James & Rachel’s classic English country wedding at Rushton Hall
James and Rachel’s wedding is an excellent example of how to have your wedding photography cake and eat it!
I look back at their wedding photos with a smile because, to me, it feels like a brilliantly balanced and rounded story of their day, with a little bit of everything.
They had it all: meaningful documentary wedding photos, classic group photos, a big photo of everyone, romantic couple portraits, and all the decor and details. The full works.
With just one photographer.
And it’s such a reward to sit back, watch the pictures download and feel like I’ve photographed a wedding thoroughly and that nothing was compromised.
Because so often, I sit sadly at my computer, looking through a day’s photos, thinking about all the potential photos that I wasn’t able to capture. Like if the bride arrives late and the couple portraits have to be cut short to bring the timeline back on track, or if there’s a long list of group photos and the natural ones of the reception have to take a back seat.
And that inspired me to spend a bit of time talking about how to achieve a comprehensive and complete chronicle of wedding photos. Because it doesn’t just happen! It takes some careful planning.
But first, let me tell you a bit about James and Rachel’s wedding to set the scene…
The preparations and ceremony took place in the village of Polebrook near Oundle, where Rachel grew up. Rachel got ready at her parents’ house while James met his parents, Groomsmen and a few guests at The Kings Head pub for drinks. And they had a church wedding at All Saints. All in all, a quintessentially English country wedding! Bonus villagers enjoying bubbles on the village green whilst the ceremony went on included!
After church, they had a classic but relaxed reception at Rushton Hall in Kettering. This started with drinks outside in the courtyard, with beautiful background music from a harpist. And then the wedding breakfast and evening party were held in the orangery. The highlight of which (for me) (and I’m sure many others) was the surprise singing waiters’ performance!
James and Rachel booked me primarily for timeless documentary wedding photography but they wanted some posed photos and details of all their decor too.
So what exactly did James and Rachel do that made a varied and exhaustive set of photos possible?
Perfectly proportioned photography needs one thing above all else:
But I’m sure you’ve heard this before: time is at a premium on a wedding day. There’s so much amazingness to cram in.
Here’s how James and Rachel made time work in their favour …
Six tricks to find, protect and preserve time for your friendly wedding photographer ;)
- James and Rachel kept their list of group photos to VIPs only – immediate family, grandparents, bridesmaids and groomsmen. Whilst important, they take a disproportionate amount of time compared to the number of photos you get. So James and Rachel prioritised the ones that will become family heirlooms.
- The ushers and a toastmaster were briefed to help with gathering guests for the group photos. Which left me free to capture candids between each group and able to get straight back to documentary photography as soon as possible.
- The group photos and portraits were spread through the day rather than being done in one big chunk. Some before the ceremony, some at church, some at the drinks reception, some in the evening. That approach means time is devoted to documentary photos at each point of the day, rather than a large section of the day going uncaptured.
- James and Rachel had their couple portrait session while their guests were finding their seats for dinner. No-one missed them at that point. Plus it meant I had longer to capture natural photos of the drinks reception and shoot the dinner set-up before anyone went in.
- Even though we had an ideal plan in mind, James and Rachel were ready to go with the flow. The flow of the torrential rain running down the village lane! But seriously, if the rain threatens, you just gotta get on with it! The weather won’t wait for you to finish your conversation. Soz! You know it’s because I love you!
- James and Rachel planned their wedding with simple logistics in mind. Being able to walk between each location in the village meant I could spend more taking photos and less time driving from place to place.
Now, you probably noticed that most of these points are about formal photos!
And that’s because formal photos can make or break the opportunity for natural photos.
It’s all about using time wisely and efficiently.
Have a look at this whistle-stop tour of James and Rachel’s photos to how their committed and mindful approach paid off.
Are you getting married at Rushton Hall?
Wow! What a great choice!
If you’d like to find out why I think it’s a great choice, check out this page with more information and examples of weddings I’ve captured at Rushton Hall.