Mike & Anna’s wedding photos at Exton Park
Mike & Anna’s wedding was filled with pink, romance, hot sunshine, tears, laughter, peonies, roses, blue skies, fluffy clouds and cocktails.
About Mike & Anna & their wedding
If I could only write one word to tell you about Mike & Anna’s wedding it would be ’emotional’. Emotion is my favourite thing to photograph but it’s rare to see such visible sincere feelings as there were this day. Being able to instantly fit in and work in a sensitive way that doesn’t influence how people are around us, and our cameras, is an important part of how we work. That way people are more likely to openly show their feelings. The challenge of course is that we don’t know what’s going to happen so we have to rely on experience and intuition to think ahead and be ready.
It was these unpredicatable photos, the spontaneous ones, that Mike and Anna wanted most of all. They’re very close to their families so some group photos were important and they wanted some romantic pictures of the two of them, but most of the photography time was planned to be ‘in the moment’.
The day took us to Polebrook near Oundle in Northamptonshire (which is very pretty and on my list of villages I’d like to live in) for the ceremony and Exton Park, near Rutland, for the reception. It involved a fair bit of travelling but bombing around the beautiful countryside in my little red number always makes me smile.
Mike & Anna are every inch the professional couple and planned their wedding meticulously. They’re also warm, open-hearted and ready to have fun at a moment’s notice. They have a knack of drawing you in and it’s easy to get completely lost in conversation with them. In fact, I think we spent most of our hour’s planning meeting merrily chatting about weddings, families and crazy bike rides before we realised the time and thought we’d better do some work! Whoops!
But this inside scoop is what really helps us to create unique and personal wedding photography. Going beyond the practical plans and more into the ‘story’, to get an understanding of the why as well as the what, means we can look for those subtle little things that are our clients’ big things.
Mike & Anna’s wedding style
The one thing that struck me about Mike and Anna’s wedding was the consistency. Soft, pretty, relaxed, classic, romantic and summery describe everything about them, their venues, their day and their styling. It almost wasn’t a theme at all; everything looked and felt like a perfectly natural part of them.
Mike & Anna’s wedding photos
Mike started his day by reading ‘Don’ts for Husbands’ and generally larking around with his Best Man and Ushers. They got ready at The Talbot Hotel in Oundle. Steve tagged along to photograph this part of the day while I was with Anna. It all got a bit Top-Gun for a while because it was so hot but Steve made sure they had shirts on at the right time! Once suited and booted the boys headed off to the Kings’ Arms in Polebrook for a quick drink to cool off and relax for a bit.
Anna got ready at her parents’ home in Polebrook. Anna and her bridesmaids were sooo excited and made me feel very welcome too – thank you all! I loved your rendition of ‘We’re going to the chapel’! It’s now stuck in my head and I’m singing it to myself while writing this blog post!
And the tears began…
Mike & Anna chose All Saints Church in Polebrook for their ceremony. Anna’s parents’ home, where she grew up, is just a few yards from the church. She told me that she used to sit on the wall outside the church after school and thought to herself that this was where she would get married one day. Such a beautiful story.
Anna arrived early at the church which no-one expected! So there was plenty of time for candid photos of her, her Mum & Dad and bridesmaids before they went in. Some beautiful moments which might otherwise be missed under more time pressure.
Catherine, the Vicar, was incredibly lovely. She had obviously spent a great deal of time getting to know Mike & Anna and made the ceremony really personal for them. I loved how she based advice for their marriage on their careers (Anna is a solicitor and Mike a Structural Engineer); things like building solid foundations and fighting for each other, with a good dose of wit to make people smile. It’s quite rare to witness such personal ceremonies in a church.
You’d be hard pushed to find a venue as romantic as Exton Park. The grounds are stunning in a relaxed way – unstructured but well-tended, lush and peaceful, except for the birdsong.
After the drinks reception everyone headed to the marquee for dinner. Just look at that blue sky!
Mike, a self-confessed emotional introvert, made a very romantic speech. Cue more tears from Anna and her Dad. Two peas in a pod! Mike was very humble too and led all the guests in singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to one of his Ushers – who cried. Obvs.
Some very close to the knuckle humour from the Best Man’s speech!
Mike and Anna love cocktails so planned a cocktail hour after dinner, topped and tailed with their cake cutting and first dance.
Tips for couples planning a similar wedding
- The biggest killer of spontaneous photos is lack of time. Keep your list of formal photos short to put the focus on the documentary wedding photography.
- The best themes aren’t themes at all. Just do what feels natural. If it feels right, it will look right.
- Keep your guests amused between the end of dinner and the start of the evening party. Things like cocktails or garden games that give your guests something to do will avoid that part of the day feeling flat and provide plenty of photo opportunities.
- Pick a photographer you feel comfortable with and who you think will fit in well with your friends and family. That’s the only way to feel completely relaxed about being photographed.