Stuart & Charlotte’s summer wedding at Dodmoor House

Stuart & Charlotte made me a very happy wedding photographer! Their wedding at Dodmoor House was the kind of laid-back, super fun, highly emotional day that I love to photograph. It was a treat and an honour to share and capture it for them.

About Stuart & Charlotte

Stuart and Charlotte have enchanting personalities. To be with them is to be in a little world all of its’ own. A chatty, open, fun and smiley world. They’re contagiously positive; humble and kind; and had me hooked me with their engagement story where Stuart made a surprise arrival on a camel in the Dubai desert, wearing traditional robes, given away only by his trainers showing underneath.

They’re a decisive couple and made quick work of their wedding planning. They knew what they wanted and just went for it so that they could spend the lead up to their wedding getting excited for the day and enjoy being engaged.

Keith and Vicki, whose wedding Abby and I photographed at Holdenby House a couple of years ago, recommended Stuart and Charlotte to me. It was lovely to catch up with them and meet their little girl Annabelle at the wedding.

An atmospheric feel is the thing that Stuart and Charlotte wanted most in their wedding photography. They dreamed of relaxed and believable photos, nothing contrived. They wanted a handful of groups but not too many with people looking at the camera. They were more interested in capturing the action and being able to relive everything when they looked at their photos afterwards.

Stuart & Charlotte’s wedding style

Stuart and Charlotte wanted to be involved in their own wedding. They wanted it to be home spun and personal. They made jam for the favours. A friend made the cake. Another friend did the flowers and another friend was on hair duties. They designed their own stationery; ‘deliberately’ leaving the date off the invitations and hand-stamping it on afterwards!

They chose subtle colours for a low key but elegant look. The church and Dodmoor House are beautiful in their own right and don’t need anything extra to make them look good. But Charlotte joked about how big and sparkly her dress was compared to everything else that was so simple! It was a pretty dress though and suited the softness of everything else. She looked amazing.

Stuart and Charlotte balanced the rustic feel of Dodmoor House with their classic romantic look by using hessian table runners and napkins, tree stump table centres, lots of bunting and a buttercream cake.

Stuart & Charlotte’s wedding photography

Georgi, my second photographer for the day, started at Charlotte and Stuart’s house where Stuart was getting ready with his Best Man and some of the Ushers. I have to smile when I look through photos of the boys getting ready; cravats and pocket squares seem to be the most complicated things ever! YouTube videos to the rescue!

While Georgi was with Stuart, I had fun photographing more girly moments as Charlotte and her bridesmaids got ready. The highlight of the morning for me was photographing Charlotte as she opened her gifts from Stuart which revealed the secret honeymoon destination he had planned. There were lots of excited squeals!

The ceremony took place at St Mary & St Giles church on the high street in Stony Stratford, near Milton Keynes. Charlotte went to the church school and has known the Vicar since she was six, so they chose it because of the personal connection. Apart from the nightmare of finding somewhere close by to park, I love a town centre wedding. Having something so special among the every day brings an extra buzz. The town even brought out the bunting for the occasion!

It’s often difficult to get the rings on. But Stuart *really* struggled with Charlotte’s ring! At first it was funny, then really awkward; then it was really funny again! I loved his triumphant air punch!

Wedding photography Dodmoor House - Stu Chem - 1001
Wedding photography Dodmoor House - Stu Chem - 1002

Dodmoor House was an easy choice for Stuart and Charlotte. They wanted a warm celebration with their closest friends and family so its’ laid-back vibe and intimacy felt right to them straight away.

The speeches were made before dinner so that the speakers could relax and enjoy their food afterwards. That set the tone for the rest of the day which grew ever more relaxed with coffee and chat outside in the courtyard after dinner as the sun went down, an Olympic quality bouquet toss which everyone cheered at and a romantic first dance which made you fall even more in love with this beautiful couple.

Tips for couples planning a similar wedding

  1. The best thing you can do for your photos is to relax and enjoy your day. Do all the planning and worrying you like before the day. Then get all Frozen and Let It Go. Happy emotions are the ones you’ll want to remember and look back on in your photos.
  2. If you want an intimate feeling to your group photos, keep the numbers in each group small and keep the overall list short. That way there’s time to make the experience of having them taken feel special and time to capture the interaction between you which often comes before and after a group photo.
  3. Tell your photographer if you have any surprises planned during the day so that they can make sure they’re in the right place at the right time to capture the reactions.
  4. Pick a wedding photographer you have a rapport with. Everything will come naturally for your portraits and group photos if you’re on the same wavelength.
  5. Think about how you want your photos to make you feel after your wedding. That will help you pick a wedding photographer with the right style.

Are you planning a wedding at Dodmoor House?

Then come on in and make yourself at home!

First, you might like to read this page about why I think Dodmoor House is great for wedding photography. You can explore check out some ideas from other weddings I’ve shot at Dodmoor House from there too.

Then, if you like what you see, message me with your wedding plans and request a copy of my brochure. I can’t wait to hear more about your wedding!