Keith & Vicki’s ‘afternoon tea’ wedding at Holdenby House

Keith and Vicki had the recipe for an elegant but truly relaxed summer wedding.

They got married at St Luke’s church in Duston, a church I’ve often driven past & imagined working at en route to the in-laws. Then they had their reception at Holdenby House, which is very special but being a family home it feels intimate and comfortable too.

There were picnic blankets and garden games with the most beautiful countryside views. Everyone enjoyed an informal but beautifully presented vintage afternoon tea. And they couldn’t have wanted for better weather, which topped the day off perfectly.


About Keith & Vicki

Keith and Vicki were one of our first couples to book for this year so I knew they’d be organised and they seemed to make light work of everything. Apart from a few nerves at the start of their pre-wedding portrait shoot they were totally chilled out about it all.

Their relaxed manner and super planning shone through on their wedding day too. The tone was set for all the guests to just enjoy themselves and have a great time.

Keith and Vicki’s family and friends were really welcoming and seemed at ease with us being around, which made capturing the atmosphere of the day a breeze. We shared some fun times and lots of laughs.

The most important thing for the wedding photography was for it to be ultra relaxed, to reflect the day and for it not to take Keith and Vicki away from their guests for too long. There was a place for everything – portraits, group photos, documentary wedding photography and pictures of all the little details – but above all they wanted it to be done without any fuss.

So they were careful to choose just a few must-have family photos, which really is the holy grail of a relaxed drinks reception and natural looking photography.


Keith & Vicki’s wedding style

A pretty, soft interpretation of vintage sums up Keith and Vicki’s wedding styling for me.

Delicate gypsophilia, lace, layers of tulle, natural taupe bridesmaid dresses, pink toned flowers with a bit of pale blue to stop it being too girly and elegant candleabra draped with pearls all worked together brilliantly.

A rather yummy afternoon tea was served on vintage china. The desserts of course were the highlight! OMG, that lemon cheesecake was delicious!

Vicki’s Mum made their wedding cake. There was always a homemade chocolate fudge cake for birthdays as Vicki was growing up so it seemed only right for a wedding cake too. Vicki’s Mum had battles with the hot weather and chocolate fudge but that was all part of the fun and memories!

The best bit? The old fashioned ice cream bike with sorbet after dinner and ice cream in the evening. That went down a treat!


Keith & Vicki’s wedding photography

The minute I arrived at Vicki’s parents’ house in the morning I could tell it would be a relaxed day.

Vicki and her bridesmaids were giggling and excitedly chattering about the day ahead. Vicki’s Mum was full of beans (or maybe it was relief after having finally won the chocolate fudge battle!) and I loved chatting with her. Vicki’s Dad wasn’t quite sure what to do with a house full of giggling girls getting ready and was nervously sitting on the stairs.

It seemed a lovely morning for Vicki with her family at the home where she grew up. And I loved that she got ready in her old bedroom which still had her name on the door and teddies on the shelf. There’s something very significant about doing that on your wedding day.


I headed off to church about an hour before the ceremony to meet Keith and my trusty sidekick Abby, and to take some pictures of the guests arriving at church. Finally I got to see St Luke’s church after the countless times I’ve driven past.

The only thing you can see from the roadside is a cute wooden lych gate and I had a child-like vision of it as a secret church, hidden by a wall of trees, that only a few would ever get to see. Walking up the church path to see what would be revealed had the feeling you get from the book ‘The Secret Garden’.

The church was a delight to discover. It’s your quintessential English village church on the outside but is fairly small with an unusual round layout inside which gave it a surprisingly intimate feel for a church wedding.


The Bride arriving for the ceremony is the part of the day when my heart starts to beat that little bit faster! It’s really special to share this part of the day; it’s very private, hidden from everyone else and is over in seconds.


The round and relatively informal layout of St Luke’s gave Abby and I great views for photos of the ceremony.


After a flurry of confetti we were off to one of my favourite wedding venues in Northampton, Holdenby House, for drinks and garden games on the back lawn. The picnic blankets, giant jenga, croquet and bowls went down a storm (with all ages!) and kept everyone entertained. It was a really fun atmosphere.


Afternoon tea was served in the Ballroom. From that point onwards Abby and I captured the speeches, cake cutting and evening celebrations just as they happened. Stopping only for sorbet!


Love a bit of drama to finish!


Tips for couples planning a similar wedding

  1. If you want to enjoy being with your guests during your drinks reception more than having photos taken, keep your group list short
  2. Think through your plans from your guests’ point of view. How will they be kept entertained? Are there any parts of the day that might seem flat to them?
  3. If you want your photos to be done quickly, agree a time limit with your photographer and give them your full attention for that time. Keith and Vicki’s portraits were done in less time than we’d planned because they were totally committed to them at that moment.
  4. If you can’t decide which pair of shoes; buy two!

Nice words from Keith & Vicki

It means the world to know my clients are happy bunnies. So this thank you card from Keith and Vicki made me smile…

“We would like to thank you sincerely for the absolutely incredible photographs you took of our special day.

“You captured the whole day so perfectly, exactly how we wanted. We love our album and the blog post. We could not have wished for a better service.

“Everyone we speak to says how wonderful our photos are and we couldn’t recommend you more highly.

“A massive thank you!”

Are you getting married at Holdenby House?

If you are, and you fancy another dose of pretty photos, then check out this page what I think makes Holdenby House so special for wedding photography. There are a few links to other weddings I’ve shot at Holdenby on that page too :)