Karl & Elaine’s civil ceremony & reception at Rushton Hall

July 2, 2013

Karl and Elaine had the hottest day of the year so far for their wedding at Rushton Hall. It may have been the only summer’s day in June but that was all they needed!

About Karl & Elaine

When Best Man Dave asked his children Carys (Flower Girl) & Tomos (Page Boy) to describe Karl and Elaine in three words for his speech they said “loveable”, “kind” and “humorous”. That pretty much sums it up for me too.

Karl is charismatic and full of fun. Wherever he goes there’s sure to be laughter. Elaine is the yin to his yang with a soft, serene nature. Together they have an infectious, easy-going and cheerful aura which puts you right at ease and they’ll have you giggling within minutes.

They felt like old friends right from the start and have been a joy to work with.

Karl & Elaine chose a fuss-free civil wedding ceremony and put the emphasis of their wedding on celebrating with their family and friends.

They wanted their wedding to be photographed in a documentary style with the exception of a few portraits of themselves and a handful of pictures with close family and friends. This gave Abby and I plenty of time to soak up the atmosphere and capture the day as we experienced it.

This is the approach that suits our style of wedding photography best. There was so much action to photograph and we had plenty of time to do it. Sometimes we can be stretched too thinly to do everything justice but today’s timings were perfect.

Feeling like we photographed everything to the fullest makes me a very happy wedding photographer!

Karl & Elaine’s wedding style

The inspiration for Karl and Elaine’s wedding decor came from the colour blue. Roses, freesias and calla lillies were mixed with cornflowers and hydrangea for the bright splash of colour.

Elaine wore Suzanne Neville and Jimmy Choos, which I may have taken a few too many photos of. Her Flower Girl’s Carys and Wren couldn’t wait to wear their dresses and they looked super sweet in their flower crowns. All the boys looked very dapper in grey suits and navy ties.

The immense six tiered ombre cake was made by a friend of Karl and Elaine’s, who got the biggest round of applause in the speeches. Apparently it took nearly a week just in cooking time!

My favourite photos from the day

Elaine got ready in The Duke Bedchamber at Rushton Hall. It’s a very light room with beautiful windows and lots of large mirrors which makes it great for wedding photography. It has lots of space too so I was able to work from a distance with a big zoom lens to get in close, which makes it a discreet experience.

I left Elaine briefly while she was having her make-up done to photograph Karl’s preparations. I tracked him down nervously pacing the corridors of Rushton to pass time! Karl & his Best Man Dave were ready in no time and took a leisurely stroll to the Thornhill Arms in Rushton village for a cheeky pint with a few of the wedding guests. Abby tagged along to capture the scene before heading back to Rushton Hall to get some photos of everyone arriving.

Ironically the Registrars were late! This often happens if they come from another ceremony where the Bride was late, but today it was a little more than normal. So it was a bit of a wait in the ceremony room but this meant Abby and I had a captive audience to get some pictures of people waiting excitedly, or nervously, depending on who they were!

The drinks reception took place in the courtyard. It was wonderful to be able to enjoy the courtyard at its best in the glorious sunshine. Toastmaster Alan and I did the group photos in ten minutes flat (there’s a challenge to beat next time!) which left plenty of time for some more natural pictures of everyone simply enjoying themselves.

Dinner and speeches were held in the Great Hall. The cake cutting needed some welly being solid fruit cake; love their expressions!

The enjoyment on everyone’s faces was plain to see as Karl and Elaine did their first dance. It can be hard to focus the camera during dancing as the couple are moving relatively quickly. Listening to the music is my secret to help predict when there might be a big moment, as these are usually choreographed with a brief pause afterwards when I can pounce for my shot!

Tips for couples planning a similar wedding

  1. If you choose a wedding photographer for their documentary style, keep your list of group photos short to get the best results from them
  2. If you’re booking a toastmaster pick one that you think will be efficient at gathering guests for group photos. It’s soooooo much quicker
  3. If you’re both getting ready in the same location, try to dovetail your timings together so that you can have photos of each of you preparing
  4. If you’re planning a choreographed first dance let your photographer know in advance. These can require different lighting setups which need to be prepared beforehand.

Are you planning a Rushton Hall wedding?

If you are, you’re in for a treat! And that’s just your wedding photos ;)

Find out more about what I think makes Rushton Hall a brilliant venue for wedding photography. There are links to more of my Rushton Hall weddings on that page too.


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