stood in the hallway laughing to myself at the coincidence of timings! That poor lady!
Dom and Serena were a delight to work with; warm, welcoming and incredibly thoughtful. They knew the pitfalls and challenges we would have (it was as if they had been wedding photographers themselves!) and went out of their way to make sure the logistics of the photography would be as easy as possible and that we’d have everything we needed on the day. I don’t think we’ve ever been offered so much food!
Our documentary approach was important to Dom & Serena; they just wanted to enjoy their wedding to the max. The photography was planned to be as low key as possible but tradition was important to them too and we did a handful of family photos and portraits which were spread lightly through the day.
The most difficult thing with formal photos is finding and moving people about who just want to chat and enjoy themselves. Dom & Serena gave careful thought to how we could make the group photos as quick and easy as possible by being well organised with their list, keeping a space free to do them which was away from the crowd so we could work without distraction and made sure the people they wanted photos with knew where they had to be and when.
They had also chosen a great team of suppliers to work with and come the day everything (bar a power cut just before the first dance!) ran smoothly. Even the weather played ball which was a huge relief because the previous few days had been very wet!
Dom & Serena’s wedding style
Dom & Serena chose a classic, romantic, country look for their day with soft neutral tones of ivory and yellow, plus a little pink to complement the yellow.
The florals were a big feature and were seriously scented. In fact I think everything in the arrangements was scented – lilies, stocks, jasmine, eucalyptus… The sight and scent hit you as you walked into the church and marquee; completely delicious.
The flower girls wore elegant ivory dresses with layers and layers of net. They looked adorable clutching their delicate bouquets. So sweet.
My favourite photos from the day
I love photographing the hustle and bustle as everyone gets ready. There was lots of lovely natural window light for me to work with while Serena and her sisters had their hair and make-up done. The flower girls made great subjects too; they crept about shly at first, a little unsure of me, and watched intrigued as photographed them enduring all the hair brushing, curling, straightening and pinning for their flower crowns to hold in place. But soon they thought nothing of swishing their dresses on the landing and running up and down the staircase!
Whilst I photographed Serena getting ready Georgi tagged along with Dominic and the boys to photograph their lunch. Well, the tail end of the lunch to keep the pictures flattering and unobtrusive. From there they walked to church in time to pin buttonholes and do a few quick portraits and group photos before the guests started to arrive.
Dom checked his watch as the doors opened for Serena to walk down the aisle. We heard the significance of that in the speeches – Serena is notoriously always late. Dom, not only did she come into church on time, she had also been waiting outside for around 10 minutes beforehand!
The ceremony was beautiful. It’s a rare officiant who can make everyone feel relaxed enough for their personalities to shine through. The music was special too and the feeling of serenity when they choir sang washed over you a bit like a magic spell.
Dom & Serena married fairly late in the day at 3pm, had a Catholic ceremony (which are typically long), had a 30 minute drive to the reception and around 200 guests. Those things could make any wedding feel formal and rushed. But Dom & Serena pulled off the oh so hard to achieve informal reception by choosing a relaxed location (you can’t get much more chilled out than a marquee in the garden at home) and being realistic about how long things would take. The wedding was late enough for guests to have lunch beforehand and the continual flow of canapés kept everyone going until dinner was served at 8pm. This schedule gave them plenty of time to do all the formal things (photos, speeches and cake cutting) in a relaxed informal way, as well as chat with their guests.
Dom and Serena cut their cake early on in their drinks reception so it could be served straight away to those guests not staying for the dinner and dancing. Some more mingling time was then followed by the speeches with everyone gathered informally.
Dom & Serena put a lot of thought into their seating plan and chose to mix everyone up for dinner. They hosted one table, Dom’s parents hosted another table and so on; while all the guests sat with people they’d not met before so there was a real buzz in the room with everyone getting to know each other.
By the time Dom & Serena kicked off the evening party with their fabulous choreographed first dance the stage was set for a flippin’ good party. Knowing that they were going all ‘Strictly’ for their first dance I set up a series of lights in each corner of the dancefloor so that they would be lit from every angle and I could work from anywhere. My front row seat worked out nicely – I love the drama of the lights firing towards the camera.
Tips for couples planning a similar wedding
- Think your day through carefully with your photographer. Wedding photography is full of challenges – to help your photographer get the best results work with them to find ways to ease the pressure.
- Consider making time to spread your formal photos through day. For example the Groom & Best Man or Bride and Bridesmaids could be done before the ceremony. That will free up precious time during your drinks reception. But be careful to keep the overall number of groups low and use the time to spread them out, not as a way to do more!
- With the best will in the world there’s not much you can do to persuade little ones to cooperate with group photos! Just let them be. Spontaneous pictures of them just being themselves are often the winners anyway.
- Allow yourself plenty of time to enjoy your drinks reception. Plan things to keep your guests entertained and keep hunger pangs away with yummy canapés.
- If you’re doing a choreographed first dance let your photographer know so that they can prepare and get in the right spots. Photographing a dance with lots of movement is very different to photographing a ‘first shuffle’.