Mark & Emily’s vintage themed marquee wedding at Pipewell Hall

September 30, 2011

Torrential rain doesn’t begin to describe the weather Mark & Emily’s had, which didn’t let up until well after dinner. It was one of my wettest ever weddings. I often get asked what happens if it rains. The only thing that’s different to a dry day is that I get wet! Seriously though, all the rain does, as far as your photography is concerned, is add another layer of story to your photos. I can’t imagine some of Mark & Emily’s photos being anywhere near as much fun without the umbrellas.

About Mark & Emily

Emily came to meet with me after seeing us work at her good friends’ Lisa & Ben’s wedding. Pretty much the first thing she said was that they wanted the photos to just fit into their day with the absolute minimum of time spent on anything set up. Partly because posing isn’t their thing but mostly because they wanted their wedding to be about celebrating with their families and friends.

They still had a pre-wedding shoot; because they wanted to make the wedding day portraits as easy as possible. Just spending some time together and getting to know each other a bit helps to make the formal photos more relaxed. Even for the documentary photos it can help you feel comfortable with having a photographer around.

Mark & Emily have strong yet sensitive characters. They’re free spirits with a love of the outdoors, sports and travelling. One minute you’ll hear raucous laughter and the next minute they’re being soppy together. Their pooch Aubin fits in perfectly and seemed to love wearing his necktie for the evening reception! Emily loves to make things. Mark loves to look after Emily. They both ADORE each other. You can’t help but be entranced by them.

Mark & Emily’s wedding style

Vintage was more than a theme for Mark and Emily. It’s very much their personal style. And with Emily’s creative flair and attention to detail they pulled off something really quite special. But the best thing is that all the decor was done at very little expense, with most things being items that Mark and Emily already had at home or made themselves. They had a lot of help with the DIY and marquee decorating from family and friends too.

The guests’ faces lit up as they entered the marquee, took in the scent of lavender (hand-tied on the chair backs) and looked around. Metres (maybe miles?) of bunting (hand-sewn by Emily’s sixth-form students) decorated the ceiling and as every good interior design should have, there was a feature wall, with photos and ‘LOVE’ letters, as well as paper lanterns brightening the corners.

Each table was arranged with old books, battered bottles and pretty vintage china which Emily filled with old-fashioned wild flowers. There were sweet ‘I do’ and ‘love is sweet’ notes on wooden picks and cute little white doves nestled amongst it all. Each place was set with a hand-sewn lavender pomander, finished with buttons and ribbon, and a luggage tag place-name and badge. Each one was completely different but perfectly coordinated.

The pretty extended to the practical too. The table plan was fashioned from an old suitcase, using luggage labels for each list of names pegged onto strings of lace. Emily customised lots of pairs of flip-flops with ribbons and buttons for the ladies in the evening. Mark was a little sceptical and thought they’d have lots left over but they went down a storm and the crate was empty within minutes.

The cake table was rather lovely too. They’d brought in an old dresser from home which was laiden with sweet treats, made by Emily’s sister and Aunt.

Mark & Emily’s wedding photography

Emily looked stunning in a floaty and whimsical Jesus Peiro gown, which had a really unusual tulle wrap across the front. Her tiara (worn back to front in true individual Emily style) was an original vintage piece and those gorgeous teal shoes are Rachel Simpson.

The ceremony was held at Normanton Church, which is now a museum and civil wedding ceremony venue, on the shore of Rutland Water. Mark set the tone for the ceremony with a few tears as Emily walked down the aisle. I think just about everyone joined him!

It was still pouring with rain as we came out of the ceremony but we found a sheltered spot at one end of the church to do Mark & Emily’s portraits. We used the very cool Campervan as cover too.

We then headed back to Pipewell Hall for the reception. Mark and Emily wanted to keep the formal photos to an absolute minimum (just two group photos), which gave me plenty of time to capture what their wedding was all about – family, friends, fun and beautiful details.

Despite the wet weather Mark and Emily wanted an informal outdoor look for their group and confetti photos. The sheltered patio on the side of Pipewell Hall was just big enough to squeeze everyone into. Apart from me. I was out in the pouring rain with an umbrella wedged under my arm, group list in one hand and camera in the other. The ink ran so badly with the raindrops that the group list could barely be read at the end. You can see the rain coming down in the photos!

The weather finally dried up in the evening and everyone was able to enjoy the beautiful grounds and views at Pipewell Hall. There was lots of fun and games on the lawn with bowling, cricket and croquet. We managed to squeeze in a quick photo of everyone that we hadn’t been able to do in the afternoon because of the rain. Then it was soon time to don Emily’s customised flip-flops for the evening party.

Have you booked Pipewell Hall for your wedding?

That’s a mighty fine choice! Congratulations!

You’ve obviously got great taste so I think you might also like this page about wedding photography at Pipewell Hall. You can have a nose at some other weddings I’ve shot at Pipewell from there too. And if that’s up your wedding street, then I’d love to hear from you :)


  1. Dominique on September 30, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    Beautiful wedding, beautifully captured!

  2. Liza Smith on September 30, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    beautiful , the rain does add to the photos although thats not how you feel on the day…its all perfect i knew i would love the whole vintage feel…i love the photo with the groom wiping a tear well caught sarah ….so stunning emily x

  3. Sarah Ryberg on October 1, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    What gorgeous photos! I love the suitcase with the two lovebirds and the table seating. You do such a wonderful job of catching all the details Sarah. I know the bride and groom will treasure these photos forever.

  4. Sarah on October 3, 2011 at 11:01 am

    Thanks for your lovely comment Liza! Mark so visibly crying as Emily walked down the aisle is one of my favourite wedding moments ever!

  5. Sarah on October 3, 2011 at 11:01 am

    Ah thanks so much Sarah! Emily’s attention to detail was incredible and a dream to photograph.

  6. Kristy Field on October 18, 2011 at 11:22 am

    Lovely work Sarah and what a beautiful setting for a wedding.

  7. Emily Carter-Morris on October 25, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    I am so touched by all your lovely comments about our special day! we loved every second and feel very blessed to have such incredible pictures which will very much keep our memories alive!

  8. Sarah on October 25, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    That’s really sweet of you Emily! Thank you too!

  9. Laura on May 1, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    What a beautiful wedding, I’ve had many of the same ideas for my wedding, it’s so lovely to see how well it works. Out of interest I wondered what they had for food. I’m thinking of having an afternoon tea style wedding but not sure whether to serve up afternoon tea, what did Emily and Mark do?

  10. Sarah Vivienne on May 2, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    Hi Laura, thanks for your comment! it’s a fab style isn’t it? It looked amazing. Mark and Emily had a buffet with various hot meats and lots of yummy salads – it went down well with all the guests, as there’s something for everyone. I’ve had clients who have had afternoon teas which have been lovely too, particularly for summer weddings where ‘dinner’ was late afternoon and then served a hogroast or BBQ for something more substantial in the evening. Hope that helps! Have a great wedding!

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